Your loved one will never have to feel alone again when you offer her this beautiful heart-shaped fingerprint pendant made by Graeme Ross at Metal Monkey Jewellery. You can have it engraved with your fingerprint or the fingerprint of a child, a deceased loved one or another special person, so she can take a piece of someone who means so much to her wherever she goes.
Graeme Ross: I really like to make jewellery that creates a truly meaningful and emotional relationship with the wearer. It's that I can make something that will give someone that sort of connection that makes me want to create.
GR: I think that having something custom made for someone instead of picking an item off a shelf really makes it extra special.
GR: I think that how my fingerprint pieces are hand engraved instead of moulded sets me apart. It also lets me make memorial pieces from deceased family members' fingerprints as well.
Have a baby shower to attend? Instead of adding to the pile of toys and clothing, offer a truly unique gift such as this whale art nursery decor from Frank and Monika at F & M Design Studio. They have so many great personalized nursery pieces to choose from, so you can pick out the gift that will complement your friend's baby decor perfectly.
Monika Meszaros: The inspiration comes from our love of children and our love of art. We have two kids who are constant sources of inspiration to us. We also get inspired by requests from our customers.
MM: I think a personalized gift that is created with a particular adult or child in mind is really special.
MM: I think what sets us apart from most is we try to make our art modern, current, fun and personal. We can customize our art to any decor, any theme and any colour to suit our customers' needs.
As kids, friendship bracelets and necklaces were all the rage. But they don't seem quite as stylish as you get older. That will all change, however, after you see this gorgeous hand-stamped silver and leather bracelet made by Colleen Johnson at 2 Sisters Handcrafted. It can be personalized with the 70-character phrase of your choosing for a truly one-of-a-kind gift of friendship or love.
Colleen Johnson: The first thing that comes to mind is of course my daughters, the two sisters for which my shop is named. They are 5 and 9 and certainly keep me busy. We love to learn about and explore nature and art. On many of our trips, I'm inspired by patterns and textures seen in nature, such as the birch bark seen on one of my skinny cuffs or my bronze twig necklace moulded from an actual twig in the forest behind our home in Barrie, Ontario. I'm also inspired by my clients. I receive quite a few custom-order requests for personalized and sentimental items. The stories and situations behind these pieces inspire me to create unique and meaningful pieces. Each story is different, but I'm often able to see how some of these pieces could help other people in similar situations. Some of these sentimental pieces have also come from personal experience, such as the memorial handwriting necklaces and angel wing necklace.
CJ: For me, the gifts I've had the most success with are ones that are personalized in some way. Think favourite colour, something that complements a favourite hobby, personalized items that include a mother's children — items that show the recipient you placed a lot of thought and care into choosing their gift. It doesn't need to be something expensive or elaborate. Sometimes the best gifts are the ones that touch the heart with thoughtfulness, regardless of value or size.
CJ: It's easy to get caught up in what other people are doing, but what I've learned is to create pieces with the best quality materials possible and to only create items that I love and would wear myself. If I love it, then it will reflect me and my brand. I feel that over the years I have built a recognizable brand of quality, everyday jewellery with a vintage, artisan flair. It's important to me that my products not only be high quality but also be responsible as well. Much of the metals used are recycled or repurposed materials. The leather I choose holds a higher price point, but it is all farmed by-product leather, meaning the animal is raised for its meat and for its hide, thereby creating little waste. This is not the case with all leather, but I feel it's my responsibility to provide products that I believe in and can stand behind. My packaging is also recyclable and/or reusable. I hope my clients think it's pretty and special when their piece arrives but will also enjoy reusing my cotton drawstring bags, giving them another life.
For the man in your life who can happily spend all day tinkering away in the garage or basement, this personalized vintage sign made by Lawrence Armstrong at Retro Road Vintage Sign Co. will make the perfect gift. It's a great way to give his workspace a little extra style.
Lawrence Armstrong: There's no one thing, so it must be in my DNA. I've been creating ever since I talked my parents into letting me paint a huge Hot Rod on my bedroom wall when I was 10 years old. It's something I need to do every day, or I get extremely restless.
LA: Easy answer — the smile on the face of the recipient. That's part of why I do what I do.
LA: I try to create signs that are not simply lettering on a flat board. I love to use props and dimension whenever possible. That, and my obsession with rust! Seriously. Signs don't need to be only functional; they can be fun too!
For the friend or family member with an interest in making things from scratch, Victoria at Hart Papery has you covered. Whether it's jams, pickles or relishes that they love putting together, these personalized printable labels can be customized for their creations, making their next jarring project extra exciting.
Victoria: Everything around me. I create when I see a need that needs to be filled. In the case of my jam labels, for instance, I started making them because for Christmas last year, I decided to give everyone homemade tomato jam as gifts. I designed my own labels and had them printed onto vinyl, and they looked so fabulous that people kept asking me where I had them done. The same went for my pantry labels. I just wanted a pretty pantry and figured other people would too!
V: The little touches — the ones that show that a lot of thought has been put into what's being given. It's one thing to buy someone something off the shelf; it takes it to a whole new level if you have that thing personalized with an engraving or monogram. I'm also a sucker for good packaging.
V: With graphic design, it's all about personal taste and creative vision. My beer, jam and jar labels are different from everyone else's, just as everyone has their own approach to what a label can look like. So my customers are working with me because their personal tastes align with my graphic style.
A piece of jewellery with her name on it always makes a kind and thoughtful gift. But if the person you're shopping for already has a personalized necklace, there's no need to give up on the idea. These personalized hoop earrings made by Deanne Watson at Deanne Watson Jewelry are a stylish new take on a traditional gift.
Deanne Watson: The simple life. And what that means is that life can get so busy and chaotic at times, we can get a little lost in it all. But when I sit down to design a new product or to fill custom orders, I think about the words that I am creating for my customers — for example, "breathe," "love," "dance." It allows me to reflect on what those words mean and what's important in life. Each time I make a name or word for someone, I reflect on what it means not only for the person that took the time to order it for a loved one but also the joy that will come when the gift is opened and it has their personal name or a special word on it. Those gifts have so much meaning for each recipient. So to make a along answer short, I dream of the simple things.
DW: When someone receives a gift that has been tailor made for them with their personal name, nickname or a word that is close to their heart, I think it means so much more. Especially if it's a hard-to-find or unusual name. Swarovski birthstone crystals are a great addition to add a little sparkle, and I find that little girls especially love that!
DW: I have a passion for what I do, and I know that to be true, because I look forward to working every single day, and I've never wanted to change my craft for something else. I think that passion translates into the products that I create. I'm definitely a perfectionist — if I don't make it perfectly, it goes in the scrap, and I start over. I strive to constantly improve, source quality products and expand my line to give my customers more options. When customers see my product photos, I want them to be inspired by them, to think of the possibilities my pieces will bring to their lives and also what they can bring to my pieces with their own unique flair.
For the writer, journaller or simply organized person in your life, check out this personalized stationery set made by Jennifer Rodriguez at Sprout Luv. It comes complete with a memo pad, notebook and six cards that are all beautifully personalized with names and/or initials. You can also get them in a variety of colours and designs, so be sure to take a peek around the rest of Rodriguez' one-of-a-kind stationery shop.
Jennifer Rodriguez: This may seem a little strange for stationery, but my favourite designs have actually been inspired by items in my closet that I just love. The stationery featured here was a design based on a near-worn-to-death set of tights that are my go-to pair come the fall and winter. All I can say is thank goodness it's summer, because they absolutely need a break from my outfit rotation! I also literally own 11 items of striped clothing (not counting a pair of flats I just picked up for the summer), so of course stripes are featured as a design. I mean, I even created lace typography. Me? Over-coordinated? Er... Well, sometimes.
JR: I know this is cliché, but it really seems to be simple thoughtfulness for me. One of my most treasured gifts is from one of my oldest and closest friends. She actually took the time to sit down and fill a lovely little hand-bound journal with some of our best and most ridiculous adventures together. That memory book is always on the shelf right beside my workspace desk. It just epitomizes everything I hope my stationery is about. The best gift I think I've ever given was a collaborative effort between myself and the girlfriend that had given me the memory book. The third musketeer of our troop had recently moved away and was feeling seriously homesick, thinking about all the things she was missing out on at home. To help her feel like she'd never left, we actually had a life-sized photo cut-out of said friend printed, and for the next few days, we carted it around the city with us to all of our favourite haunts, stopping strangers to take photos of us and our 2-D proxy! Almost a decade later, and that photo album still has us rolling on the floor, laughing our behinds off! Fun fact: You don't have to pay cover for a cut-out, even if it's life-sized.
JR: Because I'm a very tactile person, how my notebooks and stationery feel in your hands and against your pen is just as important to me as how they look. For example, I only use 80-pound paper in my notebooks and jotters. If you're not a paper geek like me, that's over triple the weight of your typical printer paper! My cards are made from a dense and luxuriously textured art board stock I can't seem to run my fingers over enough! And I actually spent over six months testing three different cover stocks before I went with the kraft version I use for my notebooks and jotters. I ended up choosing the kraft board I use now because I just fell in love with how the covers wore into this soft, almost velvet-like texture after a while but still remained sturdy and retained their heft. Like I said, I'm a sucker for how something feels, and you'll notice that with all of my handcrafted paper goodies!
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