Nov 15, 2013
01:24 PMStyle & Design
All Hail Etsy: Holiday Gift Ideas from the Web's Most Ginormous Crafts Market
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Snowflake Soap with Peppermint Fragrance (3), $15/Sleeping Baby in Angel Wings Soap (10), $45, by MySweetWeeSoaps (Marlborough)
Available in scents like peppermint, white tea and ginger, coconut cream, orange creamsicle, moonlight pomegranate and French vanilla (20 in all), the glycerin soaps in this shop sound good enough to eat, let alone bathe with. SweetWee shop owner and soap designer/creator Linda finds it "so comforting to be around the different fragrances during the day . . . every soap I make is precious to me and I enjoy receiving appreciative notes from buyers about their beauty and uniqueness." The top of her line for both those qualities is the pink or blue, baby-powder-scented Sleeping Baby soap, which is actually a twofer: the wings are a separate soap from the baby, and also serve as a handy if temporary soapdish. It's hard to think of a cuter favor for a baby shower, thus, you can order the soaps in lots from 10 to 80. Most other soaps, like the seasonal snowflake, are sold in sets of three—and you can custom-order them in any scent and your preferred choice among 10 available colors. All soaps are made with natural essential and fragrance oils, and are detergent- and sulfate-free.
White Chocolate Cranberry Pistachio Toffee Butter Cracker Candy (1/2 pound), $6.45, by TorteAndSweet (Waterbury)
Matilda Perugini's menu is small, but a sure thing: Create any treat with a foundation of buttery caramel toffee and you can addict the world. Available variations of her signature treat include white chocolate cranberry pistachio (pictured), white chocolate apricot cashew, chocolate peanut butter and semisweet/milk chocolate with cranberries and walnuts (there's also a holiday variation with crushed peppermint). Perugini also sells coconut macaroons, banana bread and muffins and orange-flavored anginetti cookies—a family tradition—that she's willing to deliver locally. Her sweets are winning raves from Etsy customers, and why not—desserts that taste like they just came out of your kitchen are a lot more satisfying when you don't have to make them.
Set of Six Hand-Painted White-Wine Glasses-Village Provençal Collection, $170, by CréationsdeFlorence (Fairfield)
Highly detailed, richly colored hand-painted glassware and ceramics are the bailiwick of Parisian native Florence Pindrys, who creates her designs on wine glasses, vases, pitchers, plates and bowls, soap dispensers and salt and pepper shakers. Her most popular design is her Village Provençal series, incorporating the homes, cypress trees and rolling hills of that beautiful Mediterranean region in France. Taken together, the glasses pictured here give an expansive view of one of Pindrys' favorite locales, as no two are alike (although they all share glossy orange bases that match the roofs on the homes). They're also painted freehand and made to order, so your set may look somewhat different from the glasses pictured here—depending on the artist's inspiration. All Pindrys' creations are painted with non-toxic glass paint and heated in an oven to make the design durable. If you have a custom idea for her to paint, pass it along. Says she, "My best designs were actually sprouted by my clients!"
Mint Hot Chocolate Mix in Mason Jar Mug, $18.50/Seed Bottle Necklace, $18, by trio3 (Westport)
Trio3 is one of Etsy's multifarious shops whose owners take pride in offering much more than one specialty; in Sally Ahearn Effman's case, the focus is "handmade essentials for gardening, weddings and parties; home decor and great gifts." Translation: everything from flavored sugar, designer sugar cubes and sea salts to ornaments, seed tape and the gift items seen here. Her 16-ounce hot chocolate mixes—in addition to mint, available flavors are pumpkin, cinnamon (with candy hearts instead of peppermint sticks) and Mexican—are major sellers. Just add milk to everything layered in the jar and you've got a sweet treat that serves five. The 24-inch long, micro-mini apothecary bottle necklaces come in a variety of themes and are all cute as the dickens, but what makes the seed bottle necklaces special is that the seeds can be planted—and you have a choice of flowers or herbs: poppies, forget-me-nots, chamomile, oregano, basil, St. John's Wort (planting instructions are provided). Effman is happy to fill custom orders, but provides a warning concerning domestic holiday delivery: those orders must be received by Dec. 15.