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Looking to find memorable holiday gifts while supporting businesses run by real people rather than faceless corporations? It is always good to support creativity, originality and small artistic businesses, and that is especially true this year.
Here are some exciting suggestions for all ages that will perk up your gifting season:
Needle Felting - Relaxing Fun for Any Age
My 8-year-old granddaughter, Myla, loves needle felting because "it makes me feel relaxed." She'll sit quietly at her needle felting for an hour or more, and heaven knows, with the pandemic the kids have had a lot of stress this year -- and grownups have, too! Needle felting is suitable for a wide age range, requires no special skills, and is a meditative way to regain a sense of wellbeing in a chaotic world.
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Wool, as a living substance, offers that comforting "love-you-back" feeling absent in metals and plastics, which is one of the reasons why so many crafters choose to work with natural fibers.
You can get the Learn to Needlefelt Student Kit (pictured above) with all the basic materials for the craft for $10 (with free postage!) from Back to Back Fiber. A sharp needle is involved, so supervision of youngsters is required, but Back to Back Fiber includes a clever protective tool in their kits.
For expanded instructions, pair the kit with Cassie Stephens' book, Stitch and String Lab for Kids, which includes needle felting along with other projects. Stephens is an innovative art educator, author, blogger and podcaster on Breaker, Google Podcasts, Radio Public, Spotify and Pocketcasts.
OuiSi / "We See" / Game: Creative Fun for all Ages
I played OuiSi with two friends at Thanksgiving and we loved it! It is a set of 210 visually-connecting photo cards, offering a variety of games and activities that foster creativity, build mindfulness and inspire wonder.
The name means "yes-yes" in French and Spanish, pronounced "we-see" in English. The developers say, "It's a nod to our belief that pictures are a language almost all of us speak, regardless of age or background."
The sturdy 3" x 3" cards and elegant packaging are inspiring, the original photography is lovely, and the games are an enticing invitation to set tech gadgets aside and become more aware of the beauty in our world.
We played the domino version, in which each card needs to have some kind of visual or conceptual connection to the card it is placed next to - the far-fetched explanations of connection can be hilarious!
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