In this very different Christmas season, many shoppers have experienced supply chain woes and worries about packages getting where they need to be on time. But there are still places to buy those last-minute Christmas gifts where these issues are not a problem. Many local makers who sell on sites such as Etsy and Facebook say they have supplies on hand, can offer local pickup and dropoff options, and some even still have time to turn out a custom design for local buyers. Here are some of those local makers who can still make your Christmas list complete.
Sarah W., Mrs. Lemonbuzzzsoap
Etsy.com/shop/lemonbuzzzsoap or Lemonbuzzzsoap@gmail.com
Soaps, lip balms, bath bombs, scrubs, soaks, body butters and other body items. Individual items are $4.50 to $12.50. Gift sets are $18.50 and up. Message through Etsy for pickups or dropoffs for local customers. Will create special listings on Etsy to allow local buyers to avoid paying shipping fees.
For Sarah W., who prefers to be known by Mrs. Lemonbuzzz for safety reasons, her family’s business Lemonbuzzzsoap is more of a mission than a business venture. From their natural beekeeping methods to their solar panels to their hope to welcome families to come learn at their farm someday, every soap, salve and soak sold supports a family creating something bigger than themselves.
“I think a lot of people are gravitating toward more meaningful and soulful things today,” Sarah said.
The Centralia area mom and pop manufacturer started in 2014 when Sarah was gifted a soapmaking kit by a friend. That same year, the family had started beekeeping. On their farm that included alpacas, cows, Shetland sheep, Kune Kune pigs and mini Nubian goats as well as a garden full of herbs and flowers, she saw plenty of materials that could be used to make natural body care products.
“Once I got into it, it just became an addiction,” Sarah said of soapmaking.
Through a site on Etsy, Lemonbuzzzsoap sells a large variety of items including bar soap, bath bombs, lip and skin balms, body butters and even baby items. Each one is made with the highest quality ingredients such as essential oils instead of artificial scents, sourced from their farm whenever possible. For instance, their soaps and bath bombs (they call them Buzzz Bombs) are packaged in handmade seed paper made from seeds that they harvested on the farm. Plant the packaging and you can grow plants that benefit bees and pollinators.
“It’s cool to watch them grow and see that they really do benefit the pollinators,” Sarah said.
Sarah’s family recently built a small farm shop on their property that they hope to open to the public soon but will welcome shoppers by appointment. They also hope to sell u-cut lavender at the farm this summer. The name Lemonbuzzzsoap comes from Sarah’s son who has autism. When he first saw their honeybees, he said “look mom, a lemon buzz.” Sarah said another goal for Lemonbuzzzsoap is to create opportunities for more kids like her son and their families to come to their farm and explore and learn.
Lupine & Llamas
Lupineandllamas.com or @lupineandllamas on Facebook
Bags, children and adult clothing, stickers, mugs, canvasses and prints. Recently partnered with Purse & Clutch to sell leather bags that help artisans in Ethiopia and Mexico. Many items are in the $12-$50 range. Local shoppers can message for porch pickup or meetup options. Will be selling items at the Gemini Events Holiday Market & Craft Fair, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Dec. 18 at the Jester Auto Museum, 321 Hamilton Road, Chehalis.
Though Selina Nerison has been an artist since she was very young, she never really thought her art was good enough to sell. It was a high-flying life goal that pushed her to find out.
Nerison, of Onalaska, started her business Lupine & Llamas about a year ago. The business name is a tribute to her favorite wildflower from her home state of Alaska and her kids, who she calls her Drama Llamas. Through a site on Etsy, she offers adult and children’s clothing, accessories, stickers and giftware featuring original watercolor, charcoal and digital artwork by Nerison.
“My whole goal is to make my art functional, to bring a smile to people’s faces and to have it be durable,” Nerison said of the items she sells.
Some of Nerison’s designs certainly do inspire smiles, from her best-selling moose in a flannel shirt design, the goat with a corn cob pipe or the hedgehog peeking out from beneath polka-dotted mushrooms. Other designs are inspired by the sights of the Pacific Northwest and its oceans, including trees, bears and octopi. Nerison uses a company to print her high-quality artwork images onto the pieces she sells. She said she worked hard to find a manufacturer that could make her products at a quality she could be proud of. Nerison also recently partnered with Purse & Clutch to offer leather purses and handbags that are ethically made and sourced from artisans in Ethiopia and Mexico.
The goal of Lupine & Llamas for Nerison is to raise enough money to become a helicopter pilot. The mother of daughters ages 3 and 2, Nerison had finished about 10 of the 40 hours of training she needed to get her private helicopter pilot license when she was grounded because she has another daughter due in January.
After she is able to return to the skies and complete the private license, she wants to continue her training to receive a medical helicopter license.
Nerison said she was inspired to train as a helicopter pilot when she recently worked on the Christmas tree farm in Onalaska owned by Pete and Cathy Murphy. They use helicopter pilots to lift some of their wholesale Christmas trees out of their farm.
“I just thought, I have to do that,” Nerison said.
Miles Of Dye Creations
Jon and Kayla Miles
Etsy.com/shop/milesofdyecreations or @MilesOfDye on Facebook or firstname.lastname@example.org
Tie dye shirts and accessories for adults and kids. Washington rain, snow and ice dyed shirts. Subscription services for $7-$18 per month. Most items in the $10-$35 range. Local customers can make orders by Dec. 15 for local pickup. Message to make arrangements.
Tie-dying has been a part of the Miles family for a long time. Originally from Oklahoma, Jon and Kayla Miles moved to Chehalis in 2008 for Jon’s job with the Army. Kayla had always been into tie dying and had done it for many years as a hobby and with their five kids, ages 5-19. Over the years, they frequently tried out new tie-dye techniques mostly learned through trial and error, the Internet and asking other crafters who were willing to share their wisdom.
“It’s the fun of creating stuff,” Jon Miles said of what he loves about the craft. “My wife and I have always enjoyed creating things, the process of it. It’s a mix of art and science.”
Jon will soon be retiring from the Army and when the COVID-19 pandemic hit, the family found themselves home together more and looking for something to do with extra free time. So, they turned their hobby into a business they call Miles of Dye Creations.
Through a site on Esty as well as Facebook, the Mileses originally offered a few tie dye shirts for sale just to see if they could actually sell anything. And customers responded. Miles of Dye Creations now offers both custom and ready-made designs on adult and kid shirts, as well as bandanas, totes and even dish towels. Each creation is one-of-a-kind and handmade with carefully sourced materials, from the shirts to the dyes, to ensure a product that will be vibrant and wearable for a long time.
“It’s a piece of art someone is going to be enjoying daily,” Miles said.
One of their biggest sellers for Miles of Dye Creations this year have been their shirts with dragonfly designs, which are made with a thickened dye to keep the design from mixing with the other colors. One of their more unique offerings is their Washington rain dyed shirts, which are shirts that are laid out in the rain and dotted with the customer’s chosen dye colors. The splashing of the rain on the shirt creates the design. Each rain dyed shirt includes a certificate of authenticity with the date of the rain that created it. They also offer shirts dyed with snow and ice. Those shirts are laid flat, covered with snow or ice and then powdered dye is put on top.
“It just melts and as it goes, you can see the crystals come out in the design,” Miles said. “It’s really fun to watch the process.”
While Miles of Dye Creations is still a small business, Miles said they have sold enough that they have started to think about new items to add. The shop recently added some 3D printed items and they are working on learning sublimation and resin casting to be able to add even more items in the future.
@pnw.mamabearcreations on Facebook and Instagram or call 360-520-9410
Offering sublimated designs and custom creations on mugs, drink cups, ornaments, jewelry, car coasters and other items being added as well as screen printed clothing. Many items in the $15-$25 range. Message for pick-ups or drop offs for local customers. Will be selling items at the Gemini Events Holiday Market & Craft Fair, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Dec. 18 at the Jester Auto Museum, 321 Hamilton Road, Chehalis.
Heather Estep has always enjoyed crafting, especially when it helped her make thoughtful and unique gifts for friends and family.
“I’m always on YouTube when my kids go to bed, looking at what people are making,” Estep said.
Last year when she purchased the equipment to create custom cups and mugs for her loved ones, she didn’t know it would lead her to a business. She simply started posting her creations on Facebook because she was proud of how they turned out, and people began telling her she should sell them or asking how they could buy them. Then the owners of Lewis County Coffee Company asked her if she wanted to be a vendor at their Christmas Bazaar last year.
“I had a bunch of mugs so I thought, why not?” Estep said.
Estep calls her business PNW.mamabearcreations, an homage to her job as a maker and her job as the mom of her kids ages 6 and 16 months. Her clothing is made with screen printing while the majority of PNW.mamabearcreations’ offerings are made with sublimation, which uses a special ink and printer to create a wrap that is then adhered to the item in a special way that makes it very sturdy.
Estep offers a myriad of designs including: those inspired by popular culture, including the “Yellowstone” television show as well as kid’s characters such as Olaf and Elsa from “Frozen”; designs inspired by popular company logos; second amendment and other conservative political statements; and items made just for gifting special people such as bridesmaids or sisters. She also offers custom designs and said some of her most popular sellers this year have been custom photo mugs as well as sippy cups for kids with their names and favorite characters. But Estep said that she can make almost any design a customer has in mind if they don’t see just what they want on her site. She said working with customers is one of the things she likes best about the business.
“I actually love meeting new people and having them order something,” Estep said. “Photo tumblers are probably my favorite. It’s sweet to be trusted with their memories.”
Stone Cold Foods
Madison Simper and Cedric Stone
Stonecoldfoods.etsy.com or @StoneColdFoods on Facebook
Freeze dried candy and fruits. Packages range in price from $3.50 to about $12. Offers a special coupon on their Etsy site that allows local buyers to avoid shipping fees and have their items hand-delivered.
Madison Simper and Cedric Stone of Onalaska didn’t set out to learn the fine art of freeze drying to start a business. Stone, an industrial electrician, and Simper, a tech in training at a local pharmacy, have always been fans of freeze-dried foods and just wanted to learn how to make some of their favorite items more inexpensively.
“It concentrates the taste and you can take it with you a lot of places,” Stone said of their love of freeze-dried foods.
Once they bought the equipment and started making their own freeze-dried foods, they realized they could share them with other people and decided to start their own business they called Stone Cold Foods. Through a site on Etsy as well as on Facebook, they offer a variety of freeze-dried natural foods such as pineapple (one of their biggest sellers), blackberries, bananas, blueberries and yogurt bites. Seasonal fruits such as strawberries, blackberries and blueberries are sourced locally during the growing season for the best flavor.
They also offer trendy freeze-dried sweets including: Skittles; gummy candy like peach rings (one of their biggest sellers) and gummy worms; marshmallows and even ice cream sandwiches and orange creamsicles.
Stone explained that freeze drying basically takes all of the water in a food and converts it to gas. Many foods take between 20-50 hours to freeze dry. Unlike dehydrating, freeze drying does not use heat to remove moisture, so you can use it to preserve a larger variety of items. Freeze drying also preserves a large amount of the flavor and nutrients in a food, while maintaining much more of the integrity of the fresh item.
“You can basically add the water back into those strawberries and they’ll look pretty much similar,” Simper said.
In the future, Simper and Stone intend to add a larger variety of freeze-dried items that might be useful for backpackers to their store as well as energy and hydration drink powders. At this time, their kitchen is not certified to allow them to sell freeze-dried meat products but they hope to eventually be able to add that offering as well.