birch logs
Logging On: Anyone with a fireplace will know what to do with birch logs, $3 each, at Chicago Firewood, 1300 N. Halsted St. (rear), 312-335-9696. Tied with a bow, a few choice pieces can be worked into a handsome centerpiece or a porch decoration. Cotton grosgrain ribbon, $7 a yard at Soutache, 2125 N. Damen Ave., 773-292-9110.
orion glass bowls
Super Bowls: Empty or full, nested or not, subtly colored Orion glass bowls by Nouvel Studio are as functional or as purely decorative as you want them to be; $22 to $78 at Stitch, 1723 N. Damen Ave., 773-782-1570,


Hand-poured fragranced candles from Votivo's Color Collection
Waxing Eloquent: Hand-poured fragranced candles in jewel-toned glass tumblers, from Votivo’s Color Collection, are a multisensory pleasure; $30 each, at Saks Fifth Avenue, 700 N. Michigan Ave., 312-944-6500.
pedra agate coasters by Anna Rabinowicz
Natty by Nature: Thin-sliced pedra agate coasters, designed by Anna Rabinowicz , put a splash of rich color wherever it’s needed; four for $55, at Lille, 1923 W. North Ave., 773-342-0563,


Khandi runner by designer Alpana Bawa
Dream Weaver: Brighten a table with this multi-striped Khandi runner by designer Alpana Bawa, woven from homespun cotton. It’s 58 inches long, 10 inches wide; $110, at Heartland General Store, 7000 N. Glenwood Ave., 773-465-8005.
signed photographs by Tipper Gore
Get the Big Picture: A portion of the proceeds from the sale of signed photographs by (almost First Lady) Tipper Gore, presented by Mitchell Gold & Bob Williams, benefits The Climate Project. Some are in color, some sepia-toned black and white; $1,000 to $4,000, framed, at Jayson Home & Garden, 1885 N. Clybourn Ave., 773-248-8180.


Tiffany playing cards
Dealer’s Choice: Way to score: Anything with a monogram shows you thought about it in advance. Personalized Tiffany playing cards in blue and green are $42 per two-deck boxed set, to order at Tiffany & Co., 730 N. Michigan Ave., 312-944-7500.
Roost porcelin dahlias
Secret Garden: Put a few delicate porcelain dahlias and cosmos in a special box-now that’s pretty. By Roost, $8 and $12, at Jayson Home & Garden.


Corian cheese tray by FTF Design Studio
Incredible Edibles: Party-ready treats are always in good taste. The architectural Corian cheese tray by FTF Design Studio is reversible-flip it over and the dish part becomes a serving platform, the platform a dish. It’s $190 at the Museum of Contemporary Art store, 220 E. Chicago Ave., 312-280-2660. Prairie Fruit Farms fresh goat cheese, almonds, flatbread, and dried mission figs are from Pastoral Artisan Cheese, Bread and Wine, 2945 N. Broadway, 773-472-4781,
gifts from big art chicago
Instant Messaging: Chicago artist (and third-grade teacher at Murray Language Academy) Brian Graves creates one-of-a-kind graphic artwork by layering words and phrases of your choosing, applying them in oil pastels to an acrylic painted canvas, from $450. Pre-made works (shown here, pieces from his Gifted series, 12 inches square) are $300. To order at


cotton napkins by Daisy Hill
Table Manners: The rich patterns of these elegant cotton napkins by Daisy Hill are based on vintage Liberty of London prints, $35 each, at Elements, 102 E. Oak St., 312-642-6574.
Hermes domino set
Who’s Got Game?  For those who prefer their playthings unelectronic, a pocket-size domino set in a hand-stitched rouge leather case, $365, at Hermès, 110 E. Oak St., 312-787-8175,


The Proust Questionnaire by Assouline

The Examined Life: Marcel Proust didn’t invent this party game (made famous on the back page of Vanity Fair magazine), but he did play it. Your giftees can play it, too, recording their answers to probing questions in "The Proust Questionnaire," by Assouline. Sort of a cross between a journal and a baby book for introspective adults, it’s $29.95 at Art Effect, 934 W. Armitage Ave., 773-929-3600.

hand painted starfish by Anne Coyle
When You Wish . . . The form is familiar, the colors surprising. Hang a hand-painted starfish high on a wall, above artwork, or just admire it on a tabletop; they’re $35 each at Anne Coyle Interiors, 1957 W. Dickens Ave., 773-235-6131,