DIYShopping, Style and Beauty

DIY Diva: Top 10 Handcrafted Gifts of 2009

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Saint Johnny is WAY dreamier than St. Augustus

Heyo, the DIY Diva here!  So, as broke as I am, I simply don’t have time to handmake a holiday gift for everyone I have on my list this year.

Instead of giving big mega corporations my hard earned and horded money, I figured I’d do things a little differently and try to buy exclusively “handmade” gifts for my friends, family and colleagues.

The research for doing this has resulted (to my delight) in my getting to know a TON of new artists and artisans and crafters via sites like Etsy and Buy Olympia and the like.  I’ve not only found great gifts for my loved ones, but I’ve added to the list of “Kate wants” a lot of cool handmade stuff.  Now: you true broke-asses need to attend, some of these items are a little pricey, but I’ve tried to include a variety of price brackets to choose from in this list, so if you do have a few ducats to rub together and a special someone to buy for you have a handmade option on the list…

Without further ado:

Kate’s Top Ten Handcrafted Gifts of 2009:
#1 Reading Is Sexy corn mug by Sarah Utter – $12


This retro 70s style mug by Buy Olympia artist Sarah Utter is made out of 100% biodegradable corn plastic, grown and manufactured in the U.S. The inks used are lead-free.  And – if you’re a butter-fingers like me – you don’t need to worry about dropping this beauty, as it won’t break!  Huzzah!

#2 Chirp Minimo Wallet by Queen Bee Creations – $48


This cutie-pie wallet from Queen Bee Creations is made from PVC free faux leather and comes in three color combos: orange/teal, pink/brown and blue/lime.  It’s super cute and durable, sure to hold your money, change, cards and ID for years to come w/out wearing out like a leather wallet would.

#3 St. Louis (acrylic on canvass) by Artstarwannabe – $150

This painting is really pricey for the average broke-ass… However, I think that there are two things you can justify spending cash on: books and art.  And, this painting is beautiful, sure to grace any wall it is hung on.  Personally, I love this one – because I used to live in an apartment behind St. Louis Cathedral in New Orleans w/my beaux – but, if you’re not all about NOLA street scenes, Artstarwannabe has a plethora of really nice art to choose from.  If this were over my bed I’d dream of laissez les bontemps roule every night…

#3 Curly Bubble Wand by Talulahboo – $12


Talulahboo is a family operation for my friends Maria and Brian which started when they were shopping for items for their *just damn adorable* bebe, Ms. Talulah Boo.  Their handmade bubble wands (which double as a princess scepter, I imagine) are fun items for any kid you might need to buy for OR for the grown-up with a big kid trapped inside you want to help let out.  If you have time and a lil’ cash to spare, check out their online store to see the gorgeous Talulahboo blankies and tutus… (The blankets feature a lot of cool vintage tattoo prints and other non-bear or duck prints.)

#5 Black Letter X Vintage Typewriter Key necklace by Keys and Memories – $17

As a writer, I think the vintage typewriter key jewelry that Keys and Memories makes are really f-ing neato and slightly steampunk.  (In a way I would choose to wear, as opposed to openly mocking if I saw someone else wearing it.)  I couldn’t find a vintage necklace with my first name letter, so I thought that an X would be the next coolest one.  This Etsy store has a variety of cool charms, necklaces, earrings, pins and tie-tacks all made from lovingly restored vintage typewriter keys.

#6 I Saw You… by Julia Wertz – $12

isaw you

I know I’m not the only person who guffaws over the Craigslist Missed Connections… come on, you know you do too!  (It is one of the top five ways hipsters waste time at their autotron jobs.)  This DIY style comic book is full of great art and funny interpretations from some of the best missed connections that have been compiled by the excellent Ms. Julia Wertz.  Buy it, you’ll laugh your ass off!

#7 Amber Romance candle from WorthySoyCandles – $6

Despite the cheesy-ass name, these candles are AWESOME.  They are made from soy and are completely handmade.  This particular scent is vanilla, sandlewood, amber and musk – it smells sweet and somewhat sexy – in a mysterious way.  If this scent isn’t for you, you can build your own soy candle from this maker.  I don’t know about y’all, but I <3 candles, they make GREAT gifts for the slightly girly girls you all know.

#8 Saint Johnny by Berndtofferings – $12

Speaking of candles… this cool punk-rock play on a traditional saint’s candle is super-cool.  (If you ask me.)  Berndtofferings has a great selection of cool candles with famous effigies on them… check them out.  And, if you see one with Joey Ramone on it, send it to me!!!

#9 Magenta Daliah Earrings by Feisty Elle – $28


I just really, really love these intricate handmade earrings.  Leslie makes all her jewelry with sustainable materials.  You’re not only supporting a small artisan company – you’re supporting the environment when you rock her dangly, fun earrings.  There are quite a few ladies on my shopping list who are getting some Daliahs for the holidays!

#10 Stay Golden t-shirt from the BUST Boobtique – $22

stay golden t

Who doesn’t love The Golden Girls?  (Who, you?  Well you’re an asshole and a traitor to your generation, punk!)  FOR THE REST OF US: This fun throwback t-shirt alludes to the SE Hinton epic, The Outsiders, but really features Dorthy, Blanche, Rose and Sophia.  (RIP Bea Arthur, we love you!!!)  Each t-shirt purchase goes to support a local artist AND to support one of the rockin’ -est indie grrl mags on the planet!

Back next week with some tips on having a very festive and merry holiday party when you’re broke as a joke!

You can check out all the hand picked faves of Kate on her new eCommerce site (in BETA until 1 January & currently hosted on her own site) Je t’aime

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Kate Kotler - DIY Diva

Kate Kotler - DIY Diva

Kate Kotler is a freelance writer and professional blogger. IRL she is a very nice person, regardless of what you might have read about her on the innerwebs. Kate lives in Berkeley with her dog, Max. You can follow her on Twitter @adorkablegrrl