Monday, January 17, 2011

Wandering the World for Handmade and More - Albany, Oregon

Living in the present... looking to the future... honoring the past. That's the unofficial motto of the city of Albany, Oregon - my next stop in this "shopping local" series. Considered the Grass Seed Capital of the World for being the leader in ryegrass seed, this city is located in the Willamette River Valley about 20 miles south of Salem, Oregon's state capital.

The very first settlers in the area were Hiram Smead and Abner Hackleman who staked their claims at the site where the Calapooia River meets the Willamette River, using the donation Land Claim Act of the 1800's. In 1848, Walter and Thomas Monteith purchased the Smead claim for $400 and a Cayuse pony. The town of Albany, Oregon was christened in honor of the Monteiths' hometown of Albany, New York. In 1853, residents of the east side of Albany persuaded the Territorial Legislature to change the name of Albany to 'Takenah"- a Kalapuyan word used to describe the deep pool where the Calapooia River meets the Willamette River. Some locals translated the word as "hole-in the ground." and as this translation spread, it was decided this was not a proper name for a new and growing city, and in 1855 the Provisional Legislature changed it back to Albany.

Leta, one of my most favorite people in the world, a great friend, and the owner of Leta Marie Designs on Artfire (and Zibbet!) makes her home in Albany, driving a school bus for the local school district by day, and creating and promoting her own special style of classically fashionable jewelry as much as time allows.

She prides herself on offering quality designs at prices that everyone can afford - in a variety of colors and styles to suit a wide spectrum of discriminating tastes. Speaking from personal experience in this case since I own a couple of Leta's designs, her attention to detail is amazing, and each piece is made with skill, talent, and a true love of the art. Visit her shop(s) and you're sure to be greeted by a lovely selection to choose your favorites from - whether it's something versatile with a touch of old world charm like the Blueberry Quartz Earrings with Celtic Charms to the right... Wouldn't they look wonderful with your favorite denim outfit?

Or maybe you'd prefer something ultra-feminine, dainty, and romantic with Valentine's Day right around the corner... in which case, these enchanting Pink Heart Earrings featuring Swarovski Crystal Hearts on Sterling Silver chain dangles are just one of many choices available at LetaMarieDesigns that are sure to make you smile.

Gemstones or crystals, enamels or charms, elegant or just for fun, there's something that's perfect for you just waiting at Leta's shop!

Albany, Oregon is represented by many amazingly crafty and imaginative people like Leta, as I quickly learned in my search for shops to add to this feature. These are just a few that really made an impression on me!

I always love it when I run across a vintage shop that has an item or two that I remember from "way back when". This vintage Black Cat Ceramic from NowVintage on Etsy is one of those pieces! Perfect for a cat lover or anyone who would appreciate the sleek modern lines of this piece, I think this would make a stunning piece of art for that entryway table, shelf in the den or home office, and as the description suggests, to include in your Halloween decor! In addition to this cat, this shop has a great selection of vintage fashion and home decor along with some amazing leather goods and artwork.

Committed to creating art from the items others have discarded, the OldRedBarn takes what others consider junk and uses it to create unique, one-of-a-kind, environmentally friendly works of art that are whimsical and fun. From birdhouses made of license plates, discarded roof tiles, and golf tees to classic record albums crafted into purses, and more eco-friendly treasures, you'll find this great shop filled with items that are functional, fun, and sustainable. Created from an old Ford sign, this wall clock would be perfect for your weekend mechanic's garage, den, or rec room.

Cara and Jason Hibbs, a husband and wife team and the owners of two shops on Etsy, also call Albany home. Using a block printing method on useful organic cotton household goods like kitchen linens and produce bags as well as journals in ohlittlerabbit, and on organic tees, totes, and baby goods in Rabbitapparel, this couple offers a great selection of themes that provide a retro feel for today's busy lifestyles. I love their collection of kitchen towels... especially these Screen Printed Organic Cotton Citrus Flour Sack Towels!

PrairieDogArts offers up some beautiful jewelry, crocheted accessories, and even some crocheted pet beds in their Albany based shop. Right now you'll find a wonderful selection of fashionable warm-you-up-quick newsboy caps in a wide array of colors for both adults and children. I couldn't resist the opportunity to show off one of their darling models wearing a child's version of their Crochet Newsboy Cap, complete with a sweet little contrasting flower!

There are lots of goodies to be found "shopping local" in Albany, Oregon, so be sure to take a peek at all of these shops and the many others that call this town home!

If you'd like to see your shop and hometown featured here, please be sure to drop me a note via the "contact me" link at the top of the page. Include a link to your shop(s) as well as the name of your hometown and anything you'd like me to know. If you're the first one to suggest your hometown, you'll be the star of the feature! I'm happy to promote any shop as long as the goods you offer are handmade, vintage, or crafting supplies or services! I'll be posting my upcoming schedule of features on monthly calendars on the "Be Featured" page which can be accessed through the link in the right sidebar.

I'm waiting... tell me about YOUR hometown!


Leta Porter said...

Goodness Karen, Thank You so much for the feature and I have visited the other shops you have listed from Albany that I was not aware of. You did Albany,OR Proud~~~ Leta

Bobbie said...

Thank you Karen, I didn't realize there were so many other Albany shops!!Now I will enjoy looking more at them.. I also really enjoyed the wonderful picture of Albany!
thanks so much for featuring my shop! I look forward to your other "travels"

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