I’m so excited to share some of the wonderful makers and artisans whose work I have purchased in the past year. Please shop small this Christmas, and through the year too. Do show your support to them even if you don’t purchase, by boosting their social media – like, comment, save and share their posts!
You can also watch on and subscribe to my YouTube channel. There are subtitles available, and the transcript is below if you need to read as well as watch. I’d love to hear what you think, so leave a comment here or on youtube, or email me. Sign up to my email list as well for more at www.aratidevasher.com
I am not sponsored by any brands and nothing has been gifted by brands either (just some presents from friends and family).
Just ask any questions you might have in the comments! I’ll do my best to help you out.
00:00 Introduction to the Gift Guide
01:44 Why you should SHOP SMALL and BUY LOCAL
Hi! I’m Arati. Welcome to my small business gift guide, 2021 edition! This video, not sponsored, by the way, is just in time for the Indie Week campaign by Just a Card which runs from Monday, the 22nd of November to Friday, the 26th of November. It would be really wonderful if you would support all the small makers that I’m showing you today through Indie Week and beyond.
Now, as you may already know from watching some of my videos, I have been doing a no-buy year which basically means I can’t buy anything new, I just have to replace what runs out.
Built into my financial plan for the year, however, was an allowance to purchase one or two small things from a small business every month, either for myself and our household, or as gifts for friends and family. Particularly after the last two years, all of us need some support and in particular small businesses who have lost out a lot.
The majority of beautiful things showcased in this video are purchased by me within the last 12 months with my own money. They are not gifted, I am not sponsored, I am not affiliated with any of the brands that I’m showing you today. One item was a gift from my sister, but I have to include it here because I was already intending to purchase it before she preempted me.
I have also included a couple of things that I purchased in previous years, because I want to re-purchase from those makers in the coming months, towards the end of the year. I have not included any of my work which gets plenty of coverage in my other videos. This is about the people whose work I admire and purchase and love and use, and I really want you to love their work as well.
Everything in my gift guide is purchased from small UK businesses – artists and artisans, who make and manufacture within the UK. I think it’s important to support the community in which you live because you are not only boosting employment, you are also increasing income within the community and providing those small businesses with a reliable base of customers.
This also helps provide the local government with taxes which then enables them to provide support for small businesses, among other things, thereby coming back full circle.
Plus, don’t forget, an actual person worked very, very hard to make these things, and you make them very, very happy when you purchase them.
Who doesn’t love a good bit of stationery? I certainly do, and the fancier the better.
So let’s start with the fanciest of all – this hand-bound notebook by Amy of The Idle Bindery. I first met Amy through a craft-sellers group, and I absolutely fell in love with her work. You might have spotted her in some of my vlogs, as well! This incredibly well-made notebook is coptic-bound. It has a beautiful marbled paper cover, and delightful, thick, cream paper inside. It’s soft and I think it’ll be perfect for pencil work. I shall begin using this in the new year! Oh, the smell of fresh paper! Can’t wait!
The next notebook I bought is actually a sketchbook, by Nina Cosford. She is an illustrator and I’m pretty sure you know who she is too. She’s designed this lovely book with 90 pages of beautiful off-white paper. It doesn’t say whether it was made in the UK or not and it did come shrink-wrapped, and the cover is PU… but it feels like really, really nice leather! It’s the first soft-bound sketchbook I’ve purchased. You know that I usually go for the cloth-bound hardback Seawhite of Brighton ones and it’s an unusual size, which is also why I wanted to get it. This is again something I’m really looking forward to using in the new year.
I also purchased this beautiful print from Nina. It perfectly expresses my own thoughts! I’m looking forward to having this on my wall alongside the other artwork that I’ve purchased from other artists. I’ll do a tour of the art in my home in a separate video, if you like. Just leave a comment down below if you’d like me to do that.
Another paper and book-related gift is this beautiful leather bookmark (page cuff) from Roslyn Whiting Leathercraft. I bought it as a gift for a friend, and it has now gone to her home which is why I don’t have it here to film it. But I love that it could be personalised with her initials and she really loved it too. She’s already using it in her books. I’ve been looking through Roslyn’s website to find other things to purchase over the coming months as well.
Monkey Mintaka, aka April, is an illustrator whose vlogs I follow on YouTube. This lovely Derpy Cat notebook which she makes herself… I won’t show you the inside because, you know, privacy! But it has this lovely white paper and it’s really smooth to write on. I also got these lovely fruity stickers which I have kept intact just to show you and I am going to immediately use them where I wanted to! Plus, my favourite, which was the catalyst for the entire order, the I AM ARTIST sticker! I look at it every day. It makes me happy.
Cards are something I like to have by me all the time and even though I now illustrate my own, it’s really nice to have cards by other people that I can take with me when I’m going to somebody’s house or giving them a gift, particularly when they’re as nice as these ones by Maddie of Also the Bison. Maddie and I met at craft fairs and trade shows and she is absolutely lovely. It’s so delightful to know who made the things that you purchase and why.
Julie Westmore is an artist I follow on Instagram. She runs a business called JWesty Designs where she makes her beautiful work into cards and other products like this one. I just think this patriotic zebra is so fun!
FOR THE HOME
I also got a tea towel from Julie this year. My husband has been banned from using it. It’s actually just to make my kitchen pretty and it’s not actually to be used! It’s so bright and vibrant. I love it. She’s got loads of other designs too.
Libby Ballard‘s pint mugs are used every single day in our house. This grey one is mine and we got a blue one for my husband. They’re so beautifully made and Libby’s attention to colour and detail is there for you to see. They are ginormous so they hold a pint of tea or coffee or in my case hot water and lemon. I definitely want to get more of Libby’s work… her plates and her vases. The cool hues and the seaside feel are so calming and a general feeling of well-being just spreads as I drink from these.
Evie of Milomade hand-makes a variety of things from metal and silver. I purchased two of her custom plant pins, and I absolutely adore them! One’s gone in amongst the ferns, and the other in a pothos plant. They’re both in spots I pass everyday. I definitely want to get some of her ruder ones as well!
Carrying on from Evie Milo’s plant markers, I want to show you some of her jewellery. I haven’t bought any yet, but it is on my wishlist as gifts – or for myself! It all looks so beautiful and unique. She makes her jewellery from silver spoons. She makes the handles of the spoons into these silver rings and she makes the bowl into these amazing whale tail pendants. Definitely going to get some of these, for sure!
But, moving on to what I actually did purchase myself… Anyone who knows me in my personal life knows that I love jewellery. I can’t resist a bit of bling!So when I saw these delicate blue butterflies from Maddie of Also the Bison, whose cards I showed you earlier, they had to come home to me, you know?! These are the same blue butterfly from her cards, but they’re printed on cherry wood. I’ve worn them so often, and they really don’t interfere with my mask being put on and off… they don’t fall out like some of my other earrings do.
This pair of blue earrings by By Coya was my sister’s birthday gift to me. I had sent her a video of Aiza of By Coya’s new collection which included these and I had said that I really liked them and I was going to order some. So she’s a really good present buyer, my sister. She listened, and what turns up on my birthday morning, but this! I do intend to purchase more from By Coya soon, I’ll probably get some of her Sherbet Lemon earrings because they’re a beautiful yellow and I think they look great. Particularly if she starts making some statement necklaces, I would definitely purchase more from her.
I wear fewer earrings outside the house these days, mainly because a lot of my bigger dangly ones interfere with our mask straps. But statement necklaces are and have always been my favourite things, especially when they’re made by the queen of statement jewellery, Rosa Pietsch… So I’m showing you two of the pieces that I’ve previously bought from her. One is this necklace from her Lantern collection and the other is this Gingko necklace that I bought from a sample sale from her Instagram stories. I think it’s one of a kind – I’m not quite sure, but I would like to think that it is!
You know, when you have a dog the size of ours, it’s not easy to find accessories that doesn’t look ridiculously tiny on him or get hidden in his fur. So I was really happy to find this bandana from The Muddy Paws Boutique, which has a really nice Christmas-y print on one side and a checklist for Naughty, Nice and I Tried on the front. Obviously our dog ‘tried’!
A little note to anyone who’s trying to put a bandana or a bow on their dog, especially a puppy. Do have a couple of practise tries beforehand so that it doesn’t ruin your pictures on the actual day when they’ve chewed it off or are desperately trying to get it off their necks!
Our doodle’s collars, leads and sailor bows have always been bought from Sense of Pawfection. Victoria is so lovely, and she always makes us very affordable custom orders whenever we ask. This year, I ordered a neat set in this lovely teal print to keep for ‘best’, because the every-day ones are a little grimy, despite regular washing! So when we take him to someone’s house or to the pub or restaurant with us, he gets togged up, just like we do! So, um, cute? Or crazy dog lady?! You tell me!
I ordered several food and drink gift boxes this year, but they were all gifted away or eaten before I could take any photographs or do any filming. I bought the Cure and Craft Beer gift box from The Great British Charcuterie, Bier Company’s Ultimate Father’s Day Craft Beer Gift Box.
But, for my husband’s birthday, I have ordered him a couple of British-made gift hampers. The first is a British charcuterie box, by The Real Cure in Dorset. I think he’ll like it, and it won’t last long. I’m vegetarian, so it’s all his to scarf down! Probably with some wine or beer or whatever he chooses! It looks really good, though!
To go with that, I got him this cheese box from Butler’s Farmhouse Cheeses, which I might pick at a little here and there although dairy doesn’t really agree with me. It looks absolutely delicious, though, right?!
My husband has asked for a whisky taster box for Christmas, which I will include in next year’s gift guide if that turns out to be good! I’m still doing my research and I haven’t quite found one yet. If anybody has any suggestions, put them down in the comments below.
When anyone comes to our home, I want them to have a sensory experience that’s both visual as well as aromatic. I want them to feel calm and nostalgic in my home. So, the scents I use are important.
In these I use Wick London wax melts, which I also found at the Duck Pond Market. I use them every single day and these two are always kept together in my house. There’s one of these in the kitchen to cover any excessive cooking smells, and another in the living room, just because. My favourites Wick London wax melts are Oud, Apple Pie, and Woodland. They do last ages and they smell delightful, I wish you could smell the aroma through the screen!
Since the pandemic, a lot of indie shops have started up instagram profiles or brought their Instagram profiles back to life by sharing some lovely things in their stories and in their posts. So, through Handmade Design of Ashbourne I discovered this lovely Wax Melt Advent Calendar. It’s by Ethel and Co, and I purchased it for myself! I haven’t burned any yet, I’m waiting for the 1st of December but I can’t wait to start. It has five different scents and they’re all nicely arranged in these little glassine bags. The melts are star shaped as well, so they are extremely festive.
So this last thing is a gift for my sister, and I really hope that if she is watching, she stops RIGHT NOW. It’s another wax melt advent calendar, but this time it has unique scents for each of the 24 days. It’s from the Scentsational Wax Co and there’s a little menu that goes with it telling you which scent is what. I’d have got one myself if I hadn’t already got the other one.
Before I end this video, I want to explain why I made this gift guide video on small businesses this week in particular. It’s because the Just a Card campaign, started by Sarah Hamilton is celebrating Indie Week from the 22nd of November to the 26th. It is all about the importance of valuing the work of and buying from artists, makers and independent shops during this crucial Christmas period, which is when most of us make our maximum sales for the entire year. Many businesses depend upon this rush for survival, especially after last year’s non-Christmas and lockdown in the UK.
Indie Week is an antidote to the commercial, fast-paced, highly-discounted, mass-produced culture of Black Friday. It’s small makers and independent shops’ chance to shine, and an opportunity to celebrate and share their work, stories and communities, both on social media, and by supporting them in the wider world by sharing and recommending.
It ends on Black Friday, 26th November, which, for us, is INDIE FRIDAY. When we encourage you to purchase from the little shop on your high street or a maker that you found online rather than the big box stores offering massive discounts – I won’t take their names here.
I hope you enjoyed this gift guide… Please do support these small makers and any others that you know in person or found online. Even buying one card from them or one small gift can make a huge difference. If you really can’t purchase from them, please boost their social media by following, liking, saving and sharing posts!
Thank you so much for watching, and I’ll see you in my next video. Bye!