Early on in college, a friend of mine and Tom’s from middle and high school, Davey, began dating a girl from North Carolina named Kristen. As the years went by, they became more serious, and she became one of our friends instead of just one of our friend’s girlfriends. They tied the knot two weeks after Tom and I got married in April 2008, and then they moved to Seattle.
But this isn’t about them. This is about her.
Meet The Shop Owner
Kristen is an artist. She started doing crafty things in the seventh grade, and she never stopped. Kristen graduated from college with a BFA in design, and she will pretty much do anything when it comes to art. Except pose nude.
I’m pretty sure she wouldn’t do that.
Yeah. So…. Kristen had a pretty successful run in design while in Georgia, and she had an even more successful career in Washington. Not only was she hired to work for the city of Redmond, but she won multiple design awards while she was at it.
Recently she has taken the plunge into the world of self-employment with her Etsy shop, In Sweet Violets. Here, she sells everything from customized tote bags to homemade jewelry to invitations.
I have to say that I love Kristen being so gifted because…well, I might have benefited from it…a little.
Or a lot.
To say that I enthusiastically accept any and all offers of her wares is pretty fair. I love the things she makes for several reasons, but here are a few:
1. I know that it’s well made. I know this because I’ve used these things a lot, and they still looks brand new.
2. She makes pretty things.
3. I know that it’s not something that everyone I know is going to have. Because she is hand-crafting every item, each one is slightly different, and none of them are mass produced and sold in malls all over. So chances are you won’t be seeing others with the items you buy from her. And I like having unique items in my possession. Makes me feel special.
4. She makes pretty things. Did I mention that? Because she does.
Here are some earrings that she gave me this Christmas. Love them! She sells them in her store.
And here is one of my favorite necklaces. It’s so sweet and cute. I love “nest” art and was so excited when I randomly mentioned that to Kristen and was presented with this necklace! Wouldn’t this make the sweetest mother’s day gift too? One “egg” pearl for each kid? She has this in gold too, and she also makes earrings to go with it.
Here are some (not all) of other pieces of jewelry she has crafted.
Jewelry not your thing? Never fear. There’s so much more.
How about a cork board-made with corks from a winery in Washington- that can double as both an organizational tool and as a serving tray? This would be a neat conversation piece.
What else? I personally love (love, love, love) paper products. I could while away many hours in an invitation and stationery store.
Or, I could just tell Kristen exactly what I need and have her create it for me. There’s a time saver. Here is an example of a lingerie shower invitation she created:
Kristen has a lot of experience throwing parties (last year she hosted 10 parties for her friends as a challenge to herself, and she did everything from invitations to decorations to food). So she even does event consultation if you want her to carry your theme from the invitation throughout the rest of your party/event.
Another papery product I love is her calendar in a box. Last year, I had her Pacific Northwest calendar up on our fridge. It’s pretty clever.
The metal box it comes in has plastic in the lid so that you can see the images with the monthly calendar on them through it. Inside the box are magnets so that you can stick the box calendar on any magnetic surface.
Or, if you would rather it be on your desk, you can use the lid to prop up the calendar and image of the month!
And, one final product: my library trips would be so sad without my personalized canvas tote!
I borrowed this picture from Kristen’s blog, where I won it in a giveaway. You can see it’s quite large, and I love that because I tend to get quite a few books when I go to my library. It’s a sturdy bag, and it’s really cute. I was diggin’ the cute birdies from the moment I saw the bag on her blog, and I was so pumped to win. It’s just as useful as it is fun to look at.
Here is a personalized tote she sells on her blog (it would be a cute beach bag), but she could really do any customized look for you (including the inside lining-she sews!):
So, there are some of her products. But Kristen has services that go beyond what is sold in her store. For example, she can paint murals on your walls. She did a kickin’ mural of Atlanta on the dining room wall at Tom’s 10th Street apartment in college. (Wish I could find a picture of it!)
Or you can commission her to draw or paint anything you want, really, on paper or canvas, which is a good alternative if you aren’t in the Seattle area where she can easily paint a mural on your walls.
Kristen even teaches private art lessons. I know, really, what doesn’t she do?
(Answer: pose nude. Have you been paying attention, class?)
So, where is the giveaway in this? I’ll let you decide. One lucky winner will get a $10 credit towards anything in her Etsy store.*
But never fear! If you don’t win, or you don’t want to wait, that’s okay. Enter coupon code LOLA11 at her Etsy shop, and you will save 20% off your entire order!*That offer is good through February 28, 2011. That means you have a plethora of hand-crafted, customizable and unique items -at a discount- to choose from this Valentine’s Day. I’m just sayin’.
SO, how do you win? There are three ways to enter this giveaway (each counts as a separate entry, increasing your chances):
1. Comment below, stating which item from this post (or from the store, if it’s not in the post) you like best. You don’t have to pick this item if you win.
2. Follow In Sweet Violets on Twitter.
3. “Like” In Sweet Violets on Facebook.
On Sunday evening, I will run everyone’s entries through a random number generator. The winner will be announced on Monday!
*This covers the product, not the taxes or shipping.