Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Handmade for the Holidays

This month's Aspiring Metalsmiths Team blogroll topic is "Handmade Holidays."  There are so many ways to expound on the topic that I couldn't choose just one, so here is how I will be celebrating the Holidays with handmade gifts.

My favorite gifts to give every year are Thistle Farms products handmade by the women of Magdalene House here in Nashville, Tennessee.  Magdalene House is a residential program for women who have survived lives of violence, prostitution and addiction. Thistle Farms is their social enterprise.  By hand, the women create natural bath and body products that are as good for the earth as they are for the body. Purchases of Thistle Farms products directly benefit the women who make them.

These products make fabulous gifts for all ladies.  From candles to room spray, from body wash to body balm, lip smoothies to sachets and more, the products are available in delicious scents like Holiday, Tea Tree Mint, Lavendar, Tuscan Earth, and Citrus Vanilla.  My personal favorite is the Tea Tree Mint.  The body wash wakes me up in the shower and the candle oozes pepperminty Christmas.  I have sampled them all and use them daily.  The fragrances are true and delicate, not overpowering.

Also available on the Thistle Farms website are some amazing inspirational books written by the founder Becca Stevens, including a book of stories from the women of Magdalene House and some great devotionals.  Becca was recently honored at the White House by President Obama as one of 15 "Champions of Change" during National Domestic Violence Awareness Month.  Her books are fantastic stand alone gifts or a great accompaniment to any of Thistle Farms other products.  Buy these handmade products this Holiday season and know that your gift serves more than one purpose.  I am buying for my mom, my mother-in-law, my niece, my daughter's teachers and myself!

The other aspect of handmade holidays I want to tackle is buying handmade for children.  This can be really tough thanks to cunning advertisers and big box stores, but I've managed to find a few handmade gifts for my daughter right on etsy this year.  I wasn't really surprised when she announced that she wanted a drum for Christmas.  She loves all things musical.  So I found this cute little drum on etsy.  It reminds me of one I had when I was little, and I know she will love it.

I also found this great handmade baby doll sling.  My daughter loves her baby dolls and is always asking me to tie a blanket or towel around her for a baby carrier.  She will be so surprised when she opens this one! 

So, Happy Handmade Holiday shopping from me to you!  And check out how some of my other teammates are celebrating "Handmade Holidays."