Consider buying from an Eagle County artisan this Christmas season
Eat, Drink and Be Merry
The handcrafted items on this list are all inedible (unless you’re of the four-legged persuasion and really want to gnaw on that elk medallion). So, for consumable and quaffable gifts, consider these local producers:
10th Mountain Whiskey & Spirit Company
This local distillery is now producing several spirits including moonshine, potato vodka, rye whiskey and bourbon, perfect for the bon vivant or occasional tippler on your list. Order online at 10thwhiskey.com or buy at the tasting room, located at 286 Bridge St. in Vail.
Looking for a smooth after-dinner drink or great mixer? Leo’s Limoncello is a small-batch liquor made by 808 Distillery in Eagle. This Italian drink is a year-round favorite and makes a great gift for the holiday. Buy it at your Vail Valley local liquor store or sample it at discerning restaurants throughout the Vail Valley.
Red Canyon Spice
Local Chef Michael Connolly has been making sauces for years, but it wasn’t until he was laid up on crutches that he had enough time to create Red Canyon Spice. The line includes spices and sauces as well as spice rubs and blends. It’s the perfect way to add a little “wild” to the holidays. Buy it at Kitchen Collage in Edwards, the Lionshead General Store in Vail, the Eagle Visitors Center or online at redcanyonspice.com.
Living in the mountains, it’s easy to stress over holiday shopping. While television commercials would have you believe that all of your gift-giving needs can be found neatly stocked on big box store shelves, getting to these national chains is often a several-hour drive. Ordering online is another solution and, while it’s nice to take care of an entire list while wearing your pajamas, cozily ensconced on your couch, this type of shopping can lead to anti-social behavior, reinforcing hibernation urges.
Instead, take care of some of the people on your list with local goods this year. Not only are there plenty of stores, boutiques and shops in the Vail Valley that are chock full of gift ideas — both utilitarian and frivolous — but many locals are also creating one-of-a-kind gifts that are sure to wow friends and family for the holidays.
Minturn resident Bryan Taylor is a metal guy: he’s been playing with metal arts since he started working with it in the refrigeration and air conditioning trade. What started with chain mail and flint knapping (making knives and arrowheads) morphed when he borrowed an anvil.
“A friend lent me his anvil,” said Taylor. “I started a Facebook page to let him know that he was not getting his anvil back.”
Thus, Stolen Anvil was created. But, fear not — Taylor’s not dealing with purloined goods; the two ended up with a barter that made them both happy.
Now, Taylor uses that same anvil — as well as others, such as a trailer hitch — to create pieces from copper discs that he hammers into various forms and shapes.
“Everything I do is by hand — I don’t use any machinery other than a buffer and everything is a hand hammered,” explained Taylor.
His Etsy storefront features items such as bowls, vases, chalices and reposse work. He said that he also does custom work, creating retirement gifts and anniversary presents.
Items from Stolen Anvil range in price from $50-$500. For more information or to get in touch with Taylor, visit Stolen Anvil’s Facebook page, the Etsy shop or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
ADELAIDE AND PARKER BOUTIQUE
Avon resident Leah Hall said that she’s always been crafty. When she saw a pair of felt baby booties online, she thought, “I can make something like that.”
With her daughter due in February, it seemed like the perfect time to try it out. She made one pair and then quickly started making more.
“I was on bed rest for a weekend in November and didn’t get off the couch,” Hall explained, “so I made shoes for the whole weekend.”
With encouragement from her husband, she opened up an Etsy shop. The name comes from her daughter, Adelaide, who passed away at five months and Parker, her daughter that’s due in February.
Intended for infants to six month olds, these adorable soft-soled booties are made with soft, eco-friendly felt (it’s made from recycled plastic bottles) and come in several styles and colors; no two pairs are identical.
“They’re designed for babies that aren’t walking,” Hall said. “They’re not necessary, but they’re so cute.”
Booties from Adelaide and Parker Boutique are $15; Hall hopes to add more sizes, for older children, in the future. If you live in the Vail Valley, then visit her Etsy shop online or email Hall directly at email@example.com — she’s happy to meet up to avoid shipping charges.
Don Lamson has been working with shoes and orthotics since the mid-’70s, starting at Pepi Sports in Vail. He started making cycling orthotics in the mid-1980s from the back of the Boot Lab and developed his first cycle shoes in 1986. Now, more than 30 years later, D2SHOE creates premium custom cycling shoes in nine different styles as well as orthotics for just about any sport.
“They’re for someone who just wants a better shoe,” Lamson said. “Even the average recreational rider will notice dramatic increases in power — they can start climbing in one bigger gear.”
Each shoe is custom made for each individual buyer.
“If you have a problem getting fit in standard shoes, this is your answer,” Lamson explained. “Some people just want something that looks spectacular that’s different than anyone else; we do that, too.”
Made entirely in Eagle, D2SHOEs range in price from $850-$1,250 and, if you have special needs, then they can cost more. However, this price also includes an orthotic and Lamson and his team will work with you until the fit is right — something that doesn’t happen when you buy cycling shoes off the rack.
As each pair of D2SHOEs is entirely customized, it does take some time. Currently, Lamson is booked through January with an ETA of 12 weeks. However, you can order a pair as a gift and receive either a gift certificate or a “fit kit” to place under the tree. If you live here in the Valley, then you can take the fit kit to D2SHOE and they’ll fit the shoes personally. It’ll also include laser alignment for knee tracking over the pedal as part of the price. For more information or to purchase, visit d2shoe.com or call 970-328-6870.
Something Good started in 2008 as Capricho, a company that featured T-shirts for infants, children and women. In 2011, Ana Carolina Forsat Moss, the owner and Creative Director of Something Good, took the company and decided to “do something good” with it. Now, for every T-shirt sold, one is given to a child in need.
So far, Something Good has donated T-shirts in more than 20 countries, including Moss’ native Argentina. She’s leaving the U.S. yet again on Dec. 22 to visit family and distribute donations in Argentina, Brazil and Chile.
“I got a lot of inspiration from Mom,” said Moss.
Moss’ mother lives in Argentina, but she comes to visit several times a year and the two women paint together, creating a collection of clothing and products that feature hand-painted designs and graphic images that are unique to the area.
Carol Warner, owner of the Kids Cottage in The Riverwalk at Edwards, has been carrying Moss’ designs for approximately seven years. She said that the most popular items are the ones featuring ski and snowboard related designs, such as hats, rompers, onesies and T-shirts.
“It’s hard to find adorable resort wear,” Warner said. “You see the same thing here, or in the Tetons or in Winter Park with different names on them. Hers (Moss’s) are really special. They’re different and exclusive.”
Items from Something Good are sustainable and made with natural materials. You can find products in stores around the Vail Valley, including Kids Cottage and Vintage Magnolia in Edwards or check out items on the website at do-somethinggood.com. Moss is not currently selling products from the website, but expects to resume selling online in February 2015.
WILD MOUNTAIN CREATION
Danielle Blattel has been making jewelry for a long time, but it wasn’t until this past spring that she hit upon the idea that became Wild Mountain Creation.
“I like to use natural things, like teeth and stones and horns and butterflies and flowers,” said Blattel, who lives in Vail. “I like to recycle materials into something that’s a little different.”
Currently studying sustainability in school, Blattel wanted to implement the things that she was learning into what she was making. The result? Pendants, earrings and necklaces that are made from a variety of elements ranging from pressed flowers and butterfly wings in glass to pieces of elk antler with semi-precious stones to earrings made from coyote teeth.
The materials come from a variety of sources. Some Blattel has found on her own; some have been purchased from sources in Colorado and around the world (the butterfly wings are from a butterfly farm that employs people who would otherwise be deforesting the rainforest).
Beautiful and unique for humans, Blattel’s designs have also found their way onto four-legged friends.
“It was my friend’s idea: she wanted a piece of azurite on the antler for her dog, Azurite,” Blattel said. “It’s durable — it’s not something that he can wreck and destroy.”
Prices for pieces from Wild Mountain Creation range from $30-$70 for antler pendants and $30-$40 for the butterfly and flower pendants. To purchase, visit the Wild Mountain Creation shop on Etsy or visit the Facebook page. Or, to contact Blattel directly, call 970-333-3264 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
So when you’re making your list and checking it twice, consider buying local this holiday season. Not only can you find unique items with a story behind them, but you also might meet a new neighbor.