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One-of-a-kind holiday gifts

Available at City Farmers Market

Available at City Farmers Market

November 13, 2007|By TERI JOHNSON

Are you in the market for a one-of-a-kind holiday present, so special that the lucky recipient will think you went out of your way to find it? Look no farther than 25 W. Church St. in Hagerstown on Saturday mornings. City Farmers Market, where you can savor the flavor of delicious local produce, meats and baked goods, also is the spot to find gifts to suit any taste. The market is the place to discover handcrafted items you won't find anywhere else, says Abigail Elliott, events and programs specialist for the City of Hagerstown. "It's a little hidden treasure not everyone knows about," she says.

As soon as you walk in the door, you're greeted by the artistry of Judy Noland and Deborah Price, who design jackets, jewelry, knitted scarves and handbags. If you're seeking a gift for a woman who wants to be stylish yet comfortable, Just for Fun Designs may be just the ticket. Their colorful jackets in a range of sizes feature fabrics such as felted wool, silk blends, cotton and Tencel. The unstructured jackets offer movement and look as interesting from the back as they do from the front, thanks to design elements such as pleats, dragonflies or squares of fabric with a button in the center. The jackets can take you anywhere from an upscale evening to a casual event.

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"Don't be afraid to wear a great jacket with jeans," Noland suggests.

The Hagerstown residents, friends for 43 years, love to help shoppers accessorize.

"We put a lot of thought into our presentation," Noland says. While they are motivated by their clients, they don't take custom orders, and their work often changes.

"We're always looking for new design ideas," Price says. Price and Noland don't stop at making customers look beautiful - their floral arrangements can add a bright, seasonal touch to the home.

The market spaces overflow with originality. Feeling nostalgic about Hagerstown City Park, where your husband proposed, or High Rock at Pen Mar Park, the place you and your brother spent many summer Sundays climbing with your parents? You'll find color photographs of those beloved landmarks, and many more, in the booth of Ted and Colleen Garringer of Hagerstown. Ted Garringer has taken about 250 different images, mostly in Washington County, which meld the progress of today with the sentimentality and spirit of days gone by.

"People are looking for pictures of places they recognize," Colleen Garringer says. "They want to hang things on the wall that mean something to them."

Ted Garringer has captured the beauty and individuality of the county's towns and historical sites, with an eye for drawing out the details that make them so memorable. A history buff would love his shot of Burnside Bridge at Antietam National Battlefield, while train aficionados will thrill to the engine he tracked down on the Western Maryland Scenic Railroad.

Color prints are offered in three sizes: 5x7 with a single mat, and 8x10 and 11x14 with double mats. Larger sizes can be printed by request. In addition, photography by Garringer Images can be found on tree ornaments, Christmas and note cards, screen savers and desk calendars. The Garringers also provide another way to preserve family memories: Bring them a crinkled, flaking photograph, and it can be digitally restored.

"The quality of old photos is really tremendous once you take away the scratches," Ted Garringer notes.

Preserving family heirlooms also is important to weaver Debbie Gibson. She can bring new life to a damaged chair, whether it has been passed down for generations or is a recently acquired flea market find. Using wide reeds, she employs a split weaving technique to create a new chair seat. She also can repair antique baskets, seamlessly patching holes and tears. Gibson, who calls her business Debbie's Baskets, will demonstrate her skills in her market booth during the holiday season.

The Rohrersville resident weaves a wide variety of baskets in different shapes and sizes, and you can choose the colors if you like. Touches such as wild grapevine can add a distinctive texture.

"You never get the same basket twice," Gibson says.

For a perfect holiday gift for almost anyone, you can select a basket for Gibson to fill with fruits, nuts and candies. Her bread and muffin baskets, lined with a napkin, are an ideal way to showcase your own mouthwatering morsels. Does your shopping list include a girl devoted to her dolls? Gibson's woven doll cradle is a treasure your little one can pass down to her own children someday.

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