It’s the Most Wonderful Time Of The Year (For Shopping!)

It’s the Most Wonderful Time Of The Year (For Shopping!)

I love collecting unusual works of art and jewelry particularly “objects of functional art.”  In other words, I like art that does something other than just be displayed on one’s mantel.  Last week, I was able to indulge in my passion and spent three hours exploring the Oneofakind Show and Sale at the Merchandise Mart.  I really loved getting a chance to meet some of the artists whose work I hope to collect and share with friends and family. Below are some of my favorite findings:

Birdhouse + MD License Plate = Functional Art

I am from Maryland and am always thrilled to collect art that has something to do with my home state.  I also have a thing for birdhouses.  (Please don’t ask me why; I really don’t know.)  So, you know that I jumped at the chance to purchase t a birdhouse made out of broken MD collectors plates with a MD license plate as the roof.  This one was designed and constructed by two women who also happen to live in my town, Highland Park.  Their company is called “Moxaic.” They also offered birdhouses for all 50 states but I selected the Maryland one for sentimental reasons.



An Answer for What to Do With All Of Those Pencils

When Kayla started school several years ago, my Mother-in-Law dumped, um, brought over more than 100 pencils to our house. I wish that I was as clever as  Susan Lowenburg (aka The Pencil Lady).  This Chicagoan uses vintage and art pencils to enhance furniture, accessories and picture frames.   Now that I see what she did, I regret throwing away all of the Chicago Bears pencils instead of using them to construct a funky frame as a holiday gift for my husband.




Imagine a Table Set with Cloth Napkin Roses

I think that I may have fallen in love with Carole Shiber’s table linens.  This picture doesn’t even do justice to her creations.  Imagine having an outdoor summer dinner party where the entire table is decorated to resemble a flower garden.  The napkins are designed to resemble roses while the placemats are designed to be layered to create a botanic centerpiece.  Even better?  She offers a 10% discount on all Carole Shiber website purchases if you use the coupon code 10Always.  This is the type of gift that I know my mother would really enjoy and use.




Look at the amazing scarfs made out of T-Shirts!

These are scarfs; not the knitted kind.  They were constructed out of old t-shirts.  How clever and easy!  Knowing how easy it was to construct these accessories, increases my need to purchase a sewing machine and learn once and for all how to sew!  Imagine what I could have done with Adam’s old t-shirts?  We could have decked the whole neighborhood in original Keats t-shirt scarfs.  In the meantime, I can only drool over other artists sewing creations. As soon as I approached the go dotty gobooth, I felt right at home! First of all, each creation (scarfs, gloves, coffee cup cozies) are one of a kind. (I love knowing that I am the only one who has a particular scarf!)  Second, all of the materials the artists use are “up cycled” wool sweaters, tee-shirts and other discarded clothing items.  Okay, using wool sweaters etcetera is not really a new idea, but the way the artists construct their items is unique and whimsical.  Finally, the items are priced competitively.  I purchased my scarf for $40.  Guess which one I bought!


Look! Matching gloves, aprons & hot pads make the perfect hostess gift!

Okay, okay, I know that you are a bit tired of my constant chatter regarding the perfect hostess gifts but flatter me, once more.  Check out what Michelle Dortch of Chel Domestic Goodies  created.  I had a chance to chat with Michelle’s very proud step-mother who told me about these matched sets.  I love the idea of giving DISH SOAP (of course) and adding a set of matching rubber gloves, pot holders and an apron!  Michelle has such an amazing range of patterns and designs, one is sure to select one to please all of the cooks on one’s holiday shopping list.  Before hitting the stores, I would encourage you to check out Michelle’s site.  I know that I plan on selecting several sets for different cooking friends and family.



Funky & affordable hot pads

I saved my favorite find for last: pot holders.  But not just any potholders! Everyone needs potholders (it’s kinda like dish soap–you know that you’ll use it).  But no one really thinks how these items could also be seen as works of art.  Depending on what people are interested in (like Seurat), their senses of humor (half dressed stud-ly cowboys) or a particular food (sushi anyone?) Stacy Rauba & Yutaka Fujita have created a potholder for you.  And $20 for two washable and whimsical potholders is quite reasonable.  I absolutely recommend that you see (and touch) these works of art.  Fortunately, Stacy an Yutaka are selling their wares at the Andersonville Galleria, 5247 North Clark Street, Chicago, IL. These are just 6 of my favorite findings from last week’s show.  Later this week, I will post pictures from some of the other artists I discovered.  What do you think?  Do the pictures/descriptions inspire you to check out these sites?  Are there any artists that you recommend I check out in time for gift giving to others