Indie Crafter Du Jour: Danielle Pedersen of HandyMaiden

I know there was a collective "awwwww" upon opening today's newsletter, but hang on -- don't spend it all on this adorable hedgehog pocket totem (pictured) because the cute explosion is just starting. Danielle Pedersen is the maker of these folksy, miniature figurines. She sells these "pocket totems" in her Etsy shop, and makes them for "travelers, the kids-at-heart, and everyone who wants to take an animal wherever they go." Of course, they're happy also just sitting on a windowsill or perhaps keeping one of my plants company.

Each piece is sculpted and painted by hand, so each one is truly unique, with its own special personality. I love that she goes beyond the conventional animal spectrum, and crafts mystical or exotic creatures like bigfoot, narwhals and okapi.

Beyond her totem collection, there is also jewelry (sloth earrings!), and her bizarre but makes-sense medals: "Unlike military medals," she says, "you can reward these to anyone for any reason, or to yourself for having the conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity to support handmade."

Quite frankly, I look forward to the day I can give this Extraordinary Mallard medal to someone truly deserving.