I decided to check out the Nutcracker Craft Fair at the Brea Community Center, 695 E. Madison Way in Brea, California. After all, admission was only $2 and parking was free!
There were over 250 vendors displaying one-of-a-kind holiday gifts, decor, handmade items and collectibles. The best part is that all the proceeds benefit the Community Center’s youth and family programs.
I went early. It opened at 9am and I was there at 8:55am. Of course there was a short line, but it went quickly. I had never been to the Brea Community Center and did not realize how big it was.
There was a maze of artisans jammed in every corner both outside and in. You could find everything from ornaments to doll clothes, and homemade greeting cards to pottery. It was kind of overwhelming because there was so much stimuli. You could smell hot chocolate and coffee in the food ally and buy homemade chocolates in the gymnasium.
Most of the items there weren’t exactly “my style” but it was nice to walk around (I did twice) and browse the antiques and admire the sellers that were so proud of the hand crafted things they were selling.
One of my favorite things to do on the weekends is check out local flea markets. There are a few free publications that I check out once a month. I gather them all, sit down for about an hour and I enter all the events from South Orange County to Los Angeles into my Blackberry. If I make it, great! If not, there’s always one the next weekend.
This time a “Junk in the Trunk” flea market in Costa Mesa caught my eye. I decided to check it out and realized when I got there that when I lived in Costa Mesa (for about five years) I drove by this place nearly every day and did not even know it existed!
My GPS led me into the parking lot of Peacemakers Country Store. I got lucky and snatched up a parking spot that someone was leaving. There were about 60 vendors there selling their “junk” literally out of the trunks of their cars. It was fabulous! I ventured to each space and took my time. Everyone was so nice and conversational. After I spent five bucks on a blue vintage Ball jar with the lid un-cracked and intact (score!), I decided to check out the Peacemaker Country Store.
The place was adorable! A paradise for crafters, knitters, quilters, and the like, there was something there for everyone. It looked like Santa Clause threw up in there (in a good way). The first thing I noticed was the large hearth to my right and the homemade chocolates counter to my left. I was surrounded by walls of fabric, beads, ornaments, and country knick knacks. I went upstairs and I felt like I was in someone’s house. Each little room was furnished and decorated with everything available for purchase.
I could have gotten lost up there as it was a maze of Christmas themed rooms. The best part was when I turned the corner and saw a few crafters at work in one of the many classrooms.
Although most of it wasn’t necessarily my “style”, I did enjoy window shopping. This place is a must to check out. If you go on Fridays from noon to 1:30, you can catch the live Peacemakers Country Band.
The Piecemakers Junk in the Trunk Market is new this year. If you want to find out when the next one is held or other events and classes, check out the website here. The Peacemakers Country Store is located at 1720 Adams Avenue, Costa Mesa, CA 92626.
The vintage long wash sink turned planter in the front says it all. The unknown history of the cracks and rusty legs fascinates me. Gayle’s Pasadena Architectural Salvage is the epitome of eco-friendly design. Their main objective is to salvage architecturally antique items, both commercial and residential destined for the landfill.
The reclamation industry is an industry that I didn’t really know existed prior to writing this blog. Rather, I didn’t realize its magnitude and impact on design. It is a “green” industry that promotes recycling and reuse before ending up at the landfill. Hey! Kind of like my blog! Architectural salvaged items include lumber, hardware,
mantels, furniture, lighting, glass, iron, you name it. Typically from period homes, each piece has history and tells its own story.
Walking into this accumulation of antiquity was an adventure in itself. Every corner had treasure behind it. I was in love the moment I entered (actually, the moment I saw that sink!). You may (or may not) know that I love industrial style design. Check out these lamps and mail sorters.
Here are some other intriguing items. There were entire walls dedicated to grates, skeleton keys, and keyholes. There were rows of doors, stained glass, and iron gates. Their inventory represents the Arts & Crafts, Spanish Revival, Art Nouveau and Victorian periods.
Gayle’s Pasadena Architectural Salvage is located at 2600 E. Foothill Boulevard in Pasadena, CA 91107. The hours of operation are Tuesday- Saturday 9:30AM – 5:30PM, Sunday 12PM-5PM, and they are closed on Mondays. Don’t forget to say hello to the friendly gray cat that greats you.
6 Tips for Going to Estate Sales
Estate sales are great places to get inspiration and find your next DIY project. Rare finds including vintage pieces and antiques are the best pieces to repurpose, collect, salvage, or display in your home. A great online source to find Estate Sales in your area is Estatesales.net. This site offers photos, maps, and directions. Other sources are Craigslist and your local PennySaver magazine. Here are a few tips.
1. Bring cash. Many sales accept cash only, and if you don’t have cash, maybe you don’t need it anyway!
2. Get there early, kinda sort of but not really. A lot of people feel the need to get there hours beforehand in order to get first pick, however the first day of the sale is very competitive. If you get there later, usually you have more negotiating power. Also, if you come on the last day, items are usually marked down significantly.
3. Go there with heightened sensitivity. Estate sales are often conducted by someone who has lost someone that they love and the items they are selling have meaning to the seller.
4. Don’t forget your measuring tape and your own shopping bags.
5. Be nice. When negotiating, don’t play hardball especially if it is early in the day. They will say “no”. Simply ask, “Can you tell me your best price for this.”
6. Have fun and be patient. It may take a few sales to get used to.
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I finally get the phrase, “It’s like being a kid in a candy store.” I mean, I always knew what it implied, however I think I saw white lights and heard a choir of angels singing when I walked into Old Good Things, an architectural salvage wonderland.
First of all, going there was my husband’s idea. It was in an uncomfortably dodgy part of West LA. We had to circle the place several times in order to get the parking space in front because we thought it’d be the “safest” place to park. Intrigued by the giant rusty metal star light and massive pirate head displayed at the entrance I was willing to circle a few more times if I had to. Each time I caught glimpses of the treasures behind the enormous front doors.
Finally, my husband decided to just let me out while he patiently waited for a guy in a prime spot to get off of his cell phone. Clutching my cell phone in my hand, I eagerly jumped out of the car to further explore what was inside. The wave of heat, the sound car horns, and the thuds of traffic speeding down the freeway above us, was all quickly forgotten the second I stepped inside.
The first thing I noticed was how vast the store was…it was huge! I was overwhelmed with junk (I mean that in a good way). To my left was an airplane propeller, three times my size. I was surrounded by ornate iron gates, industrial lamps, and old machines I’ve never seen before. There were statues, antique windows and doors, furniture, and lighting. I tried to take a few pictures but I got completely lost in each piece wondering where they came from and how they got there.
This place was filled with history and fit the old adage, “one person’s trash is another person’s treasure.” I have to admit, it was ALL treasure to me. I could have spent hours in there. Old Good Things definitely got my creative juices flowing. I made mental notes as to what I wanted to come back for, or what pieces I want to repurpose. I will definitely be back soon, this time I won’t leave empty handed.
Old Good Things is located at 1800 South Grand Avenue Los Angeles, CA 90015. They are open from 9 am to 6 pm on weekdays and 10 am to 6 pm on weekends.
Places To Go: Maui, Hawaii
The thing about being a tourist in Hawaii is that you are bombarded with t-shirts, hula dolls, shot glasses, and a multitude of flavors and varieties of macadamia nuts. But if you can get past the mass produced Hawaiian shirts and puka shells, there is a variety of handmade arts and crafts.
The Banyan Tree Park is a common tourist stop on Front Street in Lahaina. At 60 feet high with 12 major tree trunks in addition to the gargantuan core, underneath you will find unique artwork and pressed flower jewelry at the occasional arts and crafts fair. Across the street at the Wharf you can find
handmade soaps, wind chimes, and vintage Hawaiian fabrics. On Front Street you can peruse several galleries, discover antique posters and vintage maps.
Artists are everywhere. Just further north of Lahaina in Ka’anapali in Whalers Village you can learn about the art of Scrimshaw. Driving along the
30 you will see painters with their easels finding inspiration from their
surroundings of the ocean, sand, lush plant life and flowers. Rainbows are not uncommon on the way even further north. Along a scenic path and windy
road I found a gift shop that looked like a personal residence in the middle of
nowhere with interesting wood and metal sculptures.
I made my husband stop if we saw signs for craft fairs along the road. We found intricate woodwork, bowls made out of palms, and a local man crafting beautiful wooden tikis with amallet and wood log wedged between his feet.
With inspiration everywhere, you can bring home beautifully crafted souvenirs along with your Maui shot glass and box of chocolate macadamia nuts.
Floral Artist: Joan Mercer
Since I started blogging, I always have my eyes open for local Artists and Craftsmen. I think it is a great honor and privilege to meet talent in person and learn firsthand about their creations.
I just got back from an amazing vacation in Maui with my husband. We rented a car, but stayed on the south side of the island in Wailea. We traveled and explored the entire island. Along the way, we found handmade jewelry makers, sculptors, painters, and carpenters. I met a Sculptor in Kapalua and a Carpenter in Lahaina. I ended up finding my favorite right in our hotel during a midafternoon arts and crafts fair in the lobby on our last day.
The first thing I noticed when I met Floral Artist Joan Mercer, owner of Kula Jungle, was the fabulous necklace and matching earrings she was wearing. Of course, a product of her own design, this set was one of many beautiful pressed flower leis among her collection. Her booth was filled with beautiful window ornaments, earrings, leis, and framed art that were constructed and artfully designed from very own garden.
Joan informed me that, with twenty years of experience, she mastered a technique to preserve the natural colors of her flowers. Over the
years, she has developed a following of collectors. Each year she creates a new lei design, and expires the piece after one year. Each unique piece, fashioned from the plush garden in her back yard.
Thank you, Joan for the inspiration!
To find out more about Joan click here for the Maui Crafts Guild website.
Places To Go: Habitat for Humanity ReStore
Habitat for Humanity ReStore, is a DIY’ers dream and best kept secret! When I first found this place I thought I hit the jackpot. It is a resale outlet store that sells reusable and surplus building materials to the public. They promote reuse and recycling and the best part is that there are locations all over the US and Canada.
You can find everything from flooring, doors, appliances, fixtures, and building materials to lighting, paint, home décor, furniture, and artwork. All of it is sold at a discounted price and the proceeds of each resale outlet help Habitat associates fund the construction of Habitat for Humanity homes within their local communities.
There are always sales and great deals. For example, I purchased ceramic knobs to update an old dresser and they were only twenty five cents each! Paint samples for small projects are only one dollar or less. It’s a great resource for inexpensive glass, mirrors, lampshades, and other decor items as well. If you have larger projects, I have seen entire walls of like new kitchen cabinets and bathroom counters at extremely low prices.
- Click here to find a US location.
- Click here to find a Canada location.
You can also donate your unwanted items as well or schedule for a pick-up. Here are some pictures I took of my Habitat For Humanity ReStore location.
Writing this blog has changed my life in so many ways. Even though there are very few people that even read it, I’m sure, I have truly taken ownership of it.
I get excited when I have time to sit down and write and everytime I am amazed by the other talented and creative bloggers out there. (If your thinking about blogging… DO IT!) I look at the world a lot differently then I used to. In some sense, I appreciate the small moments and the little things around me even more than I already did.
Today I decided to go for a quick stroll with my daughter. As always I had my camera with me. I decided to take pictures of the flowers (and weeds) along the way. I could not believe how many pictures I took; almost two dozen in ten minutes… too many to post.
As you can see, there is inspiration all around, literally a few yards from my house and even some in my back yard. I proudly and can confidently admit, I do NOT have a green thumb. Some of these flowers, actually all of these flowers exist without my help.
I couldn’t believe that in the two years that I have lived in this humble abode that I have never once stopped to look at the botanical life around me and admire its beauty until now. I encourage you to stop and look and be inspired by your surroundings. You never know what you’ll walk right by and miss.
P.S. Happy Birthday, Daddy! Above all, you inspire me the most! I love you!
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Since I began to blog, I’ve certainly looked at the world a little differently. I am constantly looking for new projects and inspiration.
Last week, I was so excited to have a baby sitter and share a great evening out with my husband. He was being honored for being selected to appear in OC Metro Magazine in an article, 40 Under 40. The magazine annually selects 40 business professionals under the age of 40 who are over achievers in their fields.
The event took place at the Pelican Hill Resort in Newport Coast. I have lived in Orange County 17 years, almost as long as my hometown and I have never been to this resort. Once we arrived, I was so preoccupied with my high heels that hurt (I hadn’t worn heals in ages), my pencil skirt that would only allow me to take small strides, and my thoughts of wishing I brought a jacket because it was cold and windy (California cold). The concierge led us down the stairs and onto a brick path. Lifting up my skirt, while complaining to my husband that he was walking too fast for my tight skirt, I looked up to see a breathtaking sight.
It was about 5:45pm and the sun casted a gorgeous ray of light onto the palm trees, lush green grounds, and blue ocean. I had to stop and take it in. I couldn’t help but have my blog in the back of my mind… this is a view that I have to share. I hope you find inspiration in these pictures…somehow.
P.S. Happy birthday, my love! I’m so proud of you and honored to be your wife.
My first week of blogging is almost over! Wow! Here is something I came across that I had to post about. This Scrapbook Paper Dress was displayed at the entrance of Joann Fabrics & Crafts yesterday. It is made entirely out of scrapbook paper! From afar it looks like a real dress. The detail is amazing. I love it! Now, if this dress were real, would I wear it? Hells no! However, what an amazing and creative way to use a craft item as simple as scrapbook paper into something completely unexpected. Although it’s not my style, it makes me want to buy some paper and see what I can come up with. I guess it served it’s purpose now, didn’t it?
I just wanted to share something that inspired me, which is the reason that I started this blog… to share my inspirations. Hopefully it struck a cord with at least one of you like it did me! So, get out there and create!
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