What better on a gorgeous, sunny day than to write a blog post about "favorite summer things"? Since I want to get OUTSIDE, here we go:
At this time of the year, many of my clients and I want to get quick fixes and easy (er) solutions, or zippy ideas that can brighten their summer.
First: If you want high-end stuff, Summer is Sale Time at most stores, but you might have to wait July 4th or later. But it’s a Holiday Weekend starting tomorrow, so special prices are all over now, too. Sales are every holiday, so maybe even for July 4th, right?
Next: Brighten up your outside -- if you have one attached somehow to your house – a yard or even a balcony. Potted plants that flower, herbs that may not flower can go into pretty pots, let the vines climb. Buy a happy welcome mat. Imported clay pots in natural or bright colors are at many stores. I save ceramic ones for safe areas and have resorted to the unbreakables for my patio. Two weeks ago, I bought a couple in turquoise. These pretty colors in plastic are a newer look, and they will last more than one season. Wind chimes and banners and all those cute flags with Cubs and Sox and Peace signs and flowers should be easy to find. Decorate the outside with NON-wood Adirondack chairs, stools from Home Depot, et al – also in colors. And your local hardware store will have all sorts of items, too.
Yard pieces? That's another thing: arbors, benches and on and on. See catalogs below for some sources.
You can buy MANY wonderful outdoor items online from Grandinroad, Ballard Designs, Plow & Hearth and Crate and Barrel, too. I've worked with all of them. Not much of a catalog shopper 10 months of the year, I save much of the catalog shopping for summer and summer outside. They have furniture, accessories and LOTS of cushion choices for your existing furniture. Probably more fun colors and Patterns than you will find in local stores.
Unbreakable tableware is everywhere: Crate and Barrel, Williams Sonoma, Target, et al.
And don't forget my friends at IKEA and their tents of summer stuff and the plastic items inside!
Bring some of the outside in for the summer. Most plants grow inside and out. Find a pro and ask for advice. Not just orchids bloom inside. If you have plants outdoors and love them, put them inside till next spring and they will (might) come back!
Then: Flea Markets and Art Fairs are the standards of summer. I have a $200 Persian rug in my kitchen (Randolph St. Mkt). A bit threadbare, but I love the colors and who cares if I spill on it and have to spot clean it? Would cost LOTS more in perfect condition. Add to collections of celluloid, carnival glass, kitchenware and wander outside. Awesome.
Every weekend you can find an Art or Craft Fair: Old Town, 57th St., Oakbrook Craft Fair (a fave of mine), Bucktown (love that, too), Fine Crafts in Highland Pk. In June and Port Clinton there in Aug. They start about June 1 and go into late September in every part of Chicagoland. My tip? If you are unsure about buying something? Ask the artist if they will be nearby another weekend. These artists travel a LOT and often stay "around" for several weeks or journey back.
Nothing says personal space like vintage and old objects and whatever you choose to find at an art fair. You'll learn that they range in "price levels", so go where you are comfortable. Also, some of these artists show their work at local galleries all year.
Chicago area fairs are right here: http://www.artfaircalendar.com
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