Karisma by Kara – Eye-catching accents

When you pick a piece of jewelry, you make a statement about your personal style. With Karisma by Kara jewelry, you’ll not only find a selection of beautiful jewelry, but you might just find a piece that says something about your personality, too.

mountain necklace

The design is gorgeous on this miniature mountain necklace, but check out the oxidization—such a beautiful touch that adds depth and detail. PC: Karisma by Kara

Kara began making jewelry shortly after marrying and moving to Greenville, South Carolina. Inspired by a group of artistic friends who had opened shops to sell their products, Kara decided to open an Etsy shop to share her handmade jewelry.  The success of her uniquely designed and intentionally crafted jewelry eventually created an opportunity for Kara to open her own physical shop—a long-time dream come true.

bear studs

You can’t help but smile at these little bear studs. Was your first though “Mama Bear?” Yeah,  mine too. PC: Karisma by Kara

After having a baby last year, Kara’s moved her studio back home, though she’s still working as hard as ever on designing and making jewelry, oftentimes filling custom orders. A few years down the road, Kara would love to open a shop again and even offer classes to the community.

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Kara’s creative process is definitely hands-on. Her craftsmanship ensures quality and a unique touch. PC: Karisma by Kara

Kara’s background in art makes itself known in the clean, elegant designs of her jewelry. Kara makes each piece by hand, which often involves complex metalwork. One thing you’ll notice about Kara’s jewelry is that each piece is loaded with personality—whether you’re admiring a rustic mountain range or smiling at a bunny pendant.

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Kara says she likes working with wire best—and I can see why! This adorable corgi necklace and dozens of other designs are available in Kara’s shop. PC: Karisma by Kara

You’ll find that Kara has no shortage of ideas when it comes to designing jewelry, and it’s a pure joy to explore her website and Etsy shop. Bracelets, rings, necklaces, and earrings—she makes it all!

sleek earrings

I love the intricacy of Kara’s jewelry, but she also creates very chic, streamlined pieces like these strikingly elegant dangle earrings. PC: Karisma by Kara

Bar Soap – A worthy conversion

Over the past six months or so, I’ve discovered a product preference: bar soap over liquid soap. Specifically (of course) handmade bar soap over store-bought liquid soap. Seems like a simple switch, but let me share with you some reasons why I’ve switched almost entirely to bar soap.

Liquid soap is drying

Something all soaps advertise: moisturizing properties. But, especially in the cold months when I’m washing my hands more frequently and having issues with dry skin, I noticed that my hands were especially papery after washing my hands. By contrast, every handmade bar soap I’ve used has been noticeably moisturizing (note: some commercial bar soaps I’ve used in the past had the same drying issues as liquid soap. Not all bar soaps are made equal!)

Bar soap encourages good hand-washing

Confession time: recently I realized that, when I use liquid soap, I’m actually not washing my hands well at all. When using liquid soap, I realized that most of the time I got a dollop of soap on my fingertips, which immediately slid off once I put my hands under running water. With bar soap, you actually have to handle and rub the bar in order to stimulate the lather, which in itself creates a good hand-washing technique. Sounds trivial, but you’ll be amazed at how much more thoroughly you wash your hands when using bar soap.

Bar soap lasts longer

Most bar soaps from Etsy shops and local makers cost a few dollars each, and they last for MONTHS. With liquid soap, it’s easy to pump out a big ole squirt that’s way more than you need. Bar soaps last longer and are a better value in the long run, not to mention better for your skin.

So, now that I’ve shared the big three reasons why I’ve converted to bar soap, let me introduce you to some soap makers I’ve been using (and loving).

Muddy Mint

Muddy Mint

Pictured here is chamomile and lavender soap, with Simi’s signature gorgeous decorative finish. PC: Muddy Mint

Though based all the way out in Colorado, Muddy Mint was the first soap/body care shop I tried way back in the summer of 2017. Simi, the soap-making hands behind Muddy Mint, makes some incredible body care products (still dreaming about her cocoa butter cashmere body butter), and besides her soap being lovely to use, I also think she has some of the most beautiful soap on the market. Follow her on Instagram, if only to marvel at her gorgeous creations.

Gifted Hands Artisan Soap

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Black tea and patchouli soap: clean, elegant scent to match the design. PC: Gifted Hands Artisan Soap

I met Javela, the owner of Gifted Hands Artisan Soap, at a farmer’s market last year and purchased some of her soap to try. I was so pleased with the product, and also enjoyed perusing the variety of scents she had on display. Gifted Hands Artisan Soap features some luxuriously feminine scents, like honeysuckle & almond milk, but also stocks a wide variety of man-friendly scents (think lemongrass & rosemary; peppermint; cedar wood, orange, and clove).

ILY Soaps

ILY soap

This bar is currently residing in our bathroom, where my husband and I both use it regularly. We’ve been using this bar for about a month now, and see how bulky it still is! Bar soap goes a long way.

My most recent discovery is ILY Soaps based out of Easley. Besides soaps, ILY Soaps also has a wide variety of bath and body products, from bath bombs to facial care. The bar pictured above is a garden mint soap that I’ve really enjoyed. It has a rich mint smell and a really robust lather, which I love.

Good Juju Herbal

Good Juju soap

I received Judith’s Rose Clay and Geranium soap for Christmas, and it smells divine. PC: Good JuJu Herbal

If you’ve followed my blog, then you’ve seen my review of Good JuJu Herbal and how much I applaud her all-natural approach to body care. I’ve used several of Judith’s products and have particularly enjoyed her soap. Judith infuses her soap with gentle, all-natural scents, and her soaps have a uniquely soft and gentle texture. Ideal for sensitive skin types!

Mona Does Concrete – Time to Rethink Concrete

When you think “concrete,” you probably think of sidewalks, industrial floors, etc.  When Mona Patel thinks concrete, she thinks kitchen ware, wall art, and even jewelry.  Prepare to see concrete transformed into elegant merchandise that beautifies and offers a refreshing aesthetic when you browse Mona Does Concrete.

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These petite geometric planters beg to be placed in a sunny window, or would be perfect to cheer up a desk.

When Mona met her husband Mike, a jack-of-all-trades, she was introduced to several skills from building to carpentry, but she took a special interest in his work with concrete.  Mike used concrete to make polished kitchen counter-tops, but Mona saw an opportunity to take this diverse material and make items that were smaller, more affordable, and useful in the home.

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Mona certainly thinks outside the box when it comes to concrete, and her products are unexpected, chic, and fun.

People are often surprised with the kind of items that can be made of concrete, and often mistake Mona’s products as stoneware.  This is because of Mona’s special process in forming and finishing her products, particularly her kitchenware, to make it both smooth and food-safe.  Mona uses a beeswax seal on her concrete wares that not only makes the items kitchen-friendly, but also gives them a smooth finish–very different from bumpy sidewalk!

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Mona stains her cheese boards with tumeric, giving the concrete that beautiful amber streak.

Mona loves the unique advantages of using concrete, one of them being the immense diversity of the material.  According to Mona, if you can make a mold, you can make almost anything with concrete.  The key, though, is making a mold that can be removed from the final product without shattering, thus allowing the mold to be reused. For her standard items, Mona likes using rubber molds, though she’s always willing to experiment for the sake of creating something unexpected.

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Ever considered concrete jewelry? Mona has lots of beautiful concrete necklaces, and says people are surprised to find that the pieces are no heavier than normal pendants.

For concrete kitchenware, you’ll want to hand wash in order to preserve the beeswax seal, but otherwise concrete products are very durable.  Mona likes to tell her customers to expect the concrete to change colors over time, much like leather taking on a patina.  Each product adopts an individual character over time and no two items are exactly the same. Check out Mona Does Concrete on Etsy or follow her Instagram!

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Stylish, whimsical pieces for the home or to wear–clearly concrete is a medium worth noticing!

Good Juju Herbal — Mindful Skincare

Natural skincare is a trend that is quickly catching on, and for good reason.  As people do research into what is in their commercialized skincare (and the side effects all those chemicals bring), you see more folks turning to natural options.  For Judith Jones, the need was even more urgent: born with eczema, Judith already struggled with sensitive skin, but at 19 she began to develop dramatic allergies to some of the most commonly used chemicals in commercial products.

Judith

Judith’s compassion shows through in her warm smile and bubbly voice.  You can tell she cares about the people who use her products! [PC: Three Regions Photography]

Even in dermatologist-recommended skincare lines and products advertised as “natural,” Judith repeatedly found the artificial ingredients and chemicals that she was allergic to.  As a result, Judith began making her own products.  What started out as soap for her own use rapidly caught on with friends and family, until soon folks began insisting she make her products available for purchase.

soap

Judith’s soaps are simple in their ingredients, but dramatic in the way they nourish your skin.  

Today, two years later, Judith is running Good Juju Herbal as a full-time business, with a hopping Etsy shop as well as partnering with West Elm and other North Carolina-based businesses. Judith quickly found that natural skincare–we’re talking 100% natural, with no complicated chemicals–was not only popular, but much-needed for many people.

When asked about her favorite product, Judith admits that she’s tremendously proud of her soap.  While you’ll find lots of other artisan soap makers at on Etsy, Judith is one of the only ones that doesn’t fiddle with artificial colors, fragrances, and chemicals.  But that doesn’t mean her soaps are boring–while some are purposefully unscented, many have a bright, natural scent that comes from essential oils, spices, and flower petals.

Good Juju

Not only are Judith’s products all natural, but ethical as well.  She is conscientious about the packaging she uses, and regularly donates a portion of her proceeds to charity.

Because of her passion for helping others, Judith initially had intentions to become a nurse, but through Good Juju Herbal she’s found an entirely different way to practice healing.  Judith spent months crafting her own skincare line that includes a facial soap, toner, and moisturizer.  Judith finds the skincare line most rewarding to make because she receives dozens of testimonials from customers who have been rid of conditions ranging from acne to dryness.  Judith painstakingly developed this skincare routine to not only be friendly to sensitive skin, but also to suit a wide variety of skin types and issues.

moisturizer

When Judith calls her skincare line “Skin Food,” she’s not joking–that stuff’s jam packed with nutrients to make your skin happy!

There’s no shortage of products at Good JuJu Herbal, and no end to the goodness Judith’s creations provide.  A couple months ago I ordered one of her gift sets (which includes a bar of soap, lip moisturizer, a cedar soap dish, and felted soap) and fell in love with her products.  Whether you have sensitive skin or not, once you try Judith’s soap you can never go back to liquid pump soap; her products are deeply moisturizing, luxurious, and tastefully scented.  Especially if you suffer from acne, eczema, or other difficult skin issues, Good Juju Herbal is an essential to try out.

Small Businesses in the Big Day

Ever since receiving our wedding photos a couple months ago, I find myself looking through the album every so often, reliving what had been a preciously happy day.  Then it occurred to me that we had incorporated the products and services of several small businesses in the wedding, and we were so pleased with each and every one of them.  So whether you’re planning a wedding or party yourself, or just like discovering what’s local, it’s my pleasure to introduce you to some top-notch small businesses in the area that we used for our wedding.

Ginia Worrell Photography

I would be remiss if I didn’t start off singing the praises of our photographer, Ginia Worrell.  Ginia is such a warm person, and she did a great job capturing not just the physical details but the happiness of everyone that day.  She did an excellent job putting everyone at ease, and knew just how to both provide direction while also letting us be ourselves.  She was both speedy and thorough–the ideal combination in a photographer!  We have been so pleased with her photos and how she captured all the little details and sweet moments of our day.

View More: http://giniaworrellphotography.pass.us/lawyerwedding

I love this detail shot, and Ginia really helped us to feel natural and relaxed while she worked.

The Bleckley Inn (Anderson, SC)

This was our venue for both our wedding and our reception.  With portions of the original inn over 100 years old, the Bleckley had beautiful charm and character that won us over immediately.  The staff were all very accommodating and helpful, and their wedding package was wonderful, including rentals, 4 suites, and multiple spaces throughout the inn.  We were nothing but pleased and delighted with our choice of venue!

View More: http://giniaworrellphotography.pass.us/lawyerwedding

We used the walled-in courtyard for our ceremony.  The area is beautifully landscaped (and check out those amazing old doors!)

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The carriage house served our reception needs perfectly.  It was spacious, bright, and had plenty of that old-age charm with the exposed brick, wood beams, and original stucco.

Sullivan’s Metropolitan Grill (caterer)

Planted literally across the road from the Bleckley Inn, Sullivan’s Metropolitan Grill has a reputation in Anderson as THE restaurant in town.  Because of this, I was initially intimidated by taking them on as our caterer, but we found out early on that Sullivan’s was amazing to work with and worked easily within our budget.  The food was outstanding, and people still come up to me and talk about it, particularly their bacon-wrapped quail and the exquisite desserts.  You can’t do better than Sullivan’s if you’re looking for a top-notch caterer in the Upstate!

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Sullivan’s knocked our socks off with their food. Shown here is their blackberry-lemon cheesecake–and it’s every bit as good as it looks!

Solid Gold (jewelers)

I bought Benjamin’s wedding band here, and he also used Solid Gold to resize my rings (both my band and diamond first belonged to my grandmother).  We were really pleased with the prices they offered and their service was quick and very satisfactory.

View More: http://giniaworrellphotography.pass.us/lawyerwedding

Even though my diamond and band are over 60 years old, Solid Gold was able to offer us a men’s band that matched my set beautifully.

Emerald Road (live band)

I love Celtic music, so we brought in Emerald Road, a local Celtic band, to play for our wedding and reception.  They brought new life to the music we selected, and made the reception lively and fun.  Each of the musicians have a lot of talent and play so well together.

View More: http://giniaworrellphotography.pass.us/lawyerwedding

We had a cellist, violinist, and guitarist at our wedding, but different members of Emerald Road play multiple instruments.

Bridesmaids Gifts

For my bridesmaids, I ordered them each a cuff from A Gilded Line with a line from their favorite hymn stamped onto it.  I chose this because, more than being a drift from the current trends in bridesmaids gifts, it was personalized and meaningful.  Alongside the cuffs I also gave them a bunch of pampering goodies, among them a bath bomb from Tiny House, Big Farm.  I got texts from the girls a week or two later saying how fun and luxurious the bombs were–always a nice component to a girly gift.

a gilded line

Check out the blog post I wrote on A Gilded Line here.

Floral Bouquets

I’ve had several people ask me who did our bouquets–well, I did!  I follow SO many talented florists on Instagram and would have loved to use any number of them…but as a bride you have to choose how you portion your budget.  We ordered blooms (primarily roses) from Ingles and picked the majority of the greenery from blueberry bushes and ivy in our backyard.

So, while this isn’t a small business promotion, I hope it’s a tip that can help another thrifty bride.  However, if fresh flowers are one of the most important things to you for your wedding, there are lots of highly talented florists in the area (message me for references!)

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I really enjoyed assembling our bouquets (floral arranging is one of the few crafty things I can actually do).

There are a TON of amazing venues, caterers, shops and products in the area that you can incorporate into a wedding to make it special, but these were the ones that we chose, and we were so pleased.  Everyone worked graciously with our budget and provided excellent service and quality.  Our wedding could have been bare-bones and I still would have been on cloud 9, but all the details and special touches made it absolutely beautiful.  I hope you’ll take advantage of the talent in this area and use them, too!

View More: http://giniaworrellphotography.pass.us/lawyerwedding

A happy, happy day!

Lauren Sumner Pottery – Imaginative Accents for the Home

Something I so enjoy about running this blog is seeing a medium or craft interpreted in drastically different ways by each different artist.  I follow several different ceramics shops, each with their own unique style, but Lauren Sumner Pottery has stood out again and again, which is why I’m so tickled that I had the chance to interview her about her beautiful ceramics.

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Lauren has so many fun shapes and details in her pottery, and I love the high gloss finish.

Lauren and ceramics have a history that goes back twenty years, though it was only in 2011 that she opened her Etsy shop.  In 2015, Lauren took the plunge to run her ceramics business full-time, and has been creating like crazy ever since.  Her origins as a graphic designer definitely translate in the polish and precision of her work–another feature that makes her ceramics stand out.

carving

It’s amazing the transformation that pottery undergoes, from the initial shaping and carving to the final touches.

Like any artist, Lauren had to experiment with different techniques, shapes, and ideas in order to find her own recognizable style.  Early on, she developed the idea for her Montsera leaf bowl–a signature that has stayed in the shop ever since and has set the tone for much of her work.  Lauren’s technique is time consuming in order to produce this stunning piece; by using a real Montsera leaf, Lauren molds her clay into a bowl shape and painstakingly carves out the unique leaf details.

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Lauren’s teardrop wall hangings are an eye-catching alternative to traditional frames or paintings.

The eye-popping glazes Lauren uses are as distinctive as her unique shapes.  Drawn towards deep greens, teals, and aquas, Lauren’s work definitely promotes a serene, almost tropical feel.  You won’t find anything plain-Jane at Lauren Sumner Pottery–along with her bright colors, Lauren is drawn toward fun details, such as her cat-shaped ring dishes or lace-patterned bowls and wall hangings.

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Lauren’s signature Montsera leaf look, made miniature for these darling ceramic necklaces.

When asked what her favorite piece is, Lauren had a true artist’s answer: “Whatever is newest!”  I love that answer, because I think it expresses the universal passion of a creative: we are always enamored by whatever is new, fresh, and expressive.  For Lauren, this means that she is particularly excited by the ceramic necklaces new to her shop.

Follow Lauren on Instagram and Facebook, and be sure to also check out her website and Etsy shop.  Whether you’re looking for a wall hanging, dish, or necklace, Lauren will definitely have something unique, beautiful, and stylish to offer.

 

January Jewelry – Starting from Scratch

It’s not often that I meet an artist who says they truly make their product from scratch.  Especially in the jewelry business, most artists manage to make beautiful accessories by pulling together different pre-bought elements, which still creates a lovely product.  But Melissa Giglio from January Jewelry is about hand-made from the very beginning–and as a trained metal-smith, she has the skills to do just that.

necklaces

The fact that Melissa hand-crafts every detail of her pieces is mind-boggling.

Melissa graduated from East Carolina University and spent five years teaching art, but she kept thinking back to the classes she took during college that introduced her to different crafts.   She loves working with her hands, whether it’s woodworking, tinkering, or experimenting with different elements.  Melissa has a bright, energetic personality, and somehow I imagine she’s the kind of person who never sits still for long.

Which is why, when Melissa and her husband moved to Columbia, SC in the middle of a school year, Melissa took the plunge to step away from teaching and begin her jewelry making business full-throttle.  Melissa knew right off the bat that she wanted to make every component of her creations–an ambitious goal, but one that she’s executed brilliantly.  Every part of Melissa’s jewelry–yes, even the delicate necklace chains–are made by hand.

Melissa

Melissa exudes energy and takes true delight in her craft.

It was such a pleasure to speak with a maker who’s not just an artist, but an expert in her craft.  The process of metalworking is labor-intensive but fascinating, and Melissa executes each stage with finesse–from drawing the designs on sheet metal, cutting out the design, sanding the edges smooth, soldering the piece, cleaning the metal, then finishing with special polishes or patinas.

enamel earrings

The enamel pieces are made by taking powdered glass and fusing it to metal–a fascinating process that yields a mesmerizing finish.

The pieces you’ll find at January Jewelry are distinctive in style.  Melissa is drawn to materials that reflect nature as well as sophistication; the turquoise featured in many of her pieces come from top-quality lapidary artists from Arizona and New Mexico, ethically sourced and 100% unique.  Melissa’s jewelry is both feminine and rustic, romantic and full of character.

turquoise

There is so much that is unique about January Jewelry pieces, from the hand-cut leaf charms to the individual turquoise stones.

Even though she’s a full-time jewelry artist now, Melissa still has the heart of a teacher, and she loves sharing the metalworking process on her Instagram.  It’s a treat to see a product formed from start to finish, and Melissa has an eye for detail and tremendous design talent.  Follow her on Instagram (@januaryjewelry), explore her website, or order a stunning hand-made piece from her Etsy shop!

Sunny Mullarkey – Monumental Details in Stunning Prints

It takes real talent to fuse together opposite elements in a piece of artwork, but Sunny Mullarkey manages to do just that in her linocut prints.  In Sunny’s art you’ll find mountain ranges and raging rivers, all traced into the delicate pattern of a moth’s wing.  Combining the monumental with the intricate is Sunny Mullarkey’s specialty, and I’m so excited to share her work with you!

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Through her creative outlook Sunny manages to capture both the universal and the minuscule in her prints.

Art has followed Sunny all her life, from attending the Governor’s School for Arts to studying Fine Arts in college.  Through both her education and her own experience, Sunny has explored different mediums and multiple art styles, but nowadays you’ll find her chiseling out prints on linoleum to create her breathtaking pieces.

“I love how [printmaking] is such a physical art form.  The tools make their own kind of mark that makes the print different from a painting or drawing. Being able to see the chisels and texture of the work is something that you can’t recreate in anything else. ” -Sunny Mullarkey

When Sunny moved her artwork out of the privacy of her home and into a studio space in 2013, she knew it was a big step forward that would signify turning a hobby into a career.  As it turns out, the studio space became a huge motivator for Sunny, and she enjoys sharing the space with other creatives who support and inspire her.

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The Station, a studio space used by Sunny and a few fellow creatives, was featured in National Geographic…how cool is that??

The signature look behind Sunny’s prints is the theme of nature: combining the grandeur of a landscape with the fine details of an insect’s wing or a feather.  Sunny’s love for nature and hiking infuses her work and urges the viewer to become a more keen observer, too.

Sunny balances her career as an artist alongside her life as a mother and wife, and speaks passionately about the significance of support from your spouse and community.  Like many of the makers I interview, Sunny emphasizes the importance of finding fellow makers to receive feedback, encouragement, and inspiration.

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It’s so hard to sufficiently describe Sunny’s work–it’s both earthy and modern, elegant and playful, imaginative and controlled.

There is so much charisma in Sunny’s work, both in the details and even in the beautiful textures of the paper she prints on.  Sunny gave me no shortage of striking phrases to quote while discussing the artist’s perspective:

“I want to fill the world with beautiful things.  As artists, that’s our duty.  There’s nothing in this world that wasn’t touched by design. Writers, photographers…we’re all here to use our creative gift to make our world more beautiful.  That’s a wonderful gift to have to give to the world.” -Sunny Mullarkey

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Another example of Sunny’s method of combining landscapes with the creatures that inhabit them–mesmerizing.

Sunny’s passion for both nature and art is captivating and speaks to the mission of all artists, both new and experienced.  I hope you’ll take time to explore her Etsy shop and website, and be sure to follow her on Instagram to keep in touch with her amazing work.

Casting Cares – Weighted Comforts

Today I get the pleasure of telling you  about my favorite maker of all time–my own mama!  For as long as I can remember, my mother Kathy Mabry has been sewing and serving others through her hospitality and compassion, and a couple years back she started her business, Casting Cares, to put her skills to use in a unique way.  At Casting Cares, you’ll find a variety of weighted blankets and other weighted products that all provide comfort, security, and relief from multiple issues such as insomnia, anxiety, depression, chronic pain, Autism, sensory disorders, PTSD, depression, and so much more.

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Kathy has a talent for pairing fabrics, usually coordinating three different patterns for both sides of the blanket as well as the binding.  Each blanket is beautiful and personal to its user!

The concept behind weighted blankets is simple yet effective: beads sewn inside the blankets add a pleasant weight that feels similar to receiving a firm hug, which has been shown to release neurotransmitters such as serotonin and dopamine.  Because of this, the light pressure provided by the weighted blankets increases feelings of security and comfort to its user, which makes weighted blankets an amazing resource for those with any range of anxiety or depression.

Tillman

Weighted blankets aren’t just for humans!  Our canine friend Tilman has always been terrified of storms and fireworks, but he was relaxed and calm with his weighted blanket on him.

Weighted blankets are not a tool exclusively meant for those with significant emotional or physical ailments, though.  I’ve been using my own weighted blanket for years; during school,  I found that wrapping my weighted blanket around my shoulders helped me to remain calm and concentrated while working on school, or simply unwinding at the end of a stressful day.  The weight of my blanket also feels extremely comfortable to me when I go to bed, and now I find that I have trouble falling asleep if I don’t have it!

blanket variety

Beyond the personalized colors and patterns, each blanket can have a customized weight, though most adults (under 200 lbs) find that 7-8 lbs is ideal.

My mother, Kathy, experimented with making a weighted blanket for herself a couple years ago to help her learn to sleep on her back and to relieve her restless leg syndrome.  As she continued to do more and more research, she discovered the huge scope of benefits behind weighted blankets, and several people approached her asking for weighted blankets of their own.  Now, she delights in making a one-of-a-kind, beautifully crafted product for each of her customers, using personalized fabrics and a weight that perfectly suits the needs of the user.

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Several elementary school teachers have taken advantage of Kathy’s Twiddle Pads to occupy fidgety students.  These are helpful for keeping children occupied during church, as well!

Besides weighted blankets, Kathy also makes weighted vests that can be worn by anxious children, “fidget pads” to keep tiny hands busy and to teach fine motor skills (lightly weighed, 1.5 lbs), “twiddle pads” (lightly weighted pads with simple interactive features; these have been useful for dementia patients), as well as mastectomy recovery pillows (non-weighted).  Kathy also frequently accepts custom orders so that she can meet unique needs and requests of those who would benefit from a weighted comfort.

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My darling Mama–she loves to sew, and she loves designing blankets for people.

For me, the mission behind Casting Cares reflects my sweet mama so well: to provide comfort and service for people, whether they suffer from debilitating anxiety or simply want a better night’s rest.  And what’s more, you receive a high-quality, personalized product that not only meets your needs but reflects your personality.  You can shop for your own Casting Cares product either at Kathy’s website, her new Etsy shop, or follow her on Instagram and Facebook!

A Gilded Line – Wearable Truth

As a writer, I’m a long-standing believer that words have a huge impact on humans day in and day out.  What you read and repeat to yourself can drastically shape your attitudes and convictions, which is why Allie Pust’s shop A Gilded Line offers an incredible medium for both truth and beauty.

Allie began stamping bracelets as she helped her eldest daughter raise money for a field trip, but friends and family continued to request personalized cuffs long after the mother-daughter pair had reached their fundraising goal.   It didn’t take long for Allie to recognize the incredible potential of the bracelets to spread truth (namely Scripture) simply by wearing the personalized cuffs.

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I love the variety of widths, colors, and fonts of Allie’s bracelets, and how great they look paired together.  You can even add a trendy tassel to your cuff!

I discovered A Gilded Line when I was searching for bridesmaids gifts for my girls; I wanted to stray from the current fads, yet still present them with something meaningful and personalized.  I had Allie stamp words from my bridesmaids’ favorite hymns on their bracelets, and they turned out beautifully.  Allie has an ever-growing list of customization options, from different metals and widths, as well as a variety of beautiful fonts.  She also makes bookmarks, key chains, and luggage tags that can also be personalized!

Allie and daughter

Allie with her “business partner” (aka, eldest daughter Lexie).  Family businesses are definitely my favorite businesses of all!

A Gilded Line is a real passion for Allie.  Speaking with her, I was struck by her bubbly and outgoing personality–she loves people and she loves sharing the gospel.  Allie shared that she will approach just about anybody in order to share the love of Christ and often offer to give away whatever bracelet she’s wearing on that day.  I so respect her courage and vivacity as a go-getter, and I believe this combined with God’s grace is what has made A Gilded Line grow exponentially since Allie first opened her Etsy shop last January.

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There are so many options to make each bracelet unique and meaningful at A Gilded Line.

The bracelets are functional and easy to wear; the metal is pliable, so it’s easy to adjust to the width of your wrist.  They’re a perfect vehicle for reminding yourself of important truths–much like looking at a watch, you find yourself glancing at the cuff multiple times a day, which makes it easy to remember whatever special words are printed there.

“I’ve never doubted that it’s an affordable way for people to see a truth daily when they need to stay encouraged.  It’s an awesome way to wear words of truth and tell others about it.  I think it’s a great way to break the ice.  I love seeing people talk about why they’re wearing what they’re wearing.” -Allie Pust

assorted bracelets

Whether you’re making a fashion statement or quoting a portion of Scripture: Allie’s got you covered.

One of Allie’s favorite things to do with A Gilded Line is to join forces with those fighting cancer or some other hardship, using the bracelets for a fundraiser.  The cuffs are a wearable way to keep a loved one in mind, a way to spread a slogan, and a reminder to pray for those in need.  Allie hopes that A Gilded Line will continue to grow so that she can do more and more of these fundraisers.

The concept behind A Gilded Line is simple–metal cuffs printed with words–but they have a potent impact, whether its keeping its wearer grounded in truth or spreading support for someone in need.  Check out A Gilded Line on Facebook, Instagram, or Etsy!