Throughout the years of scrambling for gifts a week before the holidays, I’ve gained desire to think beyond off-the-shelf gifts and strive for something unique and/or handmade. Bonus points when we’re crafty enough pull this off on our own, but fortunately the Pacific Northwest breeds an abundance of artisans and craft folk with skills galore.
My gift guide this year brings the small, less-known artists (and a few select favorite businesses) to the forefront. Should you have additional suggestions, or know of a creator producing extraordinary items, don’t hesitate to reach out!

Art with a Bark

I met McKenna Ihde on a whim. Leavenworth’s October Art in the Park program was running full steam, and I was taking my pug for a whirl through town when McKenna’s art caught my eye. About the same time, she (a pug-mom, too) reached out for pug-hugs from Anjou and offered one of her adorable pug stickers. Her style is whimsical and animal-focused with a heart centered around color and texture. McKenna’s personality is as vibrant as her art.

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Tie One On

Orcas Island Leather Goods was on my list last year, and remains today because their products are so unique, carefully-crafted, and bring a DIY element to your gift list. With everything from purses to baskets (and even a chess board!), their selections are thoughtful and meant to be enjoyed for a lifetime. I had so much fun making a “handmade” wallet for my son last year.

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Stoneware to Table

Since 1980 Crutchfield Pottery has been creating beautiful stoneware. With beautiful colors, Barry Crutchfield creates pieces that are microwave, oven and dishwasher safe with custom-made glazes in his Elberta Avenue studio in Cashmere, Washington. Each piece is unique and suitable for home home use, for gift-giving, and for display and use over a lifetime. I heard about Barry through his daughter, locally, and was immediately drawn to his beautiful style. I haven’t thrown pottery in a long time, but I’m sure inspired now!

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The Works

The folks over at The Works Seattle keep coming up with spectacular DIY ideas. They do the work in putting together packages that you can either DIY yourself, or share with friends and family to complete. With everything from beeswax wraps to indigo shibori, you’re sure to find something unique and fun. One of my favorite eco-friendly kitchen items is their awesome beeswax wraps – and they’re so much more meaningful because I made them myself.

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Make a Splash

Another favorite close to my heart is the Hanke family at Puget Sound Express Whale Watching. Since 1981 they’ve been taking wide-eyed guests aboard their vessels (departing from Port Townsend or Edmonds) for whale watching adventures. They’re not your average whale-watching tour – along with in-depth information and fast boats (to get to areas that whales frequent faster), they’re kind-hearted experts with a passion for sharing their love of life on the water. I should know – I used to work for them! Pick up a gift certificate and share the gift of whale-watching!

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There’s an App for That!

I’ve never thought of an app as something for a gift-giving list, but the Making app is a perfect connection to share with friends or family who love creating, or are looking for creative inspiration. What better way to show your love than with an app designed to connect creative souls! From knitting socks to needle-felting woodland creatures, the app allows you to hone in on your creative side whether a beginner or an expert. The Making app is an inspired network of makers and doers. Subscriptions for 2022 will be available soon, so you can buy kits and magazines. For each purchase of the magazine, you get a digital download code which you can redeem on or within Making’s app. A friend of mine has been knitting for years, and is now involved in the company – definitely a seal-of-approval for me!

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Glass It Up

Craig Sorensen and Jori Delvo at Boulder Bend Glassworks in Peshastin, Washington, have been producing premium handmade glass, specializing in murrine mosaics and canework in their studio across from the Wenatchee River. Their gorgeous surrounding in the Wenatchee valley undoubtedly inspires their colors and patterns representing mountain ridges, the flora and fauna of the valley, and more. I bumped into their production facility last summer and am planning on having them make a one-of-a-kind memorial votive. Find what speaks to you from their collection here.

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Pick a Pickled Pepper

Bonnie B’s hit my radar earlier this year when I was gifted a trio of their delicious pickled peppers. Each jar is locally produced, organic, gluten-free, and dairy-free. With vegetables sourced solely from Alvarez Organic Farm and recipes from generations of Bonnie B’s family, their pickles, relishes and peppers will be a hit either on your holiday table or as a delicious gift.

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Truffle Queen

Situated in the heart of the Pike Place Market, the Truffle Queen (formerly La Buona Tavola) has been offering their unique truffle-infused items for more than 17 years. My pantry wouldn’t be complete without their truffled salt – an integral part of my favorite clam chowder recipe. Gift this to others and allow them to find the perfect fit for the Truffle Queen in their lives!

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From This Land

Eighth Generation caught my eye the moment they opened in the Pike Place Market. I’ve spent more time than I’d like to admit just browsing through their storefront because each item is just so interesting and has such a unique story. They’re a locally-based organization owned by the Snoqualmie Tribe partnering with community-based native artists throughout the country. Their attention to detail in designing and creating gorgeous gifts and blankets stands out immediately. The fact that they work through the Inspired Natives™ Project seals the deal.

Find additional items from Pike Place Market vendors through their online store.

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Catch This!

One of the most frequent questions I receive when it comes to PNW gifts is how to bring a sense of the Northwest to others. I can think of no better way than with this bring-the-Market-home option from Pike Place Fish! Enjoy Sockeye and King salmon, whole Dungeness crab (or sections seasonally), crab cakes, tarter and cocktail sauce, and their special seasonings. I’ve shopped at Pike Place Fish for years, and always have known them to have fresh products and stellar customer service. What a perfect way to have a quintessentially-Northwest holiday dinner!

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Ciao Food and Wine on Whidbey Island was one of my favorite finds on a recent trip. I spent the better part of an afternoon nibbling through their menu on a deck overlooking the hamlet of Coupeville. What better way to share the love than with their online store! Specialty Italian foods, and a robust selection of items made by their team, will give you a taste of Ciao at home.

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Wrap It Up!

I included Tokki Gifting in my 2020 gift guide, and would be remiss not to show off what they’re doing now. They’ve amped-up their digital gift bow and it’s the funnest thing you’ll find under your tree! The ‘Tokki’ allows share a digital message (with video!) along with your gift – no matter how far your away your loved ones are. Imagine the fun in personalizing a message, and how special it’ll be for those you love!

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Written by

Seattle Maven

Former concierge, frequent bruncher, forever pug-lover, animated talker, wandering hiker, enthusiastic traveler, authentic writer and hollandaise fan.
Join me in my travels locally (Seattle & PNW) and throughout the world!