Rave: Easy Holiday Gift Ideas

It’s the most wonderful time of the year. And
unfortunately for many, it’s also the most expensive.  Luckily, we thrifty ladies on the fourth floor have compiled this list of easy, inexpensive DIY gifts for the lucky ones
on your “nice” list.



Ed. note: We’ve got lots of DIY ideas this week, in the spirit of making things for your loved ones this holiday season (nothing says love like something homemade, amirite?). Stay tuned for how to stock a home bar and a super easy wine charm DIY!


Lace Earring Holder

Not only
is this piece easy to recreate and adorable, it’s also serves a very important
purpose. Your BFF will love it. Just get your hands on a vintage picture frame (think Goodwill or
Value Village), a piece of lace, and a staple gun.
1.     Cut the lace to fit your frame
(leave a little extra – better to have too much than too little.  You can cut the excess off later)
2.     Pull
the lace taut across the frame, being careful not to rip it.  While keeping the lace tight, staple from
side to side and in the corners
3.     After
it’s stapled tightly all the way around, hold your frame on its side and staple
down toward the edges of the frame. Do this all the way around the inside of
the frame. This makes the lace pop forward in the frame, so you can hang earrings easily.
4.     Cut
off any excess lace in the back, et voila! Might want to make one for youself, while you’re at it.

Big
Ball Pantyhose Necklace

We can thank our girl
Martha Stewart for this quirky gem.
All you need is a pair of sheer pantyhose, some scissors and a few colourful
rubber balls. Here’s what you do:

11.  Cut legs
off stockings. On one leg, tie a knot about six inches from toe. Place balls
inside stocking leg, one at a time, stretching stocking and tying a knot after
each. Repeat with second stocking leg.
22.  Knot legs
together end to end to create necklace.

Peppermint Sugar Scrub

This
homemade sugar scrub is a great, eco-friendly exfoliant that can be used on
your whole body, especially your dry winter hands and feet. Measure out three cups of white granulated sugar
, one cup of grapeseed oil
and peppermint oil. Mix the ingredients together, adding more
oil until you reach the desired consistency. Portion it out into mason jars, add a holiday gift tag and its ready to
rock. Note: You can use any essential oil to scent your scrub but we like
peppermint this time of year to put us in a festive mood.

Important tip: Don’t overthink it! Sometimes simple is best. Everyone
knows that the way to somebody’s heart is through their stomach. A cookie exchange is a great holiday party
idea and everyone leaves with a bevy of holiday treats ready to be gifted. Invite six to 10 of your closest creative bakers (not you, rice crispy square girl) and
have everyone bring a dozen of their best recipe for each of the guests (don’t
forget an extra batch for tasting at the party) and then swap. 

And
for your naughty list?

Nothing’but a classic lump of coal. 😉

City Living: Made You Look celebrates 10 years

Nothing is more inspiring to us than someone who’s followed their dreams and taken the risky plunge into entrepreneurship, especially in the notoriously tough fashion business. We’re especially excited when one of these brave bunch is female, and a client of ours. 


Enter Sarah Hamel. Tomorrow, Hamel’s great jewellery design and retail business, Made You Look, celebrates a decade of open doors. Hamel started her business fresh out of George Brown College’s jewellery arts program. She wanted to create a space where fellow designers could create without having to sacrifice their aesthetic because they no longer had access to the pricey materials and equipment required to work with metals and precious gems.

10 years later, the result is two booming retail locations in hip Parkdale, one of which also functions as the design space where hundreds of Toronto’s best-loved jewellery designers create, and have created, their pieces.

Made You Look offers an awesome array of accessory choices – they can create something custom and amazing from diamonds and gold, or you can pick up a cute, faux bauble to wear out with your friends. 

The very cute Tiny Ties ($30) caused a splash when first launched, and are still available at the south side store (1273 Queen St. W.)


One of our favourite pieces at the store are the Army Man Cufflinks, which feature replicas of the famous green plastic toys, in various poses (lying down with a gun, throwing a grenade, etc.). They are a cheeky gift for the man-boy in your life, and add a little pizazz to a French-cuffed shirt. 

These are awesome. Made by Kathryn Dieroff ($120).

To celebrate her success, Hamel is throwing an anniversary party at both retail locations tomorrow night, including live graffiti art by Qwest, mind tricks from Danny Proctor, food from the El Gastronomo Vagabundo food truck, and for the first time ever, 10% off any purchase made that evening, through Sunday, December 4. Members of the public are welcome, but please RSVP here to get on the guest list.

A visit from…Shopgirls Gallery Boutique

Even though we’ve already posted our holiday gift ideas (part 1 and part 2) with gift ideas from our fab clients, we still wanted some more for our best girlfriends, moms and sisters. We invited clients Michelle and Ashley from Shopgirls Gallery Boutique up to the fourth floor to give us some more great ideas for our holiday gifts. You can never give too much! 
 
We came to visit the rock-it promotions ladies up on the fourth floor, and brought some of our favourite things from our shop with us. We take great pride in our collection of cute clothing, fun home items and gorgeous little decor pieces. Plus, we only feature Canadian artists and designers. 

Toronto Buildings Napkin Set by Avril Loreti, $16 each

The holidays can sometimes drive people to drink (or eat too many cookies, cakes, slices of mincemeat pie…you know). Not just for celebratory reasons, but often as an escape from the over-crowded shopping malls, where you manage only to pick up impersonal gifts that leave you and your wallet feeling empty.

These gifts show you’ve put a little thought into someone’s personality and will make giving more fun than receiving. Everything at Shopgirls has an interesting back story. Come in and ask us to share them with you! An interesting story is so important when purchasing something one-of-a-kind.


Tansy & Co.‘s desk clocks are a much cooler way to count down the minutes to 5 p.m. than your digital computer clock.

 Desk Clocks featuring original photography from Tansy & Co., $55

We love how fuzzy and warm Rachel F.’s recycled fur hats and earmuffs are. Plus, you can feel good about wearing them (or giving them).

 Recycled fur accessories by Rachel F., from $65 

This glass decanter is a visually interesting way to serve wine, and is a good idea for the hard-to-shop-for person (like the in-laws that literally have everything). 

Balance Glassworks Decanter, $180

This key necklace is handmade and one-of-a-kind. Perfect for your best friend or sister.  

Multi-key Necklace by Ashley Winnington-Ball, $240

And, to wrap up your visit (pun intended), we carry lovely hand-crafted stationary and will wrap your purchase for free. If you can’t make it to the store, shame on you. (just kidding.) You can shop online to find exactly what you’re looking for.  
We have so much fun picking and choosing the items for our store, and sharing them with rock-it was even more fun. Who doesn’t love giving a gift that will elicit gasps of appreciation?  Happy shopping!
Shopgirls Gallery Boutique
1342 Queen Street West, Toronto
416-534-7467

Fashion-able: Custom wedding jewellery

‘Tis the season for I do’s. How can you be original?
Creating custom wedding jewellery is the ultimate in creative romance. The bonus? Going this route may also save you money. Working directly with a designer and raw materials eliminates some of the cost associated with traditional jewellery retailers. What better way to celebrate love than with a pair of rings crafted by the lovebirds themselves?

Geoff & Robin, courtesy of Trina Koster photography
At Made You Look Jewellery Studio and Gallery, various Toronto-based designers create beautiful custom pieces every day. To get started, head down to 1338 Queen Street West to flip through various designer’s portfolios and pick the artist you love best. Here are some tips:

Choose a designer whose concepts really speak to you – even if it isn’t wedding jewellery, a designer’s aesthetic will come through in any piece. The designer will work with your budget and ideas, give you options for materials (diamonds, gold platinum – amazing!) and start drawing. They’ll make a wax mold to make sure it’s perfect before casting.

A great way to have your “something old” is to remake or repair an heirloom piece of jewellery that’s at the back of your jewellery box. Grandma’s forgotten diamonds can be worked into a lovely new ring, or Mom’s old broken pearl necklace into a spectacular bracelet.
There are also made-to-order options for the wedding party. Made You Look designers can create fascinators, necklaces, cuff links or tie tacks. A custom piece of jewellery would make a beautiful, personal thank-you gift for your bridesmaids or groomsmen.
Whichever route you take, a wedding should be unique, personal and reflect the people being wed (and consider whoever is footing the bill). Designing your very own rings, or special gifts for your wedding party, expresses your once-in-a-lifetime love, day after day.

Our team member Abigail is celebrating her big day in 2011. We’re all very excited for her. Congratulations, Abby!

Black diamond, wide band with diamonds and yellow sapphire rings: Karen Macrae
Fingerprint cuff links: Deborah Lavery