Monday, September 8, 2014

renegade craft fair, chicago

oh this weekend was so so good. i got to grab my buddy kyla, head downtown (chicago, in case you are unfamiliar with where in the world i live), and spend the day at the renegade craft fair on saturday.

this was my first time at renegade (and huge props go to this girl for telling me about it- seriously, how did i not know about this?!) and i could not believe how massive it was! an enormous chunk of division street was closed and lined with back-to-back booths as far as the eye could see.

there were food vendors, beer gardens, open-air restaurants lining the streets, dj's, beards, dogs was absolute bliss. and the weather was 70 and breezy and sunny (which, you LA folk take for granted but trust me, is as good as it ever gets here and it doesn't normally get that good).

but the best part of course were the makers! the people in these booths just put my jaw on the floor over and over again. i'm so impressed with the creativity and ingenuity of the human race right now. (if you were one of the people who put in this herculean effort to bring your wares to our city - good grief i heart you!)

i'm just gonna break it down for you as if you're coming along with us, kinda like the last time i got to shop on a saturday.

first of all, when an aimless hour of driving wicker park looking for a parking spot comes to a successful close, we pay our meter and start walking toward the fair. stop immediately. there is an entire store front of pink and orange bricks, with windows that are stacked with orange pizza boxes and say BYOB. we for sure stop to take a picture of this. ok, like, 10 pictures of this.

here's kyla. isn't she cute?

it's a short walk to our destination. yay! white tented booths stretch before us, and at this point i'm thinking there are maybe going to be 25? 50? {hindsight laura scoffs at me}. i also think it's funny that the welcome sign has snowy mountains. do they know we don't have those here?

{alright, i have to admit that we only walk past about six booths before clamoring into the first restaurant we can find with an open door and an empty table. it's already 12:30 and avoidance-of-the-hangry is super important on blog dates.}

now we are fed and ready to shop. first stop, the booth of earth cadets. i immediately geek out over the way she strung pillows across her tent ceiling and proceed to take a gazillion pictures that will hopefully be instagrammable.

next we make our way into the tent of kelso doesn't dance:

she has all of these delicate hanging planters that are floating in space and beckoning us with their prettiness and air plants. kyla and i each buy a gold geometric one, after i say, "where would i put this?" and she ingeniously suggests "in front of the kitchen window?!" um, yes. sold. 

just look at these little teeny pots! i'm craaaaaazy for them. more instagramming ensues.

hilariously, at this point, we walk back to our car to pay the meter. yes, we have already been here two hours. we are not exactly efficient shoppers. plus we still have no idea how big this thing is.

after that little jaunt, we now find ourselves at white nest:

i'm nerding out over these silhouette prints, and kyla is trying to convince me i need some neon pink in my family room. i'm not (not!) saying she's wrong, but i get way too freaked out by impulse buys that have such lasting ramifications.

kyla has no committment issues whatsoever, so she buys top right and bottom left. i take pictures.

we're now getting a sense that this row of booths is going to keep going farther than we anticipated. the crowds are starting to thicken too. 

sheets of white fabric covered in black x's, with rows of the yummiest smelling soap chunks in front of them, call us in to etta + billie

it's fun to chat with "soap maven and ceo" alana rivera. seriously, creative people are so sweet. and her soaps are like, delectable. i want them all.

i kinda start to look a little glazed over at this point, and you have to lead me out by the hand. i also start getting nervous i'm going to lose you guys in the crowds, and that it will be like when night divers lose their scuba buddy outside the range of their flashlights and are left floating alone in a dark endless abyss. ooh! adorable dog! ok, i'm good.

territory. some serious damage transpires. i will let kyla admit what she has done.

who can blame her? rebecca, the founder of territory design, sources handcrafted pieces from artisans around the globe and the whole thing is filled with treasures. i love every last one of these woven rugs and pillows, and i think long and hard about one that would make a great wall-hanging. i am trying to stick to the cash budget i brought and this would blow it to bits though. i decide to roll it up and put it at the back of the basket and hope no one else sees it.

it's clear to us now. these booths are not ending. there are hundreds. the street goes forever. oh, and now we realize we've only seen half. there is another row on the other side. yah. 

we pass by beautiful wooden vases at BDJ craft works:

and then there's sean mort. with nothing but a few prints hanging on three walls and the most adorable british accent you've ever heard. i stop in front of this print (that is the golden gate, right?) and have to have it: 

yay! now i have a rolled up canvas under my arm and feel like a designer walking the rest of the fair. a few booths later, the san fransisco print on the right, from hero design studio, tempts me too. but i know i could never hang two san fran prints next to each other (that's just overkill) so we move on.

now we're picking up the pace. we walk past scrabble letter coasters (genius!)...

...and hilarious prints at starshaped press:

we marvel over the awesomeness (and outrageous cost of) all these air plants:

and i am gaga for these hanging geo-porcelain planters from revisions design studio:

and then the sight of these two people stops me in my tracks:

they are like the beautifullest people ever and i neeeeeed a picture of them in front of that flag. luckily one of us (not me) is brave so we go chat with them. they turn out to be two of the nicest people you'll ever meet: phillip and jackie, makers of fount, insanely scrumptious leather goods. they are featured in the october country living magazine, and oh, martha stewart thinks they're pretty hot stuff too. i get my picture (thank you kyla for asking) and add one of their totes to my christmas list. seriously. so gorgeous.

and then gorgeous happens some more at the object enthusiast:

this booth might have to win for prettiest overall. i mean, look at the dreamy curtains filled with breeze and the white lace table runners! but for crying out loud, these. ceramics. is it possible to be enchanted by a vase collection? it is hard to walk away without one, but not as hard as actually choosing one would be. so, i'll just narrow it down later and buy one at her online shop.

at this point, it's 4:34 pm. we've seen one and a half out of two rows of booths, and a little vintage detour that's apparently new to the fair. we stop for a water and a lime jarrito and realize the parking meter expired 4 minutes ago. dang! our attempts to walk faster through the last quarter of the fair are successful. our attempts to walk past some of the hipster gems on division...not so much.

this place turned out to be a hostal and you're not allowed to stay if you're from chicago. he says i can get in since i'm technically from the suburbs, but i imagine there is some sort of cool test i would fail after the fact. more instagram geekery over their marquee and giant clock.

and then unison happens. kyla says, "screw it, the parking ticket will be worth it." that's basically a direct quote.

this is the most glorious store i've ever seen!

obviously, we all take turns photographing the salt shakers and flatware. you embarrass me a little when you fall on the bed and make snow angel motions.

luckily, we escape there with our money, if not our sanity, intact. we make the trip back to our car, and happy dance! no ticket! there is time to take more pictures of our brick wall. i make kyla hold her phone about 16 different ways to get this shot:

seriously, a black and white polka dot kate spade phone case, the perfect red mani, a blingin' ring, and a pink and orange brick wall?! a convergence of fate like this must be documented. i am happy to serve the world in this way.

thank you for coming! i had such a great great time and can't wait to go back. december 6/7- who's in?


  1. i love everything about this and it was so much fun to relive it again and again and again! and the 16 shots on the phone pic was completely worth it!

  2. I have so far avoided this. I know it will be dangerous to my bank account. And from looking at your pictures I'm even more convinced. Sheesh, there is so much talent out there! Thanks for sharing. xoxo

  3. I might need to go with you in Dec ;)

  4. This street fair would make Ron Swanson proud. Excellent craftsmanship from people that take pride in their products. Very cool.

  5. Hilarious! Also, I think I clicked on every link... gotta buy myself some Christmas presents starting now!


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