The holiday shopping season is here and the pressure is on to find just the right gifts for friends and family. I always appreciate a solid recommendation of what to choose from someone who really know what they’re talking about. I don’t know a lot about power tools or neckties or fine wine, but I do know a lot about crafting. So here’s my 2015 gift guide with recommendations of what to buy the creative people in your life, young and old. (I should also note that it’s entirely acceptable to treat yourself a holiday gift. Go for it.)
1. Blackwing Pencils Gift Pack of 12 I first heard about Blackwing Pencils on the now defunct Gweek podcast with Mark Frsuenfelder. Mark’s a pencil nerd and I ordered a pack after he glowingly recommended them. We have these in the pencil bucket in our kitchen and we all love using them. The lead is soft and smooth, the eraser broad and especially effective, and the black exterior is beautiful to behold.
2. Wooden masking tape dispenser + 10 rolls of tape in rainbow colors I bought this a year ago after reading a post about it on The Artful Parent. I’m not kidding when I say that it’s my four-year-old’s favorite toy of all time. She uses tape to make clothes for My Little Pony, for collages, to “fix” her bike, to cover herself in fake bandages, and more. Really, we all love it, though. The dispenser is sturdy, the tape is easy to rip, and with the rolls arranged in rainbow order it looks pretty, too.
3. Penguin kit from Threadfollower These kits are designed and produced by Cynthia Treen, an artist in Providence, RI. I visited Cynthia’s studio last summer and got to see her whole process. Cynthia is a graduate of the Rhode Island School of Design and her work is truly impressive. The attention to detail is beautiful. Her kits give you everything you need to make an adorable animal and are great for older children and adults alike.
4. Rebecca Ringquist’s Embroidery Workshops This book is a visual treat. It’s perfect for creative people because instead of being overly prescriptive it encourages you to explore and break the rules and experiment with materials that intrigue you. And best of all it comes with one of Rebecca’s Dropcloth samplers tucked right inside! It’s like two gifts in one. Add a selection of Perle cotton and you’re ready to roll.
5. Cross stitch leather cuff kit from Red Gate Stitchery I got one of these kits for my highly creative lawyer sister, Rachel, for her 34th birthday this year. She stitched it up and texted me a photo of her wearing it and looking gorgeous. The designer and owner of Red Gate Stitcher, Susan Fitzgerald, lives just a few towns away from me although we have yet to meet. Hopefully soon.
6. Easy Macro lens for phone cameras This thing looks like a rubber band, but it’s way way cooler. You strap it around your phone positioning the lens over your the phone’s camera and in two seconds you have a super powerful macro lens. Shoot photos ultra close ups of flower petals or yarn fibers and impress all your Instagram friends. Store the rubber band on a handy credit card-sized piece of plastic in your wallet to keep it handy.
7. A selection of hand-dyed and patterned fabric from Malka Dubrawsky Ideal for the quilters and fabric enthusiasts in your life, Malka hand-dyes her fabrics in cold water dyes and patterns them with wax resist. The colors are vibrant and the patterns are both modern and organic. These will easily become treasured parts of any fabric stash.
8. Modern Blocks screenprint from Nicole at Modern Handcraft I bought this screenprint for my studio. Right now it’s packed up because my studio is soon going to move from our bedroom, where it’s been for ten years, downstairs to our front room! I can’t believe I’m soon going to have a dedicated space all to myself! And the day I move in I’m hanging this up on the wall.
9. A gift subscription to UPPERCASE magazine. My highly creative lawyer sister got me a gift subscription to UPPERCASE for my birthday several years ago and I still have every issue. These are magazine you’ll keep and look through and get inspired by and sniff (UPPERCASE smells really good for some reason) for years to come. The publisher, Janine Vangool, is truly visionary. The content focuses on graphic design, illustration and crafting and the magazine is truly independent and supported by its subscribers.
I hope you find something here to give to the creative people in your life, and perhaps something for yourself as well. Happy holidays!