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Locally made literary gifts for booklovers

CoMo creations

December 12, 2013 | 12:00 a.m. CST

Dad is sick of socks, and mom secretly despises yet another set of scented candles. The holidays are tough. But instead of dashing around to find a generic last-minute gift, wrap up a piece of Columbia with items found in local Etsy shops. Show your CoMo pride with these booklover-approved products.

Recipe Box

Artists: Beth Snyder, Carrie and Karen Shryrock
Etsy store: 1canoe2
Price: $88
Sometimes it’s best to keep things simple, and this handmade recipe box is just the ingredient the cooks in your life didn’t know they needed. The letterpressed maple box includes a lid, 50 printed recipe cards and nine dividers, also made by 1canoe2. However, as many as 250 cards can fit, and buyers have a choice between hand-painted or letterpressed cards.

Japanese Linen Journal

Artist: Gina Davis
Etsy store: HenryandZoe
Price: $22
This 7.5- by 5.5-inch journal cover (left), decorated with bright birds and vibrant colors, is both stylish and functional. A pocket sewn onto the front cover is just the place to store a pen for sudden ideas. The accompanying journal (right) is as unique with its pages’ colorful and playful prints.

2014 Calendar

Artist: Ben Chlapek
Etsy store: neversleeping
Price: $16
The blue pen-and-ink illustrations in this 2014 calendar are replicas of houses from the Missouri River town of Lupus. The houses are propped up with stilts to accommodate the frequent floods that occur there. “I thought that was really interesting because they all had a homemade treehouse kind of feel,” Chlapek says. The calendar is digitally printed on white 5.5- by 8.5-inch cards with one month on each side and can be bound at the top with twine.

E-reader Case

Artist: Maha Libdeh
Etsy store: ReAuthored
Price: $49–69
Want to give the best of both digital and paper worlds? ReAuthored takes used hardback books and carves a space in the pages to hold e-readers of all kinds. The book’s pages are still bound to the cover at the seams — think of it as a little treasure chest for your e-reader. “Growing up having read books my whole entire life … it was really hard to give up the feel of the book,” Libdeh says. The case features corner straps to keep the e-reader in place and a pull tab to easily remove the device. The size of the books used to make the cases varies depending on the device.

A Record of Night

Artist: Kristin Heibel-Steitz
Etsy store: allourlove
Price: $6
Born and raised in Columbia, Heibel-Steitz decided to write a love story to the spaces and places from the city she loves. The digital e-book is available on instant download through Etsy and features both poems that have been previously published in Columbia College’s The Ivy Review and new previously unpublished works. Nature is a large theme in this ode to a life spent in the heart of hiking, camping and cave country in Missouri.

More to the story

Think back to the most unexpected present you’ve ever received, then compare it to our artists’ answers below. Better? Worse? Read on to find out what these Etsy creators weren't expecting to get.

Kirstin Heibel-Steitz (via email): “My mother does have a tendency to put bizarre things in our stockings: black olives, underwear, monogrammed pencils, googly eye glasses. I wouldn't call them horrible — just amusing.”

Beth Snyder: “My sister bought me an iPod one year but then said that if hers broke, she wanted it back.”

Carrie Shryrock: “My brother gave me two pairs of socks that were part of a bigger pack. He gave his girlfriend the pretty ones and me the leftovers.”

Ben Chlapek: “I’ve been pretty lucky, I guess. I haven’t gotten any terrible gifts. I think people who usually buy gifts know me pretty well.”

Maha Libdeh: “I honestly can’t think of a bad gift I’ve ever gotten … My friend Ashley a few years ago didn’t have money for Christmas gifts so she sent everyone that she loved in her life letters about why she loved them and what they meant to her, and that is by far the best gift I’ve ever gotten.”

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