To Gnome is to Love ‘Em: The Rustic Garden Ornament & Decor List

Maybe because the sun has finally beaten back the rainclouds here in Austin, or maybe it’s because I live in an apartment and I want what I can’t have, but I’ve had gardens on the brain recently. (see the last entry The House of the Wild Bee). So I’ve pulled together this list inspired by my green dreams. Full disclaimer, despite the pun in the title, this list contains gno garden  gnomes. (I gnow, I gnow, I’m sorry)

Garden decor is a crucial element of making your garden feel like home. The shabby chic /rustic look is a popular theme–gardening is a simple pleasure, and it makes sense that gardeners want their design to resemble a simpler time. It’s also an easy design to maintain, as any wear from exposure to the elements only adds to the authenticity. Some of our other past entries have ventured into the realm of outdoor design, like our entries about mason jar design , rustic weddings, and summer backyard DIY projects.

French Country Birdhouse by Bacon Square Farm


Bacon Square Farms is a former cattle and hog farm-turned-workshop in Mankato, Minnesota. Owners Pete and Tanya converted their cattle barn into a metalworks shop and their pig feeding station into a woodshop.

Their garden decor–like the above birdhouse–combines the pastoral color scheme of French countryside design with the weathered and rusted materials of shabby chic. The result is a storefront of creations that seem fresh and nostalgic at the same time. Take a stroll through their garden decor by clicking here.  Bacon Square Farms also runs a blog about their process and their life on the farm. Check it out here.

Slate Garden Markers by Slateplate 

garden tagsTwo things make these garden markers–designed by Raleigh’s Slateplate–stand out: Firstly, the markers are made from black slate stone, which gives their unique chalkboard appearance. Secondly, they’re pretty tall. The markers stand about a foot high, making them a more prominent feature of your garden design than smaller, paper markers. Your order also comes with a white grease pen that won’t wash off in the rain.

The good folks of Slateplate specialize in products handmade from natural black slate. You can check out their storefront here.

Reclaimed Wooden Heart by Alma Boheme 

wooden heart

Savannah, Georgia’s Alma Boheme is a shop that works wonders with wood and wool. Their wooden indoor/outdoor design is often made with reclaimed materials–like this rustic, heart-shape wooden wall hanging. Buyers also can have the heart painted with a custom color or personalized message. Check out their shop here.

Reclaimed Wooden Planters from CountryByTheBumpkins


CountryByTheBumpkins makes decor from home, gardens, and special events–especially rustic-themed weddings. Their products are often made from reclaimed materials, making your garden even more ecologically friendly.  These planters made from reclaimed fence wood, thus retaining a character no big box corporation will ever imitate successfully. Check out their charming storefront here.

Mason Jar Planter by Wayne Works


This planter from Wayne Works of Dallas, TX can be used inside or outside to grow smaller plants like herbs. It’s a beautiful union of older materials and modern sensibility. The metal bands holding the mason jars are made of hammered copper, which over time will begin to weather and oxidize, giving the planter even more of a rustic aura. There’s plenty of awesome wall ornaments, lamps, and furniture to check out at Wayne Work’s store. Click here to have a look.


Unique Gifts for Guitarists

One of the interesting aspects of guitar culture is brand loyalty. Rock guitarists, despite association with counter-culture and DIY ideology, rarely shop outside the long established brands of instrument equipment (i.e.Fender or Gibson electric guitars, Marshall, Fender, or Peavey amps, D’Addario, Ernie Ball, Elixer strings, etc.)

This is often out of necessity–if you’re relying on the same amp and guitar and pedals and cables every night in a different city, you’ll want a brand that has been tested by countless guitarists for the past 50 years of rock history. More than likely, your favorite guitarist  probably played a Gibson SG or Les Paul, a Fender Stratocaster, Jaguar, or Telecaster. There are obviously exceptions, but not many. And most of these instruments and equipment are renowned for versatility–Fender guitars, for example, have appeared in every genre from smooth jazz to punk rock.

Don’t get me wrong. I’ve got mostly big name guitars in my collection, and I love them all. There’s downsides to the established brands, though. First, it’s difficult for any independent instrument makers, regardless of the quality of their product, to break into the market. And that means that the buyer is missing out on a piece of equipment they potentially would love a whole lot more than their big box stuff.

Secondly, every handmade instrument and piece of equipment has it’s own “personality”, imbibed by the materials used and the hand of the maker. So, as with the odd instruments in this previous entry, who knows what strange and wonderful sounds you’re missing out on?

Bazooka Bubble Gum Amp from BadgleyCBGS


This 2.5 Watt portable amp is a custom creation from the mind of Robert Badgley. Robert runs a shop called Badgley CBGS (short for cigar box guitars). His store isn’t limited to cigar box instruments, though. The storefront has amps, slides, and picks handmade from repurposed goods. This is a great and eye-catching amp for practicing or playing street music. It’s portable and powered by a 9 volt battery, so you can take it anywhere that might benefit from sweet riffs and hot licks.

Bloodwood Capo from Wooden Capo


Wooden Capos is a New Jersey retailer with a forthright name. The shop features several capo designs handcrafted from leather and wood. The shopkeep, Lee, writes that his work is centered around the belief that “functionality and beauty should be at a balance”. The bloodwood capo comes finished with olive oil and beeswax, and it comes in lefty and righty versions. The customer can also get personal graphics or words burned onto the capo.

(For non-guitarists, a capo is a device that is used for quick and easy chord changes on a guitar neck. It’s popular among those who sing and play, as it allows them to adjust songs to fit within their range.)

Turquoise Guitar Strap from NowhereBearStraps


The vintage-styled guitar straps of Ohio’s  Nowhere Bear are exquisite multicolored affairs, like something you’d see slung over Jimi Hendrix’s shoulder (or wrapped around his head). The intricate thread designs are backed by strong seat belt or hemp webbing. The shop is full of wonderful patterns all colors of the rainbow–definitely worth a peek.

Hand Carved Wooden Guitar Picks from LuluandIra


Each lovely hand carved wooden pick from this set will produce a slight different sound. Wooden picks produce a warmer, mellower tone compared to the traditional plastic. The 3 pick set comes courtesy of Utah shop Lulu and Ira. Their shop is home to many captivating carved products, from baby toys to kitchen accessories.

Pick Holder Keychain from Couch Guitar Straps


True style, as any fashionable rocker knows, winds all the way down to the smallest details. These vinyl guitar pick holders from Long Beach-based Couch Guitar Straps are crafted from vintage car upholstery. As they say in the product description: “…as thoughtful and unique a gift you can give to your guitar playing friends for around 12 bucks.” Couch Guitar is stuffed full of lots of great stuff made from recycled material, like guitar straps (obvs), camera straps, and wallets.

Cigar Box Guitar Kit from SoundBoxGuitars 


There are few greater feelings than the sensation of playing an instrument you’ve put together yourself. If you’re looking to give someone that feeling, you should definitely check out the California shop Sound Box Guitars. Their Cigar Box Kit is a comprehensive DIY kit for building an acoustic 3-string cigar box guitar–without needing a huge collection of tools. The kit comes with all the complex drilling, sawing, carving, and sanding pre-done. Learn more about this awesome gift here.

Knit Picks: Your Beanie Collection for the Long Winter

Punxsutawny Phil has spoken, and the verdict isn’t good–the whistle-pig predicts six more weeks of cold. But who needs a cowardly burrowing rodent to tell you it’s been, and probably will continue to be, a very cold winter?

That doesn’t mean your head needs to feel the cold, though. The halls of Etsy are littered with knit and crocheted goods, just waiting for the right head to come along and purchase them. Here’s 3 of our favorite shops that specialize in handmade beanies.  Continue reading

Inspirational Prints for “Resolution Doom Week”

Data gathered from Facebook shows people give up their resolutions right about…now. Here’s what information from the site shows: there’s an initial 50% increase in gym memberships, every December and January. According to the social network, though, come February about 10% of Facebook check-ins to places with “gym” or “fitness” in the name decrease.

Facebook reports that the drop starts right around the 3rd week of January. By the time the drunken promises of January fade into the grinding hangover of February, most folks have gone back to their old bad habits.  Armed with the knowledge that your resolutions are in mortal peril right now, however, you can steel yourself against the late winter slump. As always, we’re here to help with a collection. This time it’s motivational posters to get you out of bed, and to make your rooms look like the office of the hippest high-school counselor of time.

This Is My Year by ColourMoon


An obvious choice for any New Years resolution. Colour Moon is a European print shop that sells many lovely typographical posters, from the sentimental to motivational. Their posters are all printed on matte paper using high quality inks. Check them out here.

Buy the Ticket… from EscapeModulePrints


This has always been one of my favorite quotes from one of my favorite authors, the late great grandaddy of gonzo, Hunter S. Thompson. For anyone who needs a remind to live more deliberately, this print can be found in the shopfront of Escape Module Studio Prints.

Be Brave by SweetPeonyPress


A gentle reminder of something we all need a reminder of sometimes, spelled out in gold letters. Sweet Peony Press is based out of Canada, and their shop features both typographical and illustrated print. “Be Brave” also has companion prints available–“Be You”, “Be Kind”, and “Be True”

The Mountains are Calling…


“The Mountains are Calling, and I Must Go” reads this print from North Carolina store The Art of Type. This print is available for immediate download, so you can print it out and hang it on your wall in the time it takes to read this post. A perfect reminder for anyone who’s resolved to spend more time outside.

Live Fierce by UrbanCurioes

be fierce

If you New Year’s resolution is to be more like a bear, this is the print for you. If it’s not, you should consider setting that goal. Bears are ferocious, sleep for a good chunk of the year, and they get what they want (berries and honey).

This fierce piece of decor comes from another North Carolina print shop, Urban Curioes. If the spirit of the bear is not your style, there’s many other animals to pick from–snakes, wolves, and gators can also remind you to “Live Fierce”.  There’s a kangaroo reminding you to “Live Fun”, a gazelle reminding you to “Live Free“, and a menagerie of other creatures with life lessons to give. 

Be So Good…from TheMotivatedType


Fuel for greatness comes via Steve Martin and London shop The Motivated Type. This print can be ordered from the store for delivery, printed on high quality matte paper with archival inks. It’s also available for download and printing at home.

You could do worse than following advice from Steve Martin, one of the most successful comedians and actors of all time. If you require proof beyond his illustrious career, here’s a video of Steve Martin holding his own alongside late great banjo legend Earl Scruggs.

Gift Guide for Space Cadets and Stargazers

For some reason, many of us lose our childhood obsessions with things like space and dinosaurs. Maybe it’s because we eventually learn it’s really, really hard to become an astronaut and even harder to become a dinosaur. Personally, I try to remind myself how insane space is on a daily basis.

Sometimes I’ll just be going about my business, doing mundane Earthling activities like washing laundry and getting coffee, and I’ll suddenly remember space exists beyond the sky. I remember that, up there, violent explosions bigger than the planet are happening. Above my head are black holes, and comets, and galaxies, and red giants.

Suddenly it seems strange, that here I am, a hairless ape-descendant on the most fertile rock for light-years, getting mad about the hairless ape in front of me for taking too long to pick his drink. Space teaches wonder to children and humility to adults.

On that note, on to the list.

Crochet Solar System Mobile from YarnBallStories


YarnBallStories is a great store, full of lots of unorthodox crocheted works of art, including avocados, bumblebees, and teapots. They are also home to a myriad of knit mobiles. Their solar system is  safe enough for a baby’s room but also a great educational toy for little kids. The planets retain their order from the sun, and the coloring from telescope and satellite photos.

Galaxy Space Bracelet from jerseymaids


The Baltimore store jerseymaid contains a  wealth of space-themed products, celebrating celestial bodies from all corners of the universe. You can order a single bangle, or (as pictured above) a stacked set of six. The bracelets come in two different metallic tones, antique gold or silver. You can also choose the picture on the bracelet from a wide selection of planets and nebulae.

Also very cool–10% of your purchase will go to the Planetary Fund for space exploration and research.

Rainbow Full Moon Pillow by i3Labv


This beautiful pillow makes a great gift that says, “I would give you the moon if I could.” According to the product description, the pillow is 50 cm in diameter and uses  “a real image of the moon, which includes 65 individual frames of the lunar mosaic images taken from Nantes in West France by astrophotographer Norbert.” The creators, South Korean i3Lab, sell multiple versions of this design, including huge lunar picnic mats and glow in-the-dark wall pieces. Check them out. You won’t be disappointed.

Orion Lacy Ring from DittyDrops


Is anyone else thinking of the first Men in Black movie?

This cocktail ring from London’s DittyDrops features the Orion nebula at the center on a filigree band of adjustable antique bronzed brass. If  you live in the US and you’re planning to buy these or one of their other celestial goodies as a Christmas present, you better hurry–the deadline for holiday orders is Decemeber 9th.

Galaxy Bedset from TBedding


Make sure your kids look cool–even when they’re asleep– with these awesome bedspreads from Tbedding. Even you will be jealous when you see them sleeping among the stars. The bedspreads available in the shop are a veritable who’s-who of galaxies and nebulae. They come in all sizes, too, so feel free to grab a set for yourself.

Plant Earth Felt Soap from KatnipStarship


A perfect gift for any Earthling or homesick astronaut, this felt soap from KatnipStarship models the planet we’ve come to know and love throughout humanity. Instead of molten iron and nickel, the core of this earth is made of soap gently scented with eucalyptus, sandal wood, and patchouli. Check it out here.

Full Moon Earrings from Analiese


Like the Earth’s moon, these earrings are sure to make waves.

Unlike the moon, there’s two of them and they make great stocking stuffers. Connecticut shop Analiese sells these lovely pieces, made from high quality prints of the lunar surface in silver bezels. There’s even a matching pendant for sale in her store!  Check it out here.

Airtight Mason Jar Design from Etsy

Mason jars are the go-to chalice for hip coffee shops and bars, as well as a mainstay of modern rustic chic design and DIY. We’ve featured a few Mason jar products in previous blog entries: one on wedding design, the other in vintage lighting,.

But before their return to glory, Mason jars were the Tupperware of the 19th century.

Mason jars are named after their inventor tinsmith John Landis Mason, who patented the signature square shoulders and airtight screw-on lid. Before Mason jars, containers of preserved food were sealed with wax. If done incorrectly, dangerous and potentially fatal bacterial could grow in the contents.

Mason’s story is  a sad one. Though his invention was widely used and potentially life-saving, he never saw much money for his patent (or his other claim, screw-top salt shakers), and died impoverished in a tenement house in 1902.

In honor of John Landis Mason, and in celebration of our new Mason Jar Shaker (available at our Amazon store), here’s a list of some inspired creations from Etsy.

Moroccan Style Lantern from LITDecor


LITDecors shopfront has a myriad of these Morrocan style laterns, a combination of the American  mason jar and Morrocan filigree copper detailing. This particular lantern comes in an aqua tint, but their lamps and candles display all colors of the rainbow. Each design is unique and hand-painted making these jars a truly individual gift or decor piece.

Shot Glasses from PGMBottleSupply

shot glasses

Perfect for turning the party up to 11 while keeping the homespun vibe. These mini jars come in a lot of ten from PGMBottleSupply.

Cozy from RogueTheoryLOOP


Those-y on the go-sy should buy this cozy from RougeTheoryLOOP. Mason jars are fun containers for hot and cold beverages, but the glass walls aren’t great for temperature regulation. The good folks at RougeTheory got you covered. Plus, your morning coffee will look great in its new sweater, which comes in a spectrum of different colors.

Bird Feeder from HeritageTreeDesigns 


Bird feeders make great gifts and conversation pieces. It’s hard to say whether the birds themselves will appreciate the pastoral element the repurposed Mason jar adds, but they will definitely appreciate the free food. Check out HeritageTreeDesigns’ store for other great indoor and outdoor pieces made from repurposed materials and–of course–the iconic jar.

Wood Wall Organizer from OldNewAgain


The distressed wood and jam-style jars give this wall piece a very home-in-the-country feel.It’s a great way to display handpicked bouquets of fresh flowers, or to organize small objects in any room of the house. OldNewAgain has a great store full of upcycled wall hangings that you should definitely browse through.

String Lights from sweetteaclothingco


String lights always add an element of warmth and magic to outdoor decorating. They’re also great for wedding design. Mason jars only add to this effect, creating this lovely and unique curio from sweetteaclothingco. The lights pictured above are pint-sized jars.There’s also a half-pint version. The light strands come in 10 and 20 foot lengths.

Sippy Cup from Onerobinroad


Onerobinroad is the “home of the original canning jar sippy cup”. The mouth is made from medical grade silicone. According to the listing, this sturdy glass jar survives falls without breaking. The glass jar also means no harmful chemicals like BPAs leeching into to the contents. Onerobinroad also carries a great selection of cozies and travel mugs, for babies and grownups.



Home Bartenders and Baristas should check out our Mason Jar Shaker here. Create perfect iced libations with rustic flair–like James Bond, if he grew up on a farm.

Vintage and Industrial Lighting from Etsy

Featured image: Wooden Minimalist Edison Lamp from our store.

Lighting style is often overlooked when designing a room, which is a shame. Light has an enormous effect on our mood–it wields influence over our behavior, performance, and even the decisions we make.

So it’s worthwhile consider how lighting will influence the tasks you hope to accomplish in a room. A well lit study, for example, will boost productivity and focus, while a softly lit bedroom will provide a place of comfort and relaxation.

Vintage-style filaments gives off a warm yellow light that evokes feelings of nostalgia and comfort. Many cafes, coffee shops, and restaurants use this to their advantage to draw patrons into a calming ambiance . This lighting style is often incorporated into “industrial” or “shabby-chic”.

If you’re looking for inspiration, we’ve compiled this list of our favorite fixtures from Etsy. You can check out our own lighting collection at The Rusted Key’s store here.

Signature Bookend Lamp from WorleysLighting


WorleysLighting celebrates the warm, simple beauty of wood and light.  All of Worley’s work shares a natural, minimal style. This set of bookends would be perfect for a study, living room, or bed room.

Wheel Hub Pendant from junkyardlighting


Junkyardlighting uses salvaged materials to create new living pieces, like the hanging lamp above, made from a repurposed wagon wheel hub. Junkyard is a combination of industrial and vintage design, and a great place to look if you’re decorating and looking for a functional yet eye-catching wallpiece or chandelier.

Vintage Clock Radio Lamp from Itsalamp


Itsalamp’s Etsy store offers only this description: “We make lamps out of stuff.” The lamps speak for themselves, though, and the above clock-radio-turned-lamp is only the tip of the iceberg (the iceberg of stuff that has been turned into lamps).

The store’s selection includes a wide swath of salvaged antique curiousites including old coffee tins, a percolator, and some children’s toys. Check it.

Rustic Wooden Arc Floor Lamp from AWalkThroughTheWoods


AWalkThroughtheWoods is the Nashville-based company that makes these rustic style floor lamps. They feature an arced base of stained wood and silver hardware. There’s tabletop versions in the same style, if this is a little larger that you’re looking for. There’s currently a “Daylight Savings” sale happening at their Etsy store, so now would be a great time to check it out.

Rotating Wooden Lamp from KKornerInnovations 


KKhorner is an awesome shop hailing from Atlanta, Georgia. It’s very hard to pick a single lamp from their stock of quirky wooden designs. I recommend checking out their store, which in addition to lamps also carries candle holders, clocks, and cell phone docks–all crafted in this strange, unique mechanical style.

Mason Jar Lamps from BootsnGus

colorful mason jars

The store BootsandGus–named for the two owners’ cats–sells these whimsical table lamps that come in a variety of colors. This store is definitely also worth a peek for beautiful Mason Jar Chandeliers (all 100 listings!), which range from modest four-piece ornament to ten-piece canopies.

Edison Bulb Chandelier from UrbanChandy


As their name suggests, UrbanChandy carries lovely chandeliers for urban households. They use repurposed materials–the above piece is made from a reclaimed ceiling tile from a warehouse in texas, according to the site. It also comes in four different colors.