Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Ides and Ideas

We have rounded the bend in January and are now less than a month from the Ides of February, the ancient Roman festival of Lupercalia, and the day after, the modern interpretation, Valentine's Day.

For those of us/you who might be looking to do your romantic shopping online, that means you gotta start putting things together now!  Nothing quite says "oopsie" like a card from the corner dollar store with a note written in it about how "your gift is 'lost in the mail'" when it really means "I forgot to order it until February 10th."  And don't think that $5 heart-shaped box of stale chocolates from who-knows-when-or-where is going to make it much better.

We'll get to some of my other favorite picks in the plugging section, but I've also made a couple of things just for the holiday.

If you're a fan of my Magic Vial Pendants, you might like my new, one of a kind (cannot repeat it!) Heart of Hearts Magic Vial shown here.  It's a heart-shaped vial filled with cut and faceted gemstone hearts!  There's 3 Garnet hearts for passion and love in your relationship, 1 Amethyst heart for understanding, 1 dark Blue Topaz and 3 light Blue Topaz hearts for truth and joy together, and 1 Peridot heart for growth, may your love ever renew itself. It is rounded out with 4 freshwater white pearls for faith and loyalty.

It's finished off with a bail and swirl of 14K gold-filled wire.

Talk about the ultimate gemstone love-charm!

If you're more looking for the traditional style of jewelry, however, I also made this Heart of Gold necklace, at right.

This heart of gold is a 6 mm, half carat, heart-shaped Citrine bezel set in Sterling Silver.  Citrine is associated with the element of Fire and planetary connection to the Sun. It can be used as a substitute for golden Topaz for November birthstone, but is also associated with Gemini and Virgo. Citrine, like quartz crystal, is a purifying stone that dissolves negative energies, and can be used to help "clean" other stones as well as personal energies. It radiates warmth, love, success, prosperity, courage and self-esteem.

This warm talisman of love dangles from a swirl of a vine-like heart, attached to a delicate chain with an S-hook and loop clasp, all in Sterling Silver.

For those with a tighter budget, I also have a simple Magic Vial Love Charm Pendant for only $10, a mix of Rose Quartz, Rhodochrosite and a red Rosebud.  It's simple, it's affordable, and it's great for all shades of love, not just romantic, but healing love, self-love, universal love, maternal love. . .

I am also still waiting on my Thai rubies to be delivered - and if you want to use some in your own custom blended Love Charm, I am taking Valentine's Day custom requests with an added discount on the rubies (once they get here. *taps foot impatiently*)

Last, but not least, I am running a Valentine's Day give away on my Facebook fan page.  It's only for people who follow me on Facebook, but it's a chance to win a real sterling silver and garnet valentine's day charm.  Winner will be announced on February 1st!  So pop on over, look it up and enter to win!


Now, obviously, jewelry isn't the only way to go for the holiday.  A lot of people get intimidated by jewelry, or think it's too serious (though I think it all depends on the style of jewelry.  A diamond and ruby ring is intimidating and serious.  A playful vial full of gemstones wouldn't intimidate anyone - wink wink :-) )

So what are the other "classic" gifts that might need a tweak or a twist?  Flowers are one, for sure.

Flowers can be great, but the fact is, getting really good ones, that aren't just 1-800-generic, smell like freezer storage and wilt when you turn your back on them for 5 minutes, can be difficult, take an interest in plants and flowers a lot of people don't have, and aren't inexpensive.

Your best bet is to go with something that isn't actually a real flower, but is a bit nicer than a stem of "silk" fakes from the craft store.  I, personally, really dig the Japanese kanzashi art flowers for the hair.  Their elegance and simplicity makes them easy to wear even in a casual or daily style.  They're frequently made out of gorgeous fabrics, and the clean lines tend to give it a more adult class than looking too juvenile and frilly.

I know I've plugged other kanzashi makers on etsy before, but I try very hard to not duplicate my plugs when I can.  The Divine Garden is one of the newest kanzashi makers on etsy.  Her shop isn't even 6 months old yet, only a few sales, but her items are very reasonably priced and look a lot better than a lot of hits that show up under the "kanzashi" search!  If you want to stick to the classic v-day color scheme, this one would be one of my favorite picks, right at $20 after S&H charges:
Also, smaller, simpler clips in a variant style are available for less than $10!

Another thing that gets done to death is the candy.  Now, I'm not going to tell you NOT to get candy or chocolate - but maybe put a bit more thought into it?  A couple of years ago, I spent a lot of effort to cook a big fancy meal, make homemade marshmallows as a gift, and get a cute etsy robot for my then boyfriend for v-day.  In return I got two giant, kinda stale, neon pink marshmallows covered in edible glitter, in hot-cinnamon flavor.  The extra sad thing about this, was that if he ever paid attention to me, he'd remember my constant complaint of how I have no tolerance for anything remotely hot or spicy, and how artificial additives can sometimes upset my stomach.  Don't be that guy.  If you're going to give candy, put a modicum of thought into it.  Try and remember if she said something important, like, "oh, I'm allergic to chocolate," or, "Red 40 makes me twitchy."

Sweetniks Creative Confections caught my attention with violet flower marshmallows and showed me a shop full of a mix of traditional and whimsical takes on a theme.  Now, I'm personally not a fan of rose-flavored things, of which she has many.  If you like rose flavoring, definitely hit this shop up.  Me, I'm going to push past.  The flavor combinations available here are very different, in a good way (I think).  If you want to keep it traditional, the tin of hard heart candies shown at left allow you to pick flavors and colors for a custom touch.

If you want something a bit more adventuresome, check out the lollypops, which have been featured in New York Magazine and on Food Network.  If your honey has had the flu or cold that's been tearing up everyone coast to coast, there's a rooibos, honey, lemon and ginger lolly.  Try passion fruit, violet (as well as rose), lavender, mojito, lychee, liqueurs . . . and wait til you see the shapes.  I'm not even going to go into them all on here.  Just, go look at the shop.  Try and make up your mind, and know that whatever you choose, I think you'll be glad you tried something just to the left of traditional.

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