Mar 25, 2010

Stosh B Designs

In all fairness, I first came across Stosh B Designs when she ordered some custom graphic work from me. But, I fell in love instantly, and I've become really familiar with her jewelry from working so closely with her product photos. This Silver and Copper Cuff Bracelet would so be mine right now, but I am saving up for a super duper printer and summer is my husband's slow season at work. As much as I'd love to say to heck with priorities, hubby just doesn't see it the same way.

All of the jewelry at Stosh B Designs is handmade at her home studio in California. To quote the About the Artist section at

"My source of inspiration is often a mystery – simply put, I am inspired by the act of creating itself. I feel so strongly about this process that it has become imperative for me to do what I do. Working with glass and silver and creating wearable art allows me to focus my energies and passion into extracting things of grace and beauty from once inanimate pieces of glass and silver. In our chaotic modern world of multitasking and conflicting priorities, this focused, pure process is a gift that I simultaneously respect and treasure.

I'm big on texture- I have an OCD like compulsion to reach out and touch anything that looks like it "feels neat". Every time I see one of Stosh B Design's pieces I can imagine rubbing my finger across it and feeling the bumps and grooves. I love the combinations of textured metal and smooth stone along with the use of Asian imagery.

You can find Stosh B Designs by clicking on the following links:
Stosh B Designs on Etsy

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Mar 22, 2010

Mary Littfin

After almost a week of internet connection not up to par and getting my oldest ready for a spring break vacation with his best friend's family, I'm back with today's Monday feature for the home.

Some of Mary Littfin's earliest memories are of her mother sewing at the kitchen table. The passion for fabric started at a young age, and by the time she was 10 Mary's mom decided she was ready to use the sewing machine- power and all. Despite dabbling in many creative outlets, the joy of sewing is something she always returns to.

I love all the different styles in this shop. From elegant cloth dinner napkins to fun prints for your children's lunch box, this store has something for every occasion. And, not only are they completely reusable and eco-friendly, but they can definitely save you money in the long run compared to the use and toss alternative of the paper variety. Save the planet AND save money- how awesome is that?

In addition to the environmental and economical benefits, the cotton and fleece fabric choices are much softer than paper. And, no matter how cute the paper towel companies think their designs are, there is absolutely nothing that matches my decor. Included with the wide selection of cloth napkins you will find in Mary's shop, there are also sections for table runners, pennants, aprons and very trendy oven mitts.

You can check out Mary Littfin's wonderful wares at her shop on Etsy.

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Mar 16, 2010

Sacred Suds

I don't get to try everything that is featured here on Upscale Handmade. It just wouldn't be possible- I can't afford it and I refuse to ever be one of those bloggers that goes around asking for samples and freebies so I can write some trumped up review of a product that I only like because it was free. However, in the case of today's featured shop, Sacred Suds, I can tell you exactly how much I personally love it.

I was admittedly nervous when it came to trying handmade soap. Would it really get me clean? Would I SMELL clean? Would I still enjoy my evening bath/shower ritual? Yes, yes and YES!

I can't narrow down everything I love about this soap to just one favorite aspect. The scents are pleasing, without leaving an overpowering smell on your skin (ever have someone walk into a room and you can smell their fruity, bubble gummy scent from 10 feet away?)There is a rich, creamy lather that leaves you feeling clean without feeling moisture deprived. The soaps at Sacred Suds are also vegetarian friendly and use no animal fats in the production. But, by far, the biggest testimony to how great these soaps are is my 3 year old who throws a fit if I try to use his Disney character soap on him. Sometimes I try anyway- just because he's cute when he's mad. It always starts off with a polite "no, thank you", but if I inch closer to the tub he will give me the evil eye and tell me "I said NO."

Sacred Suds soaps are inspired by deities of ancient mythology - Goddesses of love, peace, and prosperity, and Gods of action, nature, and joy. The soaps are cruelty free, detergent free, and dye free. Couple that with the commitment to minimizing the ecological impact and the choice to use only sustainable, environmentally friendly ingredients and suppliers, and this soap is not only body friendly but Earth friendly as well.

You can check out Sacred Suds for yourself by clicking on these links:
Sacred Suds on Etsy
Follow Sacred Suds on Twitter

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Mar 15, 2010

Monika Design

Monika Design offers the cutest little coasters you've ever seen. Originally from Czech Republic and now living in Florida, her style incorporates bright colors, wonderful design and, of course, excellent craftsmanship. She was even featured in the October 09 issue of First For Women Magazine.

Monika uses 100% cotton yarn in her creations. The cotton is super absorbent and soaks up any moisture to protect your surfaces from those unsightly rings. Many of the designs revolve around themes from nature- fruit, flowers and owls. Don't worry if you don't see exactly what you're looking for- she is more than happy to work with you to create exactly what you need.

Hand crochet coasters are a perfect gifts for housewarming, hostesses, teachers, friends, or just about anyone- everyone needs them. Why not have something cute and interesting instead of just a plain piece of wood? In addition to the coasters, Monika also offers a small selection of potholders, wash clothes and bath puffs. Wholesale is also available for those who may be interested.

You can find Monika Design by clicking on the following links. And, in case someone hasn't noticed, clicking on the pictures will take you directly to the Etsy listing for that item. :)

Monika Design on Etsy
Monika Design on Twitter

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Mar 13, 2010

Sunday Brunch with Dean Custom Designs

For our very first Sunday Brunch interview we have invited Dean Custom Designs. You can get to know more about her and her products reading the following interview. And, be sure to check out her shop on Etsy for her wonderful line of Pursekeys.

Tell us a little about yourself:

I am married to man of my dreams!! I have a beautiful 16 year old daughter who just loves the fact I can make her really "cool" stuff!!

Tell us about your product.

My Purskey Line started out because I could not find a cell phone charm or purse charm that looked pretty!! I decided that why not try and make one myself! I went to a local beading store where they were most helpful in teaching me how to make a hook and I bought the prettiest purple czech glass for my very first cell charm!!

How did you start out creating?

I really enjoyed making my cell charm and wanted to make more!!! The problem was how expensive everything was!! I went on ebay and hit the jackpot with some really awesome quality beads and charms!!

What is your favorite aspect of running your own business?

I do not know that I have a favorite aspect of running my own business!! I enjoy making the Purskeys and really love to see one sell!!! I am not large enough at this

What direction would you like to go in the future?
I would really love to see everyone with a Purskey on their purse or Key chain. I am also trying to branch out by using the Purskeys on bridal bouqets, or vases with floral arrangement! I am currently working with a local florist on this last bit!!!

Where can we find you?

You can find me on
and Facebook

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A few Changes

I've made a few new decisions about the blog. The biggest is that I don't think it will be possible to lump jewelry in with other adult items. There's just too many fantastic handmade jewelry designers out there and they deserve their own special day. So, they're getting it, and it will be Thursdays from now on. Also, I'm going to dedicate Tuesdays to what I will call the "other" category. It will include bath and beauty, pet items, and other themes that just aren't necessarily a good fit for the other categories or could even be considered for more than one section. I will reserve Saturdays for any blog wide news and updates that I need to make like this one.

You may also notice that I chose to tag my Adult category items as "Grown Ups". It's just my feeble attempt to keep from attracting browsers searching for the ADULT type of items that you're most likely not going to find here :)

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Mar 12, 2010

Ducks In A Row Boutique

I didn't think it was ever going to happen, but the weather is finally changing. We've even had our windows open the past few days. Spring is definitely in the air, and soon the kids will be out of school. We'll have the return of birds, lightening bugs and, yes, the family vacation.

The featured shop for today's Children's spotlight has a solution for those long trips sitting in the car or on a plane. The ingenious "creativity wallets" come stocked with 8 crayons, a note pad and a pocket to hold their artwork or even a small book. It closes up and has a handle so your little ones will have no problem carrying it around on their own. You'll also find a variety of fabric styles to choose from- fun animal prints, funky paisleys and even fast motorcycles. There is something for your child no matter their personality.

This working mother of one also has a solution for parents of younger children. How often have you been in a restaurant and a toy has "somehow" managed to find its way to the floor? Any parent of babies and toddlers knows that the favorite toy always goes right in the mouth. How many times have you had to run to the bathroom to rinse off a rattle or teething ring? No more worries with the Helping Hand. It's not a pacifier clip- much longer to allow for plenty of shaking and playing while still preventing your child's favorite item from falling on the floor. I think this is a must have for parents.

You can find Ducks In A Row Boutique at the following links:

Ducks In A Row Boutique on Etsy

Ducks In A Row Boutique Blog

Ducks In A Row Boutique Facebook Fan Page

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Mar 10, 2010

Dragon Designs

Today's featured shop is Dragon Designs. This is a one woman operation making fantastic purses and bags as well as a few other accessories. She studied design at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City and has been creating clothing, accessories, home decor, and costumes for decades. Now that her homeschooled daughter has gone off to college she has more time to devote to the joys of creating and designing.

I absolutely love the fabric choices and that the weight of the fabric along with layers of fleece and stabilizer make these sturdy, long lasting investments. All stress points are at least double or triple stitched to further add to the life of your bag. Also, the use of inner pockets and/or key fobs is a definite plus for the organizationally challenged like myself.

In addition to the great styles of purses, totes and handbags you will find coordinating pouches and gadget cases to store you cosmetics or cell phone, MP3 players and credit cards. To top it all off, she loves working with her customers to create a custom piece and make sure you get exactly what you are looking for.

You can find Dragon Designs by clicking on these links:

Dragon Designs on Etsy

Dragon Designs on Artfire

Dragon Designs Facebook Fan Page

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Mar 8, 2010

N and J Designs

I'm not sure what it is about boxes. Maybe it's the storage aspect and the fact that I can keep the things that would normally be spread throughout a room nicely tucked away in one easy to find space. Perhaps it's because they are such quick and easy accents- just add a box to a mantel, dresser or under the lamp on your end table and it makes a quick and easy upgrade to your decor. Whatever the reason, I know I love them. I have a small collection of trinket and jewelry boxes, and there's a box to be found in nearly every room of my house. But none of them could top these wonderfully altered boxes from the mother/daughter team at N and J Designs.

The wooden boxes are decorated with a nice mixture of paper, paint and embellishments. N and J Designs creates many of the papers they incorporate so you won't see these exact styles in other shops around the web. They offer both the pull out drawer style along with hinged lid jewelry, trinket and keepsake boxes for your choosing. And, there is something for every decor from fun and flirty to sleek and stylish.

Even if you don't find exactly what you are looking for already in stock, N and J Designs are more than happy to create a custom designed piece made just for you. All you have to do is contact them with your needs and they will respond with a quote and a time frame. You can also contact them to inquire about creating a wholesale account.

You can find N and J Designs by clicking on the following link:

N and J Designs on Etsy

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Mar 3, 2010

Upscale Handmade?

It should be obvious from the name that this blog is going to feature upscale, handmade items. But, what exactly do I mean by that? The Miriam-Webster definition of upscale is:
This blog will focus more on quality and style over cost. Don't get me wrong, quality items do come with a price. But, I hope to feature online shops and boutiques that have a wide price range along with great merchandise.

Why handmade? Simply put, because it's better. These treasures are designed with heart and soul, and are made with the hands of someone that cares opposed to a cold machine or someone who just does it because it's their job. The products you'll find here support small business and don't serve to make some CEO or executive board rich while the workers make little. Plus, the vast majority are made in limited quantity if not completely one of a kind- what could be more upscale than that?

For now, the plan for features is something like this:

Mondays- home items- art, decor, furniture, ceramics & pottery etc.

Wednesdays- Adult clothing, jewelry, accessories and more

Fridays- Children & Baby clothing, gear, toys

Sunday Brunch- A more in depth interview with an artisan shop keeper and features of their items.

Of course, this isn't set in stone and I'm completely open to change. This is just my plan going in. Hope you enjoy and check back soon for our features!

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