I love the holiday season, and I loooooove buying people presents. I am a just a little bit of a master gift finder and an Internet shopping sleuth. This is the time of year I thank myself for all those random screenshots I took to remind me of a person or a store. I have a very good long-term memory and ridiculous attention to detail; I will remember a little thing that someone mentioned in the past, or perhaps something they looked at six months ago but couldn’t afford. I like to think I get to know people well enough to know what they’d like to receive.
Despite my Christmas this year being on the lighter side, I still love looking for potential gifts, and (usually) finding things that I love for myself! When it comes to board games gift ideas, there will be a ton of gift guides out there I’m sure. So, on this mini ‘gift guide’ I am featuring four small businesses/people who I discovered throughout this year and loved their products. So read on, and get gift inspired!
Armored Owl is an online Etsy store that I discovered on Instagram earlier this this year. AO sells beautiful chainmaille jewellery and accessories. One of my current favourites is this necklace, it looks very dragon-princess-like. It’s all so pretty, I can’t handle it. Here’s a little from the storeowner, Rebecca, a board game enthusiast and talented human, hailing from Chicago…
‘I got started with chainmaille 1.5 years ago at a gaming convention (Gen Con). After my husband and I took a class to learn how to make chainmaille dice bags, our interest in chainmaille took off… Soon I was learning tons of different weaves and making keychains, bookmarks, and jewelry. (And he made SIXTY chainmaille dice bags as favors for our wedding!)
After about one year of making things and working on my skills, people started asking to buy the things I made, so I started selling dice keychains at a friend’s booth at comic conventions and then I opened my Etsy shop. I’ve got an out-of-control owl collection that inspired the name, Armored Owl, plus Athena is a favorite Greek God of mine so chainmaille armor and owls seemed fitting.
Every Armored Owl chainmaille piece is created by me. Each and every jump ring is opened and woven and closed by my own hand. I work with aluminum, Stainless Steel, and copper. I use crystals by Swarovski and Czech glass beads for accents, as well as metal charms. Depending on the piece, it takes anywhere from thirty to 90 minutes to make most of my pieces. If you don’t see exactly what you’re looking for in my shop, feel free to contact me about custom orders.’
You can find Armored Owl here and just for Shiny Happy Meeples readers Rebecca has offered a 10% discount code for any orders $50+ and is valid until 31st December. Use SHINYHAPPY at the checkout.
Another store that I found through Instagram is Infinite Sinn, who makes amazing home ware and clothing with gorgeous and unique fabrics. I am in love with the meeple pillows, in love! Here is a little from Cindy, the very cool lady behind the sewing machine…
‘I’m a self-taught fashion designer in Virginia Beach, and have been sewing for about 15 years. I grew up in Los Angeles with two older brothers and a sister who would spend quality time with me by playing Duck Hunt and Yoshi’s Island, or make me memorize lines from Bruce Lee films, and appoint me the responsibility of recording episodes of Dragon Ball Z in my formative years. Now I play games like Skyrim, spend nights Terraforming Mars with friends, watch anime by Miyazaki, read graphic novels like Y: The Last Man, and fangirl over everything Star Wars. I’m a chronic daydreamer, I get lost in whatever magical world I’m obsessed with at the time and try to re-imagine their characters and objects into clothing, accessories, and home decor items.’
Visit her amazing shop here.
A few weeks ago Eldritch Essences popped up on my Twitter and I fell in love with the store. The Lovecraftian theme is one that I can’t resist and I just really love candles okay? These scented tea lights, melts and candle ‘hex’ jars are all handmade and perfumed from scratch and come in a variety of vivid colours, with super cool scent names inspired by Lovecraft. Having spoken with the storeowner, a lovely chap from Yorkshire, England, he has some really wonderful ideas in the pipeline too, so pay the store a visit, and keep an eagle eye out for up and coming products. You can also follow on Twitter for product updates!
So I’ve covered clothing, homeware and jewellery that I think many a tabletop gamer would appreciate, but lastly I wanted to mention a potential gift idea that nearly every board game fan could do with….
The Civilized Guide to Tabletop Gaming: Rules Every Gamer Must Live By is the new book from Geek & Sundry writer, mad experienced tabletop gamer and author Teri Litorco. I started reading the book this week and am really enjoying it. It’s kind of a walk-through for new gamers, introducing them to the hobby and giving guidance on how to understand and respect the culture around tabletop gaming and each other. For long-term gamers it also serves as a friendly and funny reminder on good ideas of what to do, and indeed what NOT to do when gaming. A couple of things made me think of what I was getting at in my ‘etiquette’ video the other week, only this is written with some great detail and panache, two things that I certainly do not possess in my videos! It’s also full of handy tips. I like to think of myself as a seasoned gamer by now, but I certainly do not know it all by any means! I’m probably what would be considered a non-social gamer; I am yet to host my own games night with virtual strangers, or RPG with new friends, or actually play a recent RPG, attend a con, or find a FLGS that is local and I actually like, so all the information covered in the book was most welcome to me. I also love that throughout the book there are ‘scenarios’ to demonstrate Teri’s points and as well as fun tabletop facts. So if you’re looking for a book about the hobby that is isn’t A History of Board Gaming, or a dry rehashing of stuff-we-already-know, and fancy something that is based on a tabletop gamers real experiences then you’ll probably love this book.
You can find it on sale here.
…And that’s Shiny Happy Meeple’s Holiday Gift Guide! I hope you enjoyed reading, and happy shopping you lucky lot. Keep an eye out for my ‘Festive Fantasy Wishlist’ coming soon to my You Tube channel.
Have a fabulous holiday season!