Midwest Living Holiday Gift Guide 2014 | Midwest Living
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Midwest Living Holiday Gift Guide 2014

When your holiday dollars support artists and entrepreneurs, it truly does feel better to give than to receive. That’s why, long before the first flakes fly, the Midwest Living elves begin their work, reviewing hundreds of products from the region. Our mission: To inspire you with 40 gift ideas that reflect the best of the Midwest.
  • Natural beauty

    Plywood Office candleholder We love how the curved shape of the mod Concrete Tealight Totem magnifies the glow from a tiny candle. Also available in wood, they’d be especially lovely on a mantel or tucked in a shelf. $39 each; for 10% off: mwl14. (312) 521-0060; plywoodoffice.us

    Bettula birch-bark accessories Heather Fagan crafts vases, bird ornaments and even bracelets from bark and other natural materials harvested near her Carsonville, Michigan, home. From $10; for 20% off: mwl14b (one-time use). bettula.com

  • Campfire accents

    Heritage Littles tepee Finally! A kiddie tent cool enough that Mommy and Daddy won’t mind it in the living room. Stitched from burlap coffee sacks, the 6-foot-tall, Chicago-made tepee fits one or two tiny tykes as a reading nook—or a rocket to the moon. $195. (773) 242-9008; heritagelittles.com

    Goodtrade Kevin bow and arrows Older kids can tap their inner Robin Hood (and learn about physics and marksmanship) with a bamboo-and-wood bow, leather quiver and four rubber-tipped arrows made by Kevin Thon in Wykoff, Minnesota, and Farmington, Missouri. $29.95. goodtradekevin.etsy.com

    Rome Industries Pie Iron Toast grilled-cheese sandwiches or buttery fruit “pies” in this cast-iron campfire fave, made for 50 years in Peoria, Illinois. $19.50. (800) 818-7603 or pieiron.com for information; amazon.com for ordering

    Ohio Flame fire pit Made of local carbon steel, the striking, Olympic torch-like Patriot model weighs a ton and will last for decades of patio parties, easily surviving any stray hits from the mower. Domed screens sold separately. $249.99; for free shipping and 10% off: mwl14. (888) 425-7771; ohioflame.com

  • Urban renewal bag

    Cute tote, right? The stylish Commissioner weekend bag is recycled from seat belts, roof fabric from Indianapolis’ old RCA Dome and Super Bowl XLVI banners. Credit for this slick melding of Hoosier sports history and eco-friendliness goes to People for Urban Progress, a nonprofit whose other projects include bus stops using Busch Stadium seating. $165; for free shipping: MWL14. (317) 759-4874; unitedstateofindiana.com

  • Mr. City Printing print

    St. Louis designer Tony Frankenberg turns latitude-longitude coordinates into graphic works of art. Many cities available; send him a message on Etsy for a customized print. From $35. mrcityprinting.etsy.com

  • LunaTik iPhone case

    Water, dust, herds of stampeding wildebeest: Nothing will permeate the TakTik Extreme, a hard-core Chicago-designed case that screws on your phone and has a durable-yet-touch-friendly glass screen cover. Available in black and white; fits iPhone 5 and 5S. $124.95; for 15% off: mwl14. (855) 586-2845; lunatik.com

  • Tree Hopper Toys robots

    Spunky stacking, balancing Whoa-Bots are lovingly crafted with sustainable American hardwood by a Chicago company. Buy one set for the kids, then get your own for a funky desk or coffee table accent. $24.99 for an eight-piece set; for 20% off and free shipping: mwl14. (866) 781-9625; treehoppertoys.com

  • Charley Harper jigsaw puzzles

    Renowned Cincinnati nature artist Charley Harper’s signature block-color aesthetic makes for uniquely tricky puzzles. (Our staff bonded over the Herculean task of that vast blue sky!) Birders and puzzle pros alike will savor the challenge. $18.95. (513) 522-0545; charleyharperartstudio.com

  • Nedrelow iPad case

    Made in Minneapolis using cloth book-binding techniques, this slim case has a magnetic cover that automatically wakes the tablet when opened. The oh-so-ironic title on the spine? “Book.” $49; for 10% off: mwl14. nedrelow.com

  • Lillie’s Q sauces

    Inspired by grandma Lillie’s Southern-style BBQ sauces, Chicago chef Charlie McKenna’s 11 bold flavors taste as sophisticated as they look. (Our tasters especially loved the sweet burn of Hot Smoky.) Choose any three 16-ounce bottles for a gorgeous gift set that arrives in a wooden box. $40. lilliesq.com

  • Northern Tobaggan and Sled

    Northern Minnesotan John Harren learned to make sleds from a Canadian woodworker who used them for hunting and transportation. The centuries-old skill became John’s passion, giving birth to Northern Toboggan and Sled in 1995. Made from red oak and long enough to seat four, this heirloom-quality toboggan has some give to it, so it bends slightly to whoosh smoothly over bumps. $370; for free shipping to the lower 48 states, call and mention Midwest Living's gift guide. (218) 386-3005; ntsled.com

  • Iowa Metal Art triangle

    Come ’n get it! Jeff and Kim Westphal forge 13-inch Western Cowboy Chuckwagon dinner bells that ring so loudly that hungry neighbors might arrive, too. $15. (641) 740-1058; iowametalart.com

  • Salted Caramel marshmallows

    Plop these bourbon-caramel-swirled ’mallows from Chicago in hot cocoa for melty bliss ... if you don’t eat the entire bag first. $7; for 10% off: mwl14. (312) 725-8927; saltedcaramel.net

  • Savory Spoon panforte

    This traditional confection is like fruitcake’s cool Italian cousin. Spiced not boozy, it’s made of luxe ingredients like hazelnuts, figs and Door County, Wisconsin, cherries. Cut slivers to eat alone or pair with cheese. $20.99 for 10 ounces. (920) 854-6600; savoryspoonpanforte.com

  • Mollyjogger knife kit

    Scrimshaw was the traditional craft of New England whalers. Use this nifty set from the Ozarks to etch a design on a bone-handled pocketknife. Ideal for crafty history buffs (or people called Ishmael). $48.50. mollyjogger.com

  • Talisman Designs coffee scoop

    This is no ordinary scoop. Designed in Minneapolis and available in myriad patterns, its slitted handle doubles as a clip for the top of coffee bags. Genius. $7.99. (952) 681-2866 or talismandesigns.com for information; amazon.com for ordering.

  • Gina DeSantis Ceramics mug

    We love the combo of intricate flowers and unglazed red clay on this Cleveland potter’s Meridian line. $32 each; for 10% off: mwl14. (440) 785-5409; ginadesantisceramics.com

  • Moonshine Leather Company bells

    One melodic jingle of Moonshine Leather Company’s brass harness bells transported us to snow-globe scenes of Christmas past. Graduated bell sizes along this 31-inch strap create a musicality that cheaper versions lack. Handmade in Brown County, Indiana, they come in various colors and sizes. From $46; $179 for model shown. (812) 720-0130; moonshineleather.com

  • Duluth Pack LoonTune

    Wind up this irresistible Minnesota-made contraption, then pull the handles to make a loon call. It’s spot-on! Great for cabin dwellers and lovers of Midwest lakes. $13.95. (800) 777-4439; duluthpack.com

  • American Skillet Company skillet

    These 13x8-inch Wisconsin-made cast-iron map pans make fantastic wall art. But they’re functional, too (just in case you get a yen for wow-worthy corn bread). Wisconsin, Minnesota, Illinois and the Michigan "mitten" are available; more to come. $125. americanskilletcompany.com

  • 1337motif cutting board

    Made in Indianapolis of satiny smooth walnut and maple, Cameron Oehler’s 12x18-inch backgammon-inspired board is the stuff design-loving cooks’ fantasies are made of. If you can’t bear to cut on it and mar that beautiful finish, use it as a surface for serving appetizers or drinks. $125. 1337motif.com

  • Stephanie Izard rubs

    Three beautifully packaged rubs—cheesy, masala and all-purpose rosemary—from the acclaimed Chicago chef are an affordable stocking stuffer for the family grill-master. $6 per 2-ounce tin. theflavorbystephanieizard.com

  • Femme du Coupe cocktail syrup

    Cinnamon, cloves and orange flavor Chicago mixologist Revae Schneider’s Winter Spice syrup. Try this aromatic elixir with bourbon or cider, preferably by a roaring fire. $14.95 for 13 ounces; for 10% off: mwl14. (773) 916-6070; lesirop.com

  • Le Papier Studio prints

    Immortalize furry companions in custom silhouette prints from Chicago-area artist Vana Chupp. E-mail a pet photo, then select from a variety of colors and sizes (from 5x7 to 13x19 inches). From $45. lepapierstudio.com

  • Ododo Originals bobby pins

    Add sweet sparkle to your do with vintage-style beaded flower hairpins, handmade by Twin Cities crafter Lesley Arimah and sold in packs of three complementary hues. $35. (612) 548-1408; ododooriginals.etsy.com

  • Beka Inc. weaving frame

    This sturdy, Minnesota-made beginner’s loom is all about the details: Smoothly sanded beveled edges feel comfortable in hand, hooked teeth hold warp strings in place, and charmingly old-fashioned instructions help kids and parents get started. $32.99. (888) 999-2352; bekainc.com

  • Mosser Glass mixing bowls

    Mom didn’t save her milk-glass bowls? You’re in luck. Ohio’s Mosser family still makes their nesting sets (6-, 7- and 9-inch diameter) in a tantalizing array of retro pastels. Call or e-mail to order. From $53.60. (740) 439-1827; mosserglass.com

  • Slices of Life

    Chicago Tribune columnist Leah Eskin weaves homey recipes with relatable family memories (Cheerful Risotto for a new baby, Sly Oatmeal Squares for sullen children) in a delightful new cookbook. $26. runningpress.com

  • Frost Glass wine glasses

    The brightly colored filigree on these delicate Ohio-made Spiro blown glasses playfully echoes the looping ballpoint designs we made as kids. $170 for four. (630) 788-5260; frostglass.com

  • Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams sandwiches

    What happens when Columbus, Ohio’s, famously inventive ice cream meets homemade oatmeal cookies and macaroons? Crispy, creamy, hazelnutty, salted-caramelly joy. For an unexpected twist on the usual holiday cookie box or popcorn tin, send a frosty five-pack winging to someone special. Flavors vary; seasonal selection available. $40. (614) 488-3224; jenis.com

  • Hruskaa wreath

    Minimalist decorator Melissa Hruskaa of Grand Rapids, Michigan, threads together brass tubes to form her airy 22-inch-diameter Himmeli wreath. It’s striking yet simple enough to hang over the mantel all year. Tuck evergreen or holly and an ornament or two into the wreath’s framework for a pop of bright seasonal color. $185; for $10 off: midwest10. hruskaa.etsy.com

  • Carrier Pigeon jewelry

    Minnesotan Lauren Neal casts recycled metals in bold, contemporary designs, like her Lunar Sands necklace and chunky Nightingale ring. $160 for necklace, $148 for ring; for free shipping: mwl14. carrierpigeonjewelry.com

  • Sweet Jules Gifts caramels

    Eight flavors of buttery, Minnesota-made caramel fill each 1-pound gift box. Our favorites were Fleur de Sel, Beer and Pretzel, Sicilian Orange, and Dark Chocolate and Salted Pecan. $42.95. sweetjulesgifts.com

  • Pyar and Company throw

    This Chicago-designed blanket feels almost weightless when you pick it up, but don’t be fooled: The mohair-wool blend is cozy for snuggling under on the couch. $195. (312) 451-5073; pyarandco.com for information; shopten25.com to order

  • Russell and Hazel tape dispenser and stapler

    Confession: We ordered this sleek acrylic duo by mistake from a Twin Cities stationer. And then everyone raved about how glam they were. After all, every desk deserves a little bling. $24 each; for 20% off: MIDWEST20. (952) 204-3138; russellandhazel.com

  • Dana Reed Designs earrings

    You don’t have to be a Pisces to appreciate Chicagoan Dana Reed’s delicate hand-forged hoops, available in sterling silver or yellow or pink gold-filled. From $44; for 20% off: pisces20. (773) 343-3201; danareeddesigns.com

  • Intelligent Nutrients fragrance

    Our testers of all ages approved of Jasminas, an intoxicating blend of organic Egyptian and Indian jasmine. Intelligent Nutrients is a new venture of Aveda’s founder. $46 for 11 ml; for 20% off: MWL14. (800) 311-5635; intelligentnutrients.com

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