So yesterday afternoon, as I was trying to figure out what I was going to write for today (in between trying to tackle items on my to-do list), it suddenly dawned on me: Thanksgiving in the United States is next week.
Which means that Christmas isn't that far behind. And I haven't done any Christmas shopping, and most of my family doesn't live in this country, so I really need to shop early to get them mailed in time for the holidays.
Which is pretty much when the panic set in.
See, here's the thing: while I love choosing the perfect gift, I hate shopping. Hate it. And I have a personal rule that I never set foot in a shopping mall from the day after Thanksgiving until at least two weeks after the new year. So this means I'm sort of running out of time. And it also means that it's time to comb the internet for gifts.
But then I started thinking: if I'm going to go online to pick up gifts, why not support the businesses of some of the talented bloggers that I see online (and maybe, with your help, some I've never even heard of before)?
So I thought I'd share some of my favourites I've found over time here, as well as some new recommendations a few people shared on Twitter yesterday afternoon by kind souls who sensed my panic.
First, a few of my favourites:
Andrea's married to the incredibly talented Ward Jenkins, who is an illustrator extraordinaire. I actually once traded one of my images for one of Ward's original works, and it's one of my favourite pieces I have in my house. Ward also has an Etsy shop, where you can buy prints of his work. (And for the kids in your life, Ward's also illustrated two books.)
And while we're on the subject of art, I should bring up this beautiful piece of original art that I purchased from Ania B. Alyson a while back. Ania takes dictionary pages or maps (your choice), and creates these precise little papercut hearts, mounted on wooden blocks. They would make an amazingly touching gifts, and I may go back for more.
I've been following the blog of talented artist Kal Barteski for a while, and she recently announced the creation of these mini-bus rolls that are just lovely. I'm totally eyeing the "welcome home" one.
In other items, the talented Maile Wilson sells those amazing camera bags that look like high-end handbags -- if you've been a good girl and you love photography, make sure to add one of these beautiful bags to your wish list. Even though they seem spendy, trust me: the quality of these bags make them easily worth at least twice the asking price.
Then there are the books: The Gifts of Imperfection by my friend Brené, as well as Expressive Photography by the Shutter Sisters are both great. But also, don't pass up The Butcher and the Vegetarian (which, despite its chick-lit look is actually a really incisive, journalistic look at the meat industry) by my friend Tara Austen Weaver (but then again, if chick lit is what you want, you can't do better than my friend Katherine Center's novel, Get Lucky.) And for the gourmand in your life, consider Gluten-Free Girl & the Chef, a cookbook and a love story all rolled into one, by Shauna James Ahern and her husband, Daniel Ahern; also, of course, The Pioneer Woman Cooks, by Ree Drummond. I read all of these this year, and they're all really, really good.
And as for the suggestions I got on Twitter:
Rachael Rossman does paintings from your favourite photographs;
So help me out, folks: do you or any bloggers you know sell unusual, handmade items? Are you authors? Musicians? Artists? If you've got some ideas, please share them in the comments below. And keep coming back and checking the comments for what I hope will turn out to be the most comprehensive list of handmade, unusual gift items on the web.
Image: A photo I shot for the book that never actually made it in. I'm sorry, I don't remember which camera I used, but I suspect I used my old 50mm manual lens.