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Holiday shopping is a little like running  a marathon; you need to pace yourself to avoid bonking in the mall at the eleventh hour. So why not start now with our eighth annual holiday gift guide?

Brown grads have been busy this year, and here you’ll find an impressive array of their stylish products, from beautifully designed felt handbags and cell phone cases to cookbooks and high-performance yoga pants.

Exo, an enterprise started by Gabi Lewis ’13 and Greg Sewitz ’13, was hatched in an independent study course and nurtured by Swearer Center grants. The surprise ingredient in its first product, Exo Protein Bars, is … wait for it … cricket flour (“a game-changing protein source,” says Exo’s website). Developed by a three-starred Michelin chef, the bars come in such flavors as cacao nut and blueberry vanilla.

Libby Abbott ’06 says her penchant for having clothes handmade started during her junior year, when she studied abroad in Benares, India. Last year, while living in Kampala, Uganda, working as a project coordinator for a development organization, she, along with her sister, turned this hobby into a sideline business making vintage-style dresses from boldly patterned African fabrics.

Many of these items are offered at a discount to Brown alumni. So what’s stopping you? This is a great opportunity not only to support your inventive classmates but to get your holiday shopping done in record time. Let the giving begin!

gifts_01.jpg

PILLARS OF SALT
Gourmet sea salts by Sally Effman ’87 come in cilantro lime, lavender vanilla fennel, rosemary citrus, and Scotch 
bonnet pepper, among other flavors, for livening up your recipes. $32 for four (2.5 ounces each). Use code BAM2014 for a 10% discount.
trio3.etsy.com
(203) 557-3925

NAUTICAL AND NICE
Margaret-Ann Rice ‘64 restored “Adele,” a 13.5 inch Cape Cod Cat Boat, circa 1930s, with typical gaff sail and rigging. $85.
mysmallboats.com
(508) 993-2979

SAIL ANOTHER DAY
After retiring from graphic-design work, Margaret-Ann Rice ‘64 started collecting antique pond boats. Dating from the early twentieth century, these were (and still are) sailed on ponds in places like New York City’s Central Park. During the past five years, Rice has restored more than 100 of these relics. When she finds a boat, it’s often just the hull, and “usually pretty decrepit.” Based on reference photos and books, she painstakingly recreates the mast, boom, and rigging, refinishes the hull, places reproduction brass hardware on deck, and sews the sails from sturdy cotton cloth that is then “antiqued.” “Each boat is different, and that’s the part that really fascinates me,” she says.

gifts_02.jpg

VINTAGE FLAIR
Libby Abbott ’06 and her sister are fond of classic, retro dress cuts and African kitenge fabrics and combined the two in their Pleats & Wax line. Dresses, $50.
etsy.com/shop/pleatswax  
(617) 595-5316

SWEET STACKS
While planning a trip to Paris with her husband, Nina DiBona Pauk ‘07 felt the need to whip up a batch of French macarons, and Moochie’s Macarons was born. Seven-macaron gift box, $20; fourteen-
macaron gift box, $36.  
MoochiesMacarons.com
(978) 310-1610

gifts_03.jpg

FOR THE COOKS
Cooking with Fire: From Roasting on a Spit to Baking in a Tannur, Rediscovered Techniques and Recipes that Capture the Flavors of Wood-Fired Cooking by Paula Marcoux ’82 (Storey Publishing). $19.95.

Mastering My Mistakes in the Kitchen by Dana Cowin ‘82, Editor-in-Chief of Food & Wine magazine (Ecco). $34.99.

GLOBAL WARMING
Nina Shope ’98 knits fingerless gloves in rainbow shades of soft wool. The color-blocked two-tone orange and maroon rolltop gloves are for men. Gloves, $35 to $45.
shopsnapdragon.com
(718) 915-6434

gifts_04.jpg

THE CHIRP FACTOR
Gabi Lewis ’13 and Greg Sewitz ’13 are betting on the nutritional value of crickets with their new Exo Protein Bars. $36/dozen. Use code BROWN10 for a 10% discount.
exo.co
(401) 527-7202

BAG IT
The Ballet Tote in garnet by Shira Entis ’02 and Alexandra Bell ’02 is made of cotton canvas and Italian leather and shows the company’s support of local garment workers. $145. Use code BAM15 for a
15% discount.
fleabg.com   
(646) 383-7959

FLOUR POWER
Exo Protein Bars are made with cricket flour. Crickets? Gabi Lewis ’13 and Greg Sewitz ’13 firmly believe that we should all be eating insects. According to Exo’s website, crickets contain a lot more protein than beef or chicken (based on 100 gram portions, dried crickets contain 69 percent protein compared with 31 percent for chicken and 29 percent for sirloin). They are also extremely nutritious, high in micronutrients like iron and calcium, and much more sustainable than other protein sources. “Eating insects simply makes sense,” say Lewis and Sewitz. “We need a new source of protein, one that can sustain the world into the future.”

gifts_05.jpg

MUSIC MAKERS
Wishing Well: Songs for Kids and Parents by Nick Bayard ’04

Arc Iris’s self-titled debut album, featuring Jocie Adams ’08, with Zach Tenorio-Miller ’07, Mike Irwin, Robin Ryczek, Ray Belli, Max Johnson, and Charlie Rose (Anti-Records).

Divided & United: The Songs of the Civil War produced by Randall Poster ’84

KEELING OVER
This 24-inch blue sloop was made by the JACRIM/Keystone Toy Company of Boston, circa 1938. Margaret-Ann Rice ’64 restored the toe rail, compass, sails, and rigging. $195.
mysmallboats.com
(508) 993-2979

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SEATTLE JAMMIN’
An array of handcrafted artisanal jams and jellies by Beth Rutherford ’83 starts with fresh Pacific Northwest fruits and berries. $7.95 to $10.95/jar. Use code BRUNO for a 20% discount.  
goodnessandflavor.com
(206) 930-8382

CLEAR SAILING
After retiring from his 35-year career as an editor and publisher, John Boyd ’72 turned his longtime hobby of creating stained glass panels into a small business. He also does custom portraits of boats and pets. Sunrise boat panel, $115. Use code BROWN for 20% off.
sailingglass.com  
(973) 517-0968

gifts_07.jpg

MARKS OF STEEL
Your own unique fingerprint can be reproduced in a 12-inch by 12-inch precision-cut plate of steel by Martha Dunham PhD ’93. $500 for unframed stainless. Use code BRUNONIAN for free framing.
identityexpression.com
(425) 430-0565

DEAD CENTER
Inspired by Haitian Voodoo Flags, Nina Shope ’98 embellishes Day of the Dead  Skull hoop art with sequins and beads. $20.
shopsnapdragon.com
(718) 915-6434

ONE-OF-A-KIND LINES
For sculptor Martha Dunham ’93 PhD the fingerprint is a universal symbol of humanity. She begins with an individual’s fingerprint, takes its unique pattern of curves and whorls through a design process involving hand-drawing, then transfers the image to a stainless steel plate using a precision cutting machine. Starting with a fingerprint, she can also design a custom cast bronze sculpture. “The fingerprint,” she says, “is both the abstract representation of an individual identity and simultaneously a symbol that, because it does not recognize race or creed, represents the unity of the human race.”

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YOGINIS’ CHOICE
Julie Sygiel ’09 polled 920 women about their dream yoga pants, and here, with a wide waistband, key pocket, and body-hugging fabric, is the result. Calf-length, $118. Use code brownalum for $10 off.
dearkates.com  
(606) 272-2263

CHIC COVERAGE
By popular demand, Nancy Cooke ’77, creates custom cell phone and tablet cases—with your choice of patterns, colors, monograms, and photos—using a state-of-the-art dye sublimation process. Cell phone cases, $29 (slim); $38 (tough, with rubber lining.) Tablet cases start at $38. Use code 
CAMPBRUNO10 for 10% off.
thatsnancy.com

gifts_09.jpg

HATS OFF TO BROWN
In the Ever True jewelry collection by Sarah Yarger Barnes ’80, sterling silver Bruno sits atop a ring and also connects to cufflinks as well as pearl and gemstone necklaces and bracelets. Bruno ring, $249. Collection prices range from $98 to $2,500.
cygnethill.com  
(847) 482-1242

CUBISM
In flavors like mint, rose petal, and lavender, hand-shaped sugar cubes by Sally Effman ‘87 come in a 6-ounce cellophane bag tied with a ribbon. $17.50/bag. Use code BAM2014 for a 10% discount.   
trio3.etsy.com
(203) 557-3925

gifts_10.jpg
WEDDING DUO
All dressed up in sequins and lace, the Marriage Equality Mix-and-Match Bride & Groom Skeletons are sold individually by Nina Shope ’98—in case you need two grooms or two brides. $30/doll.
shopsnapdragon.com
(718) 915-6434

HEAVENLY SCENTS
Anne McClain ’05 teamed up with her sister, Katie McClain ’07, to start MCMC Fragrances, which makes a variety of beautifully packaged products, from scented candles and perfume oil to eau de parfum and even beard oil! $45 to $95. Use code BROWNALUM for a 30% discount.
mcmcfragrances.com

FOLK STARS
Nina Shope ’98 took a year off while she was at Brown and spent four months in Santa Fe, New Mexico—a place she calls “folk art central.” With her dolls, ornaments, and hoop art, she says she’s combining her love of folk art with her love of crafts. Some of her hand-sewn dolls are the Day of the Dead skeleton bride and groom, a prominent theme in Mexican folk art. Her “saints” (not shown) are “protective charms for anyone who needs healing, inspiration, clarity, guidance, or peace.” Each is adorned with three charms, or milagros, including a heart-shaped locket that can hold a word on a tiny piece of paper stating the saint’s chosen purpose.

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GRANOLA SPILL
Courtney Overland Graff ’99 and her husband, chef Jason Graff, have created five distinct granola blends, all naturally sweetened with honey and locally sourced dried fruit. $10 to $12/bag; $13 to $15 for gluten-free.
graffsgourmet.com  
(310) 914-0689

BIG SKIES
Frontcountry is a book of photographs taken between 2006 and 2013 of rural Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Texas, and Wyoming by Lucas Foglia ’05 (Nazraeli Press). $50.

gifts_12.jpg

NEVER FELT BETTER

These pure wool felt handbags are designed and made by Gail Solomon ’76 and Barbara Materna. Both bags have an interior pocket that snaps out for use as a clutch bag. Fledermaus, $215; Joey, $195.
jackandcookie.com
(401) 996-0064

CANDY WRAPPER
This whimsical silk charmeuse scarf, created by Rawaan Alkhatib ’06, is called the Candy Fighters Scarf. The pattern is a digital print from her own designs. $100. Use code BAM15 for a 15% discount.
Rawaan-Alkhatib.com
(917) 929-5892

gifts_13.jpg

BROWN BEAR
A retired sociology professor, Bill Feinberg ’63, ’66 AM, ’73 PhD is now a sculptor. He says that he created Ever True as gifts for a gathering of six fellow denizens of Plantations House in January 2014. The bear is cast in a hard plaster called Hydrocal and hand-painted. $200.
feinberg-art.com  
(513) 542-8328

THE HARD QUESTIONS
My Gift of Grace, co-designed by Robert Peagler ’87, is a card-based “conversation game for living and dying well” that asks provocative end-of-life questions. $24.95
mygiftofgrace.com
(267) 687-8008

 

 





Comments (3)
11/11/14
 
Thank you BAM for including my Jack + Cookie handbags. Brown alumni, please call to order and I'll honor prices listed in this article (they are higher on the website), and I will also comp the shipping. 401-996-0064.
 
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11/29/14
 
Thank you so much for including my knitting and folk-art inspired creations, BAM! I love the way you support those of us endeavoring to sell unique, handmade gifts. The issue looks fantastic. A million thanks.
 
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01/08/15
 
Hey there! This is kind of off topic but I need some guidance from an established blog. Is it tough to set up your own blog? I'm not very techincal but I can figure things out pretty quick. I'm thinking about making my own but I'm not sure where to begin. Do you have any points or suggestions? With thanks
 
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