shop local gift guide: guest edition, part 2, & giveaway winner

Just a little biz first: the winner of the Libris Lunaria giveaway is Sarah, whose favourites were No. 10030 - Harry's Ladder to Learning - Strawberries, No. 10003 - A New Work of Animals - Wolf, and No. 10012 - The Perfection of Logic. Congratulations, Sarah! If you didn't win, you still have a few more days to use the code "fieldguided" for 20% off your order.

I have a kitty coasters DIY on the ModCloth blog, so please do take a look!  If you make them, I'd love to see them.

Also, if you are interested in something from our shop and would like the item to arrive in time for Christmas (if you are in North America, that is -- it's too late for the rest of the world), you will have to place your order this weekend. We only have about four of the Thunder totes left at the moment. Just a little FYI!

This will most likely be the last time the words "gift guide" appear on my blog for a while! Here is the second part of the guest contributions -- I hope you will enjoy them. 


Erin Hall, co-owner of Robber

I guess this is a gift idea for me, even though nobody I know would buy me something quite this nice... most depressing gift guide comment evarrrrrrr!! But for real, anything by Hoi Bo would make an incredible present -- designer Sarra Tang and her two fellow makers produce all the bags by hand in their Distillery District studio and are super-picky about their waxed canvases and leathers. PLUS Sarra always has the best gossip and will even help you win a dating bet, if you need it (umm, so I hear). Anyway, I love her pleated satchel best of all - it's the perfect size, shape, colour, everything. And this gift idea is also timely, since Hoi Bo is having a studio sale this Saturday!  I bet there will be hot chocolate.

Tanya Roberts, Snap & Tumble Letterpress

For books on design and advertising, I head to Swipe Books near Richmond and Spadina. I'm always sure to find the perfect book for my graphic design, printer and typography-loving friends.

For something antique or a little unusual, I can always count on Abraham's Antiques near Queen and Bathurst. I've picked up a couple of vintage wood type from Abraham and he's always very friendly so it makes shopping there a nice experience.

Sometimes I like to pick up some special art supplies for my artist friends at Woolfitt's. Artists can always use more supplies and it's nice to get a few things that you know they'll need or are running out of. Also for something a little extra, splurging on high end papers or artist pens makes for a sweet gift.

Though I've only been to Public Office once in the Trinity Bellwoods area, I fell in love with it right away. If you have someone on your list who loves prints, graphics, type, paper and overall vintage paper goodness and stuff, try this shop on for size.

Also in the same area in Trinity is Polka Dot Kids. I love browsing in there for whimsical gift ideas. I often pick up Japanese deco tape and rubber stamps. Every inch of this little shop is covered with sweet products for kids and for those young at heart.

(Images via Tanya)


I've been meaning to order a pair of these for myself, but would definitely give them as a gift to a close girlfriend or sister: cashmere underwear by Sartoria. They're so luxurious! And so pretty and cozy looking! They're made using upcycled cashmere sweaters! Satoria are located in Toronto, and they run an Etsy site. I don't believe you can buy these in a local shop [not yet, anyhow! -a.]. There's an option to order merino wool undies, too, but cashmere? Seriously.

I'm also totally in love with the Totem Mug Set by Canadian designer Rob Southcott. I've seen them at a few different shops now, including the Drake Hotel General Store and Swipe. I would give these to any of my friends or family. I think my Dad would even appreciate these. They're so nice stacked on a shelf or in a cupboard.

Melinda also submitted Kid Icarus' Handmade Holiday event as an opportunity to purchase handmade goods, but since it has already happened, I will add that a stop at Kid Icarus is always worthwhile. You can pick up some of their amazing 3D wrapping paper, handprinted in-house, as well as posters & prints by local designers. -a.

Amy Borkwood, Nightjar Book

Lee Meszaros is a Toronto-based crafter who makes these amazing Merit Badges -- handmade (silkscreened, embroidered, sewn, hand-painted!) brooches that celebrate different characteristics / events in our lives. Everytime I look through Lee's badges, I always think of a million people I want to give them to -- they remind me of little shared memories with friends, or something specific I really love about a family member. This one is perfect -- for "Being Proud as a Peacock".

Available at Distill Gallery, which has a huge selection of her badges, so you can choose between "Being the Black Sheep" or "Pushing the Envelope."  Lee will also be at City of Craft next weekend.

Erica of Erica Knits

It was hard to decide which of my favourite shops to feature, but I immediately settled on Alison’s lovely flower shop, Coriander Girl. My favourite gifts to give and receive are bouquets of flowers and Alison does the best ones! Her flowers are all sourced locally and they are often unlike any I’ve ever seen before. The time I discovered Kangaroo Paws was a particular highlight.

Last Friday I stopped by her shop to take some photos while she made up my $25 arrangement for this gift guide, and I discovered so many more great gifts! There are perfect, pink poinsettias ($12), Lavender sachets ($3), gorgeous letterpress cards from Shiral Leuchter ($6) and an assortment of lovely soaps, candles and vintage vessels. I think that the best part about shopping local is meeting the owners of lovely Toronto shops. Alison is an absolute pleasure to meet and her warm energy is contagious, everyone who leaves her shop has big smile. Seriously, it is impossible to resist her charms.

(Images via Erica)


Bre hasn't been living in Toronto too long and therefore isn't too familiar with many local businesses, but she does recommend products made by the Regional Assembly of Text. This stationery line is maintained by two Emily Carr University grads, who have a shop in Vancouver. Some of their products are carried at the Design Exchange Shop (as are some of Scout & Catalogue's!). While the Design Exchange isn't exactly a small business, they do have a mandate to support Canadian design!

Caitlyn, Lemonade

I found it really hard to narrow this down to just a few things. These are some good presents that will be very well received each holiday season. First off are a few records from local haunt Rotate This.

I'd also really enjoy lunch out to a place like Swan, where I can have a grilled cheese sandwich and be merry.

And finally, why don't you stroll on over to She Said Boom! and buy me a book?

(Swan image via the amazing Charlyn)

Carole Park, writer

Red Canoe (1) is a great heritage brand. They have access to the CBC & RCAF archives and make great bags and scarves in provincial tartans. They just opened a shop at 1356 Dundas Street West.

6 boutique by Gee Beauty (2) is a new shop open next door to Gee Beauty in Rosedale and they have a well edited selection of books, Lomography cameras, jewelry and accessories by local designer Jenny Bird. They also exclusively (as in the only location in Canada) carrying LeLabo fragrances; their candles are a bit at $70 but are worth it as the fragrances are well crafted and each candle is handmade.

Nadege near Trinity Bellwoods (3) is amazing to pick up some edible stocking stuffers. Their handmade flavoured marshmallows come in flavours such as mojito and cakes can be ordered for pick-up.

Dean Davidson (4) is one of my favourite local jewelry designers. His stuff is sold at Holt Renfrew, but if you can't find a ring in your size, they can be sent to him to resize (you can also purchase the items online on his website). The stud earrings in semi-precious stones in an 18k gold or sterling silver typically retail for $150 or under are a favourite. He also has an annual holiday sample sale (which unfortunately just passed!).

889 Yonge (5) is also one of my favourite yoga studios in the city. Aside from the amazingly tasty complementary tea, the facilities are great (with organic shampoos and soap in the showers). They also have a wellness spa. My favourite part is how welcoming everyone is, and if you end up falling off the yoga wagon or are like me and end up not going for a while, they don't judge (unlike some studios that have super intense people always going and frown when you decide to show up once a month instead of everyday).

Carole also says that "people don't need to be intimidated by fancier sounding places in areas like Rosedale. Despite some really expensive stuff, they also carry well-crafted things that are affordable/affordable enough to splurge on."

(Images via retailer sites; Nadege image via BlogTO)

Thank you Erin, Tanya, Melinda, Amy, Erica, Bre, Caitlyn, & Carole!


Jane Flanagan: I hope you get the chance to discover some new favourites! I know I will.

Siubhan: It would be so nice if you visited some time!

sweetie pie press: They're pretty insane, aren't they? I don't wear earrings myself but I love the concept.

Casey: Aw! xo

Stephanie: It seems to be a common dilemma! Food is such a great gift since it (theoretically) won't take up space for a very long time... most of us have too much in our homes already!

Rizie: Thanks, Rizie! I used to live near Cava and never had the chance to go, even though I knew I would love it.

Ayalah: Thank you, Ayalah!

chirpypig: Oh, I think I have to go there now, based on all the recommendations!


  1. Thank you for these guides Anabela, you and your guests have recommended so many places I want to check out! I actually went to xoxocava after work yesterday to pick up some treats for friends (and myself!) and the lady there was super friendly and helpful. I've tried the chocolate-dipped candied orange peel so far (yum) and can't wait to try out their cinnamon marshamallows with a cup of hot chocolate tonight!

  2. Thanks for including me!(And doing all that work to compile these posts!) So many great places to check out in both guides. Just like Erin, I want a Hoi Bo bag! I love how everyone has really creative gift ideas that reflect their personalities so much. :)

  3. I feel miserable every time I come to your blog because you make me want to buy soooooooo many beautiful things I don't actually really need. Isn't it a little masochistic behaviour from me, lol! :D

  4. Anonymous10.12.10

    Is that an inadvertent way of syaing she has great taste? She is not saying you NEED any of these things, but is rather presenting a well curated and thoughtful presentation of local and handcrafted gifts. I find it refreshing to not see a bunch of JCrew and anthropologie items strewn across the page. Here here for promoting and featuring local businesses. One Torontonian to another:)

  5. This is a great series - I've discovered a lot of gems that I hadn't heard of before! I can't wait to visit xoxocava...

    And thank you for featuring my little cards!


  6. great gift guides!!! definitely going to use some.


  7. Oh, gosh. I saw those Sartoria cashmere underwear at One of a Kind last week. So lovely and indulgent. But I wouldn't want to wash them?! I can't get around that, seeing as though they're underwear...

  8. cashmere underwear! that sounds just like heaven

  9. Dear beauties! The gift is truly mine having been included in this very special gift guide. Thank you for shining a spotlight on so many incredible artisans. Go team local! xo

  10. Cashmere underwear! So fancy!! I love it.

  11. Love this! I adore Erica's photographs especially!