I did my first ever holiday gift guide for travelers a few years ago, which was fun to compile. Readers seemed to enjoy the various items, and I was happy to share some of the products that accompanied me on the road. This year, I wanted to do something a little different. For starters, my life is a little different – something all of you already know. As a result, my own gifts to family and friends aren’t souvenirs from far-away places, but fun things I’ve discovered online. I wanted to share some of them here, especially as many are small businesses like myself.
I completed the resulting creative gift guide later than expected, because I could only type in 20 minute increments. I hope you enjoy this gift guide, one that focuses specifically on art and jewelry. There are so many shops with interesting work out there, and sometimes it’s hard to narrow it down.
The items below are from artists that I have supported, some of whom I’ve actually met, and they are all products I stand behind.
Unique Art and Jewelry Gifts
BECCA JANE DESIGNS
When searching for a gift for my mum’s birthday this year, I thought I would do something a little different. I looked for an artist who could illustrate our family with a beautiful border and then send her a printed copy for her birthday.
I’ve never commissioned this kind of gift before, and Rebecca – the artist I chose – was patient and kind, and we went back and forth a few times until I was satisfied. She even agreed to make my brother as depicted, wearing his favourite martini t-shirt.
I was waiting on this gift guide until my mum received her gift, and she loved it!
Rebecca’s full shop here, and note that she will do other kinds of designs as well, like Save the Dates for weddings, holiday cards, personalized baby blankets, and more.
I’ve followed Michael Buchino’s whimsical word work for some time on Instagram, as it combines two of my favourite things: learning, and art. His Insta feed, Lexigraphique, is one of those accounts that I send to multiple friends many times a week.
Before this guide went up, I wrote him to ask if he had any holiday items I could include, and lucky for all of us he was just about to launch the hygge cards below.
You can buy his prints and these cute holiday cards in his Buchino shop, here.
Anne Connell’s shop is a wonder to behold, chock full of paper goods designed — as she notes on Instagram and on her website — with an “absurd attention to detail” She lists herself as a precisionist, and it’s easy to see why. Her artwork is meticulous, delicately crafted, and very unique.
I found her botanical card series first, and clapped my hands with glee. As someone trying to get out in nature during brief spurts of respite from bedrest, they were a breath of fresh air. Her constellation cards, featuring each of the zodiac signs, are a clear crowd-pleaser. I’ve put those two types of cards below but honestly it’s worth heading to see her full shop.
I realize these are listed as cards, but I think they are frame-worthy all by themselves.
Nicola is a long-time Legal Nomads reader, and a fellow lawyer and traveler. She has generously shared bird illustrations and other fun to keep me cheered up when I’ve been down. She’s also a very talented artist, and her cards and other items are rich in puns and joyful artistry.
Nicola’s work reminds me of the children’s’ books I loved most, with creative characters, maps, and whimsical animals. A talented hand-brush lettering artist, she also includes a lot of drawn typography in her work.
From a grumpy owl to a festive sheep, you’ll be sure to find holiday cards to your tastes. And one of my absolute faves is her wedding card below, “Of all the fish in the sea” — delightful.
Nicola’s full shop is here, with specifics from the above illustrations as follows:
I’ve had the pleasure of meeting Jess, the genius behind Birdstrips, in person twice. She’s currently in Montreal, and a friend introduced us just before I re-leaked last summer. Her illustrations have grown a huge following on Instagram due to its relatable messaging, and her captions that accompany the drawings are raw and vulnerable. Together, it’s powerful work that makes almost everyone feel heard.
In Jess’ words, the shop comprises “the existential distress of the flightless through the eyes of the flighted.”
You can check out her images and pick up mugs, shirts, prints and more, here.
ABSTRACT AERIAL ART
JP and Mike Andrews, two brothers from the UK are an Instagram favourite of mine. I often share their images with my community because their eye is unique, and their pictures compelling. Like me, they absolutely love to travel. Unlike me, they specialize in photographing bizarre, aerial images our planet using drone photography.
Their goal: to share perspectives of the world otherwise unseen, captured from a vantage point most of us miss. A great gift option for those who love to roam.
Here’s one I love from them: Skyline, a drone photograph of a freighter that looks like a cityscape.
And this aerial view of a beach made me smile:
Their full gallery shop here.
Jason Markow, aka TEKSTartist is an artist I found a few years ago, and was hooked immediately. His work combines both traditional and digital media, a fusion of techniques that result in elegant yet crisp products. Given that my own products are typographic representations of food, I love that his art includes quotes he’s enjoyed over the years, visually represented in unique ways.
One of my favourites: this flower, “Your Garden, Forever” available here, created by warping and twisting the words from Tennyson’s famous quote – “If I had a flower for every time I thought of you…I could walk through my garden forever.”― Alfred Tennyson
Full shop here.
These illustrations of birds with curse words sayings are all the rage on Instagram and Twitter, for good reason: they’re hilarious. Crafted by Aaron Reynolds, they do seem to offend some, but as the name suggests exactly what they are it’s hard for anyone to be upset. Don’t like them? Close the tab. Personally, I find them exactly what I need, each and every day. Clothing, mugs, pins, and more at the link, including a new Effin’ Birds book.
TOTE BAGS: TYPOGRAPHIC MAPS OF FOOD
I’m excited to share the new tote bags in the Legal Nomads shop. Previously, I offered a canvas, bull-woven tote of the maps, with the map printed on once side. These new tote bags are black and white – and if people like, I can also swap out the handles to make them red or mustard! – and the design is printed on both sides.*
*If you’d like to swap out the tote bag for a different handle (example here), just send an email to jodi-at-legalnomads.com after you order, and I’ll make sure it happens.
The new tote has sturdy handles and holds up to 44lbs, perfect for errands and/or carrying a laptop without a laptop bag. Food maps of Japan, Thailand, Vietnam, Portugal, Italy, and Mexico available.
These beautiful macrame earrings are courtesy of the Van Riley shop, run by a fellow leaker. I wanted to share her work as I know how it is to worry about making ends meet with a CSF leak. If someone in your life loves macrame, please consider supporting her shop!
Macrame earrings and other items, on the VanRiley shop here.
Given my love of nature, it’s no surprise that I also love jewelry that depicts it in design. I saw these gold leaf earrings recently and ordered a pair as my holiday gift to myself. They’re lightweight — great for anyone with headaches — and they are delicate and just so pretty. I like the contrast of the gold with the emerald green stud in the ear.
If leaf earrings aren’t your thing, Mica also has necklaces, rings, and other earrings in a variety of shapes and sizes. They’re lightweight and beautiful, and oh so creative. Her jewelry is hypoallergenic and nickel-free.
My friend Celeste is not only a great travel writer, but also runs an environmentally-friendly Tahitian pearl company, Kamoka, that adheres to the strictest levels of sustainable farming in the world. Their pearls are from oysters grown in the nutrient-rich lagoon of Ahe Atoll, 300 miles northeast of Tahiti, with electricity supplied by solar and wind power. And if you needed more convincing about supporting their enterprise: a National Geographic study found that their farming methods helped increase the area’s fish population in recent years.
As with my former gift guide, I wanted to include their Mana Bracelet. At $99, it is durable and beautiful. Celeste said that this bracelet was initially crafted for surfers. Now, it’s one of their best sellers for active people who want a beautiful pearl bracelet without worrying about fragility. The adjustable band is made from kangaroo leather (the strongest leather in the world), and is a great choice for the fashionable wanderer and the active fashionista alike.
For something a little more delicate (and fragile!), I love this white Tahitian keishi pearl ring, offset with a crescent to represent the sun and the moon. Keshi pearls are happy accidents, small nuggets that are created as a by-product when the pearl grows without a nucleus, or rejects the bead nucleus as it grows.
I love that Kamoka took these often-discarded items and made something beautiful out of them.
- The Mana Bracelet is available here.
- The White Tahitian Pearl Ring is here.
- Kamoka’s full shop, with pendants, necklaces, rings, bracelets, and more, is here. Use code MERRYBRIGHT at checkout to get 12% off.
Several readers nominated this Etsy shop, and it’s the only one on this list that I haven’t also purchased myself. But when my readers are happy, I’m happy, and I wanted to share what brought them such joy in gift giving.
Chrissy’s shop features personalized, delicate jewelry for those who want to memorialize their care with initials or names. The image below is for the necklace that several readers bought, but her shop is full of other options, including rings, earrings, and pendants.
I’ve saved one of the best for last.
My friend Chantelle started Be., a company that sells bangles – but also much more than simply bangles. Chantelle is one of the most open-hearted, vivacious people I’ve ever met, and thankfully I’ve had the pleasure of meeting her in person years ago. Her company’s bangles work well in conjunction with the lightness and curse words of Effin Birds, two small business enterprises that use curse words to make a valid point. In Chantelle’s case, Be. takes a stand against societal norms. Her work aims to support women and girls in a society that often expects airbrushed perfection.
I received a few Be. bangles as a wonderful 40th birthday gift from Chantelle, and my two faves – that came with me to Florida are:
- “I’m mostly peace, love, light, and a little go fuck yourself” – product here, and
- “I stopped waiting for the light at the end of the tunnel, and lit that bitch up myself” – product here.
I am someone who uses curse words as a form of punctuation, so those two bracelets are perfect. For those with less swear-y tendencies, lots of beautiful options like:
All of Be.’s products here.
That’s it for now! A big thanks to my friend Reine who helped pull many of the images and upload them for me, so that I could do this guide more easily. Hopefully there’s something fun in here for someone in your family.
Happy shopping, and thank you as always for all the incredible support.