Online marketplace Etsy is often the go-to place for shoppers looking for unique, hand-made gifts.

Turns out it’s also a place for gifts that are unique, hand-made and local.

Hundreds of Mainers have shops on Etsy, selling everything from maple sugar to dinosaur-shaped menorahs, adult mittens to pearl necklaces for your cat.

“They’re just incredible artisans. Their craftsmanship is amazing,” said Lori Ouellette, who runs her own Etsy shop, Bear Mtn. Crochet, out of her Livermore home and is captain of the 930-member “Maine team,” which connects Etsy sellers from Maine.

With the gift-giving season in full swing, we chose a dozen Maine artisans and crafters offering one-of-a-kind items for you to give — or keep.

Almost every seller welcomes custom orders and item tweaking (in case you need it bigger or smaller or in a blue that’ll match his eyes). Shipping charges vary by shop and how fast you want it there.


One of the best things about buying local? Some will let you pick it up and skip the shipping altogether.

Want more unique, handcrafted Maine goodies? There’s plenty to browse. Go to and type “Maine” into the “chose a custom location” bar on the left side of the page.

Magical unicorn and phoenix costumes by Tree And Vine

$70 to $90

For a while, Ellen Okolita, of Gray, dabbled in the Etsy staple of bibs and little dresses. Then her oldest daughter asked to be a flamingo for Halloween and, voila, Okolita found her creative calling: intricate, one-of-a-kind felt costumes that make children’s imaginations soar.

“I’ve had some kids put the wings on and think they really can fly,” Okolita said.


The costumes are washable, sturdy enough to last through years of rough play, eco-friendly and made from American materials. (Okolita gets her felt, which is made from recycled plastic bottles, straight from the manufacturer in New Hampshire.)

Although Okolita can deck out young owls, bats and butterflies, her unicorn and phoenix costumes win the most hearts this time of year. The full three-piece pink-and-purple unicorn set comes with a horn, wings and tail. The three-piece fire-red phoenix set comes with a mask, wings and tail.

Want a magical adventure of your own? For a little more money she makes adult sizes, too.

Last day to order for the holidays: Dec. 12

Pick up available: Yes

Wool felted mittens for grown-ups by Grandma Sandeze



After Sandy Lamontagne retired from a career in computer programming, she decided she needed something to do. She’d always loved to sew, knit and crochet, but friends and family needed only so many baby blankets and booties. Her daughter suggested she set up shop on Etsy.

“I said, ‘What’s Etsy?'” Lamontagne remembered.

That was about four years ago. Today Lamontagne, who lives in Windsor, creates and sells adult bibs, knitted socks and toaster cozies, among other things. But her most popular item is grown-up wool mittens made from former sweaters and lined with fleece.

Colors, patterns and sizes vary, but not the workmanship. Lamontagne said she double sews every mitten, uses the best no-pill fleece she can find and is precise about the creation of her cuffs.

“I’m very fussy,” she admitted.


Want something less restrictive? She also sells hand-knit fingerless gloves — perfect for winter texting — for $16

Last day to order for the holidays: Dec. 19

Pick up available: Yes

Pearl necklace cat collar by Jeweled Horizons


Maureen O’Keefe has spent decades traveling and living overseas. And shopping. Lots of shopping.


For a while she collected the jewelry from the Middle East and Sri Lanka. Then, in Peru, she decided she could make the jewelry she wanted — and sell her creations to make money to buy more materials. 

Today she lives in Northport and runs Jeweled Horizons, an Etsy shop filled with stone and silver necklaces, African bead bracelets and glass bead earrings. But her most popular item isn’t worn by humans. 

It’s a magnetic-clasp cat collar in the form of a classic pearl necklace. 

“It was just a whimsy. It was just for fun because I have this wonderful cat,” O’Keefe said.

On Etsy, the pearls are modeled by O’Keefe’s cat Stevie, an elegant cream-colored Burmese who is shown gazing off into the distance, as if longing for the butler to bring her an afternoon treat.

That picture of Stevie has prompted a lot of O’Keefe’s sales. It’s also inspired some photographic copycats.


“I don’t really make very much money on these because the pearls are first class pearls, but I get such a kick because I ask (buyers) to send me pictures and they do,” O’Keefe said. “I have all these pictures of all these cats wearing pearl necklaces.”

Cat not a fan of pearls? O’Keefe also sells a cat collar necklace with hand-made African beads for $40.

Last day to order for the holidays: Dec. 19

Pick up available: Yes

Velvet Gothic choker by Arthlin



Lincey Viel moved to the United States from Canada several years ago to be with her husband. She was a microbiologist in Canada, but her schooling didn’t easily transfer. Work, for a while, was hard to come by.

“So I created my own job,” Viel said.

Today, Viel lives in Auburn and runs Arthlin, an Etsy shop dedicated to handmade Gothic-style jewelry. The chokers, pendants and earrings sell so well that she’s been able to make it a full-time job and hire a couple of people to help.

“For me it’s my livelihood,” she said.

Her most popular item right now: an adjustable velvet choker accented with a little bow tie. Although originally inspired by alt culture, the choker has gotten trendy with more mainstream wearers.

“I think it’s because they’re fun. They make nice little stocking stuffers,” Viel said.


Looking for something more intricate? Viel also makes wide lace chokers for $30 to $45, particularly popular in white with brides and in various colors for women who are recovering from neck surgery and want to cover scars.

Last day to order for the holidays: Dec. 18

Pick up available: No

Designer medical ID bracelet by Lively Accents


Cathy Murphy played around with crafts when her kids were little, but nothing really piqued her interest. Until, that is, she made a pair of earrings.


“I was hooked,” she said.

That was 28 years ago. Today, Murphy owns Lively Accents, a jewelry shop on Main Street in Norway. She also sells her handmade jewelry on a couple of websites, including Etsy.

Her pieces range from casual (Patriots earrings) to formal (crystal necklace). But it’s her medical ID bracelet that had gotten a lot of attention.

Made from glass beads and sterling silver components, it looks like any other stylish piece of jewelry. However, the center metal plate, which alerts doctors to the wearer’s health problems, makes it a discreet medical bracelet.  

Murphy came up with the idea after learning that an employee’s young child had Type 1 diabetes and needed to wear an ID bracelet — traditionally made from metal chain, and very obviously medical.

“Since we made jewelry, it’s like, why aren’t we doing that?” Murphy said.


The wearer’s metal ID plate clips on to the beaded bracelet, allowing it to be taken off and put on another bracelet. Murphy said customers sometimes order multiple bracelets in different colors — including one woman who has ordered seven or eight over time. 

“If you are dressing up, you don’t want to wear the bright-colored, summery-colored one. You can do a nice crystal one or a black one or whatever,” Murphy said. “I know a lot of people that have that issue that have to wear a medical alert tag. . . . They don’t want that (health problem) defining them. It makes them feel good to be able to wear a bracelet and to change it out and match their outfits or just to make it different instead of that stainless steel boring stuff.”

Looking for something simpler and even more subtle? Murphy also makes a $24.95 Type 1 diabetes awareness bangle bracelet with a stainless steel circle charm that says “Type 1 Diabetic.” 

Last day to order for the holidays: Dec. 19

Pick up available: Yes

Sensory learning toys by Hope Learning Toys


$12 to $60

While home with her toddler son last year, Heather Schultz needed a creative outlet. A former teacher with 10 years of experience, including working with kids with autism, she found that outlet in educational toys.

She started with a line of alphabet rocks.

“My son always loved it (when) we would go for walks in nature and he would pick up shells and rocks and sticks. That kind of love for nature that kids just naturally have, I decided to stick some letters on there and see if that would be engaging for them,” Schultz said. “He loved it and so I just kind of went from there.”

Schultz, who lives in the Knox County town of Hope, created a full line of nature-based and sensory learning toys, including alphabet bean bags, wooden number tiles and a fabric letter set cut from flannel.

However, the original $35 alphabet rock set — made from polished Mexican beach stones — remains most popular.


“They’re really engaging toys. More engaging than anything plastic that you could buy. . . . Kids are naturally drawn to them,” she said.

Want something unrelated to letters and numbers? Schultz also makes wooden stackable puzzles, including a $35 Christmas tree.

Last day to order for the holidays: Dec. 15

Pick up available: No

Hand-knit stuffed animals by Caldwell’s Keepsakes

$42 to $58


Jo Caldwell learned about Etsy a few years ago from her daughters, who liked to shop the site. Caldwell, a lifelong knitter and crocheter, considered posting her own creations to the site, but she needed something delightful enough to sell.

She found it in the form of a little knit rabbit.

The pattern came from a woman in Canada, but Caldwell, who lives in Turner, has worked to make the design her own. She’s since expanded her line of stuffed animals to include a well-dressed Dutch rabbit, bat and black bear. 

“I would do sweaters before and afghans, things like that, but I’d never made stuffed animals before. I thought it was neat,” she said.

This holiday season her most popular animals include: Holly, a nearly 12-inch-tall white alpaca in a Christmas dress; Cornelius, a 9-inch-tall polar bear in a red coat; and Jasper, a 9-and-a-half-inch-tall reindeer in a red-and-white robe. 

Want a stuffed animal that’s a little less Christmasy? Caldwell’s original Dutch rabbits are more holiday neutral in their pink or blue-and-yellow outfits.


Last day to order for the holidays: Dec. 15

Pick up available: Yes

Colorful handmade quiver by SM Leather Emporium


Sara and Christopher Roy started off making stuff for themselves: Garb. Bags. Archery gear. Medieval re-creation everything.

It turned out there was a market for it.


“People will see something more unique and ask, ‘Hey, where did you get that?'” Christopher Roy said.

Since 2014, the couple has run SM Leather Emporium — S for Sigrida and M for Magnus, their medieval aliases — selling handmade items most people wouldn’t see outside a Renaissance fair or archery range.

Their most popular item: handmade soft-leather quivers that can hold up to 24 arrows and be worn on the hip or slung over the back.

But they aren’t blend-into-the-background arrow holders. The quivers come in purple and yellow, blue and yellow, cognac and pink.

Credit the “Hunger Games” books and movies, Disney film “Brave” and Hawkeye in the Avengers comics and movies for many people’s sudden archery fascination. 

“I think people who might not have been initially interested in medieval lifestyle or medieval culture are branching out into traditional archery because of the popularity in pop culture,” Christopher Roy said.  


Want to carry something other than arrows? The couple also makes a leather “bag of holding” for $35. (Dungeons and Dragons fans will get the reference. Others will just see it as a nice pouch.)

Last day to order for the holidays: Dec. 20

Pick up available: Yes

Pop culture glitter ornaments by Make it Amy


A few years ago, drawn by the glitter ornament craze on Pinterest, Amy Landry picked up a plain Christmas bulb and turned it into a sparkly Minion.


“A lot of my friends were like, ‘Oh my gosh, I want that!’ And then somebody was like, ‘You should put it on Etsy,'” she said. “I wasn’t really familiar with what Etsy was at all.”

Landry, who lives in South Berwick, gave it a try. And in the month between Thanksgiving and Christmas that year she sold 200 Minion ornaments.

Last Christmas she focused on a “Star Wars” theme — a sparkly ornament designed to look like R2D2’s head, a gold glitter-filled bulb with C3PO on it and a black glitter-filled bulb with the menacing face of Darth Vader — and sold more than 600. 

“I was not prepared for that,” Landry said.

This year her designs include “Minions,” “Star Wars”-inspired characters, “Pokemon“-inspired characters, Jack from “The Nightmare Before Christmas,” the Grinch and a nod to “The Walking Dead.”

All can be personalized with a name and year on the back.


Looking for something less pop culture-y? Landry also makes two gumball machine ornaments (small and large gumballs) and a realistic yarn ball ornament that any knitter — or cat — would love.

Last day to order for the holidays: Dec. 15

Pick up available: Yes

Wooden dollhouses by A Toymaker’s Daughter

$229 to $599

Julianna Smalley is a fifth-generation woodworker, the latest manager of a 30-year-old family woodworking business and a dedicated maker of heirloom-quality toys.


She started her Etsy shop in 2013 and has since sold nearly 2,000 handmade wooden animals, children’s kitchens, wagons and play stands.

“I think most people are getting tired of the made-in-China, throw-away junk that you buy today, pitch tomorrow,” she said. 

Smalley’s most popular items are her dollhouses, which range from a basic traditional home to an intricately detailed cottage inspired by a coastal Maine mansion.

All wood is bought in Maine and each dollhouse is handcrafted. 

Want to really indulge your little one? Smalley also makes an $890 fairy tale castle complete with a working drawbridge, four sets of detached stairs and a cast of little wooden characters, some of them on horseback.

Last day to order for the holidays: Dec. 22 (in Maine)


Pick up available: No

Pure maple sugar by A&A Maple

$6 to $40

Over the years, Jon Amirault worked construction, sold vacuums, ran a small business selling collectible cards and managed auctions for a faith-based charity. 

Then he and some friends and family started dreaming about homesteading somewhere, maybe on a large plot of land that could pay for itself with a maple syrup business.

A&A Maple was born.


Amirault runs the Wilton business with family. Although it started out as a maple syrup company, maple sugar has become A&A’s best seller.

“It took on a life of its own,” Amirault said.

The sugar is made in small batches, by hand, using Grade A dark syrup. On Etsy it’s sold in half-pound to 4-pound bags. (Because 4 pounds of maple sugar might be just enough.)

Want something more traditional but just as sweet? Amirault sells Grade A maple syrup, too. A pint costs $8 and can be had in light, medium, dark or extra dark.

Last day to order for the holidays: Dec. 16

Pick up available: Not at the farm, but Amirault will deliver large orders in the area and is willing to meet local customers downtown.


Menorasaurus Rex by The Vanilla Studio


Pop quiz: Take one dinosaur toy, nine metal candleholders and a bunch of metallic paint and what do you have?

If you’re Lisa Pierce: Menorasaurus Rex

Pierce, of Portland, spent years creating art with kids in her synagogue’s religious school program, which meant she spent a lot of time trying to figure out how to turn found objects and craft supplies into Jewish things.

A few years ago, she made her first dinosaur-turned-menorah for a friend who was celebrating her conversion to Judaism. Soon she was making menorahs as gifts for other friends.


“I was having a ton of fun making and giving them, so when someone suggested I consider putting them on Etsy, it seemed worth a try,” Pierce said.

That was in 2014. Less then three years later, it’s her full-time job. 

“I still wander around occasionally thinking, ‘Hmm, I wonder if this could be . . .'” she said. “I’m beginning to think you can make a menorah out of almost anything.”

Her most popular item is the Menorasaurus Rex, a foot-long, 8-inch tall gold or silver Tyrannosaurus Rex toy fitted with nine metal candleholders. Each one is made to order, though some pieces are also available at The Jewish Museum Shop in New York City and at the gift shop at Congregation Bet Ha’am in South Portland.

Not a dinosaur fan? Pierce also makes a menoppopotamus (hippopotamus menorah), menurtle (turtle menorah) and menobster (lobster menorah) for $85 each. 

Last day to order for the holidays: Since each piece is made to order, it depends on the rush. Contact Pierce through Etsy or check out the shipping times on her shop‘s page.

Pick up available: No, but she will drop off locally when possible.

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or login first for digital access. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.