Summer Must-Have: Wine Barrel Adirondack Chairs

Picture this… you’re sitting in your backyard on a breezy day. The sun is out but you’re seeking refuge in a shaded area. You have a little picnic set-up with some fine cheeses (brie, gouda, and fancy cheddars), you’ve uncorked a bottle of your favorite wine, and the light scent of flowers wafts through the air …

This sounds like your summer heaven, right? (Sounds like mine, at least)

This summer dream could be made into reality with these incredible, beautifully hand-crafted wine barrel adirondack chairs. These wine barrel adirondack chairs are naturally stained by wine since they were salvaged from wine barrels used by wineries in California. Not only are they actually comfortable (Wine Barrel Products went through several rounds to come up with the perfect lumbar support), they are the stand-out yard furniture that’ll make your neighbors green with envy. Every wine barrel adirondack chair will have similar elements, but since they are handmade they will have the unique accents to prove they are one-of-a-kind.

Wine Barrel Adirondack Chairs

Each of these wine barrel adirondack chairs comes equipped with a built-in wine glass holder on the armrest, so you (or your guests) can sip in style and leisure. Grab one of these chairs before they’re sold out, or before your neighbor beats you to it!

And, did we mention, these are handmade by the artisan Wine Barrel Products and American made in California? That means you’d be supporting a local artisan by purchasing this quality product. To learn more about Wine Barrel Products, Sean Murray (the artist) and how he draws inspiration for these wine barrel adirondack chairs, visit his aftcra Artist Meet ‘n Greet.

Wine Barrel Adirondack Chairs

Product Details:

Wine Barrel Adirondack Chair

$329.00 ($65.00 USD for shipping)

Handmade in Pacheco, CA

Order here: http://aftcra.com/item/2326

Gifts for Her Under $30: Mother’s Day Gift Ideas

Gifts for her under $30: Mother's Day Gift Ideas Under 30 Dollars

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For Christmas 2015 Gift Guides, visit this recent gift guide page: Christmas 2015 Gift Guides for Everyone – All Handcrafted, All Made in America.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Whether you’re searching for a gift for Mother’s Day – the time to celebrate how awesome your mom is – or just need to get a gift for her for an upcoming event, and you’re on a budget, we’re here to help! We put together a unique collection of 10 gifts for her under $30, including some pretty awesome Mother’s Day gifts.

All of these gifts for her have been handmade by American artists. That means gifts that were handmade from the heart, show a lot of love, and will be completely different from what you’d find in a store. Some of these gifts can also be personalized to make them even more special for your mom.

1. Hello Stationery Cards – Set of 10 from aftcra’s Katie Vaz Designs, $25.00.
2. Grey and White Makeup Bag with Asterisk Design from aftcra’s Carissa Black Handbags, $25.00.
3. Handmade and All Natural Grapefruit Soap – Set of 2 from aftcra’s Lumbini’s Natural Soaps, $10.00.
4. Vintage Bicycle Stationery Cards – Set of 12 from aftcra’s Nicole Marie Paperie, $15.00.
5. Designer Latex-Free Dish Gloves from aftcra’s Gloves by Katherine, $20.00.
6. Laundry Definition Vinyl from aftcra’s Sign Here Vinyl, $25.00.
7. You Are My Sunshine” Wall Art with Music Lyrics from Stoic Design, $15.00.
8. Boston Terrier Grey T-Shirt from Little Lee Studios, $24.00.
9. State Roots Tee from Seven Miles Per Second, $23.00.
10. LOVE Vintage Apron from aftcra’s Wilde Things, $28.00.

For more gifts for her under $30, Mother’s Day gift ideas, or cool packaging/DIY projects, visit our Mother’s Day Pinterest board.

10 Mother’s Day Gift Ideas

10 Mother's Day Gift Ideas

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For Christmas 2015 Gift Guides, visit this recent gift guide page: Christmas 2015 Gift Guides for Everyone – All Handcrafted, All Made in America.

 

 

 

 

 

Sometimes the best kind of gifts come in small packages, and when it comes to your mom (or the mom in your life) you want to make sure you get a thoughtful Mother’s Day gift that really touches her heart. We picked some of our favorite jewelry finds for your mom that span from incredibly gorgeous to especially unique and personalized.

1. Hand-stamped Silver Personalized Necklace from aftcra’s Tiny Token Designs, $31.00.
2. Sterling Silver Hand-stamped Square Personalized Necklace from aftcra’s Mama Mia Hand Stamped Jewelry, $59.00.
3. “I Love You to the Moon and Back” Hand-stamped Silver Necklace from aftcra’s Tiny Token Designs, $50.00.
4. Silver Pendantbased on your child’s artwork from aftcra’s Formia Design, $129.00.
5. “Never Give Up” Sterling Silver Bangle from aftcra’s Ruxi Tirisi, $39.00.
6. Hammered Horseshoe Necklace – gold or silver from aftcra’s Olive Yew!, $55.00.
7. “God Gave Me You” Hand-stamped Personalized Gold and Silver Necklace from aftcra’s Mama Mia Hand Stamped Jewelry, $68.00.
8. Red Tea Pot Up-cycled Tin Earrings from aftcra’s Salvaged Studio, $35.00.
9. Set of 3 Rose Gold Bangles from aftcra’s Ruxi Tirisi, $102.00.
10. Mint Green Bee Bracelet from aftcra’s Manic Trout, $85.00.

For more Mother’s Day gift ideas, including cool packaging or DIY projects, visit our Mother’s Day Pinterest board.

aftcra Artist Meet and Greet: Cufflinks + Cowboy Boots

 

Cufflinks and Cowboy Boots Interview

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We are Cufflinks + Cowboy Boots, and we create Laser Cut Cufflinks (as you might expect!), as well as Laser Cut Wall Clocks since 2011. We are located in San Francisco, CA.

I do almost all my work on my computer; most of our work is really design work, if you think about it.  I do all my design work in Illustrator, and then hand it off to my fabrication partner, who’se machine interprets my lines to tell the system whether to cut or engrave the wood or acrylic pieces!

It’s actually REALLY cool for someone “born digital” to see work I do on the computer screen come out (via UPS) in physical!

Cufflinks and Cowboy Boots Screen Shot

I am a technology hobbyist, who fell into this particular setup in a strange way.  I have always loved computers (which is why my undergrad is in Philosophy… of course! 🙂 ), but I love the control I have digitally as opposed to with my hands.

So when we used to do home renovation / furniture placement / remodeling, I was drafted as the designated 3D modeler using Google Sketchup.  One day, when reading forums on how to do something I didn’t know how to do, I discovered a site that would 3D print my Google Sketchup designs!  That didn’t work as I expected; but they had Laser Cutting too….and once I taught myself Adobe Illustrator, there was no turning back.

Cufflinks and Cowboys Office

Often, idea’s come to me while doing other things.  Like the original idea for cufflinks (which started with leather, then bamboo, before I settled on the walnut I do most of my work out of).  Other ideas are responses to requests.  The very first state I ever made was in response to a custom request for a guy who wanted matching Ohio cufflinks for his wedding.  That lead to selling more states; then a Sale on FAB.com, and more!

Eames Herman Miller Chair

Eames Herman Miller Chair

I love mid-century modern architecture and furniture.  Frey, Herman Miller (the Eames Chair is one of my favorites), and Jacobsen (love the Egg Chair).  These folks were able to create complex structures, with clean and simple lines that make a user feel good.  I love that.

Cufflinks + Cowboy Boots provides some some small business advice:

Do what you love with Cufflinks and Cowboy Boots

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Do what you love!  I always really enjoy my work, and rarely, if ever, do I lament having to do something related to Cufflinks + Cowboy Boots.  That’s a really nice gift.

Check out their work at Cufflinks + Cowboy Boots.

10 Unique State-Themed Gifts Under $100

10 State Themed Gifts Under $100

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ever feel like you really want to wow someone with a gift specific to your state? Are you passionate about the state you live in (which we’re sure is amazing)? Here is our favorite collection of truly unique and one-of-a-kind gifts that are focused on where you live. Of course, all of these gifts are handmade and made in America.

Please note: several of these items are customizable, so you are able to make them specific to your state or home. These are noted below.

1. Massachusetts Felt Magnets. $12.00.
2. Indiana Home Tee. $26.00.
3. Michigan State Tee. $19.95.
4. Latitude / Longitude Cufflinks, available for customization. $66.00.
5. 3D Lake Art Clock, available for customization. $89.00.
6. Wisconsin Beer, Cheese and Good Company Tee. Pick your color. $16.00.
7. Roots Tee. Pick your state and color. $23.00.
8. State Cufflinks in Walnut. Pick your state. $39.00.
9. Milwaukee Onesie. $18.00.
10. Represent Wisconsin Hoodie. $35.00.

We are thankful for …

It’s hard to believe that 2013 has closed and we are already a few days into the new year. 2013 was such a thrilling year for us – we went into beta, got some awesome feedback from our talented artisans, and eventually formally launched the site. We met incredible makers who changed us, literally and figuratively. We connected with some of the coolest bloggers out there who helped give us exposure. We developed some great relationships with local Milwaukee and Wisconsin businesses. And in the last quarter of 2013, we experienced the biggest boom we could have ever expected with the site.

We are most thankful for the buyers and sellers who took a chance with us. Who wanted to help a small business grow, and strongly believe in the American handmade movement. Without your support we wouldn’t be who we are today. That’s the most priceless gift we could have asked for.

We have so much to be grateful for, but for us this is just the beginning. Peering into 2014 all we can guess is that our relationships will continue to grow with you and new aftcra members.

Thank you for supporting us. We truly appreciate it.

Erica

President and Co-Founder, aftcra

Handmade Holiday Gift Guide – For the State/City Enthusiast

We all know those people who are absolutely in love with their city or their state. They have posters throughout their pad of their state, pictures of their city, and a ridiculous amount of t-shirts showing off their state pride. This is one gift guide that I can relate to … because I am this person.

Sound like someone you know? We’ve got some pretty fabulous finds to make the bond to their state/city even stronger. Check out our latest Handmade Holiday Gift Guide – For the State/City Enthusiast. We’ll also be sharing more of our favorite finds this week on our facebook page here.

Here’s a little peek into this week’s guide:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

State Roots Backpack – $22: aftcra.com/item/1060
Indiana State Tee – $24: aftcra.com/item/1362
Bottle Opener – $40: aftcra.com/item/681 (other states here: http://aftcra.com/storeitems/319
Texas Cufflinks – $39: aftcra.com/item/740 (other states here: http://aftcra.com/storeitems/338. Seller can also custom make your state!)
Bourbon St. Photo – $12.50: aftcra.com/item/1279

Support American artisans this holiday season – shop handmade at www.aftcra.com!

Happy shopping!

Erica
President, aftcra

Handmade Holiday Gift Guide – For the Little One

If you’re like me, you get sucked into buying gifts for little kids. There are so many adorable little gift options and sometimes it can be difficult to decide exactly what is the right pick for the kid in your life. And this can be a tough crowd to buy handmade for. They’re usually looking for the next scooter, Barbie dream house, or video game.

But never fear – the aftcra team is here with some of our favorite handmade picks for the holiday season in our latest Handmade Holiday Gift Guide – For the Little One. Peruse these picks and see if one of these might be the right gift for you. We’ll also be sharing more of our favorite finds this week on our facebook page here.

Here’s a little peek into what we’ve got in store:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Elf Pixie Hat – $32: aftcra.com/item/533
Grinch Onesie – $19: aftcra.com/item/820
Shelving Tree Decal – $88: aftcra.com/item/510
Frog Pond Game – $35: aftcra.com/item/1491
Slouchy Spiral Beanie – $28: aftcra.com/item/1411

Support American artisans this holiday season – shop handmade at www.aftcra.com!

Happy shopping, and enjoy the holiday week!

Erica
President, aftcra

 

Handmade Holiday Gift Guide – For Someone Special

I have found that gifts that are personalized are welcomed with open arms, mostly because it means that you went above and beyond the call of duty. Surprise someone special in your life with an incredibly gift. Just what should that gift be? Well, we’re here to help you out.

Here are some of aftcra’s favorite handcrafted (and personalized) pieces in our Holiday Guide – For Someone Special. Each one of these items are completely unique to fit your loved one. We promise this will WOW the pants off of ’em!

Want a sneak peek? We don’t blame you. You can find quick links to the pieces below the image.

 

Initial Silver Necklace – $24: aftcra.com/item/1708
Monogram Vase – $62: aftcra.com/item/366
Important Date Sign – $46: aftcra.com/item/587
iPhone Case with Monogram – $39: aftcra.com/item/516
Copper and Brass Initial Necklace – $48: aftcra.com/item/1422

Support American artisans this holiday season – shop at www.aftcra.com! You can also help raise awareness of supporting local businesses and buying from American artists and artisans by joining our Thunderclap mission: https://www.thunderclap.it/projects/6322-american-handmade-holiday?locale=en.

Happy shopping,
Erica
President, aftcra

 


Support Local Artisans this Holiday: Pledge to Buy American Handmade!

Pledge to buy from an American artisan this holiday season!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Let’s face it, whether we’re ready or not, the holidays are here. When we’re venturing through our local big box stores it can be very tempting to pick out all of your holiday gifts while you’re getting your groceries. It is SO easy (almost too easy). But this year I’m going to ask you to think a little differently.

Last Christmas I went on a mission to buy ONLY American handmade gifts. It took a little bit of time, and a lot of thoughtfulness, and in the end I received nothing but high praises for each and every gift that I shared with my family.

Buying handmade this holiday season means giving someone a gift that they will absolutely cherish. It’s your opportunity to give your family member something they never knew they wanted; something personal, meaningful, and long-lasting. And with every purchase you are supporting a local American maker who took their time to craft your gift. They worked your gift. They molded your gift. And most importantly, they loved making your gift.

Don’t believe me that handmade is the way to go?
Here are some quick stories about the impact a thoughtful gift can have:

1. One of my uncles is a ‘tough to find a gift for’ kind of people. Knowing that he loves golf, I had gotten him a monogrammed ball marker. Last weekend, during my Grandma’s 90th birthday party, my uncle pulled me aside and said, “I take your Christmas gift with me everywhere!” It felt good to know that I had gotten him something useful and personal.

2. My husband is always on the mission to be a cool uncle, so he always wants to get our niece and nephew something that they would really like. Finding a handmade gift for them was more challenging than I had expected, but we got them a sweet little tent that had Disney princesses on one side and Cars characters on the other. They use the tent whenever they have sleepovers with their friends. In a way, my husband and I feel like we’re still a part of their sleepovers with this gift.

3. My husband’s grandmother is always hosting family get-togethers, but always seemed to need cheese platter. I bought her a cutting board shaped like Wisconsin, with a heart for their home in Northern Wisconsin. It was such meaningful gift, and both her and her husband absolutely adored it. Unfortunately she finds it too pretty to actually use, so she has it on display in her kitchen. It feels good to know that every time she looks at it, she thinks of us.

Now, I know it’s not reasonable to say “100% of your purchases must be American made”, but try to at least spend a little chunk of your holiday funds on not only getting an incredibly unique gift, but supporting a local small business, by buying American handmade this year.

If you’re a person that supports local businesses, that believes in our makers and is passionate about the beauty that is handcrafted, then pledge to buy some American handmade goods this holiday season. You can also help raise awareness of supporting local businesses and buying from American artists and artisans by joining our Thunderclap mission: https://www.thunderclap.it/projects/6322-american-handmade-holiday?locale=en.

We believe in the power of supporting local small businesses.

We believe in our local American makers.

We believe in the authenticity of handmade goods.

Erica Riegelman
President, aftcra

And … aftcra is Out of Beta!

We're Out of Beta!

aftcra announces their time out of beta!

Wahooooooooooooooooooooo – we’ve done it!

After a year of taking suggestions from our buyer and seller community, making enhancements so our users are proud to call aftcra their home, and completely transforming aftcra, we are proud to announce that we are no longer in beta!

You may be asking yourself, “what does this mean?” Jumping out of beta and formally launching means that we feel pretty good about aftcra and its performance. The site is fully functional for our buyers and sellers. And any of those pesky bugs we had in the very beginning are down to a minimum, although we may still stumble upon a little pest every once in a while.

One thing we want to reiterate with the friends and family of aftcra is that, just because we’re out of beta, this doesn’t mean aftcra doesn’t continue to evolve. Our major enhancements are not ending now. There are still a lot of changes that we have received from our sellers and buyer community that we have in the queue. And we have many, many more exciting upgrades and updates to the site that you will absolutely love.

We do want to give a special thank you to those sellers who were with us from the beginning and stuck with us because they believed in us. We can’t thank you enough for all of your support, suggestions and words of encouragement. We are incredibly fortunate to be able to work with this lot of talented artists and artisans. We are excited to see what will unfold throughout the rest of this year and then the next.

We can’t even begin to say what we have in store for 2014 … but it’s going to make aftcra even more community-focused. What does that mean? Well, you’ll just have to wait and see.

So let’s raise our glasses and cheers to our big accomplishments this year, and for what the future has in store…

Erica
Co-Founder and President

PS – And for you more formal types out there, here is our press release from this morning: http://www.prweb.com/releases/2013/10/prweb11226913.htm

aftcra’s Committed to ONLY American Handmade Wares

aftcra committed to American handmade products only

aftcra, committed to American handmade products only

Due to yesterday’s major changes in our industry, we want to reiterate our commitment to the American handmade community.

aftcra was developed to be a marketplace for American makers to promote their handcrafted works of art. Although some industry leaders have strayed from that original focus, we are committed to keeping American handmade products our core. We understand that we are new to the marketplace, and are making adjustments to the site to make it better for both our buyers and sellers, but growth (to us) does not mean a change in an organization’s mission. aftcra’s vision has always been to promote American handmakers. We pledge to you, our aftcra family, that aftcra will not permit any seller to “work with outside manufacturers to help produce your designs.”

aftcra is a family-owned and operated organization. We have no outside stakeholders to answer to. The only influencers of aftcra are our American handmade community. 

If you haven’t heard of us yet, or you want to check us out, visit www.aftcra.com. If you have any questions, concerns or suggestions please contact us at info@aftcra.com and one of our team members will respond to you shortly. If you are interested in getting social with us, follow us at the below social platforms:

– Website: www.aftcra.com
– Facebook (aftcra)
– Twitter (@aftcra)
– Pinterest (aftcra)
– YouTube (aftcra)
– Instagram (aftcra)

Let’s continue to support American handmade products … together.

Erica
aftcra co-founder
“Crafted by American Hands”

What Do You Love?

Woodworking ToolsWe all have something that gets us excited – whether it’s sealing a deal, getting lost in a hobby, admiring something beautiful, or creating something of your own.

I purchased a house last year with my husband and have spent many long nights and weekends to make it our “home”. What I’ve learned about myself with our new house is something that I’ve neglected for years: I love making things. Whether it’s painting a room, making some artwork, or arranging a collage, I love it. It’s sad that I’ve convinced myself into believing that I’m “too busy” to make time for this for so many years.

To me, this activity is an outlet. It’s the only time where my mind is completely clear, and I’m 100% focused on what my hands are doing. I find myself losing track of time. But each moment I am enjoying what I am working on. And once I’ve completed the project, I love the feeling of standing back and seeing what I can accomplish.

I’ve made a conscious decision that I have to find ways to indulge my creative side. So my goal for 2013 is to take a stab at something I’ve never done before: woodworking. I’ve always been completely enamored by handmade wooden sculptures, tables and artwork. Now it’s my time to figure out what I want to make and then how I’m going to make it. Send me some good juju that I won’t lose a finger in the process.

So, what do you love to do? What activity makes you completely lose yourself?

Erica

Co-Founder of aftcra

 

Get Real!

So the title is a little tribute to our Co-Founder, Erica, as this is one of her favorite sayings. But in all seriousness, I think she’s on to something.

 In a globalized world full of mass markets and instant gratification, it has become increasingly challenging to be truly unique. It’s an interesting paradox really; while we live in a time where self expression is encouraged, and even applauded, it is difficult to really stand out.

 

At aftcra, we thrive on challenges like this because it forces us to be purposeful. The challenge to stand out is especially important because we live in amazing country where the freedom for individual expression is foundation of our existence. Plus, we think your pretty cool and deserve some credit for it!

 

So how do you stand out? Here’s a few helpful tips:

1) Create a personal brand.

Think of some of your favorite brands and values they represent. Now think about the values and mission you have in your own life. Note how you would like to be seen and live by it…be your own brand.

 

2) Stick with a style.

Don’t try to be everything all at once. Stick with a style that makes you feel inspired and stimulated. Whether you’re classically elegant or a modern trend setter be true to yourself. This is how you will establish an identity that stands out rather than blending with the masses.

 

3) Shop aftcra.com.

Ever buy something because it’s close enough to what you wanted only to have remorse later because you don’t really love it? We guarantee that won’t be the case with the products offered on our site. Our products are uniquely handcrafted by artisans that know how to stand out!

 

Have your own tips on how to get real and stand out? We’d love to hear them so please share!

 

Keep it real!

Liesl, Co-Founder

What does aftcra stand for?

What does aftcra stand for?

 

We know you’re thinking it … what does aftcra stand for? We get asked this question regularly since aftcra seems like a random jumble of words. But we promise you that we didn’t just throw down our scrabble hand and go with it; the name aftcra actually has meaning behind it.

We’ve heard quite a variety of interpretations from you – everything from “American Crafts” to “Americans for the Crafting Resources in America”. You have shared some creative answers – and we love it! But, we won’t keep you waiting anymore. Here’s the quick story behind the name, aftcra, and what aftcra stand for.

 

It all started in 2010 when the concept of the business for aftcra was born (a whole ‘nother story). The four aftcra co-founders were throwing around names (many too embarrassing to mention). During the brainstorming session one of aftcra’s co-founders shouted “aftcra”. We joked about the name “aftcra”, but after a few days we found ourselves still thinking about the meaning and directly correlation to our handmade marketplace. The name, aftcra, had the feel of fun and funky that we were going for. We were searching for a name that would fit both our brand and what we were trying to achieve. We wanted the name to be something intriguing but also have meaning.

So, what DOES aftcra stand for? aftcra is an anagram for “a craft”. We wanted a name that highlighted the skill needed to make beautiful, handcrafted pieces as our artists are nothing short of incredibly talented individuals! So, aftcra seemed to be the perfect fit to us.

We know that aftcra is a new name, and it may not be in your current vocabulary, but we think it will be soon.

Until next time,
Erica
Co-Founder