You don't have to travel far to find fabulous gifts for the holidays.
Why not put a Kentucky spin on this year's gift list? There are loads of cool items available at locally owned businesses or products inspired by the Bluegrass. Here's are a few ideas to get you started.
1. Louisville-based designer Biz Ruby (Biz is short for Elizabeth) has been creating smart- looking leather belts with sleek metal logo buckles for about a year and a half. They're the perfect accessory for jeans or over a long cardigan vest. Belts are available online and at several locations in Kentucky, including AJ's Casuals, 116 Clay Avenue. Contact Biz Ruby at (502) 807-2323 or www.bizruby.com.
2. At Ashland, the Henry Clay Estate, the Ashland Museum Shop has hand-painted ornaments featuring four scenes from the historic home ($25 to $35 each, or four for $100). Pens crafted from the wood of Ashland's trees that were damaged during the 2009 ice storm are $35. Ashland is at 120 Sycamore Road. (859) 266-8581, www.henryclay.org.3. The 21c Museum Hotel, downtown Louisville's chic contemporary art museum, restaurant and hotel, is filled with eye-popping art. And at the 21c Museum Shop, you'll find unique gifts, including a mini version of 21c's signature, fun red penguin statues. The 61/2-inch ceramic birds created by Louisville Stoneware are $30 each. Look for the 21c online shop, scheduled to launch Dec. 9. The hotel is at 700 West Main Street, Louisville. (502) 217-6300, www.21cmuseumhotel.com.
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4. Maybe your guy doesn't have the athletic prowess of Louisville native Muhammad Ali, but at least he can dress like The Champ. Worn Free, known for its reproductions of vintage tees, offers a replica of the hooded velour robe worn by Ali. His famous catchphrase, "Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee," is stitched on the front pocket. Emblazoned across the back: MUHAMMAD ALI. The robe is regularly $125, but save 20 percent if you order through Monday. www.wornfree.com.5. Along with a great selection of good-for-you organic and wholesome foods, Good Foods Market & Café carries a collection of body products made in Kentucky. Put together a basket of scented lotions and soaps from Sunflower Sundries, Little Brush Creek Farm and others for a sweet-smelling gift. 455 Southland Drive. (859) 278-1813. www.goodfoods.coop.6. Naturaleza Organic Jewelry features elegant one-of-a-kind pieces created by Marlon Obando Solano. The artist, who moved from Nicaragua to Louisville in 2005, uses materials such as palm tree seeds harvested from the forest floor, and adds silver and stone inlays. (502) 634-2109. www.naturalezanica.etsy.com.7. When it comes to shopping, it pays to explore those special little locally owned shops filled with interesting gifts. At Finderskeepers Market in Mount Sterling, owners James Snowden and Randy Terrell have assembled a dazzling array of items for your home. You'll find quirky vintage trophies that would look smashing on a mantel or a bookshelf, horse-themed pillows to dress up a sofa, delightful hourglasses and more. 316 North Maysville Street, Mount Sterling. (859) 499-4200.
8. Cricket Press, the Lexington-based business of Sara and Brian Turner, creates gig posters and other cool paper products, including holiday cards and invitations. Their work has been featured in Elle magazine and on Dailycandy.com, and now they have a new book out called The Hand-Printed Art of Cricket Press ($20). It's available at The Morris Book Shop, 408 Southland Drive, and starting this week at www.cricket-press.com and www.etsy.com.9. All of your Cat fans will be covered with one visit to UKPlaid.com. Here you'll find everything from luggage to ties for guys, plus table linens sporting the official plaid of the University of Kentucky. The designs, created and marketed by UK students and staff and Pomegranate Inc., are made of quality materials. Look for the silk scarf ($48) available starting Friday. Go to www.ukplaid.com for more info, including a long list of stores carrying the merchandise.
10. Gift certificates are the perfect solution for that hard-to-buy-for friend.
■ For the fickle film fan, how about admission to a movie at The Kentucky Theatre? It's $6.50 for each certificate; cash or check only.
■ Is it ever too early to be prepared for the 2010 World Equestrian Games? The event will be Sept. 25 to Oct. 10 at the Kentucky Horse Park, but tickets are on sale now. Prices range from $25 to $150 for a variety of sessions. Go to www.alltechfeigames.com or www.ticketmaster.com.