Wrap It Up

Our annual Made In The Hills gift guide highlights how easy it is to shop local.

November 22, 2016 | | Made in the Hills

The season is upon us. But take a deep breath. You don’t have to travel far to uncover one-of-a-kind gifts perfect for tucking under the tree and giving to friends and colleagues. Whether it’s a tongue-in-cheek T-shirt for your teen or top-notch chocolates for party hosts, shopping local has never been so easy. What’s more, these original offerings also happen to boost the careers of the local makers and artists who craft them. Now, that’s a cozy thought.


Bear necessities

These arresting bears are already stopping shoppers in their tracks in front of Orangeville’s Dragonfly Arts. Orangeville artisan Mona van der Velden creates the old-timey teddies – she calls them “bearlooms” – out of recycled fur coats. She also fills custom orders, transforming vintage or inherited coats or stoles into bears, super-soft pillows and throws. ($150–$350, Dragonfly Arts on Broadway and Dufferin County Museum & Archives Holiday Treasures show, Dec. 3–18)


Chocolate bliss

One stop at Barb Chafey’s Orangeville chocolate shop and you can cross a lot of folks off your list. For the classicists, there are pretty gold boxes of handmade chocolates you can customize to their tastes – winners we love include chunky salted caramels and champagne truffles brushed with a golden shimmer. And kids will squeal for the white chocolate snowmen. Don’t forget to scoop up a handful of Barb’s foil-wrapped chocolate mini-presents as a holiday upgrade to the office candy bowl. (Box of 15, $19.50; snowman $5; foil-wrapped chocolates, 50 cents each. The Chocolate Shop)


Wear local

For years Mulmur’s Jeanette McFarlane has been making commemorative shirts to mark special occasions for friends and family. Now she’s turned her sights to T-shirts for her neighbours. She has anchored each of her “Wear Local Tees” in a spot in Dufferin County. Each gives a nod to local lore – the famously whiteout-prone County Road 124, for example, and the tale that Jesse James buried gold in these hills. Coming soon: shirts for Mono, Orangeville and Caledon. ($25, Wear Local Tees, Dufferin County Museum & Archives, Rosemont General Store, Route 145, Jelly Craft Bakery)


What a card

You’ve got the gift. Now for a card that will truly wow, consider the Serious Sparrow greeting cards by Erin artist Michelle Scarrow, who illustrates and hand prints them. “Born to Slide” features a curling snowman with text reading “Have a rockin’ Christmas” and “The Evolution of (Snow)Man” reads “Warm Wishes for the Holidays.” Both can also be ordered blank. ($5 each, Serious Sparrow)


For travel bugs

Creemore artist Jessica Tamlin makes these delightful hand-printed maps out of reclaimed barn board or new hemlock at her Other Half Studio and sells them on Etsy. The maps work alone as art, but she’s conceived them as a way to record your worldly adventures. They come with a glassine envelope of colourful push pins to mark where you’ve been or where you hope to go. This 8″ x 12″ map of the world has the dreamy title “Adventure awaits.” ($50, Other Half Studio)


Sweet move

Oh fudge: You need a hostess or teacher gift that says you care, but your inspiration levels are depleted. Hit The Olde Stanton Store in Mulmur for a box of old-fashioned fudge. Forget mere chocolate and vanilla. Owner Marie Swidersky and her team have dreamt up intriguing flavours for the fab fudge bar, including kid-friendly chocolate with marshmallows, sophisticated pistachio and a spicy jalapeno blend – all are creamy, melt-in-your-mouth heaven. ($18/lb, The Olde Stanton Store)


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  • A scoop

    Local craftsman Peter Moule hand carves his Hockleycrest Spoon Co. wares out of reclaimed wood – including mountain ash, cherry and black walnut – using carving axes and knives that wouldn’t have been out of place a century ago. The spoons are food safe, treated with beeswax and mineral oil. His tumblr account artfully documents the process. (From $20, Hockleycrest Spoon Co. and Am Braigh Farm Store)


    Winter wrap

    Caledon fur designer Carol Sullivan is the brains behind the Hudson’s Bay line of fur products, stitched to a backing of The Bay’s iconic stripes. But Carol, who uses Canadian beaver and coyote pelts, also sells her own luxurious designs and locally made custom pieces out of her Caroline Furs studio, including fur-trimmed cushions ($150) and the coyote and cashmere throw shown here. (From $3,100, Caroline Furs)


    About the Author More by Tralee Pearce

    Tralee Pearce is the deputy editor of In The Hills Magazine.

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