Two quick announcements! First, I am extending my Black Friday Weekend sale to include Cyber Monday! I didn’t know about this day until today. So you have one more day to get 50% off of my salad book, Fresh: Nourishing Salads for all Seasons. Secondly, don’t forget that we aren’t having Pennywise Platter this Thursday, but are instead having a Handmade Gift Carnival! I’d love for you to join us!
I have shared two posts so far in my Green Christmas Guide, Kitchen Tools and Cookbooks, and Unique Clay Cookware and Bakeware. Today I wanted to continue the series by featuring several different small companies and fair trade products. I love that you can choose to buy gifts that give in two ways, first as a gift to the recipient of your gift. But also as a gift to the small business or craftsman who made the product. These beautiful and unique gifts are definitely ones that I both love to give and receive.
The first item I’d like to feature are these handmade, beautiful sandals from Sseko Designs (Pictured above). These sandals are made by women in Uganda seeking higher education. Sseko Deigns explains: Sseko Designs hires recent secondary school graduates for this nine month period to live and work together, while earning money that will go directly towards their university education. These women will not make sandals forever. They will go on to be doctors, lawyers, politicians, writers and teachers that will bring change and unification to a country divided and ravished by a 22 year-long war.
Sseko Designs is a not-just-for-profit enterprise that recognizes the power of business and responsible consumerism to support sustainable economic development, which in turn affects a country’s educational, justice, and health care systems. The goal of Sseko Designs is two-fold: provide university tuition for these promising young women through a sustainable monthly income, while also contributing to the overall economic development of Uganda.
These unique sandals come with straps of your choice (and they have a lot of them!). You then get to tie them however you want. I was nervous that it would be hard to learn, but within a couple of minutes I had easily learned two ways of tying my sandals! I love that these sandals aren’t run-of- the- mill, but are different in a very good way. I also love that by purchasing a pair, you are helping woman in Uganda get higher education. What a beautiful thing.
Speaking of beautiful things, these Baltic amber necklaces from a family-owned Canadian business are beautiful as well as health promoting! They are the highest source of succinic acid found in nature which, when absorbed through contact with skin, acts as a natural analgesic. People report help with headaches, carpal tunnel pain, and teething issues when wearing this “stone” which is actually a natural resin. What I love about this necklace is that you want to wear it because it’s so pretty. It’s just an added bonus that it could have health, or pain relief benefits! You can also buy lovely bracelets made out of Baltic amber.
So, there are shoes and necklaces, how about some earrings? How about some earrings which help craftsmen earn a dependable income in India? These beautiful earrings are stunning and so much nicer than many earrings I find at the mall. Plus they are only $12 dollars! What a deal! Sold by Ten Thousand Villages
To move in a different direction, let’s talk about baskets. I personally love baskets, and the following baskets are some of my favorites. These handmade baskets are crafted by craftsman all over Africa. They are given a sustainable and fair trade wage. We, in turn, are able to purchase beautiful, flawless baskets. I am so impressed with them. All of these baskets, plus hundreds more, can be bought at BasketsofAfrica.com.
Tonga Baskets (pictured above): Traditionally used for winnowing grain. I find them pretty baskets for fruit and rolls.
Zulu Wire Baskets: A traditional art meets modern materials. These stunning baskets are woven with plastic-coated telephone wire. They have a brighter color, and are very resilient. They make great fruit bowls.
Now, my favorite of all, the market basket. These baskets are handwoven from abundant Veta vera grass. I see people carrying these baskets all the time at local farmer’s markets. They truly do make a great basket for bringing to the market. But there are a lot of other great uses for them, such as a toy basket, a craft basket, or for towels in the bathroom. Or what about a book or magazine basket? I like these baskets a lot, and think that there are many uses for them.
Glass Straw Set: Now for a unique handmade gift a little closer to home, this glass straw set is wonderful and made in the US. I have had several of these straws for the last few years and they have been durable and a great “Green” plastic free alternative. This set is a wonderful gift idea to a natural-minded family. We use ours all the time. In fact, it’s pretty much the only way to get my 5 year old to drink broth! They are easy to clean out with the cleaning brush that comes with the set, and since they are clear, you can see to make sure they are really clean.Buy at: GlassDharma
How about some naturally-flavored, organic coffee made with gluten-free, and sugar-free ingredients? This coffee is made in small batches ensuring that it’s flavorful and fresh. This small, family -owned business is also featuring a Christmas gift set sampler set for only $10 dollars. With it you can sample (or the recipient of the gift) many delicious flavors, such as Danish Pastry, Irish Crème, Gingerbread, or Hazelnut. I found their coffee smooth and not overly bitter. The flavor is subtle, and not over-powering. It’s the perfect gift for those who love flavored coffee but want a more natural source. Buy at: JohnsJava.net
Another lovely beautiful gift idea is buying some of these raw, honey or date sweetened chocolate bars! I was blown away that you could buy GAPS friendly chocolate bars! Because they are raw, they have a more gentle chocolate flavor and I really appreciate that they aren’t overly sweetened. This small business does a great job making a wonderful product that is especially nice for those on a restrictive diet. A set of these bars would make a great gift, or stick a bar into a stocking! Buy at: Stirs the Soul
*One note on raw chocolate. I do find that I am more sensitive to raw chocolate than traditionally processed chocolate. I am not sure why that is. I still love this chocolate bar, however, fermented chocolate does better with me personally.
Stay tuned for more to come!