The Hidden Messages of Water
Why waste paper for doodling when all you need is a touch of good old H2O on a brush? The Buddha Board ($32.50) is like an Etch A Sketch for big kids and comes in both classic canvas and laptop styles. It's the perfect desk distraction and won't get sand all over the place like those messy Zen gardens. Available at Ohori's (507 Old Santa Fe Trail, 988-7026 and 1098½ S. St. Francis Drive, 982-9692).
That freedom of speech thing covers kitchen magnets, right? Let's hope so, 'cause these Bush magnets ($14.95) from Santa Fe Hemp (105 E. Water St., 984-2599) offer hours of presidential parody. Pissed off about abortion rights? Dress him up like Jesus. The war in Iraq really getting under your skin? He's just a magnetic snap away from Osama.
Fried Feng Shui
Form + Function (143 Lincoln Ave., 984-1270 and 851 W. San Mateo Road #6, 820-7875) makes lighting up a room easy and fun. The simple carryout lamp ($20) resembles the two-week-old fried rice that's still hanging around in the back of the fridge, but without the funky smell. Purple, red, green and yellow lamps each offer a different Chinese character, bringing good fortune along with luminosity.
Ring My Bell
Cell phones are handy, but old-fashioned handsets are cool (and coolness is key when talking on the phone while doing the dishes). Plus: They fit in that area between shoulder and ear better than a Blackberry without the cyborg look of a Bluetooth. The Please Hold handset ($22) from Design Warehouse (101 W. Marcy St., 988-1555) gives that retro hip-cat style that's just missing from cell phone technology.
Handmade Peruvian arpilleras ($28) from the Museum of International Folk Art (706 Camino Lejo, 476-1200) vary in design-anything from Noah's Ark to schoolhouses to zoos and more. In fact, each scene differs from every other, so you can spend hours picking out your favorite variations for various friends.
Textiles get a bad wrap. There's no reason they just have to be draped around the body and furniture. They're great for walls too. Shibui (215 E. Palace Ave., 986-1117) gets into the ancient Japanese tradition of recycling fabrics by offering kimonos in all shapes and sizes (starting at approximately $50 and running into the thousands [pictured at right, $3,500] depending on age and condition).
A Rose by Any Other Name
***image7***Albuquerque artist Laura Bankoff makes her rose pillows ($65) out of soft, rich velvet, stunning silks, and fun and funky fake fur fabrics. They realistically romance up the bedroom or add a spark to an otherwise basic sitting space. Pandora's (500 Montezuma Ave., 982-3298) is the only place in town growing these unique flowers.
Best Thing Since Sliced Bread
Gift giving isn't just about giving the perfect gift, it's about giving a gift that gets talked about at dinner parties. Once guests catch a glimpse of the sassy Pylones toaster ($69.50) from Poem (125 E. Palace Ave., 820-7884), the party invitations won't stop rolling in.
The Maze of Love
Eidos' (500 Montezuma Ave., 992-0020) labyrinth ring ($1,388) is the perfect way to weed a path into a loved one's heart. More than just an expensive piece of stainless steel, this ring is a work of art.
Little Whiskers has no reason to be intimidated by the antique Tibetan tiger panels (starting at approximately $1,500) from Seret and Sons (224 Galisteo St., 983-5008). The antique doors look great hung from a wall-for a splash of color and a touch of spiritual inspiration-or can be built into an actual door, melding Southwestern and Eastern in a perfectly aligned match. And the best part? Unlike Whiskers, these tigers will never beg for catnip.