Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Visit The Ann Arbor Art Fair In Michigan

It is getting close to the time for the annual Ann Arbor art fair and I am getting excited!  This year the fair is held from July 20 - 23.  The hours open are Wednesday through Friday - 10:00 a.m. - 9:00 p.m. and Saturday 10:00 a.m. through 6:00 p.m.

Artists from all over the nation will be selling their creations in the highly selective booths of about 175.  Ann Arbor's fair was first established in 1960 and has been growing in attendees ever since with last year being at about 500,000.

Each year the fair features an artist and sells a poster and t-shirts with the current theme.  I like this year's poster:
The empty pants mean more than just pants hanging on a line.  They have a special meaning in that they signify the human character and presence without a literal figure.
I have to admit that I don't think that deeply when looking at art and would probably hang this in my laundry room.  I do, however, like the simple art and it's always fun to see the new poster each year.

In the past, I have purchased several great items at this art fair.  Most of them have been pottery.  Here are a few of the examples of what I have found:
This apple and plate go perfectly on my breakfast nook table:

My chair cushions, wall art, and wall swag all have fruit on them as well and in the same color scheme.  It's like the artist made this just for me!

Two more items I found go perfectly in my living room and coordinate well with my wild and crazy rug:
You can see that this little tray on my end table coordinates with the rug below:
And I even found a pottery shelf that is low profile and a perfect addition behind my sofa:

So, needless to say, I am excited to see what I can find this year that will practically be custom made.  I normally don't find items in a store so unique and I now know why the Ann Arbor art fair was voted number one in the country by American Style magazine in 2004.  And, since then it has been in the top ten fairs and festivals every year.  The fact that the jury process is highly selective leads to great quality art for the consumer.

If you get a chance, make sure to visit Ann Arbor, Michigan and their annual art fair.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Shabby Chic Bookcase Design

After my vacation, I am now feeling ready to tackle the job of making over an office for myself.  The room originally was a small play room with lime green walls.  I started to make it into a kids/mom office but now I want to give it a shabby chic style, just for me, and so it is going to take a lot of changes.

My husband is going to make me a bookcase - I just have to tell him that yet!  Actually he offered to a while ago and I'm thinking it is a good idea.

First, I went shopping on-line for a bookcase that I liked in a shabby chic design.  I found one that is already sold:

This looks easy to make and I really like the rose appliques and glass knobs.  Since I don't really need the drawers, I'm thinking my husband can easily make this with fake drawers.  Once the bookcase is painted a white linen or cream, I plan on distressing it a bit to give it an older look.

This will be a much better look than what I had in there previously:

The tall bookcase is already gone and in my craft room for storage shelves.  All of the videos and games are now in my son's gaming room.  The room right now is total chaos with books piled everywhere and some new shabby chic accessories lying about giving me inspiration.

It's time to clear everything out and paint.  One small step at a time ---- I keep having to tell myself!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Back From Vacation And Revived!

There is nothing like being out in nature to slow you down, give you perspective, and ignite your dreams.

I just got back from a wonderful ten day vacation at our cabin in the northern Michigan woods.  Our cabin sits high on a wooded hill overlooking a serene fishing lake.

We don't have a television or a computer to distract us.  Our phones barely get service and there is definitely not an X-box or Play Station for our son to be sucked in to.

What we do have is conversation, silent thoughts, and laughter.  Of course there are also activities.  I love to read, with the sun on my face, and get lost in the words and adventures.  A ride around the lake, in our quiet motorized row boat, is pure beauty.  And, watching and listening to the many species of song birds puts a song in my heart.

Dirt bike riding, for my husband and son, is exhilarating.  As they rip through the trails, they are constantly aware of the nature around them.  Not only the hills and trees but also the wildlife.  They have come across lots of deer, turkey, and of course squirrels.

We have a new "pet" that we named Bandit:
This raccoon has been hanging about eating the bird seed off the ground and playing around on our porch.

Here is a bit of nature that was interesting to watch:

This snapping turtle made her way up from the lake, probably to lay some eggs.  It's funny to watch a turtle.  They are so slow and methodical.  It looked as though she was completely focused on her task as she kept plodding along looking for the right spot to bury her eggs.  There was no need (or ability) to move fast.  The job would get done eventually.  Persistence and patience seemed to be the key.  Eventually she found the perfect sandy place near our patio.  What a way to stick her neck out and get the job done!

After such a serene week, I am definitely feeling inspired to complete my daily tasks with gusto.  I have a new energy to create and am looking forward to doing some more home decor.  There are lots of mundane tasks to complete like laundry, bills and appointments to make.  But slow persistence will lead to tasks complete!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Wine Glass Holder Made From A Rake

I am always looking for ideas for projects I can make with items that I find in thrift stores or have around the house. 

One item that you may not think of using inside your house is a garden rake.  I had seen an idea in a magazine for a wine glass holder using a rake.  The problem for me was that the short handle was welded to a metal plate for a holder that would sit on the counter.  I don't have a welder and am not sure I would want to use one.

I just ran across another idea by Country Living that simply has you hanging a hand rake upside down on a wall.  This I could do!  Once you mount the rake, you just simply slide the glasses in between the rake tines.

Since I don't have a lot of cabinet space up at our cabin, I'm thinking something like this would be perfect for storing my wine glasses.  I may need a couple of rakes!  Now I have one more item to add to my list while shopping yard sales and thrift stores.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Check Thrift Stores For Authentic Coach Purses

While shopping with my daughters this past weekend, we stopped at a thrift store to see what treasures we could find. 

My middle daughter won the prize.  She is always looking at purses and handbags and found one that she really liked.  It was priced at $20 which is a bit higher than most of the purses we were looking at.  There were no markings on the outside of this great vintage looking black leather purse.  We took a closer look at the inside and found that it was a Coach purse.  The label was engraved into the leather patch inside.  My daughter was thrilled!  She could already tell that it was a quality purse and now knew that it was for sure.

This is the purse she found:

You just never know what someone is going to donate to one of these stores.  You have to look carefully though.  I had seen some before that I could tell right away they were not authentic Coach purses.  Check out this link for how you can determine what is real and what is a knock off.

Friday, June 3, 2011

A Fun Weekend With Daughters

For those of you with grown up kids, you know how much fun it can be to spend time with them as friends.  Both of my daughters live on their own, one living in New York and the other just 25 minutes from home.  Obviously I get to see my oldest daughter a little more often than my middle daughter, but when I get to spend time with both of them at the same time it is wonderful.

This weekend my daughter from New York is home visiting and my oldest daughter took a day off from work.  We are going to spend today shopping, laughing, eating and a little more laughing!  I remember when both of them used to groan when my husband and I would stop at antique stores while on vacation.  Now, however, they are coming my way.  Both like to shop vintage and one likes thrift stores.

Since my middle daughter wants to steal my vintage buttons that I found on a previous trip, I think we will be looking for a stash of her own!  She likes to make button bracelets by sewing them to an elastic band.  I will try to post a picture when she finishes one.

Having the whole family together for an entire weekend is so special and our entire weekend is packed with plans.  I hope everyone has a great weekend and I will be posting again on Monday.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Completed Up-cycling Project From Some Great Vintage Finds

As you know, I was on a hunt this past weekend for some great vintage finds that I could use in craft projects.  I didn't have a lot of luck at the few yard sales that I went to but I did make some purchases!

Since the yard sales that we found were fairly small - or we were a little late! -, we decided to check out some of the antique stores in Pentwater, MI.  Like usual, I was finding quite a bit that I liked but the prices were too high.  However, I don't have a problem with holding out for a good deal.

Just as I was getting a little discouraged, I spotted one more store at the very end of a side street.  I shuffled my feet over to yet one more store that I was pretty sure I wouldn't find a deal at and started looking around. 

The first thing I found was a great board game with letter tiles called "Keyword Cross Word Game".  I had never seen this game before but it was produced in the 50's.  Since I had been looking for old Scrabble games, with no luck, I was thrilled to find something just as good if not better.  The original price on it was $20 but that was scratched off for a lower price of $10.  I looked through the box and discovered that it looked like some of the letter tiles were probably missing.  Still, I wanted the game - just at a lower price.  I hate negotiating and asked my husband to negotiate for me.  He is always wanting me to try it and insisted I give it a try.  This takes me totally out of my comfort zone but I gave it a whirl.  To my amazement, the sales clerk said she would knock it down to $5 - oh yeah!!

I had also found a small drawer that I knew I could use.  This was only priced at $4.50, so I took it.  I was getting very excited because I had a plan!  I previously purchased a heart shaped lock with key that I was going to put on some sort of wall hanging.  Now I knew what I was going to do.

Here is the completed project of what I made from my great finds:

You can go to my website, Rustic Crafts, for the craft tutorial.