Synapse to Synapse Cross-Stitch
Nerd culture meets homespun crafts in the witty cross-stitch work of Synapse to Synapse. Tardis pins, Mario necklaces and Pac-Man stockings—all will make your favorite geek smile, but we’re partial to the classic hoop art and framed pieces ... with decidedly unorthodox messages. $65, synapsetosynapse.etsy.com.
Joel Spencer TV Mirror
Your walls are boring. Give them a boost with one of these upcycled art pieces by local Joel Spencer and you’ll never watch TV the same way again. $175-$450, joelspencer.org.
Colorado River Coffee Roasters Sampler
Impress the family coffee addict with a box of locally roasted beans from the Boulder City crew that supplies Vegas’ favorite café, Sambalatte. The sampler comes with four 8-ounce bags of whole beans (Brazil, Sumatra, Guatemala and Ethiopia) that have been manually micro-roasted by a CRCR roastmaster. $25, crcoffeeroasters.com.
Spotlight: Just Us Freaks
When Erin Emre told her kids that their grandmother’s spirit lived on in butterflies, she didn’t think about them finding a dead one tangled in a fence. She transformed the body into an art piece bristling with steampunk watch gears on black agate, like a bionic being that might last forever. That piece inspired a legion of decorative and wearable art that honors everything from dried petals and insect wings to road-kill bones and botched taxidermy. Statement earrings made of porcupine quills in bullet casings and a delicate necklace of rabbit femur and raw quartz come with stories of salvaging dead animals (and enduring WTF stares), as well as incredibly reasonable prices. Emre has repurposed skin from her snake Meatball and teeth her kids have lost. Whimsical and lovely to hilariously macabre, her jewelry, sculpture and minutely detailed dioramas are a celebration of things we discard. “To me it’s not about being successful; it’s just about having fun,” she says of her Etsy shop and pieces at Cash 4 Chaos and Widow Den at the Arts Factory. “Being a starving artist, it’s just what I do.” —Erin Ryan
Just Us Freaks Rabbit Bone and Red Sandalwood Necklace Tea staining gives this found rabbit radius the slightest blush, echoing a vial of red sandalwood. Fixed to a delicate silver chain, these fragments of plant and animal life celebrate what stays behind. $15, etsy.com/shop/justusfreaks.
Oil & Blood Sweatshirt
Take one part vintage motorcycles and two parts native Las Vegans and you have the beginnings of the stylish stew that makes up lifestyle brand Oil & Blood. Even if you’re not a biker, gear like this lightweight Más Rapido sweatshirt will make you feel a little more Easy Rider, a little less Toyota Prius. $35, oilandblood.com.
Manbake Cookie Butter
Former personal trainer Seth Laguna and his fiancée started Manbake in March, making protein-packed mini-muffin Beefcakes in flavors like sweet jalapeño cornbread and peppermint mocha and healthier versions of cookie and peanut butters. Packed with nuts, chia seeds and hemp seeds, each serving of the craveable butters is trans-fat- and oil-free with plenty of protein, so you’ll look like the guy on the label in no time. Cookie butter: $15 for 16.3 oz.; peanut butter: $7 for 16.3 oz., manbake.us.
IAdornU Mid-Century Cinder Block Necklace
Mary Beth Heishman’s IAdornU line of jewelry features whimsical whales and personalized airplanes and speaks directly to fans of mid-mod architecture with stylish concrete blocks rendered in silver. Find them on rings, necklaces, bracelets and earrings. $80, etsy.com/shop/iadornu or Trifecta Gallery, 366-7001.
Named after the home address of married 20-something founders Logan and Roxanna Hendrickson, this mid-mod furniture and lighting outpost started as an online Etsy shop before breaking away to launch a dedicated web store. From industrial desk and wall lamps like the Telescoping Otis Light, to molded plywood chairs and rockers, everything in the shop is designed and handmade by Logan (Roxy does the administrative stuff when she’s not going to law school). Even the simpler items, like a plywood and metal iPad stand, are effortlessly chic, which is probably why OneFortyThree is already backed up with orders through the holidays. But don’t cross it off your wish list just yet. The furniture store will reopen in 2014 with a new website and new items, including chairs with (OMG!) Pendleton prints. Bookmark the site now (and follow on Instagram), and drool over OneFortyThree’s innovative designs until they’re available early next year. —Leslie Ventura
OneFortyThree Roxy Walnut Rocker It’s no wonder why the Roxy chair is Roxanna Hendrickson’s favorite OneFortyThree piece. Handmade from sleek molded plywood with your choice of leather or charcoal tweed cushions, the Roxy isn’t your grandma’s rocker. $475, shop.onefortythree.com.
Hippo Esthetics T-Shirt
Las Vegans might be the only ones who get this Wynn spin on the classic Charlie Sheen-ism, but that’s what makes it so sweet. $30, hippoe.com.
The Butcher Block Variety Pack
Comfort is knowing you have a freezer full of choice, hand-trimmed meats from the Butcher Block just waiting to thaw. Chicken kabobs to pork chops, BBQ burgers to all-beef dogs, this collection is ready for a New Year’s party or hibernation through spring. Variety Pack A, $100, 7625 S. Rainbow Blvd., 558-6328; 6440 N. Durango Drive, 570-6328.
Peg Buddies Superhero Peg People
Featuring the hand-painted likenesses of Captain America, Spider-Man, Batman and the Hulk, these smile-inducing petite wooden dolls (also available as Disney princesses or custom painted to look like your family) are for your inner child (and nostalgic adult). $72, etsy.com/shop/pegbuddies.
Local artists Arnel Baluyot and Estefania Rodriguez, collectively known as Ninjabot, just celebrated two important milestones: They got accepted as exhibitors at next July’s Comic-Con International in San Diego, the country’s biggest pop-culture fan event, and they got married. The couple, who met as students at the Art Institute of Las Vegas, have been creating art together for three years, during which time their popularity has grown enormously in the geek community both locally and nationally. Their prints, phone cases, buttons and other products feature art inspired by characters from comic books, movies and TV, with clever twists that present them in new and unexpected ways. The duo have completed several successful Kickstarter campaigns, the most recent one providing funding for a hardcover book of their Origins series, visually striking prints that encapsulate the origin stories of characters like Superman, Spider-Man and Wolverine. Balanced perfectly between comic-book nerdery and fine-art sophistication, Ninjabot has found a rewarding sweet spot. —Josh Bell
Ninjabot “Flying Graysons” The “Flying Graysons” print embodies the charms of Ninjabot’s art: It’s a beautiful and stylish piece on its own, evoking nostalgic imagery of traveling circus posters. Look closer, however, and you can spot its connections to the origin of Batman’s sidekick Robin, putting a unique spin on a familiar pop-culture icon. $25, theninjabot.com.
Ellis Island ’Nog
There’s no need to spike the local brewery’s special yuletide treat—more than 300 bottles of booze made it into this year’s batch. Rethink the red wine and bring the holiday party host a bottle of ’nog instead. $29.95, Ellis Island Casino & Brewery and Village Pub locations.
Sweaty man-parts are an epidemic. Fresh Balls goes on creamy with a powder-dry finish to keep you from chafing, stinking and other bad stuff that happens down there (so good stuff can happen down there). $12, freshballs.com.
Somersault Letterpress Cards
“Bring It, Fat Man” best sums up the dry, jocular wit behind Somersault Creative, a department of Las Vegas-based Somersault Letterpress custom print studio. The handmade chipboard card, printed with soy ink, features sophisticated minimalist text and design. $5.50, somersaultletterpress.com.
What do you get for the drinker who has everything? How about something that mixes with everything? Freakin’ Frog owner Adam Carmer created Freakin’ Lightning as an alternative to whiskey, and with its 88-proof blend of 95 percent American grain and 5 percent bourbon, it’s almost odorless and tasteless. Drink it on the rocks or mix it—perhaps into your favorite holiday concoction. $29.95, at liquor stores Valleywide.
Spotlight: And if you have a spare $99,000 ...
You could keep saving up for that $150,000 falconry kit from the Neiman Marcus catalog, or you could order a Local Motors Rally Fighter for a cool $99,900! This car is an elegant beast, comfortable off-road or on the Strip on its tubular steel chassis. The Fighter comes with a 6.2-liter Chevy E-ROD LS3 V8 (430 horsepower!), but you get to pick interior options and a custom skin to ensure your car is as rad as it is an extension of you. The best part is you’re not just driving it off the lot; you’re helping build it at the local Micro-Factory. No matter what your mechanical skill level, you’ll feel right at home next to the Local Motors team as you assemble the engine, run the brake lines and install the transmission, contributing more than 50 percent of the build by the time you’re done. It’s by far the coolest gift you could shamelessly buy for yourself. Local Motors, 515 Stewart Ave. —Erin Ryan