Gift Guide for the Creative

Marian ParsonsFavorite Things22 Comments

As the holidays are approaching, I thought I would share a few of my favorite things in various categories in case you need a little help with some Christmas shopping.  I’m often asked about the supplies I used in my studio, office, and sewing room, so here is a round-up of a few things that would make nice gifts for the creatives in your family (or perhaps to put on your own list!)  Here is my Christmas shopping gift guide for the creative…


christmas for the creative gift guide | miss mustard seed

Gift Guide for the Creative | Stocking Stuffers

If I wasn’t able to buy tools, supplies, and materials as a business expense, my stocking would be stuffed with pencils, paper, little notebooks, brushes, and other fun goodies to use when creating.  I rounded up a few of my favorite little things here…

holiday gift guide for the creative | miss mustard seed

All of the products are featured in the slider below, but here are the highlights…

THESE pencils are a must for me!  I use them all the time and have at least one at each desk, one in my purse, and one in each to-go art pouch.  I bought them for Jeff and Calvin’s stockings last year because they kept borrowing mine.

THIS NOTEBOOK is another staple.  I have a pocket version for my purse and the largest version for my desk.  I fill it with three inserts – one lined for journaling, one bulleted for notes, and one blank for sketching.  I like that it lays flat, it’s refillable, and both the leather notebook and kraft inserts are high quality.

THESE SCISSORS are the best for paper and fabric.  They hold a very sharp edge!

THESE wooden crochet hooks are my favorite.  They feel nice in your hand and look beautiful, too.

They aren’t pictured, but I use THESE little sticky flags all the time for marking pages in books I want to revisit.  Anytime I’m feeling a little lost or stuck, I’ll pull out a book with a bunch of tabs sticking out of it and it always gets my creative juices flowing.  I also like that they are repositionable, so I can reuse them.

THIS 5 x 7 pochette notebook is a great way to store sketches or small paintings.  It also comes with a pretty envelope filled with extra paper.  The paper is pretty thick and accepts light washes and acrylic paint.

I have lately been using a block of French olive oil soap to wash my brushes and it does an amazing job at cleaning up oils and acrylics.  I’ve been using one for a few months and it’s only worn down about 1/4 of the block (and I paint a lot!)  One block will last a looooong time.

Gift Guide for the Creative | Custom Pieces

In an age when it’s easy to just order something online and have it shipped directly to the recipient, it’s nice to find things that can be personalized.  That little extra step shows some additional thought and consideration.  Last year, I bought my dad a beautiful monogrammed leather guitar strap for Christmas.  In keeping with that idea, here are a few things that can be personalized…

holiday gift guide for creatives | miss mustard seed

I have two of THESE brush/pencil rolls and I love that I was able to have my name or monogram put on both of them.  I was even able to have the larger brush roll customized to fit my longest brushes.

I also love THIS monogrammed pouch for carrying crochet/cross stitch supplies.  It could be used for make-up, pencils, and several other things, too.


Gift Guide for the Creative | Books

holiday gift guide for creatives | art books | miss mustard seed

I have so many favorite art books that it’s hard to pick just a few!  I have picked out my very favorites for painting and sketching, though, and they are listed in the slider below…


You can also find more book recommendations on my Art Resource page and in my Books of the Week posts.

Gift Guide for the Creative | Gift Cards/Digital Products

If you know someone who would like to take an online art class, the art courses from Jeanne Oliver’s Website are some of my favorites.  There is a wide variety and the classes are always inspiring.

best online art classes | jeanne oliver | miss mustard seed

Blick is my first stop whenever I’m shopping for art supplies.  They have just about everything and their prices are typically better than you’ll find at a local art/craft store.  A gift card from Blick would be a welcome gift for any creative!

holiday gift guide for creatives | miss mustard seed



Gift Guide for the Creative | Big Gifts

If you want to splurge, here are some of my favorite big-ticket items…

Of course, my easel.  I actually get asked about my easel a lot, so I’m planning to do a review on it in the near future and show how it works and why I love it.  It is the Sienna Counterweight Studio Easel.  After researching easels for several weeks, I narrowed in on a counterweight easel, so I could easily adjust the height without cranks.  I can just raise and lower it with the push of a finger.  I can paint as small as 3 x 5″ (although that’s a little silly for such a large easel) and very, very large.  I don’t even know how large, but I can paint as big as I’ll ever want to paint, I know that!  It’s one of my favorite gifts I’ve given to myself through my art journey.

holiday gift guide for creatives | sienna counterweight easel | art studio | miss mustard seed

My drafting table is another splurge.  It is such a beautiful piece of furniture, though, with knobs and gears that adjust the height and tilt of the table to make it a very versatile piece.

holiday gift guide for creatives | drafting table | miss mustard seed

I also included one of my sewing machines that is good for medium-duty home decor sewing, as well as my camera (Nikon D810) and a couple of my favorite lenses.


I hope this gives you some good ideas to add to your list!  These are all items I own, use, and highly recommend, not just a round-up of things I curated online.

If you’d like even more ideas, you can find my favorite creative books and supplies on my Art Resource page.

I’ll be sharing more gift guides in the coming weeks!

Gift Guide for the Creative

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22 Comments on “Gift Guide for the Creative”

  1. Hi Marian – thanks for all the great gift ideas! Would you mind fixing the link to the notebook? (It goes to the pencils)

    Thanks! 🙂

  2. I put two things in my cart~ the sewing machine and the sticky flags. I have been dreaming about sewing again and I never have enough sticky flags for all the treasured words and pictures I find.

    Thank you for sharing such a diverse and fun list!

    ps~ I loved seeing the sunshine in your photos <3

      1. I was wondering about the yarn you should in the picture . It is so beautiful! Where did you get it?

  3. Hi Marian, I asked in a post last week I believe, about those charming brass bells in your kitchen by your sliding glass door. I really love them & was wondering where I might find them. Thank you so much!

    1. Oh, sorry, Karen! I bought them off of Etsy by just searching for “vintage brass wall bells”. I found several of them, so I imagine you can do a little hunting and come up with one!

  4. I so wish you had more options than Amazon. In order for us to continue to thrive in local communities, etc. we need to support small businesses.

      1. Tonya,

        Yes, I did include some small businesses, but I also want to point out that many products sold through Amazon are sold by small businesses. For years, I was a small business selling my milk paint line on Amazon. Just wanted to let you know!

  5. Thank you for always sharing your wonderful talents and creativity. Your example of living your theme I find very encouraging. I do have two requests: 1) could you repost the link to the online fabric store you frequent for decorator fabrics, 2) do you know of a source for needle point needles that do not contain plutonium? I have a dear friend that loves to do needle point but is allergic to the metals in the needles.

    1. Ha! I was wondering if my needles were radioactive! 🙂 I get fabrics from a few different places online, but you can find some specific links in this post…

      As far as the needles, I’m really not sure. The only thing I can think of is to see if you can find needles made of bone or wood. Or perhaps she can wear thin gloves while doing needlework?

  6. Of all the things! The repositionable tabs. I have had a hard time. I make journals, and like to give ideas, so they are perfect.! Lots of good ideas, and lots of really quality things…thank you!

  7. Love your ideas! I would caution people to be careful in choosing a sewing machine. The Singer you have is a heavyweight version, which is likely why it has worked out for you. The regular new Singers are plastic and are not good quality. I helped a newbie to sewing, that had received a Singer for her birthday. It was a frustrating experience for her because the machines are all plastic and we spent more time fixing the machine than sewing. I would recommend finding an “old” Singer or a Bernina, depending on the budget. A good used machine is much better than a new plastic version. Individuals new to sewing will become frustrated and think they don’t like sewing and not realize it is that they have a poor performing machine.

    1. Those are good tips! I had a sewing machine from the 1970’s that was my moms and it was a workhorse! This particular Singer has worked well for my medium-duty sewing and it’s not too expensive for someone starting out. I agree that vintage ones in working order are likely going to last longer.

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