When it comes time to purchase a gift, whether for others or a little something for myself, I enjoy the shopping... but always struggle with the decision-making. After a while, the items in the store all start to look a little bit the same to me, you know?
Therefore, when I am introduced to a website that connects me with thousands of master artists from around the world and gives me the ability to select from more than 30,000 handmade works of art to incorporate them into my own life or give as a unique gift?
Well, then it's no wonder that browsing everything from the wool shawls to the wrap bracelets at NOVICA manages to keep me engrossed and enthralled for hours at a time.
One of the leading fair trade artisan websites, NOVICA works with National Geographic to give talented artisans around the world a place to express their artistic talents and provide access to the world market. By offering thousands of limited edition and one-of-a-kind pieces of jewelry, clothing, unique gifts, and home decor, you'll not only find items that are each stunning in their own way, but you'll be helping others by making your purchase.
NOVICA has already succeeded in helping change the lives of tens of thousands of people in developing nations, a number that I find both inspiring and extremely impressive. So while you may just think that the tableware or alpaca sweaters are lovely, NOVICA has provided a way for the artisans who created them to earn personal recognition and receive real-world prices for their work.
Now that just makes the necklaces a little more beautiful, doesn't it?
When it came time to browse the Unique Gifts category at NOVICA, it took me days of looking and narrowing and returning to various pages over and over again. Having the products broken down by price as well as by recipient or home decor made it easy to navigate and when I finally placed my order, I couldn't wait for my items to arrive.
Arriving within days directly from Guatemala, the Vivacious Guatemala Cotton Scarf was even better in person than I had expected... starting with the beautiful wrapping paper and decoration. Who wouldn't be impressed with a package like this showing up at their door?
The scarf itself is made from a thin cotton gauze, giving it a great texture and making it naturally roll inward, creating an unusual effect with an ethnic flair. Available in a variety of other colors, I chose the bright green as something that would bring a pop of color to my typical wardrobe of greys and blacks and, as soon as I saw it, I was immediately glad that I had made that choice.
I love this scarf! The material is thin and feels delicate (although it can be machine washed), while the hand-tied ends give it a rough and stylishly unfinished look.
All in all, I've already worn this Cotton Scarf numerous times and have really loved the way that it is modern and stylish while still having a handmade, not-mass-produced look to it. It is definitely staying in my wardrobe for quite some time to come!
While the Vivacious Guatemala has had me looking trendy and chic, the Successive Circles Mango Wood Vase has done the same thing for my home by bringing the beauty of Thailand here. Starting from the stunning packaging, I knew that this would be a piece of permanent decor no matter what room we chose to put it in.
After slowly unwrapping the handmade paper, I marveled at the two concentric circle pieces and the skill that must have been involved to carve them so perfectly from mango wood.
While vase after vase that I've seen elsewhere all seemed to resemble each other, the smooth curves of the Successive Circles and the way that they nest inside one another is truly unique. I simply slid the glass tube in the middle and the contemporary look was complete.
Setting this vase on a glass shelf, I found that it made an artistic statement all on its own or with a few single buds.
As well as the outright beauty of both of these items, I also enjoyed the artisan story card that came along with each of them. By giving me insight into not only the artist that created them but the inspiration behind the design, name and more, it truly completes the gifts to know a little more about the work and thought behind them.
When it comes to shopping for a unique gift that is distinct as well as good-looking, NOVICA has a huge selection that is sure to provide plenty of options. But, of course, the fact that by shopping there you can help make a difference in improving lives and preserving traditional crafts worldwide just means that you (or your recipient) can be even a little more satisfied with your purchase.
Plus, thanks to the generosity of NOVICA, one person will be able to browse the handcrafted works of art to choose their favorite, because...
One lucky person will win a $50 gift certificate to NOVICA!
To enter to win: Visit NOVICA and tell me the name of one of the beautiful items there (other than those mentioned above) that you might purchase if you win.
Extra Entries (available after the mandatory entry above is completed; please leave a separate comment for each entry in order for them to be counted).
1 Extra Entry (per method) if you follow NOVICA on Twitter and/or Like them on Facebook.
1 Extra Entry (per giveaway entered) - Enter any (or all) of the giveaways running on Thanks, Mail Carrier for the duration of this giveaway.
1 Extra Entry if you follow me on Twitter and tweet about this giveaway by copying and pasting the tweet below and leaving me the link. Tweet daily for an extra entry every day!
WIN a $50 gift certificate to NOVICA for beautiful jewelry, decor, apparel and more! http://bit.ly/yYxntV @thxmailcarrier #giveaway #win
1 Extra Entry (per follow method) if you follow me with Google Friend Connect, subscribe to my RSS feed, subscribe to Thanks, Mail Carrier by email, become a fan on Facebook or add Thanks, Mail Carrier to your blogroll.
2 Extra Entries if you put my cute button up on your blog. Please leave an address where it can be found.
3 Extra Entries if you blog about this giveaway linking back to this post. Please leave an address where it can be found.
Giveaway will end on February 27th at 11:59pm CST. By entering this sweepstakes, you are agreeing to these official rules. No purchase necessary, void where prohibited by law. Do me the favor of leaving an email address or making absolutely sure it is visible in your profile, I have to have a way to contact the winner. The winner will be chosen by random.org and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to contact me or respond to notification or a new winner will be chosen. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. This giveaway is open WORLDWIDE and entrants must be 18 years of age or older.
A big thank you to NOVICA for providing a gift certificate for me for review as well as for one lucky giveaway winner. The opinions shared are my own and honest and if you really need to see more, click here to see how I roll.