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

10 Easy Fourth of July Decorating Ideas

10 Easy Fourth of July Decorating Ideas

It’s getting to be that time of year where the sound of fireworks is common, the smell of charcoal wafts through the air, and red, white and blue drape the stoops of houses, apartments, and business across the country. It’s about to be the Fourth of July, the quintessential American holiday about family, appreciating our pretty awesome country, and getting as patriotic as we possibly can get.

Most of us would love to spend hours coming up with creative ways to show off our American pride, but we’d rather spend time enjoying the summer (heck, after this winter we deserve this!)

To make your pad stand out this Fourth of July, we have compiled some of our favorite decorating ideas with a mix of both DIY ideas and products you can purchase. If you have a cool idea, be sure to share in the comments.

For more Fourth of July ideas, visit aftcra’s pinterest board.

1. Solar Hanging Rustic Mason Jar in Blue (Set of 2) by aftcra’s Southern Home Supply.

Solar Hanging Rustic Mason Jar in Blue (Set of 2)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2. Fourth of July Mantel by Remodelaholic.

Fourth of July Mantel

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3. Vertical Rustic American Flag by aftcra’s A Life More Palletable.

Vertical Rustic American Flag

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4. American Flag Candle Holder by Julie Blanner.

American Flag Candle Holder

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

5. The Ultimate BBQ Cleaning Tool – Woody Paddle by aftcra’s Great Scrape.

The Ultimate BBQ Cleaner - Woody Paddle

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

6. Simple Fourth of July Door Decor by Micha Muses.

Simple Fourth of July Door Decor

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

7. Rustic American Flag Print in Barnwood Frame by aftcra’s Reclaimed Wood, Shelves and Photo Frames.

Rustic American Flag Print in Barnwood Frame

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

8. Apothecary Jar Holiday Decor by Makoodle.

Apothecary Jar Holiday Decor

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

9. American Flag Case – Commemorative by Specialty Wood Designs.

American Flag Holder - Commemorative

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

10. Mini-American Flag Wreath by Partyfetti Blog.

Mini-American Flag Wreath

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

11. BONUS – Red, White, and Blue Star Bracelet by Trinkets by Teri.

Red White and Blue Star Bracelet

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Handmade Holiday Gift Guide – For the Chef

Know someone that can’t get enough of chopping, dicing and spicing? Are you challenged to find them something unique for this holiday season? Look no further. The aftcra team pulled together some interesting and one-of-a-kind finds for that lovely chef in your life.

Check out our latest holiday gift guide focused on that cook in your life. Whether they’re a fan of vintage inspired gear, or more on the edgy side, we’ve got some intriguing picks for you in the Handmade Holiday Gift Guide – For the Chef.

Check out some of our culinary finds here:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Custom Cutting Board – $21: aftcra.com/item/800
Vintage Style Apron – $28: aftcra.com/item/1533 (fits all sizes)
BBQ Cleaning Tool – $19.95: aftcra.com/item/1440
Designer Oven Mitt – $15: aftcra.com/item/1583
Cutting Board – $45: aftcra.com/item/377

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

Happy shopping!

Erica
President, aftcra

Handmade Holiday Gift Guide – For the Professional Man

Does your man relate to the Ron Burgundy quote, “I have many leather-bound books and my apartment smells of rich mahogany” then this week’s gift guide is for you. We’ve got something for that Professional man in your life to enjoy this holiday season.

We picked some of our favorite handmade finds for the holiday season in our latest Handmade Holiday Gift Guide – For the Professional. We have a feeling that at least one of these gifts will be perfect for that lucky fella. We’ll also be sharing more of our favorite finds this week on our facebook page here.

See what we are offering here:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wood Card Holder – $14: aftcra.com/item/854
State Walnut Cufflinks – $39: aftcra.com/item/747 – (available in a variety of states. States not show can be a custom order)
Artistic City Print – $30: aftcra.com/item/501 (available in a variety of cities)
Grey Kindle Case – $25: aftcra.com/item/1714
Custom Wood Pen – $10: aftcra.com/item/1514

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

Happy shopping!

Erica
President, aftcra

Handmade Holiday Gift Guide – For the Guys

We all know that guys can be challenging to buy for (at times). Instead of going to the technology fail-safe, we suggest spicing things up with some items handmade with love. We’ve got everything covered – from the basketball fan to the mechanic, the graphic tee lover to the outdoorsman.

Check out aftcra’s picks for that guy in your life here in our Handmade Holiday Gift Guide – For the Guys. We’ve also included quick links to get your hands on these pieces. Some of these items are one-of-a-kind and incredibly limited, so if you think it’s something your man would like, grab it!

 

Holiday Gift Guide – For the Guys

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Leather Dopp Kitt – $190: aftcra.com/item/656
Wood and Antler Ring – $100: aftcra.com/item/635
Rooster Tee – $22: aftcra.com/item/1573
“Gears” Painting – $350: aftcra.com/item/458
Lebron Shirt – $19.95: aftcra.com/item/1144

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

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

Do You Love Your Work?

CNN iReport: From Hobby to Job

The “Made in America” movement is gaining traction every day. This past week we were introduced to CNN’s “From Hobby to Job”, a special report focused on individuals who turned their life’s passion into their full-time job. Whether you’re a woodworker, a sewer, or any kind of artisan, people want to hear your story and get to know more about you and your talent. After having the chance to meet so many of our fine handmade sellers, and get introduced to many incredibly talented craftsmen, we wanted to share this opportunity with you.

If you’re one of those Americans who has found themselves working their dream job with their dream boss (ahem … you!), be sure to visit the page below and upload your personal story to get featured on CNN. And remember that the team at aftcra will be here rootin’ for you!

Upload your personal story here: http://ireport.cnn.com/topics/1006241 

Good luck!
Erica
Co-Founder

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

My Holiday Challenge – Presents REVEALED!

It’s hard to believe that just a mere three weeks ago was Christmas: the hustle and bustle of running from this place to that, the constant eating of delicious treats and meals, and the quick conversations. And now, since I shelved out the final Christmas gift this weekend, I wanted to showcase some of my favorite pieces that made my holiday week that much brighter.

I will put out the same disclaimer that I shared in my previous blog post about this topic – I loved every single piece that I got for everyone.

Handmade Cutting Board

Beautiful handmade cutting board from A.Heirloom

1. My favorite piece that I purchased is something that I just MUST have: this awesome cutting board from A.Heirloom. Not only is it shaped like Wisconsin, but the little heart can placed anywhere (since I bought it for my husband’s grandparents, I had it placed at their locale). The cutting board is high quality, made in America and handmade. Stunning doesn’t even begin to describe this. I.Must.Have.This.Cutting Board.

 

 

Whiskey Disks

Handcrafted stone disks from Whiskey Disks

 

 

 

 

2. My second favorite piece was something that I’ve purchased before but was a big hit – Whiskey Disks. These handmade stone pieces are perfect for that whiskey or scotch connoisseur in your life.

 

Scissormill

Personalized home brew glasses.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3. My third favorite gift was a set of personalized homebrew pints. I knew that finding something that was homebrew-focused was going to be a little more challenging, but to know that my bro can brew some fantastic beer and pour it into his own glass is pretty awesome. Thanks to Scissormill for these fab glasses!

 

 

Shopping for only handmade and made in America was much easier than I thought. The only challenging part was that I typically liked everything I came across! My goal for 2013 – any gifts will be handmade and made in America only 🙂

Enjoy your week!
Erica

Doing Good This Holiday Season

 

Doing Good While Doing Well

Doing Good This Holiday Season

Over the past several years I have been fortunate to be involved with companies and organizations that really encourage community service and, because of that, it has become a part of who I am. Every year I try to lend a hand where I can, whether it’s painting a mural in a local community center or assisting in a non-profit’s book sale. It’s important to me (and our aftcra team) to spend some time helping those that are in need.

The holidays are a time where different people from a variety of backgrounds are brought together to work towards a similar mission: make someone’s holiday better than it may have been. A few weeks ago I helped the Salvation Army wrap gifts for a special program for children in need. During my time at the Salvation Army I sat back and took in the image of fifty people spending an afternoon working towards the same goal: making a child’s Christmas better. These people could have been somewhere else, but they chose to donate their time to someone they will never meet.

Over the next few weeks we all will be tapped to help support some mission, whether it’s the Salvation Army’s cheerful bell ringers, donating coats and mittens, serving dinner to the homeless or providing toys to children in need. Just know that, if you choose to support a mission, you are making your community that much better.

Cheers to a Happier Holiday Season!

Erica
Co-founder

Thank YOU aftcra supporters​!

In the spirit of being thankful, we want to take this time to thank YOU for supporting the launch of aftcra! We are a couple months into beta and we’re overwhelmed by your engagement and enthusiasm.

You have followed us on Twitter & Facebook and spread the word to your friends (and we like your friends)! You have also provided valuable feedback to help make our site better. A great example of this is the new “Guest Checkout” feature that is enables buyers to make quick purchases without registration. Incorporating your suggestions is exciting for us because this site is just as much yours as it is ours.

At aftcra, your success is important to us. Our priority is to provide the best customer experience by maintaining a humble, family-like approach to doing business while having fun and promoting all things handmade. If you have suggestions, don’t be shy, we want to hear them! We are excited for our journey together.

Thank you again for your support. We are thrilled to you have joined us in the made in America craftolution!

The aftcra team

Exercise Your Mind: Take Time to Be Creative

Let’s face it; life can be busy and hectic. We have all sorts of demands for our time and attention. When we get a moment to ourselves it is easy to revert to something mindless such as watching tv or checking our facebook profiles. That down time is important but so is taking the time to exercise. I am referring to mental exercise not physical. The best way to exercise our minds is by exploring our creative sides. From personal experience, I believe taking the time to be imaginative provides an array of benefits.

Recently, I joined a friend at a local paint bar which is exactly what it sounds like…a place to paint while enjoying an adult beverage (or two). I was surprised at how invigorating it was to explore my creative side in a new way (I am not a painter). With each brush stroke, all the noise from my day faded away. I was truly living in the moment focusing on what color to pick next and how to angle my brush. Was it a masterpiece? No. But I transformed a blank canvas into unique creation.  I found expressing myself artistically to be immensely satisfying and very inspirational.

My friend seemed to have the same reaction. She had a particularly rough day at work but by the end of our session she was smiling and laughing and having a wonderful time.

The best part about this form of exercise is that the options here are truly endless. So I would love to know, what are some of the ways you explore your creative side?

 

Liesl

Liesl@aftcra.com

The USA: Talent Central

As I travel around this great country of ours and visit the large city craft fairs and small town shops, I’ve noticed one common thread that links us all together. It is the unlimited creativity, imagination and just plain raw talent of our citizens.

The truly amazing aspect about these characteristics is how they transcend all ethnic, cultural and geographic boundaries. Be it the fella in Minocqua, WI who uses a chain saw to carve animals and birds from logs, the glass blower in Asheville, NC or the artist in San Francisco, CA, the pure talent that each artist possesses is nothing less than awe inspiring. Our goal at aftcra is to attract this top talent from every conceivable product area in each of the 50 states and provide them with a unique, worldwide forum to sell their goods.

If you are a friend that has this talent, or you are as awe-inspired as we are about it, join the made in America movement with aftcra – a one-of-a-kind site where all items are proudly ‘crafted by American hands’.

Dan

dan@aftcra.com