Posts Tagged ‘gifts’

raganella {hearts} owl & thistle

January 19, 2012

I love the way people connect in this city. You never know who you’re going to meet and where it will lead. A fewmonths ago I found myself on Franklin Ave in Crown Heights. I noticed this sweet little shop called Owl & Thistle and felt compelled to check it out. Upon entering, I knew this was a place after my own heart, with its totally sweet selection of locally sourced goods. I struck up a conversation with the lovely proprietor, Keri, and eventually mentioned my li’l line of products. Not thinking much of it, I went on my merry way. Then just recently I got an email from Keri. She wanted to try out some of the goods. One thing led to another and…

I’m very happy to announce that Raganella’s Botanical Solutions are now available at the Owl & Thistle General Store in Crown Heights! You can find the extremely luscious favorite Sweet Orange & Vanilla Face & Body Cream and our super soothing Sunflower, Comfrey & Lavender Facial Scrub, along with an amazingly curated selection of Brooklyn-made favorites, like McClure’s Pickles (& chips!), Brewklyn Grind Coffee, and Granola Lab Granola, plus a whole lot of great stuff that’s not edible like clothing, jewelry, toys, and stationery.

Owl & Thistle General Store
720 Franklin Ave
Brooklyn NY 11238

Wednesday & Thursday:
12:00 AM – 8:00 PM

Friday & Saturday:
11:00 AM – 8:00 PM

11:00 AM – 7:00 PM


Franklin Ave. stop on the
2, 3, 4, 5, or C trains or the

crafted at the canal – my last holiday fair of the year!

December 11, 2011

Wow, I’m still recovering from yesterday’s super successful Holiday Market at PS321 in Park Slope. It was an amazingly well-put-together fair and the crowds were enthusiastic about all of the great offerings from crafters (like me). What I love about fairs like the PS321 Holiday Market are the people I get to meet and introduce to Raganella’s Botanical Solutions. And speaking of great people I like to meet…

So I’ve got one more fair this year, and I’m really excited about it. It’s being put on by Build It Green! (BIG!) NYC and Sustainable NYC, at the new BIG! location on 9th Street near the Gowanus (a perfect location for them IMHO; scroll to the bottom for more info). What I’m most psyched about is the people – the trash crafters and upcyclers – I’ll be in the company of that day. Here are just a few of the amazing artists & designers who will be there selling their goods:

Christian Rathbone (fine rugs)

Second Souls (sculpture)

Bespoke Glass Tiles



Wilder Alison (fabric art)


Rebutton Studios

and so many more. I’ll have my teas, herbal extracts, and body care goods for sale, as well as some special holiday deals. Come on out and get some one-of-a-kind gifts for your loves, and yourself!

Crafted at the Canal
A Holiday Reuse Craft Fair

Saturday & Sunday (I’ll be there on Saturday)
December 17 & 18
10am to 5pm
Build it Green! NYC (new location)
69 9th St, BK

holiday greetings (+ last minute gift ideas)

December 19, 2010

Happy Holidays!

(Hanukah, Christmas, Kwanzaa, Festivus, Solstice, New Year, or whichever holiday you choose to celebrate)

The closing of a year is a time for reflection, a time to gather with friends and family, a time to enjoy a quieter and more dormant world (especially in northern climes). For some, it’s also a time to celebrate loved ones through the act of gift exchange. If you get into the spirit of giving this year (and perhaps are a last-minute shopper), here are some unique gifts that will leave you and your givee warm and fuzzy.

a donation or symbolic gift

  • Heifer International provides people around the world the gift of self-sufficiency and independence through donation of livestock, seeds, and training. Some of my favorites are the goat (of course), the flock of chicks, and the gardener’s basket.
  • Kiva gives people the opportunity to lend small amounts of seed money to help launch small business endeavors globally. When you give a Kiva gift card, the recipient can choose the project that is most meaningful to them.
  • With GlobalGiving, you can donate to a wide-range of projects – from education to environment to disaster relief. They offer gift cards if you want to let the recipient choose, or you can give to a cause you know they’ll love, like helping kids in Guatemala attend high school.

something homemade

Making something homemade can be easier than you think (if you think it’s not easy, that is). Whip up a batch of granola, some applesauce, or these super simple yet decadent chocolate truffles (I like to add a bit of sea salt to the cocoa, and maybe a splash of bourbon to the chocolate mix; organic and fair trade ingredients, please!).

Spoiler alert! This year, I’m making lotions, facial cleanser, body scrubs, and lavender eye pillows for friends and family. Here’s a good guide for making lotion at home. Most ingredients can be found in the grocery store.

a service

Who doesn’t love a massage? Or perhaps you’ve got a locavore or foodie in your life who’d appreciate being part of a CSA or organic produce of the month club. Or maybe a loved one is into fitness – last year, I got my boyfriend an Intro to Boxing package. Yoga class cards also make a great gift (if you’re recipient is in NYC and they like to try new methods and studios, the NY Yoga Passbook is a good deal).

How about the gift of a healthy home? Shameless plug alert! You can get your friends or family a gift certificate for my services. Gift certificates are good towards one-on-one consultations, workshops, and make-it-yourself parties.

your time or space

This is where you can get really creative. Look for opportunities in your loved one’s schedule or activities. If your friend has a dog, you could offer to walk her (or him) for a month. If someone you know is too busy to cook for themselves, maybe you could offer to make them dinner once a week. Offer friends with children the gift of a night out by babysitting. Maybe you’ve got a yard or rooftop and can offer a friend without one a place to garden. There are so many possibilities here.

However you decide to celebrate the year’s end, may it be happy and healthy!

my dad’s (local & upcycled) handiwork

January 20, 2010

For the last few Christmases, we’ve been taking advantage of my dad’s penchant for woodworking. The first year, he made us filing cabinets. The next, a TV stand. And then the following, a curio cabinet. While all of the pieces thus far have been beautiful and much appreciated, this year, he outdid himself.

Using locally grown and milled quartersawn white oak from Woodman’s Sawmill & Cabinetry in Long Valley, NJ, he built us a hall tree (kind of a funny name, but I guess it’s appropriate).

The lovely hall tree.

The back is even beautifully finished to conceal the mirror backs and hardware.

In addition to building us this great piece of furniture, my dad rescued a chifferobe from the neighbor’s trash. It turns out it was solid cedar, but whoever owned it before had painted it (!). My dad stripped it using a non-toxic soy-based solvent. And then he completely rebuilt it into this new cedar chest of drawers for my auntie.

He even fashioned the keyhole out of recycled tin.

Not bad, eh?

We’re a luckily lot to not have to depend on mass-manufactured furniture. On top of that, these pieces are instant family heirlooms, hand-crafted by my dad. (And I get to brag about it!)

holiday shop the old-fashioned way

December 11, 2009

Maybe the really old-fashioned way to give material love during the holidays was to make something special for your nearest and dearest. But if you don’t have the time to get crafty, walk or bike to the small, local businesses in your neighborhood. Keep your hard-earned dough in your community. It’s good for the local economy, and you may just meet some great people along the way.

Here are some of the stores in or near my neighborhood with unique goods and friendly faces.

Cog & Pearl

190 Fifth Ave
Brooklyn, NY 11217
(718) 623-8200

I’m always inspired by the selection at this cute little shop on 5th Ave in Park Slope. Beautiful locally made jewelry, soft & cozy screenprinted tees, and a slew of upcycled goodies. Some of the sustainable merch they’ve got:

Eko-logic upcycled mittens
the cool thing about these is that you can peak your fingers out the top, or tuck them under a cozy flap inside

Picture 1

Preloved upcycled sweaters


Book Journals
(super cute, made from old school books)


Remake It Home


Bob & Judi’s Coolectibles

217 5th Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11215-1256
(718) 638-5770

You can’t go wrong with a sweet vintage find and this quaint little shop is chock full of interesting goodies. I especially love the vintage Christmas cards and decorations, including vintage glass ornaments that remind me of my grandmother. Here are some other things I spied there…

Vintage Xmas cards


Vintage decor


Lots of vintage & antique finds


Also… Though it’s about half the size of Bob & Judi’s, just down 5th Ave is a similar selection of vintage baubles at Under the Pig.

Unnameable Books

456 Bergen Street
Brooklyn, NY 11217
(718) 789-1534

Recently relocated from Bergen Street on the other side of Flatbush, this book nook is full of carefully curated new & used books, including a few kids selections. The staff is friendly and helpful, and they’re always playing great college-radio-like music. Here’s a title that caught my eye:

Fat of the Land – Adventures of a 21st Century Forager


Green in BKLYN

432 Myrtle Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11205


Elissa Olin, owner of this great green shop in Fort Greene is sweet as can be. So is her adorable Basenji-mix, Lola (wish I would’ve snapped a pic of her!). If you’re looking for an organic baby gift, housewares, or personal care, she’s got it all. Right now, Elissa’s running a special end-of-2009 promotion – spend $20.09 in the store and you’ll be entered to win a green gift basket (value $200.90). A few green standouts:

Aminals organic stuffies


Stuff for your furry friends


(the felted ones double as a washcloth; skinny-skinny soaps are made in Brooklyn)


Root Stock & Quade

297 7th Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11215
(718) 788-8355

I’d love to just sit in this shop all day long and stare at all of the dreamy greenery.  Now that we’re all spending some more time indoors due to the frigid weather, the shop is full of terrific houseplants, including low-maintenance snake plants (also good for filtering polluted air). But this Fort Greene plant shop also specializes in garden design. They’ve also got festive mistletoe – but take care – be sure to pick & discard the poisonous berries if you have kids and/or pets roaming your home.


I brought home some mistletoe (mwa!)


And here’s a fave o’ mine on the other side of the river…


83 Orchard Street
NY NY 10002


I have to give props to my girl, Kate, owner of this super eco clothing shop. She’s got an eye for gorgeously designed, sustainable & fair trade clothing & accessories. Plus, many brands are Brooklyn, NYC, and/or USA made. Kate will help you pick out something special for most everyone on your list, like one of these beauties:.


get your craft on

December 4, 2009

This weekend is chock full o’ holiday crafty cheer. It would be hard not to find a unique gift for most people on your list at one of these fine events. Check ’em out!

Etsy’s Holiday Handmade Cavalcade
Saturday (tomorow!), Dec 5, 11am-8pm
201 Mulberry St
Get the full details


With over 50 Metro New York artists, designers, and crafters bringing their handmade creations together for this one-day shopping event, this year promises to be even more fun and exciting.The Holiday Handmade Cavalcade runs from 11am-8pm on Saturday, December 5th, at the Openhouse Gallery, 201 Mulberry Street.

Be sure to enter our free raffle for a chance to win some creations from participating vendors, packed up in hand-embellished tote bags. Raffle tickets are free with each purchase, so the more you shop, the more chances you have to win….

So join us for some holiday cheer in our handmade shopping wonderland. Spread the word, tell your friends, and we’ll see you there!

DUMBO Winter Pop-up Flea Market
Every Saturday & Sunday
81 Front St, Bklyn
More info here!

81 front horizontal

BUST Holiday Craftacular
Sunday, Dec 6
Metropolitan Pavilion
125 W 18th St
$2 to get in
More details here!


Get gifts–and give back–at this year’s BUST Holiday Craftacular. Get your shop on all day browsing the hottest handmade wares from over 200 vendors, including handbags, jewelry, and clothing. Then, meet the adorable pets available for adoption from Animal Care and Control NYC, snap up some holiday cards to benefit City Harvest and pick up a cookie in support of the Lower East Side Girls Club. Rockin DJs, free java from Joe all morning, snacks, goodie bags for the first 500 attendees, amazing raffle prizes and more! Admission: $2

Independently owned and operated, BUST Magazine has been a leader in the crafting movement since 1993. Now in its 16th year, BUST continues to support and influence the handmade revolution though constant editorial coverage, sponsorships, and events such as the BUST Craftacular. Always on the cutting-edge, BUST is a revered and trusted authority in the DIY and crafting community.

The Metropolitan Pavilion is located at 125 West 18th Street in NYC, not far from the 1 train at 18th street, or the F, V trains at 23rd street. BUST Magazine’s Holiday Craftacular will take place from 10:00 AM – 7:30PM on December 6th. Your entry ticket also gives you a shot at winning a BUST-load of booty in the Craftacular Raffle!

Punk Rock Flea Market and Show
Sunday, Dec 6
1-7p, bands at 3ish; $1
Death By Audio
49 S 2nd St (btwn Kent & Wythe) W’burg
More info here!

Be ready to get your shop on just in time for the holiday season. We have a variety of vendors selling items such as jewelry, clothing, records, vintage items, and art. Maybe some sweets too.

Some vendors include Sean Douglas, Mark Bloomanthal, Kayla Cohen, Wendy Chan, Ivey Elizabeth Jewelry Company, Lauren Guida, Anna Gonick, Nicole Salas, Liz Medina, Rockliffe Douglas, and Showpaper. Featuring music by Graffiti Monsters (Brooklyn), Mincemeat or Tenspeed (Philadelphia), the Monte Vista (Brooklyn), and Insouciant (Philadelphia). Come early for the best stuff, stick around for the bands.
[via nonsense nyc]

Brooklyn’s Bizarre Bazaar
Sunday, Dec 6
12-8pm FREE
Brooklyn Fireproof
119 Ingraham Street, Brooklyn

Artists, musicians, performers, fantastic cooks, pack rats, children, moles, and crafty peeps showing off and selling their wares for you to gift to friends and family. Swing by for a tasty beverage, some good tunes, and perhaps a holiday purchase. Bound to be live painting, book reading, music playing, munching, and all around merriment.

The Who’s Who: Your Boyfriends Band Sux!, KidRainbowShines, Rachel Trachtenburg and Supercute, T-time, DaliGlam, and over 40 independent vendors. Come out and support the little man. He supports you!
[via nonsense nyc]

(brought to you by Brooklyn Flea)
20 E 4th St (@Lafayette)
See below and here for hours & details


And if you want to make your own…

DIY Holiday Gift Workshop
Sunday, Dec 6
10am-12:30pm & 2-4:30p; $40
Hester Street Collaborative
113 Hester Street, Manhattan
RSVP to 212-431-6780 or jess(at)

Hester Street Collaborative leads this community design workshop. They provide the materials and instruction, you create five awesome, handmade gifts, including poured beeswax and soy candles, felted jewelry and ornaments, silk-screened hankerchiefs or napkins (or bring your own material), screen-printed cards, wrapping paper, and gift tags. All ages are all welcome to participate. (Continues Tuesday 6-8:30p.)

[via nonsense nyc]

Holiday Giftmaking
Tuesday, Dec 8
10am-12pm; $10
Materials for the Arts
33-00 Northern Boulevard, 3rd Floor, LIC, Queens

Why spend money on gifts this holiday season? Learn to create a variety of fun products that anyone would be happy to receive. Some examples include napkin holder rings, decoupage serving trays, jewelry boxes, button bracelets, ornaments, and baskets made with glue.

[via nonsense nyc]

more great gifts

December 3, 2009

While I’m at it, I may as well tell you about some of the other gifts I appreciated getting for my birthday that I think would make great presents for your nearest and dearest this holiday season.

Treehouses of the World

by Pete Nelson, photos by Radek Kurzaj


The day before the package came from my mom, I was looking for some fun treehouse images to include on this here website. Imagine my surprise when I opened the box to discover this beauty. Over 35 treehouses from around the world are featured inside, plus instructions on how to create your very own getaway in the trees from reclaimed materials. (If only it were printed sustainably, and not in China. Oh well, guess you can’t have everything.)

Leavings: Poems

by Wendell Berry


My friend Anne sent me this one, another pleasant surprise. Prolific writer, farmer, nature lover – just a few words to describe the man who wrote this, his latest collection of poems. (Again, wish this one was printed in a more ecological manner.)

The Rose of Jericho

Anastatica hierochuntica

I opened the gift box to reveal what at first looked like a dirty Weetabix. Nope, that’s a plant. And it’s not dead. Apparently this little creature is hard to kill. Hence it’s nickname “The Resurrection Plant.” Put it in water, et voila!, it comes to life. Pretty wicked.



a gift of goat

December 3, 2009

If you’ve been following my blog over the past year and half you might know that I have a thing for goats. I don’t know what it is about them – the way they sound, their disposition, the way they can climb up to high places – I just think they’re great.Goat235X235

So I was psyched to get one for my birthday from my bf’s sister and brother-in-law. Yes, it’s another post about what I got for my birthday. I guess I’m feeling reflective and grateful.

Of course, I couldn’t have a goat in my Brooklyn apartment, and I don’t own a patch of land in the country to keep one. This four-legged friend will be going to a family who really needs her. Through Heifer International, anyone can purchase a goat (or other farm animal) that will be symbolic for one person and real for another.

According to Heifer:

Goats Are Great for Families

The gift of a dairy goat represents a lasting, meaningful way for you to help a little boy or girl on the other side of the world.

Goats can thrive in extreme climates and on poor, dry land by eating grass and leaves. The gift of a dairy goat can supply a family with up to several quarts of nutritious milk a day – a ton of milk a year. Extra milk can be sold or used to make cheese, butter or yogurt. Families learn to use goat manure to fertilize gardens.

Goats often have two or three kids a year making it easy for Heifer recipients to pass on the gift of a goat to another family in need. This great investment allows our partners to lift themselves out of poverty by starting small dairies that earn money for food, health care and education.


Gifts from Heifer or similar organizations make great holiday presents – especially for the people in your life who don’t want or need any ‘things.’ Here are some other great orgs that offer symbolic gifts:

Oxfam Unwrapped

mosquito nets, books, baby chicks, soap

World Wildlife Fund

threatened & endangered species like polar bears, snow leopards, monarch butterflies

Conservation International

protect an acre of rainforest

Nature Conservancy

plant a tree, adopt an acre, adopt a jaguar

New York Restoration Project

buy an NYC tree

World Neighbors

provide seeds, help prevent AIDS, provide gender equity training

a gift of warmth

December 3, 2009

recycled-quilt-4There’s nothing like a gift that gives you that warm, fuzzy feeling. Quite literally, in this case. For my birthday this year, my boyfriend got me this incredible quilt by Mamaka Mills made from recycled fabrics.


It has some really cool details, like patches of selvage fabric and this funny vest pattern on the underside.


I was thinking this would make a great house-warming gift, a terrific wedding present, and of course, it would be perfect for the upcoming holidays.


They also do custom memory quilts, made from your own clothing, textiles, and designs.

You can find Mamaka Mills “contemporary couture sustainable quilts” on Etsy or on their website,

get somethin’ nice for your mama

May 4, 2009

Mother’s Day is Sunday, and I’m writing this post to remind myself to send my mama some beautiful flowers from Organic Bouquet.

Free Chocolate Gift with Mother's Day Roses

Last time I sent her flowers from Organic Bouquet, she wouldn’t stop talking about how beautiful they were. So the fact that their flowers are all grown without pesticides just put it over the top. By supporting organic flower growers, you keep flower farmers and workers from being exposed to toxic chemicals used in conventional flower growing practices.

If your mom’s not into flowers, consider giving to a cause in her honor. Here are some ideas:

Sponsor a wild place
through the Sierra Club
Choose from national parks like Sequoia or Yellowstone and get a cute little stuffed creature like a bear or moose to give to mom ($25).

Sign her up for a membership
to Friends of the Earth
For as little as $15 you can help mom save Mother Earth with a charitable gift membership.

Plant trees in her name through the Nature Conservancy
Help protect one of the largest and most endangered forests in honor of mom (50 trees for $50).

Get her goat (symbolically) through Oxfam Unwrapped
By adopting one of the animals through this org, you support the work they do in 100 countries around the world.

No matter what you get mom, be sure to consider the impact of your gift on her health and the health and well-being of others on the planet.