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Section 2

D E C E M B E R 10 , 2 0 10 H A P P Y H O L I D AY S

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Whimsical felt pillows are stocked at The Carriage Stop at Roger Reynolds Nursery in Menlo Park. Photo courtesy Carriage Stop

An owl purse sold by Therapy in Mountain View is crafted out of hand-tooled leather. Photo by Veronica Weber

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by Kathy Cordova

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Vivian Wong

In a Big Box world, gifts created by artisans and craftspeople offer a more personal feeling

he thought of handmade gifts evokes sweet memories of a child’s finger-painted masterpiece or a great aunt’s knitted sweater. But even for gift-givers who don’t paint or knit, seeking out well-crafted, handmade gifts can lend a personal touch in a world of Big Box stores and mass-produced items. Local shops offer a wide array of handmade items for everyone on your list: For art lovers, multi-color pumpkins in rich hues ($47-$100) from Avolie Glass of Mountain View and hand-blown vases, paperweights and perfume bottles in contemporary and art deco designs ($212-$380) from Davenport’s Lundberg Studios are among the offerings at Shady Lane in downtown Palo Alto. (continued on page 47)

Potter Joy Imai of Allied Arts in Menlo Park has made Japanese “wish� boxes.

PLEASE JOIN US FOR THE HOLIDAYS! DINNERS, PARTIES & SPECIAL EVENTS

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Ornaments or power tools? Gift wrap or kitchenware? What can we help you ďŹ nd today?

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Local Deals

Good for Business. Good for You. Good for the Community. G o t o S h o p P a l o A l t o. c o m t o s e e t h i s w e e k ’s s p e c i a l o f f e r s a n d e v e n t s from these local merchants

When you shop locally, good things happen to make our community stronger:

t Sales tax dollars, which fund schools and local services, stay in the community.

t You help to sustain the unique and diverse businesses that make our shopping areas vibrant.

t You show how much you value the expertise of these businesses and the quality service they offer their customers.

t You reduce your carbon footprint by not driving outside the community to shop.

t And when you shop at locally owned businesses, you also support our friends and neighbors who are running these businesses, donating to community events and causes, hiring our kids and getting involved in making Palo Alto a better place.

Whole Foods University Art Crowne Plaza Cabaña - 4290 Bistro and Bar Sigona’s Farmers Market Hobee’s Restaurant World Centric Country Sun Lux Eyewear California Café Pizz’a Chicago Best Video American Self Storage Dragon Productions Ming’s Chinese Cuisine and Bar House of Bagels Honeys and Heroes Corey Katz Janta Indian Restaurant Verizon Wireless Faulk Cornell & Associates J Salon photograph and frame Palo Alto Hardware Spot A Pizza Place Emerson Cleaners Scott’s Seafood

Learn more about the value of locally owned businesses at ShopPaloAlto.com A community collaboration brought to you by

For more information call 650.223.6509 Available in a mobile version Page 46ÊUÊ iVi“LiÀÊ£ä]ÊÓä£äÊUÊ*>œÊÌœÊ7iiŽÞ

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H A P P Y H O L I D AY S

Made by hand

Feel your best this Holiday Season!

(continued from page 45)

The store features handmade pieces from Bay Area designers as well as artists from other countries, but co-owners Alice Deutscher and Lesley Obermayer especially enjoy supporting artists who live nearby. “Local is fun,” Deutscher said. “That’s what we’re all about.” The University Avenue store was founded more than 35 years ago to sell local designers’ work. The quality and the diversity of the items in the store reflect the owners’ artist roots and creative sensibility. Shady Lane always stocks a few Tiffany-style lamps ($249-$525) from Santa Cruz artist Jim Forsell, who has pieces in the Smithsonian Institution. The lamps feature brightly colored glass and designs such as flowers and butterflies. “The lamps add an ambiance in colors that make you happy,” Deutscher said. For those preferring a more natural aesthetic, Joy Imai, potter in residence at Special Handling Pottery in the Allied Arts Guild in Menlo Park, focuses on earth tones inspired by the garden. Imai’s wheelthrown, soda-fired vases ($50-$95) and mugs ($25$28) display designs of flowers, leaves and birds. Imai expects that her ceramic birdhouses (about $58) will be big sellers this season. “This area has a really big interest in the environment, and there is a big birding population here,” Imai said. Imai’s Japanese wish boxes ($35-$38) might make a whimsical gift for children and adults alike. “I got the idea from a Japanese childfolk tale,” Imai said. The boxes come in rich colors and feature images from nature, such as sky blue, moss green and amber with dragonflies, flowers and gingko leaves. Inside each box is a piece of rice paper for writing a wish. Special Handling Pottery also sells cards, bookmarks and signs by Inja Ink Calligraphy that could make thoughtful stocking stuffers ($2 and up). Bookmarks painted with watercolors or pastels and inscribed with inspirational quotes like, “With time and patience, the mulberry leaf becomes a silk gown,” would complement the gift of a book or

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A ceramic birdhouse made by Joy Imai. add a special touch to a holiday card. Animal lovers might enjoy the variety of quirky, handmade gifts at the Carriage Stop at Roger Reynolds Nursery in Menlo Park, where Sophie, the fluffy, white dog that belongs to store owner Sally Halstead, greets customers. There are felt pillows decorated with Scotty dogs and bones ($33) and dog angel ornaments — dogs with wings holding hearts and Christmas trees ($12). The Carriage Stop also sells fanciful ceramics and small, decorative boxes created by Southern California artisan Abby Peterson, who grew up on a farm. Her “Chicken Snowman Box” ($25) and red-and-green checkered box topped with a smiling, sweater-clad bear ($25) could be used for

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(continued on page 48)

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Experience a real English Victorian Afternoon Tea for people of the 21st Century!

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Two vases by Lundberg Studios found at Shady Lane in downtown Palo Alto. Prices range from $212 to $280.

    Biodegradable Helium Balloons, Party Decor, Home Decor, Party Planning, and Gift Baskets

Made by hand (continued from page 47)

Town and Country Village, Suite 102, Palo Alto acmepartybox.com 650.618.4682.

Wonderful Italian Cuisine excellently served in a stylish romantic atmosphere. Please join us for the Holidays. Table reservations and our Private Banquet Room available. Call us today! {£ÇÊ >Â?ˆvÂœĂ€Â˜Âˆ>ĂŠĂ›i]ĂŠ*>Â?ÂœĂŠÂ?ĂŒÂœĂŠUĂŠĂˆxäÊÎÓLJ™Î™äÊUĂŠĂœĂœĂœÂ°ĂƒÂŤ>Â?ĂŒÂˆÂ°VÂœÂ“ĂŠ

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storing trinkets like spare buttons or paperclips. For those seeking a bit of fun, the University Art Annex in Palo Alto carries playful gifts, such as froufrou-trimmed, fingerless gloves ($25), brightly colored felt hats made by Robin’s Hoods, adorned with flowers and jewelry ($50$150) and “party hats� by Pink Toffee — metallic headbands topped by items such as 3-D decorated Christmas trees and pink cupcakes with ballerinas. For an ecologically friendly gift, the Annex carries Attic Journals, mostly blank books with covers and a first few pages from old books that have been recovered from estate sales and libraries. The one-of-a-kind journals have titles like “Better Homes and Garden Afterwork Cookbook� and “The Custom Look,� which features interior designs from the ’70s. For the best gal pal on your list, how about a hand-tooled, vibrantly colored leather owl purse ($89) by Sunflower, perhaps matched with an owl, cat or pineapple coin purse ($18)? Both are sold at Therapy on Castro Street in Mountain View. Therapy also offers small leather goods ($32-$118) handmade by Hobo Bags. “They come out every season with a unique palette,� said sales associate Nika Clelland. “They are such high quality that everyone who works here owns one. Something like a wallet is the perfect gift for a husband to get his wife because every time she takes it out, she will think of him� — giving new meaning to the phrase: “It’s the thought that counts.� N

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Kathy Cordova is a Palo Alto freelance writer.

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H A P P Y H O L I D AY S

The (white) elephant in the room

U.S.D.A. Prime Filet Mignon

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Office gift-giving can be fraught with hazards, but local employers have found ways to foster holiday cheer

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Giving gifts to co-workers takes tact — or a silly sense humor. Some companies host ‘white elephant’ exchanges, in which useless and outrageous gifts are given.

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is randomly assigned a recipient — whose tastes may not be obvious. An attempt at humor might be taken as an insult. A present that is a mite too personal can lead to misunderstandings. Trepidation over office etiquette during the holidays has spurred more than a million articles online offering advice, in-

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(continued on page 50)

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or the holidays one year, Diana Turner got a box of cat litter-box liners from a coworker. And she loved it. Turner, group wellness director for the Palo Alto Family YMCA, explained that the Y’s leadership team used to engage in a little gift-giving tradition: After a holiday lunch at Pizz’a Chicago, everyone would choose a fellow team member’s name out of a hat, receive $5, and go across the street to shop at the Palo Alto Goodwill. There, they’d have to stealthily find and purchase just the right item, hiding it from the intended recipient, who was also trying to sneakily buy a gift for someone. “It was a fun and endearing tradition,� Turner said of the practice that also benefited another nonprofit. (For the record, Turner does own two cats.) Turner was one of the lucky ones. As many company employees have experienced, gift exchanges among co-workers don’t necessarily turn out merry and bright. Whether one is on the receiving or giving end, office gift-giving can be fraught with hazards. It’s especially so when participating in a “Secret Santa� exchange, in which the gift giver

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H A P P Y H O L I D AY S

Don cre ’t forg am et coo , cak our ic kie es, e hol s and logs, ida y tr other eat s Delight your clients, family and friends with our own

Fresh Holiday Fudge Porcelain Jewelry by Jayne Thomas

We have many holiday packaged gifts ready to give in addition to our cut-to-order fudge. We have gift fudge boxes with slits to insert your business cards plus many more styles of boxes and tins. The prices start at under $6.

Fine Crafts U HOLIDAY

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December 11, 12, 13, 2010 Friday, Saturday & Sunday 10-5 Hoover House (aka “The Girl Scout House”) 1120 Hopkins, Palo Alto for information:

White elephant (continued from page 49)

ricksicecream.com or ricksfudge.com

650-625-1736 or TheArtifactory@aol.com

Three French Hen Krinkles by Patience Brewster

dog ornaments, reindeers, stars & fairies

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cluding Forbes.com’s “Office gift giving: Proceed with caution.” Some workplaces seek to find a happy medium — fostering camaraderie but avoiding awkwardness — by hosting a “white elephant” gift exchange. In that tradition, coworkers bring wrapped “white elephant” gifts, a term used to describe an unwanted and often outrageous item that isn’t supposed to please. The gifts are chosen one at a time, and the recipient is allowed to trade

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the gift for one already opened by someone else. Bob Cable, public relations manager for Stanford Lively Arts, calls his department’s annual whiteelephant gift exchange “a nice morale builder for the staff. It’s fun. It gets people in the mood for the holidays.� “One of the (gifts) I remember is the Blooming Onion Maker — ‘As Seen On TV,’� Cable said. “They bring it back every year. It recirculates.� Another popular gift that made the rounds: the “High School Musical� alarm clock. By far the most unusual gift — though one might argue the most appropriate, given the “white elephant� name — was given last year: a journal made from elephant dung. “I wouldn’t be surprised if it came back this year,� Cable said. Cable himself brings what he calls “silly� gifts — a cute pen or something with a bit of originality.

When it comes to non-whiteelephant gifts, Cable has advice on what not to give a co-worker: “Nothing that veers toward sexuality or politics; there’s awkwardness that lingers on. No lingerie.� Still, the luckiest employees may be those who pick the name of an easy-going recipient like Turner, who has appreciated more than one item someone’s bought her. On her desk at the Y, she has a picture of a little boy in shorts with his chubby tummy sticking out. Where did it come from? Goodwill, of course. N Managing Editor Jocelyn Dong can be e-mailed at jdong@paweekly.com.

Enjoy our new patio and our new menu!

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Sutter Health congratulates

Palo Alto Medical Foundation on being among the top performing medical groups in California. Sutter Health. Award-winning care. Recently, the Palo Alto Medical Foundation, a member of the Sutter Health network, was recognized as one of the top performing physician organizations in California by the Integrated Healthcare Association, a leadership group that promotes quality in the health care industry. This award recognizes the Palo Alto Medical Foundation, as well as four other medical groups within the Sutter Medical Network, for excellence in clinical quality, patient experience, coordinated diabetes care and more. When choosing a doctor, quality should be at the top of your list. Make sure you choose a Sutter-affiliated doctor. sutterhealth.org

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Palo Alto Weekly 12.10.2010 - Section 2