Let’s face it – most of us are crazy busy at this time of year! The demands on our time increase as the holidays approach. I abjure the mall in favor of online shopping whenever I can. But I don’t resort to the big-box stores online – I try to find unique gifts from small specialty shops and artists. Here are a few I recommend whole-heartedly:
Kathe Fraga is a painter living in Washington whose work is evocative of the walls in an old Parisian mansion. Created with acrylic on frescoed canvas and finished with lacquer, her original pieces suggest a glimpse of a larger view. And now she has created a set of eight cards faithfully reproducing a series of her paintings. These are the perfect hostess gift for someone special!
Another intriguing artist is Portland-based Cathie Joy Young. She is currently showing at The Little Things Show at Guardino Gallery. Many beautiful small works are available for gift-giving. Original artwork is such a personal gift — and the small size pieces are affordable where larger pieces might not be. Cathie also has an Etsy shop and offers cards and more on Zazzle.
A little closer to home, Shandells in Millerton NY is perhaps best known for custom lamps and lampshades. But for the holiday season (and year round), Susan Schneider also creates matchboxes, tissue boxes and more. In particular, the matchbox and candle sets (featured in House Beautiful) are perfect for teacher gifts and long-lasting hostess gifts. Each box has a wood top covered with a bold graphic paper that is decoupaged, and the corners are fitted by hand with copper tape. Handmade, beautiful and incredibly useful – what could be better?
SweetSoaps.com is a small handcrafted soap and candle business located in central New Jersey. Whether you need custom photo or logo soaps for special occasion, or simple witty holiday gifts, Ellen has what you need. Their “Santa’s Coal Soap” was featured in Real Simple magazine and I know a few people who would love the Bacon Soap! Check out sweetsoaps.com and more options at Etsy.
I hope you find the perfect holiday gifts for everyone on your list! And if you tweet, follow these great tweeps: @kathefraga, @ cathiejoyyoung, @shandells @sweetsoaps.