Readers’ suggestions for shopping locally

12/07/2013 7:44 AM

12/07/2013 7:45 AM

When it comes to shopping for Christmas presents, the push for supporting local independent businesses and Kansas-made products continues. We asked readers to chime in with their favorite gifts and gift sources for inspiration. And we heard from some people who make products themselves.

Here are their ideas, which reminded us of a few old favorites as well as introduced us to new ones, along with some of our own discoveries:

1. makes copper cookie cutters and other products in Parsons. Ordering is online at Phone: 620-421-0654.

2. An Associated Press story recently gave ideas for Christmas presents for the “1 percent,” i.e., the most wealthy. Among the suggestions: a mariner’s sextant, from a company in Wichita called Celestaire. The company provided the sextant used in the movie “All is Lost,” said Ken Gebhart, who runs the company at 4609 E. Kellogg.

Celestaire’s online catalog has lots of other products related to navigation. For our non-1-percent, non-sea-going purposes, we like the Night Sky Star Stencil, which “transforms the ceiling of your darkened room into a dramatic replica of the real night sky while leaving the lighted room unchanged.” Price: $24 to $29.

Website: Phone: 316-686-9785.

3. “I love the Chicken Poop lip gloss made here by Simone Chickenbone,” reader Catherine Leslie writes. “I buy mine at Walgreens; you can go online or to as well.” We will add that many other local stores carry it as well.

“I am never without it, and it is a fun name and a great stocking-stuffer or tie-on to a package.

“Nifty Nut House (at 537 N. St. Francis) is a holiday mainstay as well.”

4. “I was shopping at Food for Thought during the summer and met the most amazing women selling locally crafted soaps, body scrubs and body lotions,” writes Brenda Kuhns. “They graciously explained their products, and I bought several bars of soap. After using what I bought, I contacted JaRee at Natural Textures and bought LOTS more! It is the most elegant and luxurious soap I’ve ever used. Their products are all natural and are made and cut locally.”


“P.S. It makes me sad that Food for Thought has closed!”

It makes us sad, too. That was a favorite stop for Christmas gifts, and underscores the need to support the places that you want to see stay open.

5. “My company is Alexander Art. I specialize in custom handmade ceramic 3-D pet portraits,” Sondra Alexander of Towanda writes. “I also do bronze sculpture.”

Website: Phone: 316-393-3531.

6. “LOVE the Spice Merchant!” Lorrie Donham writes of the store at 1308 E. Douglas. “No matter what age (adult) or gender, I can find something there. I send coffee across the U.S. that packs well, and I know it will be appreciated. The added bonus is: no waste. I can gift spices to those I know appreciate fresh seasonings. A wide variety of gifts, coffee/tea drinking and cooking supplies can be found here.

“My other favorite is Seasonal Decorating at 2828 W. 13th. Christmas is a wonderful time to shop here. You will find many unique ornaments and adornments. They also have gifts and figurines for most occasions and collections.”

Holiday shopping for holiday decor as well as gifts also reminds us of Chateau Holidays, 126 S. Seneca.

7. Elderslie Farm in Valley Center has gift crates that feature their blackberries. “Crates include a killer blackberry cobbler that works for breakfast or dessert, blackberry scones, blackberry preserves and some gingersnaps thrown in for good measure,” writes Judith Wencel. Prices: $24 and $48.


8. Jean Beyers and Dara Valliere have a craft business featuring handmade items including beaded jewelry, sterling-silver hand-wrought pendants and bracelets, barn-wood-type signs for yards and homes, painted gourds, and redneck wine/martini/margarita/champagne glasses.

They will have a booth at the Kansas Grown Farmers Winter Market on Dec. 14 inside the Extension Education Center at 21st and Ridge Road. The market will also include local meat, eggs and vegetables, as well as baked goods, knits, pottery, wood-working and jellies.

9. Even if people on your gift list are not gardeners, they almost always are nature lovers of some kind, and garden centers, wild-bird stores and related shops carry much more than fertilizer and shovels. Plus fresh herbs, poinsettias, cyclamen, amaryllis and other festive plants make good gifts as well as providing a shot in the arm for your own winter.

10. “Some of my favorite handmade local jewelry is at Beadazzled,” writes Jeanne Phillips of the store at 307 N. Mead in Old Town Square. “Everything is unique and made in her store. She even makes her own glass beads to add that special one-of-a-kind element! The owner is always helpful to customize items if needed, and sometimes her dog Jewel is there to say hi to me!”

11. Beth Wiechman of Sedgwick loves to shop at The Clayworks at Disability Supports in McPherson. “People with developmental disabilities sell ornaments, house numbers and bowls. ... It’s a destination place. It is awesome. It’s a shopping experience. We went and we don’t have a lot of money, and I spent $600.”

Among other items for sale at The Clayworks are wind chimes, cookie jars, coasters and figurines.

The Clayworks is at 107 N. Main in McPherson; phone: 620-504-6550.

On Facebook: The Clayworks at Disability Supports.

12. “I have started a homemade jam and jelly business recently, which I am promoting at this time for holiday gifts,” Steve Einsel writes of his Steve’s Jams & Jellies. “I make over 20 jellies and jams, with some very unique flavors (Watermelon Pucker, Pina Colada, Tutti Frutti, Red Raspberry and Jalapeño, and Pineapple Mango Chili Jam, just to name a few).”


13. “A collectible corsage makes a beautiful, one-of-a-kind holiday gift,” writes Kerri Kowal. “Made locally by Rosa McHenry, it can be purchased in her etsy shop – Kinsey’s Ltd.”


14. “I design and create handmade jewelry,” Tammara Barnes writes. “Some pieces are beaded, others are peyote-stitched. I have several patterns and styles already made. But I thoroughly enjoy doing custom orders. I use many mediums: glass beads, gemstones, Swarovski crystals, etc. My signature piece is a bracelet with or without matching earrings. I even make jewelry for pets.”

You can see her work on the Facebook page Creations by Tammara; e-mail

15. Artist Susan Wilson makes Bridge Stories Jewelry, sterling-silver pieces that reflect stories from her life and the lives of others. You can find her jewelry at Bella Luz, 300 N. Mead in Old Town Square, and Kay Wiggins Jewelry & Gifts, 600 S. Tyler Road, and online at

16. “One of my favorite local stores is C Marie’s Collectibles at 2514 W. Douglas Ave.,” writes Martha Stroot. “Among other things, C Marie’s carries dolls for children of all ages. There are beautiful play dolls for children as well as collectible dolls from all over the world. She also has reborn dolls made by local doll artist Sandy Love. A trip to the store will put a smile on your face.”

17. “I make personalized beaded angels,” Ellen Anderson writes. “The hanging angels are handcrafted of craft wire, plastic pearl beads, faceted plastic beads and gold plated beads. The hanging angels are 4 inches in length. A metallic bead thread is attached to the hanging angel.”


18. Nathan Moore of Wichita makes nativity scenes from nails. Website:

19. “I make copper roses,” writes Marvin Godfrey. “These roses are all handmade, each piece is cut out, shaped, and formed by hand. So no two roses will ever look exactly the same. As the copper is fired and cooled each piece takes on a slightly different appearance of color. As with the copper the metal leaves are also made by hand, welded to barbed wire to give the roses thorns. Then the rose and stems are welded together to give a beautiful rose that should last a lifetime.”

You can see his work and phone number on Facebook at Servigna’s Forge.

20. The CityArts gift shop, 334 N. Mead in Old Town Square, has been completely redone as the CityArts Boutique. It carries one-of-a-kind artwork, jewelry and gifts made by local and regional artists, who receive 70 percent of each sale. The majority of the items cost between $15 and $50.

About Annie Calovich

Annie writes about home and garden, including her Bit of Earth column on Saturdays. She has been at The Eagle since 1985, working as a copy editor, a nation/world editor and a reporter. She’s a KU graduate who started out at The Coffeyville Journal.

Contact Annie at 316-268-6596 or

Follow Annie on Twitter: @AnnieCalovich

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