Today Pop.Bop.Shop. turns eight. Eight! It's crazy to think that something that began as a New Year's resolution on January 4, 2009 is now the thing that brings me the most joy in my life (besides Scout, obviously).
You may be familiar with the traditional anniversary gifts - year one is paper, year two is cotton, year three is leather. Well, it turns out that year eight is typically marked with a gift of pottery. Pottery. Hmmm.
That got me thinking about how pottery is handmade and thanks to this blog, I have discovered so many incredible handmade items.
Today, to celebrate eight years of Pop.Bop.Shop., I want to share with you eight of my most favorite handmade crafts, gifts and of course, foods.
1. Pottery (in honor of year eight)
In September 2016 I finally took my first-ever trip to Portland, Maine. That was one of my 2015 resolutions and I didn't make it during that calendar year, but I made up for it with this fall's road trip.
While shopping with my mom on our first morning in town, we wandered into Edgecomb Potters. Edgecomb has been making stunning pottery since 1976.
Within five minutes I was magnetized to this sea shell shaped serving piece. It reminded me of the shells I used to collect as a little girl on Cape Cod.
The plate is divided into two sections, making it perfect for veggies and dip.
As you know, I live to entertain and I knew this platter would make the perfect addition to my summer tablescapes.
You can visit Edgecomb Potters at 145 Commercial Street in Portland. They also ship from their website!
I love burning candles, especially in the winter. When it's impossibly cold it outside, it helps lift my shivering spirits.
I first discovered Vessel Candle Co. in February 2014 at the BCAE Valentine's Day Market.
I was able to meet the co-founders and hear their story. I was particularly excited to learn they make their candles in my hometown of Newton, MA. That day I took home two scents - Vanilla Cinnamon and Lola (which smells like Cherry Coke). I only recently finished both (two years later) because I never wanted to let them burn all the way down!
Now you can find them at the Crompton Collective in Worcester, MA.
The last time I was there I bought one of their winter scents, First Snow. I am really excited to start lighting it.
If you can't make it to Massachusetts, you can purchase candles from their Etsy shop.
I don't know about you, but I'm slightly obsessed with soap. Since we wash our hands so many times each day, why not walk away from the sink smelling fabulous?
I was attracted to the wide variety of scents. Of course the first to catch my eye was Mojito!
After sniffing every single soap on the shelf, I left that day with three scents: Coconut Cream, Black Raspberry Cream and Satsuma Guava.
I love having these soaps in my bathroom at home, but they also make wonderful gifts, especially as a housewarming present.
This summer I learned about a new brand, Marmara Imports. Named after the Sea of Marmara near Istanbul, Turkey, the company sells Turkish towels, linens and blankets.
Marmara Imports has two headquarters - one in Newton, MA and one in Truro, MA. It's possible you have seen the co-founders, Carol and Susan, on the Greenway, at the SoWa Open Market or at the Wellfleet Artisan Market on Cape Cod.
I ordered one of their Farmer's Stitch blankets and I couldn't believe how soft and cozy it was.
I wasn't the only fan, Scout hopped right up and took over!
The blanket became my go-to and when it was time to begin shopping for holiday gifts, I decided to get one for each of my cousins. The blanket comes in 11 colors, so you can find one to match anyone's style.
5. Boston Skyline Art Work
Anyone who knows me, knows that being from Boston is a huge part of my identity. I couldn't be more proud to be born and raised in Beantown. That's why I completely flipped when I found 9000 Things at the SoWa Winter Market. The artist makes pieces that depict the Boston skyline with laser cut wallpaper.
That day I knew I wanted one, but I was super indecisive. Thankfully, in 2015, I saw her again at the Arsenal Project Holiday Market and I finally made my selection! I went with this piece which looks like the sun is setting.
You can find 9000 Things at Crompton Collective in Worcester, MA.
The rest of my "great eight" are food items, so apologies in advance if you start drooling.
I know I have been talking a lot about the Crompton Collective. That's because it's amazing and you should go there! In addition to the rows and rows of handmade and vintage items, they also have a farmer's market on Saturdays. That is where I met Peg of Peg's Preserves.
How could I resist a product called Sweet & Sassy Red Onion Jam?
Peg makes all kinds of jellies and jams. My absolute favorites are the hot pepper jam and the dark chocolate cherry jam. I like to put the dark chocolate cherry on top of a graham cracker with a little bit of cream cheese. It's like a bite-size cheesecake!
If you are a long time Pop.Bop.Shop. reader, then you are already familiar with EHChocolatier. Co-founders Catharine and Elaine make their mouth-watering chocolate confections right here in Somerville, MA.
In October 2015 they unveiled the Boston Icon Box - an homage to our beautiful city.
In April 2016 I was excited to sample their first-ever Passover collection. Eight days of matzah doesn't seem so bad when you can have these for dessert!
You can visit Catharine and Elaine at 561 Windsor Street in Somerville.
8. Ice Cream
I regularly joke that ice cream is my primary food group (not really a joke). In February 2016 I had the opportunity to visit a farm in Hadley, MA where they produce many dairy products, including Maple Valley Ice Cream. Remember when I got to feed the baby cow?
At that time, the ice cream was only being sold in a few specialty stores around Greater Boston, however, now they carry it at the Star Market in Watertown!
I've recently become obsessed with the Mint Chocolate Chunk. I highly recommend it.
In July 2016 I headed to the South End one night after work to meet Grace Connor, a 17 year old making her own ice cream.
Grace's company, little g ice cream, was delivering all over Boston and had recently secured freezer space in several local shops.
Fast forward to today and Grace's ice cream is for sale on Goldbely, which ships all over the country. She was also featured on NBC Nightly News last night - go, Grace!
My personal favorite flavor is the Snack Attack. It's vanilla bean ice cream with M&Ms, Reese's peanut butter cups, pretzels, potato chips and butter crackers. In my original review I called it "a junk food masterpiece."
If you haven't tasted little g yet, what are you waiting for?
And there you have it! Eight of my all-time favorite handmade products and treats.
Now for the really fun part. To celebrate Pop.Bop.Shop.'s eighth anniversary, I am giving away a $100 dollar American Express gift card to one lucky reader. I hope you'll use the card to shop locally and continue to support artists, crafters and cooks like the ones featured here today.
To enter to win, simply leave a comment below telling me about your favorite handmade item or gift.
This giveaway will be open until Friday, January 6, 2017 at 11:59pm ET. The winner will be notified via email on Saturday, January 7, 2017.