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Handmade Gifts Come Straight from the Heart

Local retailers make creative gift-giving easy.

The lists of top selling holiday gifts on the Web are filled with the latest electronic gadgets, hottest music and most stylish clothing.  These best sellers may not compare, however, to the best-loved presents of all time – handmade gifts that come straight from the giver's heart.

While many people cringe at the idea of creating a gift from scratch, local retailers demonstrate that making something special by hand requires only slightly more time than searching and clicking for the right gift.

When it comes to homemade gifts, those created in the kitchen are among the most popular of all. A batch of the family's heirloom fudge recipe, packed into a decorative tin, makes a memorable gift. But for those who don't have favorite recipes at hand, Libertyville's own Someone's In The Kitchen (SITK) comes to the rescue.

The shop is filled with all inclusive recipe kits; signature oils; custom teas; and other ready-to-go ingredients that make creating a homemade kitchen gift a snap.  Here are some ideas:

  • Custom Olive Oil: Create a one-of-a-kind taste experience by pairing flavored olive oils with balsamic vinegars. SITK carries the popular Olive Tap line of 100 percent extra virgin olive oils, flavored and herb infused olive oils and aged balsamic vinegars made by artisans around the world. The helpful and knowledgeable staff can suggest flavorful custom oil and vinegar pairings designed for each food lover on the gift list.
  • Tea Leaf Sachets: SITK offers the Octavia line of loose leaf teas and silky pyramid tea bags to create beautiful, practical sachets in just minutes. Simply insert a few spoonfuls of a fragrant loose leaf tea into the pyramid bag and close the top with decorative ribbon or tulle. Tea sachets could be the perfect handmade gift for girlfriends, teachers and anyone whose closets and drawers could use some sweet-smelling refreshment.
  • Hand-Made Candies: There's no holiday gift sweeter than candy – especially if you make it yourself! With Wilton Christmas Candy Making Kit, available at SITK, making homemade candy will be a cinch. The kit contains all of the ingredients and tools necessary to melt, mold and create holiday shaped candies and lollipops.
  • Kid-Friendly Baked Goods: Designed for the young and the young-at-heart, SITK features several baking kits that kids can use to create edible gifts for friends, family and neighbors. The Princess Cupcake Kit will delight wannabe royals; boys will roar over the Green Dinosaur Cookie Kit; and kids of all ages will find the Tie Dye Cupcake Kit totally groovy. And don't forget those canine friends – they will love treats made with the Dog Biscuit Cutter & Recipe Kit.

For more information visit: www.mycookbookclub.com.

For those ready to discover their inner creative genius – or just make some very memorable holiday gifts – Libertyville's Artist @ Heart studio is the hot spot this holiday season.  In just one hour or less, visitors can select and create custom works of art, including:

  • Hand-Painted Glass Ornament
  • Hand-Painted "Wish" Ornament
  • Hand-Painted Wine Glass
  • Wooden Base Tile Mosaic: Bases available in a variety of shapes, including heart, peace symbol, dinosaur, robot and more.
  • Bottle Cap Necklace
  • Three Dimensional Christmas Tree
  • Photo Block
  • Acrylic Painting On Canvas

Project price range is between $5 and $35 and artists of nearly any age are welcome. Studio co-owner Vicki Tucker said that many grandparents come in with grandchildren to make gifts, as do parents and children. Parents may also drop kids 10 years or older at the studio to create an artwork while they shop in downtown Libertyville.

For more information visit: www.artistatheartlg.com.

jan leasure December 25, 2010 at 07:01 PM
You have provided some good suggestions. Since today is Xmas it is too late for me to suggest hand-made gifts for this Xmas season, but what about those who you may have overlooked or someone who surprised you with something and you feel you would like to reciprocate? I always feel that New Year's is a great time to catch up to gift someone in my life who deserves acknowledgment, thanks or support and handmade gifts are the most appreciated. -- Jan Leasure, www.jan-leasure.com

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