Homegrown Christmas

DSC_5039webThe holiday season is officially upon us which, along with the festivities, means shopping. You all know the importance I feel for shopping local and at small businesses. This time, I’m challenging you to take it one step further. I’ve come to realize that for just about anything a person could want, there most likely is someone in our city making it. Here is a list of Winnipeg creators to check out. Individuals, using the highest quality materials, and their exceptional talents to make top notch products right here in our back yard.

I recently stumbled upon Skive Leather on Instagram. Randell Baldonado makes leather bags to his exacting standards completely by hand.

Randell Baldonado taking notes for a bespoke purse he will be creating for me.

Randell Baldonado taking notes for a bespoke purse he will be creating for me. Love the upstairs lounge at The Mitchell Block!

“Only beautiful leather hides hand cut, stamped and sewn.” There aren’t even sewing machines involved here! You can find regularly stocked items on his website or work with him to create a bespoke piece with everything you’ve always wanted in a bag. Old school techniques with respect paid to the beauty and character of the leather.de0daf_b757ce1215c24188a6a829cda968696f I’m working on a purse with him now. I am so excited! Buy a gift certificate for that person on your list who knows exactly what they want and how they want it. With Skive Leather, they might just be able to get it. Contact Randell on his website http://www.skiveleather.com

Peplum jacket by VOILA Par Andréanne. Skinny jeans by Lennard Taylor. Clutch purse by Skive Leather.

Peplum jacket by VOILA Par Andréanne. Skinny jeans by Lennard Taylor. Clutch purse by Skive Leather.

VOILA Par Andréanne is not fast fashion. This is luxurious comfort. Or is it comfortable luxury? Either way you look at it, you want to live in her clothes. Using only organic, Canadian made fabrics of the strictest standards, Andréanne has been creating her soft and wearable fashions, here in Winnipeg, for over 10 years.  This jacket?! I almost feel guilty for being so comfortable while looking so chic! It will take you all the way from the office to the cottage.

Super comfy in bamboo fleece! This time tied in the back.

Super comfy in bamboo fleece! This time tied in the back.

I’m sure every Winnipeg girl will want a pair of her uber soft, fleece lined, bamboo leggings under the tree!

Lace back tank and fleece lined leggings with silver embellishment by VOILA Par Andréanne.

Lace back tank and fleece lined leggings with silver embellishment by VOILA Par Andréanne.

You can find VOILA online http://voilaandreanne.com/, at her Showroom/Workshop (by appointment only) 303-421 Mulvey Ave., Humbolt Legacy, 167 Lilac St., Lennard Taylor Boutique, 223 McDermot Ave. and The Forks Trading Company, 107-1 Forks Market Rd.

Sutton Smithworks, located in the Exchange District, specializes in custom jewelry creation and repair. Be inspired by your own imagination to create something new or revitalize a piece you already own. Photographer, Dano Tanaka, who took all of these fine photos, had a lapel pin made of his ever recognisable logo.

Custom Dano Tanaka logo lapel pin designed by Sutton Smithworks.

Custom Dano Tanaka logo lapel pin designed by Sutton Smithworks.

“Foxy” brand necklace on a sparkling, diamond cut chain, designed by Sutton Smithworks for The Foxy shoppe.

This silver “Foxy” necklace was created for and available at The Foxy Shoppe at 87 King St. (There’s someone Foxy on your list that wants one!)

The goldsmiths’ experience, great personal service, creativity and attention to detail will result in jewelry to be treasured by yourself and your loved ones. Be inspired by their beautiful website, http://www.suttonsmithworks.com or go visit them at 103-250 McDermot Avenue.

Lennard Taylor, designing fashions for both men and women, is one of my favourites. My custom jeans with his signature prairie grass stitching I featured in my first ever blog. Those and the two pairs I’ve purchased from him since and are still my go to jeans, and I pretty much covet all of his outerwear.

Lennard Taylor double zip jacket, jeans and cross body messenger bag.

Lennard Taylor double zip jacket, jeans and cross body messenger bag. Shoes from Mad About Style.

Hand painted, double zip jacket, skinny jeans, and cross body bag by Lennard Taylor. Shoes from Mad About Style.

Hand painted, double zip jacket, skinny jeans, and cross body bag by Lennard Taylor. Shoes from Mad About Style.

His holsters are both convenient and edgy for any guy or girl on your list wanting to make a statement. I have two and I swear by them!

Dress, scarf, and holster by Lennard Taylor. Hat from The Haberdashery. Boots from Rooster shoes.

Dress, scarf, and holster by Lennard Taylor. Hat from The Haberdashery. Boots from Rooster shoes.

This easy to wear dress is one of his staples. I am especially a fan of the many different pieces in his shop that have been hand painted by LT himself. His looks are urban, sometimes androgynous, and becoming more recognizable around town. I love that!

Dress, scarf, and holster by Lennard Taylor. Hat from The Haberdashery. Boots from Rooster shoes.

Hand painted dress, scarf, and leather holster by Lennard Taylor. I love how the feather fringe adds a decidedly feminine flair to this one! Felt hat from The Haberdashery. Boots from Rooster shoes.

You’ll find his fashions online and at his eclectic and cool shop at 223 McDermot Ave in the vibrant Exchange district. Lennard is a Winnipeg artisan supporter as well and carries many local producers in his store like fashion designers Alex Espinosa and, VOILA par Andréanne, wooden bow ties and sunglasses by Off The Wood, gorgeous body chains by Stella Mazza, Barletta Beeswax candles,and leather accessories by Adan Ballou.
You may have seen these attractively packaged, Coal and Canary candles around in some shops and craft sales and you should really pick some up.

Coal And Canary scented candle in

Coal And Canary scented candle in “All I Want Fir Christmas”. Uniquely draped, bamboo tank by VOILA Par Andréanne.

They are hand poured using soy and vegetable wax with true to scent oils. The cleverly named scents make me smile and I find the slight crackle made by the wooden wick rather soothing. “Chunky Knit Sweater” is my current addiction. Plus the owners are both so very charming that a visit with them is totally worth it! Great stocking stuffers and the perfect hostess gift! Did you know that Coal And Canary candles were in the celebrity swag bags at the Oscars and Grammy awards? There’s a conversation starter. There is a list of the many retailers selling them (some across Canada and U.S) and online shopping on their site. http://www.coalandcanary.com/

Art is very personal and can be tough to gift but commissioning a portrait is perfect for just about anyone. I find the realism art of Tesia Rhind completely mind blowing!

Acrylic and ink on maple.

Acrylic and ink on maple.

Provided with a photo of a loved one or even a pet she will produce a work of art that anybody would be proud to hang above their mantle.

Commissioned piece taken from a photo.

Commissioned piece taken from a photo.

Imagine what an unexpected gift that would be! I’ve commissioned two paintings for my kids that I’m very excited about.

Amazing portrait detail in graphite.

Amazing portrait detail in graphite.

You can reach Tesia on her Facebook page.

For the foodie on your list, I suggest picking up Winnipeg Cooks by Robin Summerfield. A beautifully photographed cookbook of signature recipes from the city’s top chefs.DSC_6270Instweb With Winnipeg’s impressive list of incredible restaurants, I found it a treat to read the bio included for many of my favourite chefs. Not to mention the beautiful food photography by Ian Mccausland and drool worthy recipes I can’t wait to sink my teeth into. This handsome book is $35+tax and if you buy it from The Mitchell Block, one of the awesome contributing restaurants (179 McDermot Ave.) they will throw in a free $10 gift certificate! Make that a bonus gift or keep it for yourself.

I discovered Aprons by Emily Rose at the Oh! For Crafts Sake! sale, held at The Park Theatre and, of course, I was swooning all over them! So cute and colourful, so clearly me! Leaving without one was not an option.

DSC_5198web There are plenty of her one of a kind pieces on her Facebook and Instagram pages. She will also make a custom design if you have something in mind. With these retro fabrics and pinup inspired shapes, it only makes sense that they will soon to be carried at The Foxy Shoppe as well.

The thing I need to say about every single one of these gifted Winnipegers is their over the top attention to DSC_5086webdetail. These are gifts of quality. Gifts with a story. Gifts that have never seen a sweatshop or an assembly line. Gifts that give back to our community and economy. Gifts that will give everyone an added sprinkling of hometown pride.

Now that you’re ready to impress your friends and family with their homegrown gifts, you can really wow them with some homemade eggnog. It’s so much better than store bought it almost seems wrong to give them the same name. This recipe fills a large punch bowl and is perfect for a party. When I’m making it for an evening at home I make 1/3 of the recipe, starting with 2 eggs etc.

  • 6 large eggs, separated
  • 3/4 cup superfine sugar
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 3 cups heavy cream, plus more for garnish
  • 1/2 cup bourbon
  • 1/4 cup dark rum
  • 1/4 cup Cognac
  • 2 tbsp Apricot brandy (optional)
  • Freshly grated nutmeg, for sprinkling DSC_5156web

Beat yolks in a very large bowl until thick and pale. Slowly beat in sugar. Whisk in milk and 2 cups cream. Mix in bourbon, rum, and Cognac. Cover, and refrigerate for up to 1 day.

  1. Just before serving, beat whites until stiff peaks form. Fold whites into eggnog. Whisk remaining 1 cup cream until stiff peaks form, and fold into eggnog. (Alternatively, you can fold half the whipped cream into eggnog, and top with remaining half.) Sprinkle with nutmeg.

Bon apetit and enjoy a Merry Christmas with a lots of Winnipeg cheer.DSC_5178webStyle Hunter Fox