Simple, elegant, bright and cheerful these heart decorations are exactly what I’d make myself for a friend’s Christmas present. Hand-made by the ladies of the Heartfelt project, they are full of love, just as if you’d made them yourself – giving the extra the joy of a hand-made gift.
To tell the truth, I’m a little nose out of joint here, as Heartfelt was the name I’d picked in the unlikely event that I actually got around to creating a business out of my own felt sewing projects. I never did and they have, so I wish them very well with their initiative and am glad that they have so many lovely products to be worthy of such a brilliant name!
Heartfelt are a community initiative in South Africa, creating employment in a poor rural area and bringing new skills to the community. They create all sorts of felt products besides these (think magnets, keyrings, toys and mobiles) so go and browse for inspiration if you are looking for a special and individual gift. The website has a proper shopping cart and converts prices into several international currencies, so makes online shopping very easy – a welcome change from so many small sites and a sign of an efficient business!
These felt heart decorations cost R29 (about $3.50)
Rootz Creations makes these wonderful greetings cards with a little beaded symbol in the front, framed by traditional iShweshwe African fabrics. They come in a huge range of designs including African animals and flowers.
This little pink beaded heart on a red background, isn’t really my favourite colour combination, but a batch of these could be made to order in any colour combo you like, so browse the rest of the page and order a customised set.
Rootz is a work creation project for women in the Thousand Hills area of KwaZulu Natal and makes a real difference to the lives of families in the area. They sell through various upmarket gift and craft shops including the Shop at the Top of Table Mountain in Cape Town. Their website isn’t strictly an online shopping site and doesn’t display the prices, but you can put in an order or an enquiry from the site and I’d hate to let you miss out on their gorgeous products…
Berg cypress with natural hand-carved hearts
If you’re looking for a loving gift for an eco-warrior, what better than a tree? And a tree hung with natural hand carved hearts from a sustainable source gets even more romantic green stars!
These trees come from Heart Wood, a South African tree gifting company, who have gone all the way to make sure that this is a truly green gift, with recycled packaging, indigenous tree choices and loads of love put into the whole concept.
Love the idea but you’re not in South Africa? Try Tree2myDoor, a tree gifting company who deliver special trees as wedding gifts, Valentines gifts and more in the UK.
And in the US you can send gift boxed trees and bushes of various indigenous and exotic species from Colorado spruce to Ginkgo tree.
Assegai tree with hand-painted red hearts
If these little trees don’t make a big enough statement for you, how about buying an indigenous large tree from a specialist nursery. These can be any size up to about 3m tall or larger if you choose. Hang the tree of your choice with hearts and have it delivered to her door. Make sure you’re there to help plant it though, otherwise the romantic gesture might not go down all that well. Better still hire the tree planting service to do all the planting and maintenance of the tree.
There is something appealing about the intricate and detailed work that goes into beading. It conjures up visions of careful hand work, created with love… and that’s what you want for a special gift for your loved one – something that has love in its fabric.
This bead heart comes from Streetwires in Cape Town, South Africa, a group of artisans working with beads and wire to create everything from small bead pieces to huge works of bead art.
This bead heart doesn’t seem to be currently available from their US stockist, Global Goods Partners (though they do have some other gorgeous bead keychains, ornaments and earrings). It would be worth enquiring from them whether they can get hold of some heart keychains for you, or else place an order directly with Streetwires, though they may need you to order a certain minimum amount.
This heart mobile comes from the heart of South Africa, from a company building a ‘Love Foundation’ –empowering its artists and crafters and raising funds for community projects at the same time.
If you want a gift that gives to others as well as to your beloved, then choosing one of their heart gifts automatically donates 10% of the price to a community fund supporting underprivileged families and children in the area of George, on South Africa’s Garden Route.
The traditional Zulu wire work and bead design would look great anywhere in the world!
Costs $34.12 from Giveaheart