The wonderful world of Etsy

A&E finds the best Twin Cities designers on the crafty site, with plenty of suggestions for Mother’s Day.

PHOTO COURTESY UNIQUE ART PENDANTS

PHOTO COURTESY UNIQUE ART PENDANTS

Kara Nesvig

Ets y, an online marketplace for handcrafted gifts and vintage treasures, is a treasure trove of sweet trinkets and one-of-a-kind finds that you can brag about snapping up before your hipper-than-thou friends do. Though a lot of the site is pretty cutesy (hopefully you have a stomach for sugar), with a little digging and plenty of patience you can unearth total gems, from fox fur boas to vintage Louis Vuitton clutches. Unlike eBay, if you see something you like, you can snap it up right away. Crafty Minneapolitans and St. Paulites have made their mark via Etsy, and weâÄôve compiled a guide to some of the best and brightest stores and sellers. After all, spring brings with it plenty of gift-giving opportunities: weddings, graduations and donâÄôt forget MotherâÄôs Day is just around the corner. YouâÄôve got some shopping to do, so take our advice and do it locally. Gifts for Mom If sheâÄôs anything like mine, your mother probably has a taste for the sweet and charming gift with a practical bent. Julie Meyer (etsy.com/shop/juliemeyer) creates lunch bags and cleaning gloves with a retro spin. Her insulated lunch bags are made with oilcloth, just like the tablecloths that once graced your momâÄôs childhood kitchen table. If sheâÄôs like my mom and brings her lunch to work, sheâÄôd love to be reminded of her adorable child each time she totes that bag ($26) along with her. (But donâÄôt get Mom cleaning gloves. ThatâÄôs mean.) If your mother aligns more as âÄúkooky coolâÄù than âÄúhomemaker chic,âÄù perhaps the baubles from ChloeâÄôs Unique Vintag4e Handmade Jewelry (etsy.com/shop/chloesvintagejewelry ) are more her style. Chloe, who uses vintage jewelry and reworks it to keep it modern and fresh, creates rings, bracelets and necklaces from pieces of the past, often with religious motifs of the Virgin Mary, St. Francis or Buddha. If your momâÄôs not religiously inclined, Chloe also offers a pair of gorgeous teal rhinestone earrings for just $14. My own mother has just gotten into wearing scarves fashionably, and though I remember her having quite a collection of silk stunners in the working-girl âÄô80s, she needs an update. Palettepassion (etsy.com/shop/palettepassion ), out of Maple Grove, hand dyes and paints vibrant silk scarves in canary yellows, azure blues and watermelon pinks, as many hues as youâÄôd find in a box of 64 Crayolas . TheyâÄôre $24 and Mom can wear them around her neck, in her hair or tied to her bag. To top it all off, write your mother a note letting her know that even though you donâÄôt return her calls when youâÄôre hungover in bed on Sunday, you still appreciate her. We like the blank notecards from Jessica Wood (etsy.com/shop/jessicawood ). For arty friends MCAD senior Jessie Schneider (etsy.com/shops/schneiderjessie ) has not one, but two Etsy shops. Her primary shop sells art prints of whimsical things like birds and cowboy boots, made with acrylics and vintage fabric for just $15. We think theyâÄôd look particularly cute in a group on your wall. The other, Sequins Vintage (etsy.com/shop/sequinsvintage), offers a plethora of vintage silk scarves that Schneider probably dug up at local estate sales and thrift stores. Local artist Andrée Tracey sells her surrealist-inspired, Magritte -esque collages and mixed media art prints at her shop, Graphite Girl (etsy.com/shop/graphitegirl). SheâÄôs a painter and photographer whoâÄôs had her work displayed at the Walker and the M.I.A., not to mention in Los Angeles, where she attended college. Because sheâÄôs a legit artist with fellowships from Polaroid and a résumé that boasts graphic work for Target and MacyâÄôs , her paintings will run you upward of $200. Lucky for you, her prints are just $20. Infrared StudioâÄôs (etsy.com/shop/infraredstudio ) jewelry and cocktail sets are for the punk chick in your life; their acrylic floral Deco earrings in neon pink ($36) and skull and bamboo hoops ($36) are the perfect mix of sweet and tough. For the more restrained jewelry buff, they offer finely cut silver hoops and delicate amethyst and topaz drop necklaces. Hands off the skull note cards for $6.50; those are mine. Unique Art Pendants (etsy.com/shop/uniqueartpendants) are available for sale at the SOO Visual Arts Center, but you can nab them on Etsy, too. I love the vintage Ouija board cuff bracelet for $20. For your home Even though nobody depends on wall clocks for the time anymore, Pilot Design (etsy.com/shop/pilotdesign) is making them into works of art youâÄôd be proud to hang on your wall. Keith MooreâÄôs tickers are modern, streamlined and colorfully chic. If his âÄô60s-influenced color scheme doesnâÄôt quite get your wheels a-turninâÄô, heâÄôll do custom work to craft you the exact timepiece youâÄôve always dreamt of. Most of his pieces cost just $59, with larger scale works at about $120. Moore is planning a show at the Ridgedale Center in May. Snew (etsy.com/shop/snew ), whoâÄôs been a member of the Etsy community since 2007, handcrafts resin molds of mushrooms and hairbows for your candy-making endeavors and âÄúmounted dinosaur assâÄù wall hangings that are a little more subversive than those chalkware fruits at your grandmaâÄôs place but just as kitschy. While all of the ceramic statues of rainbow-hued animals are cute and adorable in their own right, and super cheap at just around $10-15, what we really like is her âÄúpenis stationery,âÄù which is, of course, exactly what it sounds like and only $4.75. Just donâÄôt write MomâÄôs MotherâÄôs Day card on it. Etsy tips Etsy, like eBay, is powered by PayPal and therefore setting up an account would be helpful. PayPal draws funds from whatever account you desire, from credit cards to hometown banks. ItâÄôs necessary to give proof of transaction between you and the seller just in case something doesnâÄôt work out and your package hasnâÄôt arrived. Protect yourself and your money. Make sure your PayPal address is the same as your current address, because sellers might ship to that instead of what you enter on Etsy. Whenever you buy vintage, make sure to carefully read the sellerâÄôs description of the item. Take note of measurements, not sizes; sizing was different 30 years ago and what was once a size six is more similar to a size two. Be careful for stains and rips that cannot be mended. Ask questions! Etsy sellers are eager to answer any inquiries you may have about their items. Read their feedback too; if buyers have had negative experiences with a seller, you can see what happened via feedback.