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While there may not be a North Pole or elves involved in this season's gift making, my friends' "workshops" are in a flurry this season.  Sawdust, thread, and wool cling to the carpets in our hallways and clutter our crafting corners.  With tight budgets, the new trend towards green living, and a renewed interest in all things hand-made, the gifts we exchange are sure to be creative.   Moms are making items ranging from fairy doll houses, slippers, and natural soaps, ensuring this is one holiday season our kids are not likely to forget!  Classes, fairs, instructional "how to's", and a guide for local stores offering great gift selections can help you create or find your own bits of magic for meaningful gifts for your loved ones...

Classes

If you've always wanted an excuse to buy or build a fairy doll house, here is your chance!  The ultimate in nature-based, green play, these homes use bits of fallen forest life to create a tiny play space for your child's limitless imagination.  Work with Sharon Eisely to create these one of a kind wonders through a workshop on December 6th.  Or purchase a custom fairy doll home of your own.




Sono-Ma Annalyce la Source says that fiber artist Monica Ashley Najmabadi's felting classes are also a great way to learn new skills while creating a completed gift.  She is taking the felted slippers class at Cast Away on Thursday November 12.  (Pictures to come soon!)
  
Craft Fairs

Who would have guessed that Sonoma County is home to more than 15 holiday craft fairs! 


My personal favorite is the Summerfield Waldorf Winter Faire, which offers unique and wonderful holiday shopping opportunities as well as whimsical activities for children.  Join in the fun on December 4 from 5:30 - 8:00 (for parents) shopping and December 5 from 11-4:00 for gift purchasing and children's activities such as candle making, wool working, puppet show and more.  Sale items include Sarah's Silks and Christine Schreier's of the ThePuppenstube.com  Waldorf dolls. 

I will also be making my first debut as a craft vendor at Summerfield's Winter Faire!  Come out and see Sono-Ma's "Wooden, Wool and Wonderful - Upcycled and Found Treasures" booth.    Mushroom tin photographed below included!





For a comprehensive list of local craft fairs print or view this file:



How To Instructionals



You can stay home and try these ideas on your own time:

Lisa Fontaine featured four of her favorite holiday projects through an earlier Sono-Ma article, including a wool garland, thank-you card set, date nut bread, and hand-made gift wrap.  The kids can help with these crafts too, making these activities family-centered and fun!

Our local Christine Schreirer of Puppenstube is featured in the national publication: Living Craft Magazine Fall 2009 
for her "crazy blanket" knitting guide.  This innovative pattern features a group knitting project for making a joint gift for a co-worker, friend, or relative. 

Miss Teapot (aka Cheryl Smith) recently led Annalye la Source and me in a soap making workshop.  Cheryl guided us through making a luxurious recipe of olive and coconut oils from Better Basics for the Home: Simple Solutions for Less Toxic Living.  Cheryl offers important tips for ensuring this recipe is successful:  1.)  measure all ingredients by weight with a scale (rather than by volume with measuring cups)  2.)  use a hand blender for stirring the soap 3.)  pour soap into baby wipe containers as molds - a great re-use idea!  Miss Teapot highly recommends this book and the many simple to create, potential gifts inside.

If you are into using wool to make a range of felted, stuffed, or spun gifts, don't forget to use the Santa Rosa Tool Lending Library!  You can borrow tools and access wool working instructional videos through their website.

 

Local Stores Offering Gift Selections

I love Santa Rosa's Kindred Fair Trade Handcrafts for musical instruments, finger puppets, Russian stacking dolls, and other interesting handmade finds.  You'll find great gifts, and feel great knowing that your dollars are supporting our local economy.  Just read "6 reasons to GoLocal" if you want to pat yourself on the back!  For a list of "go local" businesses, visit the GoLocal site

Be sure to leave your comments with photos of your gift giving ideas or links to local workshops, fairs, or stores you'd like to promote.  Thanks!

2 comments

  1. Minnow // November 14, 2009 at 7:11 PM  

    Yes! Yes! Handmade is the best! Finding time with a 15 mos old and a 3 1/2 year old is the challenge. but even though my dishes didn't get washed and dinner was less than inspiring, I managed to create a wedding gift for a dear friend.
    recycled basket
    scrap fabric
    wildcrafted or garden gifted friuts and veggies
    cost = $0

  2. Noelle // December 10, 2009 at 9:27 AM  

    I got Sharon's Peacock Fairy House (ostensibly for my son, but really for myself!). Her artistry and eye for detail are fantastic and I can't wait for her January workshop!!

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