Gift Ideas for Someone Special

Rose Gold Rainbow Moonstone Necklace Full Moon Tree of Life Pendant Wire Wrapped Jewelry by PhoenixFire Designs

It’s always hard to find the perfect Christmas gift. Every year, each holiday season, people struggle to find gifts for all the people on their gift lists. (Also check out our Gift Guide for some of the hard to shop for people such as teachers, coworkers, and more here for more suggestions and ideas!)

The hardest though can definitely be the people most important to us; our loved ones such as wives, girlfriends, mothers, sisters and family.

You always want to go the extra distance and get something extra special for the people you love the most and finding something they truly love and can enjoy can be difficult. Well, don’t worry! Because PhoenixFire Designs is here to help!

For more than ten years, we’ve offered amazing quality, luxury and beauty with our line of 100% handmade, artisan jewelry. Each piece is made by hand, from scratch by me personally. This ensures not only that each piece will be unique, but that there’s real love and a decade of skill in each pendant. I’ve worked hard to hone and refine my techniques to provide you with lasting jewelry of superior beauty.

luxury christmas gifts, designer christmas gift ideas, what to buy my girlfriend for christmas, what to buy my wife for christmas, handmade christmas gift ideas

What do I get my wife for Christmas? / What do I buy my girlfriend for Christmas?

I have a whole line of high-end, luxury, designer gifts in my shop that are perfect for the extra special people in your life like your wife, girlfriend, significant other, mother, partner, daughter, sister or someone who loves unique artisan jewelry. Made from the most premium precious metals and precious and semi-precious gemstones, these are the creme de la creme of beautiful gifts.

Tanzanite is uniquely gorgeous gemstone, with a striking blue-violet color. It’s a popular gemstone for it’s rare beauty and it’s the kind of gemstone you can give as a gift for someone who understands quality and is looking for something special and unique.


14k gf Yellow Gold Tanzanite Tree of Life Pendant Necklace

Chrome Diopside is an even more exclusively rare gemstone. It’s not something a lot of people know about and few own. Because it’s found only in remote Siberia, Russia, it can only be mined a handful of months each year when the ground unfreezes long enough to access it. It’s the most stunning emerald green color. All natural and not color enhanced in anyway, this amazing green gemstone is unlike anything else in the world.


14k gf Yellow Gold Chrome Diopside Tree of Life Pendant Necklace


These striking Full Moon tree of life pendants feature massive 16mm natural, blue flash rainbow moonstone coin beads I have custom cut just for my PhoenixFire Designs shop. Each is handmade to order in either a striking black wire, or an eco-friendly, recycled Argentium sterling silver that is nickel-free and slow to tarnish with all the beauty of traditional sterling.

Eco Friendly, recycled Argentium Sterling Silver or Black Wire Wrapped Rainbow Moonstone Full Moon Tree of Life Pendant Necklace

christmas gift ideas for mom, what to buy my mom for christmas, what to buy my wife for christmas, handmade christmas gift ideas

What to buy a trendsetter gift for Christmas? / What’s a unique, luxury gift for Christmas? / Designer gifts for Christmas?

Rose gold is an amazingly hot trend right now. All the fashionistas are wearing rose gold. Rose gold is what you get for someone who loves fashion and style. And my breathtaking natural rainbow moonstone tree of life pendant in 14k gf rose gold wire is the perfect culmination of both classic style and modern trends.


14k gf Rose Gold Rainbow Moonstone Tree of Life Pendant Necklace


Ombre or a color gradation from light to dark (or dark to light) has been a popular on-trend look in fashion for several years now. You can also get this effect with gemstones such as my 14k gf yellow gold Ruby tree of life pendant. With shaded ruby ranging from a pink sapphire through to the deepest crimson red, this tree spans the stunning range of precious ruby gems.


14k gf Yellow Gold Ombre Shaded Ruby Tree of Life Pendant Necklace

dainty jewelry christmas gift ideas, what to buy my mom for christmas gift, what to buy my wife for christmas, handmade christmas gift ideas

What to buy for someone who likes dainty or simple jewelry? / Dainty Jewelry gift ideas? / Simple, elegant jewelry gift ideas?

Some people prefer smaller, dainty jewelry. Understated jewelry, simple elegant necklaces, everyday jewelry, or classic, timeless style jewelry. My miniature freshwater pearl tree of life pendant is the perfect example of that. Timeless classic pearls in a small, dainty, elegant 14k gf yellow gold setting.

Miniature 14k gf Yellow Gold Freshwater Pearl Tree of Life Pendant Necklace

Or maybe you want a gift idea under $30 but still want something of quality. Perhaps you just want to find a pair of really lovely earrings. These blue sapphire earrings are in .925 sterling silver with Shepherd’s Hook wires accented with a silver ball and are just simple enough to convey elegance and beauty but classic and timeless enough to wear everyday, from day to night.

Sterling Silver Blue Sapphire Simple Stacked Gemstone Earrings

diy christmas gifts, phoenixfire designs christmas gift ideas, phoenix fire handmade tree of life pendants, handmade christmas gift ideas

This is just the tiniest sampling of handmade jewelry, wire wrapped jewelry, tree of life pendants, full moon trees, glow in the dark jewelry, 14k gf pendants, gemstone earrings and more found in the PhoenixFire Designs etsy shop! Please feel free to browse our catalog or contact us to get something custom made to order!

Holiday Gift Guide

Yarn Ball Ornament, Handmade Christmas Tree Ornament, Gift for knitters, Rustic Christmas, Country Christmas, Handmade Christmas gift ideas by PhoenixFire Designs

There’s a lot of pressure this time of year to find the perfect gift for everyone on your list from your friends, family, coworkers – the list can be overwhelming! So I’ve put together this guide to help offer up some handmade suggestions for all the holiday gift ideas you’ll need for a successful holiday season!

Remember to think outside the big box and shop small! Not only will you get more unique items, and one-of-a-kind gifts, but you’ll be supporting individuals rather than larger corporations.

Today I’ve gathered up a range of Christmas gift selections for you to help give you ideas for all your handmade holiday gift giving this season! Click any link for more information or browse the entire PhoenixFire Designs etsy shop for many more ideas and options! And, as always, feel free to contact us for something custom made, personalized or one of a kind made just for you!

christmas gift ideas for mom, what to buy my mom for christmas, what to buy my coworker for christmas, handmade christmas gift ideas

What do I buy my kid’s teacher for Christmas?

Not everyone will look for teacher’s gifts but for those who are looking might enjoy a play on the traditional “apple for teacher” idea! Why give your child’s teacher a single apple when a whole apple tree is a much more whimsical and fun take on the idea. This fruit tree also serves a sweet representation of planting the seed of knowledge and watching it bloom.


Apple Tree of Life Pendant with Peridot Leaves and Ruby Red Jade Apples

christmas gift ideas for mom, what to buy my mom for christmas, what to buy my coworker for christmas, handmade christmas gift ideas

What do I buy for a knitter? / What’s a good gift for a crafter? / What is a good rustic, handmade Christmas gift idea?

Handmade yarn ball ornament. These are perfect for knitters or fiber lovers! They’re also a fun way to celebrate handmade and have a rustic, country Christmas style for your tree.


Yarn Ball Ornament, Christmas Tree Decoration for Knitters

christmas gift ideas for mom, what to buy my mom for christmas, what to buy my coworker for christmas, handmade christmas gift ideas

What do I buy my Mom? / What’s a good gift for a new Mom? / Christmas gift ideas for Moms?

When it comes to getting a gift for Mom, why not celebrate her and her family? By getting her something unique, customized and personalized with birthstones of her children, it becomes extra personal and special. Or, if she’s a new mom, why not get her something sweet to announce the new addition to the family?

Nowadays, many new moms are often given what’s known as “push gifts” or “push presents” as a way to celebrate the birth of the new baby; marking the momentous occasion of the birth with a gift to celebrate nine long months waiting for the new arrival!

For the Mom who prefers a more dainty, understated necklace, this unbroken circle or eternity pendant personalized with family birthstones makes a wonderful and sublte way to celebrate family.

Dainty Circle Family Birthstone Necklace

For the first time Mom or new Mom, why not a sweet bird nest pendant, announcing It’s a Girl! or It’s a Boy! with a little pink or blue egg nestled in the wire wrapped bird’s nest?

It’s a Girl Bird Nest Necklace


It’s a Boy Bird Nest Pendant Necklace

For the mom with a larger family, how about a Family Tree? Handmade from scratch and customized with your choice of branches and birthstones, each tree is a unique representation of your family! You can even have a multigenerational family tree including grandparents, parents, and grandchildren all together in one beautiful and deeply meaningful pendant.


Birthstone Family Tree of Life

christmas gift ideas for mom, what to buy my mom for christmas, what to buy my coworker for christmas, handmade christmas gift ideas

What do I buy for a friend or coworker as a stocking stuffer? / What do I buy someone who loves Christmas? / What’s a fun and lighthearted gift?

What about something fun and seasonal like a pair of miniature Christmas tree earrings? They’re dainty enough to be easily wearable and yet colorful and vibrant and will bring seasonal festive fun to your everyday wardrobe! They’re also a great gift under $25!


Czech Glass and Swarovski Crystal Miniature Christmas Tree Earrings

christmas gift ideas for mom, what to buy my mom for christmas, what to buy my coworker for christmas, handmade christmas gift ideas

What do I get for my Yoga Teacher? / What do I get for my Massage Therapist? / What’s a good gift idea for my Yoga instructor?

It’s important to really find something unique and special for yoga instructors, your masseuse, lightworkers, healers or the ladies in your wellness center or spa. More so than most, a big-box, mass produced item just isn’t going to cut it. These women have a different mindset and greater appreciation of the artistic.

Perhaps something celebrating chakra or the spirituality of a rainbow of colors – each with a deep, whole body meaning.

Chakra Rainbow Gemstone Full Moon Tree of Life

unique, handmade christmas gifts by phoenix fire designs, christmas gift ideas for mom, what to buy my mom for christmas, what to buy my coworker for christmas, handmade christmas gift ideas

What do I get for the hard to shop for person? / What’s a unique Christmas gift idea? / What do I get someone who loves space, astrology, astronomy or celestial images?

There’s often that one person on your list who’s very hard to shop for! The person who defies conventional gift ideas, or who has broad, unique and diverse interests that are hard to pin down to a single gift. In those instances, I say you think outside the box. Opt for something really unique and special; something no one else is going to have; something that will draw attention, attract a sense of wonder, and provide a sense of awe.

Might I suggest my glow in the dark full moon tree of life necklace? It’s just unique enough to be special and yet be the perfect gift for so many people on your holiday shopping list.

Glow in the Dark Full Moon Tree of Life Pendant Necklace

handmade christmas gifts by PhoenixFireDesigns, christmas gift ideas for mom, what to buy my mom for christmas, what to buy my coworker for christmas, handmade christmas gift ideas

What do I get for someone who loves steampunk? / What to buy someone who loves peacocks or peacock feathers?

How about a hand trimmed, natural peacock feather inside a copper glass vial? It’s a striking piece and every one is unique. They are real attention getters and a great gift under $50!


Steampunk inspired Peacock Feather Copper Vial Locket Necklace

PhoenixFire Designs christmas gift ideas, christmas gift ideas for mom, what to buy my mom for christmas, what to buy my coworker for christmas, handmade christmas gift ideas

What do I get someone who loves owls?

I have the perfect suggestion: a full moon tree of life pendant with a copper owl nestled in the branches! It’s available in multiple wire color combinations too! Would also be a wonderful gift for a Harry Potter fan – I know I love the owls including Hedwig! – and an owl full moon tree makes a magical gift.

Opalite Moonstone Full Moon Tree of Life with Copper Owl

christmas gift ideas for mom, what to buy my mom for christmas, what to buy my coworker for christmas, handmade christmas gift ideas, etsy christmas gifts

What do I get for someone who loves wolves? / What’s a good wolf Christmas gift?

Wolves are always a popular motif and there’s any number of unique wolf gift ideas out there. But what about something truly different? I have a handmade, glow in the dark full moon tree with howling wolf charm pendant which combines a love of the night sky, the full moon and the beauty and majesty of a lone wolf singing out into the night.


Howling Wolf Glow in the Dark Full Moon Tree of Life Pendant Necklace

christmas gift sets, jewelry sets for christmas gifts, christmas gift ideas for mom, what to buy my mom for christmas, what to buy my coworker for christmas, handmade christmas gift ideas, etsy christmas gifts

I need a Christmas Gift Set / What’s a good jewelry set for Christmas? / Easy, ready to give gift set for Christmas?

Sometimes, it’s just easier if a gift is already nicely put together into a gift set. Especially a coordinating jewelry set where you know all the pieces match. A pendant, a necklace and matching earrings – all in one, all ready to give. Even gift wrapped if you prefer! I have a few gift sets all combined together into one easy to purchase listing. These bonus gift sets also are a great value, giving you not only a gift wrapped and ready to give set, but an instant 10% savings vs buying separately!

My number one best-selling opalite moonstone full moon tree is available in this instant savings gift set, complete with necklace and earrings with optional faux bois woodgrain gift wrap for easy gift giving.


Holiday Gift Set, Opalite Moonstone Full Moon Tree of Life pendant, matching chain, and coordinating earrings

christmas gift sets, jewelry sets for christmas gifts, christmas gift ideas for mom, what to buy my mom for christmas, what to buy my coworker for christmas, handmade christmas gift ideas, etsy christmas gifts

Check out the PhoenixFire Designs etsy shop for many more ideas and options! And, as always, feel free to contact us for something custom made, personalized or one of a kind made just for you!

Think Outside the [Big] Box This Holiday Season

Three 14k gf Tree of Life Pendants handmade by PhoenixFire Designs featuring emerald green Chrome Diopside, an Ombre of shaded Ruby, and deep Blue Sapphire.

The holidays can be stressful for so many people. Having guests, hosting dinners, having company, shopping for gifts, holiday baking – the list can be endless! And far too often people run out of time or energy and simply run to the local mall or big box store and frantically try to find some generic piece of plastic crap that fill the shelves and hope the gift recipient likes it.

But gift giving doesn’t have to be like this!

There’s a big maker movement being reclaimed here in the US; people are once again crafting things with their own hands, making them one-at-a-time in their workshops, studios, and made in America. Artists, artisans, crafters – all of us are honing our skill and craft and making beautiful things that are truly gifts to be remembered.

Three 14k gf Tree of Life Pendants handmade by PhoenixFire Designs featuring emerald green Chrome Diopside, an Ombre of shaded Ruby, and deep Blue Sapphire.

Three 14k gf Tree of Life Pendants handmade by PhoenixFire Designs featuring emerald green Chrome Diopside, an Ombre of shaded Ruby, and deep Blue Sapphire.

My own shop, PhoenixFire Designs is celebrating TEN YEARS this year on Etsy. It’s a milestone I’m very proud of and my commitment to luxury, quality, and beauty remain the core of my business. I love creating unique jewelry; signature pieces that bring people happiness and special meaning. I love knowing that something I made from scratch with my two hands will be something worn and enjoyed for years to come.

Hand wire wrapped in 14k gf yellow gold wire with a large, natural, Rainbow Moonstone Full Moon nestled in the bare branches of this unique tree of life pendant by PhoenixFire Designs.

Hand wire wrapped in 14k gf yellow gold wire with a large, natural, Rainbow Moonstone Full Moon nestled in the bare branches of this unique tree of life pendant by PhoenixFire Designs.

The holiday season shouldn’t be about who can find the cheapest item the fastest. And I get that in this rush-rush-rush, fast-paced world, it’s hard to slow down and take the time to search for something unique and special. But please, as a handcrafted artisan, I implore you to look at options beyond the Big Box stores. Your mother, your sister, your friend – they don’t need more Made in China junk. Our lives and homes are full of disposable items, cheaply made of questionable quality and little to no value for the human lives in the factory that churned it out.

14k gf Yellow Gold Ombre of Shaded Ruby Tree of Life ranging from pink sapphire through deep ruby red. Handmade by PhoenixFire Designs.

14k gf Yellow Gold Ombre of Shaded Ruby Tree of Life ranging from pink sapphire through deep ruby red. Handmade by PhoenixFire Designs.

Instead, think about supporting an individual with your holiday shopping. The CEO of Wal-Mart doesn’t care about you, nor does your purchase impact the millions he already has. But your single purchase with a handcrafted artisan…that’s a different story altogether!

Those handmade purchases put food on the table, a roof over the head and gas in the car of REAL people; REAL individuals and families right here in America. It’s not an abstract concept, it’s as black and white and simple as it gets; support small business and handmade artists and not only do you get something unique and crafted with love and care, but you put money into the hands of a real person instead of a goliath corporation.

And isn’t that what the spirit of the holiday season is truly about?

Argentium sterling silver, recycled and eco-friendly sterling with deep blue sapphire gemstones in this handmade tree of life pendant by PhoenixFire Designs.

Argentium sterling silver, recycled and eco-friendly sterling with deep blue sapphire gemstones in this handmade tree of life pendant by PhoenixFire Designs.

PhoenixFire Designs would love to make your holiday shine! Please feel free to shop our Etsy storefront, or contact us if you’d like something custom, personalized or one of a kind made just for you! We’re always happy to accept custom orders.


Miss M. Turner is the owner and founder of PhoenixFire Designs and has been creating handcrafted jewelry, all made 100% from scratch in her Tampa, Florida studio since 2001. Her successful etsy shop celebrates it’s 10th year in 2016, with thousands of happy customers all around the world. M. Turner also vends at local markets, craft shows, indie festivals and other art shows throughout the greater Tampa Bay Area and into Sarasota.

You can find her blog at TreeofLifePendants.com, follow PhoenixFire Designs on Instagram, follow PhoenixFire Designs on Pinterest and Shop PhoenixFire Designs on Etsy or Handmade at Amazon.

Limited Edition Halloween Jewelry Sale

halloween jewelry, limited edition halloween accessories, phoenixfire designs, phoenix fire designs, phoenixfiredesigns, disney s haunted mansion, haunted mansion wallpaper jewelry, haunted mansion pendant, haunted mansion necklace, madame leota jewelry, ouija board necklace, ouija board pendant, haunted mansion stretch portraits, disneyworld, walt disney world, disneyland, custom bookmarks, metal bookmarks, custom metal bookmark, hauntizaar, halloween accessories, halloween costume ideas, halloween jewelry ideas, spooky jewelry, goth jewelry, gothic jewelry, goth necklace, gothic necklace, goth pendant, halloween full moon, blood moon jewelry, ooak jewelry, unique gift ideas, artisan jewelry

I made up a selection of limited edition Halloween jewelry for PhoenixFire Designs participation at the amazing Hauntizaar 2016 event. I have a handful of odds and ends leftover from the show and it’s all for sale at discounted price – first come, first served!

halloween jewelry, limited edition halloween accessories, phoenixfire designs, phoenix fire designs, phoenixfiredesigns, disney s haunted mansion, haunted mansion wallpaper jewelry, haunted mansion pendant, haunted mansion necklace, madame leota jewelry, ouija board necklace, ouija board pendant, haunted mansion stretch portraits, disneyworld, walt disney world, disneyland, custom bookmarks, metal bookmarks, custom metal bookmark, hauntizaar, halloween accessories, halloween costume ideas, halloween jewelry ideas, spooky jewelry, goth jewelry, gothic jewelry, goth necklace, gothic necklace, goth pendant, halloween full moon, blood moon jewelry, ooak jewelry, unique gift ideas, artisan jewelry

Available while it lasts on the PhoenixFire Designs Facebook page!

Trend Alert: Dainty Circle Necklaces

Dainty Circle Necklaces, Natural gemstone jewelry, wire wrapped karma necklace, handmade garnet, blue topaz, rainbow moonstone, green opal jewelry by PhoenixFire Designs

Dainty, delicate and understated necklaces are a hot, on-trend look right now. Minimal design, simplistic pieces that can go with anything! PhoenixFire Designs has introduced a new line of simple, circle necklaces inspired by the celebrity style, fashion and look you’re seeing in films, tv, and on the red carpet right now!

Celebrity style inspired Circle Necklace, Karma Necklace, rainbow moonstone dainty pendant handmade by PhoenixFire Designs

Our take on the Circle Necklace or “Karma Necklace” adds in signature PhoenixFire Designs style with hand wire wrapped natural gemstones on hand hammered unbroken ring frames. The first four available include green opal, rainbow moonstone, mystic blue topaz, and garnet.

Dainty Circle Necklaces, Natural gemstone jewelry, wire wrapped karma necklace, handmade garnet, blue topaz, rainbow moonstone, green opal jewelry by PhoenixFire Designs

Circles have extensive symbology and meaning. Circles represent infinity; an unbroken circle is never ending, total, perfect, whole, timeless, eternal. Circles have also been used to represent the sun; masculine energy of strength while also representing the soul; the feminine energy of water and the moon. The Earth circles the sun as do all the planets and heavenly bodies; a never-ending dance of symmetry. Circles have been used to mark a life’s journey – and the passage of seasons as the Wheel of the Year – and the unbroken concept of birth/death/rebirth throughout myth and religion world-wide. The ultimate symbol, circles are simple but powerful and make for equally simple but powerful jewelry.

Each PhoenixFire Designs Dainty Circle Necklace is formed of hand-hammered wire to shape and harden it, then natural, faceted rondelle gemstones are hand wire wrapped and encircled along the frame, giving each circle pendant a pop of lovely color while maintaining the delicate and understated look of the piece.

Handcrafted Green Opal Dainty Circle Necklace, hand wire wrapped jewelry, delicate pendant, birthstone jewelry, karma necklace by PhoenixFire Designs inspired by celebrity style, celebrity fashion, on trend look.

Easily worn as everyday necklace, paired with your favorite shirt or sweater and jeans, they can also be a subtle pop of color for an evening out, paired with a cocktail dress and heels. Vertistle day to night style makes these handmade circle necklaces an affordable, handmade luxury on a budget.

As with all PhoenixFire Designs jewelry, we are happy to customize! Contact us to request a different gemstone, or combination of gemstones (such as family birthstones for a unique Mother’s necklace!) And shop all the handmade items available in the PhoenixFire Designs etsy shop!


Miss M. Turner is the owner and founder of PhoenixFire Designs and has been creating handcrafted jewelry, all made 100% from scratch in her Tampa, Florida studio since 2001. Her successful etsy shop celebrates it’s 10th year in 2016, with thousands of happy customers all around the world. M. Turner also vends at local markets, craft shows, indie festivals and other art shows throughout the greater Tampa Bay Area and into Sarasota.

You can find her blog at TreeofLifePendants.com, follow PhoenixFire Designs on Instagram, follow PhoenixFire Designs on Pinterest and Shop PhoenixFire Designs on Etsy or Handmade at Amazon.

So You Want To Vend at Craft Shows? (Part One: Basic Supplies – Tent)

PhoenixFire Designs handmade tree of life pendants, wire wrapped jewelry, birthstone necklaces, vendor booth tampa, clearwater, st. pete marker market, shop local, craft show, art festival.

With the resurgence of interest in the “maker movement” and the push for more handmade, handcrafted, locally sourced products lately, people are embracing the idea of shop small and shop local and there are more craft fairs, art shows, indie markets, farmer’s markets and more going on regularly in most cities around the country. Setting up as a vendor at these kinds of events can be a great way to promote and sell your wares.

Though I’ve been on Etsy for ten years now this year, I’m always reaching out to a new audience at local events! Online sales platforms provide a global audience but not everyone shops online, nor will they necessarily find you in the sea of options. It also gives people a chance to see my work in person and fully appreciate the details and intricacy of it. No matter how nice a photo I take, it’s always better to see, touch, and evaluate an item in person.

All that said, however, vending isn’t for everyone and one needs to be aware of the high up-front costs associated with getting a vendor booth ready for prime-time.

PhoenixFire Designs booth tent display for St. Pete Earth Day Celebration 2016.

PhoenixFire Designs booth tent display for St. Pete Earth Day Celebration 2016.

Now, I’ve been doing in-person shows and events for several years now. My early booth was nowhere near as “finished” as it is now. The process of developing a booth is forever ongoing and ever-changing. You’ll learn what works for you and what doesn’t; you’ll hone in on how you like your set-up, the things that are important or that can be discarded, etc. And you’ll upgrade and improve your equipment as you go. I’m not going to get into booth design or display ideas in this specific post (as that’s an entire post of it’s own), but perhaps that’s something I can address in a future post. For now, I’m just going to highlight some products that work for me. Your mileage may vary and please feel free to just use this as a starting point rather than a checklist.

First, and most importantly is your tent. Now, you can go to Wal-Mart or Lowe’s and buy a backyard or beach style tent for around $60-90 and that’s what I did in the beginning. (In fact, mine was a hand me down!)

PhoenixFire Designs first ever show tent, just goes to show how far I've come and how you grow, change and develop your display and vendor booth presence over the years!

This is so embarrassing, but I’m sharing it to show how displays develop and grow with experience. This was my first ever show with a hand-me-down backyard tent.

But if you’re going to do this on a regular or on-going basis, you’ll very quickly find that a quality tent makes a HUGE difference in both set-up as well as presentation. Once I made the investment for my tent – I personally use Undercover R-3 with CRS curtain wall system – I felt like it really stepped up my game. I felt more “legit” and “professional” and I think the quality helped customer perception of me as a vendor as well. It was an investment vs the cheap ones, but given how much I’ve used it, the tent has more than paid for itself countless times.

There are several things to keep in mind about a tent:

  • Some shows require white-only tops.
    Many “beach” or “backyard” style tents have blue, green, brown or other color tops. This can limit the shows/events you participate in.
  • Many shows require tent carry fire resistance rating.
    The “professional” tents are often pre-treated; inexpensive ones may require you to spray them down with fire retardant products that are messy and stinky.
  • Most inexpensive tents do not have sidewalls.
    Having walls you can close can be VERY important in many situations including if it starts to rain, if you need to isolate your booth from an obnoxious neighbor booth (it happens!), or for shade or sun protection. Many times, by the time you buy a cheap tent and walls separately, you spent as much as a more expensive tent anyway!
  • Inexpensive backyard/beach tents are not as strong/durable as professional grade ones.
    You’re going to be hauling this thing around; throwing in the back of a truck or SUV, setting up, breaking down repeatedly. It’s going to take wear and damage. Plus, you’re going to need to anchor this thing and you need to be sure it’s solid enough not to bend or break from use or from your anchor weights.

One feature I LOVE about my tent is the way the walls hang. Most tents – such as popular styles by EZ-Up (note: this one with walls is more expensive than my preferred tent!) – use a velcro system to hang the walls. This means it’s basically ALL or NOTHING. My preferred tent uses a unique system called “CRS™ Curtain-Wall Enclosure” which basically means there’s a built-in coated metal “cord” all along the four edges of the tent. The walls clip onto this “railing” and can slide open, closed, half open, etc.

PhoenixFire Designs vendor booth displaying Undercover R-3 CRS curtain hanging system usage.

In the circled areas, you can see how the curtains clip onto the “railing” (which is a strong, coated metal wire) to allow the walls to slide open or closed, or partially open or closed. This unique feature is one of my favorite aspects of my tent.

Once you have your tent, you’ll need a few accessories right away. First off, is some sort of anchor or weight. Do not be fooled into thinking because your tent is heavy that it can’t move, fly off, blow over or get knocked down!! Because I assure you it can and will if not anchored properly!

There are COUNTLESS ways to anchor a tent down. A lot of it depends on your personal preference. Every show will require some sort of anchor/weight just for safety reasons and you can’t count on being able to use stakes or anything that requires embedding in the ground. Besides the fact many shows won’t allow you to use stakes to prevent damage to the park or grass you’re set up on, many shows you might be on concrete and a stake simply isn’t an option!

It’s best not to even worry about any kind of in-ground anchor and focus ONLY on a weight type system!

Do a search for “tent weights” on amazon and there’s a myriad of options. I initially picked up something like these tent plate weights but quickly realized though they are convienent, they are NOWHERE NEAR enough weight. At only 5-7lbs per leg, they won’t even slow down a tent that catches the wind.

PhoenixFire Designs handmade tree of life pendants, wire wrapped jewelry, birthstone necklaces, vendor booth tampa, clearwater, st. pete marker market, shop local, craft show, art festival.

Shot of my tent from Live, Love, Local Festival in 2016. You can see how I opted to open my side walls up for breeze but how neatly they tie up like curtains when not in use. Hidden behind the curtains are my tent weights!

For safety, you want at LEAST 20lbs PER leg. I know. It’s a lot of weight and means that’s 80lbs of weights you need to carry to and from your car to set up and break down. I sympathize! But for your safety, the safety of your customers and to prevent loss or damage of your items or other vendors, it’s really what you need to do.

After some trial and error, I personally wound up using EZ UP Canopy Weight Bags. There are a few other, less expensive versions such as King Canopy Weight Bags or Euromax Weight Bags. At the time I bought mine, the cheaper options weren’t as plentiful. I can’t comment on the other ones but I will say the EZ UP ones I purchased have held up really well, through heavy rains and brutal Florida heat and sun. I would recommend them.

All of them work on the same premise though: You go to Lowes or Home Depot and buy some 50lb bags of “playground sand.” I found mine for a little over $5/bag at Lowe’s. And you simply fill the bags with the sand and close them up. The bags them wrap around the tent leg and you velcro them in place.

Demonstration of how to use tent bag weights and ratchet tie down straps to secure your vendor tent at shows.

Normally, I hide my weights in my curtain, but clearly this day I forgot. Which works well for you to see how I put the weights the base of the leg, then use a tie-down ratchet strap to connect the top of the weight bag with the frame of the tent. This helps provide more “downforce” pull on the tent and makes the weights more effective in preventing the tent from blowing, tilting or tipping over in the wind.

The final step is IMPORTANT though and I think most people miss which is to anchor the weights with a rachet or tie down strap to the top of the tent. And please, do NOT use a bungee cord! It has too much give and can fail if the wind catches the tent.

Example of how to use Undercover R-3 CRS curtain hanging wall system as well as hide your tie down tent weight straps in the curtain wall.

This is another shot from behind the table inside my booth showing you both how the curtain walls hang on my tent as well as how I “hide” my ratchet tie-down straps within the curtain wall.

By running a tie down through your tent weight and then through the top frame of your tent, you’re providing more downforce so the tent is anchored even more securely and firmly. And I can attest that this very system helped us when we got caught in a HEAVY thunderstorm right on the waterfront in Florida. The winds were blowing hard and we just zipped our walls shut and hunkered inside and waited out the storm.

Whew! That was a lot of information for one post and we’ve only just scratched the surface. But I’m going to finish up here for now. Look for additional how-to and vendor information articles in the future addressing other aspects of vendor life and how to have the best possible presentation for your work!

Have ideas for other topics? Leave a comment and let me know! And please feel free to share this article with anyone you think could benefit from this information. Thanks for reading!

I am in no way endorsed or sponsored by any company. All opinions are 100% my own and not influenced in anyway. All products mentioned were paid for 100% out of pocket without any compensation or discount. This is not a paid review. Amazon links are affiliate links to help support me as a small business owner and help me provide helpful content like this.


Miss M. Turner is the owner and founder of PhoenixFire Designs and has been creating handcrafted jewelry, all made 100% from scratch in her Tampa, Florida studio since 2001. Her successful etsy shop celebrates it’s 10th year in 2016, with thousands of happy customers all around the world. M. Turner also vends at local markets, craft shows, indie festivals and other art shows throughout the greater Tampa Bay Area and into Sarasota.

You can find her blog at TreeofLifePendants.com, follow PhoenixFire Designs on Instagram, follow PhoenixFire Designs on Pinterest and Shop PhoenixFire Designs on Etsy or Handmade at Amazon.

Vote for PhoenixFire Designs as Best Handcrafted Jewelry in Tampa Bay!

Black Wire Wrapped Natural Rainbow Moonstone Full Moon Tree of Life Pendant by PhoenixFire Designs

PhoenixFire Designs was “Best Handcrafted Jewelry” runner-up last year for Creative Loafing’s “Best of the Bay” contest. This year, you can help me take the win! And since we are celebrating our 10th anniversary on etsy this year, it would be amazing and extra special to take home the title too.

Vote PhoenixFire Designs for Best Handcrafted Jewelry in Creative Loafing's Best of the Bay contest! Support our 100% local, 100% handmade from scratch tree of life pendants. Celebrating 10 years on etsy!

It’s SUPER easy to vote! Just go to HERE, enter your email address and pick PhoenixFire Designs under the Best Handcrafted Jewelry category. (Hint: we’re the first “p” in the category so you can just hit your letter “p” and we’ll come up!)

Scroll down to the bottom and click SUBMIT.

It’s that simple! One vote per email address. Now through August 16th.

PhoenixFire Designs is a 100% handmade from scratch jewelry business. I am not a reseller, I don’t have things manufactured in China and I don’t sell mass-produced junk. Every single item I sell is made by my two hands right here in my Tampa studio. Please help support my one-woman owned business and vote! Thank you for your support!

Recycled Jewelry Can Be A Toxic Health Risk

Electronic products are jam-packed with heavy metals, semi-metals and various chemical compounds that can leak into soil and become hazardous. Things like lead, mercury, copper, barium, nickel and even arsenic are all present within a variety of electronic products.

While I am a strong advocate for recycling (and upcycling), not everything can be “recycled beautifully.” Some things are unsafe, toxic and potentially seriously harmful to health. Doubly so when you’re talking about materials that will be worn on the human body and touching skin. One such example is reclaimed wire from old electronics such as tv’s or computers.

 Electronic products are jam-packed with heavy metals, semi-metals and various chemical compounds that can leak into soil and become hazardous. Things like lead, mercury, copper, barium, nickel and even arsenic are all present within a variety of electronic products.

What you might not realize is that electronic waste (also known as “e-waste”) is a serious problem in our tech-hungry society. And that much of that old tech contains a terrifying mix of toxic and potentially deadly combination of heavy metals and chemicals that are not only making humans sick, but poisoning our environment as well.

  • Brominated flame retardants – used in circuit boards and plastic casings. They are known to cause neurological issues such as learning disabilities and memory function. Additionally, interfere with thyroid and estrogen hormone systems. Exposure in the womb has been linked to behavioural problems. source
  • Lead – cathode ray tubes (CRT) found in monitors and tv’s contain thousands and thousands of tons of lead. Even low levels of lead in the blood of children can result in:
    Behavior and learning problems, Lower IQ and Hyperactivity, Slowed growth, Hearing Problems, Anemia and in rare cases, ingestion of lead can cause seizures, coma and even death.

    In adults, effects include: Cardiovascular effects, increased blood pressure and incidence of hypertension, Decreased kidney function and Reproductive problems (in both men and women) source

  • Mercury – used in flat panel displays and for lighting of monitors and tvs, this heavy metal produce toxicity or death with less than a gram. Toxic effects include damage to the brain, kidneys and lungs. Mercury poisoning can result in several diseases, including acrodynia (pink disease), Hunter-Russell syndrome, and Minamata disease. Symptoms typically include sensory impairment (vision, hearing, speech), disturbed sensation and a lack of coordination. source
  • Hexavalent chromium – used in production of metal casings to harden and resist corrosion as well as in paints and plastics is known to cause cancer. In addition, it targets the respiratory system, kidneys, liver, skin and eyes. source
  • Polyvinyl chloride (PVC) – used to manufacture plastics, plastic coatings on electronic wires, cable coatings, packing materials and more has more harmful side effects than I can easily mention ranging from liver damage, to male reproductive damage, to liver cancer, to oral cancer, to miscarriage, to testicular damage, to kidney damage, to inhibition of blood clotting in humans and cardiac arrhythmias in animals among many others. Suffice to say, you don’t want prolonged exposure to it. source
  • Cadmium – is a toxic heavy metal used in old CRT monitors and rechargeable batteries. Cadmium and its compounds are highly toxic and exposure to this metal is known to cause cancer and targets the body’s cardiovascular, renal, gastrointestinal, neurological, reproductive, and respiratory systems. source

Unfortunately, the list goes on and on. See Hazardous Substances in e-Waste for even more toxic and dangerous materials I haven’t even mentioned!

All this begs the question….why would you use “recycled copper or aluminum wire that [is] pull[ed] out of T.V.’s that people throw in the trash” for human worn jewelry??

epa000471501 A worker rummages through electronic waste for the purpose of salvaging metals and other materials for resale in Guiyu, south China's Guangdong province, Friday 01 July 2005.  Electronic waste, illegally imported here from developed countries, is causing severe environmental damage and exposing workers to highly toxic chemicals and heavy metals.  EPA/MICHAEL REYNOLDS

Do you really want to wear jewelry made from THIS? Do you want to exposure yourself, your family, your children to the potential dangers known in e-waste by wearing jewelry made from “recycled beautifully” wire? image source

Remember, skin can and DOES absorb chemicals!

Skin absorption is a route by which substances can enter the body through the skin. Along with inhalation, ingestion and injection, dermal absorption is a route of exposure for toxic substances and route of administration for medication. source

I implore you to PLEASE research your jewelry purchases. Be sure that the materials used in your jewelry is SAFE and MEANT for wear by humans. Don’t fall for slick marketing campaigns designed to trick you into thinking you’re buying something ecologically friendly.

Managing the ever-growing source of e-waste in the world is a serious problem to be sure, but using potentially toxic – and at worse, possibly lethal – materials for jewelry is flat-out dangerous.


Miss M. Turner is the owner and founder of PhoenixFire Designs and has been creating handcrafted jewelry, all made 100% from scratch in her Tampa, Florida studio since 2001. Her successful etsy shop celebrates it’s 10th year in 2016, with thousands of happy customers all around the world. M. Turner also vends at local markets, craft shows, indie festivals and other art shows throughout the greater Tampa Bay Area and into Sarasota.

You can find her blog at TreeofLifePendants.com, follow PhoenixFire Designs on Instagram, follow PhoenixFire Designs on Pinterest and Shop PhoenixFire Designs on Etsy or Handmade at Amazon.

When “Handmade” Isn’t Really Made by Hand

Just because a seller claims to be "handmade" doesn't mean they really make it by hand. This article takes a look at common reseller tactics and how to avoid falling for overpriced junk made in China.

Handmade is having a resurgence lately. People are reconnecting with the idea of handicrafts, handmade, arts & crafts and craft markets. Websites such as Etsy have dominated the online market share, with Handmade At Amazon launching late 2015. As a handmade jewelry artisan, it’s a good time. And I am excited that people are once again valuing the maker movement; the one-of-a-kind treasures made by human hands here in America instead of churned out in a factory in a third world country.

The problem comes about when people abuse the definition of “handmade” to profit from this goodwill; when they falsify what handmade truly is. I see people pass off mass-produced items as “handmade” all the time. This hurts those of us who are true artisans and waters down the market. It also undercuts the value of true handicrafts and teaches consumers to expect “dollar store” or “Wal-Mart” pricing, making it much more difficult for artists to make a living.

For example, if Jane Doe comes along with items made in China that she buys for pennies and resells as “handmade” she can afford to charge very little for the items. Meaning, a consumer used to the “Wal-Mart” type lowest possible price mentality will see something truly handmade and scoff at the “expense” of it.

Pretty pictures don’t mean something is handmade. Take this image from instagram for example.

Beware of fake handmade. How to spot fake handmade. Not all handcrafted is by hand. China resellers on etsy.

One of thousands of so-called “handmade” or “handcrafted” websites out there who have pretty pictures of Chinese imported junk.

As of this writing, over 400 people have “liked” it. It’s being passed off as “handcrafted.” But is it really? A 30 second search on AliExpress (a website where you can buy wholesale goods direct from Chinese factories) results in this:

Beware of fake handmade. How to spot fake handmade. Not all handcrafted is by hand. China resellers on etsy.

Direct Chinese import at wholesale prices. These items are of questionable material and made in third world factories. They are NOT “handmade.”

Look familiar? It’s the same exact item. Available for $2.49 each with free shipping. It’s NOT handmade. It’s some piece of junk from China made from unidentifiable materials and made in a factory in a third world country with questionable human rights.

What about the “dragon claw” pendant. That’s handmade though, right?

This is not handmade. Deceitful sellers pass things like this off as "handcrafted" on etsy and at craft shows all the time. How to spot fakes. Guide to truly handmade.

This is not handmade. Deceitful sellers pass things like this off as “handcrafted” on etsy and at craft shows all the time.

Nope. $1.89 per pendant with free shipping.

Ok, but surely the crescent moon druzy pendant must be truly handmade, right?

Pretty photos don't make something handmade. Just because the etsy shop or craft show vendor claims its handcrafted doesn't mean it truly is. Resellers are a rampant problem in the handmade marketplace and damage consumer perception of the maker movement.

BZZ!! Three strikes, you’re out! Just another case of being a reseller. (A reseller is someone who buys mass produced, factory items at wholesale prices and turns around and resells it for profit without disclosing it was actually manufactured elsewhere.)

Not only does this blatant lying and misrepresentation mean that truly handmade artisans can’t compete financially with resellers, but it degrades the consumer’s trust in handmade. It puts down in their minds as to whether or not something is made by hand or not.

This isn’t a new problem. Nor is this example the only person who distorts the truth for marketing appeal – nor the first to be highly successful selling tall tales as to a product’s origins. One need only google “Ecologica Malibu” to come across articles (like this or this or like this) discussing the case of the “recycled boat wood” furniture.

You can also google “Three Bird Nest” to find one of the most INFAMOUS abusers of etsy – and self-proclaimed “richest etsy seller” at one point – to find articles like this.

So, it’s not so much a “Genesis” here that this one, highly successful jewelry seller is making hand-over-fist reselling you cheap junk from China with a fancy marketing scheme and instagram filtered photos. It’s that this continues to happen and hard working artisans like myself continue to get the squeeze.

If you want to buy cheap, junk, costume jewelry or cheap, junk accessories you are welcome to it! It’s a free country and a free market. But I sincerely hope that you take the time to educate yourself about what handmade TRULY means.

Does it look like something a person could have made in their home, studio, or garage? Or does it require industrial machinery? If the latter, chances are that means it WAS made in some factory somewhere.

When you shop on etsy, or you attend a craft fair or craft market, ASK QUESTIONS. Know what you’re spending your money on and decide who and what you wish to support. Those of us who make our living literally by hand are depending on it.


Miss M. Turner is the owner and founder of PhoenixFire Designs and has been creating handcrafted jewelry, all made 100% from scratch in her Tampa, Florida studio since 2001. Her successful etsy shop celebrates it’s 10th year in 2016, with thousands of happy customers all around the world. M. Turner also vends at local markets, craft shows, indie festivals and other art shows throughout the greater Tampa Bay Area and into Sarasota.

You can find her blog at TreeofLifePendants.com, follow PhoenixFire Designs on Instagram, follow PhoenixFire Designs on Pinterest and Shop PhoenixFire Designs on Etsy or Handmade at Amazon.

Mother’s Day Gift Ideas

Mother's Jewelry, bird nest pendants, custom birthstone jewelry, gift for Mom, mother's necklace, mother daughter jewelry, it's a boy!, it's a girl!, mamma bird, baby bird, wire wrapped pendant, wire wrapped jewelry, handmade etsy shop by PhoenixFire Designs

Do you realize that Mother’s Day is less than a month away? So what do you get for Mom? What are good gift ideas for Mother’s Day? Today, we’re going to look at some handmade gift ideas for her to help you find the perfect gift for mom!

First off, think of something unique and handmade. Moms love custom birthstone jewelry for example. And my Custom Birthstone Bird Nest Pendant makes a sweet way for a Momma Bird to carry around the birthstone colors of her baby birds! 😀

Mother's Jewelry, bird nest pendants, custom birthstone jewelry, gift for Mom, mother's necklace, mother daughter jewelry, it's a boy!, it's a girl!, mamma bird, baby bird, wire wrapped pendant, wire wrapped jewelry, handmade etsy shop by PhoenixFire Designs

Or, if you have a bigger family or are looking to celebrate an entire family, why not look to my Family Tree of Life pendant? Made from up to 12 personalized gemstone birthstones, arranged in the order of your choosing. This wearable artisan pendant is the perfect way to celebrate family.

Family Tree of Life Pendant, custom birthstone jewelry, handmade family necklace, mother's day gift idea for her, mother's jewelry, grandmother's jewelry, mother daughter jewelry, ancestry necklace, genealogy jewelry, gemstone wire wrap tree etsy shop by PhoenixFire Designs

If you don’t want something with birthstones, there are a lot of beautiful, elegant and luxurious= options to really show Mom just how special she is! Treat Mom to something extra special. Diamond jewelry for Mother’s Day is perfectly appropriate for example! 😀

Stunning 14k gf diamond tree of life pendant, gold diamond jewelry, diamond necklace, gift idea for her, anniversary gift idea, something special, birthstone jewelry, april birthday, natural rough diamond pendant,  handmade unique ooak jewelry etsy by PhoenixFire Designs

So when you’re trying to find the perfect gift for Mom, want to give mom something OOAK and special, need to give her something truly meaningful, and want the uniqueness of a handmade piece of custom jewelry, come to PhoenixFire Designs and shop our gorgeous collection of handcrafted artisan jewelry. Don’t see what you want? No problem! We’re always happy to customize, personalize or work with you to make the perfect, one of a kind gift!

Give her something meaningful and thoughtful that she can cherish. PhoenixFire Designs has offered quality, beauty and luxury on etsy since 2006! Shop with confidence.