- Red Marionette, Whimsical Toys and Accessories: This crafter had all kinds of adorable felt plushies, from monsters to owls to squids, from ornaments to dolls to tooth fairy pillows. One of the best parts: EVERYTHING was affordable. That's important for me, so I blessed this dear being with only ten bucks while she blessed me with whimsy and inspiration. [www.redmarionette.com]
- Paper Sparrow: Andrea Courchene (the artist) displayed her adorable clutches, pins, pencil bags, change purses, magnets, prints, keychains, and greeting cards. From her I purchased a tiny pin and the cutest little hedgehog-print change bag you'll EVER see. [www.papersparrow.etsy.com]
- handmade by elizabeth: I walked up to this display of handmade bags, was immediately drawn to a colorful owl-print bag, and was stunned that the price of this creation was a mere twelve dollars (I even asked her if the 12- meant "twelve dollars", because I just couldn't believe it)! [813-374-0400]
- VIDA MADRE: Cute shirts, but major props for cool/innovative/unique business cards--this artist used a deck of cards and pasted her info to each one! So cool! [vidamadre.etsy.com]
- DemiGod Studio: Featured a variety of colorful and unique items, including shadowbox collages, VERY cool "tattoo" jewelry, tote bags, ceramic dishes, and suede cuff bracelets. I didn't buy anything from her today, but I have her contact info so it's all good! [demigodstudio.etsy.com]
- Modern Bird, handmade silver jewelry: Okay, people--this stuff was GORGEOUS. Plus, she made the SILVER jewelry charms HERSELF. Now THAT is pretty impressive. I adored all of her work, but alas I had already reached my spending limit, so I'll have to keep her in mind for later (perhaps Christmas?). Anyway, she recommended some art classes that I should take--how much fun would that be?! [modernbird.etsy.com]
- Cherish the Moment LLC: A new way to scrapbook! It's hard to explain, but basically the item looks like a little book, but it opens up differently than a book! Hmm...I really don't know how to explain this, so you should just look her up yourself to see how cool this is! [chmoment.com]
- little chick designs: Featured cute drink coasters and scrabble pendants! [littlechickdesigns.etsy.com]
- Create It Cottage: The artist, Sheila Bradley, makes incredibly adorable pin cushions--but I don't think I could ever stick a pin in one because they're all just too cute! [createitcottage.etsy.com]
There were a TON more vendors (and yay! I got ALL of their business cards, thanks to my darling Mr. J), but it'd take me FOREVER to write about them all! Needless to say, I left this beautiful craft fair with treasures and inspiration.
James and I next drove to Baywalk at St. Pete, where we ventured through a home goods store (Being) and an art gallery-ish store (Shapiro's). Very expensive, but still very beautiful. I was happy that James found something that HE really liked (after all, crafts are MY thing)--Native American puzzle boxes. Here he is, entranced by their mysteries:Hunger struck my darling, but I veered him away from the Sabrecht hot dog stand by the St. Pete Pier to the Columbia Restaurant on the fourth floor of the pier. We stepped out of the elevator and melted at the restaurant's view of the water. Spectacular. And, of course, perfect for our wedding! However, after excited talking and planning, James and I were disappointed to learn from the very nice manager that they don't allow DJs because the music needs to stay true to the restaurant's Cuban theme. Plan B: go to the restaurant on the fifth floor, check out their wedding policies. Much better luck, but there's still lots of time and options to consider, so who knows...
After the very nice waitress named Skye (who is getting married in NYC right after the ball drops and planned a wedding that her parents/no one else could attend) boxed up our left-overs, James and I ventured downstairs to the Aquarium (another wedding location option) and little shops. We stopped at the Peppers hot sauce shop (for J's ma) and at Zoltar's stand for my fortune (he advised me to "Dream as if you'll live forever and live as if you'll die tomorrow"--yeahhhh). One of the shops was called Morrows Candy--which surprised me because my boss owns a candy store in Orlando with the same name! However, the rude girl at the counter didn't know Alicia (my boss), so James explained that Morrows must be a franchise. Still, very cool connection. Also cool: this candy shop's brownie creatures and LOBSTER chocolates! Home was calling our name and we listened. I immediately found myself immersed in my new business card scrapbook and James in his computer server creations (see, he's a creator, too!).
I loved today--no homework (that I did, of course there was much to be done!), no time constraints, no arguing, no WORK. Only good music (Mamma Mia!) and creations and inspiration and love and excitement and now writing.
I don't think I could ask for anything more.