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Life Arts

Thinking Outside the Holiday Gift Box: A Baker's Dozen Unique Ideas

By   Follow Me on Twitter     Message Meryl Ann Butler     Permalink
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Joy Magnet by Alicia Joy Merritt by Alicia Joy Merritt

Pieces of clay are cut, or torn into fragments, and impressed with stamps and other objects to create various textures. Several layers of clay are combined and accented with beads, charms, rhinestones, crystals or gemstones.

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Joy Magnet by Alicia Joy Merritt by Alicia Joy Merritt

Iridescent metallic pigment powders in various colors are applied for a burst of color, before the magnet is painted with sealer for durability. A rare-earth (Neodymium) magnet is glued on the back.

Joy Magnet in Frame by Alicia Joy Merritt by Alicia Joy Merritt

Each piece is signed by the artist and dated. They are " positively unique!" Also available: special magnetic picture frames to showcase your Joy Magnets!

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Joy Magnet by Alicia Joy Merritt by Alicia Joy Merritt

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Parrot Jewelry by Alicia Merritt by Alicia Merritt

Merritt's work is sold internationally, and she also creates stunning, parrot-themed art jewelry at

Silk Labyrinth Pillows by Trish Schmiedl by Trish Schmiedl

3. A-Mazing Grace

Stunning 16" x 16" dupioni silk pillows from Trish Schmiedl's Threads and Needles feature machine-embroidered labyrinth designs. Unlike a maze, which offers a choice of different paths, a labyrinth has a single path.   A full-sized labyrinth can be walked in order to enhance physical, psychological, or spiritual wellbeing, and a smaller size, such as those embroidered on these pillows, can be "walked" with a finger, for the same reasons. The American Cancer Society states that walking labyrinths "may be helpful as a complementary method to decrease stress and create a state of relaxation."

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Silk Labyrinth Pillows by Trish Schmiedl by Trish Schmiedl

Trish Schmeidl's late husband had given her a sewing machine as a wedding gift to encourage her creativity, and from that modest beginning she has developed a machine embroidery design business, selling finished products as well as patterns. Talent runs in the family, her husband had been on a US Olympic team in his youth, and later was the first visually impaired quadriplegic to earn a doctorate in Clinical Psychology.

Shop at    for embroidered silk labyrinth pillows or totes.

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Meryl Ann Butler is an artist, author, educator and OpedNews Managing Editor who has been actively engaged in utilizing the arts as stepping-stones toward joy-filled wellbeing since she was a hippie. She began writing for OpEdNews in Feb, 2004. She became a Senior Editor in August 2012 and Managing Editor in January, (more...)

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