Daily Affirmation

The best things in life are free.
The second best are very expensive.
- Coco Chanel

Monday, November 12, 2012

Let The Season Begin...

Lately it seems I've been either working or madly shopping online for Christmas.  I don't know why I've been so driven - maybe I just want to get it done so I can enjoy the season.  But truthfully, I do enjoy buying gifts for people.  Figuring out just what they'd enjoy, narrowing the options, making that final decision, and then the anticipation of waiting for it to arrive.  I love it.

I've come across some pretty good places to shop, too.  I don't know about you, but I love handmade items.  They're so unusual, and like nothing you could get at the mall.  And even better - there's always the chance that you can really customize what you buy.  There are two artisans, if you will, that have gotten me particularly excited about their individual crafts.

The first is a friend of my daughter's.  Shannon has created the most wonderful handmade soaps, all from organic products like lavender, orange, cinnamon, geranium, and tea tree, locally grown organic herbs, and locally gathered honey. She and her little family craft these amazing soaps by hand and market them under the name of Lehi Country Soap.  Oh there's more - much more, but you'll have to visit her Facebook page and shop to really see what she does.   She not only makes the most lovely cakes of soap, but she also teaches soap making classes if you're lucky enough to be in the Lehi, Utah area.  She sells her soaps (which are true works of art) at various Farmer's Markets, and shops in the area (again, lucky you if you live in the area) but she will also let you mail order, which is what I do.

I'm still working my way through my first order of 3 soaps, which included a geranium mint, and a lavender tea tree bar.  She has salt scrub bars, such as some yummy coffee peppermint ones made with a coconut oil base and a sugar scrub crumble or these cinnamon and safflower ones.  I die.

Since I placed my first order she's also created these bars in orange calendula.  I think I could shower for hours with those.

My family members (other than L, who has fragrance allergies) are all a bunch of fragrance geeks.  We all love wonderful smelling soaps and lotions - we'd sit around sniffing things all day, although the boys would deny it to the death.  So Lehi Country Soap is right up my/our alley.  Oh, and the lather?  Most satisfying.

The other vendor I got really excited about is actually a blogging friend of mine.  Jenny makes the most wonderful imaginative play items under the name Knees and Paws.  You can find her on Facebook, and can also link to her Etsy shop from there.  If you have small children in your life who like to pretend they're dogs, or cats, or unicorns (or for that matter, elephants or any other animal you can think of) she can create the perfect play set to send them into imagination heaven.  When I was a little girl, one of my little brothers used to pretend he was Blackie the dog and would run around naked with a washcloth on his head - that was his fur.  Jenny's items blow Blackie's washcloth completely out of the water.  Take a look at what she can do:

Are there matching tails?  Oh yes, and hooves for hands and feet too.  Incredible.  And she'll make them in any color you want.

Black poodle, anyone?  Yes, please, especially with the cute pink bows (and matching tail!) and even a collar with a name tag that your child can customize.

Or perhaps your little one prefers kitties.  She can make them in any color, furry or short haired.  Matching tail and collar?  But of course!  But those EARS with the little pink insides just killed me.
These were my favorite Knees and Paws items, but she has many MANY more to choose from.  Jenny's creativity is limited only by your imagination.  I would suggest that you grandmas and mommies get over to Knees and Paws and have a little glimpse.  Such cuteness...

So that's what's been occupying my time for the past several days.  And these are only a couple of sites I've been peeking at.  L's wish list seems to run towards bike accessories, and solar powered things (he's into disaster preparedness these days).  Oh, and a pricey pair of leather flip flops that are without a doubt THE BEST shoes on the market.  I have a pair, and I've actually hiked in them - well, hike is a strong word for what I do, but they are as comfortable as walking shoes because they have such a wonderful arch support.  I've had mine for about 3 years now, and I wear them every day.  Love them. What are they?  Go to Zappos.com and look up Olukai.  The all leather ones with the leather toe piece.  You'll never wear anything else.  I promise.

What are your Christmas gift finds?  Ooooh, I have one more.  Restoration Hardware (which has the most wonderful and most expensive furniture I've ever drooled over) just came out with a line of gift items for children and *SURPRISE* they are quite reasonably priced for the most part.  Go to the Restoration Hardware site and at the top you can link to RH Baby and Child (or something like that).  Cute things like faux fur slipper boots, fluffy faux fur jackets, faux fur trapper style hats (soooo cute...), and all manner of things - even a pretty tea set.  I bought a great little baby gift there and the quality is lovely.
So have fun shopping and if you find something wonderful, let me know.  I'm always open to a great idea!  Because I'll just be right here... you know, shopping away.


  1. How wonderful, Karen, that you spotlight these two great shops!

    I can personally attest to Jenny's terrific etsy shop- it is wonderful! She is so very creative and everything, everything is so very well made. A person can't go wrong getting something there, and her son, Elliot, has started his campaign to help the homeless with Elliot's ninjas, and that can also be found there, too.

    The soap looks amazing- what do I look under in FB to find it?

  2. Hi, karen! I agree that handmade items make much better gifts than store bought. Mrs. Shady works year 'round producing crocheted blankets and articles of clothing to give to family members at Christmas and for birthdays and baby showers. Her daughter is also very much into arts and crafts and makes candles and such. Like you I am very much into scents and will definitely check out Shannon's line of handmade soaps. I'm so glad your spirits are on the rise, dear friend. Have a wonderful Tuesday, karen!

  3. I've been shopping, too, and I still have more to do. I will definitely check out the shops you mentioned. Except Restoration Hardware, of course, which I have already visited!!


  4. I'm feeling a little behind this year, since Heidi's baby is due in two weeks and I'm headed to Rexburg. That should make me hurry, but it's having the opposite effect.

  5. I haven't done ONE piece of Christmas shopping that didn't involve the tree for Festival. I think until I get that over and done with, I can't concentrate on anything else. We used to do the traditional Black Friday sales - Splenda and I would make a fun date of it, but last year, I couldn't do it, and I think not this year too. Christmas is still a struggle. Maybe I just need to do the on-line shopping, and delivering this year. Great shout outs!

  6. I'm determined to get done early this year. I've picked up a few things but need to really get it in gear! I do alot of gift cards for the teens but we always do one thing that will need to be wrapped...all gift cards would be so boring! Your ideas sound really fun and I'll have to check some of these out! We have quite a few good craft persons here and I enjoy finding the unusual.

  7. Wow Karen! Thank you so much for highlighting my shop today! I'm thrilled that you liked the play sets and I loved the story of your brother's washcloth fur. The kids in Elliot's preschool class used doll socks for pretend paws, and that's when my mind started churning out this crazy idea.
    Back then, I didn't know how to sew. So, it's really a great moment for me to have someone write about what I'm doing, and to share it with their friends.
    I'm also going to go in search of those divine soaps because I'm also a fragrance junkie! Keep us posted on more wonderful holiday finds and ideas, it really does help when searching for gifts.

  8. You should hire yourself out as a personal shopper! Those are great items you have highlighted. I haven't done a thing yet (except buy for me.....) Thats bad, right? But I have tomorrow off and I'm hitting the big city mall!

  9. I like getting my shopping done early as well. Nothing makes you crazier than last minute gift buying.

  10. Um, definitely have to ask WHICH little brother went naked to pretend he was Blackie the dog. Sounds vaguely familiar. Also, this would have been PERFECT for Arianna when I was living with Matt & Greta because she was OBSESSED with pretending she and I were these two dogs from the movie, "Hotel for Dogs." Tom was, instead, the social worker from the same movie (played by Don Cheadle...go figure). Good times.

  11. Sheri - sadly, I have to tell you that Blackie the Dog was *hanging head* your dad. Explains a lot, doesn't it?


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