So, we all know the holiday season is coming up. If you are anything like me, you will wait until December to even start looking… It is a stupid idea. You already know this though, because you are like me and that’s what we do every year. Well, I decided I would try and get some shopping done early this year. Also, I decided that I would at least TRY and buy gifts that were either eco-friendly or that supported small business and local artisans making handmade stuff. Naturally I ended up at Etsy, a site I was already privy to, that is chock full of handmade and vintage goodies. There is a very wide assortment of hand-crafted shiny things, most of it is really good stuff. A few examples, you say? Why, certainly. I bought my wedding ring on Etsy from a husband and wife team called “TitaniumKnights”. The rings are really inexpensive for the quality, and not necessarily always intended to be wedding rings, I just liked the style. All their rings are crafted from titanium (hence the name) and are available in a variety of finishes. I decided to be difficult and requested something rather silly for a custom order, and while they were happy to accommodate, it turns out they do actually know what they are doing and that I should have just left well enough alone. I’m ordering another one. My fiancée has been carrying this ridiculously patterned wallet (company shall remain nameless) that she paid too much for due to the brand name being on the aforementioned (though not actually mentioned) company. It aggravates me and I personally find it to be unsightly. BUT I do like the idea of her having a wallet that will hold all her crap she carries and one that is a distinct ‘flavor’, in case she loses it. That, and she hates carrying a purse. I stumbled upon "RockitBot", a one-woman show that churns out THE coolest gadget wallets I have seen. I actually ran across her store while looking for a sleeve for my Droid, and discovered the Nerd Herder. I really want one for myself, but it’s too big to be pocketable. Honestly though, it was designed to consolidate all the junk you might carry around, so I didn’t really expect it to be tiny. Having said that, this thing is fantastic and could easily be clipped to a belt loop or something rather than a pocket, or used with a shoulder strap. Build quality is superb and the dimensions of the pockets are perfect for a Droid (or other phone/mp3 player), some cash and cards, a thumb drive or two, a set of ear buds and it even has a few SD card slots! Nerdcore at it’s finest. The Escape Pod wallet would be a better choice for those that don’t often carry a thumb drive or SD cards, as it gives a different pocket setup than the Nerd Herder, though both come with a card insert. Matching wrist straps or coordinating shoulder straps are available as well; both do a good job of keeping the Nerd Herder out of your way. Brook, both the brains and brawn behind the RockitBot madness, is also using some upcycled materials in some of her pieces. Guys, if you are like me and are just looking for something to protect your Droid, check out her gadget sleeves. Here are a few pics, the Nerd Herder is the greenish-graph-paper-looking one and the Escape Pod is the floral pattern: Etsy isn’t the only place to get great handmade stuff… One of our very own supporting vendors, Mikey/Cuskit of Mikradle fame, has been selling some brilliant docks for our phones for a while now. I gotta say, these things are bomb-proof too. I knock crap off my desk all the time, and it is really holding up well. I have even taken my Mikradle dock with me (thrown in a backpack, actually) on vacation and over to friends houses and it still looks new. Good stuff. Go see Mike and order something cool for someone! The reason for my rant? I like shopping for awesome stuff, plain and simple. Just wanted to pass some love on to my favorite forum and share some of the cooler nuggets of goodness I’ve found in the past year that I’ve been here. Also, if you did end up deciding that you are like me in your last-minute shopping habits, those are a few good starting points for some gift ideas. Keep in mind though, if you want handmade stuff by the holidays, order early! ps: if you want any bigger/hq images of these, feel free to PM me.