Today, I am sharing a guest post from my friend Natina Norton, who happens to be a talented artist and creator.
Need a pressie for him, for her, or just want something a little out of the ordinary? Here’s a few artists, products, and tips that have encouraged me to give more creatively this holiday season.
1. Birds & bunnies meet post-Edwardian England
Designed by Seattle-based artist, Natina Norton Designs (i.e. me!), the “Downton Critters” collection features a cheeky, moustache touting bunny rabbit, an owl with a monocle, a robin in a top hat, and a pine marten adorned with a vintage-style cameo pendant. Inspired by the British period drama, Downton Abbey, and a love for animals (especially birds), these unique mash-ups are available on t-shirts, phone cases, mugs, bags, pillows, and more in my shop on Threadless. Fans of all things furry and feathered (and who isn’t?) will adore them. Fair warning though, expect a lot of smiles and compliments. I can’t go anywhere with my Countess Pamela weekender bag or T-shirt without her charming face brightening the day of a few strangers. Items are currently 20% off with free shipping until December 15th, 2017 using the code CHEER.
2. For the inner geek
Shiny Creations, another Seattle-based company and headed by artist Angie Whitney, got its name from the sci-fi TV series Firefly (starring the fabulous Nathan Fillion). In that world, “shiny” translates to “very cool” which is exactly what Shiny Creations offer in their Amazon shop. The floating vases and Galileo thermometers will definitely appeal to the inner-geek and stunning glass ornaments, hand crafted by Chris Steffens Glass, in particular immediately capture the eye. My favorite is Seahawk, though not simply because I’m a fan of the NFL football team (GO HAWKS!). Stock is limited so jump on this one quick!
3. Mountain man in the city
While trying to decide on a Christmas gift for my boyfriend – a French Canadian who loves hunting, hockey (naturally), and life in the big city – I knew I wanted something he could use every day that also fit his mountain man meets metropolis personality. He’s been using the same old, beat up bag to carry his lunch, snacks, phone, and scratch off tickets (a guilty pleasure) to work for ages, so the camo print cooler I found at Cabela’s was an easy, practical win. To personalize it, I then bought several smaller items to fill the cooler, creating a customized gift “basket.” A few of my fillers: Wild game meat sticks, an Oilers keychain, and a protective, hard shell phone case. (He hates his phone so much he often threatens to “throw it down a dark alley,” hence the necessity for a protective case.) And my pièce de résistance? A personalize scratch off ticket I designed, complete with authentic scratch off stickers found on Etsy. Magnifique!
4. Cash is the new black
Google “Cash vs Gift Cards” and you’ll find a lively collection of debates as to which is the better, more thoughtful option when it comes to gift giving. Both can have negative undertones. Cash is lazy, antiqued, and literally dirty. Gift cards, on the other hand, can expire, businesses go out of business, and some can even have a heap of fees attached.
Before researching this topic, I was 100% against cash as a gift. The whole point of gift giving, for me, is to express sentiment and show the recipient you had them explicitly in mind. The most a gift card can accomplish here is in the choice of card. “Jamie likes to eat at Five Guys Burgers, so I’ll give her a Five Guys Gift Card.” With cash, however, Jamie can still eat at Five Guys or use the cash to try a new restaurant she may not have otherwise without the free money in her pocket.
When all is said and done, cash is ultimately the gift with more freedom and less potential complications attached. Plus, unlike gift cards, it’ll never go out of style. And for someone like me who likes the added sentiment, all you have to do is throw the cash in a greeting card with a personalized message inside. Sorted!
5. Creative gift giving for crafty types
No EvinOK blog post would be complete without a few crafting gift ideas. If you have a friend or family member who enjoys or would like to learn how to bake, knit, and/or sew, I highly recommend Evin O’Keeffe’s book Bake Knit Sew. It features twelve baking recipes, seven knitting patterns, and five sewing projects all suitable for beginners, but still colorful and engaging for the advanced.
To create a gift basket of creative inspiration, pair Evin’s book with a few of the materials needed for the showcased projects. KnitPicks.com is the most common name I hear in knit and crochet circles for that purpose. Needles, hooks, kits and, of course, yarn can all be found there. Keep an eye out for Knit Picks sales and free shipping too.
And if your crafty type is anything like me – a former denizen of Ireland who regularly creates while nursing multiple cups of tea – a bit of tea leaf is a must. I recently discovered David’s Tea on a trip to Canada and was delighted to learn, after returning to Seattle, that a shop had recently opened here at home! Chocolate lovers should definitely sample the chocolate chili chai and mango madness is a delight for those who like their tea on the fruity side. Tie the whole theme together with their biodegradable and chlorine-free tea filters (the 100% recycled box of 100 is the best value for money), and you’ve got a gift well suited for any proper crafty type and/or tea connoisseur on your list!
I’d love to hear feedback on my gift guide ideas and tips, especially reviews of products or companies I’ve mentioned here. Good experience? Bad? How was their customer service and shipping? Maybe you’d like to recommend a loose leaf tea? Drop me a line! In the meantime, happy shopping and happy holidays!