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To kick off our new column that features the best stuff you can buy from Chicago's artists, artisans, and crafters, we've got a triple whammy. For its 20th birthday, Quimby's Books commissioned a blueprint of the Quimby's sign that hangs in front of the store from comics ace Chris Ware. Plus, the prints were done by Skokie screen-printing outfit The Bird Machine, so you're supporting three different Chicago institutions at once. Get 'em while you can; only 500 were printed. $50, $100 for a print signed by Ware, 1854 W. North, quimbys.com.
The only thing remotely fuzzy about the toys made by Steff Bomb is the material they're constructed of. The plush toys she sews herself—including a severed hand, Hans Solo's blaster, and "Carrot"—are a far cry from the cutesy teddy bears your grandmother thought you loved and gave you every year—even though you really just wanted a Hess truck like everyone else at school. Carrot, $25, SteffBomb.com.
Want to stay fresh and clean without giving up the sweet, sweet smell of all the beer that was spilled on you last night? Ethically Engineered's black and tan vegan bar soap will refresh your memory and your armpits. And since it's vegan, it's guilt-free (except for serving as a reminder of your growing drinking problem). $10 at Renegade Handmade, 1924 W. Division, renegadehandmade.com.
Sometimes the no-frills approach just doesn't cut it. For times like those, this frilly, crafty necklace constructed with lace, velvet ribbon, and feathers by two-woman outfit Coco Irene can dress up a toned-down look with little effort. They make belts and bracelets too. $35, cocoirene.com.