When giving & receiving gifts, it's the thought that counts, right? What if I told you that finding the perfect holiday gift is easy once you start thinking outside of the "Big Box" store? You don't have to fight traffic or crowds. "Feel Good" holiday gifts are made & sold in your own community by your friends & neighbors. When you realize that, your holiday shopping experience will become much less stressful. You may even start to enjoy it. We do!
We make a few gifts ourselves each year and purchase the rest from local artists, artisans and small mom & pop shops within our community. Since we started this tradition our gifts have always been hits. What's our secret? We look for locally made items that are FUL - thoughtful, useful or beautiful. Gift recipients are always thankful and those we purchased our gifts from are grateful. When everyone is FUL there's no room for stress. Here's a few of our favorite feel good gift sources:
Send Local Specialty Goods to Friends & Family Out of State!
Support Local Artisans - Buy Handcrafted Goods Made Locally!
We love handmade soaps by Latter Rain Soaps and soaps, lotions & balms by SAP Soap & Beyond. We have gifted pottery, local honey, beeswax candles, 10 toxin-free nail polish by Northern Nail Polish, I could go on. All of these items were hits with our family & friends.
Our area happens to be filled with orchards, wineries, breweries, artisans & craftsman of all sorts. Local wine, beer, cheese, pastries & such all make great hostess gifts and tasty dishes to pass. And don't forget to visit your local farmer! Our friends at Providence Farm & CSA still have plenty of healthy organic veggies, meats & berries. They offer gift shares & gift certificates and they can help you donate fresh, healthy food gifts to our local food pantries.
Out of Wrap? Still Need A Toy? Or a Last Minute Gift? Or a ???
For everything else I head to Bachmanns Store in Central Lake. Since 1942, this 5 & dime variety store has been a family run business, now in it's third generation. Their motto is "If we don't have it, you don't need it" and that's the truth! We love their old-fashioned candy counter and it's a great place for the kid-clueless (like me!) to find cool toys. Plus, they gift wrap! A trip to Bachmanns Store is always a step back in time to the good ol' days.
And just like that I've checked everything off my holiday shopping list. No malls, crowds or stress. We're keeping our hard earned money in our own community. Visiting our neighbors, supporting small businesses, making new friends.
And best of all, EVERYONE is FUL!
This morning I snuck outside for a picture at just the right moment. I caught the moon shining brightly to the west & the sun rising to the east. I stood in the yard and watched the shift from night to day pass directly overhead. Birds were singing, the peepers were chirping, the air was warm & my coffee cup was full. It was a great way to start the 1st day of May!
Jason was up & out of the house early too. We still have a few job sites under snow but it's melting fast. The Pillywiggins are out & about. Our schedule is filling up. Spring clean-ups are underway!
Pillywiggins Garden Report
The last snow storm didn't seem to bother our bulbs. We have little crocus in bloom and tulips & daffodils popping up everywhere. I found a variety of bulbs on clearance last fall at Menards & can now say with certainty they were a great buy! I'll be sure to post photos when they bloom. My favorites by far are the bulbs we purchased from The Kid's school fundraiser many years ago. They're back & still going strong!
All of our bluebird houses are occupied - a few with swallows. If you're interested in building a few bluebird houses of your own, check out our blog post from 2016 How to Build a Bluebird House or watch our video.
2018 Winter Fantasy Update
Open registration starts May 1st for the 2018 Winter Fantasy Art Show. We're excited to report that we are already over 1/2 capacity with a great mix of exceptional art, fine craft & local specialty goods. All items handcrafted in Northern MI by talented local artists & artisans. Mark your calendars!
And on a personal note...
Jason & I will be welcoming a new baby into our home in just a few short days!
We're excited to meet our new bundle of joy but have yet to decide on his name.
The November issue of Trout & About magazine hit the newsstands today! Pick up your free copy at local news stands throughout Northern Michigan from Kingsley to Central Lake. And, check out the article on yours truly, Pillywiggins Garden. Our thanks to Beverly Fields at Trout & About Magazine for the nice write-up and for allowing us permission to share this article.
Look for Trout & About at Northern MI news stands!
Greetings! My name is Julie. I'm a bookkeeper by trade, an artisan by choice & the author of this blog by default. :)