Posts Tagged ‘Tesoros Trading Company’

Last-minute shopping for presents

Hours at the main Lammes Candies store today and tomorrow are from 8 am until 6:30 pm, and on Christmas Eve the doors will be open from 8 am until 5 pm. This is the home of Lammes famous proprietary specialties: Texas Chewie Pralines, Longhorns, sherbet mints, and more. The pralines are available in a new variation for the first time this year, with habanero chiles. Lammes is where to find chocolate coins wrapped in christmas colors as well as the usual gold, silver, and copper, some stamped with armadillos. Lammes is where to find fresh almond and pecan nut barks, both in milk and in dark chocolate. Lammes is where to find Boston-style intensely flavored fruit slices and its own chocolate-covered orange peels with a choice of light or dark chocolate. Confectionery is available both in bulk (pick your own) and in various prewrapped boxes and novelty containers, ready for giving.

At BookPeople, we found that all the free Chronicle anniversary calendars have been carried off. It appears that there’ll be few if any Christmas and New Year’s greeting cards available when the post-holiday sales arrive, because almost everything has been sold. My favorite tee-shirt says something like “BookPeople: zombie-free since 19xx” but I can’t be more specific since the size that we wanted is sold out right now and we didn’t come home with one. BookPeople is where to find your “Keep Austin Weird” gifts, as always. BookPeople will be open on Christmas Eve from 9 am to 9 pm, and on Christmas Day itself from noon to 6 pm so that we can use our BookPeople gift cards and divest ourselves of all the surplus cash giftery.

Pick up state maps and guidebooks free at the Capitol Visitors Center in the old General Land Office, right in the Capitol grounds at Eleventh Street. The gift shop has something for everyone, from the very inexpensive (post cards, plus magnets of everything from the Texas state seal to the Gonzales flag [“come and take it”]) to the more expensive but very reasonably priced Capitol annual souvenir ornaments, books about Texas, and much, much more. People were buying baby bibs in the form of the Texas flag and, for older children, sheriff-type toy badges with personalized names. Don’t be surprised if you’re asked to take a photograph of a group of visitors from out of town or from another country entirely, so that everyone in the group may be in the picture.

Wheatsville Co-op is another fine last-minute venue for the last-minute shopper or the shopping-shy. Although it’ll be closed on Christmas Day itself, Wheatsville will be open on Christmas Eve from the usual 7:30 am right up until 7 pm. Once that fresh organic turkey is in the cart, those taking a little time to look around will see many Austin- or Wheatsville-specific presents (tee-shirts, reusable shopping bags, locally produced salsas, and way more). Wheatsville always has a fine selection of bandannas, in colors not always easy to find elsewhere.

I forgot to check about holiday hours at Tesoros on South Congress, but this is another stress-free place to find presents (milagros, ornaments for Christmas trees, calendars from Mexico, and textiles from around the world, to name just a few) for the hard-to-please people on your gift list, along with presents for yourself that you didn’t even know you were seeking.

Don’t spoil your mood; go where people are happy and friendly, staff and shoppers alike. Buy local, free of frazzle, and buy jolly.

Congress southside today

Washburn's that wasThe sign for Washburn’s is still there, but a rise in rent forced our cleaner and shirt laundry out just after a new sign had been put up. Now, Home Slice Pizza is using part of the building as an annex, an outfit called Stag has recently opened in the remainder, and we’ve followed one of the Washburns over to Capitol Cleaners on South First. We came out today to grab some brisket from The Pit (no taste of ketchup!) and pick up a Mexican calendar from Tesoros. Our mistake. Somehow, I managed to depict a street that appears to be nearly empty. It wasn’t. Vehicles were bumper to bumper in the street, and pedestrians, many accompanied by dogs or strollers, filled the sidewalks. I hope all those people were spending some money. I’ll be spending some in various establishments and very soon, but it won’t be on a Sunday afternoon; I’ve learned my lesson.

Boulevard of broken dreams

Or maybe this entry should go into the Humpty-Dumpty Department. Having created great upheavals and disruptions and caused Tesoros, Las Manitas, and Escuelita del Alma to uproot themselves, greatly to the detriment of the quality of life downtown, the Marriott Hotel people, it’s reported, have put their project on hold (byline Shonda Novak, The Real Deal blog, local daily). So I suppose that this block, since ownership changes have already occurred, will sit there for who can guess how long with the greatest part of the frontage on the east side of Congress just plain vacant and deserted. If only we could have been spared all this from the beginning. The destruction of a once-thriving block of activity has now been decisively accomplished and will remain unremedied for the foreseeable future.

u p d a t e : Here’s more, much more, from the local daily. Mike Martinez is quoted as saying that the block “lost a lot of its foot traffic and vibrancy,” although he then goes on to express some optimism about the future. The article includes the latest on other stalled projects, complete with maps.

While the selection’s good

This is a detail from one of the many calendars at Tesoros right now. Select from Aztec warriors and maidens, scenes of rural romance, religious images, and more. Look for this couple on the “good vintage” calendar, number 2813 from Landin. A person with one of these beauties on the wall has no excuse for ignoring the phases of the moon or for not knowing the most important saint for any given day.

This will be the first holiday season for Tesoros Trading Company in its new location on South Congress, more spacious than ever. The natural light the floods the front windows is a great aid in seeing the true colors of any object. Tesoros continues to be as much a folk-art museum as a store, and bargains abound. One-stop shopping for every single person on your gift list, and in record time, is entirely within the realm of possibility.

As always, Tesoros offers one of the best selections of post cards in town. Also tempting people were the numerous Taschen Icon books in stock, perfect for those who love pictures, and greatly varied in subject matter. Tesoros stocks some items always, but completely new and different inspirations and temptations arrive every day.

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