Monday, April 25, 2016

Personalized Gifts

One of the most difficult things to do is to find a good gift for a special occasion, or for someone who has everything.

In the world we live people have more than they would ever need and then some more. Even if you can’t afford to buy a brand name item, there are so many other options available that would fit any budget

So, what can we do to find an interesting gift that will not end up in the corner collecting dust after the wedding? What can we do to find a gift that will be remembered, used and treasured for a long time after the event?

Personalized gift is the answer!
I remember just 10 years back how difficult it was to find someone to embroider initials on a T-shirt, or custom make an outfit. Even if you did, it was expensive and took a very long time to complete.

E-commerce change this. It opened the doors to so many new businesses and services. It brought otherwise hard to get or even inaccessible goods and services right and the tip of your finger.

You can order a custom made wedding dress, personalized jewelry, personalized home and special events decoration any time of the day. It will not only be made the way you like it, but you will also receive a personal treatment since you will be ordering from a small business to which the order is not only their job, but most likely an outlet for their passion and creativity.

There are quite a few online markets where you can find such products. The largest and best known one is Etsy. Etsy is not only an international market for handmade, vintage and art/craft supplies, but it’s also the home to a big community where crafters from around the world connect and share experiences.

With over 1 million registered shops you will definitely find what you are looking for.

Deciding to look for a personalized gift opens the door to a new question.

What kind of personalized gift? Would you go for a practical, fun, or esthetic gift? Think what your love one would like to have. What they like doing most. If they are great at hosting parties, you might want to look for party decoration.

Cheese Markers by AntoArts

If they like traveling, then you might consider giving them something that they can take with them and think of you every time they use it.

Personalized Dopp Kit by ATTILAbag

If they are young and fashion driven, then look for something hip and wearable that will reflect their personality. You can request a custom made necklace with your choice of colors, length etc.

Oversized Chunky Chain Necklace by AlinaandT

How about the foodies. We all have friends who love cooking and spend a lot of time socializing around the table.

Personalized embossing cookie stamp by MariaKonstantin

IPad Stand Personalized Kindle Tablet by KMGstore

Then comes the long hours working friends and family. Give them something that will show your support and love.

Personalized Wood Engraved Business Card by TealsPrairie

We also have friends with kids. Oh, what fun it is shopping for babies and kids. Whether it will be a toy, a piece of clothing or room decoration. The sky is the limit.


Personalized Baby Girl Outfit by CutieButtsBoutique

One of the biggest events in life is the wedding. Nowadays weddings are nothing like the weddings of our parents. The weddings are held outdoors, in barns, wineries, golf courses, gardens, mountain tops, seaside etc. They reflect the personalities of the bride and the groom. Look for gifts they can use together, use in their home, or give them matching set of something they each can have and yet complement each other.

Personalized Couple Keychains by NKDNA

Wine Ceremony,Personalized Wine Box Wood Wedding Birthday Gift, Anniversary Gift, Shabby Chic Wedding ,Burlap Rustic Wedding Engagement Gift
Personalized Wine Box by LyaLyaCreations

Personalization doesn’t stop with the gift. Why not have some for your own home.

Herb/Plant Markers by AntoArts

 Advice on online custom ordering

ALWAYS read all information included with the listing you are planning to order. Read the description, check all images included and pay attention to the details. If you are time limited, always check the estimated delivery time. Some online sellers are based abroad. International shipping might take even a month during busy seasons like Christmas and Thanksgiving.

If you are not exactly sure about the purchase, check the shop policy about returns and exchanges. Each online shop has its own policy and delivery times.

I hope that the ideas I shared with you in this post will start your creative juices and help you explore the creative part of e-commerce.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Shabby Chic, Vintage, Rustic, Barn, or a Woodland Wedding? What’s the Difference?

Shabby Chic Wedding (Cottage Chic Wedding)
Shabby chic is a decorating style that incorporates the use of art and furniture from older design periods. The designs look a little worn, in order to create an aged but elegant design scheme. The colors are soft. There is a lot of use of lace and draping. Burlap is also common for this style. This wedding decoration style is often referred to as being vintage. However, while having some vintage elements the Shabby Chic wedding is not a vintage style wedding.

Vintage Wedding  
This is a wedding style associated with a certain/specific era of time. It can be themed as a 40s, 50s etc. wedding to incorporate the style of this specific time. As I said earlier, the Shabby Chic Wedding has some elements of vintage, hence the old furniture and elements, but it is not a vintage wedding.


Rustic Wedding
Not just a trend, but a style. This wedding decoration is filled with natural elements, texture, wood and a lot of flowers. There is a lot of burlap and bark, but also lace.

Words that describe the rustic weddings are outside, country, woods, nature, barns, burlap, wildflowers, lots of DIY, mismatched chairs, mason jars, hanging fairy lights, a laid back, non-pretentious feel that doesn’t feel too “weddingy.”

Another typical trade of the rustic weddings, but also common for the other wedding styles discussed, is the home style food.

Barn Weddings
It is just like farm weddings, can be dressed up or dressed down to match the style and decor of your wedding and offer endless charm. The best way to describe a barn wedding is to picture a rustic wedding in a barn. There are all the elements of the rustic wedding, but in a more relaxed setting. There are hand-painted wooden or chalkboard signs pointing the way, hay bales, maybe some farm animals, burlap and mason jars, cowboy hats and boots, baskets and a lot of flowers.

This wedding trend is also very budget friendly. There is a lot of DIY involved and often these weddings are put together with the help of friends and family.


Woodland Wedding 
is a romantic venue in the woods. This is a celebration where the nature and its beauty in itself makes a perfect backdrop for exchanging vows. Mother Nature will take care of most of the decorating herself. All you will have to do is add a few unique touches to make the space your own.

Woodland weddings are usually an open space venues. The woodland wedding has a lot of wood, bark, moss and wild flowers. The colors are in harmony with nature. There may be some lace and burlap.



I hope you find this information helpful. Planning your wedding can be stressful. It involves a lot of work and preparations. This is also a very special time. Take the time and create a décor that shows your personality and style.

I love all of the styles above. I love creating wedding decoration for the wedding venue and for the wedding cake. I also love making decorations for the wedding couple and their guests ( ).
I also have a supply shop where I offer novelty art and craft supply as well as party supplies ( ).

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Burlap (Heissian)

What is Burlap

Hessian /ˈhɛsi.ən/, or burlap in the US and Canada, is a woven fabric usually made from skin of the jute plant or sisal fibers, or may be combined with other vegetable fibers to make fabric, ropes, nets and similar products.

Let’s just start with me saying “I LOVE BURLAP!” You’ve been warned. :o)

I discovered burlap a couple of years back, when I decided to try using rustic looking fabrics for my handmade designs. I ordered a small piece of burlap to try using it for my guest books and it was love from first sight.

I love everything natural. The burlap fabric is just that. Every roll I receive in my studio (yes, I order rolls of it) has a slightly different look, shade and texture. This makes every design I make look unique and different. The fabric is very sturdy and durable. It is eco-friendly and biodegradable.

What is burlap used for
Burlap is not a new fabric. It has been used for centuries for farming, goods transportation, gardening and as household storage bags. It became a better known in the last few years, due to its rustic look.

Nowadays, the burlap fabric is used for home decoration, wedding decoration, gift wrapping etc.

This is an inexpensive way of bringing the natural rustic look to your venue. It doesn’t require special care and is widely available at craft and fabric shops. There are also many online shops offering a rich selection in different burlap fabric finishes and widths.

Is all burlap the same
Before ordering burlap, you have to know what look you are after. The fabric comes in different weights – 5oz, 7oz, and 10oz. The fabric is usually measured in ounces per square yard.

Each one has a different look and thickness. The 5oz fabric is a see through fabric and much softer that the 7oz and the 10oz ones.


The 7oz and the 10oz are more solid. I personally prefer and use 10oz burlap fabric. It has a solid look and holds very well.

Always check the weight of the burlap fabric before ordering, especially if doing so online. Some stores don’t mention the weight of the listed fabric. If unsure, check with the seller before ordering. Many online shops offer samples. It’s worth the money seeing it before buying a large amount of it.

Once you receive the wrong type of fabric, it is very costly to return it, or exchange it. The fabric is heavy and the return shipping cost may cost you a fortune. In addition to that many fabric stores don't accept returns once the fabric has been cut.

Care for the Burlap Fabric
Burlap may seem like the roughest, toughest fabric that would never require any type of care. But to keep it looking good, whether it’s a burlap tote, pillow sham or religious shirt, you’ll want to know how to care for burlap. While burlap holds up well under normal conditions, it does not like to be left wet, be twisted or thrown in the wash with a million other items. You can care for burlap with some cold water and a few simple steps.

Things You'll Need
  • Burlap
  • Cold Water
  • Bucket or basin
Wet sponge it. If something happens to spill on burlap or for a quick fix to remove a chunk of dust or dirt, simply blot the burlap with a damp sponge. Do not rub it, but blot gently and then blot dry with a towel.

Things not to do to burlap
  • Do not put in the washer, or soak!
  • Never wring or twist burlap or its shape will get mangled.
  • Never place burlap in the dryer. That’s just asking for a mis-shaped item.
  • Do not place burlap to dry in direct sun. 

Choosing the Right Size Burlap Runner or Burlap Overlay for my Wedding
Choosing the right size runner or an overlay for your wedding tables is very important for the whole look of the venue. If they are too long, or too short it might give the impression as if you borrowed the decoration from a friend, or you cut corners when ordering the pieces to save money.

The first step of making the right choice is figuring out the size of the tables and their number.

The way to decide on the number of tables and their arrangement is to figure out the sitting. Here’s a good side that gives you information on standard sitting for different size tables:

Once you know how many tables you will have you can start working on the table decoration and the complete look for the venue.

Depending on the space and the density of the tables you might decide to have overlays, or runners for all tables. However, sometimes it might be better to mix runners and overlays for some of the tables. If you have too many tables with overlays, the burlap decoration might start looking too heavy for the space. If you have half the tables covered with burlap overlays and half with burlap runners, this will give the space more air and make the space look bigger.

Play around with the different ways of table covering. I would suggest finding tablecloths that you have at home and covering the tables with them, by folding them in different ways.

Once you figure out the size of the overlays or the runners look for a place where you can have them made. Many online shops offer custom made burlap pieces. You can contact me if you would like a free quote. I offer overlays and runners up to 72” in width. The length is up to you. ( Discount is available for larger orders.

Advice on deciding on the runners’ size.
If you would like to have runners that overlay and run down the side of the table, then you need to consider the length of the overlay when deciding on the size.

From experience runners that have an overlay of about 1.5ft look best. If the overlay is only 1ft, then it is not heavy enough to follow the tablecloth and leave a gap between itself and the tablecloth. If the overlaying part if longer than 1.5ft, then it looks like it was meant to be as long as the tablecloths, but wasn’t cut the right size. Finally, if you try to make the runner the exact length of the tablecloth be very careful. Usually, when you have 2 fabrics on top of each other, they tend to slide and inevitably one will move and the pieces will become misaligned.

Just as an example. If you have a 60”x60” table, you will need a burlap runner size 12”x96”. 12” is the standard size for runner width, but it is customizable if you need a different size. The length for this size runner is calculated at 96” (60”+18”+18”). You will have an overlay of 1.5ft (18”) at each end of the table.

Here’s the runner’s length sizing for the most common table sizes:

48" Table Length – 12” x 84” Runner
54" Table Length – 12” x 90” Runner
60" Table Length – 12” x 96” Runner
66" Table Length – 12” x 102” Runner
72" Table Length – 12” x 108” Runner
84" Table Length – 12” x 120” Runner
96” Table Length – 12” x 132” Runner

If you are crafty and have time, you might even try to make the pieces yourself. Just a warning, the fabric is not easy to cut, since it’s made from jute. You will need sharp scissors and strong hands.

One more thing to consider is the shedding. The fabric sheds when being cut. You need to have an open air large space where you can unroll and cut the fabric. Otherwise, your home will get dusted with fine shed that takes ages to remove (Learned that from experience!).

Monday, May 27, 2013

Etsy & Nordstrom Present . . . AntoArts

I can't believe that it's been 2+ years since I decided to start this blog. Deciding it was the easy, doing it not so. Here's another attempt at it.

So much happened since I decided to start the blog. My shop took a new direction. I discovered my love for wire and this took me in the direction of creating home and wedding decoration using different wire finishes.

I was also featured in quite a few small and big wedding web sites. This put me in contact with many different people in every aspect of life - profession, nationality, interests etc.

I even opened a second shop for craft supplies(

Then earlier this year I received a very intriguing email from Etsy. They wanted to know if I was interested in working with Nordstrom and having some of my designs sold at their stores.

In 2012 Etsy and Nordstrom started an “Etsy & Nordstrom Present” collaboration, where Nordstrom’s At Home department features selected Etsy vendors in their retail stores. You can read more about this here:

In few words Nordstrom contacted me and we started working together developing a collection of designs from my shop to be sold at Nordstrom. This includes wedding hangers, cake toppers, plant markers, cheese markers, napkin rings . . . 

Earlier this month Nordstrom at Tyson's Corner, VA started selling the collection. In the next week or so, the collection will be available at In June, 5 more stores will start selling the collection at their wedding suites.

For the time being I am working on Nordstrom's order along with the orders from my Etsy shops. It's a busy, but very exciting time for me.

Friday, December 31, 2010

Welcome to my first Blog!

Welcome to my first Blog! I set it up as a tool to promote my Etsy store ( ) and create a portfolio of past works. Hopefully, I will be disciplined enough to maintain and update the blog regularly. :o)

Come back soon!

Thank you.