Gift Ideas for Those “Hard-to-Buy-For” People

It’s that time of year when we make our holiday lists, and perhaps you’ve enlisted the assistance of the internet, your mother, or your own ingenuity to conjure up creative, unique, and thoughtful gift ideas. Sometimes it can be an easy endeavor, at other times downright stressful! Maybe instead of your brain having to go through the tribulation of evoking cleverness, why not look to others who have done it for you, and, in some cases most purposefully.

Not only are there people in the design field who create and execute bespoke interiors for clients, but there are also those who are artisans, craftsmen, or purveyors in their own right of some pretty awesome product conceptions of their own. Here are a couple of examples in the area of textiles that might give you inspiration for that one-of-a-kind find!

Meet JILL SEALE DESIGN STUDIO, founded by award-winning designer and author Jill Seale. This company has created a lifestyle brand in the gift and home textiles industries with its signature artisanal graphic designs used in many products from tabletop wares to wallcoverings to home accents. Jill’s ingenious mastery of the ancient art of marbling produces some of the most beautiful combinations of color palette and pattern, creating pieces with such artistic depth and dimension. Her designs have been seen on TV, in magazines, and online, with more manufacturer collaborations to come. If you are looking for something with a unique vibrancy, take a peek at

Another company whose products involve textiles is ALOKA HOME. Not only do they produce some exquisitely crafted items such as quilts, pillows, and placemats, their mission is about repurposing legacy garments into reenergized works of art. By using hand-stitched saris that are 60 – 80 years old which are shampooed, softened, and redyed, Aloka refashions these vintage pieces into the various new quilts and pillows of their collections. Textile patterns are mixed and matched taking on a whole new life and use. Every fabricated piece has a story to tell of its past, and, in the right setting, creates a new story for the lucky people who purchase it. Check out

Whatever “hard-to-buy-for” person you might have on your list, keeping an eye out for specially-crafted artisanal items might just help you deliver the cherished keepsake you desire for your gift recipient. Looking to the world of design is one way that guarantees to bring you the inspiration needed in accomplishing the hunt!

Karen Lee Johnson, interior designer in Milwaukee Wisconsin

Hi, I’m Karen!

I’m the Founder/Creative Director of Karen Lee Johnson Interiors, a residential design firm working with clients seeking a professional, innovative and collaborative approach to design. We partner with you to creatively and meticulously translate your dreams and visions into reality. Learn more about our services or book a call to tell us about your project!

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