Five Loves Handmade – Where functional meets stylish

If you’re a fan of functional + stylish, then get ready for Five Loves Handmade to become your new favorite small business. Stacy began crafting her rope bags and baskets four years ago after the birth of her fifth child (hence, “Five Loves”), and she quickly discovered that she wasn’t the only one who valued the combo of practicality and style.

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Stacy’s big, roomy tote bags are perfect for holding ALL the goodies. Ideal for tucking away books, journals, tablets, etc. for a day at the coffee shop. PC: Five Loves Handmade

Stacy hand-dyes the colored ropes she uses, gravitating toward earthy color pallets that reflect the natural resources she uses in her products (cotton rope, leather, wood, etc.). The concepts behind the bags are simple, tasteful, and timeless—a product that can be used for any occasion or décor, and will remain stylish for years to come. And Stacy’s products are made to last—she uses durable materials, blending in that function element alongside the beauty.

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The darling AYLA bowls are Stacy’s most popular — they come in all sorts of shapes, sizes, and colors. They make the perfect “catch-all” for keys, wallets, spare change… PC: Five Loves Handmade

Stacy’s favorite part about running a small business? The freedom and flexibility to work at her own pace. With (now six!) children in hand, Stacy loves that she has the freedom to either slow down and focus on family, or ramp up production for an extra income boost, which Stacy describes as “really empowering for me!”

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Sturdy yet elegant, Five Loves Handmade baskets make beautiful home accents. PC: Five Loves Handmade

You’ll find a variety of products at Five Loves Handmade, from rope baskets and bags to leather clutches and macrame artwork. Stacy intentionally designs each piece to complement the materials, which is apparent in the gorgeous textures and tasteful simplicity of each piece. Her baskets make the perfect, versatile home accent piece, and her totes and clutches are great to accessorize any outfit. If you gravitate toward her stylish HOPE bag, then you can feel extra good about your purchase: Stacy annually selects a ministry focusing on rescuing sex traffic victims to receive all proceeds from her HOPE bag sales.

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The oh-so-chic HOPE bag. It’s easy to see why this bag is popular. PC: Five Loves Handmade

Stacy is always designing new styles and experimenting with colors and details. Be sure to follow her on Instagram for sales announcements and shop updates, and also follow her on Facebook and shop on her website!

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!

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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!