Midwest Living Holiday Gift Guide 2013 | Midwest Living
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Midwest Living Holiday Gift Guide 2013

The criteria are simple—quality, style, value and a connection to our region—but narrowing down is never easy! We’ve told a few of the gifts’ fascinating stories here, but rest assured, Midwest ingenuity and creativity inspired all 48 products on our list.

American Spoon Michigan Wild Craft Collection

Hand-foraged fruits and honey take American Spoon’s always-luscious preserves further into the realm of utter jammy bliss. Flavors in the five-jar set include brandied wild blackberries, elderberry jelly and more. $80. (888) 735-6700; spoon.com

Unwrap the Midwest

Mara-Mi gift wrap Make gifts pop with graphic, heavy-weight papers, tags and bags from a Stillwater, Minnesota, design studio. $9 for a 10-foot roll. (888) 235-0484; mara-mi.com

Barnwood trays Omaha-based Dan Vollmer salvages Iowa and Nebraska barnwood to craft rustic trays in a variety of sizes; each has the barn’s story on the back. From $35. (402) 510-1711; barnwoodtrays.com

Cakegirls cake stands Cake-baking sisters in Chicago sell Ohio-made glass pedestals in a rainbow of sweet pastels. From $39.95. thecakegirls.com

Jayson Home postcard holder (on wall) Switch cards and photos seasonally in this Chicago design store’s wire holder. $48. (800) 472-1885; jaysonhome.com

Vestiges Inc. tea towels

A pair of Minnesota friends sells oversize state towels inspired by 1930s souvenir textiles. Use for drying, or frame to brighten a kitchen. $15. (612) 259-8262; vestigesinc.com

Fringe and Fettle Ceramics noodle bowls

Sometimes simple is best, as with the subtly playful polka dots and pale gray glaze on Minneapolis potter Joanna Buyert’s versatile bowls. Worth the splurge to have a set. $34 each. (952) 913-6006; fringeandfettle.com

American Spoon Michigan Wild Craft Collection

Hand-foraged fruits and honey take American Spoon’s always-luscious preserves further into the realm of utter jammy bliss. Flavors in the five-jar set include brandied wild blackberries, elderberry jelly and more. $80. (888) 735-6700; spoon.com

J.R. Watkins sink set

You probably know them for their vanilla extract, but the historical Winona, Minnesota, company also makes natural bath and body products, like this lemon-scented set of hand soap and lotion made for showing off by the kitchen sink. $17.99. (800) 243-9423; jrwatkins.com

Wind and Willow Home kitchenware

Mod design meets functionality in rubber-dipped (so they don’t slide!) serving bowls and mixing spoons from Araya Jensen of Minneapolis. A variety of colors are available. Bowls from $32, spoon set $29. windandwillowhome.com

Year of the pie

Two of our all-time favorite Midwest pie shops—Hoosier Mama Pie Company in Chicago and Sweetie-Licious Bakery Cafe in DeWitt, Michigan—spill their baking secrets in debut cookbooks this fall. The Hoosier Mama Book of Pie has a friendly, instructive tone and features 120-plus recipes running the sweet and savory gamut, including Apple Rhubarb and Frito Chili. $29.95; (312) 243-4846; hoosiermamapie.com Linda Hundt takes a more personal approach in Sweetie-Licious Pies. Family stories accompany 52 recipes. We have our eye on Mommy’s Pineapple Pecan Cheesecake Pie. $26.95; (517) 669-9300; sweetie-licious.com

Tasty treasures

Chicago’s Pastoral Artisan Cheese, Bread and Wine sells a beautiful Best of the Midwest gift box with products from around the region. The variety changes occasionally, but here’s what will likely come in your box. $69.99 (800) 721-4781; pastoralartisan.com

Clockwise from top left: Marieke Gouda: a mild and slightly sweet cheese from Holland’s Family Cheeses in Thorp, Wisconsin; Prairie Breeze: a sharp cheddar with crumbly, crystallized texture from Milton Creamery in Milton, Iowa; Little Napoleon: a pungent goat’s milk cheese from Zingerman’s Creamery in Ann Arbor, Michigan; Caraway Rye Crackers: a crisp canvas for any cheese, from Potter’s Crackers in Madison, Wisconsin; Single-source Honey: a sweet treat from one of 17 Minnesota hive locations, from Ames Farm in Watertown.

Jayson Home wreath

This 24-inch fresh boxwood wreath from Chicago offers a lush and leafy alternative to pine. $43. (800) 472-1885; jaysonhome.com

Original Tree Swing bench swing

Made from reclaimed wood in Minneapolis, this generously sized swing has comfy rounded edges and sturdy ropes sure to last for generations of riders. $149.99. (612) 968-4038; theoriginaltreeswing.com

Unique Art Pendants bracelets

Molly Spilane of Minneapolis calls her trove of jewelry and home accessories “lovingly odd.” We think her nature-inspired graphic brass cuff bracelets are just plain lovely. From $30. uniqueartpendants.etsy.com

Worker B Rescue Putty

Tackle chapped and cracked winter skin with this extra-thick, honey-infused potion from Minneapolis. You just need a tiny dab. $16.50 for 1.75 ounces. (612) 584-0440; worker-b.com

In Her Words Handmade Ceramics platter

Sarah Kupcho of Minneapolis crafts personalized dishes perfect for newlyweds’ first Christmas together—or octogenarians’ 50th. $48. (612) 670-7969; inherwordsceramics.etsy.com

Jechory Glass Designs planter

Michelle Lindgren of Eau Claire, Wisconsin, solders glass and metal to make gemlike terrariums for trendy air plants. Included sand and decorative pebbles finish the look. (Because the package includes a live plant, open and set up the terrarium upon arrival.) $40. jechoryglassdesigns.etsy.com

Tru Fragrance perfume

Fragrance pros use fancy gear to capture the scents of flowers in Chicago’s parks and planters and mix them to create signature Windy City perfumes. The first edition (shown) was so popular that they’ve recently issued a second. From $20. (800) 443-3000; shop.trufragrance.com

Sanborn Canoe paddles

Inspired by generations of canoe trips, cousins in Winona, Minnesota, craft striking, functional paddles that beg to be hung as decor. From $140. (507) 313-8490; sanborncanoe.com

Timber Green Woods ornaments

Made on a sustainable tree farm in Spring Green, Wisconsin, these laser-cut snowflakes come in a huge variety of shapes. From $14.95. (608) 574-3343; timbergreenwoods.etsy.com

Yearbook Studios blanket

Snuggle in collegiate style with a super-warm wool blanket designed in Chicago and made by Minnesota’s Faribault Woolen Mill Company. $145. (708) 366-1920; yearbookstudios.com

Stormy Kromer Carryall bag

This roomy wool bag (the size of a small gym bag) comes from the Ironwood, Michigan, company best known for winter caps. The reinforced bottom and sturdy handles easily withstand heavy loads. $119. (888) 455-2253; stormykromer.com

Treat Bake Shop pecans

Milwaukee food writer Sarah Marx Feldner coats these addictive nuts in the perfect blend of sugar, savory spice and salt. Try them straight, as a kicky complement to cheese or sprinkled over vanilla ice cream. $14.95 for 7 ounces. (414) 305-8937; thetreatbakeshop.com

Firebuggz campfire fishing pole

With a flick of the wrist, kids (and kids at heart) flip hot dogs, marshmallows and more over a campfire with this sturdy, stainless-steel “fishing” pole. $25. (763) 263-0115; firebuggz.com

Kansas paper cutouts

Angie Pickman lives by a philosophy of simplicity. So it’s fitting that the Lawrence, Kansas, artist starts with the most humble of materials—paper—then snips and slices away to create graphic cutouts of woodland creatures, curving trees and intricate flowers. Angie (aka Rural Pearl) shows her simple yet stunning art at shows throughout the country. Unframed prints from $14. (877) 424-1952; ruralpearl.etsy.com

Mahalo cape and mask

Two sisters born in Ohio stitch an imaginative wonderland—a vast assortment of affordable capes and felt animal masks for kids. $26. (727) 235-1757; mahalo.etsy.com

Manhattan Toy Cheese Chase game

The first mouse team to reach the cheese wins in this simple stocking stuffer from a Minneapolis toy company. Parents will especially appreciate that the game can be as long (or blessedly short) as they want. $6. (800) 541-1345; manhattantoy.com

Crosley Radio

Add a splash of retro style to your home with the sleek Ranchero, manufactured by a legendary Cincinnati sound company that’s now based in northern Kentucky. A hidden port allows you to connect an MP3 player. $99.95. (866) 276-7539; crosleyradio.com

The Social Dept. T-shirts

Hand-printed in Ohio, these soft tees (available for every state and in other designs, too) strike just the right balance between Midwest pride and hipster snark. Adult and children’s sizes available. $25. thesocialdept.com

Morphology game

Imagine Pictionary, but instead of drawing, you use items like string and glass beads to build what’s written on the card. Created in Minnesota, this party game is harder than it sounds, but had us on the floor laughing. Available in a junior version, too. $15. amazon.com

Uusi playing cards

We were mesmerized by the Baroque-style art on these top-quality playing cards sold by Linnea Gits and Peter Dunham, founders of a Chicago design studio. They would be a striking addition to any card game or coffee table. $15. (773) 576-8220; uusi.us

Housey Home night light

Chicago shadow-puppet artist Andrea Everman’s sweet Love You night-light is sure to ward away (or charm) monsters under the bed. $24. (773) 603-9768; houseyhome.etsy.com

Bees'netta tote

Chicago-based Suzie Sorenson makes her carefully crafted “eco-leather” totes from free-range cattle tanned without pollutants. We especially love its durability, generous size and timeless style. $280. www.beesnetta.com

Mademoiselle Miel bonbons

Thank bees from rooftop hives in the Twin Cities for the creamed honey filling inside these dark chocolates hand-finished with shimmering edible gold leaf. They’re almost too beautiful to eat. Almost. Package of three for $7. (651) 226-4703; mademoisellemiel.com

K. Hall Designs bath salts

Kelley Hall-Barr and husband John crank out heavenly scented bath salts (and home fragrance products) at their sprawling Deco-style retail store and warehouse in Brentwood, Missouri. It’s a great spot to stock up on hostess gifts. $25. (314) 961-1990; khalldesigns.com

Grey Goose Gifts chandelier teardrop earrings

Modern simplicity shimmers in sterling-silver jewelry hammered by Jill Goulait of Cincinnati. They’re destined to be your new go-to, go-with-everything earrings. $42. (513) 405-2826; greygoosegifts.etsy.com

Elise Bergman multiwrap

The Chicago designer uses hand-woven silver or red silk from India in this versatile piece. For more ideas on how to wear the dress, visit her website. $298. (312) 952-7009; elisebergman.com

Fferrone Design revolution carafe

We never thought we’d swoon over a pitcher-—until we unpacked this ethereally thin beauty from Chicago designer Felicia Ferrone. $98. (312) 662-1210; fferronedesign.com

Craftmade Toffee

We tried several flavors of Minnesotan Steve Kippels’ toffee, including one studded with caramel corn. All delish, but it’s hard to beat a perfectly executed classic: almond with dark chocolate. From $12 for 8 ounces. (952) 807-3724; craftmadetoffee.com

Bittercube bitters

We had a blast experimenting with these six flavors of bitters developed in Milwaukee. One of our fave combos: A few drops of the cherry bark add sweet depth to bourbon. $52. (405) 410-3837; bittercube.com

Cedar Ridge Distillery whiskey

Credit the Midwest cornfields (and the distillers) of Swisher, Iowa, for this nationally acclaimed and oh-so-smooth bourbon crafted from corn whiskey, barley and rye. Check local liquor stores for availability. $36.99. (319) 857-4300; crwine.com

Silly Buddy bow tie

Your dog will look dashing in a beautiful, handmade collar from Chicago. Choose among plaids, stripes, florals and polk dots. $43. silly-buddy.com

Lego Robie House

Perfect for Frank Lloyd Wright fans or Lego nuts, this build-it-yourself version of the Prairie-style icon in Chicago has 2,276 pieces. $199. (877) 848-3559; shopwright.org

Archer Air Superiority collection

Confession: We ordered this trio of manly room sprays as sort of a joke. But all three scents-—European sports car, distillery and hunting lodge—are actually great! Created in Chicago, they’re a fun not-quite-gag-gift for guys on your list. $42 for a set of three. archermen.com

Hoosier Bat Company baseball bats

Quality draws Major League Baseball players to this Indiana company. The top-selling HB105 ash bat will leave your slugger feeling like a pro. Available in 32-, 33- and 34-inch lengths. $60. (800) 228-3787; hoosierbat.com 

A city, stamped

One of the many shining lights in the resurgence of Cincinnati’s Over-the-Rhine neighborhood is Steam Whistle Letterpress and Design. Founder Bryan Stuparyk funnels his passion for Queen City architecture into Paper Neighborhood, a 21-piece stamp set that lets you design your own urban facade. Make stationery or prints—or just have fun getting your architect on. $52. steamwhistlepress.com 

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