Chicago Renegade Craft Fair

{above photos are from the Renegade Craft Fair website}

I had a great time attending the Chicago Renegade Craft Fair yesterday! It was super crowded and parking was a major challenge, but it was so much fun to see so many talented artists and amazing handmade items together in one place – kind of like stepping into a huge Etsy treasury.

I gathered a bunch of business cards from my favorite booths so I could bookmark their Etsy shops for future shopping, and I figured I’d share a few of my favorites here as well…


White Nest :: I love these hand-embroidered pillows and wall hangings by Chicago designer, Meg Stevens. By the time I got to Meg’s booth the ones that I had been hoping to buy had already been sold, so I’ll be ordering online instead.

Zooguu :: We’ve all seen lots of handmade plush toys on Etsy, but I think these really stand out above all the rest. They’re so well made, and even cuter in person, especially the little yellow chick.

Ryan Kapp :: I love this series of four screen prints called 4 Seasons in Chicago. It reminds me of going for walks along the lakefront – one of my favorite things to do when I lived in Chicago.

hip huts :: When my kids were younger they would have really loved one of these little huts (in fact, they probably still would!). There were tons of great fabrics to choose from, and I was really surprised at how affordable they were. I’m definitely keeping these in mind for future birthday gifts for nieces and nephews.

Soda :: This booth was full of cute ceramic cups and ornaments.

June craft :: I love Kayanna’s sweet and simple gocco prints. I bought two of them, including the one above. I can’t wait to frame them!

summer knobloch photography

I’ve been a big fan of photographer Summer Knobloch ever since I came across her website and blog last year. She had me right away when I read this on her website:

“fun. fresh. emotional. real. 

These are the words my clients use to describe my style. No studio lights, no fake furniture or backdrops. I want to capture who your child really is… missing front tooth, messy hair, or ice cream covered mouth… your child will only be this age once. Capture them. Not just their outside appearance, or a forced smile. Capture their spirit. I’ll do that for you. It’s what I do. It’s what I love.”

I knew this was exactly who I wanted to take portraits of my family! And last week I finally had the great pleasure of not only meeting Summer but also having a really fun, relaxed photo session. My children never cooperate for pictures, but they absolutely adored Summer and are still talking about how much fun it was. Summer posted a sneak peek of our family portraits on her blog, and I couldn’t believe how well they turned out!

Summer also took some pictures of just me so I could finally have a professional photograph to add to the “about” page on my website. Having my picture taken by myself is not at all comfortable for me, but again, Summer was great, and I’m so glad to finally have a picture on that page!

Name Your Design featured on Project Nursery

One of the best things to come from having this blog has been meeting two new friends (Stacy & Julie) who both live within just a few miles of me and both have young children who my kids love to play with. Whenever I get together with them I’m absolutely amazed (and delighted!) at how much we have in common and how fun it is to talk with them.

I mention this because I was just at Stacy’s house last week drooling over her decor (most of which she created herself), and then on Monday her son, Parker’s, bedroom (above) was featured on Project Nursery. Here’s a link to the full interview for all the details.

handmade goodness

I’ve been meaning for a while now to post about some of the Christmas gifts I found on Etsy… I had so much fun shopping for handmade gifts this year!

I’m not sure if I’ll be able to part with this cuckoo clock and a pink one just like it… probably the orange one will end up in my office and the pink one in my daughter’s bedroom.
These felt cookies from nanaCompany for my daughter, Emma. She’s going to love them!

I fell in love with this skirt and was so bummed out that it was too small for Emma, but it made a great birthday present for my friend’s daughter who just turned two last week.

A superhero gift set personalized with the letter “R” for my nephew, Ryan. If he’s anything like my son, I have a feeling this will get a lot of use!
A couple of Monster Kittys… I haven’t decided yet who these will go to, but I’m sure I’ll have no problem finding loving homes for them!

Emma’s been doing a lot of this lately, hugging my legs, and generally being a lot cuddlier than she was as a baby… I’m loving every minute of it! I just had to get this print from L.J. Ink for myself, and one for my friend who this reminds me of as well.

A personalized long-sleeved onesie for my nephew, Shane. I love how clean and simple they are (surprise, surprise!), and it turns out this Etsy seller lives just down the road from me!

lima bean kids

I just found out this morning that a customer of mine, who also happens to live just a few towns over, has an Etsy shop with super cute onesies and t-shirts. As soon as I saw them, my first thought was, I have to remember these for birthdays & Christmas gifts, and my next thought was, I have to tell someone about these!

a little break from paper goods…

How sweet is this hand embroidered dress by Tiny Sprouts? I can’t remember how I first came across this site, but I took another look at it yesterday, wanting to order something personalized for my daughter and a gift for a friend. Everything’s so cute I had the hardest time deciding what to buy!

Tracey offers the most beautiful fabrics, thread colors, and shapes like poppies and hearts. My 3-year-old daughter, who loves to tell everyone she meets, “My name is Emma. E-M-M-A”, is going to be beyond thrilled with her new outfit!

I’ve also been meaning for a while now to write about Elizabeth of Bellasophia on Etsy. She sews beautiful couture dresses and matching accessories for little girls as well as these gorgeous bunnies, baby blankets, and burp cloths.

A few weeks ago I ordered three of these bunnies (one for Emma and two for gifts) and a hand embroidered shirt with a little bird, and I was absolutely amazed by the quality and attention to detail!

If you’re ever in Toronto…

…check out Honeybunch Homestore for Kids where some of my products are now stocked!

I mentioned very briefly in an earlier post that I’d worked with Nicole from Honeybunch to design some fill-in invitations for her online store as well as the brick and mortar store that she recently opened in Toronto. It was so exciting for me because I just love the collection of products she’s assembled and what she stands for.

Even though I knew it was coming, it was still a huge treat for me today to see this when I went to her website:

And it makes me so happy to think of my products on display in her lovely new shop with these other delightful party supplies:

scripture-based artwork

A couple of months after I started selling on Etsy and meeting new people online who live all over the world, I received an email from a woman who lives just a couple of towns over. She’d been selling artwork at church fairs and was thinking about starting to sell online. She had a few questions for me, and after getting to know each other a little bit through emails we decided to get together for a play date with our kids who are almost the exact same ages.

We had a really fun afternoon together, and now that she has her Etsy shop up, Life Verse Design, I’m so excited to share it. This is just one example of her beautiful artwork:And she also sells framed prints:
She has a lot of prints in her shop already, so if you’re looking for any sort of scripture-based artwork maybe for wedding gifts, graduations, or Mother’s Day, definitely check it out!

zenhabits

I read about a blog called zenhabits on Sarah Jane’s Blog recently and took a quick look at it but didn’t spend much time there. Then a few mornings ago I had a little more time to look around, and I think it may be my new favorite blog!

The author, Leo Babauta, writes about so many of the things that have been on my mind lately, and does it so well! He writes about “achieving goals, productivity, being organized, motivation, eliminating debt, saving, getting a flat stomach, eating healthy, simplifying, living frugal, parenting, happiness, and successfully implementing good habits”.

I started out reading about The Magical Power of Focus (he says focus is the most important determination of whether you’ll achieve a goal or stick to creating a new habit). Then I kept clicking on links to his other articles, and figured I’d share a few of my favorites in case any of these topics sound interesting to you:

5 Inspirations for Being in the Moment: one of the best ways to find happiness and prevent stress is living in the moment

A Guide to Escaping Materialism and Finding Happiness: while we are being pushed towards materialism, it’s for monetary gain by corporations, not for our own happiness

A Guide to Cultivating Compassion in Your Life, With 7 Practices: compassion is one of the few things that will bring immediate and long-term happiness to our lives

Slow Down … to Enjoy Life: slow down to enjoy life more, savor life’s simple pleasures, and reject on some level the materialistic culture we are all caught up in

So if you have a few minutes to check it out, I highly recommend it. Enjoy!