Meet the Local Talent!
At Great Gifts, none of the items you find in shop are purchased from online wholesale marketplaces. Everything comes direct from Tri-Cities and Great Lakes Bay Region artisans and crafters.
We house creations made by over 100 local talents!
We'd like to introduce you to some of the people who present their amazing creations at Great Gifts.
Learn a little about them, why they do what they do, and browse the slide shows that are just a small selection of their work. Then, be sure to stop by Great Gifts soon and choose one of their items to be your own!
Smiles by Garlynn
"I am a Midland, MI based photographer with a passion for capturing the beauty and joy of nature. I started my business in 1994 when I worked as a freelance artist for many years. My photography has been published in magazines and books, and used in marketing campaigns. My nature photo-art can be purchased at Art Shows and Festivals, in local gift shops, and online."
~ Garlynn, Smiles by Garlynn
The stunning 4" x 4" Acrylic Glass Blocks highlight Garlynn's vibrant style of photography. The crystal clear blocks are lightweight, yet free-standing, so no frame is required. Light enters in from all sides, illuminating the UV-protected photo in a unique way, which greatly enhances their brilliance and depth. These tiny pieces of art have a sculpture-like, 3D appearance and they fit perfectly on a windowsill, shelf, or desk! Matted prints and gallery-wrapped canvases are also available.
Visit Smiles by Garylnn Photography's Facebook page to view her gallery.
"I am a Michigan native with fond childhood memories of snapping black-and-white photos using a Kodak 126 cartridge camera. Although the cameras I've cradled have changed significantly over the years, my love for photography has stayed constant.
Upon reaching adulthood, photography became a right-brained necessity to offset a rewarding left-brained career, which I retired from in 2016.
In 2012, I started my photography business, Kabscapes. I create my own prints, notecards, and framed work of mainly landscapes, wildlife and flowers photographed at a wide variety of locations - domestic and abroad, and at times right out my back door. I also offer canvas prints and coasters created from y photos. By 2015, I had expanded into authoring children's books. The books, which include some of my photography and others' credited photos, weave my strong interests of nature, creative writing, and photography.
It is my hope and pleasure to share artistic expressions of what keeps me grounded and appreciating all life has to offer!"
~ Karen Brooks, Kabscapes
Sandy Shores Handmade
"I am born and raised in Michigan. Spending the first part of my life in Durand, then I headed off to college and ended up settling in the hospitality world. Twelve years ago, my husband and I decided to leave our corporate jobs and bought a Bed and Breakfast in Northern Michigan. Being back in the area where I had spent so many summers at camp renewed my love of the arts and I started taking different classes. I have always found arts and crafts projects and being creative to be relaxing and something that brings me a great deal of joy and satisfaction. It started while I was a young girl, and it has continued through the years. While I enjoy creating in many different mediums, I have discovered a true passion for working with glass first learning to create stained glass pieces, and then I discovered the world of fused glass. I have discovered that I thrive in creating unusual, fused glass shapes or designs with lots of color. While you can create, shape, and plan a piece, you are never quite sure how it will do in the kiln. So, there is a great deal of excitement each time you open the lid to see how the piece turned out! I am always humbled when someone decides to add a piece of art that I created to their home or give it as a gift. What better way to feel rewarded than that? I truly feel blessed to be able to live in a place that continuously inspires me and to be able to create in the fused glass world. It is not a coincidence that the word "art: is hidden inside the word "heart". ~ Melanie, Sandy Shores Handmade
Vickie's space at Great Gifts is full of a variety of items. You'll find adorable stuffed animals and dolls, crocheted, and of various sizes. There are also bowl cozies, tumblers, bags, goblets, mugs, and baby blankets.
Ric Mixter was awarded for 20 years of maritime preservation by the Association of Great Lakes Maritime History. He has produced over 30 shows on local history for PBS and the Outdoor Channel and has appeared on the History and Discovery Channel as a shipwreck expert.
Pamper your fur friends with items by Emilyn Boutique! There are collar sizes available from small to x-large, and a variety of designs from which to choose. Marcia of Emilyn Boutique has even made matching scarves for some of the designs. And, she hasn't forgotten about you. There's a wide selection of key chains to choose from too.
Lorie's specialty is junk journals crafted from vintage children's books and handmade cards. The journals make a wonderful keepsake for a collection of memories. And the cards are some of the most dainty, cute cards we have ever seen!
Ingrid specializes in furniture recovering, re-upholstery, professional sewing, and home fashions. Her belief is that most old furniture is constructed far better than today's store bought furniture; that in today's throw-away society we are throwing away far better furniture than we are replacing it with. Which is why reupholstering furniture is so important. Ingrid also designs custom handbags under the Viva La Diva label, using fabric featuring her friend Lisa Owens designs.
"My children and I were needing interesting things for us to do together. One thing we found that we enjoyed was visiting some of our local art galleries where on visit the kids saw some scrap metal yard art and said 'you could do that dad'. So we went home and made the first piece, a giraffe. That was in 1998 and I've been making them ever since. I strive for originality and quality in every piece and hope to make them as long as I continue to enjoy them." ~ Roger, Steelvisions
Michele brings to Great Gifts a variety of sewn and embroided items.
Lynn M. Hoerauf, Local Author
"I enjoy sharing humor and insight and cheering people on as they flourish in their lives and relationships. You will be engaged, energized, and laugh out loud during my keynotes and while reading my book. I’d love the chance to speak at your event and to hear your thoughts about my book and blogs. Here’s to your best life ever." ~ Lynn
"I have been doing crafts and making from a very young age. The list of things I have created is endless as trends come and go. It all began when I was in grade school and my mom taught me how to sew. I would make my own clothes and currently still do at times. Clothes for my boys when they were little, doll clothes for my granddaughter, decorate my house, make dolls and the list goes on. I’ve done ceramics, weaved baskets, or have attempted to make anything I saw and liked, but knew my limitations. So I usually make what I can and make sure it is done very well. When you buy one of my creations you know my heart, soul and a lot of love went into every step. My craft room is my happy place and I’m trying to convince my husband it is cheaper than therapy, but I don’t think he’s buying it." ~Jeanne
At Tranquil Pottery, the words ”always learning” are often heard.
We live with our three sons on a small 10-acre hobby farm in Hope, Michigan in Midland County. My wife and I enjoy making functional pottery as well as artistic pieces. We mix all our own custom glazes from scratch which are nontoxic and lead-free. Our pottery is dishwasher, microwave, and oven safe. Other interested include raising Romney sheep that produce wonderful spinning wool used for knitting and weaving. Our farm also includes a few cats, roaming chickens, and our dog Wyatt. Some years bees abound for honey production. Thank you for your interest in our pottery."
~ Jared & Kimmy, Tranquil Pottery
"We are a husband and wife team that makes a variety of artsy items, but is currently focusing on soaps (Rhonda) and polymer clay jewelry and decorative bottles (Scott). Both of us have a Fine Arts background and seek ways to elevate craft into art and integrate art into crafts. We both love creative, unique, and whimsical items. You can often find us at a museum or bookstore, hoarding information and gleaning ideas for what might come next! We have been married for 23 years, and having separate art rooms at home has kept us relatively sane. We are thrilled to be a part of Great Gifts." ~ Rhonda & Scott, RaftcRafts
"I live in Midland, am married, and am a school Guidance Counselor. I have 3 children-2 in college and one who just graduated from college. I started scrapbooking before my oldest child was born, over 23 years ago to make family albums, and expanded to start my scrapbooking business, Preservations, over 15 years ago. It has been very rewarding creating personalized scrapbooks for others from baby albums, birth to senior year "Graduation" albums, Graduation highlight boards to Retirement albums. I am excited to have recently become a Norwex consultant so lots of rewarding things to occupy my time with! I have always enjoyed "crafting" and now that my children are older, I have been making crafts to give as gifts and now thanks to Great Gifts, I can showcase and offer my crafts at their wonderful shop! I would be thrilled to customize an album, frame, stacked book, or craft item for you! ~ Cynthia, Preservations
S & S Designs
"I have been creating jewelry for the past several years. It has kept me busy in retirement. I love designing with natural gemstones, such as Jasper, agates, freshwater pearls, and crystals. There are so many beautiful stones to choose from. I make necklaces, bracelets and just recently began making suncatchers. I enjoy working with the crystals and watching them sparkle in the sunlight." ~ Donna, S & S Designs
Steady Forever Creations
"Everything is handmade and can be customized. Whether you're looking for cute and summery or dark and devious, Steady Forever Creations has it or can make it! We happily take custom orders. Everything is made by me in my home in small batches to ensure quality and craftsmanship. I look forward to helping you find your perfect match.!" ~ Sarah (Steady Forever Creations)
The Bow House Shop
"I do headbands, tiebacks, and hair clips. All of them are unique designs from hand made flowers. I love mixing colors, fabrics, and textures. I take a special look to little details and don’t rush on making any piece. Each accessory is light and super comfy for big and little girls to wear. I learned how to handcraft when I was 10 years old with my mom. In 2013 crafting was my relaxing therapy. I'm confident you won’t find hair accessories like mine from anybody else." ~Rocely, The Bow House Shop
"We are a husband and wife business from Beaverton, MI.
We have always had many hobbies and are looking at making this hobby something to take us into our retirement years. We love to create unique wood crafts and decorative items for others to enjoy. HANDMADE--made with love, made with care, and made just for YOU. Personalized and custom items such as signs, holiday decor, ornaments, engraved cutting boards, coasters, living hinge items, and more created for family, friends, and others." ~ Jennifer & Milan, JaM Creations
Debi's love for papercraft began early in 2021 as she was seeking a creative outlet. For several months, her creations were given away or sold to friends who were looking for a special gift for someone. After a lot of prompting from friends to offer her art to the public, Unique PaperCraft was born. Using primarily card stock, adhesives, and a variety of frames and shadow boxes, Unique PaperCraft offers a selection of wall art, wedding decor including centerpiece lanterns, and a variety of other unique items. Personalization is available for most pieces at a very low cost, and the item can usually be completed within 24 hours. “I just want to make pretty things and share them with others.” - Debi, UniquePapercraft
"Upcycled guitar string jewelry! Strings come from music stores and musicians around greater Detroit! I'm Kera, owner/creater! I've had a guitar at home since I was 16, even though I've never learned to play! I've had opportunities to use strings from Metallica to make bracelets for a charity auction, personal strings from loved ones to make sentiments for family members, made keychains out of "meet n greet" concert picks...I never thought making jewelry from trash would have such a personal effect on people. From the start, I've kept my prices under $20. And have found guitar pick providers to offer custom picks to my customers at no extra cost! Everything is made in my home in Waterford, MI." ~ Kera, Restrummed
"Holiday seasons in my family were marked by the ladies exchanging homemade Christmas ornaments. That usually meant my mother would create some form of crochet ornament - I remember watching her form delicate white snowflakes with a tiny steel hook, then starch them and add a layer of sparkly glitter. Another year, I remember her using blue thread with gold running through it to crochet halves of spheres, and using those to cover Styrofoam balls. It wasn’t until my daughter (now 17 years old!) was born that I entered the world of crochet myself. I taught myself out of a book while I was on maternity leave (Yes, my mother laughed!). Since then, my daughter has watched me the same way, and I’ve crocheted everything from baby blankets and booties to amigurumi and jewelry. She has asked for many items of her own, and proudly worn them to school and to visit gramma & grampa. I’m now designing items of my own in addition to crocheting just to keep my hands busy! I’ve had my own Etsy store since 2017, and am on Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest, all under the name Castle Wackerly. As well as momming my three kids, I’m also completely in love with my Harley Davidson and enjoying riding all over the state. Plus I’m working on some home improvement projects. I recently switched my day job from a journalist at my hometown newspaper to auto sales (Lols, yes, a big career switch, but all the same skills! Who knew??)." ~ Kelly, Castle Wackerly
White Daisy Candles
"At White Daisy Candles, we have been creating hand-poured, 100% soy candles for 2 years. A family member inspiration opened up the opportunity for this new crafting adventure and we've been enjoying it ever since. Long time crafters, our candles are affordable, non-toxic, and clean-burning with over 30 fabulous scents to choose from which make great gifts for any occasion!" ~ Sherry & Cyndi, White Daisy Candles
"I enjoy sewing. Making quilts is a pass time that I love. Giving a homemade gift for someone special means alot to me. I also love to watch TV in evening with a crocheted project to work on." ~ Debra Dickman
" I have been involved in crafting of one form or another since childhood. From learning to machine knit sweaters and afghans as a young girl, I moved on to paper crafting in college when I discovered the creative outlet that comes from creating scrapbooks and greeting cards. My projects now involve more glitter, paint and vinyl; but I still enjoy the creative process and seeing the smiles that my items bring. " ~ Anna, AMW Designs
Crafts In Mind
"I don't create my wood designs out of a desire to make money. I do it simply because I enjoy doing it and sharing my work with others." ~ Barb Koscielski
ShirtTail & Co.
"We are a husband and wife team from Kalkaska, MI. We love doing all arts and crafts. John does photography and epoxy, Laurie scrapbooking and cards, but together we love doing the Fractal Burning. We use raw woods, water, baking soda, and electricity to make unique one-of-a-kind products. We start with raw wood paint a light coat of baking soda and water solution on the wood, hook up electricity to both ends of the wood and turn it on. The electricity tries to complete the path across the wood-burning a unique design into it. We have been burning for about 4 years now. We make candle holders, coat hooks, crosses, key/jewelry hooks, bottle openers, and much more." ~ John & Laurie, ShirtTail & Co.
Craft & Seoul, Inc
" I have been in business running Craft & Seoul, Inc. since 2019 and am located in Midland, MI. I'm a native of Wisconsin and a lifelong maker and I like to think of myself as a cross-crafter who can do most crafts (except knit, crochet, and make candles). My goal with Craft & Seoul is to provide quality, handmade home and holiday decor for you, your family, and friends. I love a challenge and welcome requests for custom orders." ~ Mary, Craft & Seoul, Inc.
Along the Shores, LLC
"Along The Shores LLC handcrafted art pieces are designed using unique combinations of vintage embellishments, raw gemstones and all natural beach glass tumbled by seas and lakes over time. Each collection is curated to reflect the world's waterways." ~ Keli & Mike, Along the Shores, LLC
We have over 100 vendors showing and selling their items at Great Gifts. Not all are profiled here as they don't have social media accounts or shops to share with you online. But that doesn't mean their items are not amazing! So, be sure to stop by Great Gifts in person sometime soon to get the real feel of what all our wonderful Michigan artists and crafters have to offer you.