If someone asked me what Asheville’s mantra is, I’d say, “Buy local.” It’s one of the many things I love about this town—the tremendous support for local businesses and locally made products. It isn’t always the easiest mantra to live by, but I think it’s worth the time to search out the unique and special goods and services produced in our community.
Recently, I’ve been looking for locally made gifts for kids for the fast-approaching holidays, and I want to share my finds with you. I’m sure there are folks I’ve missed, so if you know of others, add them in the comments section under this column at www.mountainx.com.
Here are a few locals who are living the craft dream and offering quality gifts for your little ones:
Crankypants: Amy Kett creates comfy kid clothes for her small online business, Crankypants. She says her most fabulous gift for kids this year is the new Crankypants Lounge Set. The pants are made from cotton flannel in three prints: Sage Skully, Sea Monkey and Super Stripey. An ultra-soft thermal T-shirt accompanies each pair of pants. The long-sleeved tees are hand-appliquéd with the same flannel print as the pants in fun shapes. Cost is $30-32. Sizes run from 2/3 to 6/7. Kett also makes one-of-a-kind sock monsters, fun bibs, and boo-boo beasties. Available from her Etsy shop at www.crankypantsknits.etsy.com and the main Crankypants site at www.crankypantshome.com.
Spotted Dog Farm: Sumner Smith not only lives and works on an organic berry and flower farm, but in her spare time, she makes crocheted animals that are a big hit with kids. She says, “They’ve got attitude and whimsy that attract kids, heirloom quality that adults appreciate, and they’re sturdy enough to stand up to the abuse kids hand out.” Her favorite for gifting is the dragon, made of 100-percent wool yarn and recycled felted sweaters. Each one is unique. Cost is $48 per dragon. You can purchase dragons, iguanas and more from her Web site at www.spotteddogfarm.net, or visit her at The City Market Holiday Bash on Saturdays in December from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. While you’re there, you can purchase one of Sumner’s gorgeous handmade organic flower and grass wreaths.
The Modern Baby Company: Jesseca Bellemare uses bright contemporary fabrics to make baby bedding and accessories, which she now sells all over the world. For the baby in your life, you can mix and match crib sets, plush blankets, bibs, onesies, mobiles, quilts and pillows from Jesseca’s company. She suggests the plush blanket for holiday gift giving. “They are affordable, incredibly soft, and durable,” Jesseca says. Plush blankets cost $42 each and are available at through the business’ Web site at www.themodernbabyco.com.
Cozyblue: Liz Stiglets knits kids’ hats from super-soft merino wool in fun stripes, bold colors, and with a little “sprout” on top that “gives them an extra dose of cuteness.” The hats cost $25. Liz also makes dress-up crowns, which are made from 100-percent wool felt, which are then hand-appliquéd, embellished, and embroidered with a variety of fabulous designs. She says they’re great for birthdays, special occasions and everyday imaginative play. The crowns cost $30. She welcomes custom orders. Find Liz’ creations at www.cozyblue.etsy.com.
Scrumdidlyump: Katie Elkins, a potter and child educator, says her best present for kids is a DIY terrarium kit. “It’s great because the kids get to set it up however they like; it’s environmentally friendly, ever-changing, and low-maintenance,” she says. It costs $40, and includes a handmade clay animal—either a whale or a bird. Katie also makes lovely ceramic spoons, so if your kid’s old enough not to throw his utensils, check them out. They run $12-$16. Find Katie’s unique stuff at www.scrumdidlyump.etsy.com.
Happy local shopping!