A Few of My Favorite Things: Holiday Gift Guide, Etsy Edition

Amy Pence-Brown essays

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I remember when Etsy was born, just nine years ago in 2005. She was such a sweet, quirky baby, so quiet and calm. Now she’s a tweenaged powerhouse. My girl Etsy is all over the place, with spunk and power and goodness. Sometimes, even, she can be too flirty and hard to nail down. I’m here to help.

Holiday gift shopping is my most favorite thing to do in the fall, and I love to start early. Finding things home-made, hand-made and heart-made just gets my giving spirit all sorts of fired up, in a good way. As an art historian, museum curator, and indie holiday market organizer, I’ve spent a lot of time looking and selecting and purchasing artsy wares. Here are a few of my recent faves, in no particular order.

For mamas:

Nest jewelry from Melody Joy Designs (price range $26-$48)

I was lucky enough to receive a mother bird’s nest necklace last year about this time and it’s become one of my favorite, and most asked about, pieces of jewelry. For the necklaces and rings, Melody winds brass or silver wires into nests to envelope tiny freshwater pearls, or eggs. She creates each one special, and works with you on the number of babies you’d like represented, including different colored egg pearls for wee ones who you no longer hold in your arms but always in your heart.

For her:

Laser cut wood signs from Lost Little Things (price range $16-$25)

We’ve got a lot of stellar makers here in Idaho, and Tara of Lost Little Things is certainly one of them. Her collection of tiny wooden items are whimsical and fun, from earrings to magnets, tree ornaments to wall banners. They typography is certainly swoon-worthy, and she’s got a variety of sweet and heartfelt sayings perfect for any lady on your list, from “You Are My Greatest Adventure” to the simple “Believe.”

For him:

GEO trucker cap from dig this chick (price range $28-$34)

Not only is Nici of dig this chick a great blogger (and fellow Mamalode writer!), but she’s a maker of extraordinary, high-quality sewed things. She works alongside her family in her small home studio with a couple of other mamas. You pick the geographical silhouette and they’ll get it on a hip trucker hat–any state, country, continent, island, or river. Each is custom and made to order, for the love of place.

For wee ones:

Felt food from KidsKitchenKreations (price range $4-$45)

A couple of years ago my husband and I made our daughters a little play kitchen a la Pinterest, repurposing a thrift store wooden cabinet. We stocked it with fake food and old dishes and it has turned out to be the longest lasting, more favorite toy in our house, hands-down. All children who enter our home, regardless of age or gender, are drawn to the play kitchen. Having realistic and fun food items makes all the difference. KidsKitchenKreations (another Montana maker!) has nailed it–from gingerbread cookie dough to pots of tiny ravioli, you’re sure to find your kiddo’s favorite food represented in felt. Such a great price for a fun heirloom!

For that one friend:

Cross stitch from analprobehearts (price range $28-$80)

Definitely NSFW, this gal from California has taken subversive cross stitch to a whole new (and super naughty) level. I’m a big fan of needlework and learned to cross stitch myself at the age of ten, and I discovered analprobehearts on Instagram, where she has a huge following. You can custom order any saying special to your heart or order one from her existing snarky stock. Seriously, don’t click over to her Etsy page if you’re easily offended. Just sayin’.

By shopping Etsy, you’re shopping small businesses, often run from kitchen tables and spare bedrooms, operated by a single starving artist or a stay-at-home mom with four kiddos. This means that you will find excellent quality and service, but with a limited staff, many sellers will need you to order and shop early, in order to guarantee time to create your gift and ship it to you in time for the holidays.

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About the Author

Amy Pence-Brown

I have a masters degree in art & architectural history and my past careers include picking up the dead at night for a funeral home and being a curator at the only art museum in Idaho. I now divide my time between being a Radical Homemaker, mom to two quirky girls, Lucy and Alice, and baby boy Arlo, fat activism, , and doing various odd jobs in the local arts & historic preservation communities.

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December 2014
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