Knitters first made monkeys out of red-heel work socks in the 1930s, and sock monkeys have retained their curious (George) appeal ever since. At Sock Monkey Vintage, a collectibles shop in South Tampa, the eponymous simians are made for owner Paula Smith by two sisters in Oregon; a lucky few are dressed in Gator gear made by Smith's mom. $35, Sock Monkey Vintage, 4301 A West El Prado Blvd., Tampa, 813-835-4940.
The artisans of St. Petersburg's Zen Glass Studios trap whorls of color in balls of glass and call them hurricane swirl pendants -- the perfect gift for Max Mayfield (or anyone else who fantasizes about controlling the power of the wind). $32-$44, 7/8 in.-1 1/4 in., zenglass.com.
Stow more than a stogie in a cigar box purse. Choose from small or large versions with original graphic art, unlined or lined with felt or velvet, with beaded, plastic or gold wire handles. Made by Tampa artist Patty Orta from imported boxes. $65, Ybor City Museum Store, 1820 E. Ninth Ave., Tampa, 813-241-6554.
If you've ever shrunk a sweater in the wash, then you've felted wool. Oldsmar-based jewelry maker Trish Sande uses the same technique to create her felted wool bracelets. After making the colorful chunky wool beads, she strings them together with handblown glass beads and semiprecious stones. Bracelet, $60. Ring, $24. The Arts Center, 719 Central Ave., St. Petersburg, 727-822-7872.
Painter and graphic designer Jay Giroux creates punked-out urban apparel by hand-screening an eclectic mix of vintage and original images onto hoodies and thrift-store jackets. The name of his year-old fashion label, Sauver, comes from the French verb "to save," a reference to the recycled images and materials he uses. Items pictured: Jacket $95, T-shirt $36, at Neo Trash, Tampa, 1515 E. Seventh Ave.,Tampa, 813-241-8490 or at sauverapparel.com.
When Lakeland designer Tom Monaco says he will build anything -- from furniture to tree houses -- he's not kidding. Custom-made motorcycles are a passionate hobby for the former set designer, who cut and milled many parts on his silver Hard Tail Chopper by hand. Approx. $40,000, Fourth Wall Design, Lakeland, 863-529-3062, fourthwalldesign.com.
Temple Terrace artist Sylvie Camps' peyote stitch jewelry derives from a traditional Native American technique: Beads are woven together rather than strung onto a single strand. Camps incorporates different sizes of vintage beads, semiprecious stones and shells to create her intricate necklaces and earrings. $48.50 for earrings, $70-$530 for necklaces, Art Tarts, 4109 S. MacDill Ave., Tampa, 813-832-5665.
Potter Chloe Rothwell works on-site at Craftsman House in a studio behind the gallery and café -- ask and you might get a chance to watch her in action. Her hand-thrown herb gardens have two or four pots and come planted with parsley, peppermint, basil, oregano or dill. $86 for two-pot gardens, $134 for four-pot gardens, Craftsman House, 2955 Central Ave., St. Petersburg, 727-323-2787.
For that handy musician on your list, Watts Tube Audio offers a five-class course on building your very own Fender Champ 5F1-style tube amp. From transformers to capacitors, owner Ken Watts provides everything you need to assemble the amp, including one-on-one instruction. Already constructed "boutique" amps are also available. $575 for kit and five night classes, Watts Tube Audio, 1928 Second Ave. S., St. Petersburg, 727-388-3309 or visit wattstubeaudio.com to register for January classes.
If you hear the haunting strains of a flute when you visit Peace Tree Trading, an oasis of Native American arts and crafts in Seminole Heights, it might be a live demo by owner Mary Kirkconnell. She not only sells hand-carved flutes by Lake Wales artist Utah Farris and flute bags by Joyce Yab, she also gives a free flute class to first-time buyers. Pictured: Flute, $65; flute bag, $21. Peace Tree Trading, 770 E. Jefferson Street, Brooksville, 352-797-7886, or peacetreetrading.com.
Turned wood salad bowls by Melrose artist Ray Ferguson make for a dramatic presentation at the dinner table. Bowls are turned on a lathe and decorated with hand-carved wood pieces. Pictured: $200 (bowl with black accents), $255 (bowl with utensils), Florida Craftsmen Gallery, 501 Central Ave., St. Petersburg, 727-821-7391.
Sharon Rose, owner of Mermaid's Slipper in Ybor, knows the items in her boutique so well she can throw together a complete outfit in a matter of seconds as if she made the items herself. And she probably did: Her own designs are among the most striking in the shop, like the floaty silk top ($115), amber pendant ($44) and palm-tree bag ($79) shown here. Mermaid's Slipper, 1903 N. 19th St., Ybor City, 813-247-4400.
Teapots by Bradenton artist Seth Barendse draw inspiration from his training with a Korean master potter. He constructs their geometric bodies by throwing two pots -- one small, one large -- and building them together. Pick out an odd number of coordinating teacups for good luck. $120-180; $20 each for teacups, Craftsman House, 2955 Central Ave., St. Petersburg, 727-323-2787.
A silk scarf serves as her canvas, deep-hued French dyes as her paint. Artist Natacha Waring adds a floral touch to fringed scarves big enough to fold in half and wear as a shawl. $139, Mermaid's Slipper, 1903 N. 19th St., Ybor City, 813-247-4400.
Tired of Rudolph? The Arts Center in St. Pete offers alternative reindeer both sleek and homespun: silver-plated wire animals ($11) that may or may not have been coat hangers in a previous life, and cute cork-bodied critters ($10) that owe their lives to environmentally-conscious wine drinkers. Arts Center, 719 Central Ave., St. Petersburg, 727-822-7872.
See more gift ideas here.
The Handmade Holiday Guide
I don't know much about theater in Tampa. I only go when my gf makes…
Thanks for your response. I tried to make clear that the sex of…
Wow, wow and wow! I can see nothing but success in the Bay area theatre…
Tina: I did respond to the issues, in some detail. Please read more carefully. And…