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Friday Favorite: Handmade

March 30th, 2012

Over the years I have discovered the joy in honoring those whose work I will never match – and learning to love that I don’t have to. When I find them, I buy mosaics made my artists with a better eye for design and color than I have. I serve potatoes in an exquisite purple bowl thrown by a potter from my hometown in Iowa. I keep flowers on the kitchen table in an indestructible water jug made by a main I met is Asheville, NC, fired in a kiln powered by methane gas from a landfill. I brew tea in a mustard yellow pot that I picked up dring one of my best days I spent in Japan. I’m drawn to all of these things for their beauty and utility of course, but it’s also the people who made them – and the stories behind them – that make the difference to me.

Robyn Griggs Lawrence (The Wabi-Sabi House: The Japanese Art of Imperfect Beauty)

Whenever possible, I like to purchase items made by hand by someone here in the USA. Being a small business owner myself, I see this as important. I know the care and detail that goes into each item, though we don’t make something tangible, we still put our heart and soul into our product. Handmade items just have something about them, a soul of sorts. Just this week I bought this beautiful hand coffee mill made by the Red Rooster Trading Company.

Mr Chiots and I are coffee lovers and freshly ground coffee is so much better. When we travel we have always ground coffee beforehand to take with us. Now we can take this beauty along for the ride. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect with this mill, for only $60 it’s a bargain since it’s handmade. When we ground a small batch of coffee we were pleasantly surprised, it can grind the coffee finer and more evenly than our pricey burr grinder. We’re espresso drinkers, so the fineness and evenness of the grind is very important to brew the perfect shot of espresso.

It’s so nice that it may even trump our other mill. Happily I add this to my list of growing items in the house that are made with love by someone with a name, including my salt & pepper mills from Tea & Gold, and a few lovely wooden kitchen utensils that rest in my lovely handmade crock from the local Moorefield Pottery.

Any great handmade items in your house? Any great small businesses to recommend?

10 Comments to “Friday Favorite: Handmade”
  1. Kathi Cook on March 30, 2012 at 7:02 am

    We also prefer an object that is made by hand with love and care. Little by little I have been trying to replace “made in china” goods with thoughtfully made items. I just finished my coffee cup collection of mismatched (but all hand thrown mugs) from different New England towns. I have a set of bowls from a local potter, and hand woven placemats from a Maine vacation, I especially love utilitarian objects. I don’t mind spending a little more money on them because the quality is usually so superior and I tend to take better care of them when I know where they came from.

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  2. Mich on March 30, 2012 at 9:30 am

    I am a lover of hand thrown pottery and have a a collection of utilitarian pieces that get used almost on a daily basis in my kitchen. i also love wicker baskets and have quite a few made by local willow weavers that get used for storage, fruit picking, egg collecting. There is something special about using objects lovingly made by hand :)

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  3. Maybelline on March 30, 2012 at 10:44 am

    Yes – My mother and daughter are both knitters. Since my mother has retired, she now spends her time knitting baby jackets and sells them.

    Reply to Maybelline's comment

  4. connie on March 30, 2012 at 12:12 pm

    I knit everything but my favorite is knitting socks!

    Reply to connie's comment

    • Susy on March 30, 2012 at 12:23 pm

      WOW – would love to learn to knit socks someday

      Reply to Susy's comment

  5. KimH on March 30, 2012 at 12:47 pm

    I too love handmade things.. One of my favorite I have are a pair of cute little tree people/grimlin vases made out of some sort of poly material.. Each one is unique & adorable.. I love my butter bell too..
    I have quite a few things around.. A pair of pillowcases with embroidery my sister in law who passed on is another of my favorites..

    I appreciate well crafted & loved pieces.. you can tell when love is infused in a thing…

    Reply to KimH's comment

  6. judym on March 30, 2012 at 3:59 pm

    I’ve a couple of handmade quilts my grandmother made out of some of her old clothes. AI love wooden spoons – hoping to get some nice ones in Amish country this summer. Noticed on face book the USA garden tools you posted. For years now we’ve been using tools that end up bending after a few years – no matter what we buy. So thanks for the tip.

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  7. Allison on March 30, 2012 at 4:04 pm

    Thank you for finding my husband’s birthday present!

    Reply to Allison's comment

    • Susy on March 30, 2012 at 4:25 pm

      No problem!

      Reply to Susy's comment

  8. Britta on April 25, 2012 at 3:07 pm

    Thanks so much for the shout out! Glad to hear that you are enjoying your Camano… new to your blog, but def will be back. Looks like you have a lot of great info here. Thanks again!
    Britta {owner, Red Rooster Trading Company}

    Reply to Britta's comment

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This is a daily journal of my efforts to cultivate a more simple life, through local eating, gardening and so many other things. We used to live in a small suburban neighborhood Ohio but moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine in 2012.

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