Posts tagged ‘local gifts’

December 23, 2011

Last minute gifts for a gardener

If you’re a last-minute shopper and struggling to find something to get for the gardener in your life, or if you’re a gardener and looking for a few things for your wish list, I came up with a list of things that I like/love and even a few items that I have on my wish list for this year.  Hopefully it will help spark a few ideas.

  • Pruners – Nothing beats a great set of pruners! Bypass pruners (look much like a scissors) are better for green material (live plants), while anvil pruners are better for woody material.  (Anvil pruners will crush and damage live plants.) My favorite bypass pruners are made by Felco.  If you’ve never shopped for them before you might get sticker shock, they aren’t cheap, but they are definitely worth the money.  The thing I like about Felco pruners is that they are made to last.  You can easily take them apart to clean and sharpen them, if the blades are ever too beat up or worn down to sharpen any more you can also buy replacement blades.  Felco also sells small sharpeners for the blades as well as cleaner/lubricant to keep them in good shape.
  • Diamond Files – These are great for filing pruners of all kinds!
  • Spade – Nothing beats a good sturdy (and sharp!) spade.  Spades don’t come sharp.  You’ll need to sharpen them.  This can really make all the difference when gardening.  It’s like transforming a spoon into a knife blade, and if you sharpen it right, it will work the same way.  You can cut through soil, roots, etc. like “butta”.  If you don’t feel comfy doing the sharpening yourself, buy them a couple of files to go with it.
  • Files – These are another garden tool no gardener should go without.  Keeping tools sharp takes the back-breaking labor out of gardening!
  • Soil Thermometer – This comes in especially handy for those who are doing veggie gardening.  One of the keys to seed germination isn’t so much the weather as the soil temperature.  Every type of seed germinates at a particular soil temperature.  A soil thermometer can help gardeners gauge whether the soil is at the right temperatures for germination.  Or… at least know whether it’s warm enough to start planting. 🙂
  • Garden Journal – Ahhh… the book that every gardener needs.  You can read a million books or information online to get information on plants, but this is what serves as a gardener’s memory.  It’s what helps all of us learn what works, what doesn’t, what the weather was like and where did I plant that Lenten Rose?  Journals can be as simple as a notebook or hardcover book with a template to serve as a reminder of what to record.  No gardener should go without one.
  • Compost bin – If you eat and garden, then you should have a compost bin.  Whether it’s made of wood, plastic or chicken wire, this little gem is what turns kitchen scraps, lawn clippings, leaves and plant cuttings into black gold.  This will help create the best fertilizer any gardener can ask for.
  • Plant stand & Grow lights – If you’ve thought about growing plants from seed or tried it and he windowsill doesn’t quite cut it, it’s time to invest in a plant stand and grow lights.  There are many styles and types out there, but they can also be built from scratch.  Basically you need one or two shelves to set plant trays on and a hanging, adjustable height, shop light.  A timer is also handy to make sure the plants get the necessary light to grow well.  The bulb itself needs to be a grow light or plant light.  (A standard fluorescent doesn’t have the full spectrum of light necessary to grow plants well.)
  • Timers – Good addition to a plant stand and grow lights.
  • Bio-dome – This is handy way to start seeds, it’s an enclosed domed plant/seedling tray with adjustable ventilation windows at the top.  Instead of using a standard potting or seed starting medium (soil), the Bio-dome comes with sponge plugs.  You plant the seeds right into the plugs, then when the plants are larger, the plugs get planted into small pots until the plants are ready to be brought outside.  Additional sponge plugs can be bought separately.

For additional gift giving ideas, think Local .


November 16, 2011

Green Gift Fair & Craft Fair – Coming soon!

The other day I sent a list of local, eco-friendly gift ideas for Christmas.  I also mentioned that local craft shows/fairs are a great place to find gifts.

I’m super excited to pass along a couple of great craft fairs that are coming up.  This is not where you’ll find the stuff your grandma used to make, but it is where you’ll find ultra cool, unique, one of a kind gifts!

The 6th Annual Green Gifts Fair.
Saturday, November 19, 2011 • 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Midtown Global Market in Minneapolis

Lake St. & Chicago. Ave. • FREE Event





No Coast Craft-o-Rama

Friday, December 2 (3 p.m. to 8 p.m.)

Saturday, December 3 (9 a.m. to 5 p.m.)

Midtown Global Market in Minneapolis


See you there!


November 15, 2011

Christmas already? Think local, eco friendly gifts!

I’m a huge fan of Halloween.  I love decorating for it, love, love, love dressing up and love to see what other people do.  I think it brings out the creativity in all of us.

This year, however, as I was cruising through a couple of stores looking for some additional items to craft up decorations and costumes, I heard haunting laughter in front of me and Christmas Carols chiming from the aisle behind me.  At the time I was incredibly disturbed by this, I mean seriously, Christmas in October?

Now that Halloween is past and Thanksgiving is approaching, I have to admit my mind has gone there too.  I never let myself decorate, do Christmas cards or begin to shop until after Thanksgiving, but I have to admit.  I’m thinking about it, a lot.  My mind has already moved onto Christmas.

The other day I received an email with a list of gifts to get friends and family that are made in the USA.  The thing I really like about this list of gift ideas is that it is filled with experiences vs. “stuff” which means it won’t be wrapped in boat loads of paper and there’s nothing to throw away, donate or recycle when they get tired of it and eventually want to part with it. The bonus is that the majority of ideas are also local (regardless of where you live) so you can give twice with one gift!  As much as I loved the list that came in that original email, I thought of a few more items so I included those as well.

So here it is…. my list of local, green and eco-friendly gifts.

  • Gift certificate from a local salon or barber.  –   (Almost) everyone gets their hair cut.
  • Massage/Spa/Facial – Who couldn’t use a little tension release after the holidays?
  • Vineyard tour & wine tasting – Assuming of course, that they like wine!
  • Gym membership – It’s appropriate for all ages who are thinking about some health improvement.
  • Car wash(es) &t detail – Whether you get a gift certificate for one time or a book of gift certificates to last throughout the year, who doesn’t love a clean car
  • Oil changes for car, truck, motorcycle at a local shop
  • Local, independent restaurant gift certificate
  • Half dozen breakfasts at the local breakfast joint
  • Musicians need love too, so find a venue showcasing local bands.
  • Local theater (stage, or LOCAL movie theater)
  • Arboretum membership
  • Zoo membership
  • Children’s theater gift certificate
  • Science museum membership
  • Cooking classes
  • Photography classes
  • Orchestra
  • Brew your own (beer or root beer) classes
  • Local garden store gift certificates
  • Gift certificate to a local Co-op
  • Gift certificate for a CSA

Want to something that will last even longer or is more practical?


  • Lawn mowing service for the summer
  • Snow removal (shovel or driveway plowing) for the winter
  • House cleaning by the local “cleaning lady” for a day
  • Golf at a local golf course
  • Computer tune-up through an independent business

What else can you do over the holidays?

  • Plan your holiday outings at local, owner operated restaurants and leave your server a nice tip (they typically get paid just a little over minimum wage and rely on their tips to make a living).
  • Shop at local stores – you’ll find unique gifts!
  • Buy  a few holiday goodies from your local bakery.
  • Don’t forget to give your mail carrier, trash handler, stylist, massage therapist and babysitter a nice BIG tip (or gift card – some businesses don’t allow cash).

If you still want to get something more unique or personal?  Check out local craft shows and buy from local artists.  You will find everything from people who spin their own wool and knit them into scarves, mittens, hats, to homemade soaps, handmade jewelry, pottery, clothing, paintings and photography.

Just remember, Christmas is about caring.  When you buy local you support small businesses so they can keep following their dreams.  And, when we care about the people in our communities the benefits come back to us in ways we couldn’t imagine.

Have an idea I missed?  Post a comment!