When you look in the mirror, you see a unique individual, not a generic, cookie-cutter duplicate of everyone else in the world. There is no one quite like you, with your feelings, experiences, dreams, personality, likes and dislikes. There is no reason to follow the herd and buy the same accessories everyone else does, many of which are mass-produced in sweatshops overseas. To truly express your individuality and creativity, you choose items that are made by the hands and hearts of local artisans.
Hands Full Designs
Roseville, CA
www.etsy.com/HandsFullDesignsRoseville artisan Sarah Schofield designs and creates stylish custom purses, wallets and other hot and handy accessories. Her pieces, sold on Etsy, are functional but fun, made from brightly colored fabrics and with finely detailed touches that make them durable as well as useful. Popular items include her vibrant and machine-washable iPad mini sleeves, and the Julia market bag comes in patterns like bright chevrons and bohemian florals. The Carly cross-body bag and Traci messenger bag are proof that being practical can be a real blast and that the terms hip and handy are not mutually exclusive. Check back regularly for new designs and fabrics, and when you see something you love, buy it right away. Each piece is one of a kind, and since Schofield’s work is very reasonably priced, they go fast.

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Taylor’s Art & Soul
114 K St.
Sacramento, CA 95814
(916) 444-0055
www.taylorsartandsoul.comWhile being located deep in the middle of touristy Old Sacramento may suggest otherwise, Taylor’s Art & Soul is a haven for exceptional jewelry pieces that are made by hand. Co-owners Kristi Taylor and Ana Thompson have each created their own line of jewelry, which are available in the shop along with the work of other artisans. Taylor’s pieces, sold under her “got sparkles” label, have garnered much attention; her jewelry has been used in swag bags for the Golden Globes and Daytime Emmys, and one necklace was worn by the character Elena on “The Vampire Diaries.” Thompson’s Mi Amado line includes one-of-a-kind steam punk-inspired jewelry. In addition to unique artwork and local handicrafts, Art & Soul carries home-made lotions and soaps from Victoria’s Lavender, including a sublimely scented blackberry, lavender and honey glycerin soap.

The Firefly Exchange
1914 P St.
Sacramento, CA 95811
(916) 341-0501
www.thefireflyexchange.comThis Sacramento boutique offers reasonably priced fun, funky clothing that can be purchased or traded, as is implied by the Exchange’s name. Firefly also consigns unique, handmade jewelry and other accessories from local artisans, but that is not the end of the store’s involvement and investment into the community. Proceeds from the shop’s sales are the sole support for the nonprofit Shoes & Sandwiches, which gives food and footwear to Sacramento’s homeless population. Handmade pieces and other fashions will also be available offsite soon; later in 2014, Firefly will be opening a mobile fashion truck.

Rain’s Embellishments
Sacramento, CA
www.etsy.com/RainsembellishmentsLorrain “Rain” Garcia is a Sacramento designer whose jewelry and other accessories are eclectic, imaginative and terrifically fun. Everything on her Etsy site is handmade by the artist herself and her creativity and sense of whimsy is reflected in each one-of-a-kind piece. Garcia’s Celtic knot jewelry is striking, including one particularly gorgeous necklace made of natural gemstones and patina stamped brass. Fans of Joss Whedon will appreciate the “Firefly” Mightiest Crew in the Verse tote bag and the “Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along-Blog” pouch meant for holding quarters for the laundromat. The artist works with many materials, including precious metals, wood, fabric, porcelain, vintage glass, beads, carved coral, crystal and turquoise. Elaborate mixed-medium jewelry pieces from Garcia’s Almost Alice, Day of the Dead and Ruby Slippers collections have proven to be very popular, so snap one up as soon as you see it.

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Valerie Heimerich is a freelance writer out of Sacramento. She typically covers animals and community issues. She has volunteered and worked for many organizations helping animals and people. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.
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