Artisans & Their Crafts: 18 Handmade Gifts for 2021
Artisans, craftspeople, entrepreneurs, dudes and ladies with random product ideas that take off like persons of interest from Congressional subpoenas - these are the people who make the holidays, and gift-giving in general, fun. Unique. Personal. Thoughtful. Handmade. Enjoy my roundup of 18 handmade gifts highlighting artisans and their crafts.
Note: All 18 handmade gifts are priced as they were at printing on November 29, 2021. Pricing, and availability, are subject to change.
The Darksaber Blade has one question for you: got hilt? Jay of Jay's Blades makes the Star Wars-inspired black sabers from 1/2" clear acrylic plastic, finishing them in their trademark color with coiled etchings. But House Vizsla members and Moff Gideons here on Earth who want to wield the Mandalorian blade will need to own or acquire the hilt separately - this listing is for the blade only.
Jay's Darksaber Blades measure approximately 32" long, and have blunted tips and edges. They are made to fit in-hilt LED lightsabers with a 1" diameter blade socket. Some examples include the Shadowblade V2 from the Pach Store, Darksai from Kaizen Sabers, and most Ultrasabers and Saberforge hilts.
Leather Octopus Backpacks
Coming soon, hockey fans, to the Seattle Kraken's merch line.... These handmade octopus backpacks from Krukru Studio are all molded and sewn from pure leather into their cephalopod shapes. The shop notes, "It wasn't easy to create patterns for this model...but we still wished to have it in our collection."
The octo-packs' charm and whimsy are highlighted by their 8 dangling legs, punched with rivets to simulate the mollusk's suckers, a pair of contrasting-color eyes, and a floppy zippered head that serves as the bag's main storage compartment. Octopus backpacks come in blue, red, yellow, orange, pink, and black.
Carved Jicaras - Mezcal Drinking Gourds
Despite it being the current hipster spirit of choice, I do love me some mezcal. It is, as ol' Guy Fieri would say, flavor country. Especially pechuga mezcal, which made me gag when I first heard of it, but subsequently tried as a tasting series - served in some carved jicaras like the ones you see here - and felt like I was Violet Beauregarde chewing the whole meal gum in Willy Wonka's chocolate factory. Minus the unfortunate blueberry dessert part.
Jicaras, or mezcal drinking gourds, are made from the fruit of calabash trees. Their plant-based fibers make them porous, so they absorb some of the spirit they hold and, as Etsy shop Mezcal for Life says, "drink with you."
These tacos aren't tacos for eatin', they're tacos for wearin'. Taco baby booties for your lil' taco cutie, courtesy of Gulnara Kydyrmyshova. Kydyrmyshova handmakes her Taco Booties in small batches, so every pair is different. But equally delicious to look at. A great baby gift for foodie parents (booties for foodies) and way to make your kiddo the toast of Taco Tuesday.
Rock Climbing Mugs
According to Climbergoods, these Rock Climbing Mugs are "suitable for expert or novice climbers." And if you're the latter, better hope they're right, because it will be a coffee crotch morning, or tea tittie afternoon if they're not!
Climbergoods makes all of the rock climbing holds they swap in for traditional mug handles, and you'll have a variety of colors, plus a few different styles, to choose from if you get a Rock Climbing Mug for yourself, or gift one to an athlete with the requisite grip strength.
Bottle Opener Dog Tags
If your dog gets lost wearing a bottle opener dog tag, maybe it's the dog tag's fault. Ol' Gonzo just went out lookin' for a beer and ended up, as my favorite of Firefly Lane Stamping's bottle opener dog tags says, lost as fuck.
Bottle opener dog tags are all made of heavy duty stainless steel, and come with your pup's name hand-stamped on the top. Firefly Lane Stamping also has room for your phone number(s) and clever comments on many of their tags. If you're not into the F-word, maybe you'd prefer the "Got lost looking for bitches" tag. Or the even tamer "Free beer upon return."
Turkish Terracotta Testi Pot for Slow Cooking
"Testi Pot" is an unfortunate name for a terrific cooking tool from Faik's. Unique, rustic, and sure to get a ton of Ooohs and Ahhhs at your next dinner party, these Turkish terracotta slow cookers are made from heat- and fire-resistant Cappadocian clay that locks in moisture, and allows steam buildup to cook the food you put inside to juicy, tender perfection. Place Testi Pots in the oven, on your grill, or in a campfire to make your next meal, and then enjoy the real wow factor when they come out.
Traditional Testi Pots are single-use for cooking, because when it comes time to serve, you break them to unleash the tasty dish inside. Faik's original slow cookers break safely along a score line for food consumption, and if you hate to throw away a good piece of terracotta, you can repurpose the bottoms as flower pots.
Mod Mettle Planter Box Mailboxes
Get flowers in the mail every day with one of Mod Mettle's planter box mailboxes. The wall-mounted receptacles are made of 14-gauge steel, with a sleek, minimalist box design in your choice of Mod Mettle's hand-finished rust patina finish, or black / brown powder coated finishes. Optional numbers or letters to signify your address or name further the mailboxes' modern aesthetic, but obviously their true standout, and on-trend, feature is the planter box Mod Mettle has added along the front.
Steampunk Brass & Copper Lighter
This brass & copper lighter will bring some steampunk flair to any smoker's, incense burner's, or candle enthusiast's desktop. And if you're not into steampunk, no problem. The Doktor Bertram Blenkinsopp attributes of the lighter can easily be respun as vintage Victorian in style. A piece straight from a Jane Austen novel, and perfect as a gift for your girlfriend.
Martin's Chocolatier Luxury Chocolate Planets
At first I saw this box of Chocolate Planets and was like, "1-2-3-4...9! Martin's Chocolatier didn't diss Pluto in their presentation of our solar system in luxury confection form!" But then I read the Chocolate Planet description: "A Heavenly Selection Of Expertly Handmade Out Of This World Chocolate Planets + A Star (The Sun)." The 9th chocolate is the Sun. Pluto gets the shaft again.
National Park Wood Clipboards
Well, yeah, these National Park Wood Clipboards from Lemonee on the Hills are most excellent to look at. Cool ideas, beautiful landscapes, fine craftswomanship (Lemonee is aka Melanie). But from scenes from Yosemite and Big Sur, to the Tetons and Glacier, the National Park Wood Clipboards are so excellent to look at, you're never going to want to cover them up, and use them as actual clipboards! What a conundrum!
Ecletticos Mugs for your coffee and tea...and covert nip of whiskey...manage to be rustic and rugged, yet somehow elegant, even a little regal, at the same time. Sure, maybe they're more Viking regal than British Royal Family regal, but...pssshhh! I'd take a tea service that makes people think of Leif Eriksson over Queen Elizabeth any day.
Ecletticos, which also peddles teapots and other kitchenware, is a family-run small business based out of Bardstown, KY. Their mission is "rebelling against the uninteresting," in this case, boring cups and mugs that have no personality, bring no visual or tactile joy during use, or simply lose meaning once T-Rex's grabbers wear off after a few runs through the dishwasher.
Recycled VHS Tape Planters
VHS tapes live! Or at least, you can give them new life - actual, thriving life - with one of these recycled VHS tape planters from Nifty Recyclables.
With VHS tapes' obsolescence imminent, Nifty Recyclables has started gathering and converting the cases of your favorite movies into housings and displays for small foliage. Similar to what Nancy's Jars does to make VHS cassette lamps. You know how big video cassettes are, so these planters obviously aren't for your fiddle leaf figs and palm trees, but they do work for mini terrarium plants, fairy garden plants, and any greenery or bloomers 2" tall or less. You can also use the VHS tape planters as seed starters.
Tiny Footprint Carbon Negative Coffee
If your tiny footprints are like my tiny footprints, they can be found padding (OK, maybe Sasquatch-footin' it) into the kitchen every morning to make a fat pot of coffee. Or maybe hoofin' it to a coffee shop before work. And then again at mid-morning. Lunchtime. The dreaded strike of 3 p.m.
But if your tiny footprints are like Tiny Footprint Coffee's tiny footprints, they are actively working to reduce the carbon they release into the atmosphere. These tiny footprints are carbon footprints, and Tiny Footprint Coffee calls its caffeinated mugs o' hugs the world's first carbon negative coffee.
Pick 'N Peel Stones for Anxiety Relief
Give your cuticles, dry skin, scabs, and nose holes a break. Pick 'N Peel Stones will provide the same type of release for your anxiety and antsiness without making you bleed or leaving a scar. Some of you pickers may have already channeled some of your stress and excess energy into a Pop It Pal. Thick of Pick 'N Peel Stones as the beautiful, and infinitely less gross, version of a pimple popping simulator.
Addition Beer Sauce - Beer-Enhancing Savory Bitters
Uh-oh, did you drink your last microbrew or large format Belgian import? Now all that's left in the fridge is Rolling Rock and Michelob Ultra? It's cool, dude. When life makes you beer bitter, grab some beer bitters.
Addition Beer Sauce is a bitters-style mixer made specifically for beer, to bring complexity, flavor, and some heat to your lackluster lagers and ales, and to "turn a normal beer into something special!"
Nintendo NES Controller Valet Tray
Take NES Controller of your life with a snazzy Nintendo NES Controller Valet Tray from Reimagined Wood Shop. The tribute to the classic gaming system is CNC carved from your choice of 7 different woods, each sanded and finished with a coat of tung oil.
3D Chess Boards
All the talk of people playing 3D chess over the past few years must have made Keith at Lucky Dogg 77 Customs want to play some actual 3D chess. And invite you to do the same.
Keith hand makes his super duper sick-looking 3D chess boards from wood cuboids of varying heights, painted to your color preferences, and fused together to form stair-stepping structures. They look as much like sculptural displays, a little Alice in Wonderland, even, as they do playing surfaces. In addition to square and piece colors, you can make custom requests for your 3D chess board's height, and add a theme, such as your favorite sports team's or Marvel character's logo.