GIFTS FROM THE EAST: OUR SHOPPING GUIDE TO UNIQUE AND SPECIAL ITEMS IN EAST COUNTY

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By Miriam Raftery

November 21, 2011 (San Diego’s East County) – This holiday season, why not support our local economy by buying your gifts locally? Below are our picks to some of this year’s most unique and special offerings from San Diego’s eastern regions.

 Montana West purses at Cowgirl Bling:  These all-leather purses are a steal at $39-$49! Our editor couldn’t resist one in a gorgeous turquoise with studs and rhinestone trim plus many compartments to hold everything from cell phones to makeup. Brand new in Parkway Plaza, Cowgirl Bling also has an affordable selection of glitzed-up Western wear such as rhinestone jeans, cowboy hats, buckles, belts, and for horse aficionados, rhinestone saddle blankets!   Get details—and a discount coupon—at http://www.eastcountymagazine.org/node/7946

Hand-crafted creations at Cuzick Pottery: Artistic as well as practical, the American Art pottery items as Cuzick Pottery in Spring Valley include dinnerware, planters, serving pieces and much more. These talented artisans are included in the San Diego Pottery Tour on December 3-4, or call to arrange a visit on another occasion. These modern-day craftsmen are creating wares that may well be the collectibles of tomorrow. View their collections at http://www.cuzickpottery.com/clayworks/Next_Studio_Show.html

Storage galore –fire resistant, waterproof and more from the Waterproof Case Company:  Here in fire-prone East County, every household should have a rolling cart on wheels to swiftly evacuate and take your most important belongings with you.  Or a waterproof storage container, or cases you can bury to secure valuables. Waterproof Case Company in Parkway Plaza also has cases to take with you to hold everything from video cameras to camping gear to iphones.  In addition, you can get disaster survival kits.  Click here for a coupon to save $10-$30 on your purchase: http://www.eastcountymagazine.org/sites/eastcountymagazine.org/files/images/coupons/waterproof-case-coupon.jpg Learn more at www.thewaterproofcasecompany.com.

Spur wine holder and bookends at American Horseshoe Décor:  This Descanso company turned tinkering with a bucket of horseshoes into a full-fledged business selling creatively crafted items made from horseshoes and spurs.  There are many great items to choose from for your home, office, or barn.  Prices start at $8 for a pot holder, up to $60 for a wood shelf supported by spurs. Our favorites were the spur bookends, wine holder, and liqueur bottle stand. There are also many practical items, such as towel racks and a place to hang your saddle blanket after a trail ride.  To order, visit www.AmericanHorseshoeDecor.com.

 Herbal balms from Summers Past Farms: If you're looking for an affordable yet sumptuous gift item made from herbs homegrown in East County, check out this delightful collection of products at Summers Past Farms in Flinn Springs. A few highlights include rose petal perfume salve with beeswax (holds in moisture and keeps out germs), eucalyptus herbal salve (relieves congestion-and it's great for dry hands or feet), healing tea tree herbal salve, and floral mist lavender spray. These products range from $5.95 to$12.95 - great for stocking stuffers!
http://www.summerspastfarms.com/products_made_at_spf.htm

Spectacular jewelry from Golden Artistry: If you're looking for an elegant, one-of-a-kind gift for that special someone, visit Golden Artistry in La Mesa. Owner Terry White has a wealth of creative and beautiful unique original designs, as well as some limited editions. He's earned his
reputation as a master goldsmith, who has been creating fabulous jewelry
since 1984 in La Mesa's downtown village. View examples of his craftsmanship
at www.goldenartistry.com.

Designing with succulents calendar and CD: Debra Lee Baldwin is the author of bestselling books Designing with Succulents and Succulent Container Gardens. Now the Escondido photojournalist has released a 2012 Succulents Watercolor Calendar ($20.95) and a collection of photo CDs (plant palette, flowers, landscapes and containers, each $12) to give you ideas and inspiration for water-saving gardens. These are practical gifts sure to be appreciated by anyone who wants to save money and water while still having beauty in the backyard. You can also order copies of Baldwin's books and more at http://www.debraleebaldwin.com/

International award-winning wines from Hawk Watch Winery: San Diego's East
County is rapidly earning a reputation for producing wines to rival Temecula and Napa.  In the past three years, Hawk Watch Winery has won more than three dozen awards-including a double gold and four gold medals in the 2010 Tasters Guild International Wine Competition for its red wines. Hawk Watch has also won awards in the West Coast Wine Competition, Southern California Wine Competition, California State Fair, New World International Wine Competition, and more. They're so popular that their wine club is sold out! But you can still buy bottles of many vintages from $16 to $38 a bottle. Buy direct from their hilltop tasting room in Warner Springs, or at Country Cellars in Wynola. http://hawkwatchwinery.com/

Sweets and more at the Julian Cider Mill: Julian, our historic Gold rush town, is nowadays known for its new"gold": apples. Treat those on your gift list to spiced apple butter at the Julian Cider Mill, which also has a tempting assortment of honey, jams and jellies, dried fruits, nuts, ciders, caramel apples, syrups, and many more goodies. The holiday season is a delightful time to visit Julian; watch for strolling carolers, or enjoy a horse-drawn carriage ride after shopping at the Julian Cider Mill, corner of Main and B Streets. For more information, call (760)765-1430.

Hand-blown glass gifts at Stone and Glass: Tucked among a village of quaint shops at the Bernardo Winery in Rancho Bernardo, the Stone & Glass glassblowing studio offers a dazzling area of colorful creations. You can even sign up for a class and learn to  make your own blown glass creations. Items range from the practical (shot glasses and vases) to the artistic (sculptures) to whimsical and seasonally-themed glasswork in a wide range of prices. Proprietors of this shop have come up with an innovative energy-saving method of glass making that's eco-friendly, too. For more information on the glassmaking studio, see www.stoneandglass.com. For details on the Bernardo Winery and its village shops, visit www.bernardwinery.com.

Blazers and bomber jackets at Wilson Leather: Wilson Leather opens at midnight Thanksgiving night (along with all stores at the Viejas Outlet Center in Alpine) for a midnight madness sale on Black Friday. Many items including leather blazers, bombers, motorcycle jackets and more will be marked down a full 70 percent. Say I love with a gift that's both warm and stylish, with prices starting around $100. You'll find lots of other name-brand outlet stores, from Coach purses to Brooks Brothers suits. The center also offers an outdoor ice skating rink, bowling alley and arcade to keep kids occupied while you shop. Viejaas has been generous in sharing its profits with our community, including providing training for firefighters countywide. For more information, visit www.wilsonleather.com and www.viejas.com . Click this link to print a coupon valid for a booklet with $250 in discounts at the Viejas Outlet Center: http://www.viejas.com/voc/pdfs/voucher.pdf