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Don’t wander aimlessly through the mall searching for the perfect gift. Our Gift Guide 2014 is packed full of affordable, handmade gifts that real people create for a living. We at Keeping Backyard Bees have carefully vetted each and every product and whittled down our favorites for 2014. In no particular order, they range from the classy to the quirky, and we know you’ll love them!
This 9.2 ounce, gorgeous holiday or Christmas tree beeswax pillar candle is 6.5 inches tall and 3.25 inches wide, that’s tall! It has a lovely honey scent and looks just as beautiful unlit as it does burning by on the mantle. This is a substantial candle, and the detailing is exquisite. Truly a fantastic piece.
Favorite Waxing Lyrical on Etsy, today!
These adorable bee coasters by GardenPorchHome are each 4″ x 4″ absorbent, tumbled stone. The images are carefully transferred to the stone but are not glued on. The images are sealed for protection but the rest of the stone is left unsealed to absorb moisture. The natural stone helps keep cold drinks cold and hot drinks hot! They have felt pads on the bottom of each corner. Each natural stone is unique, and all will look charming and classy in your living room.
In addition to their absorbency, you’ll be impressed by the heavy quality of the stone coasters. These are not flimsy items, but impressive pieces of art with great utility.
Pictured here are an assortment of five different designs. They have dozens of other designs, and coasters can each be personalized.
Favorite GardenPorchHome on Etsy, today!
We were very excited to receive Blazer Arts‘ sterling silver Genus Apis Honeycomb Ring in the mail, and it did not disappoint! The brushed texture of the silver is a fashionable backdrop for the thickly etched honeycomb design that makes for a gorgeous ring. The inside of the ring is extremely smooth and comfortable. It is a solid, versatile ring that could appeal to a variety of people, from nature enthusiasts to the rugged individualist or even the Steampunk scientist.
The ring was also expertly packaged within a ring box and wrapped in a very classy tissue paper; the presentation was superb.
We think the Genus Apis Honeycomb Ring would make for a fun and unique men’s wedding band or promise ring, paired with Blazer Arts’ charming 14k yellow gold bee ring, as seen below, for the fashion-forward beek couple.
The Honeycomb Ring can be purchased in sterling silver, or in a two-tone 14k Yellow Gold and Sterling Silver combo that adds a fresh, warm honey glow.
Favorite Blazer Arts on Etsy, today!
The Burlap Bee Pillow from Toss by Fiber and Water was a last minute addition to our gift guide this year, but one we knew we wanted to get in! The artisans for this great business on Maine’s coast press their designs onto burlap and other natural fibers by hand. It is a thoughtful, almost throwback approach to creative graphic art that has a wonderful result. You can get the bee design, reminiscent of our own logo, for pillows or walls or any other thing the artisans can create. Just send them a message.
Favorite Toss by Fiber and Water on Etsy, today!
Honey is so sticky. Trying to wipe honey off a plastic or even a glass bottle is an exercise in futility. But Beehive Handmade’s ceramic and wood Honey Pot is the answer we’ve been waiting for! You might drizzle a little over the edge, as always happens, but the smooth, matte white glaze wipes off easily, and the raised bee design coordinates with any decor. This ceramic honey pot is thick and tough and managed to survive one clumsy co-worker unscathed.
Inspired by folk art from around the world, natural beauty, and modern design, the ceramic honey pot is high-fired for durability and is microwave- and dishwasher-safe (but please hand-wash the wooden lid).
Here’s what else we love: Each piece of ceramic stoneware from Beehive Handmade starts in a Massachusetts studio where artists Sandra Bonazoli and Jim Dowd design and build each original form. The final piece is then molded and hand-cast by skilled artisans in the Andes Mountains of Peru, producing unique variations individual to each piece.
As is so often true in life, we couldn’t just pick one candle for this year’s guide. We instantly fell in love with the Peace Blossom Candles’ Honey Bear beeswax candle from The Oregon Bee Store, not only because it is adorable, but because it smells heavenly. The 6-inch tall candle is made out of pure Oregon beeswax, with nothing added: no scents, no fragrances, nothing — simply because it doesn’t need them.
We can’t tell you how many times we would pick the candle up just to inhale its aromatic honey scents. So calming and joy inducing. In fact, we actually put a prohibition on lighting the candle so it won’t burn down!
The candle is, itself, the size of a honey bear, which means it’s a fairly substantial candle with hours of burning enjoyment, should you choose.
Favorite Peace Blossom Candles on Etsy, today!
This Queen Flour Sack Towel is no normal kitchen or bathroom towel! It is a “hang-tight” towel created by the geniuses at Missy MadeWell. We could try to explain to you what a hang-tight towel is (no buttons, snaps, Velcro, or magnets), but here’s a video that will do a much better job.
This Queen Bee towel is marvelous. It’s not a small towel, and it likewise makes a big statement, but that statement is all-around class. Missy MadeWell has a number of other cheeky towels that will really spice up your space.
Favorite Missy MadeWell on Etsy, today!
The Honey Bee Soap Bar from LoveLeeSoaps is exquisitely crafted, masterful, really. We cringed at the thought of even using it, simply because it’s so beautiful. But its beauty is matched by its utility: It is made with moisturizing ingredients and is topped by the scent of honey. It would make a perfect gift or even a stocking stuffer!
As an aside, we joked that the Honey Bee Soap Bar would so impress guests if given a prominent spot in your bathroom, it would forgive even the messiest of homes! We included the packaging of the soaps in this photo because it was a gorgeous presentation.
Favorite LoveLeeSoaps on Etsy, today!
Matley Ink teamed up with EMEK for this graphic illustration of a bee in a gas mask called “Give Bees a Chance!” It’s a critique of the use of pesticides and non-natural foods leading to the gradual decline of honeybees in this country. Scott of Matley Ink has been a reader of our parent magazine, Mother Earth News since 1970, and we loved virtually visiting his family-run screen printing business.
This shirt certainly has a lot to say, and because it’s printed on such strong material, it will say it over and over again for years to come. Save the bees!
Favorite Matley Ink on Etsy, today!
Going “green” means thinking through all the ways you can prevent waste. The Busy Bumblebee Coffee Sleeve by Tabletop Jewels is yet another great way to make reuse fun! These coffee sleeve cozies can be used on a wide variety of drinks (both cold and warm), and make great conversation starters.
They are crocheted by a woman named Sharon who has been crocheting and knitting for 50 years. She retired early from corporate life and now makes her living on these fun designs. She designed this adorable bee coffee sleeve/cozy for Keeping Backyard Bees readers. Buy one now as a great stocking stuffer for the coffee addict in your life (she has lots of other great designs as well).
Favorite Tabletop Jewels on Etsy, today!
These 4 ounce Beeswax Aromatherapy Candles (or, Canned-les), generate beautiful, unique scents without the dangers of paraffin candles. Erinn from Farmer’s Daughter has done an excellent job pouring these candles, which could go almost anywhere.
We highly recommend the “Holiday,” which features clove bud, pine, blood orange and cassia essential oils. Yes, it’s as amazing and festive as it sounds. Or, for a little more relaxation, go for the “Solitude,” which features pine scotch, cedar wood, vetiver, and lavender essential oils, perfect for the bathside!
Favorite Farmer’s Daughter Beehive Mercantile on Etsy, today!
Here is an assortment of lip balms by Beehive Hair Company Studio. The balm sticks are made with very basic ingredients, organic sunflower oil, beeswax, Shea butter, and natural vitamin E. These lip balms come in a variety of refreshing and delicious scents that can be used not just on the lips, but anywhere you’d benefit from beeswax with a delightful scent (elbows, cuticles, maybe even a little under the nose).
Favorite Beehive Hair Company on Etsy, today!
Testing the Busy Bee Nose Warmer from Aunt Marty was maybe the most fun we had this year. We buzzed everywhere with this little guy in the already-frigid Wisconsin winter and got smiles everywhere we went.
The bee nose warmer, or any of the other hand-crocheted pieces by Aunt Marty, are great for adults with a sense of humor, with those who have kids or grandkids or nieces and nephews, and with those who are tired of cold noses, because its humor is matched only by its usefulness! Aunt Marty makes a lot of other designs, and can probably dream up something unique if you just ask!
Favorite Aunt Marty Made It on Etsy, today!
The final candle in this year’s gift guide is Western Bee Company‘s charming Vintage Brass Bee Beeswax Candle. We love this adorable little guy! The candle is 3 inches tall, with a cotton wick, and is pure Colorado beeswax. The scent is honey sweet mixed with a bit of a relaxing splash of potpourri as well.
Western Bee Company has a few different varieties of bee medallions to choose from.
The assortment of bee stamps over at Blossom Stamps are great little stocking stuffers. Or, looking to add a little something special to Christmas gift tags this year? Instead of just sticking with the boring “To:”‘s and “From:”‘s, add a little bee or any other design Martina from Blossom Stamps can dream up.
We are fondest of these little guys, the handmade bee stamps, but there are a number of others to pick from.
Favorite Blossom Stamps on Etsy, today!
Keeping Backyard Bees Gift Guide, 2014
Photography by Taylor Miller & Mike Clark