Friday, December 9, 2016

Local handmade gifts for teachers that you can buy online

By Sharon Parker
Sharon's Compendium

Looking for a unique gift for your child's teachers? Yet, feeling a little frazzled and challenged to find the time to seek out something special? No worries! HandmadeMN is here to help, and you can buy these handmade local creations online! 

For the eco-conscious teacher who wants a little glam in their life, this silver tote by Susie B. Handicraft made from recycled Mylar bags serves as a fun reusable gift bag. What would you put inside it? Read on for great ideas. 

For a teacher who may or may not be a geologist, they can use these natural rock card holders to display cards, Word of the Week, Star Student, menus and more. From Naturally Unique Rock.

For the teacher who always thinks of others and never herself, Metaling Susie suggests some rustic copper earrings, with turquoise.

For the teacher who teaches finance or economics, a money clip from Chatter by Hammer.

For the teacher who likes to stay organized — with a touch of whimsy! — a ladybug wristlet from MinneBites. 

For the teacher who enjoys Twin Cities' landmarks and local art, this set of note cards by Cindy Lindgren would be just the thing.

From Emily Ruth Designs (whose shop will be back online Monday), here's a name badge reel for the teacher who likes to accessorize and add a pop of color! 

For the teacher who loves science, nature, and useful beautiful things, how about this gift set from Sweet Bee Honey.

To help your teacher through the cold winter months, here's a unique soy candle with a charming surprise inside, from Gemstone Talisman.

For the teacher who loves to support the local teams, how about a T-shirt infinity scarf in your school's colors, or those of one of our pro teams, by Palette Passion (visit the shop for more color choices).

What teacher doesn't need to corral some clutter from time to time? This mini fabric bin (which is on sale, btw) can be filled with gifty things, then used at home or in the classroom after. From Shaggy Baggy.

You can find still more gift ideas from Minnesota makers by clicking on the topics at left, which will take you over to Etsy and a selection of items from members of the HandmadeMN team. Happy shopping!

Monday, November 28, 2016

Cyber Monday Gifts for the Most Important Person in the World

By Jeff Ambroz

It's Cyber Monday, and the online holiday shopping season is now in full swing.

The holiday season is a time to consider and celebrate others.  And yet, with all the stresses of online and in-store shopping, cooking, baking and visiting it’s easy to forget about one very special person.

And that special person is you.  Far from being self-indulgent, self care ensures that you’re healthy and able to fully participate in life.

So together, let’s start a new trend:  From now on, we’re also going to take care of ourselves during this delightful season.  Let's start with online shopping for ourselves at some of the HandmadeMN Etsy shops.

A smart way to start the day is with some ground rules, beautifully presented in this 12 Steps to Self Care Card by evebrown.  Personally, I like to frame and hang greeting cards, and this appears to be a perfect candidate for the picture frame treatment.
Wise rules, for this season and all seasons.
While you’re in the self care state of mind, it’s time to relax.  A fun way to indulge in the shower is with this trio of beer soaps by AllThingsHerbal.  Remember, it’s okay to keep all 3 for your personal enjoyment.
Invigorating and special:  handcrafted soaps made with beer

With your neck and shoulder muscles loosed up a bit, why not take it all the way?  A neck heating pad by WarmHugsCornBags will take you to new depths of relaxation.
Winter relaxation never looked so good!

Winter can be tough on the lips.  Try a bees wax lip balm by SweetBeeHoney.  The balms are made with unrefined, filtered beeswax from the owner’s hives.
Mind your own bees wax with these soothing lip balms.

Now that you’ve taken care of your body, it’s time to recharge your spirit.  This State Fair After DarkCanvas by gieslahoelscher will help your mind drift to the free-spirited fun of the Great Minnesota Get-Together.  It’s a perfect stress reliever on a cold Cyber Monday, or on any day.
Minnesota State Fair memories will boost your spirits.
I don’t know about you, but I’m feeling better already:  refreshed, inspired and re-energized.  And maybe I've talked myself into buying two each of these items:  one for me, and one for someone on my gift list.  Let’s start celebrating!

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Handmade History: Gratitude

This time of year in particular, one's thoughts turn to gratitude - with Facebook challenges to list things you are grateful for, holiday cards being written and sent, not to mention Thanksgiving Day itself.

Thanksgiving pin back button set, XO Handworks

American Thanksgiving traditions dates back to the Plymouth Colonists' first successful harvest in 1621, as they happily prepared for a winter where food would not be scarce. They shared a harvest feast with the Wampanog people, who had helped to make the colonists' harvest a success. For the next two hundred years, colonies celebrated individual dates of thanksgiving and harvest festivals. Thanksgiving became a national holiday in 1863, when President Abraham Lincoln declared a national day of thanksgiving to take place every November (although several states had established annual thanksgiving days prior to 1863).

Gratitude, of course, is something that is timeless and certainly shouldn't be restricted to one day a year. Gratitude has the ability to make you healthier, reduce depression, and help you sleep better.  It's history is certainly as long as humankind, and the expressions are varied. How will you choose to express gratitude today?

A formal note Emily Post would be proud of:
Vintage filigree thank you card, Apple Berry Ink

Or, a cleverly worded card:
Thanks for putting up with me card, Plays Nicely With Paper

A daily gratitude journal:
Leather journal with ceramic button closure, Wayfaring Art

Cooking a meal for friends and family:
Wooden spoon, Wood Chucks Wood

Or, even just sharing a simple cup of tea:
Set of 2 porcelain Yunomi tea cups, Diane Gamm