If your wallet is too thin for the $50 price tag on artist Fred Conlon's clever garden art, then you might find a better fit with other items inside, like a $22 T-shirt that comes with its own nametag: a standard-print, "HI, MY NAME IS" and hand-written underneath, "Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die." (from movie The Princess Bride, for about $22.)
If you want to add some meritorious miles to your purchases and give back to a good cause, check out the Epic Change Gift Shop, which sells inspirational items including the peace, joy, love cards below. Epic Change says the cards' tiny little handprints belong to either Teivin, Naomi, or Pius, who are students at a school in Tanzania. Your purchase will help raise funds for the school so it can continue to make important improvements (like building a classroom and adding books to the library).
I found Epic Change through the social networking site Twitter. Through the power of social networking, the organization raised $10,000 in 48 hours to build that classroom for the school. Their website states, "Epic Change makes loans to changemakers like the school's founder, Mama Lucy Kamptoni, then collaborates with them to make their hopeful stories into income they need to pay back loans and create sustainable income streams to support their efforts. By buying these gifts instead of a fruitcake and toasters this year, you are directly supporting the efforts of a woman in Tanzania who used to sell chickens, and used her income to build a school that now serves 242 amazing kids..." including the kiddos who belong to the handprints on the cards.
If you love all things retro - or any unusual thing retro - you may thank me for the hip-tip of Hip Haven. Based in Austin, Texas, and run by a redhead with fantastic taste in purchasing, you'll find a lot of unexpected and absolutely delightful retro-style and truly retro objects, including one of my favorite finds so far (I'm not going to tell you my top favorite, because I want to buy it myself) -- a series of boldly pronounced, bullet-shaped planters (like the one on the main page of her site, pictured here). I can count 16 people on one hand who would love to unwrap these clever items this year. I hope they come with a box....
And here's another vintage treat, while you're shopping. I had to save the absolutely best, most-fun-ever-shopping website for last. It's Kitts Couture vintage clothing out of one of the most beautiful places on earth, Cornwall, England.
I am biased, I admit it. I visited the shop in Penzance last year and couldn't help but drop a few hundred pounds there. Unfortunately, even that didn't get me into the size 6 vintage dress that was said to be hand-made by a famous designer whose name I've blocked from memory for sewing something so damnably small. Size 6 in the UK in the 1960s is NOT the size 6 you find today in the U.S., ladies, so be forewarned.
All that aside, this website is simply fantastic. It's well-done -- entertaining from front to back, and you can buy things to boot! What's not to love about that?
Anyway, Happy Cyber Monday everyone, and safe shopping. And if you wind up buying anything from the vintage gals, tell 'em Charlie sent you.