Have crafty Christmas and a handmade Hanukkah—all of these presents are made right here in New Mexico
Cigar Box Guitar Kit
Blues Brother Dan Aykroyd signed one of Paul Bush's locally made instruments. Bush boasts that his kits sound far better than his competitors because of the materials he uses: red oak hardwood necks, steel nuts and bridges that will last for decades, he says. Kits start at $99.99 for a three-string. Or just strum away on a ready-made guitar for between $300 and $500. His shop, Uptown Gifts (2675 Louisiana NE), also carries other sundries, such as harmonica mics and amp pickups.
Stamped with a love for our gorgeous Land of Enchantment, this beanbag toss game comes with two boards and eight bags filled with frijoles. Hand-painted, the boards can sport a motif inspired by our skies or our state flag. Beanbags come in red and yellow or, in state tradition, red and green. Game-maker Colin Hazelbaker also does custom sets. A game goes for $129.95 and is perfect for "BBQ cookouts, matanzas, tailgating and general backyard fun."
Guadalupe Tanks and Tees
Debbie Salazar Stuart and her mother make Southwest-themed shirts, hoodies, buckles, accessories and tote bags, including this bejeweled la virgen number ($29.50). Salazar Stuart's sister is in on the act as a jewelry crafter, while her father constructs furniture. Order online, or check over at their Village of Los Ranchos boutique at 7209 Fourth Street NW.
Weaver Elisabeth Horst creates these vibrant scarves from natural fibers, such as silk, alpaca, bamboo and merino. "My scarves feel great," Horst writes in an e-mail. She's shooting for soft and drapey feel, she adds. They come in a variety of colors and patterns that can be elegant or casual. Prices range from $70 to $95. Purchase them at the website above, or go to Plants of the Southwest (6680 Fourth Street NW).
Land of Enchantment Screensaver
Freelance photographer Seth Jacob traveled extensively around the state for three years shooting more than 50,000 images. He's distilled that body of work into his best 200 shots, which he developed into a screen saver. The images are familiar but veer from cliché. Jacob's captured a variety of moments, people and lifestyles. Buy a copy for $15 at Papers (108 Amherst SE).
Little Mirrors of the Southwest
Wayne Mikosz, an interior designer, was tired of seeing good material end up in the garbage. So about four years ago, he says, he started Dumpster-diving. Using leftover tiles, he began creating decorative mirrors. They're usually about 12-inches-by-12-inches, though sizes vary depending on what he finds. Ninety-eight percent of the mirrors are made of found or recycled materials. Find them at Sumner & Dene (517 Central NW) for between $165 to $225.
An ideal gift for someone recovering from drug or alcohol addiction, says Gwen Goldsmith. The colorful glass pieces include logos and sayings from support groups. "I use the jewelry like talismanic objects," Goldsmith says. She launched her line at an Alcoholics Anonymous convention in Texas and sold out of her entire stock. Goldsmith often sells her pieces in pairs, one for the sponsor and one for the sponsee. She also makes custom pieces. Jewelry starts at around $20.
Rescue Animal Greeting Cards
Jes Mckay Gilmore of Santa Fe created these cards featuring rescued animals that were photographed in New Mexico. The idea was to use funny and witty greeting cards to put shelter pets into the minds of recipients. And she’s not just talking about dogs and cats. "There are many iguanas and pot-beliied pigs out there, too! Not to mention primate and big cat sanctuaries taking in many former 'pets,' ” writes Mckay Gilmore on her website. The site boasts an active animal-rights blog as well. You can purchase a single card for $3.50 or a set for $14.95. Mckay Gilmore puts 10 percent of her profits toward small, grassroots animal rescue organizations, such as WildEarth Guardians in Santa Fe area and The Horse Shelter in Cerrillos.
Nancy and Jon Couch build glass sculptures that you fill with water. When sunlight filters through, prisms refract the light and give off rainbows. They're ideal for feng shui-ing your home, say the Couches. The prisms come in a variety of shapes, such as diamond, gem, star and crystal. The Placitas couple also make stained glass boxes, glass mandalas and pyramid lamps. Prices start around $52.
Kris Parrot carves soapstone and alabaster with files, chisels and knives. Lately, she's been obsessed with making hands, she says. But she also makes animals—bears, turtles, frogs, elephants. The pieces cost anywhere between $24 and $525, depending on the size. Find her pieces at Mama's Minerals (1100 San Mateo NE) or at the Amapola artist co-op in Old Town (205 Romero NW).