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The word “handmade” used to make me think of itchy sweaters and macramé plant hangers. Not now — having pieces that are one-of-a-kind and not mass-produced add a sense of individuality and quirkiness to a space. The wave probably has something to do with our world becoming a smaller place: Handmade African baskets are easily found through free trade outlets; large companies like West Elm are supporting local artists and selling limited numbers of handmade products; and Etsy boasts thousands of amazing bits and bobs by artists and crafters. Keep an eye out — that simple pencil drawing at a local gallery or handmade throw blanket might just be what your rooms are lacking.

I have to give a shout-out to my dear friend’s 10-year-old daughter, Juliet, who has just launched a website selling handmade dolls. Check it out at Julietspets.com. Frame six tiny dolls in a shadow box and wham, instant art in a playroom.

Here’s a shot I took recently in West Elm. These beaded boxes are gorgie — perfect for organizing. I’d love a bunch for the bathroom.

Also keep an eye out for “I Heart Handmade”, where Etsy sellers will collaborate with West Elm directly.

And don’t forget about the spring One Of A Kind Show here in Toronto (from March 30th to April 3rd) — it’s always a great source for handmade finds.

Try your hand at your own arts & crafts — we have plenty of easy projects in our DIY Guide.

Photo credits:
1. Winklepuss, Juliet’s Pets
2. Marty, Juliet’s Pets
3. Bandit, Juliet’s Pets
4-5. Morgan Michener

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