Besides eating delicious soup in the Polish village, I also spent this past weekend floating through the indie craft circuit. Being an eager-yet-fickle mistress of all things darling and handmade, I checked out not one, not two, but three craft shows, and yet I still managed to buy a whole lot of nothing. There were so many lovely offerings that I couldn’t make up my mind! I wound up collecting business cards from the vendors that best struck my fancy for future shopping, though. Allow me to share my favorites with you:

1.) Kid Icarus

I saw these guys at Winter Fling, and they’ll be at this weekend’s City of Craft as well, but for those of you who’ve stumbled past their Kensington showroom after one too many Delirium Tremens beers at Ronnie’s Local and wondered “what the hell is Kid Icarus?”, let me just say it’s worth the daytime visit. Kid Icarus deals mostly in paper: greeting cards, stationary, journals, and other stuff made from processed, printed pulp. Their designs are simultaneously clever, quirky, and rustic.

Fave pick:

The Great Lakes printed wrapping paper (pictured at left), a topographical tribute to my stomping grounds of past and present.

2.) Katie Muth

Also spotted at Winter Fling, Katie Muth is a local printmaker whose linoleum block prints (also known as linocuts) remind me a lot of Nikki McClure’s paper-cut art: intimate, nature-conscious, and rendered with loving attention to the everyday. I especially love how Toronto’s urban landscape features so prominently in Muth’s prints, many of which include scenes from Toronto’s treasured High Park.

Photo of 2010 wall calendar from

Fave Pick:
Her High Park-themed 2010 wall calendar (pictured above). I want one so badly.

3.) Stitchface

I’m kind of surprised by how much I liked this stuff. I’ve never been into plushies and, apart from overweight babies and freshly-birthed kittens, I’m not particularly vulnerable to traditional “cuteness” either. But something about Stitchface’s collection of slightly demented woodland creatures makes me wish I had a quirky niece or silly little cousin to buy these for–preferably one who was old enough not to maul it to shreds. While my younger cousins are still in the drool-and-destroy phase, I might pick one of these little guys up anyway. You know, for safekeeping.

Fave pick:

This purple bunny, which is roughly what I imagine when I think of the Moldy Peaches version of Little Bunny Foo Foo.

4.) Claire Manning

I ran into Claire at a tiny artisan craft fair nestled in a Parkdale residential space. It was there that I promptly fell for her illustrations and embroideries–as well as the artist’s own kind and friendly demeanor. I love how fun and animated her pieces were, particularly a series of whimsically stitched tea towels based on the periodic table of elements. While I unfortunately didn’t have a camera handy and her website doesn’t include photos of these, this image of one of Claire’s illustrations (which I’m borrowing from Devilles Workshop’s Flickr Photostream) is somewhat similar to the towel embroideries, which were among my fave picks of the weekend:

Illustration by Claire Manning

5.) Coco Boudoir

Those who know me best know that I love classic styling. I occasionally make my own vintage chapeau-inspired feather headbands for myself and others (my female cousins on my dad’s side each got one last Christmas) and one of my most treasured accessories is a delicious chocolate-brown felt topper given to me last year by the bf’s mom. You can imagine my delight, then, when I ran into Erin Summer and her Coco Boudoir collection at the Parkdale artisan show. While she also makes feathered headbands that are somewhat similar to my own, I was most impressed by the necklaces and adornments Erin had crafted from vintage fabrics and knick-knacks. For instance, there was a sparkly silver-leaf bib necklace constructed out of a recycled Christmas ornament from her childhood home. Then, there were the rosette pieces, each rose painstakingly coiled and hand-stitched in place. I wanted everything. It’s too bad that holiday shopping is about gifts for others.

Fave Pick:

Photo from the Coco Boudoir Etsy page

This fantabulous headband: great dressy or casual, and in that warm Spring/Fall palette that goes so beautifully with my coloring (hint hint)…

Well, there you have it: five local Toronto artisans to support during holiday gift-shopping season. Enjoy!

P.S. Y’all know that the title of this post is an homage to Coolio, right? Very fitting for a blog devoted to a melange of things reflective, creative, and food-related, methinks, as the rapper is also an occasional actor and cookbook auteur (fo’ serious!)