Vintage-Inspired Gifts for the Homemaker

Vintage-inspired gifts for the homemaker on your list!

1. A Mini History Lesson:
Radical Dishtowels

ABOUT: “As a family, we’ve always been interested in the amazing stories of history’s radical thinkers and campaigners, and how much hope these stories can inspire relative to the politics of today. We didn’t have much business experience. But we realized that there must be other people with progressive values out there who wanted to give gifts that actually mean something, make you think, and give you hope. We all loved the idea that you might come across a design in someone’s kitchen, and that it would spark a conversation about an idea or philosophy. As a teacher, I imagined that children might see a design and ask, “Who was she?” Together we made the decision to start our very own Radical Tea Towel Company. We do all the designs ourselves, and get them manufactured in the UK with ethical partners.” Read the full story, here.


SOCIAL IMPACT: Made ethically in the UK, the main impact is in the message on the towel. What a fun way to strike up a conversation about something important, even controversial.

WHAT WE LIKE: This is such a unique idea. I’ve seen some cool tea towels, but never anything like this. They cost a bit more than the average tea towel, but are still inexpensive enough I could justify buying it if I had a place to have it visibly hanging in my kitchen.

2. Placemats and Doormats Inspired by Vintage Tiles:

Tusset Floor Mat.

ABOUT: “The first hydraulic tiles were produced in Barcelona in the mid nineteenth century.   The creativity and durability of these attractive yet functional handmade floors caught on quickly and their use spread across Europe and beyond.”

The brand is carried by Locus Vie, a distribution company for home decor products in North America.  They focus on small European design companies that are looking to make an entrance into the North American market, and you can find local retailers via their site.


SOCIAL IMPACT: The site says that they are “phthalate-free and recyclable, for an eco-friendly conscience”. While made in Spain, there are many local shops, usually small ones, that carry some of these designs.

WHAT WE LIKE: They have a vintage vibe but are super practical. They make great door mats or a runner for a high-traffic hallway, they are easy to clean and can cover up ugly rental flooring. They are a bit on the pricey side for the larger ones (I saved up and watched for sales for years before I finally got one), but a set of the placemats could make a lovely gift, and they work well inside or out!

3. Textiles Based on Traditional Indigenous Designs
Indigo Arrows

Copper and Black Moons Lumbar Pillow
This Copper and Black Moons Lumbar Pillow is currently sold out, but it’s my favourite and I had to share.

ABOUT: “For thousands of years, Indigenous peoples in Manitoba, including my Anishinaabe ancestors, created beautiful patterns to adorn their pottery collections and host of bone tools. Most of the surviving pieces are held by museums now, but I think the world needs more than exhibition- we need these patterns in our homes provoking thought; we need them bridging gaps; and, we need them inspiring our loved ones. The Indigo Arrows line picks up where my ancestors left off.

Destiny Seymour is an Anishinaabe interior designer based in Winnipeg, Manitoba. She graduated with her master’s degree in Interior Design from the Faculty of Architecture at the University of Manitoba. She worked at local architecture firm in Winnipeg for over 10 years as their interior designer before starting her own design business in 2016.

Destiny started designing artisan textiles for interiors that respectfully reflects local Manitoban Indigenous peoples and their history after struggling to find materials that she could incorporate into design projects. Her company, Indigo Arrows, now offers a range of table linens, pillows, and blankets that showcase patterns from local Indigenous pottery and bone tools that date from 400 to over 3000 years old. These patterns are picking up where her ancestors left off.

Destiny formed Woven Collaborative in 2018, an Indigenous led design studio with fellow designer Mamie Griffith. Their design practice takes a critical look at the representation of Indigenous cultures within spaces. Their design mission is to respectfully reflect local Indigenous cultures & identity within architectural forms, interior spaces, furniture, and textiles. Their design process acknowledges community engagement, inclusiveness, and collaboration when creating new works.”


SOCIAL IMPACT: These beautiful linens are handmade, individually hand-printed in Winnipeg, Manitoba on 100% linen using non-toxic ink. This Indigenous-run company is making something that is simultaneously modern and traditional: these designs look like something you’d find in a magazine today while many of them are actually thousands of years old. Destiny names them in her ancestral language, Anishinaabemowin, and the pieces have a little description of what the word means and its significance, so it’s a nice little learning moment as well.

WHAT WE LIKE: If I had seen these without the context I would have thought they were totally modern, but when I read the history I knew they were perfect for this post: vintage-inspired doesn’t have to mean “old looking”, and it doesn’t have to be a perfect reproduction of something either. It also made me realize that a lot of the modern “boho” things you see in chain stores have (whether intentionally or not) designs that were used historically in Indigenous art, and so why not support the maker who shares that history? Promote the use and creation of something that comes from generations of artisans rather than buy a knock-off mass produced in China? And honestly, while some fellow artists may not have the money for a $100 decorative pillow, I think we all know that given the work that goes into it, that’s a steal. A lot of these are less expensive than things you’d find at Crate & Barrel or West Elm, and you can shop guilt-free knowing you’re supporting the artist who made them, not some faceless corporation.

4. Retro Canadian Pillows:
Persnickety Designs

Each pillow features a bright, bold design on each side: it’s like 2 pillows in one!

ABOUT: Peggy McEwan is a Toronto-based artist with a background in classic animation. These pillows are what she calls “comfortable art”, and they come in a range of retro designs – Toronto landmarks, old movie stars, vintage maps – there’s something for everyone.


SOCIAL IMPACT: You’ll be supporting a local female artist!

WHAT WE LIKE: I’ve been eyeing several of these for years, but found they were usually a little out of my price range. However, that was when I came across them in stores – I just realized you can buy from her site at about half of what I’d always seen them for before, and I may have to redo all my cushions! I love pop art but you don’t find a lot of it locally made, so I’m happy to add these to my already massive pillow collection.

5. True Vintage Serving-ware
Ethel 20th Century Living

This mid century piece is a great way to hint, “invite me over more!”

ABOUT: “Ethel – 20th Century Living is a vintage furniture, lighting and accessories store in the East Danforth neighbourhood in Toronto.

After helping to establish “Retro Row” in Leslieville 20 years ago, Ethel was starting to show her age. After the store changed ownersip in October 2009, it conducted business in the original location for 3 more years, and in May 2012, Ethel moved to Corktown. In the fall of 2016, we decided to close our bricks and mortar location at 327 Queen St. East, and now, two years later, we have a new home at 1781 Danforth Ave.

Owner Shauntelle LeBlanc has re-established Ethel’s brand as a store for outstanding vintage modern furniture, lighting & accessories. The store’s focus is on affordable vintage because you should enjoy your furniture, feel free to put your feet up on it and certainly not feel like you’re living in a museum (or magazine spread…unless that’s your thing, and in that case, Ethel is cool with that too).

We’re a proud Canadian indie boutique, and along with classic American & Scandinavian design, you’ll also find Canadian Mid-century pieces here. Sure, we all love Eames, Nelson & Knoll, but have you heard of Russell Spanner, Lotte Lamps or Clairtone? 

Vintage is nearly always one of a kind so our merchandise is constantly changing. You might find a complete Brady Bunch kitchen in here, or maybe a film noir detective movie set, complete with tanker desks & typewriters. Ethel has a little bit everything, from gondola sofas and teak dining sets to oddball pieces like 80s Russian propaganda posters and vintage tiki mugs.

Along with 20th century furniture, lighting and accessories, we also carry new products by RetroVerte, Umlaut Brooklyn, and more.”


SOCIAL IMPACT: A local, female-run boutique selling vintage – sustainable in many ways.

WHAT WE LIKE: There are MANY vintage shops in the city (though sadly, not as many as there once were) and I have my favourites for various things. Ethel’s is where I go for mid century. You can rely on finding a lamp, vase, serving piece etc. from the 50s-60s there, likely in whatever colour you’re looking for. She often has a selection of small retro furniture as well, like card tables and chairs.

Have something you think should be on our list?
Let us know in the comments.


Vintage-Inspired Gifts for the Fashion Lover

Vintage-inspired gifts for the fashion lover on your list.

1. Vintage With An Indigenous Twist:
Resist Clothing Co.

Shirts and sweaters in a variety of colours feature this vintage postcard inspired look.

ABOUT: “RESIST Clothing company (formerly Our Feather Clothing Co.) started in 2020. It was created by Mitch Gegwetch (Ojibwe/Anishinaabe and a member of Sagamok First Nation). 

RESIST is a premium streetwear brand. We never cheap out on our inventory. We promise, our products are worth every penny, if you disagree, we offer a 30-day money back guarantee, no questions asked. “


SOCIAL IMPACT: “We are native owned and operated. Our company is certified by the Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business. A certification only obtained by proof of the company owner’s status. View CCAB listing here.

Our mission is to build an authentic Native clothing brand that amplifies the presence and voices of Indigenous people. 

We do this by creating unique designs on high quality garments that grab your attention and provoke thought or reflection. 

We also stay true to our native roots and operate the brand ‘in a good way’ by sharing our profit with Indigenous charities that protect and uplift our Indigenous Communities.”

WHAT WE LIKE: This streetwear brand features designs by Native artists with a focus on community and sustainability. Plus, they follow a unique “quadruple bottom line approach” that places importance on more than just profit. Bonus, the prices are really good.

2. Loungewear and Lingerie:
Gigi’s House of Frills:

Golden Apricot "Hi-Craft" Cold Rayon Slip Size 40 XL #147
Gigi’s offers both true vintage (like this) and beautiful vintage-inspired and reproduction pieces.

ABOUT: “Gigi’s House of Frills is a dream realized for owner…Gigi!

After many moons of dreaming of a shop full of all of the vintage inspired brands and one of a kind true vintage lingerie pieces, Gigi decided to make it reality!

Our little brick and mortar boutique is located in Gigi’s hometown: Toronto. That’s Ontario, Canada for those of you not familiar!

Gigi’s little shop of frills has been operating since November 6th 2015, and there’s no greater joy than bringing you the latest in retro and pinup lingerie, cosmetics and hosiery alongside all of the wonderful vintage treasures we find just for you!

We strive to offer you superb customer service and aim to make lasting relationships with our lovely clients!

Come see everything Gigi’s has to offer, including local designers such as With Love Lingerie and Inspiration Vintage, world renown vintage cosmetics brand, Besame cosmetics and much, much more true vintage lingerie and hosiery!

You can visit Gigi’s in Toronto at 731 Dovercourt Road, just south of Bloor Street West.”


SOCIAL IMPACT: Lingerie is lovely, but a lot of the things you pick up at LaSenza or Victoria’s Secret are cheaply made and not built to last. Plus, they tend to come in a very limiting number of sizes. Gigi’s carries local brands like Inspiration Vintage as well as big ones like Dita Von Teese that are well-made and unique. She also carries authentic vintage, and you know how much we like to reuse!

WHAT WE LIKE: We love Gigi’s. She was one of our sponsors for The Rear Window and did a phenomenal job helping us find the perfect under things for a true vintage look. This small local shop is female run by one of the nicest and most open-minded women you’re likely to ever meet, so don’t be afraid to go in and ask for help picking out a perfect little something – she has products for people of all shapes and sizes AND has a handy sizing chart on her website if you want to make sure there’s something for you before you go.

3. True Vintage Clothing:
Victory Girl Vintage

1940s Printed Rayon Long Sleeve Dress Size Medium image 1

ABOUT: Curated vintage clothing from the 1910s-70s. You can shop online through her Etsy shop, or visit her in-store at 29 Kensington Ave., Toronto.


SOCIAL IMPACT: This female-run local small business sells beautiful vintage clothing and accessories – hurray for sustainable clothing!

WHAT WE LIKE: Everything she carries is beautiful. Seriously. I’ve been in dozens upon dozens of vintage shops and there’s always something that you go, eh, kinda ugly, but not here. This woman has amazing taste, and while her prices are a little higher than some vintage stores in the city, they are fairly priced: everything is in great shape and very wearable.

4. Vintage Fashion Mags:
Gaddabout Vintage

ABOUT: “One of the best curated stores in Toronto. Gadabout is the old curiosity shop only better! It’s filled with items from the late 1800s through the late 1970s. Curios, nostalgia, ephemera – oodles of paper, incredible vintage posters, tons of fabulous vintage clothing and accessories for men and women. Amazing textiles. It is a well-known haunt for wardrobe, prop and set decorators for film and theatre production. Gadabout does not carry furniture. If it’s small, cool, enigmatic, it’s probably in the store. The store contains a myriad of drawers all labeled and organized with items ranging from spats and opera glasses to slide rulers and office supplies. There’s even a whole area of vintage housewares.”


SOCIAL IMPACT: Gadabout is another female-run store and it carries a bit of everything. Here you can get the kinds of vintage ephemera that so often are tossed in the trash, but that really are treasures. They rent items, so if you’re doing a show or a film you can check them out for props.

WHAT WE LIKE: This place has everything. Really, I mean it. If you’re a fan of “smalls” like I am, expect to spend several hours rooting through the dozens of drawers and boxes filled with papers, pins, pens – you name it. The clothing prices are a little higher than where I tend to shop when I’m dressing a show, but this is where I go when I need something good and fast: I can always leave with the thing I need.

5. An Exploration of Vintage Fashion:
The Fashion History Museum

From the Portraits of Mali exhibit.

ABOUT: “When Toronto fashion collector Alan Suddon unexpectedly died in 2000, the 10,000 piece collection he had amassed over forty-years, and that featured important nineteenth-century Canadian clothing and twentieth-century French couture, was purchased privately with a promise that it would someday go to an institution. However, much of the collection was sold off or destroyed via poor storage conditions over the next 15 years. The best surviving pieces were eventually auctioned off internationally with a small remainder selectively donated to Canadian museums, of which the Fashion History Museum received about 200 pieces. The collection that should have been Suddon’s legacy and a museum’s prize collection had been damaged, dismantled and all but forgotten.” The Fashion History Museum has a long and detailed history which you can read in full on their website.


SOCIAL IMPACT: As with any museum, the FHM preserves our history and makes it available to the public.

Their mandate is: “The Fashion History Museum connects the history of fashion with the world that created it. What we wear is a subconscious human expression, guided by habit and need, that reflects aesthetics, culture, identity, politics, economics, and technology. The museum collects, preserves, researches, and exhibits historical garments and accessories that illustrate these connections to better understand our past, present, and future.”

WHAT WE LIKE: The beautiful outfits, unique exhibits and wide-range of clothes from different times and cultures.

Bonus Listing Kingpin Hideaway

Unfortunately his shop had to close due to COVID, but Jonathan “Kingpin” Hagey still has a whole host of gorgeous menswear and accessories, you just need to book an appointment to see it. His selection of high-end suits, shoes and accessories cannot be beat, and this man knows everything there is to know about vintage menswear (and about a lot of other fun vintage things too). It can be hard to buy something like a suit as a gift (at least if you’re trying to keep it a surprise), but he has ties, cufflinks and other little accessories that would make excellent presents, or, for a truly special gift, you can hire him as a personal stylist. If you have a gentleman friend who loves vintage fashion but doesn’t know how to dress himself, bring him to Jonathan. He will pick out something that suits your body, style, and pocketbook, all while giving you the history of the piece and all the new things he’s picked up at auction. Be sure to follow him on Instagram – I for one eagerly await the return of his Hideaway.

Have something you think should be added to our list?
Let us know in the comments.

Vintage-Inspired Gifts for the Sports Fan

Vintage-inspired gifts for the sports fan in your life.

1. Vintage Varsity Jackets:
Black Market/Public Butter Vintage

ABOUT: These Toronto staples have a ton of stock that is constantly changing, so it’s worth dropping by – or at least checking their site – a couple times a month. Most of their vintage is newer (think 70s-90s) but they do get older pieces as well. They carry a lot of streetwear looks and often have a wide selection of sports jackets, both from major teams like the Yankees, and smaller, local or college ones, like what’s shown above. Given their cut, varsity jackets make a great unisex gift, and you often find them in a wide range of sizes.


SOCIAL IMPACT: If you’re someone who likes the idea of fast-fashion, but realizes how horrible it is for the environment, check these guys out. You can get a new look whenever you like without adding to the growing amount of textile waste rapidly filling up our landfills. When you’re done with it, donate it back! Local business selling vintage, good things to support.

WHAT WE LIKE: They’ve got tons of very “wearable” stuff. While I tend to favour older vintage, a lot of the time the early 20th century pieces are a bit delicate, and don’t lend themselves to regular wear. These guys carry sturdy things, whether because it’s a bit newer or because it’s vintage sports or workwear, which is great if you want something you can wear on a regular basis.

Toronto Maple Leafs 1927 Heritage Lacer Hoody

ABOUT: “The SPORT Gallery draws its inspiration from the pioneering SPORT magazine, launched in 1946 to celebrate what its editors accurately anticipated would be the coming explosion of interest in the games people play in post-war North America.

Conceived by a trio of erstwhile Canadian sports writers with the acquisition of SPORT archives following the shuttering of the magazine in 2000, the gallery celebrates the rich history and artistry of sport.

Our gallery – in Toronto’s Distillery District – bring the magazine to life with walls lined with our limited and open edition prints, vintage-inspired apparel, accessories, and books. “


SOCIAL IMPACT: In non-COVID times this local business serves as a community hub as well. Their store/gallery features a high-end coffee bar, developed in partnership with Toronto’s Pilot Coffee Roasters, that serves as a comfortable space to watch a game, sport documentary, and enjoy a great cup of coffee or specialty beer from Toronto’s Left Field Brewery. The venue also doubles as an event space, with large fully automatic pull-out bleacher seating. They frequently feature SPORTTalks, SPORT Trivia nights, and games on the big screen. So you can help support a local business, keep team history alive, and meet some like-minded people.

WHAT WE LIKE: I don’t even like sports and I love this store. I’m a sucker for authentic-looking vintage reproduction and I love seeing the history of things and so stuff like the Toronto Maple Leafs Team History Hat are very much my thing. You can gift your friend a reproduction jersey, a cozy toque, a cap, or you can treat them to a coffee and check out their beautiful gallery.

3. A Trip Through Time:
The Hockey Hall of Fame

ABOUT: The Hockey Hall of Fame is dedicated to preserving the history of the sport and of those who play it. It opened in 1943, and a full breakdown of its history can be found on their website.


SOCIAL IMPACT: The Hockey Hall of Fame is a registered charity and as with any museum, the primary impact is maintaining a record and sharing that history with the public.

WHAT WE LIKE: Trips to a museum are a great gift, and as Canadians, knowing a least something about hockey seems to be a requirement for citizenship. Gifts that are experiences are often more valued than those that are just a “thing”, so showing your sports fan that you want to share in that interest with them can be a great present.

For a free, online museum experience, I highly recommend Myseum, where you can read “micro-histories” on local people and places, like professional distance runner, Tom Longboat.

4. Vintage Sports Memorabilia:
Flip Collect

Original Wrestling Revue Vintage Wrestling Magazine (March 1964)
1964 wrestling magazine

ABOUT: “Located in Toronto, Flip Collectibles Shop comes well equipped with 30 years of closely tied market experience. We are your one stop shop for all types of sports and pop culture trading cards and collectibles.

The Flip suite of products include retail store and various collectible trading shows that happen throughout Canada.

We buy, sell and trade sports cards, memorabilia, investment collectibles, vintage pop culture items, and more! We are your premium source in Canada for high end graded sports cards and unopened vintage wax boxes, and we are also vintage wrestling specialists.

We offer same day curbside pickup and immediate delivery through all delivery channels.”


SOCIAL IMPACT: You’ll be shopping local and buying vintage!

WHAT WE LIKE: They have a range of items, dates and prices, making it easy to find something to match your person, and your budget.

5. Sport-Themed Wall Decor:
Blueprint FX

Boston Fenway Park Stadium vintage style blueprint art. Sizes image 1

ABOUT: Based in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, this online Etsy shop sells vintage-style prints of blueprints, sports and patent designs.


SOCIAL IMPACT: It’s a Canadian-owned small business.

WHAT WE LIKE: These are great for a sports fan who wants to reflect that in his decor, without having all the loud, contrasting colours that typically go with sports teams and their memorabilia. A good compromise if you’re living with a non-sports fan.

Got something you think should be on our list?
Let us know in the comments.

Vintage-Inspired Gifts for the Book Lover

Part 1 of our 12 days of vintage-inspired gifts is for the book lovers on your list.

Part 1 of our 12 days of vintage-inspired gifts is for the book lovers on your list.

1.Lit Inspired Fashion & Accessories:
Out of Print Press

Out of Print Press carries clothing and accessories inspired by classic lit in a wide range of genres.

ABOUT: “Since 2010, Out of Print’s mission has been to spread the joy of reading by transforming literary classics into bookish apparel and accessories. With every purchase, you help us to donate books and support literacy programs around the world.”


SOCIAL IMPACT: “Out of Print has donated over 5 million books to communities in need and supported a variety of literacy initiatives. With every purchase, you help us to make a difference, while also supporting the authors, publishers, and artists who helped bring these iconic works to life.”

WHAT WE LIKE: Out Of Print Press carries for book lovers the equivalent of band tees for music fans, and much more. Their stuff wears well, they’ve got every genre you can think of, and a range of products and prices to match every budget. Plus, their clothes come in a full range of sizes, from a XS to 4XL, and typical tee fits as well as “relaxed fit” for something a little looser.

2. Vintage and Antique Books:
Acadia Books


ABOUT: “We buy and sell antiquarian, out-of-print and used books. We are long standing members of the Antiquarian Booksellers Association Canada (ABAC). We guarantee the authenticity of all the material which we offer for sale. All books are as described, have been collated and are guaranteed to be complete unless otherwise stated. Our store is located in downtown Toronto.”


SOCIAL IMPACT: Not only will you be supporting a local small business, you’ll be gifting something pre-loved, and we al know the most sustainable item is the one that already exists.

WHAT WE LIKE: It’s vintage books! What more can we say?

3. New Books On Old Things:
Spacing Store

Books about Toronto architecture, history, design and more can be found at Spacing.

ABOUT: “Spacing has been creating unique and award-winning Toronto-centric products since 2004. In 2014 we opened our permanent brick-and-mortar shop at the legendary arts and culture hub 401 Richmond. Our store works directly with local designers, artists, and makers to offer a selection of merchandise like no other shop in Toronto. Whether you’re visiting the city for the first time or have been a long-time resident, the Spacing Store has something for you to help celebrate this city.”


SOCIAL IMPACT: Spacing is a locally run business that works directly with local artists, designers and makers, so not only are you getting something truly unique, you know that it is actually help support the people behind it.

WHAT WE LIKE: Pretty much everything. There’s a ton of books about local history, fun little Toronto-inspired things like mugs with raccoons and cityscape tea towels, and all of it is really slick. Nothing here is cheap or gimmicky, even if it’s a little silly. It’s all good quality, unique, and perfect for any proud Torontonian (or a friend of one).

4. Book Tracking Bookmark:

Library Book Card book mark Tracker Vintage look Thick image 1
“Old-school” library card bookmarks.

ABOUT: From her Etsy page: “Hi there! Welcome to my shop Lewillowbean. My name is Thao and I live in Ontario Canada. Lewillowbean is an online craft shop filled with various items such as bookmarks, button pins, stickers and invitations. Each item is handmade and designed by me. They are stocked in limited quantities and take time to create.I hope you enjoy browsing my shop and if you need any help please feel free to message me.”


SOCIAL IMPACT: The store is run by a young Asian woman from Ontario who makes and designs all the pieces herself.

WHAT WE LIKE: This fun little Etsy shop sells adorable little bookmarks, stickers, keychains and the like. Several of her items have a fun vintage vibe, and most others are kawaii. I love the idea of a bookmark that you can track the books you’ve read on – she’s got a few styles, including the one above and this one. Plus, they are all really low price, so they make either great stocking stuffers or a little something for someone on your list.

5. A Blind Date With A Book:
Secret Little Book Shop

Blind date with a book  GOODIES  bookish gifts  mystery image 1

ABOUT: From her Etsy shop: “Feeling a bit bored and wanting to go on a cute date? Look no further than you’re very own little blind book date! All books are in what I call, BBN condition, or, basically brand new! I choose books that have little to no: smells, wear/tear, and ones that are rated well on Goodreads! Feel free to send me your Goodreads list so that I can cross-reference the dates you’ve already been on and which we do not want to go on again! All ‘dates’ come with some little goodies for you to enjoy! These goodies change depending on stock available! 🙂

You choose the genre, I make the date. Deal?”


SOCIAL IMPACT: You’ll be supporting a small, woman-run local shop that introduces people to pre-loved books they may have never thought to try.

WHAT WE LIKE: The idea is adorable. Perfect not only for book lovers but for a hard-to-shop-for person as well, because the concept is so unique. The wrapping is beautiful and we love to see used book being loved again!

Got something you think should be on our list?
Let us know in the comments.