*This post comes to us from the super great Jen Neitzel of The Maven Circle and so many other awesome things. All pictures provided by the Little Boxes shops and their websites.*
I was happy to be asked to write a post about my preferred shopping route for LIttle Boxes for a number of reasons.
1). I totally believe in shopping local/handmade whenever I can.
2). I have many friends who own awesome businesses in and around Portland and I’m happy to spread the word to remind people that there’s plenty of alternatives to the traditional “Mall Holiday Shopping” experience.
3). When you shop local/handmade you can find amazing treasures! Forget the mass produced trinkets that you can find at the big box stores, when you shop local it’s all about quality, the details and thought that went into the production of the product. Best of all, it’s way easier to find gifts to “fit” the people in your life.
4). When you shop local/handmade, buying from stores and artists you are casting a vote with every purchase about what you value and the kind of world you want to live in.
OK, enough with the reasons, now let’s get to shopping. I will probably be dragging my husband along with me to do some shopping, but we’ll make a stop or two for food and drinks- this will help keep the torture level to a minimum on his end.
I think we’d start at Presents of Mind. It’s the place where you can get almost anything, from earrings, to clothing, to random oddity- they pretty much have it all. I might try to distract my hubby and get him another one of Season’s t-shirts. He loves her shirts. Oh, who’s Seasons? She’s the owner of Presents of Mind and she’s a good friend of mine, who does great work.
Next we’d go over to Redux to shop and visit with my friend Tamara. Tamara owns Redux and her style is so specific and cool. I would call her style something like extraordinary nature-inspired art with a touch of the macabre. Lots of things made from natural materials: leathers, bone, gems and more. Something about her style is just a little bit dark and also a little glamorous, so I know I will find gorgeous things that I won’t find other places.
After that we’d head over to North Portland and get some more Little Boxes awesomeness, by hitting up Queen Bee Creations. I hope that my friend Rebecca Pearcy will be working when I go. She’s the owner of Queen Bee and really one of my craft idols. She started her business in her bedroom and has grown it into a handmade empire! She uses great materials on her bags and they are brilliantly made. I have about six Queen Bee bags so when I try to buy another one for myself and my husband will look at me like I’m crazy. I know this will happen because I always want a new bag when I go to the Queen Bee studio, but this time I’m going to try to stay focused on gifts for others. Wish me luck with this goal.
My friend Regina is in serious need of a new wallet. She’s like the Seinfeld episode where George’s wallet is so full of receipts that he can no longer close his wallet. She might need a bigger wallet, so maybe I’ll find something for her there.
After that we’d head over to Flutter to look at shiny things. Flutter is the type of store that has so many fun and unique gift items that it’s hard to even guess what we might find, but I know it will be feminine and cool. The store is so visually appealing that it feels like the layout of the store is a piece of art in and of itself. Last time I went there I got this really good smelling perfume, which generally I don’t like or buy, but they had something I liked that didn’t make me sneeze (this is a major qualifier for me when it comes to perfume). I just met the owner of Flutter, Cindy last night. My husband, Trent, and her husband, Oliver,work together at Wieden and Kennedy and last night was their company party, which is where we met. She’s so cool!
Break time! Next we’d head to The Box Social for one of their amazing cocktails. My husband and I will probably get a couple of their old fashions because we LOVE them! They do ‘em stiff, and delicious with one of those big ice cubes. So good! We might have a bite to eat if it fits with our schedule.
I know I’ll plan to head to Jet to check out dresses, but then I’ll realize that if I go in there I’ll buy myself something and it’s not about shopping for me, so I’ll probably have to wait to go shopping there after Christmas and because I will have waited I’ll be able to buy extra! The thing I love about Jet’s clothing is it’s mostly ready to wear, stretchy, eco-friendly, stylish clothing that’s made for a body in motion. Yay for comfort and style!
Next we’d head to Frock to visit with my friends who own the place, Ali and Angie. I will try on some dresses and find at least a few I love and then I’ll remember that it’s not all about me and buy for others. Ali and Angie always have some really reasonably priced gift items: socks, jewelry, etc and typically, each year they do some of their own designs on t-shirts, scarves, flasks and more. I personally love their anatomical heart that is divided into areas of Portland. If you don’t know what I mean, you’ll have to go there and see for yourself.
By this time, my husband will be very, very done with shopping so I’ll suggest that we go over to Stickers, which is near our neighborhood. Stickers is a delicious little Thai, Chinese, Korean, Indian fusion street food place with great food and prices, but on the way there I’ll offer to drive and make a quick stop off at collage, the best locally owned art store anywhere! I hope that my friend Maria will be working. She owns the place and she is really honestly probably my best friend in the craft community. We worked together for years (I used to own and run DIY Lounge). Maria and I really enjoy each other’s company and understand each other. Whether Maria is working or not, I’ll go and paw through the washi tape, which is really an obsession of mine. I hoard the stuff and I’m not kidding. Washi tape is decorative Japanese masking tape and it’s the perfect thing for decorating packages, embellishing cards and more. In truth I can get everything I need to make any sort of card making, gift wrapping papery sorts of things and more at collage. It’s really a wonderful store, with such a cool, hand-picked selection of art supplies and materials.
By this time my hubby will be so over shopping that when I say, “But Tilde is just right next door.” He won’t tolerate anymore and I’ll power window shop for what I might need to come back for on another day. Speaking of another day, when I have more time, I’ll hit more handmade stores like: Union Rose, Eden, Betsy and Iya, Yarnia, and Crafty Wonderlandl.
Whew, I better start my warm up calastenics and put on my shopping sneakers for this marathon shopping trip. PS. If you know my husband Trent, please don’t show him this article. I like to keep him guessing.
*Thank you, Jen! This IS an exhausting route, but one where you’d find everything you need and enjoy it all along the way.*