It’s that time of year again, and I’m so excited to show you the lovely products I’ve been developing and having manufactured here in the U.K. ready for Christmas 2023! There is something for all budgets, even while shopping small and supporting a local Christian small business.
My homeware ranges have been slowly expanding, and I’m so chuffed with the quality of the products that have been sent to me - you can do your research and send off gorgeous, high quality designs, but you never know for sure what will show up until, well, it shows up. I’m delighted with every product that has been made for me, which is a credit to the manufacturers and people who work hard and hone skills and crafts to make gorgeous products from the artwork I have produced.
I love seeing God’s creativity and work through this small thing, each person being able to do different things - from printing on paper to printing on ceramic, from printing on cotton to sewing, from binding to mixing chemicals to produce scents and smells that work with wax…
Anyway, enough chat, let’s get on to the products I’ve made for you to gift (or self-gift, no shame!) this Christmas.
1. Notebooks and journals
First up, I have a new collection of lined notebooks perfect for handy stocking fillers to suit children, tweens and teens, though I know many an adult who would enjoy these too. They are covered in fun animal illustrations, and the pictures continue into the inside of the sleeves. The options are Cool cats (wearing bow ties and hats), Forest friends for the woodland lovers and Ocean mammals featuring whales, dolphins and the like. At markets and within my own (extended) family, everyone has their favourite, but if you can’t decide, you can also get the collection of three, and bag a discount at the same time. That would be three gifts ticked off your list, too.
As well as these simple notebooks, I have two slightly more elaborate journals - one is a prayer journal which, designed out of my own need, has a "brain dump" section at the bottom of each page of lines, to jot down random things that come to mind as you pray - "we need carrots" instead of opening up your phone or heading downstairs to add them to the shopping list, just pop them in the brain dump section and continue praying. "I didn't answer that text from my mother-in-law" instead of answering it immediately and breaking the flow of prayer (which Satan is reeeeaaally trying to do), jot it down and respond when your prayer time is over. I wonder if Mary has had her baby yet. Instead of heading to social media immediately, jot it down and check later - and why not pray for Mary in the meantime?
Finally, a reading journal, designed out of my own need, again. I love to read, and keep track of what I read on Goodreads. But I also really love to have a physical copy of things, and am trying to get away from being on a screen so much (she says, as she writes a blog post on a laptop, which you are also reading on a screen).
Screens are unfortunately a big part of my job as well as a part of getting homework done, and keeping in touch with people. So to have a place to physically record what books I have read, what I thought of them and other fun stats is both creative and restorative to my digital fatigue.
I love flicking back through it now that I have stuck book covers in it and filled it in, coloured the little simple illustrations and very much made it mine.
2. A gorgeous Christian mug to stay cosy with that cuppa
This is a brand new venture for me, which I have been wanting to do for a couple of years, as I couldn’t find any nicely shaped Christian mugs that are a joy to use as well as have a good message of encouragement on them in a beautiful, tasteful way. In the research phase of this project, I struggled to find any lovely mugs that I could customise.
All I have needed thy hand hath provided
And then I found this, beautiful, minimalistic, large mug. The blanks are made in China and imported to be printed here. This was the best I could get. So sadly, this is not fully made in the U.K. (something that is important to me - I want to support local industries and keep British manufacturers in business), so I will continue to hunt for a manufacturer who can make the entire product closer to home.
In the meantime, I am still thrilled with this product, and my own mug has been in use daily since it arrived, and has been a great reminder of the hymn Great is thy Faithfulness through busy and hectic days.
3. More coziness with three scented soy wax candles
Now these could not be made closer to home if I tried, since I make these myself in my kitchen. From wax and fragrance oils sourced from England, I hand pour these soy wax candles on our hob and designed the labels myself which are also printed in England.
I love these smells so much and am really proud of the gorgeous high quality product I have taught myself to make. The amber glass containers are also reusable once the 55+ hours of candle burning time are up, so you can rinse out the jar and use it to store things in with the lid.
My favourite is Still, which smells of rhubarb and fresh mint, but the most popular with others is Emmanuel, which smells of Christmas Spice - it is gorgeously cinnamon-y. The third candle in the trilogy is Comfort, perfect for those autumn days when you want to snuggle up with a slice of warm apple pie and a good book! This one has lovely vanilla and apple scents with a hint of cinnamon as well.
4. Art prints for Bible reminders on your walls
I create art prints that I would enjoy on my walls. A lot of it is Christian art, some of it is to do with reading and two are the intersection of both these things with a quote by C.S. Lewis, and a quote from The Railway Children. Some of my art prints are fun, like the list of Hobbit meals from The Lord of the Rings, or one that gets giggles at markets which says "I like big books and I cannot lie"... and all are printed on archival 310gsm lovely tactile paper for a long lasting and beautiful high quality print.
I now have over 20 prints to choose from, with scripture verses, words that allude to scripture, illustrations and diversity to encourage and to infuse joy.
I have a growing collection of art prints that double up as Bible reminders to put on your walls
5. Christian tea towels
These went down well last year, selling out within months or ordering them, and after people requested them to come back to the shop, I have upgraded them and had a reprint.
The upgrades are small, since they were already lovely thick cotton, made in the UK and with a gorgeous piece of hand lettered artwork on them, there wasn't much to add, but using mine this year, there have been times i wished they had a loop to hang up rather than always hanging them on the oven. So a loop I have added. I also added a label on them which has my logo and washing instructions. The belly band has also changed slightly with my new logo and updated tag line.
Overall, I still love them, and hope they will be a gorgeous gift to many more people this Christmas. I personally love the idea of giving them to someone who has recently got married and moved into their first home together, someone who has just moved as a housewarming gift and students who have recently left home to move to university. Having words of faith reminding them who they are in Christ and who Jesus is couldn't come at a better time than when you've just left the comforts of home and are in the big wide world. The kitchen is the hub of the home but never more so than during those student years. Make it a place that shines the love of Jesus - and sparks conversations!
6. A 2024 Christian calendar
In 2021, I was a little late to the party and created a calendar for 2022 with less than a month left to go of 2021. In 2022, I was busy with other things and just getting the hang of applying to markets, starting wholesale and many other things, so somehow the 2023 calendar never happened. But a couple of people specifically asked for it at the end of last year.
This year, I started early and mentioned it a few times to my email list and on Instagram which meant I had to make it.
And I did. 2024's Christian calendar is on the theme of "The Heavens Declare The Glory of God" in the same format that I did in 2022, with an illustration on the top page and boxes to fill with appointments and exciting events on the bottom page. This year, the calendar is full of gorgeous pictures of incredible skies that I and other people around me have taken pictures of over the last few months. As well as the illustration, the picture at the top of each monthly page has a verse from scripture hand lettered on it, which can be read regularly, memorised and brought to mind as and when the need arises.
7. Don’t forget the wrapping!
You know the way a gift is wrapped makes it all the more exciting and enticing and so I have three Christmas wrapping paper options, and some gift tags too. If you want to go really fancy pants, you could top it off with some ribbon, I have four colours of ribbon available, and they really compliment the colours in the paper. All my Christmas wrapping paper is with a Christian theme, including nativity play for the kids, Emmanuel scandi wrap and deep blue and complimentary orange Peace on Earth paper.
I published a blog post on how to beautifully wrap gifts last year, which you can read here.
I hope this quick gift guide showcasing what And Hope Designs has been working hard to bring to life this year is useful and gives you some great ideas for stationery and homeware full of joy, elegance and fun, particularly if you want to give faith filled Christian gifts to friends and family this Christmas.
I have a couple more gift guides planned in the next few weeks, both from small businesses, one for christian items and one from businesses that are local to me - so in and around Belfast. Tune in for those soon!