We admit it: We weren't sure what to expect from Downtown Handmade & Vintage.
There's handmade and then there's handmade (recycled dog fur and uneven stitching). There's vintage and then there's vintage (yellow stains and rips where rips should not be).
Just to be clear, Bag Lady and Shopping Siren fall firmly on the side of handmade and vintage, un-italicized. Except for that one time when . . . well, we'll say no more.
Downtown Handmade & Vintage, it turned out, was not to disappoint. Located above Forage Market in downtown Lewiston, the little shop was a little hard to find (bigger signs, please!), but it was well-worth the effort for cool handmade and vintage. Think local art, '80s kitsch, goods by Maine artisans, kiddie accouterments and novelties.
Also, a kimono and mustache-print wrapping paper.
We weren't expecting that. But in a good way.
* Abe Lincoln bandages, 20 count, $5.95
The package promises: "I will heal your wound as I healed a nation!" Plus free gift inside. We're not sure what the gift is, but we're hoping for a mini stovepipe hat.
* "Return of the Jedi" coloring book, $6.95
Original! Uncolored! Be the first to scribble over Darth Vader and turn the Ewoks cerulean blue. Or exert your Jedi willpower and set this coloring book aside, untouched, and watch the value go up, up, up. (Who are we kidding? Crayons all around!)
* Throx, $9.50
We're pretty certain there's a special Nobel Prize out there for the person who solves the age-old mystery of the missing socks. In the meantime, there's Throx! These socks — pink, with a trio of stars on the legs — come three to a pack, so when one goes missing in the dryer (as one is always wont to do) you have another mate ready to fill in. No word on what happens when that mate goes missing, too.
* Mustache on a stick, $6
Knitted mustache on a stick. We assume you hold it under your nose as one would hold an old-fashioned mask to cover one's eyes. The mustache, however, makes us want to don a knitted bowler and talk in an English accent.
* Kimono, $22.50
White with touches of red. For the person who has it all — except a kimono.
* Baby headbands, $8
Have a baby? Know of a baby? Come on down. Handmade with adorable cloth, elastic and bobbles.
* Blue Charlie the Tuna juice glass, $3.50
In a rack of retro glasses with Schlitz and Ronald McDonald. Pair with fish sticks and Tater Tots and you have yourself a retro dinner.
* Plush monster tails, $19.50
Which monsters, you ask? Well, judging by the whimsical curves and tulle, none too menacing. Unless that's the monster lulling you into a false sense of security; they do that. The artist included a buttoned loop for attaching the tail to one's pants. So, needless to say, pants required.
* Vinyl records melted into bowls, $20
Eye-catching and now unplayable. Depending upon the artist, that may be an improvement.
Best find: Gumball Poodle socks, $10.95
Knee-high socks in vivid colors with a fun, funky or funny word printed along the leg. Our favorites: black-and-gray stripes with "zombie," red with "bacon" and bright blue with "bookworm." Let your legs speak for themselves.
Think twice: GamaGo rub-on meat tattoos, $8.99
Hey, we're no pieces of meat!
Unless you're admiring our gams in those knee socks, then, well, OK.
Bag Lady and Shopping Siren's true identities are protected by a pair of stylish, sweater-wearing Doberman pinschers (who would love to get their paws on bacon socks) and the Customer Service counter at the Sun Journal. You can reach them at firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com.