Shopping Handmade for the Holidays!

If you are anything like me, you have been totally bombarded by news about “Black Friday” or “Cyber Monday” sales – it’s overwhelming! I do find it frustrating that so many businesses turn the season of giving into a season of selling. However, I do love to give (and receive!) gifts! As much as possible, I like to give things I’ve made myself (or made with the rest of the family), but that isn’t always possible. I’ve been purchasing lots of handmade items from online shops for this holiday season, and I thought that I’d share them with you; perhaps I’ll introduce you to a new artist that makes something perfect for someone on YOUR gift list (or yourself!) So, here’s a list of what I’ve been buying for this holiday season (all pictures are from the respective artist, there are links to each shop throughout the post).

Ooh…my friend Vicki has written a similar post about buying handmade here. If you’ve got another handmade shop to recommend, PLEASE leave a link in the comments!

Yummy Deliciousness

Darthia Farm

This farm is located in Downeast Maine, and has been certified organic for 35 years! It’s run by Cynthia and Bill Thayer, they are old family friends. I have many fond memories of vising the farm when I was young – they were very inspiring to me. In fact, Cindy’s weavings made by wool she raised, dyed and spun herself were probably my introduction to textile art!

They have a farmstand where they sell their veggies and goat’s milk during the summer, and every winter they have a holiday shop, where they ship preserves and other delicious goodies, as well as wonderfully smelling decorations made with balsam pine cut from their own organically managed woodlot. Cindy and Bill suffered a devastating blow in May of this year – their 150 year old barn burned down, with all their livestock: three horses, 20 sheep, pigs, cattle, and many young birds! Oh, it was hearbreaking. They are part of an incredible community that spreads far and wide: donations, both monetary and of hard work, enabled them to rebuild this timber frame barn which houses their new animals. Bill has a team of Haflinger horses, Andy and Archie, and they’ve been given a small flock of glorious Island sheep.

Something lovely from their shop has been my go-to gift this season, take a look and see if anything there would be  a good fit for someone on your list!

Functional and Beautiful

Silly Boodilly

The simple, elegant work of Victoria Gertenbach truly elevates the homespun feel of the cloth that she uses. She and I became friends after meeting on the set of Quilting Arts TV 2 summers ago, and she made a pair of lovely art quilts with indigo dyed fabric I sent her this Summer, one of which now belongs to me! I bought this pincushion from her this summer:

and covet the beautiful table runners she makes:

If you’ve never seen her work, take a minute and stop by her blog or her shop!

Made in Lowell: Liz Smith

Liz is a twitter pal who works in Lowell, Massachusetts. I purchased some beautiful felted hair jewelry from her earlier this year:

and also some lovely cards that her Mom paints:

You can find these, and lots more beautiful hand felted, crocheted and knitted accessories at her shop: Made in Lowell.

Sage Advice and Lots of Color!

Aimee from Artsyville

Aimee Dolich’s art is an awesome combination of on-point observations about life combined with awesome color and delicious handwriting. Earlier this year she self-published a book “The Things We Do” about parenting, I had to immediately get 3, one for myself, and 2 for my best buds here in Redlands who are also Moms – I know the way she describes parenting joys and trials would ring true with them.

I also have several of her prints, but I thought that these groovy doodle clips would make great stocking stuffers:

You can find these, and lots more, at her shop: Artsyville.

Holiday Decorations

Skinny LaMinx

I’ve written about my love for everything Heather Moore does before – her paper cutting art rocks my world! The second I saw an Instagram picture with these ornaments in them, I was at her shop to see if they were for sale yet! They were, and a pack of both the bird and baubles ornaments, lasercut from birch, were winging their way to SoCal from South Africa!

Of course, I needed some birdie gifts tags as well, to gussy up my packages!

Take a peek in her shop and revel in all the glorious screen printed fabrics as well: Skinny LaMinx.

The Little Red Door

The wee clay houses made by the Little Red Door always make me smile. Now, she’s making awesome Christmas ornaments, I just ordered th house on the right:

and this tree yesterday!

Head on over before they’re all gone!

Shane Keena

Shane is an amazing local ceramic artist. He usually makes huge, abstract sculptures based on sea-life, but this time of year, he also makes these incredible ornaments:

He gets this incredible texture by applying precious metals to the orbs before firing:

They look like the most amazing granite in fantastical colors, don’t they? A few sets of these ornaments are making there way to several folks on our list this year (and another set is coming home to me!) Shane is pretty low-tech – this link takes you to a facebook album that I hope you’ll be able to see. If you would like to order one or more, just email him and he’ll send you a paypal invoice. He also is part of the Holiday Studio Tour(on Sunday only, his daughter’s birthday is Saturday) that’s just under 2 weeks from now, you should be able to pick them up there as well!


Sarah Ahearn Bellemare Oh, I love, love, LOVE Sarah’s work! She is a mixed media artist who often features botanical images – she very skillfully lays down color after color, and then includes just enough text to add to the mood. I buy one of her 5″ x 7″ calendars each year – it fits on a little clipboard and hangs in my studio.

This year she’s also producing a slightly larger size (6″ x 9″) as well. She sells both her originals, as well as prints on paper, and cool cool cool, mounted on wood as well!

She also has lots of amazing art, please go check out her work!

Make Your Own!

Of course, lots of folks who read my blog are sewists like me…here are a few folks who have patterns that could be just the thing for you to make this holiday season!

Sew Inspired

Vicki Christensen, who blogs over at Sew Inspired, has this awesome pattern in her pattern shop:

She also has this cute “Ruffle Crush” quilt pattern, wouldn’t this be great for a little girl on your list? What an awesome Christmas quilt this would make…I’d also love to make it in a palette of blues, greens and browns, I think it would look splendid.

I can’t wait to see what she puts next in her shop: Sew Inspired.

Amy’s Creative Side

Amy is the genius behind Blogger’s Quilt Festival, and she wrote a book called Modern Basics, that has several lovely quilts in it! One of my favorites Tumbling Cubes”:

this looks like a holiday quilt that could work after Christmas was over, doesn’t it? She’s got several quilt patterns in her Craftsy pattern shop, including this “Balanced Connections” quilt:

 and…this busy lady has a second book coming out soon…Modern Basics II, way to go Amy!

Piece n’Quilt

And, if you’re making a quilt, you’ll need to quilt it! Natalia Bonner’s book:

Beginner's Guide to Free-Motion Quilting

may be just the book you need! An amazing long arm quilter, Natalia has written a book to help folks learn how to quilt on their home sewing machine, this bookis filled with lots of great info, and deliciously textured quilts:

Beginner's Guide to Free-Motion Quilting

Phew! If you’ve made it all the way to the end of this post, congratulations! Looking at all the ways I’ve been able to find awesome gifts from artists close to me either in distance, or because of the internet, I am happy to report that it is easy to find gifts that are meaningful in so many ways! And of course, it would be silly of me not to mention that you can find lots of handmade gifts right here at Candied Fabrics! I’ve got lots of hand dyed silk scarves in stock:

 iPad and Kindle sleeves:

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and I just put some headbands in the shop as well!

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And this whole week: FREE SHIPPING! 🙂

4 Responses

  1. what a fabulous holiday roundup! thank you so much, candy, for featuring artsyville & promoting handmade for the holidays! xoxo

  2. Love, love, love your holiday handmade list, and am so honored to be a part of it, thank you Candy! Now, I must get myself to Maine so that I can visit Darthia Farm, as it looks like a little slice of Heaven. (I see on their web site that there are apprenticeship openings… wouldn’t that be fun?!!!) xoxo

  3. What a fun post for craft lovers like us! I haven’t considered handmade gifts for most of my gift buying — the people I buy for still associate hand made with “too poor to buy store bought”!