Altoona's cookie bouquets add a touch of sweetness to already special occasions by bundling 14 colorful, individually wrapped cookies into one scrumptious bundle. Each baked bunch arrives on the recipient's doorstep bursting with a rainbow of eye-catching hues, complete with a chic bow, basket, and a heartfelt note from its birth oven. Hands unwrap the candy-colored rounds to reveal the dessert staples in a single flavor such as sugar, chocolate chip, peanut butter, or ginger. For an additional cost (not covered by today's Groupon), buyers can further accessorize their cookie cluster with mylar balloons, stuffed animals, or clumps of broccoli to render them Santa-proof.
Grape Escape Winery’s name isn’t simply a boozy play on a Steve McQueen movie. For its vintners, planting their own vineyard signified the chance to break free from the typical work routine and spend more time together. From their 8 acres of grapes—supplemented by pickings from 15 other Iowa vineyards—the crafters fill their casks with 13 varietals ranging from sweet to dry. Visitors to the winery may saunter through the pastoral rows of vines, savor tastes of a red, white, or blush over the fire pit, or, on Saturday nights in summer, take in a movie right in the vineyard.
This lacy bouquet of saucy skivvies brightens lingerie drawers and hearts with its soft, lacy charisma. Made of an imported nylon/spandex blend, each of these T-shaped delicates sport a sheer, delicate floral body, a soft wrap-around band, and a fully lined cotton crotch. Available in sizes small, medium, and large, the fearless five come in rich jewel tones and will be plucked based on availability and ripeness like the finest forbidden pluots, in a mix of the following colors: guava, lipstick, royal wedding, grape, gold rush, black, white, purple, and garnet.
Overland Sheepskin Co. decorates humans, domiciles, and cars with more than 1,500 styles of elegantly crafted products. Fashionistas can add flair to an outing with a trendy pair of sheepskin boots ($89+), or play a snugglefest match of hide-and-seek at home with a cozy pair of sheepskin slippers ($69+) on a fluffy Icelandic sheepskin rug ($79). A supple women’s black leather handbag ($49) shields personal items from frigid wind gusts, and a cashmere leather wallet ($29) protects fragile bills in folds of softness year-round. A men’s oiled fancy padded leather belt ($45) boasts details of elegantly double-stitched raised leather that make pants blush, and noggins rest secure beneath a soft, durable men’s leather aviator hat ($99), complete with vintage leather, rabbit fur, and a tiny brass orchestra to provide in-ear entertainment. In addition to their internationally produced clothing and accessories, Overland Sheepskin Co. also overs a large selection of products made in the U.S. and Canada.
Sticks sprung from humble origins when, in 1992, Sarah Grant began carving ornaments and candlesticks from birch, poplar, and driftwood in a small studio in Des Moines. As her work began to attract national interest and demand for it grew, Sarah enlisted the aid of other local artists and expanded her inventory to include handcrafted heirloom-quality furniture, whimsical sculptures, and intricate keepsakes.
Today, the artists’ work is showcased in more than 100 galleries across the country. Their installation projects have even decorated the walls of Blank Children’s Hospital, the Animal Rescue League of Central Iowa, and the student center at Iowa State University.
Sticks artists can often be spotted by the shores of local rivers, gathering driftwood for their work. They assemble the wood into custom-designed tables, beds, and armoires within their spacious, light-filled studio before painting them with colorful, whimsical designs, from smiling suns and moons to lush landscapes. The versatile artists even take their tools and paintbrushes to homes, businesses, and underground mad-scientist labs to craft custom art installations and interiors.
At Teddy Bear Connection, children’s imaginations run wild as they dream up stuffed-animal friends and customize them with clothes and a full boutique of colorful accessories. After they pick out a bear, kitten, zebra, or other plush friend, they hand their future friend over to a staff member, who plumps the animal with fluff, maximizing cuddliness but minimizing its ability to slip under doors and raid the cookie jar. Animals leave the store as is or can peruse walls hung with outfits and shoes for any occasion, real or imagined, with their owner. Creators can add a song or sound to play when their stuffed animal is squeezed, or record their own 10-second theme song, catch phrase, or campaign slogan.