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Image: Shutterstock

Ahhh, Etsy. Sure, you use it. Everyone uses it. I even sell on it! It’s cool and crafty and makes you feel good about supporting independent makers with your purchases. I have been shopping on the platform for years, but it wasn’t until recently, when I started concentrating on local Etsy shops here in Houston, that I realized I was forgetting to look in my own backyard. 

Shopping locally on Etsy allows you even greater flexibility with purchases, timing, exchanges and (on those what-was-I-thinking occasions), a return. It's simple: on Etsy’s homepage hit search with a blank search bar, select shop all items and then select Houston as the shop location. While Etsy offers both vintage and handmade items, I tend to favor the handmade items (perhaps it’s because my craft ability puts me at the level of making stick figures that sort of look like people and sort of don’t). 

Here's my three favorite recent hometown finds.

Gournals

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Dream journal, $27 

Founded in 2005 by local musician Amie Krebbs, Gournals are, in Amie’s own words, "perfectly imperfect" hand-bound notebooks made from 99.99-percent recycled and re-used materials—the only thing she can’t recreate yet is thread, but she’s working on it.

I visited Amie’s shop—see the beauty of shopping local!—and the amount of care and love that goes into each journal is staggering. The one I bought even had an old bullet casing on the cover. Ranging in price from $20 to $40, depending on the size and customization, Gournals are perfectly priced for the holidays and make a truly one-of-a-kind gift.

Geekocity Creations

I found this television-lover’s dream shop about a month ago and quickly developed an obsession for its custom items sporting some of my favorite “geek” taglines on everything from bracelets to key chains. Founded in 2013 by Kazia Hodges, the shop has a wide array of movie- and television-inspired pieces—my personal favorites are from the CW show Supernatural. I love the bracelet with the show's tagline:  “Saving People. Hunting Things.” With almost everything in the shop coming in at under $25 (except for some of the multi-piece selections), Geekocity Creations is the perfect shop to indulge your inner geek at.

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MadeByORiley

I love all things bath-related. Bath time is almost a religious experience for me. I also love bacon. So when I came across MadebyORiley luxury skincare products and bath art’s “You Had Me at Bacon” bath bomb, I knew I hit the mother lode. Handmade in O’Riley’s kitchen, these bath bombs emit a smoky maple bacon-like scent mixed with goodies like argan oil, frankincense and epsom salts. In addition to her out-of-the-ordinary bath bombs, O’Riley also makes shampoo, body butter, lip balms and a special selection of soaps just for mechanics and gardeners, plus she is always adding new products.

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