Keep the love local with these Valentine’s Day gift ideas

Cute conversation heart pillows and cards by Needle, Ink, and Thread are perfect for Valentines of all ages. Contributed by Jesy Anderson

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Cute conversation heart pillows and cards by Needle, Ink, and Thread are perfect for Valentines of all ages. Contributed by Jesy Anderson

Valentine’s Day is almost here! Thinking about what to get the one you love? Branch out from the tried and true (and clichéd). Check out local, small businesses and artists featuring handmade products and out-of-the-box ideas that will delight both men and women.

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Cute conversation heart pillows and cards by Needle, Ink, and Thread are perfect for Valentines of all ages. Contributed by Jesy Anderson

Cute conversation heart pillows and cards by Needle, Ink, and Thread are perfect for Valentines of all ages. Contributed by Jesy Anderson

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Cute conversation heart pillows and cards by Needle, Ink, and Thread are perfect for Valentines of all ages. Contributed by Jesy Anderson

Needle, Ink and Thread

If you have fond memories of diving into conversation-hearts candy, check out a sweet, grown-up version at Needle, Ink and Thread in Beavercreek. Not only are these handmade cards and wool hearts cute, but they also last a lot longer than sugar.

“Valentine’s is the day to show how much you care and love for someone. What better way to do that than handmade?” said owner Jesy Anderson. “Super adorable and soft wool felt conversation hearts, filled with local lavender, will do the trick. Pair with a handmade and hand-stamped card, and bingo, you have a winner!”

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You can find these at the shop’s 3491 Dayton-Xenia Road location – they’re on sale Tuesdays from 11 a.m. – 6 p.m. If you’re the creative type, “Take a class to learn to make these at Needle, Ink and Thread,” said Anderson. “Take the class alone to give as a gift or make it a date night to make them together.”

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Fill up a gift basket with earth-friendly bath products by Barmaid Soap Company. Contributed by Shannon Rea.

Fill up a gift basket with earth-friendly bath products by Barmaid Soap Company. Contributed by Shannon Rea.

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Fill up a gift basket with earth-friendly bath products by Barmaid Soap Company. Contributed by Shannon Rea.

Barmaid Soap Co.

Cologne, perfume and bath items are always favorites on Valentine’s Day, so why not check out a local maker? Barmaid Soap Co. is a Dayton-based producer of environmentally friendly bath products, including soap, facial bars, shaving scrubs and lotion.

Not sure where to start or what scent your sweetie would like? “Sometimes the best gift is a basket or bag full of goodies,” said owner, Shannon Rea. “For example, grab a pretty basket or decorated gift bag, and load it up with a bottle of freshly made lotion, a lip balm and a bar or two of soap. Be sure to include some great accessories like a handmade nail brush, or a soap bag. You can go a step further and include things to indulge in like chocolates, a box of relaxing tea bags, or a bottle of wine.”

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Barmaid Soap Company offers locally made bath products for men and women. Try creating your own gift set. CONTRIBUTED

Barmaid Soap Company offers locally made bath products for men and women. Try creating your own gift set. CONTRIBUTED

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Barmaid Soap Company offers locally made bath products for men and women. Try creating your own gift set. CONTRIBUTED

Rea noted another growing Valentine’s Day trend: “This year, it has also been popular to gift DIY classes, so if you are not into the whole romantic bath idea, I recommend looking into the Dayton area’s great teachers of craft. Decoy Art comes to mind, as does Needle Ink and Thread. Anything from pottery and embroidery to bath and body products — yes, I teach classes! Whatever you decide, buy local and support your area’s entrepreneurs!”

Barmaid Soap's products are available online at www.barmaidsoapcomany.com or at Westlane Alley at The Second Street Market downtown.

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Belle of Dayton

Wine and champagne are delicious, but a little tired as far as Valentine’s gifts go. Local beer options abound, but they’re not for everyone. Add local flavor to your cocktails with a boozy gift made right here in the Miami Valley.

The Belle of Dayton distillery specializes in small-batch, artisan spirits — vodka, gin and fiery hot Hell’s Vodka round out their roster of local liquors. Any of these make great gifts, especially when bundled with a couple glasses or your Valentine’s favorite mixers.

One of the distillery’s founders, Murphy LaSelle, also passed along a very special recipe for a sweet treat to cap off your V-Day dinner: The Dayton Valentine.

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Belle of Dayton Vodka (Staff photo by Amelia Robinson)

Belle of Dayton Vodka (Staff photo by Amelia Robinson)

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Belle of Dayton Vodka (Staff photo by Amelia Robinson)

DAYTON VALENTINE

Ingredients

• 1 oz. Belle of Dayton Vodka

• 1 1/2 oz. Godiva chocolate liqueur

• 2 1/2 oz. Crème de cacao

• 1 oz. Half and half

• Chocolate sauce

• Cocoa powder

• Glass type: Martini

Instructions

1) Prepare your glass: drizzle in your chocolate sauce.

2) Next, add all of your boozes along with the half and half to your shaker.

3) Add ice.

4) Shake like a chocolate-deprived person.

5) Strain into your prepared glass.

6) Dust with cocoa powder.

Belle of Dayton spirits are widely available in local liquor stores – see their website, www.belleofdayton.com, for the full list.

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Handmade pottery by Copper Rose Artistry makes a sweet, unexpected gift. Contributed by Sara Torgison.

Handmade pottery by Copper Rose Artistry makes a sweet, unexpected gift. Contributed by Sara Torgison.

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Handmade pottery by Copper Rose Artistry makes a sweet, unexpected gift. Contributed by Sara Torgison.

Copper Rose Artistry

Crafted with love, handmade pottery is always a great gift, especially if you’re looking to break away from traditional Valentine’s gift offerings. It also gives you the opportunity to connect with and directly support a local artist.

“I’ve been working as potter on and off for around a decade now, and the most rewarding aspect of what I do is creating a dialogue with those who purchase and use my work,” said Dayton-based ceramic artist Sara Torigson. “Eating or drinking out of a handmade item is a unique experience. You begin to appreciate the craftsmanship, the color; no one else has your mug or your bowl. Pottery brings personality to everyday life.”

Handmade pottery is also a lot more sophisticated and personal than a mass-produced vase or “World’s Best Valentine” mug. “I try to include decorative aspects to everything I make, and often that involves plant or animal imagery, as these are things I love to draw,” Torgison said.

A selection of Torgison's work is available online through her Etsy shop, copper.rose.artistry. She also vends work throughout the year at various craft shows around the Miami Valley, including Art on the Lawn and Art and Soul in Yellow Springs.

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Unbelievable Skincare

These handmade, small batch-created products heal, smooth and moisturize skin with natural ingredients. With gift boxes themed for “him,” “her,” “mom,” and more, Unbelieveable Skincare specializes in creating a personalized experience for those using their products.

Their signature blue bottles are not only beautiful, but also purposeful, as well. Their website explains, “therapeutic grade essential oils must be packaged with special care in either amber or cobalt bottles. This protects the integrity of each oil so it can have the best result on your skin — and in your home.”

With five stockists and an online store (offering free shipping across the U.S.), you’ll be able to find exactly what you’re looking for to pamper your Valentine. Subscribe to their mailing list and get 10 percent off your first order.

>> The best places to get chocolate in Dayton 

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