Gift Guide No. 1

-- gifts over $50, published Dec. 4, 2002

Gift Guide No. 2 -- winter fashions, published Dec. 11, 2002

contents Stocking Stuffers
Books and Music
Graphic Novels
Home Furnishings
No Sweat Shopping

The holidays bring entertaining, which means opening your home to the appraising eyes and glove-testing hands of chums, bums and country cousins. Your nest-fluffing flair shines through with these inspired domestic touches--anything to distract them from those ferocious dust bunnies under the chifforobe.

Booty Catchers
Ah, the dresser top--unceremonious home to the wristwatch, the billfold, the fistfuls of loose nickels. Build a chic corral for your personal effects with some Ply Design recycled leather and felt folding bowls ($26 and up, Relish, 1112 NW Johnson St., 227-3779). New York-based Ply has crafted the clever tri-fold bowls to resemble propellers when laid flat--a neatly notched design allows them to fold into a cup or bowl shape in either direction. Now you can avoid a repeat of last year's "what do you mean you lost your wedding ring?" brawl.

Crumb Yum
After feasting on the last slab of stale fruitcake, you'll need an Okkio crumb brush by Guido Venturini for Alessi ($50, Lux Lighting, 1109 NW Glisan St., 299-6754). Cast from cheerful, primary-colored acrylic and styled to resemble a low-lying, crumb-devouring Fraggle, this design-y table device takes dining to a new level of mock gentility. The li'l beast's "mouth" conceals a rolling brush that scoops up stray cake and stores it in its bulbous body cavity. Next Christmas, simply empty the contents into the mixing bowl for next year's fruitcake. What a savings!

Beau Bows
You've finally finished making over your entire living room in a Renaissance-Elizabethan-Shakespeare in Love motif--velvet drapes, carved mahogany bed, porcelain chamber pot. Still, there's a little something missing. Fill in the blank spaces with lengths of woven tapestry ribbon ($6.25-$20 per yard, The Whole 9 Yards, 1033 NW Glisan St., 223-2880). Patterns range from honeybees and filigree to twiny vines and leaves--once you have a few yards decking your halls, all you need is Joseph Fiennes and a harpsichord.

The Orchid Trader
Tough and temperamental orchids are usually the turf of only the greenest of thumbs--these costly, exotic plants often manage to mysteriously curl up and die in the hands of amateurs. That said, their long-lasting blooms and regal silhouette are such a treat in winter, why deprive yourself? Pick up a budget orchid from Trader Joe's ($19-$29, 4715 SE 39th Ave., 777-1601, and other locations,). TJ's knack for bringing the finer things to the ramen-and-futon set extends to live plants--at similarly slashed prices. If the pretty thing croaks on you, you're only out a Jackson or'll just have to live with the guilt.

Bully Up to the Bar
Minimal and monochromatic is so last winter--too bad you'll be paying for those oyster-white end chairs well into the next decade. For a more modest investment, introduce color to your drab domicile with a Jackie Shapiro for French Bull print tray and coordinating striped coasters ($18 tray, $16 for four coasters, Galore Dept. Store, 827 NW 23rd Ave., 279-8946). This plastic tableware, in screaming stripes and swirls that resemble the kooky colors of Emilio Pucci, not only breaks up the mod monotony of your sterile cube, it wipes clean! You can finally serve red wine again--just put that clear plastic back on the furniture.

Plantation Sensation
In deepest winter, conjuring the languid heat and marine breezes of the Gulf States takes more than just imagination. Add an Elizabeth W perfume candle ($24, Coco Kimono, 402 NW 12th Ave., 525-0319) to bring genteel, Song of the South scents like magnolia, sweet tea and vetiver into your sun porch. Turn up the baseboard heat, sample a little bourbon, and practice your Scarlett O'Hara accent on the UPS guy. Recommended exclamations: "Mercy!," "Why, I declare," and "Oh, how you do go on." Petticoats optional.


Nicaraguan Pottery
Hand-thrown ceramic pieces featuring catlike creatures are just some of the items available from this art gallery with a Latin focus.

$25 and up, Onda Arte Latina, 2215 NE Alberta St., 493-1909.

Imported Indonesian Pottery
An assortment of Indonesian clay vases and ginger jars painted in earthy browns and golds and beautifully decorated around the outside with an intricate netting. Just the right touch of style for the fireplace mantle or the coffee table.

$24-$50, Hunt & Gather, 1302 NW Hoyt St., 227-3400.

Spice Grinders
Mortars and pestles carved from Chinese marble will spice up any kitchen.

$15-$35, Antiques & Oddities, 1605 NW Everett St., 222-4246.

Winter Solstice Box
A complete box to make any house a home. Inside you'll find the book Simple Spells for Hearth and Home, a Snow White candle, Winter Elegance planting seeds, a Moonstruck chocolate bar and Tazo chai.

$45, Urbanabox, 1505 SE Gideon St., 777-6179,