Shop Holiday 2013: Gifts from museum shops

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• Pittsburgh's museums offer unique gifts -- from the educational to the practical to the funky. Browse in person; it's fun and you don't have to pay admission. These cool Brush Polka-Dotted High-Tops are designed and hand-painted by Benjamin Smith, a Pittsburgh artist who started Brush in 2010. The custom canvas sneakers are painted and primed with four to five coats of base color and the paint is guaranteed not to chip or crack. $275 for the high top, $250 for low top. Mattress Factory Shop on the North Side, mattress.org or www.brush.com.

•  Tune into nature with a few wind chimes. This Woodstock Turquoise Chime ($56) is made with cherry finish ash wood, four square bronze tubes and faux turquoise accents. Woodstock says the enchanting sound of this chime is the result of a special tuning using the "Golden Ratio." This ratio, discovered by the ancient Greeks, can be found throughout nature. Phipps Conservatory, Oakland.

• March Balloons, an 8- by 8-inch tile by Motawi Tileworks, was inspired by an unpublished cover illustration by Frank Lloyd Wright for Liberty magazine in the 1920s. It sells for $147 in the Fallingwater gift shop, Mill Run, Fayette County.

• White porcelain dishes, trays and mugs at the Carnegie Museum of Art gift shop are popular items because they go with everything. These bone china Pantone mugs add a twist of color. Colors come in blue, raspberry, sky, green, orange and opal. $38 each.

• Be the envy of your friends with a Big Foot Air Freshener. It's pine-scented and one of the Mattress Factory Museum shop's wackier items. $4.95, Mattress Factory Shop, North Side, www.mattress.org.


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• Anything dinosaur is a hot-selling item at the Carnegie Museum of Natural History. The museum sells its own small plastic dinosaurs in all shapes and species, most under $10, for ages 3 and up. For the more authentic look, try this skeleton model of a T. rex, made of resin. $350.

• You can entertain your youngsters for hours with a good set of face-painting crayons. The Children's Museum of Pittsburgh, North Side, sells individual colors of Caran D'Ache Neocolor II water-soluable wax pastel crayons at $1.95 each. Just dip in water and paint on those tiger and princess faces! Color is easy to remove with water. Sets of 10 also are available at Amazon.com for $15.60.

• The Andy Warhol Museum on the North Side just expanded its gift shop, which is packed now with holiday items. Some of the best-sellers continue to be the Andy Warhol prints ($14) and souvenir buttons ($1.40). But if you really want to be famous in your neighborhood for more than 15 minutes, check out the Bugaboo/Andy Warhol sun canopy collection for your stroller that comes in Flowers (Red), Happy Bugs and Cars designs. ($149).

• Turn your bedroom into a planetarium with Uncle Milton's Star Planetarium. Its projection transforms a darkened room into a 360-degree space theater, showing all the planets, stars and constellations -- accurate to season, month, day and hour. Includes a 3-D virtual tour with downloadable Stellarium astronomy software. For ages 8 and up. Carnegie Science Center, North Side. $42.95

• "Pittsburgh Born, Pittsburgh Bred," a collection of 500 influential Pittsburghers who have created a legacy for the region, isn't a new book, but it continues to be a popular seller at the Heinz History Center shop in the Strip District. Available in hardback ($27.95) or paperback ($20.95). Another best-seller that's perfect for the holidays is the Heinz History Pickle Ornament ($15). You can find both at the museum or at www.heinzhistorycenter.org.


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