2016 Holiday Gift Guide


It's time for my annual Holiday Gift Guide! I've just completed the downsize of the decade and am not in a position to fill my space up with Christmas gifts this year. In fact, this year my husband and I are holding it to one gift each for our children. (We'll try, at least.) But I love gift giving and will happily fill other people's homes with beautiful and useful things. 

You'll find that most everything below is made by a single artisan or a small business. These are all items (or experiences) I love and use, or they are items that I saw, loved and jotted down on a wish list. I hope they inspire your bohemian-style gift giving this season. 

And if, like me, you're trying to slow down this season and chill the eff out, then please check out Laura Gaskill's FREE month long course: Slow the Season. I'll be doing it all month long. 



1
For the Budding Naturalist

This beautiful Audubon bird call necklace will attract a wide variety of birds. It's a perfect gift for the budding naturalist (like my 9-year-old son) or the well-seasoned bird watcher in your life. The piece is hand painted by artist Keiko Brodeur.

Bird Call Necklace from Taproot


2
For the Eternal Wanderer

I cannot say enough about the quality and comfort of Aurora Shoe Company shoes. They are, as Barbara Streisand might say, "like butta". I own a pair of their Chinese Mary Janes, but these high top, leather tie-shoes look so comfy!

North Pacific Shoe from Aurora Shoe Co.


3
For the Crafty Mama

The Squam Art Workshops have now become legendary. I've been to three retreats and done one online book club. Squam Art Workshops offer in person retreats, podcast, online classes and more. Their next gathering is June 1-5, 2016. This is the perfect gift for that art-making woman in your life who is always giving giving giving to others. She needs a little time for herself. Squam Art Workshops might just be the thing! Gift certificates can be purchased HERE.

Spring retreat at Squam Lake is June 1-5th. Register HERE.


4
For the Contemplative Papa

The Daily Stoic by Ryan Holiday has been on my coffee table all month long. Both my husband and I read the daily meditations. This book has changed the trajectory of my days and would be a wonderful gift for the man (or woman) in your life who needs a brain break. Take a look at THIS article from "Brain Pickings" for a little taste of what this book holds in store for you.

"The Daily Stoic" by Ryan Holiday


5
For the Memoirist

These have long been my favorite journals and I recommend them every year as gifts. Watermark Bindery is a small press bindery and the beauty and craftsmanship of their products is remarkable. The best part about these notebooks is that they stay open and flat while you write! Bliss for the memoirist in your life. 

Journals from the Watermark Bindery


6
For the Feminist Couple

I love Pheobe Wahl and have written about her and her work on the blog before. This shirt, designed and illustrated by Phoebe Wahl and hand screen printed by Red Boots Design in Bellingham,WA, is the perfect his-and-hers gift. These shirts are 100% cotton American Apparel brand. Warrior women (and men who love them) UNITE!

"Warrior Woman" T-shirt for HER and for HIM


7
For the Moon Gazer

I found this beautiful 2017 moon calendar at We Are 1976 in the Bishop Arts District of Dallas, TX. Since they don't have it available in their online shop, I found it at the museum shop at MOMA. This calendar is a beautiful visual of the 2017 Moon Phases. Perfect for the walls of any moon-gazer's home. 

2017 Moon Cycle Calendar via MOMA


8
For the Easy Breezy Lover

I love wearing linen and would happily live in any of the clothing from Not PERFECT LINEN on Etsy. This is a small company making gorgeous handmade linen clothing. I want this boxy linen pinafore pictured below, but seriously - take a look at their whole line of offerings. So pretty!

Shop Not PERFECT LINEN on Etsy


9
For the Truth Seeker

Crime Against Nature, by artist Gwenn Seemel, is a compelling and beautiful book that exposes the true diversity of natural behavior. As one book reviewer wrote, "This book is guaranteed to spark conversation. It belongs on the coffee table as much as in the classroom." Buy it HERE as a digital or hard copy.

"Crime Against Nature" by Gwenn Seemel - Digital or Hard Copy HERE


10
For the Little Weaver

Get your little one off of the iPad and onto this sweet loom from The Unusual Pear. It's perfect for little hands (or big ones). Simple, lightweight and easy to use, this loom is suitable for all ages. It's especially good for beginners. Find it HERE.

Bamboo Loom from The Unusual Pear

Around the House | Solstice Edition

Here at La Maison Boheme, things are slowing down. Hibernation and quiet are the order of the day. We have family visiting from out of town. Checker boards and puzzles are scattered across the dining room table. Holiday music is streaming. Football games are being recorded. Short brisk walks are taken in the mid-afternoon. Baked goods move in and out of the oven.

Today is the winter solstice. The whole world spins on a dark axis, waiting to be reborn into the light. But inside these four walls, we're toasty and well-fed. Gratitude abounds and my little ones anticipate Christmas. I hope you're all warm and well and with someone you love. Here's a little taste of our holiday scene:











I believe in magic.

This week, we took some time to deck our halls, put up the tree and pull out all of our ornaments, some of which harken back many many many decades. It's always such a treat to decorate for the holidays with my son, Walker. He's growing up fast and these are the last of the wonder years. My Christmas wish for him is that he always believe in magic.










The Maison Boheme 2015 Holiday Gift Guide

Happy December! The gift giving season is upon us, dear readers, and while I'm opting for a mostly handmade Christmas here in our house, I still enjoy scouring shops and online nooks and crannies for wonderful gifts made by others. This year, I've found some lovely new goodies and services to covet in addition to my stand-by favorite things. Here are ten thoughtful gifts for the bohemian soul.





1
For the  Organized Homeschooler
Taproot 2016 Calendar

Taproot Magazine is now selling their 2016 Calendar with original art by the ever-loving-talented Pheobe Wahl. It's a celebration of simple domesticity and eco-social justice. Find it HERE.



2

You all know that I'm an incense lover. And I am always on the hunt for warm, woodsy, earthy scents. I recently discovered a new favorite. It's a beautiful blend and it's the right price for gift giving. And personally, I think its perfect regardless of gender. It's called Woodstock from the West Third Brand Modern Apothecary. It has classic incense notes of sandalwood, patchouli, cedar, coumarin, musk, benzoin, olibanum with hints of vanilla. Its a dreamy, heady, perfect winter scent. Find it HERE.



3
For the Bohemian Hostess
Soap from Portland Apothecary

Also in the yummy-smelly-botanical-gift category are handcrafted soaps from the Portland Apothecary. These gorgeous soaps are made from essential oils and healing botanicals. My favorite is the Mountain blend, which is made with juniper, rosemary, fennel, charcoal and crushed walnut husks. The Forest blend is also heavenly.





4
For the Powerhouse Warrior Queen
Shield Earrings from Lynzee Lynx

These handmade shield earrings by Lynzee Lynx are to die for. I just bought a pair while I was in Portland, OR last week and I've worn them almost everyday since.They are seriously groovy and more light weight than they look. Find them HERE.




5
For the Commuting Wanderer
Trekker Bag from Tom's

This Trekker Backpack by Tom's is my husband's go-to bag for everything. When I was at the Texas Style Council Blogger Conference this past spring, I attended a keynote address by Bethany Joy Clark of Tom's. At the end of her talk she handed out these industrious bags to participants. (Bonus: for every bag purchased, Tom's donates money towards training for skilled birth attendants and birth kits to an expectant mothers in impoverished parts of the world.)





6
For the Artsy Creative Seeker
Studio Diaries Subscription from Flora Bowley

If you're looking for the perfect gift for the artist in your life, then consider a subscription to Flora Bowley's Studio Diaries. This subscription is an online offering from artist and inspirationalist, Flora Bowley. Every month, she takes you inside her studio to give you an intimate look at her creative process, introduce you to some of her favorite, creative friends, share her latest fascinations and offer an array of valuable, inspirational content. Find it HERE and learn more from her informational video. (And if any of my family members are reading this, and you're wondering what to get me this year... this would be amazing.)




7
For the High Heel Boycotter

These beautiful leather shoes are my hands-down favorite shoes ever. They're a little pricey, but its because they're handmade to fit your foot. When you order them, you trace an outline of your foot and they make it exactly to your specifications. And this year, when my old pair were all worn down and the soles were getting thin, I sent my shoes back to the company and they re-soled them, buffed out the scuffed up leather and shipped them back! Find them HERE.




8
For the Adventurous Tea Drinker

Last year, my sister-in-law gave me a tin of this Christmas-y tea from Teavana. I won't lie. At first I was skeptical. White chocolate in tea? It didn't sound right to me. But, oh, let me tell you - that first sip changed my mind. This tea is liquid Christmas, without being overly sweet. You can get it in 2oz bags HERE or you can go whole hog and get the 8oz tin HERE.



9
For the Transcendental Meditator with a Stocking to Stuff

Mayan Temple is my favorite incense for everyday burning. We go through these packs of 16 pretty fast in my house. The best price I've found is from PaganStore.us




10
For Anyone with a Soul

This stunning collection of art from Nikki McClure is for everyone. Young, old, religious, secular, drunk, sober, optimist, pessimist - it's for everyone. There is a lovely review of this book on Brain Pickings (one of my favorite blogs) which addresses Nikki McClure's body of work and her intention with this collection. You can get your copy of Collect Raindrops HERE or on Amazon.



Happy New Year

2015 is here! I hope you all had a safe and happy New Year's Eve. I spent the evening on my Mama's farm in Eastern Oregon with a wonderful group of friends and neighbors, each of whom brought beautiful plates of farm fresh food and hand cured meats, jugs of home brew and a variety of cheeses, chocolates and wines. 

At the end of the evening as the new year approached we lit and released four Chinese sky lanterns in the the cold night air. It was 9 degrees, but we were all warm and toasty in our coats, aided by the alcohol and warm artichoke dip. Cheers to the new year and may you manifest peace, contentment and all that your heart desires in 2015. 





Winter Beauty on the Farm

Hello dear readers. I hope this note finds you all well and happy. It's Christmas Eve here on my Mama's farm in Eastern Oregon. Yesterday was a beautiful, unseasonably warm and sunny winter day that clocked in around 45 degrees. Usually this valley is covered in snow at this time of year. I walked a few acres with my camera in hopes of capturing a little taste of the season out here.

All is calm. The air is cool and the cattle are pastured. Every once in a while I hear the hum of a dusty Fed Ex truck on the high road delivering last minute packages. Huddled quail flutter about when I approach their blackberry bush unannounced. A rooster and his two hens follow me around the property wondering if I might lay some scratch on the winter ground. Inside the house, my husband is attending to our sick child. Even the most idyllic moments are mixed with the realities of life. We're all a little under the weather.

The most keenly felt reality is that my brother, who died at the beginning of Autumn, is not here with us. He was supposed to be. We planned this trip last year when the world was bright and spirits were high. But this year, I am filled with melancholy and longing. My chest cold rattles away in my bones and my brother's absence is sharp. I am surrounded by beauty and family, but winter has a way of reminding me that some plants, even the the hardiest, do not survive the hard freeze.

Hug your loved ones tight. 
Buy the good kleenex.
And have yourself a merry little Christmas.

Light always follows the dark night.




















DIY Flour Sack Roll



This year, I've been making a handful of gifts for family and friends. Nothing spectacular, mind you, just some upcycled materials re-fashioned into something useful. One of my favorite projects is a brush or crayon roll. It can be filled with markers, pencils, paint brushes, make-up brushes, knitting needles, crochet hooks, screw drivers, or silverware!

This year, I've been using vintage flour sacks to make my brush rolls. The nubby texture is beautiful. I tie my rolls with ribbon or hemp twine. I don't have a pattern, although there are lots available. Instead, I free-hand the rows of stitches on the sewing machine.





What hand made goodies are you making and baking this year for the holidays?

Dark Nights, Short Days

December is here. The last month of the year. Time to take stock, settle in and put this year to bed. This time of year is always a push, pull for me. There are so many things to complete and tend to when all I really want to do is stay in my fat pants, drink something warm out of a mug and read.

Don't get me wrong. This is my favorite time of the year. But perhaps you, like me, are already feeling a little overwhelmed by the season upon us. (Good God, it's only the first of the month!) What helps you get through these dark nights and short days? What helps you navigate and enjoy the end of the school semester, the Christmas play, the gifts to be made and wrapped, the meals to make, the meals to deliver, the burst pipes, the cards to send, the reflective moments, the tough year gone by, the new year ahead, the power gone down, the airline fees and the winter storms?

For me, it's all about stepping back for a moment. Silence helps. Breathing helps. Smiling helps. And remembering the coming goodness helps. Hope is the reason for the season. A new chance, a new era, a new outlook. Yesterday was the first Sunday of Advent. The world stills itself at this time of year, expectantly waiting. We wait because we know something good is coming.



Gather and Give Thanks


"Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues,
but the parent of all others."
~ Cicero


The photo above is by Jessica Vogelsang from THIS post, 
which has possibly the most beautiful food photography ever.

Sarah's Top Ten Holiday Gift Guide




The gift giving season is upon us, dear readers, and while I'm opting for a mostly handmade Christmas here in our house, I still enjoy scouring shops for wonderful goodies made by others. This year, I've found some lovely new goodies to covet in addition to my stand-by favorite things. First, here are five goods that have made their way into the fabric of my life. 

1
From Aurora Shoe Co.
2
From Roxana Illuminated Perfume
Botanical Scents (my favorite is Noir)


3
From Taproot Magazine


4
From One Man's Trash (a favorite handmade jewelry haven of mine)




5
From the Watermark Bindery


I also love cocktail gifts. They're perfect for both my male and female friends, plus they have an elegant culinary feel. My two favorite drinks to make and imbibe are Gin & Tonics and Moscow Mules. My motto is always "give what you'd love to receive"!


6
Homemade Gin Kit
http://www.homemadegin.com/



7
From Sur la Table
Copper Moscow Mule Mugs



I'm always on the hunt for sustainable, eco-savvy clothing and textiles. The three gifts below are perfect for almost everyone you know. The Turkish Towels are the ultimate multi-taskers. I've seen them used as scarves, towels, table cloths, baby slings and wrap skirts. The folded leaf skirt from Live the Life you Love, while I've not tried one on myself, looks like something I'd wear every day. The fabulous tee-shirts designed by Phoebe Wahl come in both male and female sizes. I've already ordered a few!

8
From Turkish T
From Phoebe Wahl and Taproot  | Tee Shirts
Feminism is FreedomSupport Local Farmers



So there you have it!
My top ten gifts for the season.
Enjoy the giving season, but remember to stay out of the malls this Thanksgiving.
Instead, patronize local artisans, shopkeepers and farms.

Summer Solstice | Litha

The summer solstice, known in pagan circles as Litha, lies directly across from Yule on the wheel of the year. The winter solstice is the shortest day of the year and today marks the longest day of the year. Today, enjoy the sun's rays and relish the long light hours. Have a beautiful summer solstice!



My Christmas Tree House Story | Houzz

I have a special treat for you today! My latest article on Houzz.com is a big warm Christmas hug from me to you. Remember the incredible tree house I covered last year? Well I'm back for more, but this time the play house is decked out in all it's Christmas finery. My son, Walker, even made it into some of the photos. Plus, the Houzz team sent it's film team to create an accompanying video to go with my story! Go HERE to check out all the full article and all of the photos! I hope you have a very very Merry Christmas and I'll see you on Thursday the 26th.






And check out this beautiful video about the tree house:




The full article is on Houzz.com, so head on over and see all of the photos!


My House in December

The house is decorated for Christmas and the weather in Dallas is supposed to take a turn towards freezing tomorrow. I love this time of year!! I've included some photos of the house below, but first don't forget to enter the Octavia Bloom giveaway. One La Maison Boheme reader will receive a $60 dollar gift certificate to spend in the Octavia Bloom Etsy shop! To enter, click HERE.









And, since I'm a proud Mama who just can't help herself,
 here are some photos of my six-year-old trimming the tree.







Ghoulish Halloween Dinner Party



Amanda Cutler is a Dallas area photographer and Halloween enthusiast. Every year she sets her dining room table for a motley crew of nightmarish figures. This year, she sent me some incredible photos of her morbid feast table. Amanda, you've outdone yourself - this is spectacularly scary!












All photography by Amanda Cutler


Have a safe and happy Halloween!

When Bohemians Do Pink

This morning I awoke to my five year old requesting Valentines, which were to be handed out today in class. Mommy fail! So, I worked some mama-craft magic and produced eleven handmade Valentines in about 10 minutes thanks to THIS post I found via Pinterest.  Construction paper, scissors, hole punch, old balloons from last birthday party - BOOM.  Handmade Valentines, ta da!

Today, I'm thinking pink. 
I don't have a lot of pink in my house or in my wardrobe.  
But if I did, it would go a little something like this:


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Winter Wreaths

I know Christmas is over, but here in Dallas at my home, Christmas is still in effect. We've gained a new house guest and we're thinking about making more pie. I thought I'd share a few snap shots - a virtual wreath on my husband's screen saver and the one on our front door. The decorations will come down soon, but until then we're still enjoying our holiday red and green.



On the Eve

My oldest child is five this year - a magical age for Christmas. 
Anticipation is high and we are surrounded by family, food and fire.
All is well and all is ready (well, almost ready)...

Enjoy this last miraculous day before Christmas.
xo Sarah

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And just for fun...
HERE is my latest article on Houzz.com.
It's a holiday tour of the DeGolyer Estate in Dallas, Texas.
Enjoy!