Gift Guide » Top Ten Do-Goodism

December 17, 2009

1tranSglass by Tord Boontje & Emma Woffenden for Artecnica$46

tranSglass by Tord Boontje and Emma Woffenden for Artecnica

Business models doesn’t get much better than this: find a couple big-wig creatives (in this case, the Dutch product and textile designer Tord Boontje + British glass artist Emma Woffenden), design a line of products (like glassware made of cropped and treated bottles), then find a group of craftsmen somewhere in the world that could do with a better income (tranSglass is made by artisans in Guatemala) and get them in on the project. The tranSglass collection for Artecnica’s Design w/Conscience program is a shining example of humanitarian business smarts at this critical time in human history. Get it here!

2WWF’s Species Adoptions$25

WWF Species Adoption - Arctic Fox

Leopards, penguins, koalas, great whites, lemurs, foxes, okapis, monarchs, wombats, puffins, raccoons, seahorses – they’re all having a rough time out there in the dwindling and dirty domain we’ve left for them. The World Wildlife Fund has made it unavoidably easy to pick your preferred critter and lend a helping hand. With their Species Adoption program, choose from a list of needy creatures (click here for the animals that most need your help), select an Adoption Kit that fits your budget ($25 / $50 / $100 / $250) and make one lucky species’ holiday a bit warmer (we’re talking warm and fuzzy on the inside warm, not global warming warm). The $50+ kits include adorable plush facsimiles of your chosen species. It’s the perfect gift for all the little Jane Goodall’s out there! Get it here!

3Limited Edition Print at Needs for Sale$100

Do Good Needs for Sale - A Good Meal

Warhol would dig this (even though there isn’t a single cat-related charity listed). The concept is simple. And so smart:

“In the summer of 2007, Christine and Justin launched the website Wants for Sale. A site where they sell paintings of things that they want, at the cost of the real item (“Buffalo Wings” for $12.50 or “An iPhone” for $432.42). After starting the project, Christine & Justin realized there was something else they both really wanted – the ability to help others. With that in mind, they created Needs for Sale.”

Choose your favorite image (vintage cell phone, hopscotch, microscope…) or your favorite charity (The Girl Effect, Toys for Tots, Heifer International…) and dive into the artsy-fartsy do-goodism. More on Christine and Justine’s other project, NYC Garbage, coming soon!Get it here!

4Heifer International Gifts$ ~

Heifer International

“If there is one thing I could give to the struggling people of the world it would be self-reliance. Everyone deserves the dignity of providing for themselves and their families.” — Walter Cronkite, journalist and Heifer supporter

While we head over to our favorite weekend brunch locales and stuff our faces with eggs Benedict and piles of bacon, struggling families around the world make do with so much less. At Heifer International, a donation of just $20 buys a flock of ducks for a family in Ziang Quin, China or a clutch of chicks for a child in Cameroon – helping both recipients boost their income (by selling the eggs) while also providing a much-needed food source. Check out Heifer’s Gift Catalog, which has gifts that range from a family pig ($120) to a complete beehive ($30) to a trio of little bunny rabbits ($60)! Get it here!

5Weekend Scarves from Organica Deluxe$59

Weekend Scarves from Organica Deluxe

There might be some Grinches on your list who, if left to their own devices, would just say Bah-Humbug to all the Do-Goodism happening out there. Well, deceive those bastards. Don’t mention that the profits made from the beautiful, hand-woven 100% Tasar silk scarf you gifted them is actually two week’s worth of income for a poor, rural family in India. Don’t tell them that the 2 x 7 foot, double weave scarf was made in accordance with the fair trade practices of the World of Good Organization and was made by women artisans, lifting the esteem and value of women in their communities. Just watch your beloved Grinch as they wrap themselves up in this accessory from Organica Deluxe and manage to squeeze out a thank-you. Get it here!

6Leash by Found My Animal$56

Found My Animal Leash

Don’t forget your pups this holiday! They looooooove opening gifts. And reopening them. And tearing the paper to a fine, pulp-slobber pile. Although our little cat, Goobie, would never agree to a walk around the neighborhood, he would love to gnaw on these shabby chic Brooklyn-made leashes by Found my Animal.

“The custom-made rope used for the leashes (or leads) is a unique and extremely durable alternative to leather. We are pretty certain dogs (or at the very least cows) appreciate our use of non-animal based material. Each rope is hand-spliced to withstand thousands of pounds of pull, the ends are then “whipped” (an old nautical term) for additional durablility.”

The leashes have some pretty stellar marine-grade cast Italian hardware as well: brass o-rings, solid bronze clips, and an individually-numbered brass tag! 25% of all profits go to the Louis Animal Foundation, “a unique non-profit group dedicated to spaying/neutering and providing homes for animals who have not yet ‘found’ their people”. Get it here!

7The Little Black Box from Charity : Water$24

The Little Black Box from Charity : Water

This is all you need to know: the profits made from the sale of this Little Black Box by Charity : Water gives clean water to one person in a developing nation for 20 years. Check out the stats on the Water Projects page – it’s pretty amazing what such a focused charity can achieve! More on Charity : Water coming soon to our Do-Goodism section… Get it here!

8Hand-Coiled Bowl by Bambu$15

Bambu Lacquerware Bowls

Honest! Not all Do-Goodism has to be selfless. Bambu’s line of sustainable and organic tableware makes a classy addition to any dinner spread. Part of the 1% for the Planet initiative, the conscientious company has contributed more than $50,000 to non-profits across the globe, follows fair-trade practices, and wraps all their wares in environmentally friendly packaging! I just love the brightly colored lacquerware bowls and hand-woven nesting baskets. Get it here!

9Ideaco’s Futsal Ball$72

Ideaco's Futsal Ball

The five designers over at Osaka-based company Ideaco create and produce products adhering to a beautiful set of principles: that design should be timeless, minimal, functional, innovative, long-lasting, comfortable, and eco-inspired.

“We believe that ‘no waste’ is beautiful. We wish to be as close to nature as possible, because that’s where no waste exists. A place where all components are essential and exist together in harmony. In designer terminology, this concept is known as minimalism. A life style of the future with minimal waste is what we strive for. Disregard fads, and create simple but functional, innovative but timeless products for everyday life. That is our credo.”

This vibrant Ideaco Futsal (that’s a soccer ball) is certified Fair Trade and was made by skilled Pakistan workers. It comes packed in an organic cotton bag produced by an organization in Japan employing developmentally disabled adults. Also, a percent of all proceeds also goes to the GLOBE Project, aimed at clearing mines in Cambodia. Go on, get some exercise and save the world!! Get it here!

10Really Cute Kittens$ ~

BARC Shelter Kittens for Adoption

A shelter cat can change your life. If there’s someone on your list that needs a bit of companionship, consider kittens. is an incredible use of the magical interwebs: just enter your criteria (location, species, breed, age) and find a list of needy meowzer in your neighborhood. Just make sure the giftee has room in their heart and home for the adventure! Get them here!

Gift Guide » Top Ten Bookworm

December 9, 2009

1Nel's Pack of Dogs Bookshelf & Bench$413

Nel's Pack of Dogs Bookshelf

So you’ve trained your dog to fetch the paper? Meh! No need. This doggy bench (call him El Santo) designed by NEL Colectivo is sturdy enough to support your weight, and holds spare books in his mouth without the slobber. Manufactured by Proteak, a green-forward company that only works with sustainably-grown teak planted in Mexico, this beautiful bench is water resistant and will wait for you loyally by the pool or by the fireplace. Not the right size? Check out Santo’s pup brother, Aguayo… Get it here!

2Penguin Classics with Cover Illustrations by Coralie Bickford-Smith$14

Penguin Classics with Cover Illustrations by Coralie Bickford-Smith

Penguin’s senior cover designer, Coralie Bickford-Smith, will hands down be the reason I go broke this holiday season. Every book she touches turns to library gold. Where to start? The classics of course! This series of cloth-bound Penguin Classics hardcovers are a coveted collection the world across. Get your bookworm her favorite masterpiece or splurge and buy the whole set. Not the right demographic? Check out her wonderful cover designs for Penguin’s Boys’ Adventure series! Must… Have… Them… All…Get it here!

3My Wonderful World of Fashion by Nina Chakrabarti$13.5

My Wonderful World of Fashion by Nina Chakrabarti

Do you have a budding Valentino in your household? Then this is the book to buy. London-based Nina Chakrabarti’s oeuvre, published by Laurence King, is a cornucopia of intricate pen and ink illustrations held together with a humorous narrative a la Maira Kalman. Pages of fashion fodder are captioned with matter-of-fact suggestions like “safety pin an antique lace collar to your t-shirt” and “tights can maketh the outfit…” Great as a coloring book too!Get it here!

4Studio Smeets Design Lili Lite Bookshelf Lamp€99

Studio Smeets Design Lili Lite Bookshelf Lamp

There’s nothing quite as comforting as your favorite reading nook. This brilliantly simple bookshelf designed by Amsterdam’s Studio Smeets Design has all the essentials covered: the bottom bend holds a stack of books (about the right amount for a standard reading list) and the top bend is reserved for your book of the moment, holding your page until you return. The kicker? A little light under the top bend with a sensor that turns it off when an open book is placed on the shelf. And for the control freaks, there’s also a manual on and off button…Get it here!

5Harry Allen Rollerstop Bookend$95

Harry Allen Rollerstop Bookend

I was the queen of the block growing up. And I had rollerskates that matched the part: white leather, neon pink wheels. I would cascade down the street, doing tricks, skating backwards, in circles, ponytail flying in the wind, feeling like a million bucks. Oh… the 80’s. Relive the memories with this Rollerstop Bookend by Harry Allen. Available in classic matte white, neon green, or polished silver.Get it here!

6Folk & Flora Pattern Books and Notecard Set by Reprodepot$44

Folk and Flora Pattern Books and Notecard Set by Reprodepot

Flora gathers together sweet blossomy designs, while Folk features homey motifs. Each book includes step-by-step directions for ten fabulous papercraft projects.

Djerba Goldfinger, president and founder of fabric purveyor Reprodepot, has curated two volume, Folk and Flora, brimming with the textile house’s best designs. Each anthology comes with a disk of the digitized patterns for your personal crafting use!The two volumes plus a Folk & Flora Notecard Set are available now at Amazon for just $44! Get your paint set out – things might be getting a little DIY around the house this holiday… Get the set here!

7Zelco Itty Bitty Book Light$35

Zelco Itty Bitty Book Light

I grew up with the Itty Bitty Book Light. I remember the plastic red case, the bright yellow light, and the secret society I built around it (erm, that would be me, under the duvet, with my Book Light and about two dozen stuffed animals). Times have changed (as has my eyesight) and I think I’m ready to use the nifty tool for it’s intended reasons. Itty Bitty is light as a feather so it will hold fast clipped onto even the dinkiest of paperbacks. Better yet, the “kids” version (banana yellow) is still available! Check out the Zelco site for all the different models. Get it here!

8Ad Hoc at Home by Thomas Keller$29

Ad Hoc at Home by Thomas Keller

Photo Credit: Paula Forbes / Eat Me Daily

I count my lucky stars that I married such an avid cook. Even the whirlwind he leaves behind in the kitchen (for me to clean up) is worth the winter stews and summer ceviches I am privileged to sample. Although most of YZ’s recipes come from this gastro-geek corner of his brain, a chef can always use some guidance and who better than master chef of the universe, Thomas Keller? Owner of some of the finest restos in the country: The French Laundry, Bouchon, Per Se, and most recently, Ad Hoc, Keller has been the recipient of countless accolades and continues to question and change the very definition of cooking. So, YZ… what’s for dinner? Get it here!

9Pictorial Webster's$23

Pictorial Webster's

From Acorns to Zebras, Bell Jars to Velocipedes, these alphabetically arranged archetypes and curiosities create enigmatic juxtapositions and illustrate the items deemed important to the Victorian mind.

I’ve been growing my reference library for years now for exactly one reason: those diagrams. Now any little munchkin can get excited about the wonderful world of words with this Pictorial Webster’s Dictionary, chock full with over 1,500 engravings straight from the original pages of the 19th century oeuvre. Move over Waldo – there’s a new picture-book in town. Get it here!

10i3’s Help! Bookmarks – Set of 5$19

i3's Help! Bookmark

Who dog-ears their books!? Who!? Blasphemous!!! If you’re like me, dusting your books on a weekly basis and make sure no spines on the bookshelf are directly hit by sunlight, you probably employ the use of a bookmark when reading. These hilarious little drowning clips by i^3 Lab are the perfect size to throw in your book bag and forget about until you need them. Also, unlike paper bookmarks, these guys are made to last and won’t fall out of your book as easily. Get them here!

i ♥ art » Get Some Play Clan

May 27, 2009

Play Clan Prints

Play Clan, a quirky, experimental, 100% Desi art-design collective & boutique in New Delhi is bounce-off-the-walls bizarro and has won my heart! What might you find? “Painted kicks, sling bags, T shirts attacked by art, wacky journals and diaries, graphic novels, crazy creature lamps, funky cushions, CD cases, chic jewelery, hand-made curios, biker sacks and original wall art.” I can’t wait for them to get their online shop up and going so that NRIs and Desi design lovers the world over can get their paws on some merch too. If you find yourself in Delhi, however, roll over to the shop!

Where is Play Clan?

F 51, 1st Floor
Select Citywalk
Saket, New Delhi

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