Wintertime, and the living ain't easy. For the green-thumbers and outdoorsy types on your list, nothing beats a gift that says, "The sun'll come out tomorrow."
FOR SWINGERS ONLY
Plan ahead for that sunny day when you want to relax with a gripping book and even more gripping drink. Smith & Hawken sells a traditional, cotton-twill, 13-foot hammock ($149, Smith & Hawken, 26 NW 23rd Place, 274-9561) that will put you to sleep till next winter. Metal stand sold separately ($139). (MR)
FOUNTAIN OF TRUTH
There is an unspoken competition in Portland: Make your lavish garden the envy of your neighbors--or at least die trying. But for those of you whose front yard is nothing but a slab of concrete, an indoor fountain is right for you. The Baby Buddha Fountain ($128) or Hungry Frog Fountain ($148, Ravenna Gardens, Pioneer Place, 700 SW 5th Ave., 224-4771) come pre-arranged, but you can be creative and select your own different stones, bowls and plant life. The sound of trickling water cascading over layered rocks will surely calm the busy, urban soul. (MR)
If you know someone who always has to have the latest and greatest technological innovation, and loves nothing better than to boast about it, the Motorola Talkabout T6320 ($169.95, U.S. Outdoor Store, 219 SW Broadway, 223-5937) two-way radio is for them. It has more than 500 frequencies, a scramble option, vibrating alert, barometer and digital compass, and even comes with a thermometer. What more could you possibly need? Seriously, what else? (NL)
Hypertufa fountains ($60-$400, Hughes Water Gardens, 25289 SW Stafford Road, Tualatin, 638-1709) are tiered, geometric cubes and spheres made out of a mixture of sand, peat moss and cement. This naturally colored fountain has a great ability to stand up to the cold and the rain. For best results, plant fresh moss on the outside, place it in a moist environment and watch the greenery grow. (MR)
THE JUICE IS LOOSE
Portland-based Leatherman Tool Group, pioneers in the art of the pocket toolbox, has unleashed a new line of products. The bright and mighty "Juice" Leatherman tool ($49.95$69.95, Portland Cutlery, 536 SW Broadway, 228-2030) will put all those crappy imitators to shame. Smaller than previous models, the "Juice" line comes in flashy colors and even flashier names ("Inferno," Flame," "Thunder" among others) that make them sound like superheroes. (NL)
Some people are so obsessed with their mammoth SUVs these days, they forget that you don't need one just to carry your bike around. Yakima's new line of rear-mounted car bike racks, including the LocoJoe ($70, The Bike Gallery, 1001 SW Salmon St., 222-3821, and other locations), features extra stabilizing straps and can fit cars with rear spoilers as well. It's never too early to start getting ready for spring bike-riding. (NL)
quick gift ideas
Sleigh Santa up your front yard in style with a high-flyin' early-19th-century (real-life) European sleigh. This toy chest is even outfitted for the big day. $24,000. Cielo Home & Garden, 528 NW 12th Ave., 445-0111.
'Antique' Chinese water fountain
Become the envy of all your neighbors--embellish your courtyard with this practical yet handsome gardenware. Small $112, large $169. Arbutus Garden Arts, 119 W Main St., Carlton, (503) 852-6530, www.arbutusgarden. com.