Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Getting Ready for Summer at the Cottage

Scattered DIY's at the Cottage

Getting ready for summer to begin... in DIY-style!

I haven't had a start-to-finish DIY post in a little while, but that's because we just transported ourselves to the beach cottage for the summer, and we've been busy trying to get things set here. But that doesn't mean I haven't been DIYing (not sure it's possible for me to stop).

It's been one of those multi-tasking weeks for me. Start a project, start another, go back to the first, start another, dabble in the first two, etc., ect.... Doesn't help that the kids are out of school, so there's a lot of entertaining in between, but in case you're interested, here's a snippet of the projects we've (notice I say "we"? Husband took last week off, and he's been a HUGE help!) been working on over the past week:

Outdoor Shower Enclosure

I can't tell you enough how excited I am about this! My husband built it himself, and I am beyond happy! A luxurious outdoor shower house... although I do take credit for the pink trim. I'm going to do a major tutorial post on this one (how it was built, etc), with my favorite guest blogger... my husband! Just need to get him motivate to write it. I don't want to nag him about it, though, because he just did all this work! But it's coming, I promise you!

Vintage Children's Piano Makeover

This was a flea market find that I repainted using ASCP. Also labeled the keys to get the little ones familiar with the notes! Will do a tutorial post on this, too, but here's a preview:

Vintage Mirror for Outdoor Shower

Another flea market find. Only $5, so the price was right. I repainted it in this light blue, and I think it will look nice in the outdoor shower as it ages with the elements!

Veggie Garden: Carrots!

How I wish gardening came naturally to me, but, alas, it does not, so I have resolved to really work at getting SOMETHING to grow. This is one of our experiments. B1 picked carrot to grow, B2 picked broccoli. The broccoli is in a container, and seems to be doing ok, but look at these carrots! I fear we may have majorly overloaded the space with seeds, but hey, it's all part of the experiment. I'll keep you posted on their progress!

Clematis Around Mailbox Post

Ok I must admit, I'm VERY concerned about this one. You should have seen how beautiful and healthy this plant was when I bought it! It had a ton of blooms.... Now look at it! I followed all of the nursery's instructions about peat moss and mulch and fertilizer... I've been talking to it... but I guess we'll see. Any suggestions about how to nurture this baby in sandy soil?

The Debut of My New Standup Paddleboard

My husband got me a SUP for Christmas, and I've been dying to use it! I was finally able to break it out this week, and I LOVE IT! I even signed up for a SUP Yoga class in July, so I'm hoping that will get me back towards my old yoga practice, too. A great workout, and very relaxing. Any other SUPers out there? I also just ordered a deck rigging kit; can't wait until I get it!

All in all, I consider it a busy, but productive week. More cottage projects to come! We're planning some really cool renovations. More to come on that soon.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

DIY Metal Folding Patio Chairs Makeover

Vintage Metal Folding Patio Chairs

DIY Spray Painted Metal Chairs with Caning

This was a super easy DIY patio chair project, using only 2 cans of spray paint! Remember those four metal folding chairs I picked up at the Country Living Fair? Well I knew right away exactly where they were going to go (my Patio Table desperately needed some chairs). And I knew they were going to get a few coats of spray paint, I just didn't know which color they would be.

So I played around a little before deciding on the final color. You can see my first two choices here. Liked them both, but not enough to live with. The light blue was just too light, and didn't look different enough than the original chairs, and the pink didn't go with the patio table, although it was pretty cool. I was really hoping one of those would work because I had them both on hand, but since they didn't, off to Home Depot I went, and there, the green color was speaking to me. 

I'm not going to bore you with details about how I spray painted them, because that's all pretty straightforward. But here's what I used: two cans of Rustoleum Painter's Touch (I think the color is Eden, but I will confirm next week) and a makeshift drop cloth. I highly recommend the Rustoleum spray paint. It sprays so nicely. In a previous post I mentioned that Michaels had a better color selection than Home Depot, and while that's true, I don't think you can compare the quality and ease of use of the two. The Krylon I used on the light blue didn't have nearly the coverage of the Rustoleum. It was a lot more work for less output. But, onto the the transformation.

My favorite thing about the color transformation is that it makes that beautiful caning stand out even more. I just loved the design of these chairs because of that caning (and my affection is certainly strengthened by the fact that they were made in the USA!). I'm loving how they look with the free Patio Table and my Laminated Tablecloth

I know, I went with my traditional green and blue color scheme, but it's just what felt right to me here. I'll branch out on colors with some projects soon, I promise! In the meantime, my family's enjoying actually being able to sit down when we eat our dinners outside now :)

Featured at:

Made in a Day

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Using Image Maps for Custom Headers or Menu Bars

Image Maps, Where Have You Been All My Life?

Image Maps Adds an Air of Sophistication to Your Blog

Image Maps enables you to create custom headers and menu bars?! Oh my. I am on Cloud 9.  I'm in a blur, a daze... I'm beyond happy! I just discovered Image Maps, by far the most amazing thing that has ever happened to my blog. I am in LOVE!

But at the same time I'm a little upset. Why didn't I know about this before? What could I have accomplished for, years, with this amazing little tool? It's as if we were living in parallel universes, always reaching out for each other, but never making contact. Until now. But there's no use ruing the past. I have embraced the future: a bright future, made even brighter because of Image Maps! And it's absolutely free!

My biggest stumbling block as a blogger has been, in essence, not being able to get my images to do what I want them to do, specifically, an inability to separate sections of my images into distinct clickable units. Because I didn't know how to do that, I've been limited in my capabilities. Uploading multiple images and getting them to "behave" together in Blogger is a bit of a nightmare. But with Image Maps, those problems are gone! And a big thanks to Ashton from Something Swanky for all of her amazing blogging tutorials--that's where I first learned about Image Maps!

Image Map

So, to demonstrate, I linked up this photo of my husband in the workshop where we used to live (where he actually had space to work on cars). In this pic he's working on converting this old diesel VW Rabbit truck to run on vegetable oil. Usually I'm posting much more girly photos, but today, I'd like to think of this demonstration as an homage to my husband, as we celebrate our 6th anniversary in a couple days :)

Try it out! The orange text (hood of the car) will take you to the Greasecar website (that's where husband got the kit to convert his diesel VW Rabbit to run on vegetable oil). The green text (there's a motor under that) will take you to TDI forums (husband gets/offers lots of car advice here). The yellow text (shop floor) will take you to a page on my site with a random sampling of some of the cars husband worked on in that shop. And, of course, the "Why I Love Image Maps" banner links to the Image Maps site! Cool, right?

It's so easy. Here are the steps to use Image Maps to improve your blog:

  1. Create your image (I use InDesign; PicMoney is awesome and more user-friendly if you're not comfortable with Adobe CC. Refer to Ashton's Something Swanky Blog Tutorials as a great PicMonkey resource).
  2. Upload your image to a image hosting site (I use Photobucket because I think it has the cleanest interface). 
  3. Copy the DIRECT link (I turn on "Easy Linking Mode" in Settings->Album to find this more quickly. Otherwise, click the gear-> get links, then copy direct link).
  4. Go to and paste your link into the "From a URL" box. Submit it, and wait until the next screen.
  5. Use the rectangles (or custom shapes) to begin designating linkable spots in your image.
  6. I unclick "Show Text Links" because it looks cleaner, but if you leave them, it will probably help with your SEO.
  7. Click "Get Your Code," and on the next screen, click "HTML Code." Copy your code.
  8. Paste your code where you want your image to show up (make sure you're in HTML mode).
You'll notice the Image Maps interface itself is nothing to write home about (def not girly), but all the information you need to use it is there, and with its awesome capabilities, I couldn't be happier!

Now back to the girly stuff... wondering where to see this in action on my blog? Look up! The six large menu buttons on the top of the site were linked using Image Map.

And that's it. I'm sure my header and menu will continue to have modifications over time, now that I know the potential! Thanks, Image Maps!

Sumo's Sweet Stuff

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Serena & Lily Knockoff Kids Curtain Panels

Serena & Lily Knockoff Curtains

This "Ikea-hack" saves at least $50 a panel!

Custom curtain panels kids

This was one of those projects that just kind of fell into my lap. Months ago I needed curtains for my living room, but I couldn't decide on any, so I bought some inexpensive white Ikea Curtains for $9.99/pair and decided to live with them until I became more decisive. And several months later, I finally did.

I moved the white curtains to my daughters' room, because they only had blinds in there. And they looked pretty nice as they were. Until I got the Serena & Lily catalog in the mail. Then I knew they could look a lot nicer.

I mean, come on. Look how beautiful! 

But the problem here was, with these Serena and Lily Curtains, even at the shortest length they offer (63"), you're looking at a cost of $58/panel: that's $116/pair (the 96" is $98, or $196/pair). I needed 3 pairs (so, at least $348). There was no way I'd be dropping that kind of money on curtains for a kids room, but I SO wanted that look!

But I had a good foundation. I had 6 white panels from the Ikea curtains (calculate that out, and they cost about $5/panel). And all they needed was a little trimming. Ideally, I would have loved to have gone down to the city to M+J Trimmings or someplace and look for something even more similar to the tassels from Serena & Lily, but in the interest of time, I drove over to my old standby, Joann Fabrics, and picked up a unit of pink Pom Pom Fringe (original price $34.99; used my coupon and got it for about $21). 

Serena and Lily Knot-Off Curtains for Kids Serena and Lily Kids Knockoff

I decided to cut my curtains to just below the length of my windows, because I didn't want them to be used over and over as "hiding spots." Plus, that would save on the amount of trim I needed! I had enough to finish each of my 6 panels at a length of 66" each. I still had some left over, as you can see from the photos below (BTW how cute is my vintage spool? One of my favorite Country Living Fair finds).

I chose to sew the fringe on the curtains, because it's extremely easy if you are comfortable using a machine. Just pin the trim in place, and sew. But the directions say you can also hot glue the fringe on, so sewing is definitely not necessary. I'm just not sure how hot glue holds up in the washing machine. I'm able to wash mine just fine (but I let them air dry).

Vintage spool and fringeSerena and Lily Kids Room Decor Knockoff

In the end, these curtains cost me about $8.50/panel (not counting the cost of thread, because I already had it). They didn't take long at all, and I'm really happy with how they turned out. I try to be careful about overspending on things for my kids, because they are so young, and I know how often my tastes changed when I was growing up. But they're happy with these for now, and so am I. And no one (husband included) can complain about the price!

Featured on:
Made in a Day

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Healthy Summer Side Dishes

Today I'm excited to share some special summer recipe ideas from guest blogger Meredith Kimelblatt. This post is just in time for the warmer weather, and all of her ideas are especially great accompaniments to any main dish cooked on the grill. Cooking is a constant challenge for me; I must have a recipe to follow... and I think the spicy coleslaw below is calling my name :)

Make Your Summer Sides Go Further!

Summer is one of the best times of year for cooking, and summer side dishes are some of the most delicious. Fresh, seasonal produce always tastes great alongside a juicy burger, but this summer try making your favorite sides the stars of your meals! The following are easy ways to get a little more creative with your cooking this summer and to make your ingredients go further:

There’s nothing more delicious than buttery grilled corn on the cob, but corn is way too versatile to only use as a side dish! Feature corn in green, potato or pasta salads, use it in homemade veggie burgers or whip up a refreshing chilled corn soup to make the most of this yummy grain. Or, pile barbecue sauce, onion rings and corn salsa on top of burgers for a southwest twist.

Fruit salads are great, but incorporating fruit into other fun dishes is even better! Top a burger with pineapple slices for a Hawaiian kick, mix juicy watermelon with feta and tomato for a main course salad or blend up a refreshing fruit smoothie for a healthy start to your morning. You can even grill fruit for a good-for-you and very summery dessert—grilled peaches topped with ice cream are delicious!

Cole Slaw
Think you can only eat cole slaw alongside sandwiches? Think again! Coleslaw makes a crunchy, refreshing addition to so many summer recipes; add it to tacos for a zippy twist on lettuce, pile it on top of pulled pork sandwiches or use it to liven up a boring hot dog. You can even make it the base of main course salads for a lighter meal. Eating coleslaw on top of sandwiches instead of alongside of it also allows you to try out fun sides like roasted veggies or sweet potato fries instead!

This spicy coleslaw is sure to become a go-to recipe this summer; make a big batch and dish it out on everything from tacos to burgers!

Spicy Coleslaw
Serves: 6-8 servings

  •        1 head Napa or savoy cabbage, shredded
  •     4 carrots, shredded
  •     2 granny smith apples, cored but not peeled, and thinly sliced
  •     1 medium onion, thinly sliced

For the dressing:
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  •  ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • ½ teaspoon ground pepper
  • ¾ cup mayonnaise
  • Juice from 1 lemon
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Leaves from 1 bunch of fresh mint, for garnish (optional)

Use your hands to combine cabbage, carrots, apples and onion in a large mixing bowl; set aside. In a small bowl, stir together the mustard, sugar, cayenne, cumin, mayonnaise and lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Pour the dressing over the cabbage mixture and toss to coat. Taste again for seasoning, then spoon onto a platter and garnish with mint leaves.

Author Bio: This is a guest post by Meredith K. on behalf of Alexia. For more summer meals and easy dipping sauces, visit 

Ordinary Cupcakes with a Custom Look

Anchor Cupcakes: Not So "Vanilla"

Grab a Quick Cupcake Kit from Target... or DIY Them

Why is it that every event seems to fall on the same weekend in the spring (e.g., dress rehearsals, parade, wedding, dance recital)? With so much going on, I didn't have time to make a birthday cake for B3's party yesterday. But I knew it was coming, so when I saw these cupcake kits at Target a few weeks ago, I scooped up two of them ($4.99/each). Each kit came with 12 of the red cardstock liners, 24 paper liners (which I didn't use), and 12 anchor toothpicks.

Knowing I'd be in no state to make my own (although that would have saved even more $$), I ordered plain white cupcakes from the grocery store at about $0.65/each. Popped them into the custom red liners, stuck the anchor toothpicks on top, and we had custom cupcakes. Altogether, with the anchor/liner kits, these guys still cost us less than a dollar a piece.

I would have loved to have baked my own cupcakes and decorated them myself, and I'm sure I could have done it less expensively than this, but in this case, I just didn't have the time (and honestly, mine wouldn't have looked as good). I still wanted to do something special for my little guy, and this ended up being the perfect fix for me. So in my effort to avoid adding even more stress to a stressful weekend, I certainly chose the "easy way out," but I love knowing that when I need a convenient, easy, QUICK solution like this, I have that option.

These would also make easy Memorial Day or Fourth of July treats!

And there you have it: the quickest custom cupcakes in the world :)

As an aside, if you're planning everything ahead of time, there are lots of cute cupcake toppers on Etsy!

Monday, June 10, 2013

DIY Nautical Hardware Tutorial

DIY Nautical Rope Hardware Tutorial

An Inexpensive Option for Drawer Pulls and Knobs

I'm so happy I was able to finish my Vintage Chifferobe with a very easy DIY hardware project! When I finally got to the point where I was finished painting my cool estate sale find, all I needed was some new hardware. I popped out to the hardware store to check out my options, but I quickly realized that the knobs and pulls I liked were going to cost me about $40. Since I only paid $27 for the original piece, I couldn't bring myself to spend that much on the hardware. So I needed another plan.

At first, I came up with a temporary option, and since we have a "beachy" feel in our home, I thought about using rope for the drawer pulls. I planned to simply thread some rope through the hardware holes, and use that as the "pull." But I knew that could only be temporary, because the main people who would be using it are my kids, so the "hardware" was bound to take a beating. But I was willing to set it up as a temporary option until I came across something affordable. I just didn't know what I would do about the round knobs. But I bought some rope (I used Everbilt Manila Rope 1/4" x 50'), and decided to see what happened.  

Then when I came home and started to evaluate my plan, it occurred to me that maybe I could wind this rope around the original wood hardware. The rope was really stiff, so I had my doubts that it would hold, but I figured I had nothing to lose, so I got out my glue gun and gave it a shot! And it was thrilled when I realized it was going to work.

The original wood hardware was white, but I was worried it would show through under the rope, so I painted it brownish to try to avoid that. You can see, I didn't get too picky with that process... I just didn't want them to be bright white.

For the drawer pulls, I started with the front/face. I put some hot glue on the top corner, and then applied the rope on top. I held the rope in place for a good 10-20 seconds with this step so it was really secure. Then I applied more hot glue, put the rope on top, and continued the process around in an "oval" shape. When I got to the middle, everything got kind of meshed together, so it was easy to just cut the rope and sort of shove it in the remaining space (on top of a spurt of hot glue). You don't have to be very exact, because the texture of the rope covers little mistakes. Then I wound the rope around the sides of the drawer pulls to cover that space, too. Originally I didn't plan to do that, but I decided I liked it better when the whole thing was covered in rope.

The spherical knobs were even easier. Just start at the back and wind around to the front/center. Same rule applies for finishing: just kind of shove it into the middle.

The trickiest part for me was using the hot glue gun. It was hard to know how much glue to use, and you can see from the pic above, I definitely used too much at first (but you can't tell unless you get really close). You start to get the hang of it after a little while. But I think the most important part was making sure you hold the rope onto the glue until it really sets. I think 10-15 seconds is a good time frame. Otherwise you end up with lots of those stringy hot-glue threads all over the place, and they're a pain to clean up.

And really, that's about it! Just reattach the hardware, and you're ready to go! I was so happy to be able to reuse the original hardware with minimal expense (I think the rope was $5.60, and I have more leftover).

Even though I had the old hardware to reuse, you could also just purchase inexpensive wood knobs and pulls and do this to dress them up. The wood hardware is much cheaper than metal. I just did a quick google search and found the same spherical knobs for $0.99).

I'm happy with how the entire chifferobe turned out, but I'm even happier with the price :)

Made in a Day

Vintage Chifferobe for Toy Storage

The Twenty Seven Dollar Vintage Chifferobe

Chic on the Cheap: How to Hide Those Toys

After months of sitting in my garage, my "vintage chifferobe" is finally finished, and better yet, it's making our family room feel even more cozy. This piece continues my stream of trying to find affordable furniture to fill our new home; you can read more about where I picked up this piece here. Or the quick version: I bought it at an Estate Sale for $27. Adding in the cost of paint and materials, it cost me around $50 total. Not bad for a piece that takes up a substantial space in one of the most lived-in rooms in the house.

Basically, I painted this piece using Annie Sloan Chalk Paint in "Florence," using a couple coats of Annie Sloan clear soft wax after the paint application. I've said it before, but it's worth saying again, ASCP is my favorite paint, in essence, because of its RICHNESS: richness of color, of texture, and of variability. You can do so much with it. I invested in two of Annie Sloan's books (Quick & Easy Paint Transformations and Creating the French Look), and that's helped me get some ideas. But there are also classes out there. Near me, Daniella at Junktique Recycling offers them frequently. I'm planning to finally get to one this summer! 

Every time I've used ASCP in the past, I chose to distress my pieces at the end. For the chifferobe, I just wanted a clean, sharp finish, so all I did after painting was apply a couple coats of clear wax. I also chose to paint the outsides of the drawers and inside of the cabinet, too, because I plan to use this piece as toy storage, and I foresee a lot of unclosed drawers in the future... so why not give them a little love, too? I used Behr "Oregano Spice" for the green on the inside to save some money (in an ideal world, I'd have used ASCP in here, too). 

The chifferobe remains to be the perfect hiding spot for a little one, just like the women who sold it to me said they used to do with they were children.


The knobs were an unexpected part of the project, but I'm so happy with how they turned out! I had planned to simply buy some new hardware to "dress up" the piece. But after going to the store and choosing what I liked, I realized the hardware would cost me about $40! More than the original cost of the piece... I couldn't rationalize that purchase, so reluctantly, I put the knobs and drawer pulls back, and resolved to figure out a more creative solution, hence, the DIY Nautical Rope Hardware. I bought some rope for $5 and, using the rope and hot glue, I outfitted the original hardware (you can find that tutorial here).

I'm happy with how it turned out, but still wish I knew more about its original form and function. When was it made? How was it used? If you know any of that, please fill me in!

Friday, June 7, 2013

Country Living Fair

What to Expect at the Country Living Fair

Rain or Shine, You're Sure to Have an Amazing Time!

For years I've been reading my Country Living magazines and dreaming about attending one of the fairs in Ohio or Georgia. I'd thought about making the trip from NY, but it never worked itself out. So this year, when I saw that there was a new location, Rhinebeck, NY, I was thrilled (nevermind that Rhinebeck is a mere 30 minutes from where I used to live; our move last year put us 2 hours away. But still, certainly a reasonable day-trip distance).

Dutchess County Fairgrounds

A Thrifter in Disguise Dutchess County Fairgrounds

I was determined to attend the fair, despite the fact that the same weekend was packed with other commitments for my husband and daughters. But I didn't want to pass up this opportunity, so I called in reinforcements (i.e., super babysitter), and made my plans! Friday was the only day I could even think about sneaking away, so Friday, it was. 

Thursday night, I packed my lunch and backpack, filled the car with gas, went to the ATM, and made sure the fridge was packed with snacks a-plenty for the kiddos. Everything was going according to plan... until I woke up in the middle of the night and heard the soothing sound of raindrops. I like sleeping when it rains, and for a minute I was lulled back to sleep, until it hit me that this rain sounded intense. It was not just one of those nice spring showers; it was heavy, steady, teeming rain... with (according to my iPhone) no signs of stopping for another 36 hours. 

Suddenly, my visions of frolicking through the fairgrounds, camera dangling from my neck, snapping photos whilst eating an ice cream cone and simultaneously pulling a wagon full of vintage and handmade purchases, came to a crashing halt. Rain?! That was not in the plans. But, I shall not be deterred.

16 Dollars single day
Hi Ho Home Market

On Friday morning, I woke up, put on my rain boots and rain jacket, reluctantly put my Canon Rebel away (iPhone camera only today) and headed out to Rhinebeck. I'd been to Dutchess County Fairgrounds plenty of times before, and it's humungous, so I was prepared for a crowd... and the Country Living Fair did not disappoint. There was a line of cars to get into the fairgrounds, and while I didn't have to wait to buy my ticket, there was a steady stream of people flocking in. It wasn't quite as jam-packed as the Sheep & Wool Festival, although that can be attributed to the fact that there were fewer vendors (and farm animals), but it was still crowded. Definitely got a few elbows to the ribs and an umbrella or two flung in my face....

Thrifter in Disguise Country Living Fair
The Red Door Antiques
Thrifter in Disguise Country Living Fair
The Red Door Antiques

But the important part: the booths were amazing. Just downright beautiful! I'm posting pictures of some of my favorites, among them Hi Ho Home Market and The Red Door Antiques (that last link is to her blog). I had so much fun just admiring the uniqueness of each booth. If I had it my way, I would attend the fair for more than one day, just so I could really have a chance to appreciate everything, but alas, that wasn't in the cards this year. And on the subject of "having it my way," there was a lot more I would have loved to take home with me, but I had to keep my budget in mind. So what did I get? 3 vintage thread spools and a set of 4 vintage, folding, metal chairs from the 1940's (soon to be transformed to accompany my Hand-Me-Down Patio Table. Update: here's that chair transformation!). Unfortunately the nice guys who sold them to me don't have a website (because they usually don't do these kinds of venues; they usually do movie sets... which, I believe, makes my chairs infinitely more glamourous).

Hi Ho Home Market

Bottom line, if you love vintage and handmade items, and can make it happen, I would definitely recommend the Country Living Fair. Even in the pouring rain, I had so much fun checking everything out. I loved hearing what people were going to do with their purchases (one lady makes pincushions out of the vintage spools!). And it definitely had the "muse effect" on me; I became even more inspired and motivated to work on my own creative pursuits. 

Thinking about going? Maybe this will help:

Kristen's Tips for Attending the Country Living Fair

  1. If you're sure you're going, buy your ticket ahead of time (you'll save $).
  2. Get there early to secure parking close to the entrance (you'll thank yourself later when you're lugging your purchases through the parking lot). And make a note of where you parked! There aren't neatly marked spots on the grass!
  3. If you are going to Dutchess County Fairgrounds (Rhinebeck), don't bother bringing a cart/wagon with you. I had planned to bring a wagon, but it would have been too much to tow it around the crowds and through the wood chips . Most vendors will put a "sold" sign on your larger purchases so you can pick them up later, or you could just bring it out to the car and get your hand stamped for reentry. There's also a large-package check area, but I didn't use this. Good idea, though.
  4. If you're going to Ohio or Georgia, bring a cart! I haven't been there myself, by Jeanne from JuNxtaposition is a Country Living Fair veteran vendor, and she let me know they work really well there, especially in Ohio.
  5. Scout out the bathrooms as soon as you get there to save the stress of trying to find them with your arms full of bulky purchases (and possibly rain smacking you in the face).
  6. Pack a snack/lunch and water. You'll save $ this way. And while the fairgrounds food is certainly yummy, I always regret it later.
  7. Don't be afraid to haggle with the antiques dealers. If you're uncomfortable offering a lower price, consider asking the vendor if they can "go any lower." It's not rude, most of them expect it, and they'll be honest in their response. I overheard one vendor say, "We don't negotiate on anything under $20." Sounds completely reasonable to me, so keep that guideline in mind, if it helps! You shouldn't feel bad asking for a discount, especially if you buy more than one item. It can't hurt to ask. And once you try it once or twice, it gets easier. Just be respectful of the vendor.
  8. Don't haggle with the artists. For those beautiful handmade items that take so long to make, the price is what it is, and it would be insulting to them to offer less.
  9. Have fun! And don't have "tunnel vision," looking for the perfect thing. Just relax and take it all in. Something will "speak" to you; for me, it's usually something totally unexpected!