Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Wandering the World for Handmade and More - The Emerald City

I've been grounded the past few weeks as far as my virtual travels have gone, but I'm happy to say I'm back on the virtual road and today's stop is the Emerald City - Seattle, Washington - and the home of half of Gilliauna on Etsy. This wonderful jewelry and gift shop is a collaborative effort by long time friends Zoie and Leal, who don't let the distance between Seattle, WA and Vancouver, British Columbia get in the way of their friendship or their business! Before I share some of my favorites from Leal, the stateside talent of this duo, I'll fill you in just a little on some of the interesting facts about Seattle!

Named after Noah Sealth, chief of the Duwamish and Susquahamish tribes and who was better known as "Chief Seattle", the previous name of the city was "Duwamps." (Kind of gives a whole new meaning to the idea of being down in the duwamps, don't you think? - Sorry, couldn't resist!) Since 1981, its official nickname has been "The Emerald City" in honor of the lush evergreen forests in the surrounding area.

With the most bookstores and libraries per capita, Seattle has also been named the most literate city in the US.  Although the city ranks second to New York in the number of live music and theater performances, Seattle's Pacific Northwest Ballet has the highest per capita attendance in the country. As far as other artistic endeavors, Seattle also holds the US record for the most glass blowing studios in the country - and is only second to Murano, Italy as a leader in the number of glass studios in the world. While most people associate Seattle, and the Pacific Northwest in general, with rainy, wet weather, the reality is that even though 50% of the year will see the area experiencing some precipitation, overall the climate is relatively temperate and summers are actually drier than most areas of the US. Something to take into consideration if you're planning that vacation to see the Space Needle or enjoy a Starbucks beverage at their original location in Pikes Place Market.

Shopping local online should, of course, begin with a visit to Bits N' Beads by Gilliauna - and with over 400 items ready for shipping, you'll have a great selection to pick from! Both of these artists seems to share a somewhat common style and together they work amazingly well together to provide a perfect balance of bright colors and earthy tones, classic styles and trendy designs, and a variety of textures and themes for everyone and every occasion. Unless you know the secret behind telling who's work is whose (and I had to ask!) - it's pretty darn hard to figure out! My current personal favorite from Leal's contributions is this enchanting Rose Bracelet in Honey Jade and Bronze - it's delightfully feminine without being fussy and I love the colors for the spring to summer transition.

If you're looking for a little bit bolder color statement, you might want to consider some of the beautiful wire wrapped teardrop earrings that are one of their specialties. Since I love bright bold colors, I thought these bright red wire-wrapped glass teardrops, appropriately titled Elixir of Blood would be the perfect example to share.

And if you happen to be into the current vampire or goth craze, stop by and check out the fun and funky Got Goth? bookmark while you're at it!

Now you know just one of the reasons Gilliauna is such a great shop (IMHO) - their wide array of designs includes something for everyone!  You're sure to appreciate their customer service and the ease of working with them too.

Shopping local in Seattle lends itself to a wonderful assortment of artistry and I really enjoyed the diversity of the shops that are based there. Here are just a few of my favorite finds -

Are you tired of cream and white lampshades? Rebecca of Luminous Lampshades offers many colorful options to brighten your spirit! Turquoise and brown is still a hot color combination for home decor - and this Turquoise Circle Lampshade would certainly be a fun and cheery addition to virtually any room!

Kelly Larson from GramsButtons was inspired to create a delightful collection of totes, wallets, and business card holders when she recently inherited her Gram's button collection and the decades of memories that accompanied them! A number of her listings are for "You choose the fabric" listing of card holders/mini wallets, giving you the opportunity to select from her ready made and ready-to-ship items!  With coordinating bags and totes available as well, you'll be able to select the perfect accessories to fit your lifestyle needs and color preferences!

Loving word play the way I do, I had to make Puncontrollable part of today's feature. Offering tees, totes, towels, and other treasures emblazoned with their own unique take on the world of pun fun, this shop is the perfect place to shop when you're looking for something to make people smile. Seriously, Gogh for it!

Have you ever been to Seattle?  Perhaps you live there or work there... I'd love to hear your thoughts and your experiences in this great town!



Simply Smitten said...

I've never been to Seattle, maybe someday though! That lampshade is fantastic, I can picture all different colors in every room of the house... :)

SCJ Jewelry Design said...

I've lived in Seattle for 4 years now and love it here! The trick is that you have to "Smile at the rain". Beautiful items you've shown here.

puncontrollable said...

Wonderful post! Thanks for the Seattle and Puncontrollable love!

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