Local Makers: Have A Crafty Christmas And A Handmade Hanukkah

Have A Crafty Christmas And A Handmade Hanukkah—All Of These Presents Are Made Right Here In New Mexico

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Local Makers
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Steve Whitman began making chocolates several years ago, but his love for chocolates didn’t become a small business until April. Chaco Canyon Artisan Chocolates is already available at La Montañita Co-op and Bookworks. Whitman uses as many ingredients as he can from right here in New Mexico to make chocolates, truffles, bon bons and caramels. For true New Mexico chocoholics, Whitman makes a variety of chocolates with our state fruit. “Of course, in New Mexico, you’ve got to do something with chile,” he says. (Nathan Coffing)

Sw Chile Supply

Displaced New Mexicans don’t want erector sets or ponies or gift certificates to mall stores (merry Christmas, go be miserable at the MALL ). They want the aromatic, euphoric, soul-warming sensation only chile can provide. "We love New Mexico chile, and we think the rest of the world should also be able to enjoy it," says Allison Rugen. Most of the company’s items are frozen, cold packaged and shipped to arrive frozen or just thawing. They offer roasted organic and regular green chile; red chile pods; powders; seeds; and pre-made items from local restaurants, such as Frontier sweet rolls and Sadie’s salsa. Visit the website or call (800) 341-1316. (Jessica Cassyle Carr)

Tailwaggin Temptations

Tailwaggin Temptations was founded in 1998 by Charlie and Kathy Wendt after they brought home Ben, a golden retriever rescue with a sensitive stomach. This gourmet, handmade dog treat company offers snacks for both cats and dogs, with several wheat- and corn-free options. Treats cost between $2.50 and $8, and everything is pre-tasted and approved by the couple’s dogs Wally and Snicker. To order, or to find one of the 30-plus locations where the treats are sold, visit their website or call 239-2371. (Jessica Cassyle Carr)

Droolicious—Canine Cookie Crafters

Unable to find grain-free treats for her allergic boxer Durango, Kim Hedrich decided to start making them herself. The resulting handcrafted, all-natural products are made from buckwheat (which is neither a wheat nor a grain, but a berry), using local ingredients and suppliers as much as possible. She’ll even make custom treats. Visit her website to find out more, or call 220-8204 or email droolnm@hotmail.com to order the specialty num-nums for your favorite pooch. (Jessica Cassyle Carr)

Bee Nests

Adult orchard mason bees spin cocoons around themselves for the winter. In early March, when the fruit trees begin to bloom, they hatch and spend a dangerous week looking for a place to nest. Laurie Lange has created bright, hand-painted, recycled pine boxes with holes that are exactly the size the bees are looking for. They’re very particular about that, as they can’t tunnel their own holes into wood, she says. "If you have one, they’ll go right to it," she says. "They know it’s the right size and shape." Savvy gardeners should set the blocks in their yards because these bees are adept at pollinating fruit trees. In fact, she says, the orchard mason bee will visit five times more flowers in a day than a honey bee. From an environmental perspective, Lange says it’s better to attract bees that are already here rather than purchase bees through mail order. Bees from other places can spread disease or might carry parasites. And if, for some reason, New Mexico’s honey bee population has a problem during the spring—colony collapse disorder, for instance—the orchard masons will ensure pollination. Her nests come in two sizes—starter blocks and towers—with a kit and instructions. They cost between $25 and $45. (Marisa Demarco)

Land Of Enfigment

Lloyd Kreitzer, aka The Fig Man of New Mexico, offers the sweet gift of ancient plant life. For $25 or $45, give a 1- or 5-gallon locally grown tree that can be picked up in spring. Kreitzer also sells fig leaf tea and fig leaf soap, both of which go for $5. (Jessica Cassyle Carr)

Dukecity Sign* By Ben Adams

The true soul of Albuquerque—a town so out of style it’s in style—is captured in this 136-page paperback coffee-table book comprised entirely of full-color photographs taken with disposable cameras. The amateur shots were captured over a five-year period by sushi chef, artist and Albuquerque native Ben Adams. First published in 2007, many of the signs that appear in the book have since been taken down. Get your copy of this beautiful, bizarro ode to Albuquerque (and its history) at lulu.com for $37. (Jessica Cassyle Carr)

2011 University Of New Mexico Holiday Ornament

Each year the UNM Parent Association produces ornaments to benefit the school’s Student Scholarship Fund. This year, local artist Jana Fothergill depicted architect John Gaw Meem’s Spanish Pueblo revival masterwork, Zimmerman Library. Pick one up for $18.89 at the UNM Bookstore on the main campus at 2301 Central NE. (Jessica Cassyle Carr)

Holy Frijoles

It started as a joke. Robert Lovato heard the term "holy frijoles" on a TV show—or something, he can’t quite remember. His father-in-law collects nativity scenes. So Robert and his wife, Gioncarla, made one out of pinto beans for a gift. Luckily, Dad liked it. Other people liked it, too. The nativity scenes of frijoles cloaked in polymer clay sell all around the world, including France, Germany, Australia and China. The beans are real, he says, and the faces are hand-painted. They glaze the sets so there’s no danger of rot, and they sell them for $10. And though he takes the holy family seriously, he says, "they’re meant to be lighthearted." (Marisa Demarco)

Dinosaur Casts

Bob and Molee Martin run a nature store in Placitas (Molee’s Nature Store, 6 Mountain View), which is also home to a share of fossil finds. Using molds of real fossils, they create casts, which are then painted by Bob. It’s an inexpensive way for collectors, educators and dino-lovers to study rare, expensive fossils. They’ve got a variety of casts and replicas, including the skull of Coelophysis, New Mexico’s state fossil. "Every kid should have their own dinosaur for Christmas," Bob writes. (Marisa Demarco)

Resin Candy Jewelry

Ashley King wanted to make something bright and fun that could be worn by adults. "Most of the cute stuff is kids’ stuff," she says. She’s inspired by harajuku and the fruits fashion of Japan. She calls her work kawaii (cute) confectionary chic. King makes her accessories by suspending sprinkles—the kind you’d put on ice cream—in resin. It’s great for women who like underground, low-brow art, she says. Find it at Tokyo Hardcore (109 Carlisle SE). (Marisa Demarco)

Pauper To Prince Jewelry

Pauper to Prince is the work of Carmen Prince, and much of her elegant shapes are inspired by classical design. She sells earrings, bracelets, necklaces and hair clips, sometimes relying on reclaimed materials for the wire work. There’s even jewelry inspired from both ’80s fashion and African designs. Each piece is one-of-a-kind and available through her Etsy shop. (Nathan Coffing)

Phoenix Forrester

Phoenix Forrester has cultivated a tantalizing repertoire of hand-fabricated, sterling silver jewelry from nearly 20 years of silversmithing. Her pieces, made in her studio in Downtown Albuquerque, are often made from found objects. They include jeweled bug rings, mermaid charms, cuff links made from typewriter keys, reclaimed vintage tin pins (featuring queens and birds and dogs) and royalty rings. She welcomes custom orders, too. "I love making innovative jewelry for people and am happy collaborating with them," she says. "Creating a piece that is really special, that they will wear for their lifetime and pass down to a loved one, really rings my bell." Find her royalty rings at Revolver Vintage (3507 Central NE) and other items at The A Store (3500 Central SE). You can also order from her adorably designed website or call her directly at 243-1937. (Jessica Cassyle Carr)

Chain Mail Jewelry

It’s like crocheting with metal, says Pam Schrode. "Each ring of metal is opened and closed with pliers while I weave them into a pattern," she writes. The practice has been around for thousands of years and is most well-known today at renaissance fairs, she says. It’s often seen hanging from the helmets of knights and such. Her weaves, particularly when created in copper, don’t harken back to armor. Instead, the light hits the chain mail just right, creating a reddish glow. Schrode does demos in Old Town several days a week. Pick up the jewelry at Tintero Workshop & Gallery (404 San Felipe NW). (Marisa Demarco)

Little Red Thimble

Using primarily vintage and repurposed fabrics, Albuquerque native Julia Kennedy makes hair accessories, passport covers, mini wallets, reusable party banners, mini stuffed owls, sewing kits and heirloom baby quilts (the latter available by commission). "I prefer the look and the quality of older materials," she says. Some of her items, which go for about $12 to $40, can be found in The Yarn Store at Nob Hill (120 Amherst NE) and holiday craft fairs, but you can also find her at her Etsy shop. (Jessica Cassyle Carr)

Goth Accessories

Jamie Diaz’ blindfolds are special. For one thing, they’re lined with fleece so they’re light-tight. She also equipped them with adjustable straps. "No one else does that," she says, "and not everyone has the same size head." She makes them out of alternative fabrics, too. There’s silk brocade and damask, of course, but her most popular sleep masks are in animal and skull prints. She also makes a full line of clothing accessories, including scarves and purses. The purses dabble in Victorian and gothic stylings with a sense of humor. Most of Diaz’ work costs between $15 and $75. Find the sleep masks at Self Serve (3904B Central SE) and the purses at Free Radicals (300 Yale SE). (Marisa Demarco)

Kei & Molly Textiles

This fabric-printing company makes kitchen linens with New Mexico themes like adobe houses and the Very Large Array. All are hand-sewn and pressed on natural fabrics using eco-friendly, water-based inks. Find them for $10 to $20 each at their Etsy shop at The A Store (3500 Central SE) or The Farm Shop at Los Poblanos Inn & Cultural Center (4803 Rio Grande NW). (Jessica Cassyle Carr)

Organic Baby Clothes

Sara Magnuson has a 16-month-old daughter at home and wanted to make clothes for her. It rekindled her interest in a Japanese dyeing technique called shibori , which uses compression "so there is no wax or starch," she says. As an undergraduate in Boston, she found a book on the ancient method, which dates back thousands of years to 800 AD or so. Though she had no background it textile art, she studied and practiced. She eventually taught shibori and other dyeing techniques to women in Ghana. These days, she instructs shibori classes through continuing education at the University of New Mexico. All of her baby clothes come from the American Apparel wholesale catalog—the sustainable addition. "There’s a nice sheen to it," she says, "And it’s softer, more supple." Eventually, she’ll expand to toddlers and kids clothes, too. (Marisa Demarco)

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