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8 Handmade Gifts for Writers and other Book Lovers

Wondering what to gift the book-loving person in your life this holiday season? Tired of giving all your money to Amazon? Search no more! Here is a carefully curated list of handmade goods hat would delight any novelist / reporter / memoirist / poet / professor / librarian / teacher / essayist / reader. And since I spent a boatload of time ensuring that each gift comes from a small business, you can feel good about forking over your hard-earned dollars! 

1. Wearable books from Litographs.

This small Boston company creates whimsical graphic designs using the actual words of a written work and hand-prints those designs onto t-shirts, tote bags, and posters. They also make infinity scarves that are just a continuous (infinite?) stream of words. From Austen to Vonnegut and poetry to source code, you’re likely to find something that appeals to the writer (and reader) in your life.

For something truly special, you can upload your own work (or that of someone you love, one hopes) and have your story wrapped around your neck in scarf form. (I think there’s an albatross joke in there somewhere).

They offer unisex shirts as well as two more feminine styles and child sizes. Feast your eyes upon one of their two Outlander shirt designs ($34):

Women’s V-Neck Shirt featuring Outlander by Diana Gabaldon (image courtesy of Litographs)

2. Highly specific scented candles and melting waxes. 

Does the writer in your life wish her writing cave could smell like an old French bookstore instead of stale coffee and despair?

Anthology Candles has you covered. This friendly wife-and-husband outfit out of South Carolina uses natural ingredients to handcraft soy-wax candles and wickless melts that evoke specific settings or characters from literature, movies, and theme parks. At $18 for each hefty candle, buy in multiples to take advantage of free shipping with a purchase over $50. Give one to each of your best writing buddies! If your author-beloved has too many cats to safely light a candle in her home (been there, done that, smelled the burning fur), buy her Anthology’s wax tarts (pick any 4 for $25) instead.

Consider Wizard’s Christmas, Rome Burning, The Black Pearl (so, so good!), and of course, Belle’s Library, which I can personally verify does indeed smell of leather and roses.

Belle's Library candle by Anthology Candles

Belle’s Library candle by Anthology Candles (image courtesy of Anthology Candles)

3. A snuggly handmade writing cardigan.

Look, I know that buying clothes on Etsy isn’t without its issues. Buying handmade clothing without leaving your house is a tricky business! You gotta vet your vendors. Here, I tried. KimKat looks pretty darned legit. Check out this roomy and sleek cardigan from this one-woman shop out of Canada that would be an easy fit for anyone on your list. $49 and made-to-order in a wide array of colors, order quickly to receive in time for gift-giving.

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Boho Chic Oversized Sweater by KimKat Design (image courtesy of KimKat Designs Etsy site)

4. Fingerless writing gloves.

Surprise the arthritic and thyroid-deficient lovely in your life with some fingerless writing gloves featuring passages from her favorite novel! Founded by an energetic wife-and-husband team in Oregon (cute origin story here), this small print shop makes $26 gloves that will channel your author’s inner Material Girl. They have a bunch of options. Maybe The Wizard of Oz, my Rubies?

Wizard of Oz gloves by Storiart

Wizard of Oz gloves by Storiart (image courtesy of Storiarts)

5. A hand-engraved coffee mug.

It’s no secret that writers are fueled by caffeine and the traumas of our childhoods. Nobody wants to talk about the latter, but hey, whaddya think about that Pacamara Arabica, folks? Real Writers® own dozens of hot beverage mugs, some even unstained, and it’s a pretty solid bet that we’ll get another three or ten this holiday season. Shock us by procuring a mug so beautiful, so unique, so eye-blindingly CLEAN that we declare mug-gifting over forever and throw our dirty old ceramic into the driveway.

Behold the hand-made beauty of Pen Endeavors! Owner/operator/mother-of-two Beth Kuipers is a calligrapher and an engraver out of West Michigan who creates a variety of lovely literature-inspired prints, barware, and our favorite, these secretly sassy $18 mugs. Naturally, custom work is an option here, too.

Hand-Engraved Mug by Pen Endeavors (Image Courtesy of Pen Endeavors Etsy site)

“I Like Big Books & I Cannot Lie” Hand-Engraved Mug by Pen Endeavors (image courtesy of Pen Endeavors Etsy site)

6. A directional sign to Pemberly. 

Or Diagon Alley. Or Luke’s Diner. Or Neverland. Wherever your fictional dreamland resides, this husband/wife/son/dog team out of Sunriver, Oregon can create a gorgeous wood sign pointing to it. Houser House Creations seems to have an endless number of options–and yes, they’ll do custom work. (I sense a theme in this list…). I’m actually stunned by how inexpensive these are: $20 for the narrow ones, $25 for the wides! Order just one sign, or select several to create a tall directional totem for your loved one so they are forever standing at the crossroads of a fictional dreamscape. I saw a very cute Christmas-themed set that was just $65. But that’s not this one. This one is Classic Literature. I know 3/4. But where is “Hill Top”?

Classic Literature Directional Signs by HauserHouseCreations (Image Courtesy of HauserHouseCreations Etsy Site)

Classic Literature Directional Signs by HauserHouseCreations (image courtesy of Hauser House Creations Etsy site)

7. Hipster coffee without the hipsters.

As I mentioned, we writers love coffee. And alcohol. But let’s stay on track. Here’s a beautiful low-tech pour-over coffee maker from a one-woman shop in Oklahoma that will elevate your beloved author’s coffee game. Simply insert a small coffee filter, add some grounds, and pour in some hot water. Yeah, it’s $45 but it’s *so pretty* I can keep it on my desk and I don’t have to leave my house to get an artisanal cuppa! PRICELESS!

Simply Copper Pour Over by YuccaLane (Image Courtesy of YuccaLane's Etsy Store)

Simply Copper Pour Over by YuccaLane (image courtesy of Yucca Lane’s Etsy site)

8. Character-driven perfume balm.

When it comes to establishing the mood of a scene, some of us use music. Others visual aids. Me? I require scent. I always pick a specific perfume (or even just an imaginary combination of smells that seem appropriate) to associate with each of my characters. One guy smelled of Earl Gray tea and lemons. A different hero all leather and smoke. Chances are good that your writer-friends do the same.

By giving a novelist a selection of intriguing new scents made by this two-person Kansas team (one of whom might be an actual bearded lady) called Scodioli Creative, you might provide them with the spark they need to move forward on a manuscript! They’ll put you in the acknowledgements, trust me. With this sampler pack, you pick four scented waxes for $20. Might I suggest Elyria (Earl Grey + Lavender), Fiji Mermaid (The Briny Deep), Fortunato (Pine, Smoke + Whiskey), and Laudanum (Tobacco + Black Tea)?

A selection of the waxes available from Scodioli Creative (image courtesy of Scodioli Creative Etsy site)

A selection of the waxes available from Scodioli Creative (image courtesy of Scodioli Creative Etsy site)

 

There you go! Have I struck a chord with any of my picks? What would *you* most like this holiday season?

(Be sly and share this post on Facebook / Twitter / Instachat and tag your beloveds and BFFs just as an FYI or whatever. They’ll get the hint and be grateful for the ideas!)

 

27 responses to “8 Handmade Gifts for Writers and other Book Lovers”

  1. Liz Talley says:

    OOOOH! I love so many of these! Fantastic, Jamie!

    I love the fingerless gloves. And the candles. I’m a sucker for candles and spend way too much on them. Wished I would have had this post before I went crazy at Anthropology….

    Thank YOU!

    2+
    • I got a 10-pack of Anthology’s wax tarts for my birthday, and they are amazing. Totally buy a bunch and use them as stocking stuffers or little gifts for your girlfriends!! The Black Pearl scent is gorgeous and makes me think of Jenn!

      I might get the fingerless gloves for myself. Interestingly, after I found Storiarts, I got in touch with one of the owners and she got back to me right away and pointed me to a couple of articles about how they got started. That’s when I realized that they’re contracted with Uncommon Goods, which is a catalog I receive once a year. (Like, around now. I have two on my breakfast table). http://www.uncommongoods.com

      I didn’t realize that Uncommon Goods actually, legitimately sourced their products from small businesses. I think I imagined it was all smoke and mirrors. But nope — Storiarts is the real deal, and I think Uncommon Goods might be, too.

      1+
  2. Jaimie, you just made my week! I don’t enjoy shopping, especially this time of year, but these unique, bookish, and LOCAL gift ideas are wonderful. Off to buy stocking stuffers for my girls…because right now all I have are lip balms from a goat farm in New Hampshire! <3 <3 <3

    2+
    • Yay! I’m glad to help. 🙂

      I’m such a sucker for small-batch stuff. I’d totally spring for goat-milk lip balm.

      I once spent a bunch of dough on handmade goat-milk skincare products and when I put the lotion on my infant son, he turned beet-red and I had to toss him in the bathtub. Still don’t know if he has a goat milk sensitivity or what! (To be fair, he has a reaction to most lotions).

      0
    • A friend of mine just gave me some goat milk hand cream. It smells amazing. She found it in Alaska (she lives there part of the year.) alaskagoatmilk.com

      And the name of the company is…. (drum roll) Far Above Rubies!

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  3. What a fabulous post, Jamie! I own some fingerless gloves from a couple Christmases ago, the kind with Poe’s The Raven written on them. Just wore them yesterday when it was 18 degrees at nine in the morning and the coffee shop was still cold. 🙂

    Thanks for all of these ideas — the candles that smell like book settings? Never heard of that!

    1+
    • Nevermore!

      The candles really do smell wonderful. Belle’s Library is startling. First I thought they’d figured out how to put the scent of glue into wax (totally plausible). Then I realized it was leather. Lots of leather. Mostly leather, in fact.

      I’m a big Disney fanatic. That’s how we found this company, really. I can’t wait to melt my Haunted Manor tarts!!

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  4. Rita Henuber says:

    These are wonderful. Might have to get some of those balms.

    1+
  5. Tamara Hogan says:

    –> Does the writer in your life wish her writing cave could smell like an old French bookstore instead of stale coffee and despair?

    I can’t post because I busted a gut laughing. I am slain. OMG… 😉

    Those coffee cups look amazing!

    2+
  6. Thank for sharing the links for the sites. I would love a pair of those gloves. And, OMG, the directional signs. Send me Darcy’s way. Yes!

    BTW Hill Top refers to the home of Beatrice Potter, the author of Peter Rabbit. A great movie about her life is available through Amazon. Titled Ms. Potter, I think. I enjoyed it. I always enjoy watching movies involving authors, inspiring. Another great present for authors.

    2+
  7. Perfect timing–I was just trying to come up with gifts. The only problem is that I want to buy all of them. 🙂

    0
  8. Gwynlyn says:

    Perfect. Just perfect. Thank you.

    0
  9. Elisa Beatty says:

    Oooooh….I want so many of these!!!!

    I might just have to slip and forward this post to my husband….

    0
    • I did to mine. 😉 I did it in a “here’s what I’ve been working on” but we all know what I was really up to!

      He got me an 8-pack of melting tarts from Anthology for my birthday last month. So much fun!!

      0
  10. Great ideas. I got fingerless gloves last year with my favorite baseball team on them. Would add noise canceling headphones for those of us who don’t have a separate office. And it’s always okay to buy our books. Amazon does give some of the money back to the authors.

    0
  11. elise hayes says:

    These are AWESOME, Jamie! I love, love, love the t-shirt idea. I have a friend for whom that’s going to be the perfect gift!!

    0

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