“Oh stop it, STOP it, Renegade Craft fair….(sobs incoherently)…you had me at giant stuffed penis…”
I’m not going to lie to you, I’ve never liked crafts or any type of craftiness. I scrapbook because I am overly obsessed with visual pictures, not to mention the super cool stickers you can decorate your pages with. But I, like most of the people I know, associate crafts with crocheted owl toilet paper cozies or macrame potted plant holders. You know, stuff you see at your crazy Aunt Linda’s house when you to go to check on her because the neighbors called you to say there was a ‘distinct odor’ coming from next door. Turns out, she was just experimenting with curry.
I first heard about Renegade Craft Fair last year from my friend Natalie. I believe she described it as “not your mama’s craft fair” so I was intrigued by that. It was started in Chicago’s Wicker Park neighborhood in 2003 but has since branched out to San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Brooklyn. It is basically a place for those of us who are sick of sending our money overseas-thanks to corporate machines like Wal-mart- and would like to give our money to real actual people who make cool stuff. As an added bonus, I don’t have to feel guilty about some sweatshop employee getting paid eleven cents per day.
I made plans with the one and only Cakespy to meet her there and to pick up another piece of her wonderful artwork she made especially for me. This insured that I could not at the last minute back out of my plans to go to the craft fair. I am infamous for making plans then deciding I’m too lazy and unsociable to follow through. It happened last year for Renegade and it really sucks when I sabotage myself like that but what can I say? I’m afraid of people. Well, Mrs. Spy did not disappoint. I love it! I don’t have a camera to replace my old broken one yet and I’m sick of taking pics with my phone so I’ll post a photo of it soon, I promise!! I even bought a set of cute Paris-themed magnets of hers for a dear friend, to remind him that some day…some day.
I brought along my daughter Carmen since she was about to turn 17 and we don’t get to spend a lot of time together as she usually opts for a night with her boyfriend over a night with me. I can’t blame her, my nights consist of whatever her 3 year old sister wants to watch or do until she decides she’s tired, then various B-horror movies for me until about 1 am. And whereas Natalie brings a list of things she needs and looks for those things, Carmen and I wandered around aimlessly checking out the booths that caught our eyes and buying things like mustache pillows and horror t-shirts. I only took so much money with me but I managed to grab the business cards of the stores who I didn’t buy from but still loved. You know for Christmas or birthdays or Rosh Hoshannah, whatever.
One of the first places we went to was R and R Tees where I bought the coolest tribute shirt called ‘Giallo.’ If you had to look up that word, then don’t bother looking at the shirt, it won’t be nearly as cool to you as it is to me. There were so many shirts he had that I wanted but like my own Sophie’s Choice*, I had to choose. Except unlike the movie, I picked this shirt and no one had to die. I also got a kickass bright blue belt free just for getting the shirt. And the only way this shirt could have been any cooler is if it had Fulci’s name on it, too, but I already technically have a Fulci shirt titled ‘Zombie Vs. Shark’ so no worries.
Next, we headed over to the Circa Ceramics booth where I met Nancy and Andy for the first time. It seems weird and creepy to meet people via the internet, but when all you do is comment each others statuses and retweet their tweets, it makes you want to know who they are on the inside, you know? I bought this awesome Chicago flag mug for a friend for Christmas (geez, i hope she doesn’t read this) and I really wanted to say ‘hi’ to Nancy but she looked super busy. I left then came back and I introduced myself to her. She gave me the biggest hug ever and immediately turned around, picked a necklace off the rack and handed it to me. It was the Chicago flag necklace I had once told her that I loved. Nancy remembered. And I almost cried. I know it sounds lame. Bear with me, there are penises ahead, I promise.
Carmen and I checked out the booth of Tara to the T next. There we ogled the hot babe selling her wares and wondered how we can get our hairs to do that. Almost at the same we said “I want this!” about an amazingly functional yet still cute dress called the Brittany. When you visit the link, picture it in red, then picture it on me, and voila! This is the dress I will be wearing to a wedding then to a Christmas party and who knows what else. I’m not really a dress gal but when I see one that might actually flatter my shape instead of hugging every scary curve, well I want to snap it up immediately.
We then went to Moth Written’s booth where Carmen picked up a shirt that has a ribcage on it and the word ‘human’ written in Arabic. These ladies are trying to bridge a small bit of the gap between the Arabic speaking world and the English speaking. I wanted a shirt too but my husband is already jealous of Sayid from “Lost” so I figured I’d better not push my luck.
Carmen bought a giant fuzzy plush mustache from these guys. Need I say more? Oh and a mustache on a stick, but I can’t remember where from. If anyone can help me on this, I’d be much obliged!
We also happened upon a lady selling stuffed penises of all shapes, sizes, cuts and colors. All I could do was stare. Then she said to Carmen, “Do you want to stroke the big one?” I shit you not. We just giggled like the dorks that we are and kept walking.
Last but certainly not least- Seibei!! Carmen took them up on the three for thirty special in which she also got a killer bag, but then I got this sweet little prize. I wasn’t going to buy yet another t-shirt since I’d already purchased one earlier but I had just stopped to chit chat with my aforementioned pal Natalie and she was showing off her pink and green “Make Me a Sandwich”, so I went back and bought the purple and blue one. I know, I’m such a copycat. Suck on it, will ya? (Just so you know, I’m still waiting their Intramural Zombie Hunting League t-shirt. And yes, Natalie already has one. I didn’t know that before I bought mine though, so it’s okay. I’m not sure how I didn’t know since she is the Zombie queen of the Midwest, but I didn’t. Oh well. She has good taste I guess, right?)
I plan on buying this necklace from Cookoorikoo some time soon. Why? Who knows! I don’t usually wear jewelry but I might surprise everyone and start. I was definitely digging on a dress similar to this one from Pierogi Picnic as well, but mostly because I wanted to smooch the adorable female seller who actually knew what seitan was. Pretty Theory had the most amazing handbags I’d seen in a long time and I wanted to snatch up the Edgar Allen Poe one to satisfy the emo kid in me but alas, it will have to wait. Mehoi had some extremely cool earrings that I’m still thinking about, honestly. Diffractionfiber has very interesting pillows including one that looks like a giant fried egg. Yes, I want it. I also want this stuffed asparagus from Steff Bomb. It comes with a spray can, in case I feel like pretending to tag my neighbors garage doors.
We also stopped for about ten minutes to eat at the Mana Food Bar tent. Carmen had the mushroom slider and I had the peanut noodles with an apple cider. All of it was amazing!
I had so much fun just walking around and looking at stuff, then meeting online friends, then seeing old friends. I can easily call this one of the best days I’ve had in a long, long time. There was so much stuff at Renegade, I’m shocked it only took me three hours to walk the length of the fair. I wish I had the time and the cash to go to every booth but I’m cheap and lazy. Perhaps next year, I will save up ahead of time…
*yes, I totally ripped off that line from Glee, whatcha gonna do about it??