If you haven't been to the Dundas and Ossington area lately, I highly recommend a weekend frolic - especially along Ossington between Queen and Dundas. In the spirit of west-end gentrification, fun and intriguing shops, galleries, and studios are cropping up weekly (many that I imagine would appeal to your crafty sensibilities).
Two places (among many) worth a gander are vintage bookseller The Monkey's Paw and textile artist Virginia Johnson's studio.
Hours can be spent combing the carefully crafted collection of vintage books and pamphlets on offer at The Monkey's Paw. Luckily there are a couple of leather-bound chairs to facilitate a proper check-out of the Paw's awesome and eclectic selection.
Some fun/inspiring stuff I spied on my last visit - largely in the art/craft/design section at the front of the store:
x Fat Eaton's fashion catalogues from the mid-seventies
x Design books galore: art deco, art nouveau, pre-revolutionary Russian design, etc.
x How-to books on handloom weaving and vegetable dyeing
x "Textile Fibres and their use"
x Vintage cookbooks
x Silly-slash-genius vintage pamphlets for collage* (if you can bear to hack them up) including one titled "How to Improve your Trampolining" from the 1950s. The shop's owner claims to have a huge collection of vintage cooking pamphlets, which he plans to bring in to the store over the next few weeks.
The Monkey's Paw is at 1229 Dundas West (between Ossington and Dovercourt)
*As an aside, I happened upon this amazing site when googling "vintage ephemera". Scroll down to the bottom for links to vintage image sources, art projects, and tutorials on working with vintage ephemera.
To counterbalance all of this wordy talk of books, I shall show you some images of illustrator and textile designer Virginia Johnson's work (from her website). Her block-printed prints are available at her studio (164 Ossington Ave) in the form of ready-made garments, pillows, bags, ovenmitts, napkins, and most excitingly yardage. Go here to read all about it.
p.s. Thanks to Tania for reminding me to write about VJ's studio.
p.p.s. I am feeling that stuff featured on the Alert is quite West-end heavy, and I encourage readers living in other areas to represent by telling me about events, shops, etc. in your hood.