M O U N TA I N V I E W V O I C E
D E C E M B E R 10 , 2 0 10 H A P P Y H O L I D AY S
Whimsical felt pillows are stocked at The Carriage Stop at Roger Reynolds Nursery in Menlo Park.
An owl purse sold by Therapy in Mountain View is crafted out of hand-tooled leather.
In a Big Box world, gifts created by artisans and craftspeople offer a more personal feeling
By Kathy Cordova
PHOTO BY VIVIAN WONG
Two vases by Lundberg Studios found at Shady Lane in downtown Palo Alto. Prices range from $212 to $280.
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 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
PHOTO BY VIVIAN WONG
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 massproduced 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 handblown 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. 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
A ceramic birdhouse made by Joy Imai.
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 storing trinkets like spare buttons or paperclips. Continued on next page
DECEMBER 10, 2010 ■ MOUNTAIN VIEW VOICE ■
H A P P Y H O L I D AY S
PHOTO BY VIVIAN WONG
Potter Joy Imai of Allied Arts in Menlo Park has made Japanese “wish” boxes. Continued from previous page
11am-6pm featuring vintage inspired & diamond nugget jewelry.
2pm-8pm featuring local artist Alicia Van Fleteren’s wonderful silver designs
Kathy Cordova is a Palo Alto freelance writer.
Porcelain Jewelry by Jayne Thomas
and a collection of gold, diamond and semi-precious stone jewelry.
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
Fine Crafts U HOLIDAY
FAIR U Local Artists
December 11, 12, 13, 2010 Friday, Saturday & Sunday 10-5 Hoover House (aka “The Girl Scout House”) 1120 Hopkins, Palo Alto for information:
650-625-1736 or TheArtifactory@aol.com 26
■ MOUNTAIN VIEW VOICE ■ DECEMBER 10, 2010
H A P P Y H O L I D AY S
The (white) elephant in the room
Office gift-giving can be fraught with hazards, but local employers have found ways to foster holiday cheer By Jocelyn Dong
nonprofit. (For the record, Turner does own two cats.) Turner was one of the lucky ones. As many company employees have e x p e r ie nc e d , gift exchanges among coworkers 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 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, including 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, co-workers 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 the gift for one already opened by someone else.
or the holidays one year, Diana Turner got a box of cat litter-box liners from a co-worker. 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
The “white elephant” gift is described as an unwanted — and often outrageous — item that isn’t supposed to please.
Bob Cable, public relations manager for Stanford Lively Arts, calls his department’s annual white-elephant 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 Continued on next page
Back to the Basic Board Game — Minus the Boredom and the Board. “Only tradition suggests something original…” – Max Gérard
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Celebrate the holiday season with a classic Victorian tale...
The Match Girlâ€™s Gift
H A P P Y H O L I D AY S
(with min. order)
By Laurie Brooks Based on the story by Hans Christian Andersen
Joyous visions comfort a poor little girl in this poignant holiday fairy tale. Join us for a special holiday celebration at the evening performance on Friday, Dec. 10 where our Dickens Carolers will also share sounds of the season while you enjoy cider and cookies!
Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts Friday, Dec. 10 9:30am and 11:00am $8 general
$5 groups of 10 or more
7:30pm performance with the Dickens Carolers $15 all; includes intermission treats
Saturday, Dec. 11 11:30am and 1:30pm $10 general admission seating
(650) 903-6000 www.pytnet.org
UPCOMING AUDITIONS... Annie Get Your Gun
Book by Herbert & Dorothy Fields
Lyrics and music by Irving Berlin
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Performs March 5 - 13 at Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts
Audition Dates: Dec. 11 at 10am or 2pm and Dec. 12 at 2pm No appointment necessary. Registration begins one-hour prior to audition time. Auditions take place at the PYT studio 2500 Old Middlefield Way. Visit our Website for detailed audition information!
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Continued from previous page
is the Blooming Onion Maker â€” â€˜As Seen On TV,â€™â€? Cable said. â€œThey bring it back every year. It recirculates.â€? Another popular gift that made the rounds: the â€œHigh School Musicalâ€? alarm clock. By far the most unusual gift â€” though one might argue the most appropriate, given the â€œwhite elephantâ€? name â€” was given last year: a journal made from elephant dung.
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â€œI wouldnâ€™t be surprised if it came back this year,â€? Cable said. Cable himself brings what he calls â€œsillyâ€? gifts â€” 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: â€œNothing that veers toward sexuality or politics; thereâ€™s awkwardness that lingers on. No lingerie.â€? 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 someoneâ€™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.
Good for Business. Good for You. Good for the Community. G o t o S h o p M o u n t a i n Vi e w. 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
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