So a group of us are traveling through downtown Portland, looking for a place to eat and some light shopping when my friend spies Boys Fort (902 SW Morrison St, # 97205
Portland, OR 97205). We have to go she says! Well OK. Sounds like camping supplies to me, but I’m up for it. But no camping supplies, it was an eccentric gift store…really it was several gift stores under one roof and they were all full of interesting things. Their website says “Boys Fort is a carefully curated collection of local, handmade products and vintage one of a kind finds. With over one hundred local and regional makers represented at Boys Fort, the product mix presented ranges from grooming products like mustache wax and beard oil to hand forged jewelry and leather goods to beautifully crafted furniture. Many local artists are incorporated into the mix, with a wide variety of styles for every taste and point of view”.
So, the United States Post Service (#USPS) has an app that converts mailboxes into magical gingerbread houses (or gingerbread mailboxes or gingerbread fireplaces or something!). I downloaded the free app, found a mailbox and the app captured the mailbox and before my eyes made it into a work of holiday art. Things I learned include:
It is always the same piece of art no matter where the mailbox is
It has to be a functioning mailbox, not one that has been painted over
I was planning on spending some quality time at one of my favorite stores, The Paper Source at 700 Bellevue Way NE, Bellevue, WA 98004. Sadly I ended up being in such a time constraint that I only paused to snap the one photo. The Paper Source has an abundance of very cool kits, stamps, stationary, unique trinkets and gift wrap. I’m hoping to go back soon and spend some more time!
Basic Goods is a around the corner at 1734 Pacific Avenue in Tacoma’s Museum District. I discovered it because I was out for the first time in a couple of days (darn cold) and went to pick up dear daughter. She begged for a Starbucks drink and I ran down the street in search of a new place.
Basic Goods’ space is about the size of a small garage. On their website they say that they “focus on curating a small collection of well designed, long lasting and useful merchandise”. Really, I liked everything they had from little notebooks to stamp sets to scarfs to thermoses. I picked up a sweet stocking stuffer for dear daughter. Much of their stock can be seen and ordered on their website http://www.basicgoodsco.com/
When Santa needs a break I’m sure he heads to the Aloha Oasis Hawaiian Store at 3011 Sixth Avenue, Tacoma. I stopped into after being stuck in the house for two days with a rotten cold. The store isn’t huge, but it is filled to the brim with all things Hawaiian including Hawaiian shirts, Christmas tree ornaments, candy, lotions, beach towels, bags, leis and trinkets. I left with chocolate covered macadamia nuts, dear husband’s favorite. The business has been going for nine years which is a great success in today’s economy!
In December I try to make a point to go to local businesses and “Buy Local”. Today it was Giardini Gifts at 3815 N 26th St. in Tacoma’s Proctor District. The place was packed with unusual and good quality holiday gift ideas and very busy with shoppers. A youth band (the Salvation Army Band?) played in front of it. Dear daughter and I made a small donation. I did find an old photo from the Tacoma Public Library that showed the space as the Red & White Store in 1933. http://search.tacomapubliclibrary.org/buildings/bldg1image.asp?j=1&o=1&n=4027&i=9341#text
Update: Giardini Gifts closed after the holidays and Compass Rose opened in the summer of 2013.
I go to Molbak’s at 13625 NE 175th St., Woodinville, WA 98072 whenever I’m in Woodinville, which isn’t all that often. It is one of the largest nurseries in the Puget Sound with indoor and outdoor areas, gifts and a cafe.
The Cowboy Market Place 4170 E. Hwy. 377 Granbury, TX 76049 is really fun. They have all kinds of unusual Western theme merchandise including bronze sculptures, saddles, tact and (my favorite and I should had taken a photo!) a road kill scented candle. Their website is here http://www.cowboy-marketplace.com
Grassi’s Flowers & Gifts at 1702 Pacific Avenue, Tacoma, is in cool, triangular building that was built in 1892 as the Wynkoop Drug Co. / Pagni & Lenti Grocery. The property has also been the Little Country Grocery Store. It was renovated to its beautiful condition by Alice Mack, but ended up being owned by a bank through foreclosure. Eventually it was purchased by the University of Washington and leased to Grassi’s.
Rankos Drug at 101 North Tacoma Avenue in the Stadium District has been around since the late 1930s and operated along Pacific Avenue from the late 1920s. The buildings original owner occupant was Gray Goose Coffee Shop & Confectionery. Rankos is family owned and independent and in addition to the pharmacy it has a small post office and an interesting assortment of gift items. I picked up a darling stocking stuffer for dear daughter and some cough drops.