New Orleans Gift Ideas

On the hunt for great New Orleans inspired gift ideas? Look no further! I’ve gathered up a few of my favorites, including handmade gifts by local artists and gift ideas for your favorite foodie!

New Orleans Gifts Jewelry

New Orleans Jewelry Gift Ideas

Wear your love for New Orleans on your sleeve. Or your neck, or your wrist, or your finger… you get the picture.

I actually designed a few of these pieces myself, and friends of mine are the creators of the other pieces seen here. The top two necklaces (NOLA Love Heart & Fleur De Lis Necklace and the Louisiana Illustration Necklace) feature my original illustrations, and they are both customizable. They’re created on-demand by Zazzle, which means you can personalize each piece and choose from all sorts of options. I also made the Fleur De Lis Earrings seen at bottom – they’re available in my Etsy shop!

The other two pieces were made by some of my favorite artist friends. My friend Tressa of Flambeaux Design Company handcrafted the King Cake Necklace seen above out of polymer clay, sprinkled with real cinnamon! The Twisted Fleur de Lis Necklace is made by John D Iron – if you’ve followed me for a long time, you might remember his work, as I used to carry it in my old shop.

New Orleans Food Gifts

New Orleans Food Gifts

If there is one thing about New Orleans that sticks with you (both in your memories and on your hips), it’s the food! Whether you live here and want to send NOLA themed food gifts to friends and family who live out of town, or whether you’re looking back fondly on past visits to the Crescent City, these gift ideas are a fun way to cook up New Orleans flavor at home.

Handmade in NOLA - Gift Ideas Under $30

Handmade in NOLA – Gift Ideas Under $30

My friend Emily of Sweet Olive Soap Works is a born & raised New Orleanian who learned soap-making from her grandmother. She has a whole line of New Orleans inspired handcrafted soaps, and one of the most popular ones is her Red Beans and Rice Soap, which is actually made with Red bean and rice powders, but smells like fresh laundry! (That’s cause historically in New Orleans, Mondays were laundry day, and you’d throw on a pot of red beans & rice to cook all day long while you did your laundry.)

My friends Heather and Mark of Unique Products make all sorts of cool recycled stuff, which you can find in person at their shop at 2038 Magazine Street. Their Sun Jujus made from recycled Mardi Gras beads are a fun gift for anyone who loves New Orleans.

Sarah Ott is a local artist who makes beautiful jewelry and accessories, like this Nola Love Bangle. You can shop her work via Where Y’Art, on her own website SarahOtt.com, or visit her kiosk at the Riverwalk in downtown New Orleans.

NOLA artist Heather Mattingly crafts up Fleur Debris out of found objects like Mardi Gras beads, king cake babies and screws. Each piece is one of a kind, which makes for a very special gift idea!

This is by no means a comprehensive list! There are SO MANY amazing artists and creators here in New Orleans, and there’s no way I could include them all. Check out my Pinterest board Louisiana Love for more great NOLA inspiration.

What are YOUR favorite New Orleans inspired gifts?

Let me know in the comments!

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What I Wore: Testing, Testing 1, 2, 3

Marie Claire Roadshow Example

I got an email recently from the photo department at Marie Claire magazine. They’re about to shoot a feature here in New Orleans for the February 2015 issue, similar to the example above, and asked me to be a part of it.

First thought that ran through my head: “Holy cow, this is amazing! Is this real life?!?”

Second thought that ran through my head: “What the hell am I going to wear?!?”

Clearly, I had to enlist my boyfriend David S. White to help me do a test run and figure out what I should wear and how to not make funny faces on camera. Here are my options!

What I Wore: Leopard

earrings – Abiqutie
jacket – Trashy Diva
dress – Trashy Diva
belt – Trashy Diva
tights – Foot Traffic
boots – Miz Mooz

What I Wore: Blackmilk

earrings – made by me, Miss Malaprop
jacket – Zara
shirt – Ureshii
leggings – Blackmilk
purse – vintage, hand-painted by Love, Marigold
boots – Gee WaWa

What I Wore: Stripes

earrings – made by me, Miss Malaprop
jacket – Trashy Diva
shirt – Target
skirt – Trashy Diva
shoes – Swedish Hasbeens

What I Wore: Teal

earrings – made by me, Miss Malaprop
jacket – Zara
shirt – Target
skirt – Trashy Diva
shoes – Swedish Hasbeens

The call sheet they sent out included 20+ people, and the example from the magazine they sent had 11. So who knows if I’ll make the cut, but it sure is nice to be asked!

What outfit do you like the best? (I think I’ve narrowed it down at this point, but I’d love to hear what you think!)

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5 Craft Show Must Haves

5 Craft Show Must Haves

I’ve been doing my fair share of craft fairs for 10 years now, so I’ve learned a lot of tricks along the way. My craft show tool kit has evolved a lot over the years, and now there are a few handy items I can’t live without. Here are my top 5 craft show must haves.

1. A great tent!

If you’re planning to do outdoor art markets or festivals, a good tent is an absolute MUST! Many shows require everyone to have white tents, to keep things looking classy & uniform. My EZup canopy tent has lasted me through many years of craft shows, and it’s still going strong! I have the kind with four zippered side walls, which are great for closing up shop overnight or keeping out the elements on a rainy day.

2. A professional looking tablecloth!

After years of fussing with big pieces of fabric and homemade tablecloths, pinning and tucking just so to keep it looking nice, I made the move a few years back to fitted tablecloths. They’re so much easier, and they look super professional. They come in a variety of sizes to fit different lengths of folding tables. You could always screen-print or add appliqués to the front to customize it with your business name or logo!

3. A comfy & tall chair!
I spent years sitting on low chairs, uncomfortable stools or just standing during craft shows, to stay eye-level with my customers so I could talk to them. My tall fold-up director’s chair has been a lifesaver since then, and many of my craft show buddies have asked about it and picked up one for themselves!

4. Shopping bags or gift wrap!
You’ll definitely want to have some sort of shopping bags or gift wrap available! What size you need depends on what you sell, of course. I usually keep a few sizes on hand – small organza bags for jewelry and some bigger paper bags for larger items.

5. A convenient hand truck or dolly!
Finally, if you’ll be hauling all your stuff to and from your car or truck to your craft show booth, you’re going to want wheels! I cannot begin to tell you how much our Magliner convertible hand truck has changed my life! I don’t know how I could do Frenchmen Art Market without it – I can get everything I need on it in one trip and haul it a couple of blocks back to my car with ease:

craft show cart setup

It’s pretty high end, so if you’re just getting started, I also use a smaller Magna Cart for shows where it’s easier to do multiple trips back and forth to my car.

Bonus points: Gridwall for displays
Many artists use gridwall panels to display their artwork. This type of setup works well for fine artists who have paintings or photographs to show off, but most gridwall systems have other accessories available like clip-on baskets or shelves or hanging racks, which can also show off clothing or accessories too.

Want more craft show tips & tricks? Check out my e-book, How to Make Money at Craft Shows – Art Market and Craft Fair Tips & Tricks.

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The Perfect 4 Foot Table for Craft Shows

The Perfect 4 Foot Table for Craft Shows

I sell my handmade jewelry & art at a lot of local craft shows, which means I’ve used more than my fair share of folding tables over the years! I recently discovered the perfect 4 foot table for craft shows. It’s made by the camping company Coleman, and I’ve been using it a lot for my current craft fair setup.

I already had a couple of standard 4 foot wide folding tables. Most normal 4 foot wide tables are 2 feet deep. However, I had noticed that my 6 foot wide folding table is 3 feet deep. (That’s a lot of extra space for displaying my handmade goods!)

I have these great fitted tablecloths for my tables, which I got from Amazon a few years ago. One is for a 4 foot wide table, one for a 6 foot, and one for an 8 foot table. I had noticed a long time ago that my 4 foot wide tablecloth was much deeper across than my old 4 foot table was. The 4 foot width was fine, but there was a lot of extra fabric because the table was not as deep as the fitted tablecloth. My tablecloth was totally made to accommodate a 4×3 table, which didn’t seem to exist!

Recently, I’ve been sharing a booth at a local art market with my friend Kendra. After trying out a few different setups, we discovered that using shorter width tables, paired next to each other at the front of our booth, was better for sales than a longer table on either side of the booth, which forced customers to walk into a crowded booth. However, while using my old 4×2 table, I kept wishing I had that extra foot of table depth to display more stuff on!

The hunt began, and ended, with the only 4×3 foot table I could find! I quickly ordered this table by Coleman from Amazon and sent Kendra the link as well – she ordered one too!

On our first weekend using our new tables, we couldn’t believe how spacious these tables were compared to the old 4×2 tables!

This table folds up a little different than our old tables, since this one is designed for camping. The leg extenders actually come off completely and have storage slots underneath the table for transporting it. There are moveable support beams to make the table sturdy. And it’s very lightweight compared to a lot of my other folding tables.

If you’re looking to expand your craft show set up, but need to keep the tables small and lightweight, this table is a great option!

Just getting your feet wet with craft shows?

Be sure to also check out my post on 5 Craft Show Must Haves, plus the e-book I wrote with all of my tips & tricks from 10 years of doing craft shows. It’s called How to Make Money at Craft Shows, and you can download it instantly via Etsy for just $9!

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New Orleans Mini Maker Faire 2014

the crowd at at New Orleans Mini Maker Faire

Yesterday was the very first New Orleans Maker Faire. If you’ve been following me for a very long time, you might remember that I had the chance to attend one of the original Maker Faires in San Mateo, California back in 2007, thanks to my win in Etsy’s Upcycle Contest. While yesterday’s event wasn’t quite the spectacle of a big Maker Faire, this “Mini” Maker Faire was a great first showing for NOLA makers. There were over 1,000 people in attendance, despite the rainy weather and the fact that there was so much else going on around town at the same time.

Noise Co at New Orleans Mini Maker Faire

circuit bending with Noisician Coalition at New Orleans Mini Maker Faire

We were in attendance with Noisician Coalition, letting people play with our homemade instruments, circuit-bending and making new drums out of trash cans and packing tape. (Apologies to anyone near our booth – it got a little noisy, of course! Hopefully next time the weather will be good and we can set up outside!)

3D printing at the New Orleans Mini Maker Faire

cardboard creations by The Bally Who at New Orleans Mini Maker Faire

cool gadgets at New Orleans Mini Maker Faire

There were so many cool gadgets, and more 3D printers in one room than I’ve ever seen. (I think David’s head was ready to explode with giddiness.) One of my favorite exhibits was the cool cardboard set made by the bALLY who? All around, it was an excellent first event for NOLA’s maker scene. I think there’s definitely a lot of room to grow though – luckily this isn’t the first and only. The organizers told us they plan to keep growing and turn this into an annual event. For more info, check out nolamakerfaire.com or follow them on Facebook.

You can see more photos from yesterday’s New Orleans Maker Faire event, or check out some of my pictures from the California Maker Faire in 2007.

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