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Maker’s Talk with Munga Vision

One of my favorite parts about creating House Fenway is connecting with other artists, learning about their craft and their artistic process.  This week I’m sharing an interview I did with one of my maker friends, Kristen, owner of Munga Vision. She is a wonderfully talented artist, mother and boss babe!

Tell us what Munga Vision is and how it started?

The current vision of Munga Vision actually began a little less than 2 years ago. Before that, I was using my website as a portfolio page for contract work as a webmaster and designer for small businesses. I did stationery on the side just for fun, but it was slowly evolving with requests and I really fell in love with the more artistic things I was producing. When our 2nd child was about 6 months old I realized I was spread too thin trying to get the art stuff that I wanted to do in, kids and family life, and all my contract work. While I miss the steady paycheck of contracts over retail, I am happier than ever with the decision to change my work life and make a go at that crazy dream. Luckily my hub’s is super supportive and thought to scale back with contract obligations was a good idea to see how it pans out too. I’m sure most adults can relate at some point in time to the balancing act of life and feeling a constant time strain with things you don’t particularly enjoy doing. Thus, I phased out my corporate gigs over a couple months and let the art take center stage.

What is the meaning behind the name Munga Vision?

Munga is actually my family nickname for me. In college, I had to come up with a website name and fictitious company for one of my classes. I went with that name and in the end, just stuck. I think I was married a couple years before my mother in law realized it was a nickname when she heard my dad calling me that!

 

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What is your favorite part of the creative process and why?

Coming up with the ideas is so much fun to me. Over the past two years, I have tried to streamline my brain and channel those ideas into a series to release to make the marketing and projects more cohesive. I do love, in the end, seeing it come together, but honestly, I often get impatient during the ACTUAL PROCESS. I am always 10 steps at a time kind of personality and so it’s hard for me to slow it down and enjoy the ride of each design. I really try to get myself to focus on one project series at a time now rather than starting a dozen different things at once and taking a year to finish them all. The first collection I focused on to help my branding was The Spring in Country poster line and since then I continue to release things in series. The truth though, sometimes I still end up with a dozen different things going, custom orders, and will still piece in one-off projects to sell too.

You have a vast array of product. Which product do you enjoy making the most?

Currently, it’s been painting. I don’t actually do it as often as I’d like because it’s easier to work on the computer in short increments of time and projects, but I love layering and piecing stuff together. Even when I used to do things in the dark room it was always fun to crop and blur and angle stuff to me. Painting is one of those things too that you don’t have to be really good at it to me to create something you love. A lot of time incredible painters are clearly talented, but it’s not something I’d ever hang on my walls. Then you get a kid who throws around some of their favorite colors with no rules and you get this piece of sunshine that just makes you happy. I think painting is one of the only mediums where that happens too. I definitely am not the greatest painter, but I balance that with my digital expertise and usually bring it into the digital world after to tweak and add text and make something that while not technically unique in the brush strokes is something totally different that will maybe strike someone as the perfect piece for their home. 

 

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You have your own online shop. Do you find you enjoy it more than your original shop on the Etsy platform?

Urgh, it’s tough. I actually still really love Etsy and you can find my stuff on there, but that’s because I get more random traffic still from Etsy. I am trying really hard to bring up that dreaded “SEO” for my site this year and am seeing improvements, but I don’t see myself ever fully leaving Etsy and all the great clients I meet through there.  Etsy is really special as a platform because it’s very intentional with the people who use it to shop small and handmade. That’s really a quality that is easily lost in all the options today. I do love working my own site though because of the flexibility. If you visit my site you don’t drift off to 100 other cool and similar products like you do on Etsy and I can state my message and be more streamlined too. Eventually, the goal is to significantly bring more traffic to my own website www.mungavision.com and I dedicate most of my time to focusing on that development. Loading new products is sort of an afterthought now and I tend to keep more of the stationery and stuff that sells well on it from previous years rather than adding everything that’s new.

Do you do Munga Vision as a full-time job?

Munga Vision is officially my full-time gig now though I wouldn’t say I am making a living of it yet as I have found costs of a small business are high and am working to find that better balance to consider myself successful at running a small business. I was much more successful when I was still doing contracts as my company then only retail!  I am very fortunate that my husband has great benefits though so we have health care through him. It really is hard not to compare yourself to other small shops and where you’d like to be, but I try to remind myself of all that I’ve grown in less than 2 years time and hope that by the time our youngest is of school age I am far enough along to warrant keeping the gig as my full-time position!

How often do you do markets and shows? And do you enjoy doing them?

Love doing shows and hate doing shows. Does that make any sense?! They are a TON of work even if not a big one and often you don’t make any money. It’s really hard to predict. However, there is no better way to put yourself out there, get feedback on new products, potentially make a great income for the day and get new customers. I started doing shows with a giveaway by collecting email addresses and now that is usually a good goal for me. Even if I don’t sell much that day I may still collect 100 new emails sometimes at a small fair and potentially make a lifetime customer down the line. With young kids at home and them always being on the weekend though I tend to only do a handful a year. I also live in NC and have had to decline some big summer shows because my products get ruined in the heat with the packaging melting. I am looking for some great additional fairs though to add in the fall or any INDOOR summer fairs if people reading know of any for the summer months in the Raleigh area.

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What is your favorite art medium and why?

Probably my favorite art medium is one that I can’t/don’t do ever…watercolor! It’s soooo versatile and pretty on your walls to your invitations, but I am too impatient. With acrylic or oils or digitally I love that I can layer and if I mess up try again without completely throwing out the whole piece, but with watercolor, it’s like you mess up and have to trash it. I just don’t have the patience for it and admire all the artists in my life who produce beautiful pieces. I do play with watercolors in the digital world either on the iPad now or more often altering stock images I like to piece together into something brewing in my mind. I think of it as collage art when I use stock and taking something from a bank that exists, but cutting it and putting it together with other elements to get something new. 

Where do you see Munga Vision in 3-5 years?

I don’t have million dollar dreams for Munga Vision but hopefully realistic. I’d like to make a decent salary AFTER COSTS to warrant continue working for myself and the fun and flexibility it allows me. Right now with young kids and the schedules that go along with it that aspect buys me time to lay the foundation. I hope over the next 3 years to grow my online sales and store presence and find that magic formula that at the end of the year I am making an average graphic designer salary that I would make working for someone else. For me personally, I don’t want to grow so big that I need full-time employees or have to give up the design aspect. I love creating and enjoy the hours I get to spend in doing so and really just want to get to that point where I can do so comfortably and plan a little for retirement and reality.  I just read #GIRLBOSS and it was interesting to hear her talk about how she recently stepped down from CEO because she had to give up so much of the other aspects of why she started Nasty Girl in the first place. It reminded me that while chasing dreams, it’s important to remember who’s dream I am running toward and nobody ever looks quite the same.

What is one important lesson you have learned while owning your own business that you could pass onto other makers?

Take time to do it right when you know it needs to be done, but don’t overthink taking the leap if you don’t know yet. Learning as you go is an amazing way to learn how to do something right. Things are always changing, especially in retail, and often you never quite know anything until you go for it. I am not telling you to be lazy in implementation and ignore things to rush and put something out there, but I just mean don’t get caught up in your head over thinking it to perfection. Perfection is subjective in this world and maybe it’s learning the hard way, but I think just doing it is how you learn it right. I am sure I’ve looked like an idiot plenty of times in this business, but each time I hopefully get a little better. 

 

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“Made With Love” Small Makers Gift Guide

“Made With Love ” Gift Guide

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603 Creations
Business location: New Hampshire
Personalized home décor and gifts that help to make your house a home. 603 Creations specialize in custom signs with a variety of choices in frame styles and colors.
www.603creations.com

Special Gift Guide Offer:
$5 off your next order with promo code FENWAY5 through 02/14/18.


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Adorned
Business location: Alabama
Adorned was started to help encourage women in their walk with the Lord. Wear and treasure a piece of handmade jewelry as daily reminder of something you hold dear.
AdornedKellysStudio.etsy.com

Special Gift Guide Offer: Receive 10% off your order with promo code GIFTGUIDE


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The Artistic Sparrow
Business location:  Edmonton, Canada
“Here at The Artistic Sparrow we make modern farmhouse wood signs. Our wood signs are handmade with love and care. Our hope is that each sign brings you happiness and inspiration to brighten your days for years to come. We hope you love our signs as much as we love making them.”
www.etsy.com/shop/theartisticsparrow

Special Gift Guide Offer:
Receive 10% off your order with promo code GIFTGUIDE2018 through 02/15/18.


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Betsey Grace Designs
Business location: Wisconsin
“I mostly create farmhouse style decor & gifts. My favorite items to make are shirts, signs, hand towels, and most recently ornaments. I started my shop about a year ago and I’m so thankful that I did because it brings me great joy to create and I have met so many incredible people along this journey. I feel so proud to be a part of the maker community because the love and support that the creators I’ve met along the way share with one another is like nothing I’ve ever seen. I’m also so thankful for every customer that comes my way, I can’t express how happy it makes me when I see something that I made bring happiness and excitement to someones day.”
www.etsy.com/shop/BetseyGraceDesigns

Special Gift Guide Offer:
Receive 20% off your order with promo code FENWAY20


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Birds and Berry Studio
Business location: Wyoming
Anne Hockenberry is the artist behind Birds and Berry Studio and she’s all about seeing the beauty in life. Her art portrays the vibrant colors of the world around her. Anne is inspired by nature, but she also loves to get inspiration from others by creating commissioned pieces to help others preserve their special memories. She creates and offers art as original art on canvas, watercolor cards, and art prints.
www.etsy.com/shop/birdsandberrystudio and www.birdsandberrystudio.com

Special Gift Guide Offer:
15% off original art, select prints, and cards use code VALENTINES15 Expires 2/28/18.


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Betty and Marie Designs
Business location: Arkansas
Hand crafted signs…from our hands to your home.
“I put a lot of heart into each part of the sign making process. I work hard to ensure the very best quality and attention to detail in each and every sign.  My goal is to provide high quality, inspiring, meaningful and fun signs that you will be proud to display in your home or to give as a special gift.”
www.etsy.com/shop/bettyandmariedesigns

Special Gift Guide Offer:
Receive 15% off your order with promo code MADEWITHLOVE15 through 02/14/18.


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Brave Season Design
Business location: Minnesota
“We are a husband and wife team working out of our woodshop (aka garage) in central Minnesota – inspired by our two children, fueled by a little bit of coffee and a lot of faith – creating handmade custom signs and wall art that bring joy into your life and home! We started out with a specific vision in mind, but our amazing friends and family have requested signs that have stretched us creatively and now a large percentage of the signs we make are custom orders and we love every minute of it!”
www.etsy.com/shop/BraveSeasonDesignLLC


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Cadorah
Business location: Wisconsin
Unique handmade jewelry from everyday essential oil diffuser bracelets to delicate bridal pearl necklaces. Cadorah’s mission; to be an eye for style that inspires women to feel confident and beautiful.
www.cadorah.com

Special Gift Guide Offer:
Receive 15% off your next purchase. Use promo code VALENTINE at checkout.


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The Content Crown
Business location: Arizona
“I design & create handmade handbags, jewelry and home accessories from reclaimed vintage wares and repurposed finds. I love creating on-of-a-kind items from things of the past, giving them new purpose.”
www.etsy.com/shop/thecontentcrown

Special Gift Guide Offer:
Receive 10% off your purchase with code XOXO18 through 02/14/18.


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The Curated Farmhouse
(formerly Coffee Crafts and Chaos and TimberKnot Woodworking )
Business location: Missouri
“The handmade wooden chippy hearts are sure to bring a farmhouse feel to any home. They range in size from 4″-11” and come in chippy, stained or choice of color finish. These can also be engraved with the name, date or short phrase for a $5 additional charge.
https://www.etsy.com/shop/TheCuratedFarmhouse

Follow us on Instagram: @coffeecraftsandchaos and @timberknotwoodworking

Special Gift Guide Offer:
Receive 15% off with promo code LOVE15


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Dandelion Wishes Home
Business location: Ohio
Dandelion Wishes Home is a makers of farmhouse wood signs and unique home goods.
www.etsy.com/shop/DandelionWishesHome

Special Gift Guide Offer:
Receive 20% off your next order with prom code VDAY20 through 02/08/18.


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The Farmer’s Wife
Business location: Iowa
Vintage farmhouse creations for your home. From vintage door knobs, to thimbles filled with faux mini succulents you will be sure to find something unique for your home. www.thefarmerswifeiniowa.com

Special Gift Guide Offer: Receive 10% off your order with promo code TFW10


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Four Sisters Farm Soap Co.
Business location: Missouri
Four Sisters Farm Soap Co. is a little farm nestled against the woods, down a lonely dirt road. Where imagination dwells, fun inspires and life is always happening. Handmade natural soaps. Vegan friendly.
https://4sistersfarmsoapco.com/

Special Gift Guide Offer:
Receive 25% off your order with promo code MAKER


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GamGamz Handcrafted
Business location: Michigan
Handmade pillow covers, scarves, and linens in a range of sizes and patterns. A little something for everyone!
www.etsy.com/shop/GamGamzhandcrafted

Special Gift Guide Offer: 20% off entire shop use code LOVE18 Expires 2/16/18.


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The Honey Hive Workshop
Business location: Okotoks, Canada
From headbands to bookmarksthe cutest handcrafted felt creations made for busy bees. Custom orders are welcome.
www.etsy.com/shop/thehoneyhiveworkshop

Special Gift Guide Offer:  Use code FENWAYGG for 10% off your entire order.


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House Fenway
Business location: Wisconsin
Home décor with a vintage touch. Prints and notecards now available perfect for your Spring decorating.
https://housefenway.com/shop/

Special Gift Guide Offer:
2 FREE House Fenway floral notecards with a print purchase through 02/14/18. No promo code needed.


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Jackson Rose Candles
Business location: Georgia
Blending traditional and modern Southern aesthetics, Jackson Rose Candles bring a piece of the South to you wherever you are. Our candles are handpoured in small batches using 100% soy wax and non-toxic fragrances.
www.jacksonrosecandles.com

Special Gift Guide Offer:
Receive 10% off your next order with promo code HEYYALL


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Jennifer Accents
Business location: Utah
At Jennifer Accents we love to make something unique and different for every customer! Each custom wood sign is carefully handcrafted to make something special for everyone. No two signs are ever going to be alike, and all customizations are up to the buyer. Decorating my house is something that I have always loved to do, but always thought that retail chain stores were quite pricey, so I decided to make my own! These signs are super affordable, ranging from $15-30 dollars (prices do vary depending on size) I also offer seasonal décor to make your house feel like a home during those special holiday seasons. I love what I do and I love making something unique and something that you will cherish in your home, or gift to someone else. I take pride in the things that I choose to display in my home and I would hope that that is how others feel when they purchase an item from my shop. Since starting my little family, I have enjoyed making my house feel like a home, and I think that most people feel this way as well! The funds that I obtain from my small little shop are put in a bank account for my one year old son so that by the time he is 18 he can attend college, or serve an LDS Mission if he wishes to, so every purchase that I get through this shop really means a lot to me, and makes me appreciate every single one of my customers. If you would like to see more of my work, please feel free to visit my shop:
https://www.etsy.com/shop/JenniferAccents

Special Gift Guide Offer:
Receive 20% off your next order with promo code JACCENTS20


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Keytiques
Business location: Michigan
Where our love of handmade meets our love of antiques. Here at Keytiques, we enjoy re-purposing one of a kind vintage finds into new designs.
https://www.etsy.com/shop/keytiques

Special Gift Guide Offer:
Receive 20% off your order with promo code FENWAY20 now through 02/14/18.


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KR Creations
Business location: Oregon
Mark and Kim Reynolds​ are the husband and wife team behind KR Creations. They have a passion for upcycling and giving old items a new life. KR Creations handcraft wood signs and home decor made from Oregon reclaimed wood including pine, cedar and oak. Custom orders are welcome.
https://www.krcreations.shop/


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La Dolce Vita
Business location: Louisiana
Blessing Beads, otherwise known as “jewelry for your home”, makes the perfect home accent, wedding, birthday or housewarming gift. Made of painted wood beads and plaster charms, La Dolce Vita blessing beads are offered in a wide selection of colors and sizes. Custom orders are welcome.

To place an order or for more information contact Amy Greco: Send her an email >.

Special Gift Guide Offer:
Receive 20% off your order using promo code FENWAY20 


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Little Creek Uniques
Business location: Indiana
Handmade home décor and unique vintage finds! Lettered signs, shirts and bags that make the perfect gift.
www.etsy.com/shop/LittleCreekUniques

Special Gift Guide Offer:
Receive 15% off your order with promo code LITTLESHOP


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Local Stature
Business location: South Carolina
We are a husband and wife team who strive to create personalized art that shows off places that are meaningful to you – where you’ve been, where you are, and where you call home! We love to take custom orders, so please send us a message with any inquiries.
www.etsy.com/shop/LocalStature

Special Gift Guide Offer:
Receive 15% off your next order with promo code HOUSEFENWAY


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The Macadamia Shop
Business location: New York
The Macadamia Shop sells high-quality wood signs, handmade home decor and vintage botanicals.
www.etsy.com/shop/TheMacadamiaShop

Special Gift Guide Offer:
Receive 15% off your order with promo code HOUSEFENWAY through 2/28/18.


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Memo Box
Business location: California
MEMO Box makes gifting a breeze! What does that mean exactly? Well, think of an occasion where you needed a gift- whether it was a birthday, your friend got a new place or you simply wanted to send a good friend a “just because” gift. Usually you go to multiple stores to gather your products/gifts, then you have to figure out shipping, and finally you have to package it up and make it look all pretty. Well, MEMO Box does all of that for you! I wanted to make life a little easier for people and give them a place to go and get their gifting done all in one place!
MEMO Box offers curated gift options or you are can create your own with any of the products on the website. An added bonus is that you are supporting other small businesses. The majority of the products I offer are sourced from Etsy sellers as well as some local businesses- all of which make your gift that much more unique and personal!

www.shopmemobox.com

Special Gift Guide Offer:
Receive 10% off your order with promo code VDAY10 now through 02/16/18.


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MNK Candle
Business location: Ohio
“I am a small town girl who has always had an affinity for candles and home decor. I started this journey as a new mom looking for something to do as a hobby and a creative outlet. I have taken that hobby and created products people love by giving them a healthier and cleaner alternative when it comes to candles. These candles are made with Natural USA farmed Soywax and Phthalate Free Fragrance.”
https://mnk-candle.myshopify.com/

Special Gift Guide Offer:
Receive 30% off your next order with promo code DESTASH30 (quantities limited).


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Mumli Creates
Business location: Oregon
Handmade buntings and banners for home and party decor.
Shop Reopens Feb 2nd.
www.etsy.com/shop/mumli


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Nora Ladelle

Business location: Florida
Words have power. It is my prayer to paint words that share the love of God, speak wisdom and truth, words that can inspire, encourage, and motivate you.

The inspiration for my shop name came from my great-grandmother. I called her Granny Gibby, but her name was Nora Ladelle. She always knew just the right words to say. She was genuinely kind, humble, and had a BIG ole heart for Jesus. If I close my eyes, I can still smell her house, hear her voice and picture her with her arms held high worshipping Jesus.

Handcrafted wood signs.

www.etsy.com/shop/NoraLadelle

Special Gift Guide Offer:
Receive 10% off your next purchase with promo code GIFTGUIDE10


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Oh Celia Creations
Rustic ribbon and fabric buntings perfect for any coffee bar, fireplace mantel or hutch. Orders taken by direct message on Instagram.
https://www.instagram.com/ohceliacreations/

Special Gift Guide Offer:
Mention this House Fenway posting and receive free shipping on your next order.


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OSweetGoodness
Business location: Idaho and Ohio
“We’re two sisters who love to create items to help you celebrate birthdays, showers, holidays, and a fun family dinner.  We make everything in our shop by hand and with the inspiration of our families, we design decor that helps make memories. You can tell by looking through our shop, we have a love for flowers.  We love to make them and we love to use them in the items we create!  Thanks for checking out our shop!”
www.etsy.com/shop/osweetgoodnessshop

Special Gift Guide Offer:
Receive 10% off your order with promo code HOUSEFENWAY10 through 02/28/18.


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Peepal Tree
Business location: Wisconsin
Flour sack towel block printed using hand carved wood blocks, map of Wisconsin with a pure wool felt pin to put on a city of your choice. Flowers and a tiny red heart say Valentine’s Day to you best friend, wife, mother, mother in law or any love of your life!
www.etsy.com/shop/peepaltr

Follow me on Facebook! www.facebook.com/peepaltr

Special Gift Guide Offer: Wisconsin Valentine Towel $14, free shipping within Wisconsin if you mention this post.


Peony Accents
Business location: California
Peony Accents offers hand painted and distressed mason jars, along with floral accents and flower pens that can be mixed to be perfect for home decor or even great gift ideas!
www.peonyaccents.etsy.com

Special Gift Guide Offer:
Receive 20% off your order with promo code FENWAY20 through 02/04/18.


Pink Robyn Decor
Pink Robyn Decor specializes in handmade wood signs, using free-hand lettering without stencils, all types of mixed media, and LOTS of color. You can find us online at www.pinkrobyndecor.com.

Special Gift Guide Offer:
Receive 10% off your order using promo code PINKHOUSE10 Expires 03/01/18.


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The Rustic Ranch
Business location: Pennsylvania

“A little about us. …Daniel is the one who was the passion behind the scenes, he taught us all everything we know. He is a disabled veteran, who fought for our freedom post 9/11. Sadly like most of our veterans the war was not over for him when he got home. We have made this negative into a positive with his beautiful woodworking skills. It is very relaxing and fulfilling for him to help make all of these pieces. Large or small, each piece is filled with love. His dream is to teach other veterans this talent so they too can enjoy this passion. In addition to that a portion of each sale goes to supporting our local veterans.

If you do happen to see some jewelry or smaller items posted. That would be handmade or brought back to life by yours truly. I have a passion for bringing vintage items back to life in a new fun way, and designing rustic home decor.

The Rustic Ranch does give back to the veterans in our area. We hope that eventually we will be able to help on a larger scale but for now we do what we can to help veterans in our area. We do anything from food to care packages to events and outings, it can go towards gas money to drive them to and from appointments or to get them a clean shirt. Every sale helps!

www.etsy.com/shop/TheRusticRanchCo

Special Gift Guide Offer:
Receive 15% off your next order with promo code FENWAY


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Roseholm and Co.
Business location: Nevada
“Hi! My name is Megan! I’m a lucky stay at home mom who doesn’t really stay at home much because I have four beautiful kids with busy schedules! Three girls and one boy plus a devoted man in a uniform, also known as my husband, makes for a happy life!

My journey started when I became intrigued with modern calligraphy and brush lettering. After I started, I learned about all the possibilities and all the beautiful things that I could create just by writing. The gold foil came next and I fell in love with the modern pop of shininess that could be added to my wall décor.

Hand-lettered goodness for your home.
https://www.etsy.com/shop/RoseholmAndCo


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The Rusty Maple
Business location: Ohio
“My shop is all about repurposing, reusing, and recycling, but making it cute! I like making minis, (tea towel ladders, barn doors, trees, pumpkins etc)”
www.etsy.com/shop/TheRustyMapleCo

Special Gift Guide Offer:
Receive 10% off your order with promo code SPRING10

 


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Sweet Pea Layne
Business location: Ohio
“SPL started early in 2017 after years of ‘trying to figure out what I wanted to be when I grow up’. I’ve worked for a major shipping company for 20 years, and as much as I love that job, there is ZERO creativity! …After recently discovering the wonderful world of woodworking (thanks to my wonderful hubby and my dad for showing my the ropes), I dove in head first. Sweet Pea Layne was born. I hope you enjoy your new sign as much as I enjoyed making it for you!”
www.etsy.com/shop/SweetPeaLayne

Special Gift Guide Offer:
Receive 14% off your order with promo code BEMINE through 02/28/18.


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Terra Cottage
Business location: California
Terra Cottage started out as a creative outlet and has become my full-time job.  I went from cutting sign frames by hand at my dining table in my 700 square foot Hollywood apartment to offering a much larger product line in both my own physical retail location at 8405 Sierra College Blvd, Suite B, Roseville, CA 95661

terracottageshop.com and terracottageshop.etsy.com.

Special Gift Guide Offer:
Receive 20% off your order with promo code HOUSEFENWAY20 through 03/15/18.


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Thirteen & Market
Business location: Texas
Thirteen & Market features modern farmhouse-inspired home decor, has a design and decorating branch, and a gives special focus to up and coming artists from around the globe.
www.13andmarket.com

Special Gift Guide Offer:
Receive 20% off all mugs with promo code HOUSEFENWAY through 02/14/18.


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Wick + Fiber
Business location: Arizona
Wick + Fiber owned by a hard-working SAHM of seven. Specializing in hand-woven wall hangings, bunting and soy candles.
www.etsy.com/shop/wickandfiber

Special Gift Guide Offer:
Save 15% off any purchase with promo code LOVE15