Last weekend I went to the big holiday craft show in my hometown of Manistee, Michigan. Here are my favorite picks from this year’s show, including links to all of these vendors online so you can seek out some fabulous handmade goodies of your own!
If you’ve ever been to a small-town craft show in the midwest, you know that there are certain items you’re guaranteed to see over and over again. Those kitchen towels with the crocheted tops so you can hang them on the oven door handle, ornaments made by hot gluing sprigs of fake pine to a couple of jingle bells, decoupaged glass tile necklaces… After the first five minutes at one of these shows, I always feel like I’ve seen enough nearly identical items to last a lifetime. Then there are the trends, things that were sparse in previous years but all of a sudden pop up everywhere. Aprons must be the “hot” item this year, as I saw about 20 booths selling them.
But in between the dozens of booths all peddling the same old crafts, there are some unique treasures to be found! Grab your Christmas list and see who on it might enjoy some of these amazing goods!
Buttons by Nature
I first saw the Buttons by Nature booth at last year’s show and ever since I had kicked myself for not buying any of their phenomenal wooden buttons. Their booth was one of the first ones I spotted through the crowd, and it was also my first purchase of the day.
That’s right, no more kicking myself! There were so many amazing buttons that I had a hard time choosing which ones I wanted, but in the end I went with some pretty green ones made from sumac. All of their buttons are sealed with six coats of polyurethane so they are nice and durable. I plan to find some nice yarn and use them to finish off a cardigan. And I am making it for myself – that is something that doesn’t happen very often!
If you want more information, you can visit the Buttons by Nature website.
Coin Cut Art
Another booth I browsed last year and later wished I had bought from was Coin Cut Art. This guy’s work is incredible! I am absolutely in awe of his talent. He uses a tiny saw to hand-cut designs into coins, demonstrating a steadier hand and more patience than in think I could ever manage to muster.
His prices are insanely cheap compared to what I would expect to pay for this level of craftsmanship. Can you believe that I got this tree pendant for only $17? I absolutely had to have it!
He also turns coins into tiny puzzles! This might just be one of the coolest things I have ever seen at a craft show. Like I said, the coin guy is insanely talented! To see more of his amazing work, visit the Coin Cut Art website.
There are plenty of booths peddling jewelry at every craft show, but my favorite is always Artsy Goods. The purveyor of these goods is Cindy Swan-Eagan, who was my band director and teacher for seven years, starting in sixth grade and continuing all the way through high school. She has a keen eye for combining vintage and new parts to create very lovely jewelry. I particularly like her vintage button bracelets!
She also makes gorgeous hand-bound books. They’re perfect gifts for any writers or artists in your life.
Another talented local crafter is Jalyn Morgan. She is a master if several crafts that I find amazing. I am especially fond of her tatted lace work!
She also does paper quilling. I don’t know which I like better – her quilled paper earrings or her tatted lace earrings! Hmmm… Maybe I should just get a pair of each. That sounds so much better than all of that pesky decision making.
As if those aren’t impressive enough talents, she also does stained glass!
You can find Jalyn’s work for sale at her Hand Made Michigan shop.
Wee Bee Jammin’
As a very outspoken supporter of the “eat local” movement, I absolutely must include Wee Bee Jammin’. These folks make the most scrumptious organic jams using local fruits and sweetened with honey from their own bees. They even go out into the woods and gather their own wild berries! A lot of love and care goes into every step of making their jams, and you can taste it!
To learn more about Wee Bee Jammin’, visit their website.
What are your favorite things to look for at craft shows? Did you do any of your holiday shopping at craft shows this year?
Looking for more great gift ideas? View the full Holiday Gift Guide!