Holiday Gift Ideas: From Soap to Books

If you’re still looking for special, unique holiday gift ideas, here are some suggestions, sold by some of my uber-talented blogging buddies:


Saponissimo by Charlie of Figs and Lemons has gorgeous handmade natural soaps from the Amalfi Coast for sale at ridiculously affordable prices. You’ll find ingredients like olive oil, honey and beeswax blended with the plants, fruits, and flowers of Positano. Pictured at left is Arancia e Limone (orange and lemon) soap. Can’t you just smell that gorgeous citrus?


Sara of Moving Right Along has some really gorgeous handmade pieces of jewelry at her Sara Arts Etsy shop. You may remember Sara from when I featured her here? One of my favorites in her collection is the one pictured at right, The Romantic Wrist, Hand-Knotted Bracelet of Peach Aventurine, Garnet, and Sterling on Silk. Too bad P doesn’t read my blog….


Diana of Adventuring through Life also runs an Etsy shop, hers with her sister, called Sorelle (sisters in Italian). They have a great collection of unique gifts from pendants to earrings to cute purses like the one here on the left, the Pretty in Pink Fairy Godmother Purse. And sales! Be sure to check out the store for discounts on earrings and pendants.


I just finished My Cousin the Saint: A Search for Faith, Family and Miracles by Justin Catanoso. Yes, you’ve heard about this book before here, but now that I’ve read it, I can tell you how much I *love* this book. I could relate to so many of Justin’s experiences (not the saint in the family part though); I hope to write a fuller book review soon, but for now, just know that I highly, highly recommend it.

And staying in southern Italy, a book that I haven’t yet seen in person but can’t wait to read is In Etna’s Shadow: Culinary Adventures from Eastern Sicily by Karen Landes, who also authors South of Rome. Eastern Sicily is just a ferry ride away from me, so I’ll be interested to see how our cuisine compares and contrasts. Plus I love Italian culinary books in general, don’t you?

Anyone else out there selling their creations online this year?

Do share links in the comments!

***Be sure to check out Cherrye’s Texas Mud at My Bella Vita for this week’s La Buona Cucina Americana recipe. I promise it tastes *much* better than it sounds! And remember you can still enter to win a copy of The Feast of the Seven Fishes!

18 Beans of Wisdom to “Holiday Gift Ideas: From Soap to Books”
  1. Gil

    The first time I saw her pictures of those soaps I thought that they were pastries of some sorts. Don’t they all look good to eat?

    YES! The colors are amazing. I can imagine I’d let these sit out and rarely use them because they’re too pretty. I’m weird like that 😉

  2. 12.12.2008

    The Seattle librarians blogging at Shelf Talk offer several lists worth of suggestions for great gift books for younger readers – check ’em out.

    Shelf Talk’s last blog post..Teen Books for Giving

    Thanks for the tip! I love giving and receiving books as gifts 🙂

  3. I need to buy some of Fig’s soaps. There are so pretty though, almost too cute to use. ha

    Looking forward to reading your full book review. Have a great weekend.

    nyc/caribbean ragazza’s last blog post..Flashback Friday – “Heatmiser”

    I know! They are super cute! I wish I could buy up the whole inventory and send them to my friends in the States. I hope to work on the book review this weekend…they always take so much out of me. Hah!

  4. joanne at frutto della passione

    I love handmade gifts, both giving and receiving them. I always give handmade gifts at Christmas because of the huge *fiera del artigianato* that happens here in Milan every December. Thanks for the links, now I have more sources!|

    joanne at frutto della passione’s last blog post..Posting at Christmas

    I’m a big fan of handmade too, as you can probably tell. I wish we had more markets like that here!

  5. 12.12.2008

    You are right ‘Great minds..’ ! We should confer on blog posts : )

    Scintilla’s last blog post..Bring Italy to your Christmas!

    Indeed 🙂

  6. 12.12.2008

    Hey! Thank you for the link! But I must say it is really upsetting when people don’t use the soaps! They have such lovely ingredients in them, its a shame to waste them! And they feel so good on the skin too. Obviously the other reason is that you the use them up and need more!

    figcharlie’s last blog post..

    Excellent points. I can assure you that I would use *some* of the soap–I’m sure it feels lovely! Don’t worry, though; just because it was sitting there looking pretty wouldn’t mean I wouldn’t buy more…it would need company!

  7. 12.12.2008

    ur so cool! i can appreciate the blog love! thanks for sharing.

    My pleasure! And for those tuning in now, do check out Bren’s mom’s *amazing* jewelry (including some gorgeous couture!) at C.B. Herrera Jewelry 🙂

  8. 12.12.2008

    What great ideas!

    Glad you like ’em Diane!

  9. 12.13.2008

    I can testify for the soaps, I’ve bought them and use them and they are the best darn soaps I’ve ever used. To know that they are handmade with love only makes them better!
    Thanks for the other links as well, it’s always fun to find new objects to desire 🙂

    Annika’s last blog post..Play it again, Sam.

    Just ordered some…can’t wait to try ’em out! Glad you enjoyed the links Annika…I like window-shopping on the Internet too 🙂

  10. 12.13.2008

    Those soaps look awesome. I also recently discovered some handmade soaps, here in Puna, Hawaii, that are the best I’ve ever used. They have an incredible assortment, all at $6., but with free shipping! I can buy them at our Farmer’s Market, but just checked out their website:
    which is how I found out about the shipping.

    Claudia’s last blog post..Green Cabbage Rose

    Awesome find Claudia! Thanks for sharing 🙂

  11. Mmmm

    Wonderful blog you have here. Glad i found it. Ahh…Italy –somewhere I would love to go to one day. My mother loves it.

    that books sounds so interesting.I had not heard it before.

    Mmmm’s last blog post..Moving changes things…

    Welcome! Hopefully you and your mom can get over here someday together 🙂

  12. Marc

    Thanks for posting that book recommendation: it sounds like something I’ll have to read. I re-read Morris West’s “The Devil’s Advocate” recently, which takes place in Calabria. A good novel I thought and descriptive of the region around the end of WW2. Also liked Silone’s “Fontamara” very much which also takes place in Calabria, as I remember.

    Marc’s last blog post..Cow Abductions: Crisis in the Heartland

    Ooh excellent! Thanks for the recommendations 🙂

  13. 12.14.2008

    What a wonderful surprise to stop by to read your blog and see a purse that looks a lot like my sister’s. I continue reading and find it IS my sister’s purse!! Thank you so much for mentioning our Etsy space. and yes, that soap looks yummy enough to eat.

    Diana’s last blog post..I need a plan – yep, me and Oprah

    Hah! That’s funny Diana…I bet you thought at first that someone was stealing your designs!

  14. 12.14.2008

    So excited to discover Charlie’s new blog…been searching for a while now. Her soaps looks so delicious! Love all the other links also.

    girasoli’s last blog post.."favorite"~ PhotoHunt

    Glad you found Charlie too! There would be a definite void in the blogosphere without our Charlie 😉

  15. 12.14.2008

    I don’t believe one can ever have enough Italian cookbooks! 🙂 Or Italian travelogues!


  16. 12.14.2008

    Grazie Michelle!

    But I should warn you, re: In Etna’s Shadow…it’s not really a cookbook. It’s more a travel journal with a culinary bent. I know, sounds odd. But it’s meant to give readers an understanding of the food of Sicily through short stories, or culinary adventures as I call them (as opposed to one recipe after another). It’s a great book to just have around as you can pick it up and put it down again and again.

    I’ll have to check with Santa to see if you are on the naughty or nice list! Perhaps there will be a new book under your tree this year 😉

    Ciao, Karen

    South of Rome’s last blog post..Sicilian Trash

    Ooh sounds even better Karen! I’ve adjusted the post a bit 🙂 I would love Santa forever if he came through on this one! Ah who am I kidding? He’s always on my “nice” list 😉

  17. 12.15.2008

    What a great post Michelle…that last book looks delicious, & the soaps sound divine! Have a great holiday season…love n hugs

    Deeba’s last blog post..HUGS FOR BARBARA…Comfort pasta

    Glad you enjoyed Deeba!

  1. [...] bleeding espresso from her adopted home in Calabria, offers some sound holiday gift-giving advice here ,...
Michelle FabioMichelle Fabio is an American attorney-turned-freelance writer living in her family's ancestral village in Calabria, Italy and savoring simplicity one sip at a time. 

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