To know Scandinavian design is to love it. Products produced by artisans in Sweden, Finland and Norway somehow manage to be cute, elegant and edgy all at the same time. Ahead of the upcoming NortheStars exhibition, which opens Jan. 29, the gift shop at Balboa Park’s Mingei Museum has a decent collection of items by famed Finnish designers Marimekko (pictured) and Iittala—tea pots, coffee mugs, serving plates, dish towels, clutches and some lovely goblets. Prices range from $12 to $85.
Govino calls its products the “go anywhere wine / cocktail glass.” But they’re not glass. They look like glass. And, when you pick one up, you might momentarily think it’s glass. But it’s actually a polymer that’s shatterproof, recyclable and reusable ( just don’t put them in the dishwasher). It’s a perfect gift for friends who like to picnic or camp—or who have large dogs with tails that can clear a coffee table of all glass objects in mere seconds. A four-pack costs around $12.95. Find them at Solo (309 South Cedros Ave., Solana Beach), Grounded (897 S. Coast Hwy. 101, Ste. 105, Encinitas) and Mixture (2210 Kettner Blvd., Little Italy).
Fans of The New York Times Sunday travel section know the “36 Hours” feature well. A travel writer with impeccable—yet not too expensive—taste in hotels, restaurants, shopping and stuff to do does a perfect weekend’s worth of time in a cool town. Taschen, publisher of books that are awesome and lovely, recently came out with The New York Times, 36 Hours: 150 Weekends in the USA & Canada. Since the columns go back to 2002, editor Barbara Ireland updated information where necessary. Find it at Warwick’s (7812 Girard Ave., La Jolla) and Solo.
Analog to digital
Take one step forward and two steps back. How else to explain the recent embrace of retro-looking photos (e.g., the iPhone Hipstamatic app) despite massive advances in digital photography? A couple of years ago, the new toy for shutterbugs was a plastic Holga camera—at least until they realized it required sending the film out to get developed. A better option: the Holga 60mm lens for Canon and Nikon DSLRs. It’s only around $25 and worth every penny. Look for it at George’s Camera (3837 30th St., North Park) and Nelson Photo Supplies (1909 India St., Little Italy).
Dog a la mode
(1053-B S. Coast
Hwy. 101, Encinitas) Univ has perhaps the cutest logo of any
local independent retailer: a little Dachshund wearing a bowler hat and
smoking a pipe—kind of like a little Sherlock Holmes pup. Pair the logo
with one of the shop’s super-soft, not-too-bulky hoodie pullovers and you have the perfect gift for guys who appreciate understated cute. Or like detective novels. Or Dachshunds. Univ also offers a Chargers-themed T-shirt version.
Knock Knock’s been around for almost a decade and still manages to come up with an evolving line of silly / funny / incredibly useful stationary / office / get-yourself-organized products. For your giftee with a crummy job, try the WTF sticky pad. For the person who travels for work, or works to travel, the Pack This! checklist. And for the procrastinator hoping to get organized, the “Someday” sticky set with “Never,” “Whenever” and “Now” tabs. Find Knock Knock at Upstart Crow in Seaport Village, Aztec Shops at SDSU, Solo and Grounded
This charming box set
It’s likely that the person for whom you’d buy The Smith’s Complete box set already has every one of the band’s albums. But that doesn’t matter. Fans of The Smiths are collectors (and, all the albums in this collection were re-mastered by guitar hero Johnny Marr). Available in CD ($69) and vinyl versions ($250), if you can scrape together $500 for The Smiths Complete Deluxe Box Set—and can find one (they’re limited to 4,000)—then go for it. Check local shops like M-Theory Music, Lou’s Records and Off the Record to see if they have any of the sets in stock.