I have decided that, for Christmas this year, I’m going to give only presents made by friends. I have so many friends with Etsy stores, small businesses, self-published books and music, artwork, and other things to sell, I figured why not support my pals (and self-employment) and share some of their amazing handiwork with family and my other friends?
I did a post on my Facebook wall sharing this idea and asking friends to list their wares in the comments. I got nearly 200 Likes and comments/listing of items for sale. I couldn’t list them all in this post, but here are some of my favorites, mainly products I already own or can vouch for.
Many people commented on how much they loved this idea. Half a dozen did similar posts on their FB pages. Consider doing so yourself and buying from your friends this year, or at least buying more handmade wares and self-published media. And if you do, I’d love to hear about it.
Borg Like Me (and other neat stuff) [Gareth Branwyn] Well, shameless as it is, I couldn’t sleep with myself if I didn’t first hawk my own self-published crap. My Sparks of Fire Press imprint sells my book, Borg Like Me, several chapbooks, rubber stamps that I’ve designed, mini bookmarks, and bookplates. From now until the end of 2014, buy one print book and get all additional books for half price. You also get issued a free Artistic License with every book ordered. Who doesn’t need artistic license?
Combat Garden Gnomes Shawn Thorsson is a very talented props and costume maker who is a frequent favorite at Maker Faire, with his giant robots and genetically-engineered superhuman costumes. And these adorably deadly Combat Garden Gnomes! One year, I got my family “Poo Pets” (biodegradable animal statues pressed from animal poop) for their gardens. We may need to trade up in guardians of the garden lethality.
Cyberoptix Tie Lab My friend Bethany Shorb is an artisanal crazy-woman. I love seeing all of the amazing products (and fine art) she creates, and the passion and single-mindedness with which she pursues her muse. I own (and adore) several of her incredible (and spectacularly nerdy) neckties. Now she’s branched out into bowties, scarves, ascots, all kinds of gorgeous stuff. Bethany’s wares come in really lovely boxes (there’s even a wooden gift box option), making these a really special gift to give. And, as Bethany says, these are: “Ties that don’t suck.”
Goshdarnknit Notebooks For the past 11 years, I’ve kept all of my notes and (not so) big ideas in Moleskine Cahiers pocket notebooks. DC artist Rania Hassan prints her own lovely illustrations on blank Moleskines. I have several of Rania’s printed Cahier-sized books and they’re always a treat to pull from my pocket.
Zeichen Press I’ve had a mad crush on the boutique letterpress shop, Zeichen Press (OK, and maybe Fran Shea who co-owns it, along with Jen Shea), ever since I did an interview with them for a Maker Business series on MAKE. I was thrilled when they also agreed to do my Sparks of Fire Press bookplates. Zeichen does a lot of commission printing like that, but they also do an amazingly funny line of letterpress greeting cards. It’s Fran’s sharp-witted, funny, and just plain kooky sense of humor that brings out the toe-in-dirt schoolboy in me. I want to get some of those “No Soliciting Unless You’re Wrapped in Bacon” cards, laminate them, and give them out as door signs (after I snag one for myself).
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