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Gift Guide for the Broken Ones

Dec 5, 2011

by Su Wu handmade and vintage goods

List of demands: that growing up be slightly less awful, that a life be constructed of more than disappointment. These are gifts for the hopelessly angry, for the malcontent, for hearts with bills to pay – they are weak salves for our sorrow, and not even funny. They’re not enough, I know.


[Clockwise from top left: Vintage chore coat from Mr. Fraser; Handmade wood sauerkraut masher from poppyspins; Vintage transistor radio from natural home; About a yard of speckled blue fabric from WolfHouse; Travellers folding binoculars from JunkyVagabond; Sawdust fired cup from Citybytheseaceramics; 1960s button from SherwoodsTreasures; Traveling soap box from ajscanla

There’s a moment we’ve lost, historians say, when we turned away from thinking things could be improved through action and art and instead began to rely on psychic realignment — as though what’s making us unhappy is ourselves, and not the failing structures of this vicious unrelenting world.

[Clockwise from top left: Vintage olive green slouch sweater from AdelaideHomesewn; Gas mask case from bellalulu; 1960s “Woodmen of the World” bullet pencil from ouvrier; Three vintage composition notebooks from Artful Vintage; Handpainted polka dot mug (set of two) from YoungAlexander; Handmade fabric and wire ant from psarokokalo; Barely pickled green beans from smokinzucchini; Vintage brick house wool skirt from taylorplein

For you’re the reason I don’t torch things to the ground and don’t lie in an empty bathtub for hours and try to lift the sorrow from my skin. You make things worth fixing.

[Clockwise from top left: Meltdown Three Mile Island ashtray from PhatDog; Vintage splatter soup tureen from RACHPhotography; Viva Satire! button from massmedia; Winter walkers boots from Rigattiere; Vintage gold plated fist pin from Epochbeads; Iron Gall Ink from Belly of Flea

So here are some things to use as you dismantle this morning, and the next, even if I don’t know what comes after, or if it will be any better, or if our hearts break because of the world we live in, or because they are our hearts.

More Posts From Su

Sixties Hippie Pinback Now That We Are Organized... Button orig
Sixties Hippie Pinback Now That We Are Organized... Button orig
Sawdust Fired Cup
Sawdust Fired Cup
Three Mile Island Nuclear Reactor Ashtray
Three Mile Island Nuclear Reactor Ashtray


  • NicoAndMooMoo

    NicoAndMooMoo said 9 years ago

    HAHAHA love the selection and the theme - coping with malcontent! ;)

  • volkerwandering

    volkerwandering said 9 years ago

    I am IN LOVE with the brick house skirt! What fabulous finds! Thanks Su! Your picture is pretty awesome too.

  • mylittleposies

    mylittleposies said 9 years ago

    Wow! If I had the vast amounts of cash I wish I did I would buy each and every single item in that first grouping for my little brother, he would love all those items...however I may have to be content with buying just one. Boo lol. Great lists, thanks!

  • hienonhieno

    hienonhieno said 9 years ago

    Best gift guide ever. I wish I could muster up an exclamation point, but I just can't.

  • VonlenskaVintage

    VonlenskaVintage said 9 years ago

    i'm DYING over that green vintage zig zag sweater. i love that whole ensemble! thanks!

  • jenpanek

    jenpanek said 9 years ago

    Love the lines about the dangers of exchanging art and action for psychic realignment. Now thinking about how this relates to pickled green beans.

  • btaylorquilts

    btaylorquilts said 9 years ago

    I know a few who are on this list! Thanks for the inspiring ideas :)

  • beadybeady1

    beadybeady1 said 9 years ago

    You've been visiting with my next door neighbor, haven't you. Well done!

  • jassed

    jassed said 9 years ago

    Thank you! You made my day :)

  • Parachute425

    Parachute425 said 9 years ago

    Interesting choices to pair with hopeless anger. Always interesting, Su - and enlightening. I never knew sauerkraut needed to be mashed or that there were Three Mile Island knickknacks to be had.

  • myvintagecrush

    myvintagecrush said 9 years ago

    Once again, great short story with equally awesome etsy finds! I can't decide if I love the outfit in #2 more than the three mile island ashtray.. gaaaaa!

  • vixenandvelocity

    vixenandvelocity said 9 years ago

    I almost just bought that skirt...

  • MootiDesigns

    MootiDesigns said 9 years ago

    Great picks. Thanks for sharing!

  • xtwo

    xtwo said 9 years ago

    awww... this made me think of Marvin from Hitchhiker's Guide

  • JCTgoods

    JCTgoods said 9 years ago


  • devinefinds

    devinefinds said 9 years ago


  • onionbagel

    onionbagel said 9 years ago

    You're making us alllllll sentimental! (Sniff)

  • mythunderstood

    mythunderstood said 9 years ago

    Love your writing and topics! Thanks for sharing with us.

  • IvyVining

    IvyVining said 9 years ago

    Fantastic choices for the bitter at heart. Love this.

  • steinschmuckdesign

    steinschmuckdesign said 9 years ago


  • FluidDesign

    FluidDesign said 9 years ago

    Ah, finally someone of similar heart. Gift Guide for Broken Ones is so right on target. Keep blogging.

  • UnionStudioMetals

    UnionStudioMetals said 9 years ago

    Oooo I need some Belly of Flea ink, big time!

  • stonesfan

    stonesfan said 9 years ago

    Your feature is the blanket to my Charlie Brown tree heart. I thank you...

  • acuriousbrood

    acuriousbrood said 9 years ago

    Thank you! I couldn't remember what my husband had told me he would like for Christmas. That lovely saurerkraut masher jogged my memory...mortar and pestle!

  • Leocardia

    Leocardia said 9 years ago

    How satisfiable: there is much more on Etsy, than sheer sweetness...

  • perebags

    perebags said 9 years ago

    great theme!

  • mazedasastoat

    mazedasastoat said 9 years ago

    I love the slightly surreal, dreamlike atmosphere conjured up by your writing... & I'm still sniggering about the "Now that we're organised..." badge!

  • TeenAngster

    TeenAngster said 9 years ago


  • LittleWrenPottery

    LittleWrenPottery said 9 years ago

    Nice finds, could be a keep it weird this one a really eclectic mix!

  • konno

    konno said 9 years ago

    Nabbed the fist pin. Wonderful!

  • elleestpetite

    elleestpetite said 9 years ago

    What an interesting theme from a refreshingly new perspective.

  • mulch

    mulch said 9 years ago

    Too good! Love it.

  • RossLab

    RossLab said 9 years ago

    Very original! I want the crazy pin:)

  • KettleConfections

    KettleConfections said 9 years ago

    Nice vintage finds to cheer up any broken hearts!

  • ZiLLAsQuEeN

    ZiLLAsQuEeN said 9 years ago

    What a view! Interesting indeed!

  • lemonbombs

    lemonbombs said 9 years ago


  • suzanneartist

    suzanneartist said 9 years ago

    I think some of my magnets might fit in with this group.

  • raredesignshop

    raredesignshop said 9 years ago

    I love the color combination'! beatiful items'

  • emwi

    emwi said 9 years ago

    haha love it!

  • OnlyOriginalsByAJ

    OnlyOriginalsByAJ said 9 years ago

    Awesome! I love the Viva Satire pin!

  • MouseTrapVintage

    MouseTrapVintage said 9 years ago

    This is awesome! Beautifully conceived, curated and compiled!

  • accentonvintage

    accentonvintage said 9 years ago

    Wonderful selections!

  • jacklom3

    jacklom3 said 9 years ago

    This is perfect!!

  • JunkyVagabond

    JunkyVagabond said 9 years ago

    What a fantastic collection! Thanks for featuring my Travellors binoculars!

  • dahlilafound

    dahlilafound said 9 years ago

    I love your writing. It makes any given moment more bearable. bless you, d xo

  • naturalhome

    naturalhome said 9 years ago

    A great, unique treasury! Thanks for featuring my transistor radio!

  • ArtfulVintage

    ArtfulVintage said 9 years ago

    My favorite line: "You make things worth fixing". Great collection and great writing.

  • holisticthug

    holisticthug said 9 years ago

    Hilarious, just one thing... as I promptly looked into your blog..wondering why the last lines aren't given quotes/credit to your fave band. Which I'm going to give a listen now.

  • SweetSincerity

    SweetSincerity said 9 years ago

    :) Ahhhhh, the artistic soul...almost always coupled with a little rebellion and and a pinch of melancholy.

  • Surdut

    Surdut said 9 years ago


  • MaJentaDesigns

    MaJentaDesigns said 9 years ago

    interesting items! love the saw dust fired cup!

  • Citybytheseaceramics

    Citybytheseaceramics said 9 years ago

    so many awesome items! the tureen and cup look like a perfect set for soup!

  • knitfitt

    knitfitt said 9 years ago

    I was feeling cranky until I read this. Now I am swooning.

  • bellalulu

    bellalulu said 9 years ago

    What a great collection! Thank you for the feature!

  • olana11

    olana11 said 9 years ago

    Funky-love it!

  • SlightSlantStudio

    SlightSlantStudio said 9 years ago

    My feelings are mixed about this holiday season (Scrooge + Grinch + bits of hopefulness + trying too hard to be cheerful at times) Due to loss of loved ones and circumstances beyond my control, it's going to be more melancholy than most years, whether I like it/plan it or not. So all I can do is make the best of it. On my walk today, I passed a front porch with a small gargoyle on it. The gargoyle was wearing a teeny tiny long red plaid scarf. I took a picture. It sums it all up pretty well.

  • cyberbelle

    cyberbelle said 9 years ago

    thank you for this gift. at the holidays.

  • ouvrier

    ouvrier said 9 years ago

    Thank you so much for including our items in this wonderfully curated collection of things, and more importantly the lovely writing as well. Incredibly flattered. -rF

  • WhisperingOak

    WhisperingOak said 9 years ago

    What a great theme. I have someone in mind for the ant.

  • WolfHouse

    WolfHouse said 9 years ago

    Great collections here! Thanks for including my blue fabric!

  • AdelaideHomesewn

    AdelaideHomesewn said 9 years ago

    thanks for featuring my sweater.

  • anthologyorganic

    anthologyorganic said 9 years ago

    This mask is so intriguing, it's like nothing else! Superior job... i am in awe

  • theroyal

    theroyal said 9 years ago


  • KMalinka

    KMalinka said 9 years ago

    Cool vintage boots!

  • GoodMorningPorch

    GoodMorningPorch said 9 years ago

    And here I thought I was the only sentimentalist still alive. ;) Your message is from the soul and your action to share it was your heart. And, I hope there is someone out there tonight who will benefit from your gentle grace.

  • TheCove

    TheCove said 9 years ago

    You lifted my soul,Su......but I still wish a prehistoric monster would just bite my head off before Christmas ; ) Maybe that pin-back will help!

  • audreytolove

    audreytolove said 9 years ago

    very nice!

  • CestSuperbeLabels

    CestSuperbeLabels said 9 years ago

    The hopelessly angry...yeah they could do with some gifts. Loving this. :)

  • samsstuff

    samsstuff said 9 years ago

    Love this :) or is it :( ?

  • artofjane

    artofjane said 9 years ago

    Great writing - and way too funny!

  • delightworthyn

    delightworthyn said 9 years ago

    That first mask pulled me right in.Great stuff.

  • BayMoonDesign

    BayMoonDesign said 9 years ago

    What are a great idea for a blog! I was tempted to see what you picked for gift ideas and you did a spectacular job.

  • BanglewoodSupplies

    BanglewoodSupplies said 9 years ago

    I love the button! ha!

  • RivalryTime

    RivalryTime said 9 years ago

    Love it.

  • adrianaallenllc

    adrianaallenllc said 9 years ago

    This is funny! I guess, given the subject, I should not say that it is and probably would be misunderstood by and will anger a few of these malcontents. But, oh heck, it is funny!

  • shoppingosdoceu

    shoppingosdoceu said 9 years ago

    wonderful choises!

  • volcanogirlcreations

    volcanogirlcreations said 9 years ago

    Great choices...funny theme, I guess being able to own these products would be a great way to "get over it" LOL!

  • YoungAlexander

    YoungAlexander said 9 years ago

    So clever! Thank you for including us!!!

  • pinksnakejewelry

    pinksnakejewelry said 9 years ago

    SUPER Post!!! Love the 60's Button!!

  • seasonsart1031

    seasonsart1031 said 9 years ago

    Fun picks & very cool ant!

  • RetroRevivalBoutique

    RetroRevivalBoutique said 9 years ago

    Very awesome picks!

  • terriblemarionette

    terriblemarionette said 9 years ago

    Ok, I really heart the text of this one.

  • HeatherLucille

    HeatherLucille said 9 years ago

    I think I need to write (or draw, or both!?) a manifesto of some sort with the belly of flea "iron gall" ink. I love the packaging, the name, the concept. If I had that ink I would not be a malcontent, not at all!

  • BellyofFlea

    BellyofFlea said 9 years ago

    So awesome! Thanks for including us! :)

  • tjalaine

    tjalaine said 9 years ago

    This collection is awesome! Totally made my day! Thanks!

  • leslieholz

    leslieholz said 9 years ago

    I have this neighbor.....................hopelessly angry doesn't begin to do him justice. Looked at all your suggestions...............think I'll still get him a lump of coal.

  • happygohandmade

    happygohandmade said 9 years ago

    Very neat list

  • wmalexalvarez

    wmalexalvarez said 9 years ago

    I dig that mask

  • Mclovebuddy

    Mclovebuddy said 9 years ago

    <-- cool. check out my shop.

  • QuirkMuseum

    QuirkMuseum said 9 years ago

    Ah there's a nice quote, "For you’re the reason I don’t torch things"

  • MishaGirl

    MishaGirl said 9 years ago

    These items will surely put a smile on the face of even the most malcontent soul. Nice picks ;-)

  • redstringstudio

    redstringstudio said 9 years ago

    I'm with that quote. And the Barely pickled green beans made me laugh out loud! I love all the awesomeness found on etsy:)

  • lorwich Admin

    lorwich said 9 years ago

    I never wanted a sauerkraut masher until today. Thank you.

  • ilovegreyskies

    ilovegreyskies said 9 years ago

    Wow, what an interesting post filled with beautifully collected things. Love it!

  • FolkArtByDawn

    FolkArtByDawn said 9 years ago

    Reminds me of my college days in art school

  • poppyspins

    poppyspins said 9 years ago

    Thanks so much for mentioning our solid Tamarack Wood Masher. Your photo collage visuals and color scheme is wonderful. The orange speckled crock and the vintage brick skirt are fantastic. Thanks for sharing!

  • kittybelle

    kittybelle said 9 years ago

    this is awesome.

  • LizardSkins

    LizardSkins said 9 years ago

    art. what more can i say?

  • dearprudencevintage

    Teresa Sotomayor from dearprudencevintage said 9 years ago

    this is brilliant. Only on Etsy could one find a gift guide voice for the malcontent

  • Greyforestacres

    Greyforestacres from Stoneponies said 7 years ago

    I had to laugh at the Three Mile Island ashtray, though it was not a laughing matter at the time. I live in south central PA and I remember that day. Fortunately, we lived far enough away that we don't have to evacuate. I was still in high school when it happened.

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