Friday, November 23, 2012

Holiday gift ideas off the beaten path

If you're looking for some holiday shopping ideas that don't involve Target, Macy's, Best Buy, Sears, Kmart or JCPenney1, here are some suggestions that fit in nicely with the theme of what I explore every day here on Papergreat.

If you have other suggestions along these lines, please add them in the comments section!

Mel Kolstad's artwork

Mel Kolstad, the author of Ephemeraology, is also an outstanding artist, and her ephemera-themed works are for sale on

She offers collages, miniature collages, pendants, clocks and more.

But the one-of-a-kind pieces can sell quickly, so shop early.

"Spirits of the Abandoned, Maryland"

Earlier this year, I wrote about Sue Tatterson's photographic exploration of the shuttered Scranton Lace Company complex in Scranton, Pennsylvania.

Tatterson had previously published "Spirits of the Abandoned, Maryland," a 114-page book of her finest, and most jaw-dropping, photographs from 12 different abandoned sites across Maryland. (Many of the photos have been featured on her website.)

The large-format book is available from Blurb.

J.W. Ocker's grimpendiums

I want J.W. Ocker's life! The talented author of the Odd Things I've Seen blog writes about his "visits to oddities of art, nature, history, and culture across the country and world."

His unique travel writing has been gathered in two books that would make great gifts for that reader on your list who's looking for something different:
  • The New England Grimpendium: "A rich compendium of macabre and historic New England happenings, this travelogue features firsthand accounts of almost 200 sites."
  • The New York Grimpendium: "It’s definitely a wild ride from a jar full of the harvested brains of dead killers to horror movie filming sites around the state; from a ships’ graveyard to lake monster sightings. If it’s in New York and it’s bizarrely noteworthy or wonderfully wacky, you’ll find it in The New York Grimpendium."

The Shorpy Gallery: Fine art prints

The amazing website was first mentioned on Papergreat back in April.

Its easy to lose yourself on, which hosts thousands of high-definition vintage photos dating as far back as the 1850s. (Many come from the Library of Congress research archive.)

And many of those photos are available for purchase as fine-art prints through Juniper Gallery. Sizes from 8½x11 to 53x44 are available, and prices range from a very reasonable $15-$20 up to $400 for huge canvas prints.

With more than 4,000 prints available on topics including sports, Atlantic City, New York City, aircraft, amusement parks, Civil War, Dust Bowl, military, railroads, skyscrapers and "spooky," there's sure to be something for everyone.

Two books from Forgotten Bookmarks

Michael Popek's Forgotten Bookmarks is the Rolls Royce of found-ephemera websites. Even if you're not checking out all the fabulous things Popek, a New York bookseller, finds tucked away inside old books, you should be visiting his website or following him on Facebook or Twitter to take part in his regular (and extremely generous) giveaways.

Popek has also published two terrific compilations of his found ephemera:

Manto Fev: Ephemera and one-of-kind art supplies

Oh, Manto Fev is always such a dangerous website for me to browse! This online store carries materials and supplies for collage, assemblage, art dolls, art quilts and scrapbooking.

But, to me, it's really all just a bunch of wonderful ephemera — that you can purchase by the piece.

For example...
  • 10 pages from a vintage Russian book for $1
  • 30 miscellaneous old postage stamps for $1
  • 3 vintage postcards from India for $1
  • 10 pieces of Chinese Joss paper for $3
  • 3 old cardboard milk caps for $1
  • 4 vintage handwritten receipts for $1
  • and much more
I think I might have to go do some shopping myself now!

1. Yes, that was a gratuitous bit of SEO chicanery there. I'm not above it.

1 comment:

  1. Anima Designs is similar to Manto Fev and quite wonderful, too. I used to spend a lot of time shopping for ephemera, but these days I'm trying to spend less time shopping and more time writing.

    And the Forgotten Bookmarks book is on my Giftmas list for a couple friends. I love the blog.