Originally published in Lavender Magazine, November 2019
Quality doesn’t have to cost hundreds of dollars. Here is a roundup of companies, including three based in Minnesota, who are making products anyone would love to receive this holiday season.
Wool Liner & Deerskin Choppers
Minneapolis-based Steller Handcrafted Goods got its start eight years ago after owner Julie Steller purchased a pair of repurposed wool sweater mittens. She was determined to make another pair. Today, Steller’s team consists of 13 women who create mittens, hats, purses, coats and more using repurposed wool sweaters and leather clothing along with Nordic braid and vintage buttons.
These Wool Liner and Deerskin Choppers will help any Minnesotan get through a bitter winter. The outside layer is deerskin sourced from Minnesota and the inner layer is a high-quality repurposed wool sweater with polar fleece lining. The cuffs come up to your wrist, meaning that snow and ice won’t find their way in when you’re brushing snow off your car.
Best Sellers Basket
Redhead Creamery has been making cheese for just over five years on cheesemaker’s Alise Sjostrom’s parent dairy farm. She dreamed to be a part of her family’s business ever since she was 17 years old. They offer tours of the farm, located in Brooten, Minnesota, on Fridays and Saturdays.
Their Best Sellers Basket is sure to please. It includes Redhead’s Lucky Linda Clothbound Cheddar (named after Alise’s mom), Little Lucy Brie (named after Alise’s daughter), and a bag of Ridiculously Good Cheddar Cheese Curds.
This holiday season, give someone whiskey-flavored cheese! Redhead Creamery teams up with Panther Distillery, in nearby Osakis, to make the North Fork Whiskey Washed Munster, a limited-production cheese which uses Panther’s Minnesota 14 whiskey.
While you’re on their online store, I would definitely throw a jar of the Velvet Bees Honey Butter in your order. You can eat it with a spoon.
Magnetic Wood Bow Tie Box Set
I was introduced to Virginia-based SwitchWood a few years ago and immediately became obsessed with their bow ties. They are clip on, but what really blows everyone’s minds is that the wood pieces are magnetic, meaning you can switch out the grains with the fabric pieces to create different looks. It makes for a great conversation piece. These aren’t your ordinary bow ties.
I would recommend starting with a wood bow tie box set, which will get you one bow tie with two sets of grain, meaning you’ll have two different bow ties. In addition to bow ties, they make sunglasses, cuff links and more, all made of wood.
I Have a Big Heart On card
Mary Bruno inherited her letterpress print shop from her father, who was an art professor at St. Cloud State University. He acquired old letterpress equipment in the late 80’s and early 90’s, which Mary is now putting to good use.
A self-proclaimed “professional cusser”, Bruno was placing swear words, along with edgy, irreverent sentiment, on cards before it was a thing. She’s been at it for nearly ten years.
Cards are the mainstay of Bruno Press, and there is a LGBT selection is available. They’re sold online and in the Twin Cities at Mitrebox Framing Studio, the Electric Fetus and the Minnesota Center for Book Arts.
In addition to cards, Bruno Press makes to-do lists, note cards, calendars, and coasters.
You will find the work from dozens of Minnesota makers at the following stores
The Collective, Rockville
Open Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays
Minnesota Makers, Robbinsdale
Open Tuesdays through Saturdays
Weathered Revivals, St. Joseph
Open Thursdays through Sundays
Also on Give Me The Mike…
Where Minnesotans can donate clothing and household goods
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