The One of a Kind Christmas Craft Show and Sale officially opened in Toronto on Thurs., Nov. 24, 2011 at the Direct Energy Centre at Exhibition Place. For the next 10 days, you’ll get the chance to browse and shop for unique Christmas gifts for special someones (including yourself). This year’s sale features more vendors than in previous shows, with an emphasis on lesser known boutiques offering reasonably-priced original clothing. You’ll also find a large number of vendors selling accessories including hats, scarves and handbags, gourmet food products, original art, ceramics, skincare products and Christmas decor. Some of the hand-crafted gifts that stood out are highlighted below.
Sweaters and knitwear are big at the show this year. This red sweater from AB Originals, which retails for $199, drew a lot of attention due to its vibrant colour and boxy shape. Made in one-size-fits-all, this versatile sweater will work well over a gray dress or t-shirt and jeans.
Solid sterling silver earrings make wonderful gifts. Disegno, who specializes in fine jewellery design, sells these classic-shaped earrings in sterling silver as well as 18 carat gold. Disegno’s silver and gold pieces contain a high quantity of the precious metals, which gives their pieces heaviness and substance. Check out their 18 carat gold reversible rings set with garnet and onyx stones. The sterling silver earrings pictured retail from $90 to $125.
If you’re looking for an original handbag with attitude, stop by Karen Wilson Handbags. Each purse is made from repurposed material in funky, retro styles including bowlers and clutches and animal-print patterns and most bags are produced in limited editions. If you can’t make it to the show, you’ll find Karen Wilson Handbags at Accessorize Me in Bloor West Village and Detail on Bayview Avenue. Handbags start at about $200.
If you have a Cindy Lou Who at home who isn’t intimidated by the Grinch Who Stole Christmas, you’ll want to pick her up one of these adorable ‘Grinch’ skirts by Just Jill in high quality cotton and available in sizes 1-7 years. The skirt retails for $49 and matching headbands are available for $15 to complete the outfit.
Laurie Skantzos has been an artist for more than 15 years. She started out drawing and then discovered her love of painting. This abstract, acrylic painting, which retails for $1,500, would look wonderful over a couch or headboard. Skantzos notes that the length and width of this painting is unusual and usually sells out quicker than her more standard-sized paintings.
These super chic hats from Funk Shui are made from a blend of Merino wool and silk and most are reversible in a different colour, which gives you two hats in one. You’ll also find a variety of coloured scarfs made from the same Merino wool and silk blend. Funk Shui’s hats are $110 and up while their scarves start at about $148. You may also want to check out Genevieve Dostaler’s vendor booth as she had an enormous stock of hats in many colours that can be washed and thrown in the dryer. Dostaler’s hats are priced at $50-$80.
Looking for a basic dress to provide numerous options in your wardrobe? The classic ‘Patsy’ dress by Jennifer Glasgow Design is cut in a very flattering line and can be worn on its own or with a black or red sweater or jacket during the day. The ‘Patsy’ dress retails for $179.
Do you enjoy cheesecake, but can’t seem to finish a whole piece? Esther Gould’s Gourmet Cheesecakes has the answer. Gould bakes European mini-cheesecakes with all natural ingredients and no preservatives that are just enough for two people in tempting flavours including Chocolate Orange Grand Marnier, Berry, Pear Ginger, Cranberry Orange, Mocha Kahlua Pecan and Double Chocolate Swirl that can be frozen. The gourmet mini-cheesecakes retail for $10 each.
Dinh Ba Design from Montreal showcased several hip, funky pieces including dresses that can easily go from the office to after-work drinks and skirts in solids and flirty, shabby-chic prints. Knits again were popular including this full-skirted gray dress which retails for under $200.
If you need a little sparkle to dress up your holiday outfit, you’ll find contemporary designs in sterling silver at the Ice Art Boutique, including this sterling silver necklace with silver heart pendant and freshwater pearls that retails for $110.
A high quality canvas bag is a staple for most women, whether you’re heading to work, going shopping or meeting friends. Nautilos’s vivid-coloured canvas bags with bold designs, which retail for $79, make a high-fashion statement that don’t downgrade your outfit.
Looking for a stocking stuffer for your teen or tween girl? Stop by Batavia by Sil and pick up a funky headband with flower motif for $20. Batavia by Sil also sells playful, animal-face handbags that are popular with girls and women of all ages.