Gifts for Pets & Their People

If you’re anything like me, buying a holiday gift for your pet is essential. I have three cats of my own which are treated like little kitty children – spoiled rotten and allowed to do basically whatever they want (this is how I imagine I would parent a non-feline child so it is probably for the best that I don’t have any human children). I am partial to cats since a little clowder of them live in my house but I am an admirer of all animals – anyone who knows me knows that I dream of having a couple of dogs, some chickens, ducks, goats, horses, cows, etc. – and of course a few more cats. The first half of this gift guide focuses primarily on the pets, but the second half includes some ideas for those people in your life who are general animal lovers. Here are a few gift ideas for your little cat or dog pals:

 

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1. Custom family pet & people portrait $77, Lili Di Prima – This is more of a gift for the humans, but I think there is something really special about custom pet portraits. Also, I love how this artist has done the portraits – I find a lot of the custom pet portraits to be a bit cheesy or “funeral programmy” if that makes sense, but these are a bit quirky and would look very lovely in a black oval frame with a cream colored mat.

2. Da Bird cat toy $12.01, amazon.ca – These are my cats favorite toy by far – they have gone through a few of them and our current one is being held together by electrical tape in order to squeeze the last ounces of life from it. They are actually decent quality, but one of my cats is very rough on all toys, so I’m pretty positive this toy would hold up much longer with a non-psychotic cat.

3. Cardboard kitty scratcher $19.99, Target – My cats love scratching cardboard the most. They don’t really go for carpet or sisal rope scratchers (the couch is another story). They especially love cardboard structures that they can go on top of or sleep inside of. Cats are weird.

4. Sponsor an animal or make a donation to your local shelter in your recipient’s name. Our local no-kill animal shelter, The Meow Foundation, offers a sponsorship program during the holiday season for $25 per cat. While I love to receive material gifts, this is one of my favorite things to receive because I want all the cats to be living as comfortable lives as mine do.

5. Leather & rope dog collar $50 and rope dog leash $60 , Old Faithful Shop – If I had a dog, I would buy this set. It reminds me of horse tack which is probably why I am so attracted to it.

6. Kitty basket bed $112.00, Mungo & Maud – This cat bed is a little on the pricey side, but I love that it is so simple looking and my cats do love to sleep in baskets.

7. Pet tent $114 , Urban Outfitters – Every pet needs a tent, right?

And of course you can’t forget those people who are just general animal lovers!

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1. Alpaca socks $15.00 – Anthropologie – I’ve been into knitting socks this last year but it does not stop me from buying socks with critters on them. Alpacas!

2. Knit Your Own Dog kit $14.99 – This would be the perfect gift for the dog-loving knitter!

3. Cat dishtowel $18.00 – Anthropologie – Adorable, enough said.

4. Moose string lights $28.00 – Urban Outfitters – My sister loves moose and has a moose room so I know she would love these. But I kind of want them for myself too!

5. Horse Backpack $55.00 – Little Burgundy – I’ve been coveting this pattern for several months and I’ve been waiting for this to go on sale so I can buy it for myself.

6. Cat & yarn salt & pepper shakers $12.99 – Modcloth – I have had a strange spinster lady desire to go out and start a novelty salt & pepper shaker collection but unfortunately have not taken that plunge yet. Perhaps buying this set will give me the motivation to go out and finally do it.

7. Swans iPhone case $36.00 – Rifle Paper Co. – I’ve had to limit myself to only one iPhone cover BUT if that one decides to die, I will be getting this one!

8. DIY racoon embroidery kit $20.99 – Kiriki Press – I think I’m going to have to treat myself to this, it is just too adorable to pass up. And lucky for me, my favorite local knitting store carries Kiriki Press kits!

As with all of my gift guides, the items are carefully selected by myself and all opinions are my own. I am not receiving compensation for any of these products – I just love them!

Gifts for Crafters, Knitters & DIYers

I think that everyone has one friend who is always adorning one of their own handmade creations or constantly saying “I could make that!” in public. The handmade revolution is taking over like crazy and I love it – there are thousands of blogs dedicated to DIY crafting, knitting, sewing, carpentry, cooking, and anything you can think of. Sometimes those things can get to be a bit much. Sometimes I get really great ideas and other times I’m left thinking “So how much is this going to end up costing me?”. So I decided to put together a few of my favorite easy DIY kits and supplies for those special crafters & DIYers in your life and since I am a knitter myself, I made a special all knitting gift guide below!

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1. Merchant & Mills Sewing Kit $75.00, Purl Soho – I love the simple and beautiful designs of Merchant & Mills and having this little kit on hand would be so handy.

2. Mushroom Farm $19.95, Back To The Roots – I’ve been wanting one of these for quite awhile so I can grow my own oyster mushrooms at home. Apparently these kits are multiple use as well!

3. Mead Making Kit $59.95, Williams Sonoma – I’m not a huge fan of homemade wine because I don’t exactly live in a climate that is able to grow grapes but I think mead would be very good because you could use local honey. Mmmm mead.

4. MT washi tape $19.09, The Lovely Desk – I’m not sure if the washi tape craze is over yet or not but I still love this product because of its versatity and also because it comes in so many colors and patterns.

5. Constellation embroidery set $21.00, Purl Soho – This looks like such a simple and beautiful project that could easily be done in an afternoon – which is sometimes my favorite type of project!

6. Liberty of London fabric bundle $55.00, Purl Soho – Liberty fabrics are some of my absolute favorite because of their beautiful patterns but also because the fabric itself feels amazing – so light and soft. I made a pillow cover out of one of their fabrics, as well as used one of their prints in a quilt I made and they are by far my favorite handmade items. The fabrics themselves are pretty pricey for yardage but a bundle makes a bit more sense for small projects – I think any sewer & lover of Liberty would love to receive something like this.

7. San Fransisco Sourdough Starter Kit $29.95, Williams Sonoma – Sourdough bread is a big guilty pleasure of mine and although I do not indulge in it often, when I do I want to make sure it is the best sourdough possible. This would be a welcome addition to any beginner bread baker!

8. Needle felting animal kit $21.92, Maker Magpie – I’ve had my eye on these kits at my local yarn store for a number of months but just haven’t taken the plunge to buy one yet. They look fairly simple and come with all of the tools and supplies required to make an adorable little animal.

And now for all of those special knitters!

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1. Clover Measuring Tape $7.40 – Purl Soho – I own a few of these and they are my favorite because they are attractive and also good quality. For some reason, tape measures are a hot commodity around my house and go missing often, so having an inventory of multiple devices is essential – can anyone else relate to this?

2. Ebony Crochet Hooks $23.10 – Lantern Moon. I love a good quality, beautiful crochet hook for a provisional cast-on (which I just recently learned and am in love with). Also, ebony is one of the hardest woods in the world which makes these hooks virtually indestructible.

3. Pom Pom Quarterly Subscription $30GBP – One of my favorite quarterly publications – it includes great patterns for things you would actually make. I’m sure most knitters can relate: I’ve got a backlog of things I would like to make – most of those things are from issues of Pom Pom because their projects are so great. Digital subscriptions are also available!

4. Woodland Cabin Yarn Sampler $37.69USD – Knit Picks – I’ve made a few projects with this line of yarn and I really like the quality for price, plus the color selection is unbelievable. Knit Picks also has lots of free patterns, so you could pick out a project that you would like your knitter to make for you and include it in with the yarn as a subtle hint.

5. Needle Gauge Ruler $10.00 – Church Mouse Yarns – I’ve been on the lookout for a non-plastic gauge ruler ever since I started knitting so I think I am going to need this one for myself.

6. Stork Scissors $19.99 – Joann – I have a pair of these and they are my favorite for knitting, embroidery and cross-stitch – the narrow ends make it really easy to get in to small spaces, plus they are very sharp. Mine didn’t come with a pretty case like this pair does, so I think I’m going to have to make myself one.

7. Indigo Dye Kit $13.99 – Knit Picks – I’ve been wanting to experiment with yarn dying for several months now and I’ve been considering taking a class, but this kit looks so easy that I would try it on my own. Also, my husband and I are obsessed with indigo dyed anything, so this would be a welcome gift in our household.

8. Leather & Brass Stitch Markers Set $28.00 – Fringe Supply Co. – I have plastic stitch markers, and I’m sure most knitters have the same thing, but I would love this set because they are so adorable!

If you’re an ambitious gift giver, I put together a post of some homemade gift ideas here.

As with all of my gift guides, the items are carefully selected by myself and all opinions are my own. I am not receiving compensation for any of these products – I just love them!

Gifts for Kitchen Dwellers & An Easy DIY Gift

I don’t think it is any secret that I love food. I also love to be in my kitchen cooking – and sometimes baking. And having amazing kitchen tools is essential for me. I’m definitely not one of those home cooks who has to have every gadget – there are a few deciding factors when it comes to bringing tools into my kitchen: 1) They need to be totally functional. Multipurpose is a plus. 2) They need to be really good quality and most likely last forever. 3) They need to be beautiful.

So with all of that said, I put together a round-up of my favorite kitchen must-haves that meet all of my high kitchen standards:

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1. Rolling Pin $105.00, Herriott Grace – I absolutely love everything that Herriott Grace does – they are truly one of a kind pieces. I’ve been pining over one of these rolling pins for quite awhile as a replacement to my Ikea one (which has served me just fine, but the handmade ones are just swoon-worthy!).

2. Beeswax Wrap $21.31, Kaufmann Merchantile – I love the idea of this re-usable wrap and I’m a sucker for anything made in part by busy bees!

3. Iron Utility Scissors $18.00, Anthropologie – I splurged on a pair of these scissors last year for my birthday and I do not regret it one bit. I used to have a pair of kitchen specific scissors but they were awful (Cuisinart – their products keep failing me). I love this pair so much. Plus they are one of the prettiest pairs that I own (I have a bit of a thing for beautiful scissors).

4. Callebaut Dark Chocolate Pepins $6.00, Duchess Provisions – This is some of the best baking chocolate on the market, in my opinion. Did you know you’re not supposed to store chocolate in the fridge or feezer? Store it in a dark, cool location away from the elements, it will keep the true flavor preserved and prevent the chocolate from discoloring.

5. Marble & Wood Boards $54.00, Drake General Store – These are some true beauties! They would look beautiful hung on a pretty hook in the kitchen when not in use.

6. Fancy Olive Oil $29.95, Old Faithful Shop – I usually select my olive oil based on the most attractive packaging (yes, I am one of those people), but I’ve found that anyone who puts effort into an attractive package usually has an equally good quality product. I’m sure it isn’t true for everything, but it has seemed to work for me so far. Feel free to present arguments against me on this one, it is stupid logic, I know!

7. Heirloom Recipe Box $145, Rifle Paper Co – My husband bought this recipe box for me for Christmas several years ago and it is so, so beautiful and good quality.

8. Noble Bourbon Maple Syrup $34.95, Old Faithful Shop – I bought one of the small sampler bottles initially because I didn’t want to shell out for the big size before trying the product, but that little one got me hooked. This syrup is so good in cooking and baking or just poured over top of some fluffy waffles.

9. Little Deer Wooden Spoon $29.95, Williams-Sonoma – We were gifted a couple of Little Deer wooden spoons for our wedding from some foodie friends and I used the gift card that they’d also given us for the Cookbook Co. to buy more of these spoons since I loved them so much. They get used daily in our house and are probably near the top on my 10 favorite kitchen tools list. Even after over 6 years of heavy usage and abuse they have only gotten better within time.

And if you’re looking for an easy DIY that any cook or baker is sure to love, here is my favorite simple and fairly inexpensive gift idea:

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Left: Freshly made extract which needs to steep for a couple of months. Right: My supply that is very well steeped, smelling and tasting amazing.

Homemade Vanilla Extract

Ingredients

– 3 whole vanilla bean pods (Shop around for these – some places seem to charge an arm & a leg but I was able to purchase mine for $2 each from Planet Organic)
– Vodka (I use Prairie Vodka but you can use any type of plain vodka you want)

Instructions

– Use a sharp knife to cut the vanilla pods open to release more flavor.
– Put the vanilla pods (every part) in a clean sterilized jar with a lid.
– Fill the jar with vodka, seal the jar and shake
– Store the jar in a cupboard at room temperature, shaking daily, until you are ready to gift the extract (vanilla extract needs about 3 months to “steep” before it is ready to be used, so just make sure to instruct the recipient of this).

You can fancy up your jar with a pretty label and some baker’s twine.

Homemade vanilla extract will last a really long time – I’ve been using mine for about 3 years. You can add extra vodka and replace the vanilla pods as your supply begins to diminish.

As with all of my gift guides, the items are carefully selected by myself and all opinions are my own. I am not receiving compensation for any of these products – I just love them!

Etsy Gift Guide

I’ve written before about my love for Etsy (and I am also a seller myself). Etsy is my go-to place for affordable art, crafting supplies, and vintage wares, among other things. There are so many talented people that sell on Etsy and I love to support small business owners and artisans, so I thought I would put together some of my current favorite things on Etsy with lots of time to order and have items shipped for the holidays.

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1. Squirrel brooch – Conieco $82.56 – This is just too adorable! I love those pesky squirrels (but also hate them for being so pesky!), but this embroidered brooch is just perfect and the detail is unbelievable!

2. Cicada brooch – Dear Winsome $20.90 – These insects creep me out a bit just because of an X-files episode involving similar looking insects, but I do love this brooch and would happily adorn it.

3. Fancy lady print – Yelena Bryksenkova $23.22 – I love all of her work, but I especially have my eye on this print – very Marie Antoinette!

4. Planty tea towel – Lead Duncan $30.19 – I am a huge fan of Leah Duncan and I own lots of her work, but my favorite are her linen tea towels because they last forever and it is nearly impossible to see stains on them so you’re not afraid to actually use them.

5. Little Kitty – Art By Susie H $18.22 – This little guy is just so cute!

6. Moth hair clip – The Faerie Market $179.96 – Maybe this clip is a bit out of my price range, but I still love it – such beautiful detail. And I have a big thing for entomology.

7. Rhino Mount – Weazilla $174.16 – I really love it when faux taxidermy is done right and I absolutely love this rhino! This shop has lots of other animals as well!

8. Bunny ring – Xuanqi Rabbit $15.09 – So cute and delicate – and very afforable!

9. Fox brooch – Adatine $23.22 – Another felted animal, but I love brooches and animals so this would be perfect for me!

10. Embroidered cat iPhone cover – FGM Store $40.64 – I guess there is a bit of a cat theme going on here! Isn’t this phone cover just to die for?!

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1. Pug ornaments – Sophie Parker $23.69 – I think that pugs are some of the most adorable dogs ever – their faces, the way they walk, everything! These pugs in love ornaments are so cute!

2. Narwhal – Mount Royal Mint $78.95 – I’ve wanted one of these for quite awhile, they are just so lovely! I believe in the narwhal!

3. Pink clay gift set – Herbivore Botanicals $30.19 – These products look so lovely and the packaging is perfect!

4. Quilt – Gypsya $125.39 – I’ve wanted one of these quilts ever since I first saw them. And they come in king size, so I’m extra excited! The stitching is just beautiful on these.

5. Mushroom ornament – Willowynn $37.79 – As a complete mushroom nerd (I’m a member of my local mycological society!) I just adore these!

6. Tacos banner – Scout & Lilly $29.03 – All of my friends know that I LOOOOOVE tacos! The answer is always tacos.

7. Bumblebee locket – Verabel $37.15 – I love the vintage feel of this bee locket, plus bees + locket = wonderful!

8. White duck – Furzechan $55.73 – I would love to have this duck just lurking around a corner in my home, he looks so adorable (and a bit shifty).

As with all of my gift guides, the items are carefully selected by myself and all opinions are my own. I am not receiving compensation for any of these products – I just love them!

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Gifts For Gardeners

Of course my first gift guide is for gardeners! While I love really nice things for the garden, I don’t usually splurge on myself. Gardeners spend the majority of their funds (usually limited) on plants, seeds, soil, mulch, construction materials, a few good quality garden tools and that’s about it. Most of the really nice things I use in the garden were either purchased for me as gifts or I bought using birthday/Christmas gift money. Here are a few splurge items for that special gardener in your life, as well as a few inexpensive items that will probably be a bit easier on your wallet.

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1. Temperature gauge $58.00 – Terrain – I’ve had my eye on the lookout for a nice outdoor temperature gauge for a few years and this one fits all of my high standards.

2. Recycled metal wind chime $27.86 – Ironaworks – I bought a set of these a few years ago and they are absolutely beautiful and make a really pleasant deep chime. Mine have been outside for a couple of winters and are so durable.

3. Wilder Quarterly subscription $18.95/issue – I started reading this publication on a whim when it first came out and I really enjoy it. Often times the usual gardening magazines only show the perfect yards and precisely manicured lawns which leave me feeling very inferior and discouraged. But Wilder is quite different – it has well written articles about real gardens and real gardeners, urban farmers, and artisans. If you’re feeling really generous, a lifetime subscription is only $895.

4. Seeds $3.00 – Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds – This would be such a welcome gift for me – I love all of Baker Creek’s offerings and I’ve had such great success with their seeds. They also have their own book, The Heirloom Life Gardener, which has some of the most beautiful vegetable photography I’ve ever seen.

5. Gardener’s hand salve $13.95 – Old Faithful Shop – Gardeners have some of the worst dry hands! I love a good quality, lovely smelling, natural salve to relieve my lizard skin.

6. Hanging Planter $62.00 – Cathy Terepoki – I first started pining for this artist’s wares when I saw them in a local independent shop. They are all so beautiful and I love supporting local artists.

7. Japanese Hori Hori $33.50 – Lee Valley Tools – This is the best investment I’ve ever made, tool-wise. I was once out using it in the front yard to do some weeding and a neighbor yelled across several properties “What the hell is that, a bowie knife?!!”. It’s so bad-ass looking but it also works so unbelievably well. I’d hummed and hawed about it for a couple of years until I finally bought it one day and my life has not been the same since – I use it for weeding, digging, cutting roots – you name it. Also, any garden tool that looks like a legit murder weapon has to be good.

8. Temporary vegetable tattoos $17.42 – Julia Rothman – I love love love these! And Julia Rothman is one of my favorite artists – her book Farm Anatomy is so beautiful (and informative!).

9. Plant pot $69.00 – Steven Alan – A bit out of my price range for one pot, but it sure is beautiful!

As with all of my gift guides, the items are carefully selected by myself and all opinions are my own. I am not receiving compensation for any of these products – I just love them!