Friday, July 17, 2009


Dear Reader,

Thanks and apologies are in order: Thanks to you and the whole Wishing Willow community for your friendship and faithful patronage of our blog, and apologies from us for rather abruptly ceasing our posts recently without a proper explanation.

Beginning this summer Nate has gone back to school. While he works to complete a graduate degree, we have had to put Wishing Willow on hold. In the meantime, however, we hope that all of you, with your wonderful ideas and crazy/creative personalities, will stay in touch with us. You are special friends, and we value each and every one of you.

Our Thanks,

Tara & Nate

P.S. We'll be back :)

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Try This Sweet Escape On For Size

Just when you thought hand-crafted jewelry could only take so many forms, Yvonne Hoyer of JustAGirl27 slipped from the shadows like a metallurgic rock goddess seizing a smoke-filled stage, and rattled the ceiling again. Well, that might be a bit dramatic, but it was certainly a nice surprise the first time we laid eyes on Hoyer’s work. With a deft touch and an electric sense of contemporary tastes, the Frankfurt-based artisan has rendered a range of hand-wrought objects that sweeps together the quirky, as in the Octo-Bizarre Deluxe necklace; the classy, as in the sensual, softly curved Maryse necklace; and the current, as in her Raindrops of Water earrings.

Even her categories give off a non sequitur sort of charm: Victorian, Gothic, Seaside, Hip Elegance. In each, the evocative names of the items offered, whether as sweetly simple as Chunky Drops of Honey and Gold or as exotic as Sparkling Padparascha Mango (a truly lovely choice of earrings, by the way), leave an impression of uniqueness and originality that is rivaled only by that of the items themselves. And in case the positive impression is lost on any of us here in Wishing Willow world, here’s a little extra something to drive it in even deeper: The lucky winner of today’s giveaway will win a pair of delicate and graceful Golden Leaf Earrings, courtesy of JustAGirl27. To enter, visit, then come back here and tell us about your favorite item in Yvonne's shop. Tell us in an additional post if you subscribe to Wishing Willow, or follow us on Twitter, and "tweet" about the giveaway. To post without a Google account, just click “anonymous.” Be sure to also leave your email address. Contest ends 4/10/09.

Be sure to also enter our giveaways here.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

A Nonstop New York Connection

It’s practically a crime to keep secrets like this one: Laila Rowe, trusted fashion accessory stop-off for savvy East Coast shoppers since 2003, is a bona fide presence on the internet. Thanks to the brand’s recent focus on the online market, patrons of the New York shop that started the chain will now be rubbing shoulders with style-aware customers from all over cyberspace, browsing with enhanced ease everything from the one-of-a-kind jewelry pieces that put Laila Rowe on the map to the devilishly alluring rainboots and footwear that continue to set the company apart. Hats and scarves, gloves and mittens, loungewear, and even umbrellas: Laila Rowe is a kind of paradise for those who live to accessorize, offering unique designs and quality materials at prices far under what one might expect.

And then, of course, there are those trendy, durable handbags that seem so appropriate for the lifestyle of the modern woman. With gorgeous favorites like the eye-catching Genuine Leather Ruched Handbag, the versatile Leather Bag with Pockets or the tastefully bold Large Genuine Leather Handbag waiting to be stuffed full of the odds’n’ends of your days, there’s no shortage of practical accessories to fit your needs. Whatever it takes to round out that outfit you’ve been dying to wear, you’ll probably find it here. And while you enjoy the worry-free shopping experience, here’s something else to enjoy: Laila Rowe is giving a lovely Crocodile Print Faux Leather Clutch to the lucky winner of today’s giveaway (pictured above.) To enter, visit, then come back here and tell us about your favorite Day Bag style. Tell us in an additional post if you subscribe to Wishing Willow, or follow us on Twitter, and "tweet" about the giveaway. To post without a Google account, just click “anonymous.” Be sure to also leave your email address. Contest ends 4/08/09.

Be sure to also enter our giveaways here.

Monday, March 30, 2009

A Polkadot Perfect Gift

As surely as March tumbles into April in a flurry of raindrops and suddenly-sweet breezes, baby showers will begin filling up our Saturdays (if they haven’t done so already). Need a truly special gift idea? Polkadot Papoose has just released its line of new handcrafted baby slings for the spring, featuring bright, organic patterns and bold, vibrant color combinations. These beautiful and completely reversible slings include the audacious Artemesia, the elegant Juliet, the poetic Maya and the earthy Charlotte, as well as the lovely Frida that features all the uniqueness and depth of its namesake.

Coinciding with the release of these new baby sling styles, Polkadot Papoose is also featuring a 20% off sale on any sling in its collection for Wishing Willow readers, provided that you use the promo code: willow when checking out. Whether you are a customer who is expecting, or simply want to surprise and delight a friend who is, you can expect to find a darling sling that fits your need at Polkadot Papoose. And here's some even better news. Polkadot Papoose is giving away a baby sling of choice to the winner of today's giveaway. To enter, visit, then come back here and tell us your top 2 favorite slings in the new Spring line, and also the sling you would like to win. All Spring slings are marked "New!" Tell us in an additional post if you subscribe to Wishing Willow, or follow us on Twitter, and "tweet" about the giveaway. To post without a Google account, just click “anonymous.” Be sure to also leave your email address. Contest ends 4/07/09.

Be sure to also enter our giveaways here.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

We’ll Vouch for These Pouches

Freshening up one’s accessories for the spring doesn’t have to mean mortgaging that already-twice-mortgaged house for a ridiculously expensive, oversized Italian purse. It could, rather, be as simple as accenting with a small but classy, fashionably cute, and sensibly priced handcrafted handbag freshly acquired online. Now, what if we told you such a thing could be found in Missouri? Take that, Milan. Thanks to Kansas City-based Nicole of Ni-Chern Designs, being spring-ready has never been easier.

With a full line of pouches sized from extra small to medium and featuring zesty, off-the-easel motifs such as geometric orange, brown motifs, and circles and dots, Ni-Chern has made it possible to blister the boardwalks and plaza sidewalks of your hometown this season with an aura of originality, free thinking, and yes, fashion sense—all at a fraction of the price at which noticeability is usually bought. And as long as you’re browsing, it’s well worth the time it takes to check out Ni-Chern Design's wristlets, coin pouches, key fobs, and other carrying accessories, not to mention the earrings that round out the site. Sagging economies are a fact of life, but sagging self-confidence doesn’t have to be. Give yourself something special this spring from Ni-Chern’s adorable collection. It might be just the stimulus you need to get life going again.


Monday, March 23, 2009

No, You’re NOT the Only One Who’s Done That…

In the years before the cloistered ranks of forgotten, overlooked mothers began to rise one by one into the shining blogosphere to unite as a powerful cultural voice, there was but one therapy—humor—that got Mom through the day. After all, if you can’t laugh about snot, pee, juice stains on your favorite dress and a life that would reduce most men to either tears or stark raving madness, you probably won’t survive motherhood. That fact alone is what makes Nanny Deprived such an oasis. It isn’t only the clever blog/confessional that with every hilarious post reminds us that moms are human, nor the charming June Cleaver tongue-in-cheek vibe of the website, nor even the easy-to navigate layout of the store that invites us to drop our ever-clogged vacuums and stay a while. As fab as all these are, it’s the product line that really makes this site special.

For those of us not necessarily cape-able of personally crafting superhero outfits that meet our toddlers’ standards, we might look to Nanny Deprived for a gallery of cute capes in every theme from T-Rex to Retro Rocket. Or for those of us more concerned with surrounding our newbies with plush, practical comfort, a sampling of the Rugged Idea Blanket might be more in order. For a touch of wordplay that brings well-deserved smiles we might reach for one of the shop's very own t-shirts for moms. Or, as yet another option, we just might go all-purpose and pick up a little MomSpit—yes, it’s supposed to evoke that image—for those moments when we need to cleanse some angelic face of its playground grime and don’t have one wipe left in the arsenal. We may never catch up on the laundry, but we can make it through another day with the support of sites like Nanny Deprived. And as a way of blessing our Wishing Willow readers with a chance to win something special, Nanny Deprived is also offering a bottle of Green Tea and Fig MomSpit to the winner of this giveaway. To enter, visit, then come back here to tell us which product on the site is your favorite. Tell us in an additional post if you subscribe to Wishing Willow, or follow us on Twitter, and "tweet" about the giveaway. To post without a Google account, just click “anonymous.” Be sure to also leave your email address. Contest ends 3/31/09.

Be sure to also enter our giveaways here.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Catching Up

Congratulations to the following winners!

Indigo Rain Art:

travelingwithbaby who said, "I love the playful "when the meadows laugh" with the yellows and greens. these are amazing...would make a great mosaic in my son's room."

Auntie Di's Candle:

ZESTYWONDERLAND who said, "I loved so much but I will try to contain myself & just name my two favorite:Industrial Love Lampwork Heart Pendant Necklace & the Lovespell Type 8 Ounce Hand Poured Soy Wax Candle!"

The Baker's Wife Earrings:

joannaonthelake who said, "What a wonderful Etsy Shop! So many very pretty and unique items! I absolutely am in love with the Tree Snake Necklace. I think the color of the beads are spectacular, so gorgeous for the spring and summer. And the design is just fantastic, and feminine."

Thursday, March 19, 2009

The Fabric of Human Ingenuity

At the risk of sounding exactly like one of those middle-of-the-night infomercials designed to seduce bleary-eyed insomniacs into making an impulse purchase: You can’t live without Sewing Momma’s fabric storage bin. You thought you could, but you can’t. Think about it. You’ve tried to house Junior’s trains in plastic crates, but these kinds of clunky boxes suck the class out of a room faster than Joaquin Phoenix’s chewing gum. You’ve tried using drawers to collect your living room’s sea of toys and family debris, only to find that besides being completely un-portable, most drawers seem to actually take morbid pleasure in sticking, jamming, and coming off their rollers (giving your husband another excuse to prove that his WD-40 really is the miracle elixir of the gods).

But have you tried this? A fabric storage bin that doubles as an all-purpose bucket, organizer, and Easter basket? A completely reversible, conveniently adjustable household item that is as stylish as it is practical? Probably not, unless of course you’ve been to Sewing Momma’s shop. Designed by a mom with a flair for outfitting functional, knick-knacks in fresh, feel-good fabrics, this amazing example of human innovation stashes humbly in any nook, cranny, or corner, hiding your mess within its beautiful fabric confines. And with all the creativity undeniably evident in this shop, it’s understandable that the proprietor would also be an artist in more ways than one, offering custom-painted portraits made from your own photos. All in all, Sewing Momma represents another example of a must-visit store and a can’t-miss product. Once you’ve “bin” there, you’ll be a believer, too.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Another Command Performance

In case you’ve lived in a cave these past twenty years, here’s a news flash: Australia is dominating the cinematic world. With complex yet outback-wild front men bearing earthy names like Jackman and Crowe, and lavishly gifted lady thespians the likes of Blanchett and Kidman, their characters transcend, brooding with the power and mystery of a South Sea tempest. It’s no longer a question of whether an Aussie will take home an Oscar, but rather how many. Thus it should be no surprise when a company like UGG Australia rises to the very top of the footwear market: This, after all, is a land where great performances are born. It might be hard for some of us to imagine the privilege of visiting the pastoral homeland where a pair of UGG boots begins, but one doesn’t have to pet the sheep to enjoy the unmatched pampering a pair of sheepskin boots affords. Nor, for that matter, is it difficult to envision a pair of Classic Tall, Lo Pro Button, or Classic Clardy boots, just to name a few, gracing one’s oft-neglected feet. (Incidentally, my Classic Tall boots are by far the most comfortable pair of footwear I've ever owned in my life. I'm sure some of you can attest to the same sentiment.)

Of course, in addition to women’s boots, UGG is quite famous for its sheepskin slippers, arguably the only product that could possibly be more comfy than the already-luxurious shearling boots for which it is known. The mystique of the Tasman, the practicality of the Cozy II—there doesn’t seem to be a single slipper in UGG’s gallery that doesn’t make sense in some way. Looking for something lighter? Look no further than UGG’s summer-ready sandals, such as the leisurely Fluffie, the feminine Brook, or the cosmo-conscious Hazel. Outerwear? Men’s wear? Accessories? UGG delivers the goods, and does so with all the panache and presence that we’ve come to admire in Australian artisans. There are brands that make women’s boots, and then there is UGG. Now, if we could only figure out a way to bring the continents a little closer together…

Visit to view the entire collection.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Silver Sublime

It’s time we remembered the magic of silver. As a material, it is among the most versatile, alluring, dependable and sensible substances found on the earth. Since most of us don’t have it in great supply, however, we tend to forget how wonderful it is. Enter Trudie Davies, silvercrafting proprietor of an Etsy store by the same name, and Melbourne-based merchant of that fabulous stuff that slays vampires and dragons, charms the human heart, shimmers on the backs of rare fish and exotic birds, and lines our momentary trials with the faintest outline of hope. If anyone knows the power of silver, it’s Trudie.

With rings like The Bridge, which evokes both modern architecture and timeless values such as fidelity and spiritual strength, she reminds us how visceral and honest her medium can be. With delicate hoop earrings featuring, for example, birds on a perch, she draws out the artistry and conversation-inspiring dynamic of this wondrous matter. And with irresistible, original pendants such as her selection featuring a solitary willow, she reinforces the principle that handcrafted jewelry need not be complicated to be classy. Swans, trees, alphabet letters, stars and more—the variety of emblems we find at her store that are borne from the same time-honored ingredient is remarkable. The fact that so few people are willing to be this creative with precious metal is perhaps even more remarkable.

Visit to view the collection in its entirety.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Gathered Light

Nomad. Storyteller. Explorer. Artist. The spirit embodied in the art of Love All Around is one of salty myths and sanguine confidence, as intentionally rough around the edges as a jagged jut of Patagonian shoreline, and yet somehow as delicate and symmetrical as a gull’s feather. It’s no surprise, really, that Seattle-based artist/photographer Renee Press draws her inspiration from travels she experienced throughout South America and elsewhere—after all, it’s practically unwritten law that all idealistic creative souls must spend at least a year abroad before settling down—but the way this “gathered light” sifted from around the world is transposed in her drawings and photographs is somehow fresh and inviting.

With deeply personal reflections such as Butterflies Everywhere and As One meeting offbeat snapshots the likes of Seasquatch and Totem Three, the drawings run together like borrowed memories. With revealing photographs such as those featured on the Fern Forest and Peace This Way cards evidencing her eye for striking image, the artist then takes these memories a step further by chronicling the actual travels that inspired the art, a blending of media that really helps us to feel we’ve gotten to know someone by the time we’re done perusing her gallery. And what better way to begin the tour than with a generous giveaway: We are happy to announce that Love All Around will be sending a print of choice to the winner of today’s drawing. To enter, visit, then come back here to tell us about your favorite print. Tell us in an additional post if you subscribe to Wishing Willow, or follow us on Twitter, and "tweet" about the giveaway. To post without a Google account, just click “anonymous.” Be sure to also leave your email address. Contest ends 3/21/09. We have a winner! Congrats Missesprincess.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Tailored for Toasters

The consumer's eye is no match for the singular charm of a new toaster. Gleaming and grinning from its perch on the store shelf, the toaster positively convinces us it will never dull, rust, trap bits of toast in its eternal clutches, or cause your kitchen to smell like doused charcoal. Alas, however; these are lies, and you know it. And for millions of women who have faced the worn-out-its-welcome toaster dilemma, there’s finally a solution that doesn’t involve pitching Old Reliable to the rubbish pile.

Introducing Pretty in Purple, empathetic Australian aficionado of lovely hand-crafted toaster covers in a variety of stylish patterns. Two-slice? Four-slice? Whatever the model, Pretty in Purple has it covered, transforming a mere kitchen appliance into an early spring fashion statement and proving once again that a bit of feminine sensibility can tame even the most basic (read: masculine) of household objects. Of course, there are more than toaster covers to enjoy at this store, especially when beautiful placemats, casserole carriers, oven mitts and so many other useful items lie waiting to be discovered as well. But what’s most important is that each and every item is stitched with the love and care we’d expect from a mother of two who lives to make our commonplace world just a little bit prettier. Visit Pretty in Purple, and see these wonderful products for yourself. Happy Shopping!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Reining in the Cheek-Seeking Kissile

What if the kiss you blew to your little one had a mind of its own? What if, like a mischievous, lovestruck “kissile” guided by a carefree spirit, that smacker missed its intended target, fluttered out the window and began simply bouncing from one unsuspecting recipient to the next, leaving smiles on the faces of bears and bees, dogs and cats in its wake? This is the endearing premise of Mama’s Kiss (Chronicle Books), a Jane Yolen tale told against the lovely backdrop of Daniel Baxter’s illustrations. Shrewdly conceptualized in that “what-if” style that invariably captures a child’s imagination, the story includes some of the best elements of children’s literature: light and colorful prose, delightful ideas, a straightforward and compelling storyline, and a sense of language that doesn’t take itself so seriously that it would fly, pardon the pun, right past a young reader. And then there’s the best feature of all, a happy ending that seals the story with a kiss found right where it belongs, at home in the cozy confines of a loving family. Cuddle up, turn the pages, and remember why those kisses from mom mean so much in the first place. And when you’re done, don’t be afraid to blow a little kiss of your own.

To order a personal copy of Mama’s Kiss, visit Chronicle

Monday, March 9, 2009

Glimmering Handiwork

Upon encountering the striking individuality of the jewelry craft of The Baker's Wife, our featured shop of the day, a handful of Wordsworth’s verses composed above Tintern Abbey seemed appropriate: Once again do I behold these steep and lofty cliffs/that on a wild secluded scene impress/thoughts of more deep seclusion; and connect/the landscape with the quiet of the sky. The lines of well-crafted jewelry, like the winding river that inspired Wordsworth's epiphany, have a way of reflecting and interpreting the beauty around them in captivating ways. It might be in the dulcet radiance of the Honey Ring, the woodland shimmer of the Broadleaf Earrings, the jumbled synchronicity of the Bittersweet Necklace or perhaps the coiled power of the Palmetto Bracelet. It might be in any of the pieces crafted by this shop, really, because the one quality that seems to most commonly fit the pieces in this shop is uncommonality.

Inspired by natural themes, cultural touchpoints, and other instantly recognizable motifs, The Baker's Wife’s creations range from conventional with a twist to downright bold, but never leave the margins of practicality. Her handmade cards, adorably refreshing, fit this description as well—and really, who couldn’t use a nice pick-me-up card these days? But enough with the rambling praise, and on to a great giveaway. Wishing Willow readers will be excited to know that The Baker's Wife is offering a pair of Sakura Earrings to the winner of today's drawing. To enter, visit, then come back here to tell us about your favorite product. Tell us in an additional post if you subscribe to Wishing Willow, or follow us on Twitter, and "tweet" about the giveaway. To post without a Google account, just click “anonymous.” Be sure to also leave your email address. Contest ends 3/17/09.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Serene Adventures

It’s been said that the difference between an art critic and an art lover is all in the eyes. The critic, who approaches art only to deconstruct it, too often stops there, missing the proverbial forest for the trees. The lover, on the other hand, who seeks primarily the experience of the art, is able to step back, absorb a composition as one singular piece rather than a collection of elements, and wistfully sigh, this really works. The nursery room art of Indigo Rain, our featured creative group of the day, is art made for the lover in all of us. Using warm, soothing tones, nightscapes in lavender, days of hushed floral hues and subjects as invitingly unpretentious as an ambling dinosaur or a nest of bluebirds, the artist invites us to enter a softer, less threatening region of the art world.

Children can enjoy the serenity and safety of images like When I grow up...I want to be a lady like you, or A Bird on My Head while also enjoying the surrealism of the ideas. Adults can readily utilize the art, and especially the loveable animal subjects, to kickstart a conversation about nature, and how the world outdoors is really more magical than malevolent, populated with many creatures that seem to have been created for no other reason than to make us smile. And while we’re at it, here’s another reason to smile: Indigo Rain has agreed to offer a free print of choice to the winner of today’s drawing (up to $18.) To enter, visit, then come back here to tell us about your favorite print. Tell us in an additional post if you subscribe to Wishing Willow, or follow us on Twitter, and "tweet" about the giveaway. To post without a Google account, just click “anonymous.” Be sure to also leave your email address. Contest ends 3/14/09.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

The Difference Between Me and Them

You know who "they" are. They are those people who can't help but find ridiculously amazing vintage stuff everywhere they go. Why is it that when I search my local thrift and antique shops that I only find junk? Aren't these finds fun?

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

First Aid for Frustrated Writers

Now here's something of value to all you Etsy Shop owners and other entrepreneurs looking to spruce up your presentation. Those who actually read Wishing Willow’s feature posts, rather than just skipping to the end to find out what the giveaway is each day (you know who you are), are already familiar with the writing of my husband Nate, as he writes the majority of our reviews. What you might not know, however, is that Nate also loves to help other writers, business owners, and students improve their own writing. I'm fortunate to have my own personal Hemingway at my disposal, and now he can be at yours. In conjunction with the opening of his new web site, Ascent Proofreading, Nate is offering a giveaway of literary help that just might come in handy to the winner of this drawing, no matter the nature of your current project. The package includes your choice of: free proofreading/editing of any document(s) up to three thousand words total (a $180 value), OR free original writing of any kind up to one thousand words (a $160 value). This is a transferable prize, meaning you can always give it away if you know someone else who can use it. To enter the drawing, simply post a comment telling us how you would use this prize. Tell us in an additional post if you subscribe to Wishing Willow, or follow us on Twitter and "tweet" about the giveaway. To post without a Google account, just click “anonymous.” Be sure to also leave your email address. Contest ends 3/11/09. Congrats Gumball Grenade!