Cuenca, Ecuador
I live to travel and more than anything I love to find unique gifts or handcrafted goods reflecting the local culture. Most recently I visited Ecuador where I discovered a variety of interesting and unique finds handmade by local artisans.

 My first unique find was a beautiful guitar purchased by the artisan in his countryside home about 30 minutes from Cuenca. The guitar with its intricate hand painted lines and smooth lines carved out of indigenious Ecuadorian wood. I traveled with a small group of people that immediately assumed I played the guitar - but to me the guitar is a work of art and a reminder of this small modest family in the beautiful countryside of Ecuador.
Ecuador is a wonderful place with its Inca Ruins, Andes Mountains, Beautiful Coast, Amazon Rain Forest and Galapagos Islands. Its rich culture is evident and be expressed in each of the many unique gifts I discovered. A popular trade is hand weaving, which I experienced while visiting a local residence. I saw kids as young as 6 years old practicing this complex art. The thread is dyed with pigment from found minerals and mixed with water or solution. The process reminded me of tye-die with the exception of the rich, vivid colors and detailed prints. The unique gift I found for my sister was a black scarf with taupe zip-zag patterns and composed from a combination of silk and cotton.

Maui, Hawaii
Sometimes it's not about what you find on your travels but who you travel with. As a birthday gift for my younger brother I took him with my husband & I to Maui. It was a birthday he will not forget. Travel gifts are my favorite and I look for any excuse to go on a vacation.

Qingdao, China
My frequent trips to China have resulted in only a few unique finds and gifts. In a society of mass-production goods made by hand are a rare commodity. I was finally able to find an intericate dolly for my mother's collection. My favorite unique gift is the money, the older the better.