Buy Local for the Holidays: Bay Area Gift Ideas

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Buy Local for the Holidays: Bay Area Gift Ideas
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Oakland-based CasaMurriguez designs pillows that shout out San Francisco streets

San Francisco is into artisan crafts for everything from local cheese to small-batch wine to jewelry and sustainable apparel. As the holiday gift season approaches, more and more local, independent makers have gift items available, including some one-of-a-kind finds. It's a win-win when you give a gift created locally by a small business owner.

For the Home With a Conscience

A green and white felt throw pillow ($50) that resembles a San Francisco street sign may be right up your alley. Choose from Castro, Mission, Hayes, Broadway, Valencia, Sunset, Ashby, Telegraph, Grand, and Oakland. Or ask Casa Murriguez to custom-make another street pillow for $65. Their tea towels, art prints, and stationery use local raw materials from local businesses with fair and ethical labor practices. All illustrations are silk screened with water-based inks onto fabric that is cut, washed, pressed, and sewn by Casa Murriguez in Oakland. They're a member of EtsySF and exhibitors at Renegade Crafts Fair.

Small-Batch Wine From Sonoma County

The McWilliams family waved goodbye to Texas, having fallen in love with Sonoma, 15 years ago. Some 36 acres later, that passion resulted in the Russian River Valley's Arista Winery. A visit to the tasting rooms and Japanese gardens is delightful; the bonus is carrying away gift-wrapped bottles of your favorite Pinot Noir for those on your list. "Big, big, delicious wine" is the description from one wine critic, which sounds perfect for sharing at December festivities.

Bespoke Poetry on Demand

If you've ever been stuck for words, you'll marvel at the skill of San Francisco poet Silvi Alcivar. "Literally small, mentally approachable" is the way Alcivar explains The Poetry Store; she creates customized poems hammered out on her red Royal manual typewriter onto vintage stationery. Alcivar will send an original poem ($15) by snail mail to your sister, your uncle, your boss -- whoever, no matter who they are or where they live. Your poem can even be contained in a miniature bottle or set in a frame. Just tell Alcivar what it should be about, and voila, she'll put the words in your mouth. Forget Hallmark.

Homemade Holiday Pies

Butter Love Bakeshop is based in Bayview Heights but has no storefront. Married owners Josh and Esa are passionate about pies; the family secret is all in the buttery pie crust recipe passed down from Esa's mother. Testimonials come from the New York Times, SFWeekly, Chow, and more. Homemade fruit, pecan, pumpkin, apple, and even chocolate cranberry pecan pies ($26 to $28) make a perfect gift for the holiday feast. Pies can be delivered for $5 within San Francisco. Esa uses real pans for her pie baking, so there is a $2 pan deposit or credit towards your next order. Order early!

Semiprecious Gemstones

With gold prices predicted to rise in 2013, we must all rethink jewelry purchases. With this in mind, Sarah Shaw, a longtime Pacific Heights designer and retailer, has created an affordable jewelry line in silver plated in 18K gold. One-of-a-kind statement pieces range from $125 to $380. Raw ruby and emerald, citrine, chalcedony, pink quartz, onyx, turquoise, geode, and labradorite are sourced from carefully selected small-operation mines, then incorporated into unique designs.

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