Shopping for the holidays is in full swing, and Colorado has tons of amazing artisans whipping out items perfect for giving. Whether you're looking for a special Secret Santa gift, a present for your painting-loving mother in-law or want to get that starving artist in your life a token of inspiration, these ten crafty items are perfect. Just make sure to grab your goodies before the big day.
Canned Goods Jewelry
Recycling can look good. With Thomas and Emily Althaus's clever jewelry line, you will not only give the gift of fashion, but conscious consumerism as well. This husband-and-wife team create each set of earrings and bracelets with recycled tin cans, an idea born from their ten-year anniversary — or tin anniversary. The pieces start at $34 and go up to $42. Choose from 32 items including cuffs, dangling earrings, money clips and more. Get yours at the company website or local shops including the Perfect Petal Boutique, 3600 West 32nd Avenue; I Heart Denver Store, 500 16th Street Mall Suit 264; and Hope Tank, 64 Broadway.
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Crow Jane Jewelry
Let artist Jessica Robin Thomas make your holiday sparkle with bling. Each item is handmade in the foothills. There are feathery bracelets, coiling snake charms and dangling rain-cloud earrings. Thomas uses gold, silver and natural stones to make these items, which range from $48 to $195. Many of the designs are inspired by nature but also have a modern feel thanks to bold shapes, single stones and clean lines. You can peruse the catalogue and purchase online.
Down to Earth Pottery's Tiny Dishes
At the Denver Botanic Gardens, you can find some quality goods in the gift shop that won't break the bank, including these charming dishes by Down to Earth Pottery out of Colorado Springs. Each piece gets hand-thrown and fired with recycled glass to create a work of art unique to the dish. Colors range from blues to purple to beige to gray, and they come round or shaped like a heart. Use the items for tea lights, to hold rings and earrings or for adorable soap samples. At the Gardens' shop they cost $8.95, so stock up and give them to every teacher, mom, sister and neighbor in your life.
EcoVessel Kids' Bottles and Wine Cups
Keep your kids hydrated while they make Christmas cards, and fuel mommy with wine while she creates cookie art with one of these go cups by Boulder-based EcoVessel. Each insulated bottle is made from stainless steel, so not only does it keep the liquid inside fresh for up to 36 hours (yes, even chocolate milk), but proves durable too. There's also a range of sustainable plastic options. Choose from kid-sized bottles, stemless wine cups, larger bottles for adults and even a growler-sized bottle. It's a great gift for the whole thirsty family, your son's active art teacher, the sister who hikes a lot and take photos, and anyone who could use a drink on the run. Prices start at $12.95, and EcoVessels can be found online and at REI and select Sprouts markets. Best part, when you buy one, 5 percent of the sale goes to an environmental charity.
Hip Violet Baby Bibs
Does your artsy friend have a new baby you want to spoil? Or maybe your brother finally joined parenthood, and you want to show him it can be whimsical, even when you're trying to feed puréed peas to a squalling child. That's where Jesi Josten's bright, fun and functional bibs come in. For starters, they're made with a snap closure. The bibs also get made with vintage fabrics and festive clothes that are backed with soft flannel to give them heft and absorbency. Each one proves unique, and you can find prints like astronauts, Star Wars, My Little Pony and other colorful patterns. Order online starting at $8.99 or find Hip Violet at pop-up markets such as Fetch.
Jazzy Napkins by Penni Olive
Add some color to your friends' tables this winter by giving them a stack of beautiful handmade cloth napkins by Ericka Pardo. Anyone who loves to entertain will get a kick out of fun and elegant patterns such as bright Christmas trees, neon holly, a mismatched set of floral prints or nature images in black and white. Get an apron to match for the perfect hostess gift. Sets start at $30 and can be ordered online through Penni Olive's Etsy shop, or at various pop-up markets, which you can find on the company's website.
Make My Notebook
Inspire your friends to do their own thing with a notebook to doodle in, write down every thought and plot out how to take over the world. These stylish pads are screen-printed and assembled in Colorado, and the designs range from affirming messages such as "Brilliance IS Beautiful" to dinosaurs and unicorns, to covers you can color yourself. Choose from list pads to large notebooks to small plain books, starting at $13.99. Find the items online and at Two Hands Paperie, 803 Pearl Street in Boulder, the shop owned by husband-and-wife team Gerald Trainor and Mia Semingson, who bought Make My Notebook two years ago. There you can also design your own special gift.
Old Crone's Bewitching Bath Soap
Scrub away the winter blues and jump into 2020 with a clean slate thanks to Amy and Izzy Kalinchuk's natural and organic bath goods. Making good soap is an art form, and these blocks of rosemary-lemon castile soap or fresh mint goat's-milk soap make great stocking stuffers and gifts for teachers, mail carriers, your favorite neighbor and best friend. Most soap cakes cost around $6.50 a bar, and there's also body scrub, body butter, lip balm and special skin-care soaps for sale. Buy online or find yours in local pop-up markets around town.
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Prints by Noelle Phares
Deck the halls with stunning prints by watercolor painter and mixed-media artist Noelle Phares. This Denver resident has traveled all over the West to garner inspiration for her multi-layered, collage-like works of art that look good in any room of your house. Her archival prints start at $40, which you can buy as is or get framed. She also has her art emblazoned on a set of holiday cards for $13, or you can go all out and get an original painting. Pick yours up from a local boutique such as Bloom in Cherry Creek, 300 University Boulevard; Union Station, 1701 Wynkoop Street; Vouna, 5612 Olde Wadsworth Boulevard in Arvada; and Bliss, 1643 Pearl Street in Boulder. Or you can order from Etsy and make someone's holiday merry and bright.
Rocky Mountain Posters
Whether your loved one is from Colorado or just had a great visit here, these classic-looking posters by Blair Hamill are a perfect memento. Choose from an array of images, from winter at Union Station to the Manitou Incline, Little Man Ice Cream's iconic milk jug shop, Steamboat Springs and more. Each purchase raises money for the Colorado Fourteeners Initiative, a nonprofit that aims to conserve some of the highest peaks in the Rocky Mountains. Hamill also has images from Utah, Montana, Wyoming, California and Arizona, just in case you want a stunning token from a trip you took last summer. The posters start at $30, and you can purchase your favorites online.
What are your favorite local holiday gifts? Send your ideas to firstname.lastname@example.org.