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December 7th, 2011 MARTIN CIZMAR | Gift Guide
 

Gift Guide 2011: Downtown

boys_fort_08_gg2011BOYS FORT - IMAGE: Liz Devine
     
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Boys Fort
600 SW 10th Ave., boysfort.com.
Remember the treasure-filled clubhouse of your childhood? That’s Boys Fort, a rustic downtown pop-up shop adorned with dark wood and vintage hubcaps and stocked with unique items such as binoculars used by one of the Kaiser’s men during World War I ($79), embroidered buttons that look like the coolest Cub Scout patches ever made ($3) and Harding & Wilson bow ties that won’t make you look anything like Urkel ($100). Grown boys will get flashbacks to the forts of their youth while grown girls can finally saunter into the forbidden realm double-fortified by secretive older brothers and mean neighbor boys.

Buy this: Ceramic flower pots that look like the heads of decapitated Cabbage Patch dolls (sprouting cacti and reedy houseplants $25-$45).


Crafty Wonderland
802 SW 10th Ave., 224-9097, craftywonderland.com.
Begun five years ago as an art cart peddling wares monthly at Doug Fir Lounge, Crafty Wonderland now has a big ol’ pop-up shop offering some of the best artsy and crafty goods in town, made by more than 100 locals. Actually, still calling Crafty Wonderland a “pop-up” might be a stretch. Although this shop was supposed to be a six-week thing, the store has proven so successful it just celebrated a year in biz. This is an odds-and-ends place where each table demands a close look. Many of the best pieces are simple and rough hewn, like the Indy Pennant by Bishop Lennon ($15) that’s dripping with Portland pride, and a nice assortment of interesting and artfully provincial books and pamphlets from the Dill Pickle Club’s collection.

Buy this: Walls of Pride: A Tour of African American Public Art in Portland ($14) or Portland’s Black Panthers ($3) from the Dill Pickle Club Clearing House.


Spice & Tea Exchange
536 SW Broadway, 208-2886, spiceandtea.com.
The Spice & Tea Exchange on Broadway is part of a small chain with outposts in touristy ’hoods including Georgetown, Pier 39 and the French Quarter. Don’t let that dissuade you from visiting, as the glass jars lining the walls are filled with fragrant gems like coconut oolong tea and whole pink pepperberries. Unique teas make for inexpensive and distinctive gifts, as do special spice blends or one of the store’s 25 types of salt.

Buy this: The Cadillac of tea infusers, Tovolo ($11.95), with three bags of tea ($13.95). That will yield 24-30 cups of lapsang souchong, pear caramel or rooibos chai tea.


Mountain Hardwear
722 SW Taylor St., 226-6868, mountainhardwear.com.
Oregon’s Columbia Sportswear bought Mountain Hardwear, an offshoot of Sierra Deigns, back in 2003 to round out its lines of camping gear and high-end clothing. In 2008, Columbia opened the brand’s first retail outlet right next to its own in downtown Portland. If you’re looking for a recommendation on gloves, hats or other outerwear (and don’t mind picking from one brand’s offerings), the salespeople are very happy to help. Mountain Hardwear doesn’t make any junk, so whatever you buy will handle anything reasonably asked of it or it’ll be replaced for free.

Buy this: Heavyweight Power Stretch gloves ($35), some of the best fleece gloves you can buy, offered in five sizes that fit almost any hand and are made of elastic but toasty Polartec fleece.


Solestruck
417 SW 13th Ave., 800-494-1260, solestruck.com.
Deadspin says “hoopsters”–hipsters in basketball jerseys—are a thing. What about hooksters, as in hipster chicks who look a little like the garish ’80s-style streetwalkers appearing as extras on Night Court? The women’s boots the chic pop-up store Solestruck sells should be Exhibit A. Huge heels of non-standard shape with liberal animal spotting beckon from light-up tabletops while built-in couches and a keg make shopping here more like sitting in a bar than buying shoes. You’ll love it—especially if you have a thing for Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman.

Buy this: The Miista Andee high-heeled boot ($279), which is tall and strappy but fashioned from the sort of rugged leather they use to make hiking boots, which makes them almost practical for a Portland winter.

 
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