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The ’Burghy Mother’s Day Gift Guide 2014

Just say no to fruit baskets and Amazon gift cards.


“It’s the thought that counts.”

So how much thought are you putting into your Mother’s Day gifts this year? Are you thinking about hockey as you lazily grab a set of mixing spoons from Target that you’ll pair with a lazy generic “#1 Mom” card? Are you thinking about work as you arrange for a fruit basket to arrive on her doorstep two days after Mother’s Day?

Why not think about Mom’s sacrifices as you put some real thought into her gift this time? Show her she’s more than a gift card to you. Show her the value of the gift SHE IS TO YOU by shopping this year’s Mother’s Day ’Burghy Gift Guide. Most items are made right here in Pittsburgh by local crafters and vendors. Others are Pittsburgh-themed. All of them will show her you cared enough to forego the usual nail-salon gift certificate.

Mario Lemieux Foundation/Rachel’s Cure by Design bracelet benefiting Austin’s Playroom Project ($66)
“Healing Power of Playrooms” is the name for this black-and-white beaded bracelet with silver charms, including a special “hand-and-glove” Mario Lemieux Foundation charm. Sales of this limited-edition, locally made bracelet benefit the foundation’s Austin’s Playroom Project, which puts playrooms in hospitals around the country, including our Pittsburgh hospitals and the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Md. Quantities are limited, so be sure to snag one quickly; it’s perfect for the mom who appreciates a gift that gives back.

(P.S. Hi, Mario. Will you marry me? Circle yes or no.)


P is for Pierogi bib apron by Garbella ($28)
Every mom has that one dish they make better than anyone else’s mom. “My mother makes better city chicken than yours!” “Nah-uh!” “Yah-huh!” This is what started that whole “my-mother-punched-your-mother-right-in-the-nose” rhyme, by the way. Whether the mom in your life makes the best pierogies, chocolate chip cookies or spaghetti sauce, this P is for Pierogi apron is the perfect gift to show off a little ’Burgh pride in her kitchen. Garbella Design screenprints them right here in Pittsburgh. If you’re in Lawrenceville, you can pick one up at WildCard on Butler Street.

(P.S. MY mom makes the best city chicken. If you’ve got a problem with that, I’ll meet you at the clothesline.)


Pittsburgh Winery wine ($21-$50 per bottle)
A bottle or two from the Pittsburgh Winery will delight the wine-loving mother (is there any other kind?). These wines are crafted here from premium Chilean and California wine grapes and are available online or at the winery’s headquarters — 2815 Penn Ave. in the Strip District. Baby boomers and empty-nesting moms will love to open a bottle for their friends over dinner, while younger moms like me (that felt good to type) might enjoy a glass after the kids finally are in bed after hours of stall tactics, lost-toy tears, resistant bathing, sibling shouting matches and a house that looks like Toys "R" Us had a rager in it. Sometimes wine is a mom’s co-pilot.


Steel Town Girls Don’t Stop tote by John the Craftist ($12)
A tote bag is a perfect standalone gift — or the best reusable gift bag. Why stuff your thoughtful gift in a store-bought gift bag when you can put it in this equally thoughtful cotton tote bag from Pittsburgh’s John the Craftist? Young moms and moms (like me) who are young at heart will find many uses for this bag that proudly proclaims their Steel Town Girl status. Extra Steel Town Girl points if you use a Sharpie to add “FOR TUNNELS” at the bottom. Pair it or any of the gifts on this list with this John the Craftist card, which also can be found in the Etsy shop or at a number of local stores, such as WildCard, KoolKat Designs or Boutique 208

JennyNDesign Versatile Hip Bag ($52)
This most definitely is not your grandma’s fanny pack — but it could be your mother’s or even yours. A versatile little hand-sewn bag created locally at the JennyNDesign studio, this bag can be worn over the shoulder, across the chest, on the hip or even converted to a casual clutch. It’s available in three fabrics; I’m partial to this nautical stripe. It’s absolutely perfect for the warm summer months of travel, amusement parks and memory-making. Stuff it with a few gift cards to Mom’s favorite shops, and watch her eyes light up.

Note: Some are ready to ship. For some custom orders, please allow two weeks for delivery.


Italian marble Pittsburgh coasters from Studio Vertu ($48, set of four)
This awesome set of marble coasters was not made in Pittsburgh, but I had to add it to the list on account of my covetousness for them. Snag these for the ’Burgh-loving (and water-ring-hating) mom in your life. What a charming way to display her love for the city while protecting her precious furniture. Just look at those little inclines. Look at ’em!


You and Me Puzzle necklaces by Audra Azoury ($50 each)
Audra Azoury is one of Pittsburgh’s most well-known jewelry designers. In fact, you can find her work in the gift shops of many of our area museums, including The Warhol, where you’ll find a Warhol Bridge pendant that’s not sold elsewhere. This Mother’s Day, snag one of these new stainless steel “You and Me” puzzle sets made here in Pittsburgh. Mom gets one chain and pendant; plus there’s a corresponding set for daughter. Choose from hearts, butterflies, guitars or unicorns. Moms with more than one daughter would appreciate this “M.O.M.” morse-code pendant.


Etched Melted Glass Cheese Tray by Mitchell Glassworks in Mt. Lebanon ($30)
If your mom is the hostess with the most-est, she’ll love a cheese tray made from a melted glass bottle from Mt. Lebanon’s Mitchell Glassworks. I’m partial to this Pittsburgh bridge tray, but check out the entire Etsy shop to find the one suitable for your Mom. The shop has everything from hoity-toity merlot bottles, perfect for serving a fancy Crottin de Chavignol, to the melted version of Stone Pale Ale . . . perfect for beer cheese, n’at.


Pittsburgh Vintage Map Plastic or Rubber iPhone case ($19)
I decided on a wedding dress in less than 20 minutes, but ask me to decide on the perfect cover for my iPhone and I will crumble under the weight of that hefty decision. Style over protection? Happy owls? Angry pigeons? Yellow? Orange? Simple black? WHO CAN CHOOSE?! However, this iPhone case featuring a vintage Pittsburgh map makes for an easy decision. Your mom is sure to be the only one at the bus stop, church event or girls night out who pulls this cover out of her purse. At only $19, maybe you can tuck it in the JennyNDesigns hip bag as a bonus gift. Choose plastic or the easier-to-grip rubber version.


Mama’s Helper Mini Gift Bag from Una Biologicals ($15)
Moms love to pamper others, but they generally don’t take the time to pamper themselves. Change that with this gift bag full of goodies from local company Una Biologicals. My sister from Virginia snagged a tube of the company’s chapstick during her last visit and then raved for days about how long it lasted and how soft it made her lips. She’s a fan. You can make your mom a fan, too. Buy various Una items — from teas, lotions, soaps and personal-care items online or at WildCard, Boutique 208 and lots of other shops and salons around the region. Build your own gift set for Mom, or start her off with this perfect Mama’s Helper Mini Bag featuring Wound Wonder, travel-size Bruise Balm, travel-size all natural Rosemary Hand Soap and Pure Peppermint Lip Balm. All Una products are organic; none contain artificial scents. Best of all: They’re made here in Pittsburgh.

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