Shop Talk : Handmade treasures and other gifts
A reminder: I would love to hear from Island shoppers to learn about your shopping tips, finds and bargains so that I can share them with readers and give you the credit for being a clever shopper. If you have had a particularly nice shopping experience, discovered a great deal or something unusual, write to me. In order to see your idea in print, include your name and town. Can't wait to read your ideas.
But for now, there is still holiday shopping to do, and special gifts to find. If you would like a dizzying array of beautiful, handmade gifts by local artisans, Featherstone Center for the Arts, on Barnes Road in Oak Bluffs, is the place to go. The seventh Annual Holiday Gift Show features more than 50 artists, and supports Featherstone's mission to promote Vineyard talent. Eva Weinstein's beautiful ceramics and knitted baby hats or cards, Sarah Young of Vineyard Sky Bead Design's jewelry with antique beads, and Joyce Silberling, of Angel Touch Fiber Art's one of a kind pieces are all on display. The Gift Show ends this Sunday, so you only have from 12 noon to 4 pm each day to do your Island-made gift shopping there.
Moonstone, in Vineyard Haven, has some beautiful Island made jewelry that will make any woman or man feel special. An exclusive artist line, Wampum by Julie, uses a carved piece of wampum and sinks it into a flat piece, making it beautifully dimensional. Julie's "wearable art" ranges from traditional to unique pieces, like her one-of-a-kind pendants carved into mermaids, turtles, a horse head and more. Moonstone's newest addition is their own designed and made sterling silver beads, which fit both popular lines of Troll and Pandora. The unique beads are all stamped with a MV and come in the shapes of scallop shells, lighthouses, bunch of grapes or their newest addition, the Nantucket basket. All are available for personalization.
Barbara Ronchetti's Island Alpaca products include a gorgeous selection of warm, soft adult outerwear to baby knit booties with matching mittens. Popular stocking stuffers are the PacaBella organic soaps felted with 100 percent Alpaca fiber ($12), a pair of the Island Alpaca logo socks ($25). The unique "Dr. Zhivago" hats are one of their most successful items, made with the super soft baby alpaca fur along with Anna Marie's alpaca felted hats. With a large variety of great items, Island Alpaca is certainly worth a visit, though I would recommend sooner rather than later as some of their popular items, like the alpaca fur-lined slippers, are literally running out the door.
If you still are unsure what to get, you might want to go the route of gift certificates. There are some spectacular deals at our local eateries, where you can actually get higher valued certificates then what you paid for. A fine example would be Edgartown Pizza's certificate palooza with an extra $20 for each $100 bought down to an extra $7 for every $30 bought. While you are there getting your certificate you could take advantage of their three pizza, one-topping special from smalls at $20 to XL's for $38. David Ryan's, also in Edgartown, is offering an additional $25 free for every $100 purchased and Waterside Market in Vineyard Haven is also offering an extra $20 on $100 and $10 on $50. Finally, you could give a gift certificate to one of the restaurants offering two-for-one specials, among them Tony Saccocia's The Grill on Main, Offshore Ale, and Il Tesoro, to name a few.
Daniel Waters, West Tisbury:
My favorite purchase is Brazilian Pão de Queijo (cheese rolls), a gluten-free treat kept in the freezer at Vineyard Grocer, State Road, Vineyard Haven. The cost is less than $4 a bag. Heat for 40 minutes at 350°F and you'll be the hit of the potluck.
Also, little colored plastic eggs, part-filled with sand, provide wonderful, crisp-sounding backup rhythm for Latin music. Professional musicians use them all the time. $3 at Island Music, Main Street, Vineyard Haven.
A Sharp calculator with a solar cell, a large digital display and big buttons. In a few easy steps, you can teach it to use and remember the sales tax rate (even while it's off). Indispensable if you sell at Vineyard Artisans' Festivals. About $13 at Shirley's Hardware, State Road, Vineyard Haven.
"Hi, I heard you were looking for some good shopping finds on the Island. I went to Saffron in Edgartown a few weeks ago and picked up a cute wrap sweater that didn't seem to be on sale, but once I went to the register it was about 20-30 percent off. Not sure if the sale is still going on, but I thought it was great and a nice surprise."