Ten Festive Favourites!
The nights are getting chilly, mornings frosty and the sun insists on sitting at just the wrong place in the sky when driving...
Yes, November is in full swing and it’s time to crack open one of my favourite new traditions.
Each year I shout about some of the independent businesses that I regularly buy from myself, or that I am lucky enough to call friends, or both!
Every order placed with a small business makes a real difference to an actual person and now, more than ever, we need to support our Indies. In return for your support, you receive beautifully packaged treasures crafted with love and personal service from the face (or faces) behind the business.
As with every year, remember to order early! Handmade takes time and the postal services are under strain again at the moment. Give everyone a breather and avoid last minute delivery panic by getting started sooner rather than later.
Are you sitting comfortably?
Then I’ll begin…
To visit our first incredibly talented artist we travel overseas to Germany and seek out the wonderful Goldfeder Art. Always enigmatic, Tobias began to draw at a young age and was inspired by Batman comics and the artfully illustrated rule books for role-playing and strategy games. His works combine loving darkness with a wink, so it's no wonder that his playful, erotic bondage fairies are so successful.
If you’re looking for an extra special gift for someone, you can even commission your own bespoke work and immortalise them in Fairy form!
You can find Fessel Fee here:
Gilbert House Pens
Now for a creative powerhouse that is much closer to home...
Brad hand makes the most beautiful fountain pens, rollerball pens and ballpoint pens right here in Cambridge. With over 25 years’ experience he has refined his techniques to produce pens from wood sourced from across the globe as well as pens cast with resin and embedded objects.
No two pens are the same, which means that whichever you decide to take home will be uniquely yours. The perfect gift for the writer in your life, or an ideal present for that someone who is difficult to buy for!
Do take a little time to check out the range made with Bethlehem Olive wood from Israel. Also known as the immortal tree, the wood is harvested without damaging the trees and the pruning promotes environmental stability.
If you know a watch collector or steampunk fan, why not go a little leftfield with a gift that complements their passion? This range is made from recycled mechanical watch parts which are taken, shaped and attached to a decorated tube then cast in crystal clear resin.
If you’re local to Cambridge, you can visit Brad at All Saint's Craft Market every Saturday throughout the year on St Johns street, next to St Johns and Trinity colleges.
You can find Gilbert House Pens here:
Hannah Kate Makes
In the words of Enola Holmes: “’tis I!”
I’m super proud of my Dark Christmas Collection this year and so I’m going to shout about it with you here too!
I’ve added two new card designs to my range, with Ilex the holly dryad and my Mari Lwyd joining the ranks of Dylan Donkey, Montague Mouse, and my other more spooky cards, ready to send to your loved ones.
Don’t need another mug? Check out my new range of T-shirts and Vests too, each featuring my original designs and ready to be worn by the tricky-to-buy-for members of your circle. As always, I’m here to help with your stocking filler and secret santa needs, so top up on stickers, bookmarks and pin badges too.
All of my artwork is drawn and painted by me, in my studio in a little village in Cambridgeshire, and my mugs, decorations and garments are also manufactured by other small independent businesses in the UK.
You can find Hannah Kate Makes here:
From her home in Suffolk, Kim lovingly designs, and hand makes quirky and unique earrings from cork. I’ve seen these gorgeous creations in person and can attest to how intricate and delicate they are!
Cork is a sustainable alternative material for earrings and is often referred to as vegan leather. It is lightweight and durable, making it the perfect material for earrings. Made from the outer layer of bark of a cork oak tree grown in Portugal, scrapings taken from the bark allow the trees to regrow and continue to thrive. These scapings are then pressed and backed onto fabric to create a malleable material which can be used in many ways.
Your spooky friends might immediately navigate to the Autumnal and Halloween range, as I did, with cute little hedgehogs, toadstools and ghosts to decorate our ears. I can’t wait to see more of these lovely festive designs too!
Can one have too many earrings?
Of course that’s rhetorical! If you found yourself saying “yes"... quite frankly, you need to have a word with yourself!
You can find Incorknito Designs here:
Letter Box Bear
The Letterbox Bear story begins when Bisha, who’s been crocheting since she was a child, gave birth to her beautiful little girl at 37 weeks.
As she was so tiny her clothes didn't fit so Bisha crocheted a blanket that was the perfect size for her. She then had the happy feeling of knowing that when laid in her crib, her new daughter still had something special from her mother with her all the time.
As her little girl has grown, she’s become the inspiration behind the Letterbox Bear creations. Why not share one of these precious keepsakes to remind your loved ones of all the wonderful moments you’ve shared together?
This super cute bear hug pin has been lovingly crafted to let someone know how much you're thinking of them. Send them a comforting gift that they can wear to remind them of you and give them a reason to smile.
Or maybe adopt a Zuri Bear, made from 100% natural cotton yarn and available in a range of calming neutral, pastel or earthy colours. All orders are gift wrapped and ready to be given to your favourite person or the newest member of your family!
You can find Letterbox Bear here:
Maureen Charles Glass Artist
Maureen has been drawing since she was old enough to hold a pencil and now she works with glass, making fabulous fused glass items, jewellery and decorations.
Using her sketchbooks as inspiration she explores, experiments and is experiencing new excitement about what she can create.
For the festive season you can take home these wonderful twinkly ornaments, as well as cute snowmen and even a classic pear for your tree! Also for the home there are beautiful lustred dishes and stunning wall art ready to add a little class to any room.
If you’re looking for a delicate and unique gift that is post-box friendly, take a look at Maureen’s striking bracelets, earrings and hair combs. The colours are mesmerising and the textures and gleam of the glass will not fail to catch your eye.
You couldn’t help but make a statement with this stunning blue glass and silver necklace with its purple accent pendant.
I was lucky enough to have Maureen as my stall neighbour at this year’s Milton Country Park Autumn Festival in the Arts & Crafts Marquee, which also meant that I’m now the owner of a beautiful pair of earrings that shimmer like peacock tails.
What will you take home with you?
You can find Maureen Charles Glass Art here:
Mini Magick Emporium
It had always been Amber’s dream to have her very own shop of curiosities and magick and now this wonderful mother, wife and witch runs Mini Magick Emporium from her family home in Bedfordshire.
Mini Magick was originally inspired by Amber’s own wild witchling and the Emporium all started with the Potion Kit! Re-wilding and teaching about the natural world is so important and children love to experiment, so what better way to do so than using natural ingredients with potion kits that can be reused indefinitely? They also stock British Foraging Flash Cards which can be a fun way to help you all learn together.
In the run up to Christmas, why not explore that spirit with the Yule Box which contains everything you need to create your very own natural festive potions, as well as some fabulous accessories for your little wildling to explore!
Add to the enchantment and excitement of Christmas Eve with this Reindeer Magic Potion, fizzing up some glittering oats for Rudolph and the gang.
Needle Felting Gem
Hailing from Yorkshire, Gem is a multi-talented needle felt artist, designer and gift maker. She even paints too!
After teaching herself to needle felt from a kit during lockdown, her creativity has been boundless and from that very first giraffe, which still sits in her bedroom window, a whole world of creatures, canvases and decorations have sprung to life.
Animal lovers need look no further for felted sculptures as you can adopt adorable bunnies and doggies in coats, cute little mice, elephants in jumpers, and this grumpy hare in his dressing gown, complete with his morning paper and brew!
Would you be able to gift them as planned, or would you end up keeping them as a gift for you?
No judgement here…
Gem has also started making her own needle felting kits so you can focus your imagination and bring your own creatures to life. These would make the perfect gift for your crafty pals!
Is your Christmas tree missing a certain something? Check out her gorgeous bumblebees in Santa hat decorations, or robins and Father Christmas if you’re feeling more traditional.
You can find Needle Felting Gem here:
The Cunningham Candle Company
I was lucky enough to discover these stunning candles at the Scarecrow Festival in my village earlier this year. Lovingly handmade and individually hand poured right here in Cambridgeshire, prepare yourself for the most beautiful looking and deliciously scented soy wax candles and melts you’ve ever discovered!
All their products are made from the finest natural ingredients which means they are eco-friendly, cruelty free and also free from paraffin and parabens.
Whether you fancy some seasonally decorative candles to add that warm glow to your home in December, or you love to add to the mood with your favourite fragrance from your wax melt burner, they have you covered. Melts are available individually, as snap bars and also as scoopies which I think make a cute gift too.
If you’re more traditional you may favour the classic Pillar Candle Duo Set, or if you like your ornamental candles to be on the cheekier side, perhaps check out the Angel Goddess to add a little more character.
The hardest decision is which to choose!
You can find The Cunningham Candle Company here:
The Mistress of Making
As a self-declared Thread Witch, Natalie specialises in hand embroidery, surface pattern design, jewellery, accessories and homeware.
Her ingenuity never ceases to astonish me and it always makes me smile when she reveals her latest wearable curiosities.
If you know someone who loves flowers, you’ll be spoilt for choice with rose emblem necklaces, pretty hair clips, earrings, bookmarks and brooches, with each piece wowing you with the details caught by her needlework. There are even a few quirky toadstool and cute Venus Fly Trap designs too!
To get yourself in the Christmas spirit why not treat yourself to something from the sweet cart? These pretzel decorations, along with the mince pies, macarons, gingerbread men, party rings and orange segments make me feel hungry every time I see them. They will sit perfectly on your tree or make the perfect gift for a friend.
Personally I can’t wait for this beaded moon to become available…
You can find The Mistress of Making here:
Now, if that lot hasn’t got you in the festive spirit, you may be in need of an intervention. Don’t make me break out Mariah!
Just kidding, I’m not that cruel…
Enjoy the season!
You can read previous Shout Out blogs here: