Green Christmas: A Crafty Wishlist

by - Thursday, November 24, 2016

My mother-in-law is the kind of person who sees something she likes on Pinterest, and then she actually makes it. Weird, I know. They aren't even total fails like the Crayon Pumpkin Disaster of 2012. She is always up to some project, and even has a craft room in her house! Here is a handful of my favorite Momalope projects:

puff blanket

thanksgiving vegetable turkey

halloween pumpkin cat

She even made all of our Christmas stockings:

homemade stocking

She can be a tough one to shop for, but craft supplies make for a great gift. She made me a list of things she could use for Christmas, most of which are for her crafting, and I will throw in a few other green options for all of you crafty people at the end! One of the best things we can do to be kinder to the environment is make things ourselves, because you are sure to get only what you need, you know the labor is kindly treated, and it doesn't travel far, so if you have someone in your life who is a maker, support that habit! Because they are awesome.

ok heres a few things to get you started on a list.

1 . a new sewing machine

.2.A new bike (that's for Pete really). 
3. Project Life Stuff 
4. New photo albums always. 

5. a bike rack for our truck

globe pin cushion etsy
from Patina Market

1, Sewing Machine- MIL is looking either for a cheap one to give to my sister or a really nice one so she can give her old one to my sister. I hate to say it, but this might be one where she has me stumped. I have found a few made in Japan (from Janome, which are well-reviewed and described as "no frills" machines), so you are at least dealing with higher labor standards, but I honest to goodness can't find any made here in the US. 

I did find a few good sewing accessories made in the US- Sparkling Pumpkin sells measuring tape and pretty crotchet hooks out of Massachusets, this thread organizer was made here, you can also buy TONS of sewing patterns on Etsy (love this idea- you can help them discover a new idea and it is really affordable). Lastly, you can buy fabrics that were made in the US that they might find inspiring- like this felt or this plaid (this Austin store also sells yarn). You could also gift a cute needle minder or an amazing pin cushion like this one from Craft Hands Full Heart.
shinola detroit bicycle
from Shinola Detroit
2. Bike- I know nothing about bikes, so I feel ill-prepared to give advice on this front. If we are being completely honest here, I live in constant fear of bicycles on the road- it's like someone is throwing a precious porcelain heirloom at you and you have to catch it. They make me so nervous. And when I was on foot at Stanford, I was hit by a bike more than once. So I have some bitterness towards bicycles, proving once again that I am a very poor environmentalist.

The good news is that so many bikes are still made in the US, so not only is it so eco-friendly (and healthy) to travel by bike, you can find good options easily (unlike those sewing machines- what the hell!). You have tons of options, and they all live in Portland (ok, I kid, but not much). Since I don't know anything about bicycles, I will just list the ones I found from cheapest to crazypants expensive to holy crap what- Worksman Cycles (370), Shinola Detroit (1000), Antbike Mike, Hufnagel, Signal Cycles, Six Eleven Bicycles, Independent Fabrication Bikes, Rivendell Bikes, (2300), Bilenky Cycle Works, Vanilla Bicycles (their waitlist is years long- crazy), Steelman Cycles (3000),Pereira, MAP Bicycles, Richard Sachs Cycles(5000). Metrofiets makes bikes with a seat or storage in the front.

project life scrapbook stuff
from amazon
3. Project Life Stuff- It may sound like a Pro-life think tank, but Project Life is actually a scrapbooking system by Becky Higgins with a serious following, and my MIL loves a good scrapbook. Higgins writes a pretty fun little blog and has lots of ideas about how to best document life. I really like the stuff, and it's a good idea to stick with a system if you don't need that constant creative control but you still want some pretty scrapbooks.

I can't tell for sure where their products are made (I see one mention of "imported"), but if you wanted to be eco-friendly, you could go with the digital app instead, and your scrapbooker could print only what they needed in their own home (Project Life has Shutterfly books now, so that might be something to try as well). You could also go with a gift card?

If you have a scrapbooker who doesn't necessarily use Project Life, you can find some other supplies on Etsy. I love these cut out map circles from Tanith's Odd and Ends that would be a perfect theme for a travel scrapbook (and stand as a good reminder you can re-use any paper in a scrapbook). Straight Home sells kraft paper scrapbook sheets so you can use recycled paper as the base of your scrapbook. I also love their collection of stamps- you can find anything you need and reuse them forever. You can also find stamps from Rubber Hedgehog and in consignment stores.

You can also get Made in the USA scrapbook paper from companies like Scrapbook Customs, Cardstock Warehouse, Thunderbolt Paper, or Reminisce.

gallery leather photo album
from Gallery Leather

4. Photo Albums- This one goes straight to my heart, because I would really love to find some Made in America photo albums as well. We have had awesome luck finding frames at consignment stores, but the albums are often pretty wonky looking. I have consistently used those Pioneer albums, but they are made in China, so I have to break that habit. On one shopping trip, I discovered Gallery Leather, which makes all of their photo albums in Maine (yay!). They look a little more sophisticated than I would have gone for before, but they aren't crazy expensive and they will get the job done! New favorites.

I did find a couple other options that look pretty good. Most of the US-made albums seem to be leather, including these ones from McKinley Leather, Journey Leather, and Rustic Ridge Leather (The Boy gave me one of their albums for our anniversary, and it is so special I can't decide what to do with it yet). Parker Photo Albums are made here too, and come in a variety of sizes and album types. Album source has a whole Made in America section, so you can find lots of choices.

As a side note, this might be a great opportunity to do a creative gift as well! You could make them a book on a site like Shutterfly (they print their books in the US, but not a lot of their gifts) or Artifact Uprising, I am currently obsessed with Artifact Uprising, who also make their books out of recycled paper, but I haven't mastered it yet. A gift certificate to one of these sites might also make a perfect gift- you can store as many pictures in one of those books, and there is a lot less plastic involved. I think it really encourages people to finally put those pictures to some use! Do other people use other book design sites? What would you recommend?

5. A Bike Rack- They don't just need a bike, they need a way to get those bikes down to the bike trail, so they don't have to bike on the road and scare poor drivers like me. Again, tons of great options! I love it! Our pick- Saris makes bike tray hitch racks that you can get in various sizes on REI or amazon. Not cheap, but good for a family maybe, or this truck mount is pretty affordable.Thule also sells bike racks but they are even more expensive for really hardcore bikers. Surco has a ladder-mounted option.

You can also get a hitch tightener in case something doesn't fit right or you want to improve something they already own (because not getting something new when you already have it is one of the most eco-friendly things we can all do). You can also get all sorts of tools, baskets, stands, and safety bands from REI made in America, so you can find a good gift for the biker in your life.

A Few More Ideas for the Crafter You Love

First of all, Etsy sells all sorts of craft supplies and materials, so if you can't find what you are looking for in consignment (Seattle has it's own art supply consignment store- Seattle Recreative- so your neighborhood might have some cool options as well), start there! No reason not to make eco-friendly decisions here.

Candlemaking Supplies- This might be a cool, crafty hobby, and I know we have received homemade candles as a gift and loved it. You can get wicks and beeswax or soy wax on Etsy from local sellers! Not very expensive either.

Felt- We have bought tons of felt from Etsy for our various projects, and it always works better to pick the specific colors we need than to buy big sets when we can't use a lot of it. Busy Little Bird has tons of color options, and lots of different set sizes to choose from. I think a fun pile of felt might make a really cool gift for the right person!
etsy mosaic tiles
from Shan C Studio

Mosaic Tiles- I have always thought mosaics are so cool. I want to be the kind of person who makes mosaics, or has one of those tables with a mosaic top in their yard. If you have someone in your life who likes making mosaic, you can find all sorts of cool and recycled tiles to buy them for inspiration. I think these mosaic tiles from Shan C Studio would make so many gorgeous things. I have noticed that inspiration is half the battle, so if you can find inspiring materials like these, you could be giving a real gift! Discount Mosaic Tiles sells oodles of options, and Rainy Day Mosaics sells recycled tiles.

Screenprinting Kit- I know, this diy screenprinting kit is off the beaten track in terms of crafting, but i think it might be just up your crafter's alley, and it would make for a fun new experiment or project. Good if you are looking for something new and surprising. They may be opening their own Factory in no time!

personalized clothing tags
from Ananemone
Tags- If you have a sewer you love in your life, you could get them these personalized tags from Ananemone to put in the clothes that they make! I seriously love this idea, so thoughtful and simple.
made in america yarn
from Amazon
Yarn- With yarn, start in consignment. At Seattle Recreative, we always have a huge selection of yarn. Someone gave me the advice that you can get really great yarn at estate sales and consignment stores. This is the darkest advice I've been given since starting this series if you think about it too long. Still, if you have a knitter or crotcheter in your life, it may also be useful advice. Cheap, good yarn is hard to beat! If you are looking for something very specific, there are plenty of made in America options as well. Lion Brand makes their (100% acrylic) yarn in the US, I have used Red Heart Super Saver Yarn before, and it is not the softest but it is made here and holds together well, so it's great for learning or for kitchen towels. NY Lamb yarn is 80% wool and much softer, while still being pretty affordable.

Still feeling inspired to shop? Awesome! Check out my Big List of Shopping Lists and go greener and more local this Christmas! Buy less and buy better!

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  1. agh! I was going to make a crafting/DIY Christmas list! Back to the drawing board...



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