Among the advice offered about holiday shopping in this pandemic year: Buy from the places that you want to still exist next year.
That can mean gift cards to your favorite smokehaus, the craft ice cream shop, or a pop-up celebrating the flavors of Louisiana. It can also mean filling your arms with all the books by all the local authors on the tables at Zenith Bookstore or stacking Woodfire candles upon handled mugs and ring dishes from the Makers Mercantile.
If you need a jump-start, here are some less than $100 picks for foods, fashions and home goods from local makers.
Jarfuls of memories
Local author and illustrator Deborah Marcero’s picture book “In a Jar,” her most recent work, is the story of a bunny who is a collector of fathers, stones, buttercups — treasures he keeps in a jar and looks at later. When he meets Evelyn, the memory jar gets even more grand. “In a Jar” received a starred review from Kirkus, which went on to name it one of the Best Books of 2020.
Debora Marcero’s “In a Jar” is available at deborahmarcero.com.
If you lived here, you'd be home
On the ‘Gram, George Ilstrup is @georgeduluth, and he regularly posts the best of the best North Shore images — pink skies, ice formations, sea smoke, massive waves and reflections on still water. This year, for the first time, the photog with a 32.5K following, has created a calendar featuring his works. Expect to see Northern Lights, Finland in the fall and ice caves at sunset.
Georgeduluth’s Minnesota 2021 is $25 and available at lulu.com.
Embrace the new normal
Masks, it seems, are here to stay — so it might as well be a statement piece. Natalija Walbridge, known for her Dock-5 handcrafted bags printed with locally recognizable images, is making bold masks with unique patterns ranging from Lumberjack chic to electric butterfly. Walbridge’s face coverings are billed as having an adjustable nose piece, high thread count and adjustable shock cord ties.
Dock 5 face covers, $30, area available at dock-5.com.
Heart Berry’s Great Water Hoodie has on its front the shape of Lake Superior in bright blue and its medicines in red, green, white — maple buds, wild rice, dogwood, strawberry, blueberries and ferns. The grey sweatshirt is made of eco fleece and has darker cuffs. “The great water carries the medicine,” it says in its description. Heart Berry, which was originally House of Howes, also has wall hangings, blankets, earrings and more.
Heart Berry Great Water Hoodie is $55 and available at heartberry.com.
Gitche Gumee Kimchi, as seen at farmers markets, is a local take on Korean sauerkraut — fermented cabbage that can stand alone but also plays well in soup, on tacos, on burgers, eggs, with rice or, boom, on your grilled cheese sandwich. Plus, probiotics. Flavors include regular, curry and extra hot. Sauerkraut is also available.
This is available for delivery. Go to facebook.com/gitchegumeekimchi for more info.
Chocolate trees, check
L’Apothicaire Chocolat, the gourmet chocolates made by Tonya Meinerding, has holiday packs available, some with flavor theme options like classic (which includes options like very vanilla and s’mores), holiday (hot chocolate, eggnog), and one for the refined pallet (Earl grey and lemon, Kir Royale, rosemary caramel). Packs come in a variety of sizes and shapes (see: trees, penguins).
L'Apothicare Chocolat is available at lapothicarechocolat.com.
Yker Acres boxes
Yker Acres, a local farming family that has pasture-raised heritage pigs and whose pork can be found in certain local restaurants and at Whole Foods Co-op, is offering both subscription boxes and one-time-only collections like the Hot Box, which offers a sausage variety pack and the Ole Box, which has milder offerings. Meanwhile, its rendered pork lard and grass fed beef tallow is turned into soap by a friend of the farm. Four packs of Farmer Sara Soap are also available.
Shop Yker Acres at ykeracres.com.
Dinner for two, made by you (with help)
Mise En Place Marketplace, by New Scenic Cafe, is a new way to bring home the means to make, for instance, Swedish meatballs for two — a meal that includes gjetost gravy, potato and rutabaga puree, green beans and lingonberries, buttermilk mustard and quick pickles. Each comes with instructions and the chance to tack on, say glogg mix or pickled beets. The market offerings will change, but you could get curried mussels, salmon burgers, soup and bread, goose leg confit. There is also a bakery with cardamom bread, triple berry pie, three cheese quiche or sea salted caramel corn. Before Thanksgiving, they had a Thanksgiving meal kit available.
Check out Mise En Place Marketplace at mep-mp.com.
Get a grip
Candace Lacosse of Hemlocks Leatherwork is the go-to for long-lasting, timeless footwear or learning how to make your own long-lasting timeless footwear. But she also cuts and sews her leather into smaller items — wallets, bags, a yoga mat carrier. A favorite: a leather koozie. It takes the function of an easy-peasy gas station purpose and elevates it to a piece of fashion. It’s offered here hugging a mason jar with a sipper lid.
Hemlocks Leatherworks Leather Koozie, $32, is available at hemlocksleather.com.
Get a grip, the sequel
If you're more sweater weather than leather wear, WormeWoole upcycles wools and handknits to make mittens, coasters, hot pads, neck warmers, headwraps and more. She, too, has a variation on the conventional cozy. This one takes cozy to a new level when it dresses your drink in a sweater.
WormeWoole's creations are available at etsy.com/wormewoole.
Snow on things
Duluth painter Shawna Gilmore recently posted her holiday collection, with an array of figures in vintage clothing experiencing flowers and doing curious things: balancing bunnies on outstretched arms, jumping rope with a chain of daisies, hugging a tree trunk while a panda watches. Among the items offered: snow globes with her scenes as a backdrop, whether its “Kids in a Blanket Fort,” “Heidi Hiding in the Tall Tall Glass” or “Hide and Seek in the Hallway.”
Shawna Gilmore snow globes, $20 available at shawnagilmore.com.
Chalk the block
Annmarie Geniusz, a local chalk artist, is offering gift certificates for temporary murals on sidewalks, driveways and commercial spaces to use when all the snow and ice is gone, preferably between May and September.
She works in pastels and tempera paint to create 3D images, illustrations and/or messages. Starts at $100 for a standard Duluth sidewalk, which takes about 3-5 hours on location. For more info, go to ageniusz.com.
Health and beauty
Scrubs and creams
Indigenous First has a self-care package that has Sakari Botanicals’ wood rose soaking salt, sweetgrass cream and lip butter, sage and a small shell. Another option is its soothing gift box, which has a Sakari Botanicals in addition to sweetgrass sugar scrub, lavender cream, Hopi blue corn mask. These picks are also sold individually.
Gift boxes start at $40.50 at indigenousfirst.org.
'Little Sweden' color blasts
Kirsten Aune’s new shop in Lincoln Park, a clean color-blast that she has nicknamed Little Sweden, offers the artist’s signature bold patterns on aprons, towels, holiday stockings and clothing. A real room-changer would be her throw pillows — which offers bright pink circles and stars, green ferns, circle-play on her new favorite color, a shade of blue that matches work created by her sister, Alison Aune, who also works in Scandinavian themes.
(Her paintings are also available at the shop, as is a small mug featuring her own design.)
Kirsten Aune Textile pillows, $48, are available at kirstenaune.com.
Now with dala cats
Carrie Schaefer is an illustrator and printmaker who uses Northeastern Minnesota and its people as her muse — like maybe offering a view of the tall, tall trees of Hartley. She’s also funny. One of her towels features a dala cat, as opposed to the more traditional dala horse, and she has a print — she does those, too — featuring a variety of mushrooms and titled “the fungus amongus.”
Right now she’s offering a gift set that has Northern conifer tea towel and a “Yah! Sure!” Swedish dishcloth.
Schaefer Design Co., gift set, $18, is available at schaeferdesign.org.
Yarrow Mead takes nature plus science to create wearable art. This can range from twigs twisted to hoops or a moose tooth set in sterling silver. Consider her Lake Superior glass studs, which combine sea glass and fine silver — each with its own unique shape.
You can feel good about her practices: stones are ethically sourced, her metal is recycled in New Mexico, her shipping materials are recycled.
Yarrow Mead Metals’ Lake Superior glass studs, $45, are available at yarrowmeadmetals.com.