Sunday, September 13, 2009

Renegade Craft Fair!


Those who know me know I've always strived to wear unique apparel. It's not that I necessarily want to stand out, it's more that I feel pride in saying, "Oh it belonged to my grandma/dad" or "I found it at a rummage sale" when asked where I got something I'm wearing. My mother, who is a big fan of department stores and has a license plate holder that says, "This car stops at Nordstroms," still does not understand this and scoffs in disgust whenever she sees the contents of my closet.

I just love all things old, used, with a story. Whether it's my dad's t-shirt from 1975, my Bubby's sunglasses or reviving the art of letter-writing, I'm all for it. Same goes for decorating my living space. I don't feel comfortable when rooms mirror catalogs. I want rooms to have character and look "lived in." So when I heard about the Renegade Craft Fair (coincidentally *right* where Lindsay and I just moved out of our good ol' apt. on Winchester & Division), I couldn't wait to explore all the handmade oddities.
Since last Wednesday night I've been totally out of commission, sicker than maybe I've ever been, possibly with the infamous H1N1 Virus (a.k.a. Swine Flu). Today is the first day I've woken up since first experiencing the symptoms that I felt like myself. I still have a bad cough and I was crazy dizzy from putting in my contacts (instead of wearing my glasses) for the first time in a week, but mentally, I was finally ready to brave the world again. Alongside my eye wear, I traded in the nightgown I've lived in for a sundress, showered, shaved my legs, and happily (& dizzily) stumbled out into this sunny September Sunday afternoon.
I met up with Shawna and we took advantage of the free photo booth, complete with fake mustaches.

I ended up participating in some major retail therapy...possibly as a remedy to selling my Regina Spektor ticket last night due to my sickness. The following is a visual documentation of my purchases.
A postcard I bought that I tend on mailing someone someday...when I grow a pair.
A postcard I bought for my friend Abbi. On the back I wrote: "In honor of all the people you've called a 'B'."
I actually did not buy this screenprint from Novem Studios (although I'm still considering it), but it's too awesome not to share. It immediately reminded me of my recent visit to NYC, where I stayed with my friend Zach and his 3 awesome roommates, one of which has a life-size plasticine zebra in the living room (which I rode during their housewarming party). Another thing I wish I bought, which is not featured on Owly Shadow Puppets Etsy site is a laser-cut heart-shaped valentine that said, "You had me at health insurance."
This is now hanging on my bedroom door. Two of my favorite people on one postcard: Obama&Dylan
I bought this really soft t-shirt from Megan Lee Designs with a nifty map sketch of the six-corner intersection that makes up the heart of Wicker Park, the neighborhood I've lived in for over three years.
I am a sucker for all things paper (if you haven't figured that out already)! Especially in the form of journals. So when I found old books turned into journals by a company called Overdue Industries, I fell in love. It was hard to pick which one I wanted, but I finally settled on "Tuning Up: The World Of Music" (first picture above) because I liked the cover design (imagine that: a library science student judging a book by its cover!) and the fact that some of the pages have evoke happy childhood memories with pages songs such as, "Yankee Doodle" amongst the blank journal pages. And, I loved their attention to detail and their mission to keep the old ways of the library, as in they have the outdated check-out card in the front of each journal, where each is stamped with the date of its creation and then again with the date of purchase (second picture above). Now I just need to start keeping a journal again instead of writing everything on one online venue or another...
Pictured above is an array of smaller artifacts obtained (for free) from various booths at the fair. Clockwise: Overdue Industries' business card, the paper bag my two yellow postcards came in, a pencil from 16Sparrows that says "Sarcasm Folded In Half," sunglasses from the Chicago Public Library, a ticket to enter the $100 Etsy raffle (I didn't know it had to be turned in by 4, and I missed by two minutes), a Letter Writers Alliance button from 16Sparrows, and a CPL button.

My most favorite discovery of the entire festival, though, had to be 16 Sparrows. As I've mentioned, I recently began my MLS degree through U of I's LEEP (online) program. A girl named Isabel, who I met at Boot Camp this summer (a 10-day on-campus session that kicked my ass), told me that if I went to the Renegade Fair I had to stop by 16 Sparrows' tent because it's co-run by another girl, Kathy, from our cohort. I poured over their website (the other half of brilliance is a girl named Donovan) before going and was immediately ob-sessed. First of all, their greeting cards are hilarious. What I found next blew.my.mind. A LETTER WRITERS ALLIANCE!!!! I couldn't believe it. And I couldn't get to the festival fast enough to search out their tent. Once I found it, I proceeded to screech about my love of letters and mailboxes and the post office and how I can't believe this existed and I didn't even know about it. I told them about the Letter Project I devised in college and they told me I should write about it on their blog, which is awesome and I plan on doing...and possibly reviving the project and doing a second round. I ended up joining the alliance (surprise) as member #601 and bought the LWA Gift Bag Tote Bag. And I'm all signed up to exchange addresses with pen pal strangers. How cool is that?!
Here's the stuff included in the gift bag, in addition to the actual bag:
I leave you (and the festival) with a picture of my dear friend Shawna (who lent me $20 when I found out the 16 Sparrows tent was cash-only), who has now adopted the nickname, Shawnimal:

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