This sustainable gift idea beats all!

My sister-in-law gives the best presents. One year she gave me a milk frother and I’ve used it practically every day since.

This year she told me about the gift she gave her husband and I’m telling you — we all need to steal this idea! 📚

Her husband, my brother-in-law, is an architect and designer. He has a great minimalist sensibility. Below is a photo of the backyard of their home that he remodeled. Notice the footrest in front of the butterfly chair. It’s a used fireplace grate with a block of wood on top. I love that upcycled detail! You can learn more about him and his projects at Big Fish Design. He doesn’t have an Instagram account unfortunately but I hear his daughters are working on him to create one. 😉

So anyway my sister-in-law knows her husband well. She knows what he likes and what he doesn’t like. Her first thought was to buy him some gorgeous design books — but he’s a minimalist kinda guy. If she got a book he didn’t love he might feel obliged to keep it. What she decided to do instead was to borrow a pile of books from the public library and give it to him as a gift!

She curated a stack of hard-to-find architecture and design books (some through Interlibrary loan), then she wrapped them up and included the due date on the card. She arranged it so he got plenty of quiet time to enjoy them before they needed to be returned.

I mean … Genius, right?! Can we all do this for Christmas 2020?!

Think about roaming the stacks of your local library with a loved one in mind. It’s such a great exercise to think of a person you love and what they might like and then create a stack of library books that you think they might appreciate. And to take it one step further and get hard to find books from a college library through interlibrary loan is genius!

The only thing this idea needs is a good hashtag. Any suggestions? How about #libraryxmas or #checkoutxmas 🎄📚

Thanks for the inspiration Emily!

Holiday Inspiration

Here is some inspiration for a simple and creative holiday. For more inspiration, and links to image sources, click over to my Holidays Pinterest board.

And ICYMI, my Recovergirl Holiday Gift Guide is over on

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Recovergirl Holiday Gift Guide 2017


Sustainable Style Gift Giving

reduce-reuse-recycle1More every day I hear people who care about sustainability stressing that “reduce” is the “R” that needs the most focus. We need to reduce our consumption. The holidays is the time of year when consumption is bananas. I am going to give you permission to buy far fewer gifts of far better quality. The answer is Kickstarter.

kickstarter-logo-k-color Kickstarter attracts independent makers. If a product doesn’t attract buyers, then the project isn’t funded. Also, some of the things on Kickstarter aren’t things. You can support a local musical group make their first album and give the perks to your friend that loves music. Just go to Kickstarter and type in your home state and see what you find.

After a quick search, I found a successfully funded book project in Maine called Knitting Maine. The book includes:

KnittingMaine_1024x1024“four brand new, mostly seamless sweater patterns, and a worsted-weight, drop-stitch shawl—all knit using yarns from Maine-based farms or yarn companies with eco-conscious practices.  It includes “a review of each farm/company, detailing the processes that their fiber goes through, and how those processes help sustain our earth.”

This book would be such a great gift for your friend who loves to knit. It also supports local designers, farmers, and makers, and builds community. To learn more about the author click here.

Sign up for the Kickstarter newsletter. Each week you’ll receive an email with projects that are handpicked by the staff, plus projects that are growing in popularity. If you want to use Kickstarter as a place to find inspiration for holiday gift giving then you’ll want to start browsing early in the year so that you can support a project and potentially have a gift to give when the holidays roll around. Below are three projects that I supported and gave as gifts during the holidays.

I got the Exploding Kittens card game set for my 12-year-old son. It comes in a sturdy well-designed box that, when opened, meows like a kitten. It still startles me every time I open it.

I got the NeoLucida for my 15-year-old son (last year). Very cool geek gift. We’ve had fun playing with this as a family.

I got a set of Things Could Be Worse mugs this past Christmas. I supported the project early in the year and received the mugs in the mail a few weeks before Christmas.

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I gave two mugs to my in-laws (they love them!), one to my brother-in-law, and kept one for myself. I love the humor in this design.

You should also know that Kickstarter has curated pages which allow you to → “Discover projects curated by some of the world’s foremost creative communities.” Here is the RISD curated page. Careful – this page is addictive.


xo jam