They say that home is where the heart is, and, in 1984, next-door neighbours Vickie and Jo Ann couldn’t have agreed with that statement more. Both moms with young children, the two women dreamed of staying home and caring for their kids, while also doing what they loved—sharing with others their joint passion for cooking. A kitchen-table discussion led to the foundation of Gooseberry Patch, and their first cookbook, released more than 25 years ago, featured many recipes borrowed from family members and friends.
Gooseberry Patch continues in its original tradition of collecting home recipes, but now their recipe ideas come from across North America. An active user base contributes to cookbooks covering topics such as baking, seasonal dishes and desserts, and kid-friendly dishes that children can make for themselves or with the help of a Barbie with arms bendy enough to hold a spoon. The library of cookbooks is complemented by calendars that similarly showcase recipes, help clients organize their holiday or party planning, or provide a foolproof way for anyone to remember what day it isn't.
Eleven years ago, Randy Elkins and Chris Ratchford pooled their collective video expertise to open Keepsake Solutions, and today their staff continues to transfer outdated media to future-friendly formats. Services include video transfers, in which up to two hours of taped sports games or home movies emerge from their old-format cocoons as beautiful DVD butterflies or powerful DVD velociraptors.
Photo-to-DVD transfers and slide scanning keep memories alive with a modern format and user-friendly layout, and video-editing services boost school presentations, demo reels, and company instructional videos, relying on programs such as Final Cut Pro, Encore, and an industry-specific version of Minesweeper.
Things Remembered features over 5,000 personalized gifts available for any occasion. The award-winning company has become a go-to gift source for that perfect gift for all kinds of special occasions, from birthdays and weddings to "thank yous" and "good lucks". At ThingsRemembered.com customers can find engraved items, luxurious embroidered gifts, hand-painted items, and more. With over 600 stores across the country, customers can easily buy a personalized gift online and pick it up in-store.
Tropical Trends' sunny shopkeepers fill the shelves of their cheery environs with adornments for body and home alike. Freshen interior breezes with the fragrant tendrils of hand-dipped Wild Berry incense, which uncurls 40 aromas including vanilla, sandalwood, and root beer (30 sticks for $5.50). Scented WoodWick candles ($10–$12) mimic the crackles and pops of a roaring bonfire when burned, turning innocent anecdotes into instant ghost stories. Customers can also spruce up bodies with Tropical Trends' fashions and accessories—adorning digits with elegant sterling-silver rings in sizes 5–14 ($12–$22) and bodies with breezy exotic-print skirts and dresses ($18–$26) that flutter in colorful anticipation of spring breezes and summer tornado chasing.
One of the oldest stores of its kind in the country, Helen Winnemore Craft has been providing adornment seekers with artisanal gifts for all occasions since 1938. After being offered complimentary tea and coffee in a ceramic cup, customers will get to browse the cozy, charming house at their leisure—including more than 40 custom-built drawers stuffed with high-quality, carefully constructed jewelry. Tether earlobes with ceramic drop earrings ($35) made using the ancient technique of milleflori, mirror your multiple floral personalities with a reversible petal necklace ($36.50), or keep flocks of starlings from roosting in your child's neck with a cute owl charm necklace ($24.50). A selection of usable, wearable, and beautifully useless art line the store walls, ceilings, and floors, which retract to reveal an underworld of mythical, compostable trinkets. Avenge a neighbor's many newspaper thefts by loading up on handmade glass windchimes ($32.50), make mom shed a tear with a Leigh Standley card ($4.25), or gift a silk leaf mobile ($169.50) to the environmentalist newborn in your life. American artists are responsible nearly 95% of the goods in the shop.
Indulge yourself or others with gourmet brownie options such as this season's caramel apple fudge or peanut butter caramel fudge ($3.25 each), each decidedly more delectable than equally seasonal dried-leaf granola squares. New breakfast additions include cinnamon streusel and cappuccino pecan ($3.25 each), and standbys such as chocolate fudge and fudgy cookie ($3.25 each) give fans of the classics something to chew about.