Carly Rubach

Local Holiday Shopping Guide, Part 1

Whether you like it or not, the holidays are around the corner. Carly softens the blow with a local shopping guide and handmade gift ideas.

By - Nov 11th, 2012 04:00 am
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I made this apron for my sister last year.

Halloween has come and gone and that can only mean one thing: the holiday season is upon us! Save yourself!

So instead of letting my brain run wild with gift ideas, holiday crafts and spending strategies, I made a list. This may sound simple but in overwhelming situations, that glorious column of check boxes makes me feel like anything is possible. I wrote down the names of all my lucky gift recipients for the season and made notes of interests and initial ideas next to each name. I keep the list handy in case a conversation with one of the recipients sheds light on a new idea. Listening and being attentive this time of year is an easy way to ensure you come up with thoughtful gifts.

In another column, I’m gradually tracking supplies that I might need to pick up during my next Michaels trip—it’s so easy to show up at the craft store, end up in the soap-making section and forget why you came in the first place.

Another big thing to keep in mind while shopping is to support your local economy. I realize this is a trendy thing to say but there are so many opportunities in Milwaukee to actually follow through with this healthy shopping habit.

In order to help, I will focus my next four columns leading up to the holiday on creating a local gift guide and sharing my latest handmade holiday ideas. Please add your favorite local Etsy stores, Milwaukee shops or other creative avenues of giving to the comments section and I will continue to grow our local shopping guide into a master list for all city dwellers.

Before we get to the list, I want to share a really simple way to make a funky, detachable peter pan collar for the fashionista in your life.

Cute-as-a-Button Felt Peter Pan Collar


Needle and thread

Felted wool (100% wool), I picked mine up from Fischberger’s Variety





Take a look at a few collars online, and either print out an example as a guideline to trace or you can just freehand your pattern onto a piece of paper.

Pin your piece of paper to the felt and cut out. Repeat process so you have two pieces of felt from the pattern.

Begin by overlapping the center points of your collar and secure by stitching a button through the two layers of felt.

Lay out your buttons to get an idea of how you want them to look and when you’re ready, sew each button on one-by-one. This surprisingly doesn’t take as long as it looks. I only went through two of the holes on each button and I did two stitches on each button.

Stitch your pieces of ribbon to both ends of your collar and you’re all done! These detachable collars are a great way to dress up a solid color tee shirt or sweater. Try different patterns or cover the whole collar in buttons.

Local Holiday Shopping Guide

Fischberger’s Variety
2445 North Holton St.

Fischberger’s is a great spot for quirky books, knick knacks and games for kids, fabric, sewing notions, yarn and some of the coolest gifts you never thought you were looking for. Get lost in this classic gem.

Sparrow Collective
2224 S. Kinnickinnic Ave.

You’ll find a great variety of jewelry, apparel, baby goods and art in this Bay View hotspot. All of the items are made from folks who live right here in Milwaukee.

Art piece my boyfriend bought for my mom last year at the Art Bar.

Art Bar
722 East Burleigh St.

Art Bar’s “Tiny Art @ Tiny Prices” exhibit is one of my favorite places to shop during the holidays. You can find pieces from reputable local artists that are actually affordable. Plus, you get to drink a beer while you peruse.

Art vs. Craft
Saturday, Nov. 24, 10-6pm
Harley-Davidson Museum
400 West Canal St.

I have yet to attend Art vs. Craft and that kills me. You will find truly one-of-a-kind items at this event and you’ll be supporting local artisans all in one swoop. Admission is $4 and the first 300 shoppers will receive limited edition tote bags.

Hover Craft
Saturday, Dec. 1, Noon-6 p.m.
Sweet Water Organics
2151 S. Robinson Ave

Like Art vs. Craft, Hover Craft is going to be one of the best places in the city to tackle your holiday shopping. Plus, I’ll be there slinging ties, bow ties, peter pan collars and more! Come say hello!

I’m sure I’ve left out plenty of great local shopping opportunities, so please comment below and we can watch the list grow together. Happy holidays!


0 thoughts on “TCDIY: Local Holiday Shopping Guide, Part 1”

  1. Anonymous says:

    This is another good show:

    Satuday & Sunday, December 1 & 2| 10am – 4pm

    Shop for unique, handmade goods and support local artisans! Admission to the Market is FREE!

    Enjoy festive treats and complimentary gift wrapping.

    Live holiday music by Eric Look.

    Parking is FREE with a $50 Market purchase or $5 with any Market purchase!

    Plus, design and create your own beautifully designed, holiday-themed products in the Kohl’s Design It! Lab.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Thank you Becky. I’ll get this added for the next edition of TCDIY.

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