From the heart

Businesses that guide spouses and lovers to the right Valentine's gift

Posted: Wednesday, February 06, 2002

Expressing affection is a demanding act, but local retailers try to make it easy for the tongue-tied as Valentine's Day approaches.

Just think baskets, said Vina Jennings, co-owner and floral designer at The Chocolate Lily Flowers & Gifts at 8585 Old Dairy Road. With adequate notice, Jennings can put together a basket of live plants "to last like your love lasts," plus an assortment of truffles and Lovers' Champagne Bath Salts.

"The bath salts are calming and relaxing," Jennings said. "We are really excited about this aromatherapy product for Valentine's Day."

The truffles, created by DeBas Chocolates of Fresno, Calif., are available filled with your choice of wine or champagne. Pair them with roses in a glass swan for a winning combination, Jennings suggests.

The rose of choice for next week's romantic holiday is Hot Princess Pink, a "beautiful, bright flower that spells Valentine's Day," Jennings said. Chocolate Lily is importing the flowers from Miami Beach with a single rose costing $4.99. Two dozen roses, arranged, cost $120. Jennings recommends ordering well in advance. Delivery is available.

Diamonds are popular, but so are amethysts (the birthday stone for the month of February) and rubies, said Kelly Haden, Fred Meyer jewelry department manager.

Fred Meyer is stocking heart-shaped pendants and rings set with rubies. The ruby is sought-after for jewelry not only for its crimson color but also for its durability, Haden said.

"On a hardness scale of one to 10, diamond being a 10, ruby is No. 9. So it's an excellent choice for a gift that lasts," he said. Fred Meyer has natural rubies set with diamonds in a pendant on sale for $199. The look of each piece depends on the cuts or facets in the stone as well as the clarity and size of the stone.

"A majority of our Valentine's shoppers are men and men tend to procrastinate," said Haden with a laugh. "They are not into browsing. They usually wait until the last day or two, come in, point and say, 'Wrap it up.' " For those whose taste runs to precious metals rather than gems, Fred Meyer has a 50 percent off special on all 14 karat gold chains.

For a romantic, artistic gift, Juneau painter Rie Munoz issued a limited edition print called "Baranof Apartments" for Valentine's Day 2001, and some of the 750 prints continue to be available at her gallery across from the Nugget Mall.

The image size is 7 1/2 by 9 1/2 inches, and the cost (unframed) is $85. It's a happy couple with their arms around each other emerging from the Baranof Apartments. The predominant colors are red and blue with a blue-black dog observing from the sidewalk.

Bead artist Salty Haines of Spirit Beads has created sparkling window art for Valentine's Day. The pieces vary in size and in materials, Haines said. "Some include semi-precious stones, hearts of red glass and/or crystals." Price range is $8.50 to $30.

If a handmade card is just the thing for your Valentine, Juneau papermaker/artist Karen Beason creates cards from 100 percent cotton rag, recycled.

"My biggest selling cards are the Alaska Bloomers, which have plant fibers in the paper and a packet of seeds inside," Beason said. The plant fibers used are lupine, fireweed, forget-me-not and Alaska cotton - coordinated with a packet of seeds to plant outdoors when spring arrives.

Beason has been making paper for 12 years, and Alaska Bloomers for six years. Her cards are stocked by Hearthside Books and Foodland Super Drug, where they retail for $6.25 to $8.25, depending on style.

The Fiddlehead Restaurant and Bakery will serve a gourmet five-course dinner upstairs at DiSopra. "We will have two seatings: from 5:30 to 6:30 and from 8 to 9 p.m.," said Kirk Stagg, owner of the restaurant with his wife Sylvia Kreel. There will be a number of menu choices, not all of which were nailed down this week.

However, fresh Alaskan oysters on the half shell will be one of the appetizers, followed by a choice of Caesar salad or mixed baby greens with vinaigrette. Entrees will include certified Angus beef New York steak, grilled venison medallions, fresh Hawaiian sunfish and a spicy prawn pasta. There will be a choice among three desserts, including Interstellar Love Cake for Two. Wines are not included, but sweetheart roses for the ladies are.

Dinner is $49.95 per person, and reservations are requested. Call 586-3150.

Combinations of goodies may strike the right note: A bottle of champagne with a video cassette of "Shakespeare in Love" attached, or a single rose tied to an envelope containing theater tickets. A bundle of wood for the fireplace with a jug of spiced cider and two scarlet mugs. Gift certificates for massages and facials are available from spas all over town. And there are certificates for dog baths, ski lessons, season tram tickets or Nugget Bucks.

Ann Chandonnet can be reached at achandonnet@juneauempire.com.



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