If you have ever wanted to try macrame for yourself, but haven't known where to start, I have found a few great kits. DIY kits are awesome because you dont have to worry about finding the right supplies. Everything you need is prepared for you, cut to size, leaving little room for mistakes. They are really nice if you are just looking to try something out to see if it's something you want to do again, but also if you are just wanting to do a new craft once. Some crafts are easy for me to pick up, others not so much. Kits are a way to give it a go, and see what its all about.
The kits from Reform Fibers includes all the supplies you'll need to complete a one of a kind plant hanger. The rope is cut in appropriate increments, attached to the ring and ready to be knotted. You get a wooden ring, pattern, and a 'how to' of knots, photos included, as well as FAQ and an intro to basic terms. Shop owner Elsie Goodwin is the working hands behind Reform Fibers. She is a fiber artist, wife and mother of two girls in Southern California. She has a YouTube Channel that can help assist you with each knot noted in the pattern. Find it at youtube.com/reformfibers
Knotty Cotton kits are available at all levels, from Beginner to Advanced. Each one includes instructions and illustrations, guiding you step-by-step to your masterpiece. Shop owner Rachel Garris also offers custom-made & finished pieces. All pieces are handcrafted from premium quality raw materials with care in her sun-filled studio in Richmond, Virginia.
While I love finding gifts for people, I've relied heavily on the ever classic gift a nice bottle of wine more than a few times. Its classy, but also fast and easy when you wait until the last minute. I love the idea of gifting wine in a handwoven basket that can be reused. This is stepping up the wine bottle gift to a whole new level.
The raffia fiber and sweet grass cylindrical vases from Kazi Goods are truly one of a kind and handmade with organic dyes. I haven't found them anywhere else online. The medium vase comes with a beautiful simple glass liner from the collection to hold a bouquet of flowers. Alternatively this vase can be used to hold desk supplies or kitchen utensils.
Kazi Goods is based out of California and imports handwoven goods by a cooperative of women located in Uganda and are made only in an ethical, fair trade environment. It is truly the gift that keeps giving.
Another way to keep it small, light and simple to wrap, is with a set of fun coasters with fringe. These carefully dyed sisal fiber and sweet grass coasters from Kazi Goods can be used for your glass of wine in the evening, or on the living table when you are enjoying your early morning cup of coffee.
Mixing old with new is easier than you may think. You can achieve a Parisian modern eclectic look using vintage finds such as a large mirror with gold colored paint. I love this blend of different pieces in Inside Closet's post. The best thing about this look, is you can put this together with lots of vintage pieces. If you want to find a large vintage gold painted mirror, Etsy has a wonderful selection, and there is a wide range of pricing.
Hacker Tip: Find an old frame and spray paint it gold! You can then frame it around a mirror.
Using natural dyes may seem challenging at first. There are a few key steps when it comes to the dye process, and it is important that you are using natural materials. Luckily, now there are some really wonderful starter kits available, complete with dyes, instructions, and materials.
Allow me to introduce you to Weaver House. Weaver House is a textile studio newly relocated to New Hampshire from Philadelphia. Here you will find handmade heirloom textiles in homage to craft tradition. Founded by textile artist Rachel Snack after living in Peru, she offers books and tools for weaving projects. You can also find this indigo dye kit on her site.
If you are feeling more color, there is a shop on Etsy called Fiber Culture, based out of Kentucky, that has even thought of including a dye journal for beginner fiber artists. The kit includes ingredients needed to dye natural cellulose based fibers, such as linen, flax, bamboo, rayon, hemp, cotton, or any other plant sourced fiber. Each dye is used to achieve different colors- you can experiment, mix or match to your heart's desire. It is a really nice introduction to anyone who isn't sure where to start or which natural dye they would like to try.
If you have read some of my blog posts, you know how much I love linen, and I would not host a party without it. You can find beautiful handmade napkins that are crafted with 100% European Linen at a shop on Etsy called Bonnie Kaye Studio. Their textiles are designed and screen printed by hand in their East Tennessee studio. Designs are first drawn, then carved out of linoleum blocks - prior to transferring to a screen. With every purchase they donate 5 meals to Feeding America, a nonprofit that provides food to those in need, so that more folks can find enjoyment around their table. We love the palm leaf print on these ecofriendly napkins.
Kazi Goods has everything you need for an eco friendly table setting. Hand crafted with timeless tradition, this carefully dyed raffia fiber table runner brings culturally inspired designs and colors to your globally conscious dinner party. The raffia is colored with organic dyes. Kazi products are crafted in an ethical fair trade environment in Uganda. You will receive a profiled weaver tag on each product.
My favorite way to be eco-friendly is by looking for vintage goods. There are an abundance of curated vintage collections online that post new items pretty often, some every day! I've started to follow these shops on Instagram to get updates on the newest finds around the country.
Many online collections curate items that are made from vintage textiles such as pillows. I also really love that there are lots of vintage rug collections, all at very good prices. Amy's Vintage Decorium has all kinds of vintage housewares. I love her selection of carved wooden animals.
I also ask these questions:
What the textile made of?
In addition to vintage textiles, you can also look for items made from organic cotton and linen. Organic cotton means there were no pesticides or chemicals used to treat the fiber, which protects our waterways. Linen is made from flax plant fibers, so when untreated it is fully biodegradable. Another great characteristic of linen is it's durability and ability to absorb moisture without holding bacteria. In fact, it is actually stronger when wet than dry! It doesn’t require any pesticides and every part of the plant is used. Keakoo has timeless handmade pillows hand cut from eco-friendly European linen. They are individually sewn with much attention to detail.
Kaekoo handmade pillows
We really love wool too as a choice in textile fibers. Wool is generally sheared from sheep once a year. Because it grows back, it is renewable. Plus it doesn’t need chemicals
What was used to dye the fabric?
I adore the colors produced with natural dyes. Indigo is the most well-known, and is commonly used, so it is easiest to find products with indigo. Other natural dyes are becoming used more often in home textiles as well. They can be found in baskets occasionally, but they are mostly used on textiles. Ive seen yellow dye from wood shavings of the osage orange tree and a pink dye made of ground up cochineal bugs. Red dyes from the madder root and brown dyes from the heartwood of cutch trees can be used on natural fibers.
Pillows from Collectiv Co crafted from Hmong indigo batik fabric.
How was the product made?
Hand made goods generally imply that only materials needed are used, and there is not excess supply that goes to the landfill. My favorite shop right now that makes this a core part of their mission is Quiet Town. This small company makes shower curtains from 100% cotton grown in the US and dyed in small batches in Brooklyn, NY. They were founded around the idea that we should make only what we need. They also source ethical materials. Quiet Town products are made to last long too.
Quiet Town, handmade curtain from 100% cotton