I had seen photographs of artist Irma Starr’s holiday ornaments, but had never held one until recently, when I bumped into her signing them at Hall’s on Grand. She creates the ornaments using a 17th-century slipwear pottery technique that she’s known for.
There were baskets full of the ornaments on display: snowflakes, Santa Clauses, Christmas trees, gingerbread men, snowmen, toy soldiers and angels. Suffice it to say, pictures don’t do these beauties justice. They’re big, thick, heavy, colorful and textured with the most intricate of details. They’re absolutely exquisite and feel marvelous to the touch.
At $35 each, they’re affordable and a splurge all at once. You may not be able to justify buying one for your tree, but it’s in a nice price range for a gift for that special someone.
To help with your budget and list, we have scoured local shops (and websites) for gift ideas for each room of the home in three price ranges: up to $25; $26 to $100; and $101 and up.
A $23 gift doesn’t have to be any less magical or meaningful than a $500 one. Starr’s ornaments — and many of the other products in this issue — are proof of that. High quality can be had at low prices. You just have to match the right item with the right person.
Think of the bedroom and adjectives like soft and soothing, relaxing and romantic, warm and welcoming, come to mind.
Soft jazz soundtracks and lavender sachets are the types of things we rarely think to buy for our slumbering selves, but they do make great gifts that friends and family will appreciate as they drift off each night.
So are candles, room sprays, soft glowing lamps and luxurious linens. The good news is, they come in a variety of price ranges.
Typically, the living room is at the front of the house and serves as a showplace for our finery. It’s one of the more sophisticated and worldly rooms in the house. But that doesn’t mean everything in it has to cost an arm and a leg.
Yes, the MOVA globe will mesmerize your friends. It’ll also set you back $500. But the white porcelain sculptural vase from Crestwood Flowers is also elegant and costs a mere $20.
The family room is the messy but more fun sister of the living room.
It’s all about comfort: a place to put up your feet, watch TV, read and play games. What could be a more fitting home for a felted wool foot stool that looks like a chicken?
The City Girl Farm in Lyons, Kan., creates each one-of-a-kind chicken foot stool with a bronze beak and feet, a wooden egg core and various types of wool from sheep, alpaca and llamas that are handspun and felted or knitted.
Each chicken has its own name and story. All sorts of people adopt them, says Sally Linville, chief artist and owner of the operation. “They’re amazing for bringing stories out of people. Some are happy memories, some are sad, but there is no one type of person who buys the chicken foot stool.”
Linville works with 10 other artisans to upholster the chickens, then create and attach their plumage. “It’s a real communal event, sort of like a stitching or quilting bee,” she says.
The chickens range from $900 to $1,600 and can be purchased at George, A Lifestyle Store, at Crestwood shops or online at thecitygirlfarm.com.
People who love to throw dinner parties are the easiest people to buy gifts for. Their tabletops are ever-changing stages for items that are glitzy and glam, frivolous and functional.
If you’d like to drop a chunk of change on a gift for them, candlesticks, silver platters and crystal glassware are one way to go. Trapp & Company has a great collection of candlesticks.
If you’re on a tight budget, we found a dozen mini-salt and pepper shakers for less than $20. But one of our favorite items is a set of four humble-looking cotton napkins printed with love letters that famous authors, such as Jack London, wrote. They come in a manila postal envelope, so you won’t have to wrap it, for $54.
Few of us have a need for a wooden pizza peel and even fewer would use an antique one from Europe that costs between $200 and $750. But they sure are pretty and would look great hanging on a kitchen wall for the foodie in your life.
If you don’t have that kind of cash, get that cook sturdy, rustic cookware, such as a Dutch oven, a piece of Le Creuset bakeware or a Superstone bread dome.
With the popularity of AMC’s “Mad Men” and revival of bar carts, bar accessories are hot.
The good news is they come in a wide range of prices from $1 each for novelty beer coasters to thousands of dollars for crystal decanters from legendary makers like Baccarat and Lalique. We found the Waterford Crystal Mixology decanter and set of four tumblers (on the cover) at Halls on Grand. Together the five pieces cost $725. But you can find vintage ones by many of the same makers on eBay, at a fraction of the cost.
Other gift possibilities include wine corks, cocktail shakers, wine chillers, marble or soapstone whiskey rocks and stainless steel bar kits with measuring and straining devices. Function Junction and Pryde’s of Westport carry a wide selection of such items.
Want to make life for your favorite workaholic a smidgen easier? Get them a gift that keeps them lit up, organized or electronically charged. Ikea, by the way, has a nice selection of office lamps at reasonable prices.