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My father taught me from an early age that you should support the merchants in your own town.  If something was available where we lived then it was important to support our own town’s economy.  I got to thinking about this philosophy when I was talking to my friend Sandy this morning.  We decided that it is important this year to buy holiday presents that are made in America!  America needs to go back to work!  The politicians are promising that if elected they will increase the number of jobs.  Maybe they will and maybe they won’t.  One thing for sure is that if we all adhere to my father’s common sense philosophy, then Americans will profit in one way or another.  I want to tell you about some places where you can order beautiful products that will make your gift giving easier and will put some change in the pockets of fellow Americans!

First, I will  introduce to you two friends named “Chris Ann” and “Kristin.” They are the busy moms of a total of nine children and live in Minnesota and Maryland with their busy husbands.  Sixteen years ago they met when their children were in the nursery at church. They have formed a company called, “Lovefeast” as a way of keeping in touch with each other. This year they are featuring beautiful pumpkin shapes made from gorgeous velvet and real pumpkin or gourd stems.  The picture below was featured on one of my favorite blogs, Cote de Texas.  Chris Ann and Kristin share a common passion for highlighting the inspiration that they see all around.  They have an online boutique of curated finds for your home. www.shop.lovefeasttable.com

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One of the women I admire the most is Sister Ann Brooks.  She is an osteopathic physician and a Catholic nun who has devoted her life to the people of the Delta in Mississippi.  In Tutwiler, Mississippi she runs the Tutwiler Clinic.  In 1988, a counselor at Tutwiler Clinic organized a group of women who needed to make money to support their families.  They sew gorgeous quilts, hand bags, potholders and other handmade textiles.  The group today numbers around 25-30 women.  They get 80% of the proceeds and the other 20% goes to buy new material.  www.tutwilerquilters.org

I had a difficult time lifting photographs from their web site, so the next picture is small…but it does show you that their quilts are quite spectacular.  They can make them in colors of your choice.  Go to their site and you will see their work more clearly.

I own these beautiful hot pads made by the Tutwiler Quilters.  They are almost too pretty to use, but I do use them and they work very well. I think that this pattern is called, “Cathedral Window.”

The Christian Appalachian Project in Kentucky will mail order greenery to you or your loved ones for Christmas.  This year they have wreaths ranging from $38 to $42 and a basket of greenery for $38.  You can order early and the shipment is made at the time of your choosing and the greens are always fresh and just as described on the web site.

The premise is the same as with the Tutwiler Quilters.  Folks in Appalachia earn extra income for their families.  They, too, make beautiful quilts.

www.appalachianhome.org

Perhaps you have a family member or a friend who would love to receive the gift of blue cheese for the holidays.  On October 11,1941 the first wheels of Maytag Blue Cheese were formed at the dairy farm and put to age in caves.  Today, the cheese makers are older and the trucks are newer, but the wheels of cheese are still made by hand.  Our family loves the Maytag blue….it has been said to be the best in the world. They have other cheese flavors available. Customer service is excellent and the cheese has always arrived in perfect condition.  www.maytagdairyfarms.com

Maytag Blue Cheese Farm.

Maytag blue cheese

Maytag Blue Cheese

Here is a magazine that is published in Iowa.  I loved this magazine when my friend, Sharon, sent it to me as a Christmas gift one year because I am from Iowa and it was a little piece of home.  “Is this heaven?” asked the baseball player in Field of Dreams. “No,” replied Kevin Costner’s character,  “It’s Iowa.”  You are probably not from Iowa, but I’ll bet that your state has a similar magazine that highlights your state.

Every publication has writers, photographers, editors, a circulation department, art directors, etc.  You support them when you make the purchase of a subscription.

In an earlier post, “Sillhouettes,” I told you about my daughter’s friend who has a custom silhouette business on Etsy.  Etsy is your place to buy and sell all things handmade.  It is self proclaimed as, “…world’s most vibrant handmade marketplace.” There are thousands of items on this site, but I will feature Jackie who does the custom silhouettes.  www.etsy.com/shop/prettyfaces.com

Custom Cut Silhouette Portrait - Unframed 5x7

She works from photographs that you send to her and she does an outstanding job.  Jackie lives and works in Chicago.  She works on Pretty Faces from her home after returning from her day job.

This company Murphy Jewelry.  If that sounds familiar, it is because it is my youngest daughter’s company.  She has a day job and then she makes really nice jewelry on her kitchen island in the evenings and on weekends.  She was recently selected as on of the Belk Department Store chain’s Southern Designers.  Her jewelry will be sold in the Belk Store in March, April, and May and one of her necklaces and earrings will be featured in Vogue, In Style, and Lucky magazines in March. Here are some of her latest designs.

Photo: Santorini- 30.00

Photo: Oversized Pearl- 28.00

Photo: Perlfect- 68.00

Photo: Pearl Rain 34.00

Photo: Bright fall 48.00

To see more of these beautiful designs from Kathleen, go to Facebook and type in “Murphy Jewelry” or go to www.murphyjewelry.com

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I was reading one of my favorite blogs,”Velvet and Linen,” this morning and I came across this photo taken at the Furniture Mart in Highpoint, North Carolina.  The Hickory Chair Company makes furniture in America and it is well made and beautiful to boot! Here are a few photos taken on their show room floor as seen on the Velvet and Linen blog.

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I now so many people who have been looking for a comfortable and stylish sectional sofa like this one.

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The Emory chair is beautiful and has great comfort. The curved lines are so pretty.

When you go to the store to make a gift purchase or if you are an internet shopper, look to see where the gift is made.  It may take more time to find “Made in America,” but I think that it is well worth the trouble.  We must take care of one another.  Create and by happy!

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