I’m all for the handmade presents initiative, but didn’t want to stress myself out with too much Christmas knitting. So I spent Sunday afternoon at the Boston Bazaar Bizarre and had a fantastic time and bought so many wonderful Christmas gifts for people (and myself)–between my queue (which is doable, I think) and the purchases, I have almost everyone covered now. It was probably the best craft show I’ve ever been to, and I’ve been to quite a few! And I ran into someone from Saturday’s knitting group, and got a chance to meet Shannon Okey, and I ran into my coworker on the way and made an unscheduled detour to a thrift store with him, so it was also a success on the social front.
I picked up about 50 million business cards and thought this might be a good place to list the links to my favorite vendors from the show, in case anyone else is getting a little frantic about the 20 remaining days till Christmas and wants to do some online shopping for lovely crafted goods. And also so I can throw away the pile of business cards 🙂
Vendors I didn’t buy from:
- Survive Design–I loved this black owl bag with yellow straps with a burning passion, but I need another canvas tote bag like I need a hole in the head. She said she’s coming out with messenger bags next year–hopefully I’ll remember to check her store again at that point.
- Shara Porter–fantastic leather purses and bags screenprinted with animal designs, including sturdy little snap frame coin purses.
- Baublefish–clever little sterling silver charms in various interesting categories–e.g. Suburbia features a flamingo lawn ornament and a TV dinner.
- Twigs and Heather–absolutely gorgeous silver jewelry cast from natural objects (maple seed pods, twigs, acorns, birch bark…)
- The Merriweather Council–cute colorful bunting, and little embroidery hoops or embroidered jewelry covered in seagull-esque V’s
- Sarah Ressler–her bird paintings are to die for but I think the smallest were around $60, totally fair but more than I was looking to spend.
- Fuzzy Ink–cute hipster tees along the lines of what you’d see on Threadless or shirt.woot. And mustaches, lots of mustaches.
- Alli Coate–lovely prints, pillows, purses. I like the patchwork turtle.
- Bark–more hipster screenprints. Look at this catalope!
- Figs & Ginger–Beautiful jewelry, a bit out of the range of what I wanted to spend today, otherwise I would have walked away with one of these fawn in a circle necklaces for sure.
- Ian Henderson–bizarre, organic-looking rubbery jewelry. Not my style, but really cool.
- Miaow–their site seems to be broken right now, but they had handmade stuffed animals starting from $35, including very cute sculptural birds like this.
- Zooguu–many adorable spherical stuffed animals. Bunny! Whale! Elephant!
- Boston Handmade–all of the above, and more!
- Urban Spectacles–these guys weren’t at the show (they’re Chicago-based), but I saw someone wearing these really amazing wooden eyeglass frames and she said this is where she got them. They’re all bespoke, no price ranges listed, but apparently they range from $500 to “high hundreds.”
- 314 Studio–lovely modular origami-inspired jewelry
- Gnome Enterprises–more hipster tees. Porcupine ❤ blowfish.
Nervous System–the most annoying URL to type ever! These jewelry designs are apparently automatically generated by a computer program that mimics natural phenomena and produces things that look like dendrites, xylem, etc.
- Beehive Kitchenware–pewter silverware, so fantastic. If only I had $50 to spend on sakura measuring spoons.
- Monkeyfoot Designs–not at the show, but on Saturday I saw a custom bag she’d made and got her name so I can maybe order a waterproof laptop bag. The seams are sealed inside so it’s really waterproof (no open holes from the sewing machine needle) and the bag had a soft touch interior, not a vinyl type of surface like in most waterproof bags. NASA likes her too, apparently, they ordered a bunch of her bags for astronauts to use!
Now, if you are reading this and you think you might be getting a Christmas gift from me, READ NO FURTHER. DO NOT CLICK “MORE.” DO NOT PASS GO. Spoilers lie ahead.
Stores I bought stuff from:
- The Candy Thief–INSANELY BEAUTIFUL felt headbands, printed and stitched and cut in different layers. Also lovely skirts and purses. Even her pretty photography really doesn’t do it justice. It was pricey, but I couldn’t help myself and purchased one of these oak leaf headbands–mine is rose, salmon, pale yellow, and royal blue. I really loved these Alexa bands, too.
- HibouCards–I got a little felt owl in a tree playset for my best friend’s kid, and it was probably my favorite thing I bought all day. It was $30, which I think is a bargain considering it’s all hand-stitched and has a ton of different little pieces. One of those beautiful little things that cheers you up just to look at.
- Fishcakes–maybe my favorite vendor at the show. I bought a boatload of stuff here. A guinea pig pin, some monster pins, some notebooks, some calendars. The only problem is that I want to keep everything I bought here for myself. I’ve already stuck the guinea pig pin and an enthusiastic fox saying “Hooray for coffee!” onto my purse under the cheerful enameled pin that says “PARTICIPANT” (I did not win the office World Cup pool, but I got the pin as a consolation prize.)
- Girls can tell–coasters, bags, t-shirts, towels, etc. printed with various blueprinty diagrams, mostly straightforward (banjo, power drill) but there’s also a unicorn with callouts for “magical powers” and “silky mane.” I bought a set of coffee coasters–the design is printed on one piece of thick industrial felt and then cut into quarters.
- Rosie’s Place–a women’s shelter with a focus on dignity and respect for their clients. Last time I was in Boston, my aunt (a retired social work professor) was telling me about volunteering here, so when I saw they were selling little crafts as a fundraising effort, I thought it would be a great gift for her–I got a pretty little silver bookmark with beads.
- Ex Libris (via Magpie)–old books recycled into blank notebooks, with some of the original pages interspersed with the blank paper. I bought Sounds of a Distant Drum, which in part includes the lyrics to You’re A Good Man, Charlie Brown.
- Bit and Lil Bit–affordable silkscreened onesies, Ts, and bibs. I bought a bib with hungry baby birds being fed as a baby present.
- Happy Owl Glass–I can’t express how much I loved this jewelry vendor. She sells little glass necklaces (and pins, light switch covers, other glass rectangular things) enamelled with animal silhouettes. I got a big fawn pendant (for less than half the listed price! Didn’t realize I had gotten such a bargain, I should have bought more when I had the chance) and a teeny tiny porcupine, kiwi, and walrus. But she had so many weird and lovable animals to choose from! Elephant shrew! Okapi! Sloth! Bush baby! (I think, it wasn’t obvious to me.) Manatee! Skunk! Her etsy site has discounted older designs.
- To Boldly Fold–I got a little notebook with robots on the cover and a wee envelope glued to one of the pages (these maybe were a show special–I don’t see them on the site). I loved their rainy day notebook two-pack–one with a cutout cloud on the cover, one with a library card pocket on the cover, but didn’t end up buying it.
- Zoetropa–very cute, very affordable block printed paper goods–I bought some gift tags (printed with striped stockings or mittens), little brown paper gift bags, and a tiny notebook.
- Anselblue–they sell some great printed aprons but I wound up buying a Blue Paw Softie for my little cousin. All proceeds go to support the shop cat’s old animal shelter, Feline Friends.