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d*s 2009 gift guides: bloggers’ wishlist

by Grace Bonney

today i’m thrilled to post our final gift idea/wishlist from some of my favorite people around: design bloggers! every year i invite some of my favorite colleagues to share the gifts they’ll be giving and (hopefully) receiving and this year i’m excited to have over 20 of my favorite bloggers as part of this year’s roundup. it’s always fun to see what people who make a living of hunting down cool things have on their wishlists so i hope you’ll enjoy their picks (and non-product gift ideas!) as much as i did. thanks so much to everyone who participated this year: joanna of a cup of jo, julia rothman of book by its cover, joy of oh joy!, abby of style me pretty, emily of once wed, allan chochinov of core77, victoria of sfgirlbybay, jill of inhabitat, jean of notcot, vane of brooklyn bride, katie runnels of the constant gatherer, jan of poppytalk, rebecca wood of beautyeveryday, birdie of dear ada, lena corwin, maria vettese of 3191, megan of not martha, brooke of inchmark, susan of art esprit, erin and nicole of bird & banner, katy elliott, and julie of LAist.

CLICK HERE to view all 21 bloggers’ gift lists after the jump!

katy elliott

to give: My favorite gift to give are wool blankets and throws. I collect vintage versions year around at flea markets and antique shops for the holidays. Try Pendleton for plaids. Their blankets are high quality and affordable. For a super special friend or family member I would love to give Brook Farm’s updated stripe wool version . Great for modern or traditional decors.

to receive: I would love a pair of shearling lined Bean boots. They are as cozy as Uggs but they aren’t nearly as ugly and they don’t get wet. Perfect for surviving wet sloppy New England winters. You can roll the front down and tuck into skinny jeans for a less masculine look.

joanna goddard of cup of joe

to give: An indoor lemon tree. Jerry Seinfeld said that the secret ingredient to everything delicious is cinnamon, but I think it’s lemon. So I’m planning to get some of my friends and relatives an indoor lemon tree — they’re small, cute and brighten up a living room, and you can pick your own lemons to squeeze over cocktails, grilled fish or warm lemon tea!


to receive: i love getting fresh flowers for our apartment, but I’m terrible at arranging them! luckily, this graceful vase, made from recycled beach glass, would save the day: just add one pretty hydrangea and you’re all set. (also, if you hold it to your ear, you can hear the ocean.)

vane broussard of brooklyn bride:

to receive: rachel comey Infinity scarf with tassels in grey, the more the merrier candlestick in black.


to give: the sartorialist book, archie grand notebooks (i already bought a ton of them!)

jan of poppytalk:

to give: 2010 laureled tea towel from hello handmade and ceramic miniature bottles/vessels from kate beckett a student at emily carr. i also think these white lined notepads called whitelines are a nice little “go to” present.


to receive: i wouldn’t mind getting an amy rice print, pillow or even a calendar.

katie runnels of the constant gatherer:

to give: my family has grown so large that we only trade handmade gifts! if i had unlimited budget to buy anything for my friends and family it would be: guitar hero for my husband, jewelry for the girls from jennifer morris or shopSCAD, big fat donations to project pet for the animal lovers.


to receive: a doll by misako mimoko, anything by nathalie lete, a dresser, sideboard (or anything really!) by knack studios, i’d really love a trip to nyc! it’s been over ten years!

jill fehrenbacher of inhabitat:

to give: I’m going to get this for my parents this Xmas. I’m super excited about the idea of artisanal salt, not to mention this plate is beautiful and interesting and is sure to be a fun conversation starter for all the schmancy dinner parties they throw – especially before they head off to trek in the Himalayas this spring.

to give and receive: indoor composter: If my husband doesn’t get this for me, I’m going to get it for him. I’m dead set on figuring out how to compost in a tiny Manhattan apartment, even though previous attempts at composting in a trashcan have failed a bit stinkily. Now that the Lower East Side ecology center is no longer accepting compost, I need a solution and I really want to turn my food trash into something useful!


bauhaus women: I’m obsessed with the bauhaus movement – it was really the first time in history that mass culture started to think about how the design of products impacted society, and the first time really that designers started to approach design really idealistically with the thought ‘how can I make the world better through design’. When the Bauhaus school opened in 1919 more women applied to join than men – yet we never hear about the women of hte Bauhaus movement. I want to find out more about them!

rebecca wood of r.wood studio and beautyeveryday

to give: here in america where it seems like you never have enough money, it’s easy to forget that as little as $25 can go a long way in another country. $25 can buy a sewing machine for a mother to start a sewing business to earn money for food, clothes, and an education for her family. kiva.org is a site where you can make direct loans to people in other countries to help them get on their feet.you can loan any amount, and it’s repaid after 6 months.

another great organization is heifer international. you can purchase a pig, a flock of chicks or duck, sheep, rabbits, or even a water buffalo for a family to help them help themselves out of poverty. what better way for you to make a direct impact on our world and experience the true meaning of christmas.

jean aw from notcot

to receive: Leica M9, Puma Penguin.


to give: Bird/Creature books – (and the ABCs version for kids!) – by Andrew Zuckerman,
Hard Graft Y+U Sleeve and add on.

emily newman of once wed:

to give: we love giving sustainable gifts in honor of family and friends to organizations like heifer international and samaritan’s purse. you can gift everything from honeybees and livestock to fruit trees which not only provide impoverished families with nutritious food to eat, but also produce for them to sell for much-needed income. i also look forward to giving gift certificates for 1 hour massages from an amazing massage therapist here in atlanta, dawn smith.


to receive: food dehydrator to make yummy treats, guitar lessons.

birdie of dear ada:

to receive: I’m loving this beautifully designed, graphic calendar by flora douville and plan to give it to a couple of favorite friends and I’d be thrilled by pretty much anything from savage salvage as a gift, though this particular necklace makes me extra weak at the knees


to give: I’m planning to give Andrew Zuckerman’s breathtaking new book, Bird, to my sweet, birding husband, so shhh,

lena corwin

to give:

1. Home Cooking, by Laurie Colwin:
My mom sent me her copy after we talked about the sad end of Gourmet Magazine. This sweet and funny book is a collection of Cowin’s essays published in Gourmet in the 80s.

2. Maple teething blocks from Little Alouette:
I’ve already given these to a couple friends with new babies this year, and I’m planning to purchase more for holidays gifts.


to receive:

1. Classic Clock from DWR:
I need a large clock to keep track of time during classes in my studio. I’ve almost caved in and bought a cheap-o one from Staples many times… but this is what I really want.

2. Grow Great Grub, Organic Food from Small Spaces, by Gayla Trail:
I started a vegetable garden for the first time this year, and I’m already thinking about next year’s crops.

maria vettese of port2port and 3191

to give:

-One of my most favorite gifts is hand-blended tea. I love how Sarah packages things and I also dig finding just the right blend for each friend.

-And if money were no object I’d give all of my girlfriends a Studio Deseo necklace because they are so whimsical and inspired and remind me of childhood.


to receive:

-Every year I wish for a blanket. It’s something I know I’ll always keep! This year’s version is the Brook Farm General Store Woolen Blanket.

-I am a creature of habit. I want to collect all of Lena’s pillows and this is one that is still on my wishlist.

joy d. cho of oh joy!

to give: illustrated notes & calling cards by anna bond, embroidered geometric necklaces by spin thread, and mo’s bacon chocolate chip mix.

to receive:
-wood/lacquer bowls/plates/chopsticks from hanablomst
-lessons from sarah & nicolette’s flower school:
Animal Indexes


megan of not martha

to give:

-Handmade caramels from Curio Confections. These are amazing, we had some specially made as wedding favors this year. The shop sells them packaged into bags and seasonal flavors are rotated in on a regular basis.

Hazel Knits hand dyed yarn. I know a lot of knitters and this yarn is really scrumptious.


to receive:

-I might be taking a trip to Paris this year so I’ll need some books to help me find the best things to eat and see. The Rough Guide to Paris and Clotilde’s Edible Adventures in Paris will be essential.

-I have the perfect spot for the Perch Plant Orb in my dining room.

allan chochinov of Core77


to give: For parents, I am planning on giving the game Ruckus. It takes 1 minute to learn, is totally action packed, and a guaranteed no-miss gift. Honest, if you’re going somewhere where there are kids and want to take something along besides a bottle of wine, this is all you’ll need.

to receive: All I’ve ever wanted was a slot car racing set. I had one when I was a kid, but I don’t know what ever happened to it, and it’s been a great longing ever since. I’m afraid that when I actually get a set, it’ll never live up my expectations, but I think that this year may indeed be my year. The one above is a NASCAR set, but I’d be plenty happy with the Ferrari or even the Mario Kart set. Or I could just sit tight with my fond memories and a SlotZ iPhone app.

brooke reynolds of inchmark

to give:

-When my family was all together for a reunion this summer I took
profile pictures of all my brothers and sisters and nieces and nephews,
I’m going to turn them all into silhouettes and use them for a few
projects: a graphic family tree for my mom and dad, or maybe
personalized stationery for each family.

-We have a tradition of new pajamas every Christmas Eve, now I make my
own for my kids using this pattern from Oliver + S.


to receive:

-I love this beautiful desk calendar from Kate Spade, illustrated by my
friend Bella Foster

-I’m not sure if these will be available before Christmas, but I’m still
asking for one of the new quilt patterns from the amazing Denyse
, I like Hills and Hollers.

victoria of sfgirlbybay

to give: gifts from tif fussell’s shop, dottie angel – i love her pillows and teatowels


to receive: i’d love anything from whitney smith’s beautiful pottery shop (i love her little cupcake stand)

susan of art esprit

to give: I chose Megan Bogonovich’s new cube vases for the men and women on my list who just don’t treat themselves enough to fresh flowers. These unique cubes hold one bloom and are manly enough to spark up the most dreary desk with or without the flower!


Also, some large size totes by Lost Bird Found filled with some of my husband Rainer’s delicious homemade bread and Linda Plaisted’s ornament.

to receive: My dream gift this year would be another trip to the wonderful Friedrichsbad Spa in Baden-Baden Germany. We enjoyed two days there last summer and I am already longing to return for some treatments and down time with my husband! The only other gift I would like would be a full time intern to help manage my “extras” each day at the gallery and studio. That would be a most wonderful addition!

julia rothman of book by its cover

to give: The new Walton Ford book published by Taschen is completely gorgeous. It’s a huge hardcover 320 page book full of his Audobon-esque watercolors- showing both the pieces as a whole and close ups of his meticulous brush strokes. He’s one of those artists that everyone can enjoy. And if you hurry and get a copy at the Taschen store they may still have signed copies.

We have already bought a few gifts this year at Fish’s Eddy for some of our friends. They have the best selection of vintage and new dinnerware. For one of our Jewish friends we got the hilarious Heroes of the Torah glasses. And for a math teacher friend we got a selection of things from their “Memo” line including a “graph paper” ceramic tray. For Matt’s family, who live in Iowa, I always send something from the Brooklyn collection so they think of us when they use it.


to receive: I love these embroidery hoop pieces by Etsy seller MiniatureRhino. I have had the shop bookmarked for a while now and keep visiting back and drooling over this bumble bee piece.

Also whenever I’m passing by my favorite local shop Cog & Pearl I check out this little red fox made by Clive & Sunshine. It’s one of those things that’s very hard to justify buying for yourself!

erin and nicole of bird & banner:

erin, to give: Homemade Gingerbread Cookie Puzzle (see image below!)


erin, to receive: anything from the new Kiosk Portugal collection. (more favs here)

nicole, to give: THE Olivetti Valentine


nicole, to receive: Prints from St.Jude’s, from artists Mark Herald and Ed Kluz.


julie wolfson of LAist:

to give: For some of our family and friends I like to make donations for gifts: I am planning to buy more solar cookers this holidays season to help the women of Darfur
(Solar Cooker Project: $30 buys 2 solar cookers to help the women of Darfur cook for their family in the refugee camps)

-Everything at Valerie Confections is beyond delicious. Great ingredients and not overly sweet. I’ll be bringing some boxes of the Mint Mendiants and Almond Fleur De Sel Toffees to the holiday parties.


Jaunt | Felt Tote Bag | Graf & Lantz: I just got this felt and leather tote bag and love it! It is perfect for carrying my small purse and essentials to get through the day. Plus they make great wine carriers and have new felt duffle bags coming out.

to receive: My super big major wish for a huge splurge of a Hannukkah gift- I would be really happy to hang this painting in my house.


I’d also love Dean Accessories’ Fringe Bag: I love the 70’s vibe of this fringe bag- it would be perfect to sling over my shoulder at concerts- in fuschia or purple.

abby larson of style me pretty:

to give: This year’s Christmas is all about DIY. A jar of gourmet marshmallows with a printed Hot Chocolate Recipe Label on them. Recipe from Food Network. DOWNLOAD this pdf for template. Print using a color printer on full page label sheets, then cut to size.

to receive: A High Glam Cocktail Ring. I am mildly obsessed with the whole cocktail ring phenomenon but these, well…be still my heart. I am crazy for these super glitzy versions by Charm and Chain, worn either with great pair of jeans and a simple T or with a flirty party dress. So much so that I am secretly hoping my husband is pulling out his credit card right now.

Suggested For You


  • I love the indoor lemon tree – what a great idea for a gift. It’s great when the gift keeps on giving! And thanks Joy for the bacon chocolate chip mix idea….I’m absolutely getting that for my husband who thinks there is nothing better than bacon !

  • I wish I were getting a lemon tree for Christmas. How awesome.
    I bought my older brother one of those race tracks a few years ago!

  • I “tune in” to d*s every day. However, I now can see why I am not a design blogger, because the majority of the items on these wish list are just weird to me. I’m guessing I’ll be alone in this.

    Can’t wait to buy the book!


  • Just want to forewarn any givers of lemon trees. Great idea for a gift as I also pined after one. But after receiving, it didn’t survive 4 weeks in the darker, less sunny winter season. VERY unfortunate.

  • I love this list! Especially the food dehydrator. rock salt server, lemon tree, puma penguin, and necklaces by spin thread. But does ANYONE ever want to receive calendars? Calendars are like fruit cakes to me — even pretty ones. I never look at them and they just hang there for a year and then you throw them away.

  • i personally love receiving and giving calendars. i think it’s delightful to have a practical thing like a calendar be also handmade and beautiful, or quirky – whatever suits the mood!

    this is a really interesting gift guide. i’ve loved seeing some things that might be considered out of the box. there are certainly things on here that i would have never thought of, but are fantastic ideas!

  • Joy,
    My boyfriend thanks you for the bacon chocolate chip mix he will be receiving come Christmas Eve :)

  • Thanks for the reminder to share with others around the world this season. BUT, I would never make a donation in someone else’s name and then present it to that person as a gift. Remember George Costanza and “The Human Fund”??

    • alisa

      i charity donation gift is definitely not for everyone, but i really love receiving them, especially when there’s some way to track them and find out more about what the money will be doing at that organization. they’re not all “human funds” ;)


  • Loving all of these picks, but I’m so depressed that the bee sampler from miniature rhino is now sold out. I’ve had that in and out of my etsy cart for weeks!

    That’s what I get for trying to be practical for once. :)

  • I love all of these gift ideas… I realllly want the Perch Plant Orb that Megan picked. I know exactly where I would put it! Love all of these!

    So glad to see Kiva mentioned. Even if you wouldn’t consider giving a charitible donation as a gift, Kiva is definitely a cause worth looking at. So little can go such a long way for the people Kiva helps and the fact that it’s not a hand out but rather a microloan empowers them in such tremendous ways.

  • so, so many fantastic things in this roundup…….thank you to you all for spending the time to find such goodness……

    ….and a special thank you to katie runnels ……my sweet , sweet friend for the knack love………you are the best!


  • Oh my — so many fantastic and well curated choices! I love Whitney Smith’s cake platter in those cheerful shades, and the teethers may just make a debut in our upcoming baby nursery (our baby due in January can still have a honorary stocking this Christmas, right? :) )

    I’m also very appreciative of the kind selection of my shop’s Olivetti Valentine by Nicole of bird and banner — thank you so much!!

  • These gift guides have really helped out my shopping dilemma this year. Thank you so much d*s!! I have one question though: any suggestions on gifts where the proceeds go to charity?

    • michelle

      oh man, there are so many i don’t know where to start. etsy shops are FULL of them, and a lot of indie stores are doing that across the board this season. i’d go through etsy and search for “charity” in the listings, i’m sure people are listing them as part of the item descriptions.


  • I love megan bogonovich!!!

    And I keep hearing about the kiva organization on the ‘Stuff You Should Know’ podcast. I’m gonna have to get on that! :)

  • This just solved so many gift issues for me! I adore so many of things on here for family, and for myself . Thanks Grace for rounding up so many fantastic bloggers and convincing them to share with us (though I’m sure it didn’t take much).

  • Brilliant round-up. The Ed Kluz print from St Jude’s chosen by Nicole from Bird&Banner print caught my eye as it looks just like a timber framed house called Little Moreton Hall near my parents’ house here in the UK – turns out I was right. Here are some photos of it in real life – well worth a visit:


  • About lemon trees:

    I have had a small meyer lemon tree for the past four years, and I cannot say enough positive things about it. It was sick when I got it (spider mites) and I nursed it back to health. Now, although it is only about two and and half feet tall, it manages to produce about 12 lemons at a time, on a regular cycle, several times a year. Meyer lemons are sweeter and more fragrant than real lemons, and they are awesome in drinks and desserts. The flowers smell amazing, like jasmine, and when it is in bloom, wafts of perfume go through your apartment. A North African friend also taught me that lemon leaves can be used, like cardamom and cinnamon, to flavour your coffee.

    All this said, these trees do need a lot of light and regular watering and love. You should not let the dead leaves rot into the soil (remove them) and you have to cross-pollinate the flowers with a q-tip or your finger for the thing to bloom.

    I have just moved into a darker place, and I have bought a grow light – there is no way I am letting the little guy die after it has provided me with so much joy!

  • Thanks to Susan from Art Esprit for including my Limited Edition Holiday Ornaments on her list above. You’re the best, Susan and I am in lovely company here.

    Michelle above asked about gifts where the proceeds go to charity- Each year I create a limited edition holiday print with 100% of the proceeds going to Heartl House. Last year we raised $1000 to help women & families affected by domestic violence.

    Prints available through my web site and Etsy shop.

    Have a lovely holiday!

    Linda – Many Muses Studio

  • it is so great that there are so many thoughtful bloggers out there who are excited to give as they are to receive! ^_^ x

  • i don’t celebrate christmas, but i love these gifts suggestions for year round. i found those heroes of the torah glasses at a tag sale for my son, and they are great in every way – functional, funny and fabulous. thanks.

  • Oh my god, THANK YOU!!! You just assisted me in finishing my Christmas shopping. What a relief, and not only do I have ideas for right now, but a bit into the future as well.

  • I can’t handle all this! Is it bad I want so much for myself? Ugh, why am I always thinking about meeeee?

    As far as the Bauhaus women go, this book is fantastic. I too am fascinated by Bauhaus men – Mies, Corbu, et al.) but PLEASE give me the women’s stories.

  • Miette, my favorite bakery, displays/and sells Whitney Smith’s cakestands, and it’s hard to decide which is prettier, the pastry or her stands.

    Thanks again for the reminder about giving to Kiva, etc..Our shop (and family) give and work with Free The Children, a really cool non-profit started by a 12 yr.old boy hoping to end child labor around the world (our kids think he’s super cool and love that kids run it). I think that charity gifts can be meaningful if the message and goal resonates with the receiver.

    Thanks for the wealth of gift ideas, so fun to see what everyone wants and is giving!

  • Love the lemon tree idea, going to try to find one around here somewhere. (I have a relative who would definitely take intense care of it).

    One of my aunts gives us each a share in a charity goat or wood stove or something each year, and it’s kind of cool but kind of not.

    I mean, no one on the blogger list asked for a charity goat, just suggested they might give a charity goat. Also I feel like donations are kind of personal, and I’d be happier if they just gave to the organization without including me – I give to organizations I care about.

    Thanks for the lemon tree idea though, true lifesaver.

  • What great variety in this guide! I’m surprised that the charity donations have a bit of a bad rap. My husband hates the commercialism that this season brings about, so a few years ago we started giving charity “gift cards” to our families, along with another small gift (usually handmade). Our family members can then choose from hundreds of reputable charities and the money goes to that organization. I really love it since it embraces the holiday spirit. We’ve also received plenty of donations in our names and it feels good to know that we’re helping something or someone rather than accumulate more gadgets or shirts.

    This is not to say that I wouldn’t mind a new necklace this year and I certainly buy my fair share of fun stuff for my family!

    And I also love receiving calendars…I have a whole calendar wall in my office, so the art changes monthly :)

  • Grace, to answer your question, a lot of this stuff is just fairly unusual — like the necklace, the bee embroidery and the artwork showing the women in bird cages. Just not my taste, that’s all. I love it that your readers and guest bloggers are so quirky though. Maybe I live vicariously through all of you? :)

  • Grace, to answer your question, there are quite a few items on here that are fairly unusual. The ones that come to mind are the necklace, the bee embroidery and the print with the women in birdcages. Not my taste at all.

    I love it that your readers and guest bloggers are so quirky though. It makes for fun reading each day! :)

  • Grace, to answer your question, there are quite a few items on here that are fairly unusual. The ones that immediately come to mind are the necklace, the bee embroidery and the print with the women in birdcages. Not my taste at all.

    I love it that some of your readers and guest bloggers are so quirky though. Makes for a fun read each day. :)

  • Grace,

    I love getting presents that help raise awareness and funds for worthy causes and also donations in my name. I love giving the solar cookers as presents because I know that the project is offering a concrete solution to people in need of safe ways to feed their families.

    This list is full of fun ideas for gifts. I love so many of the things especially the Hard Graft Y + U sleeve and the great book suggestions.

    Thanks so much for including me.

    Happy holidays!

  • Great list! I’ll be bookmarking this one.

    As for gifts donations for charity, I’ve used World Vision before. They are wonderful. They are great and even have a ‘gift’ catalogue. You can buy a goat in a friend’s/family’s name, sponsor a child, or even buy them school books or immunisations. Prices range from $10 to thousands. Also, Oxfam is an English charity, but involved all over the world and are fab.

  • You have delivered me from hours and hours of stress over what to get my father and stepmother with the lemon tree suggestion. Thank you so much! Now I can worry about other gifts…

  • I always enjoy the different perspectives and interesting wish lists that are generated by creative people everywhere…I LOVE IT. Because it’s never an item I expect which makes it a little treasure hunt of sorts…KEEP IT UP & thanks for the eye candy!

  • Congratulations on all the wonderful ideas. I love the pottery and lemon tree idea. How refreshing – just bring some life into my house.

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