The 2007 Totally Austin Gift Guide
By Sean Claes
So, it's mid-December and you've still not figured out what gifts to get everyone on your list for the holiday. Maybe you need a quick gift for a company party, or that perfect something for that special woman or man in your life. If you're like me, you may have had over a dozen friends who have recently had children, so you're scrambling to pick something out to give them.
INsite took the liberty to collect some things that are true Austin originals. All of the following items are made in Austin by Austinites and sold in local shops and online. Many of these items cost less than $50, so you can pick up something for everyone and still be able to afford the gas to deliver them.
On The Body
This beautiful blue dress is 100% linen and made by All Dressed Up and Shy (alldressedupandshy.com ). It sells for $108 and can be found at Parts and Labour (1604 S Congress Ave)
These hoot-eriffic hand-stitched owl designs are from kid-clothing designer Jody Haller. She owns One-Eared Cat. You can find her designs at Moxie and The Compound (909 W. Mary Street).
If you've been asked to be a Godparent of any child, you should think about picking one of these great mafia-movie inspired shirts - "The Godchild." It's by Huge Wonder (hugewonder.com) and can be found at Moxie and The Compound, Parts and Labour, Ecowise (110 W Elizabeth), Kismet Boutique (4410 Medical Parkway), and Austin Baby Store (505 W. Mary Street)
With a 7 month old daughter, I can tell you our pouch-style baby sling we have has been a livesaver. These slings, by Emily Funderburg - owner/designer 360 Bebe (360bebe.com), are stylish and extremely practical. Find them at the Austin Baby Store, and Due Maternity (3801 N Capital of Texas HWY)
Their Website calls this funky poncho a marriage of Austin's slack attitude and swanky clothing - a slank ($210). It comes from Cathie Hutchins of Austin Yarn Company (austinyarncompany.com). Also pictured their scarf ($70) and Market Bag ($235). Online orders only.
This colorful burst of tie-dye goodness is by Daniel "Juju" Meeker, owner of Hippie Juju Magic (hipforums.com/forums/forumdisplay.php?f=415). This guy is a one-man traveling show. You can catch him on 12/8 at the Pine Street Market Days in Bastrop and December 15 & 23 at Austin's 23rd Street Artist Market.
These hand-crafted leather cuff bracelets from Merchant Ship Collective (merchant-ship.com) are a sight to behold, and even more of a great thing to wear. The designer is Lisa Knorra and they can be founds at Parts and Labour, Sticky Fingers (2209 S 1st), Blue Velvet (2100 Guadalupe # B), and Lowbrow Emporium (2708 S Lamar)
This funky wool yarn bag made by Danielle Smith of Fabulous Frills (fabfrills.etsy.com) is just $20 and can be found online.
This awesome handcrafted Pierced Box Ring ($165) is by Austin metal designer Carianne Schulte (bycarianne.com). Another item I found on their Web site is a coin created to thank the fne folks of the U.S. Armed Forces called "A Pocket Full of Thank Yous Coin" ($5). You can find these designs by appointment (call 554-1351) at the studio on E. Franklin Avenue.
Another in the line of cool kidswear, check out the rockin' designs by Kandle Kidswear (kandlekidswear.com/). Other designs include a cowboy dinosaur, Bluebonet, and an Austin Bat. Stop into the following stores to check them out for yourself - Parts & Labour, Eco-Wise, Moxie and the Compound, Waterloo Records and Video (600 N. Lamar), and Prima Dora (1912 S. Congress, 78704)
Kyle Gross and his Stones Throw Studio (stonesthrowjewelry.com) has a wonderful assortment of earrings, necklaces, and rings. My personal favorite... for the pet on your list, is his really cool pet tags. There's no reason your dog shouldn't be wearing an Austin original as well.. right? You can find these items on Saturdays at The Artist's Market (Mother Egans, 715 West 6th Street) and on 12/8-9 at the Cherrywood Art Fair at Maplewood Elementary School (38 1/2 Street @ Maplewood)
Michiel Rushing,does business as Masterpieces By Michiel, (masterpiecesbymichiel.com)You can see his unusual stone jewelry at The Artist Market and the Artisan Stroll in Round Rock (Main Street and Mays).
The beaded and copper jewelery of Kathy Sahagian (localartmarket.com/artistpages/kathysahagian) is a sight to behold. Other than because she's so damn good at it, she explains why she makes jewelry "There is real magic in making a person feel beautiful. When a client gazes into my full-length mirror and smiles and I know they fell good about themselves, I feel good about myself and my place in this community," she said. Sahagian's jewelry can be found at The Artist Market.
Bonnie Martin-Hudson owns Miaya Wear (miayawear.com). You can find her unique pants, skirts, baby clothes and cloth pocketbooks at the Austin Farmer's Market (422 Guadalupe) every Saturday and The Artists Market each Sunday in December.
In The Body
The Independence Brewing Company (independencebrewing.com/) has been around for over three years year now. It's been told to me that a favorite is the Bootlegger Brown Ale, but I swear by the Freestyle Wheat. Either way, it's a neat way to bring Austin to a friend. You can find this brew all over - Central Market, Grape Vine Market, various HEBs, various Twin Liquors, Wheatsville Co-Op, Whole Foods, Whip In, and many neighborhood convenient stores like Bread Basket, C-Mart, etc.
Looking for a good Australian Meat or Veggie pie with an Austin twist? I knew that you were... and look no further than Boomerang's Gourmet Veggie & Meat Pies (boomerangspies.com/). Eat or buy frozen at the restaurant (3110 Guadalupe), buy them at Central Market or have them shipped by the dozen to Utah (or any other state).
Kerbey Lane Cafe (kerbeylanecafe.com ). A restaurant that is known as much as an Austin Original as the food it serves. They've put together gift baskets for the holidays. Remind the Texas-Ex of their college days by sending them some gingerbread pancake mix. Four locations around Austin: 3704 Kerbey Lane, 2700 S. Lamar, 2606 Guadalupe, and 12602 Research.
Have you ever had Sweet Leaf Tea (sweetleaftea.com/)? I must admit, I'm not a fan of the sweet tea, so I never thought I'd enjoy this product, but I got my hands on some of their Raspberry Tea and MAN it was slap-your-grandma good. You can find it at all the major shopping centers. Everywhere that sells drinks... really.
Paula's Texas Orange and now Paula's Texas Lemon premium liquers (paulastexasspirits.com). Now you can get both in a neat gift basket at Twin Liquors, Spec's, and Western Beverage (Costco). Pick up some Tito's Vodka while you're there... I hear they make a wicked good combination.
Add a little Austin-made spice to someone's life. Spiceburst Gourmet Spices (spiceburst.com). These are an assortment of infused sea salts. The photo is of their Garlic Saltburst, but they also boast Chili Lime, Chipolte, Cracked Malabar and many others. You can find these products at Central Market, Whole Foods, Grapevine Market, Farm to Market (1718 South Congress), East Side Cafe (2113 Manor Rd), and Sunset Valley Farmers Market (4100 Westbank Dr).
Ever wanted a fantastically cooked meal custom-ordered and delivered to your door from a place that doesn't have "Pizza" in it's name? Everyone else has too. Why not get them some gourmet food from ATE Foods (atefoods.com). It's a different menu each week. Go onto their site and check it out for yourself. December 17 boasts chicken curry, ricorra and feta skillet pie and the one that stands out to me... Hunter's stew with creamy polenta. Yum.
In The House
On July 11 of this year, Claudia Alta "Lady Bird" Taylor Johnson passed away. She was and remains an icon representing the beautification of the nations public areas... Keep Texas Beautiful (ktb.org) has commemorated Lady Bird with their 2007 Ornament. According to their press release "Proceeds from sales of the fourth edition ornament help fund KTB's statewide network of affiliates who focus on litter prevention, waste reduction, and community beautification programs." Purchase it (along with the three previous years ornaments if you like) online, or at the Texas Highways Gift Shop (Riverside Office Complex, 150 E. Riverside).
Ricardo Acevedo has done it again. I enjoyed the 2007 calendar.. and he has made the 2008 She Rocks Calendar even better. One Eyed Doll, SINIS, Deb O'Keefe, and Patrice Pike are just a few of the talented women who grace the new edition... and the bonus is the sales benefit the Austin Music Foundation (austinmusicfoundation.org.). Awesome. You can find it at: Book People, The Calendar Store in Barton Creek Square Mall and their kiosk at Highland Mall, Cheapo Discs, Prima Dora, Waterloo Records and CDFuse.com.
Who can resist a candle? Especially ones made in Austin with such wintery names as "Icy Peppermint," "Caramel Cinnamon Latte," and "Christmas Past?" These are made by Angie Pearson throught her company called Simple Southern Scents (simplesouthernscents.blogspot.com). You can find them at Parts and Labour for about $7 a piece.
GNOMES! Why buy something premade when you can create it yourself! The Work*Shop (theworkshopaustin.com/) is a walk-in arts and crafts studio. Remember, if you're looking for something for me... I like gnomes. Not creative enough to do it yourself.. they actually DO sell pre-made stuff too. Check out the funky vinyl record-bowls. NEW location: 2438 West Anderson Lane, Suite C-5, Right Next to Terra Toys
If you really want to make a bold statement this holiday, pick up an amazing acrylic (Like this one entitled "Vita Selvaggia") by Austin painter Candace Carlisle (jadedmonkeydesigns.com ). Her art can be purchased at IF+D Austin (208 Colorado).
The Austin Fun Stuff 2008 Calendar (austinfunstuff.com) comes with over 200 things to do in our great city... from the Polar Bear Swim at Barton Springs to Eeyore's Birthday to First Thursdays to the Capitol 10k. The photos, by Marrick Ales, each month depict Austin scenes like Frisbee golf, The Broken Spoke, and The Umlauf Sculpture Garden. 10% of the profits go to Keep Texas Beautiful. Purchase online and at Whole Earth Provision Co (1014 North Lamar, 4477 South Lamar, and 2410 San Antonio)
Artist Jamie Rood (jamierood.com) creates art pieces fit for hanging. Many of his pieces are digital photos that have been enhanced and hand embossed. The print here that shows a frozen Crape Myrtle flower is entitled "Ice Pod." You can find Rood each Saturday at The Artist's Market (715 West 6th Street).
One of the people in the East Austin Studio Tour (which has about 120 studios represented), Peter Staats (peterstaats.com) is known as a Wedding photographer, but he also specializes in oversized photographic prints of local flora on metallic paper. His studio is located at 1150 San Bernard.
Odds and Ends
These guitar lessons are for the girls - really. Emily Marks has created an 8-week group setting (at Ventana Del Sol) for learning guitar that only includes women - Girl Power Guitar School (girlpowerguitarschool.com). Don't worry guys, her private lessons includes anyone. But why not encourage the future Carolyn Wonderland on your list to chase her dream? Call to inquire: 512-809-7799
Austin Band Swag! OK, you're in the live music capitol of the world (you don't believe me, just ask me again) and you need to get that person on your list updated on the local music scene. What better way than BAND SWAG? From lighters to posters to t-shirts to CDs... support local music. Swag above come from She Craves (shecraves.com)), Call The Circle (callthecircle.com/), Butcherwhite (butcherwhite.com/), The Banner Year (myspace.com/thebanneryear ), Latin At Heart (latinatheart.com), The Derailers (derailers.com/), or Ghost of Nithera (myspace.com/ghostofnithera13) play in December.
Sean Claes (http://www.seanclaes.com) is a freelance entertainment writer in Central Texas.
He also was the mind behind the infamous 2005 Totally Austin Gift Guide).