Country Living Fair 2013

As promised, I am sharing my pictures from the Columbus Country Living Fair road trip this past weekend.  Let me warn you – there was so much good stuff here that you’ll want to reserve your ticket for next year.
My girlfriends and I started to plan this weekend way back in April – and it actually worked out for all of us!  Amy, Lindsay and Julie each have a family of little ones (7 kiddos between the three of them!) and it’s not often they can sneak away.  So the fact that this one weekend worked for everyone was a miracle in itself!
We left first thing Friday morning.  Our first stop (before we even got out of town) was at Starbucks.  We had to get the official drink of all girls weekends….yeah, you know what it is.
The CL Fair is held in the Ohio Village area of Columbus and runs for 3 days (Friday, Saturday and Sunday) from 10am-5pm each day.
This was our first time to the CL Fair so we had no idea what to expect.  We had very low expectations – we expected large crowds and overpriced items.  Overall….it was WAY better than any of us imagined.  The prices were very reasonable.  Think…better-than-antique-store price tags, but way more variety.
Our plan was to arrive at noon, enjoy the fair until it closed and then hit the town at night.  Saturday we would spend a whole day at the fair then drive home.  It worked out great for the four of us!  Friday didn’t bring as large of a crowd as we expected so we were happy to take advantage of the elbow room.  And thank goodness we did!  Saturday we arrived 20 minutes after the doors opened and were met with long lines and a huge crowd of people.  Not only did we have to wait to park, but we had to wait in line just to purchase an item.
Luckily, the fall weather was perfect for shopping outdoors all weekend so waiting in lines wasn’t all that bad.
I tried to take as many pictures as possible to capture what the fair has to offer.  Most pictures were taken on Friday.  There were such large crowds of people on Saturday that I had to wait for the crowd to clear so I could snap a picture.  And it was definitely picture-taking ADD – Every where I looked I saw more items that caught my eye.  It’s a very good thing I have a small house.  I would’ve filled a truck myself with everything I wanted to take home.
I mean burlap pillows, barn wood signs, marquee letters, vintage fans and screen printed tea towels -they were everywhere.
No matter what you might have been looking for, I bet you would’ve found it.
Are you in the market for letters?  Maybe to spell a word or use as a monogram?
These red letters were about 18″ high and cost about $10.  I imagined a large red letter sitting above the barnwood headboard of a little boys bedroom.
And these vintage printers blocks in ‘his’ and ‘hers’ initials would look cool on a nightstand or bookcase.
I think my favorite “letter” idea is below.  I’m in love.  I think these letter-cut books would be an awesome gift…and definitely do-able at only $22.  It could be a pretty easy DIY project using a band saw and drill press.  Yup…I need a band saw…and a drill press.  I have a birthday coming up if anyone wants to rush out and get one of those 😉 
Maybe you’re in the market for antlers?  There definitely wasn’t a shortage of those.  I think every vendor had some to sell.
One vendor displayed a whimsical version of the rustic antlers.  She wrapped colorful yarn around random areas to pretty ’em up.  This would be a very easy DIY project!
I’m more of a fan of the au natural antler.  One or two gracing the shelves of a built-in or sitting on a side table add some dimension.  I like this arrangement below.  In fact, I’m pretty sure I’ve seen this exact setup in the pages of Country Living…
If I had a foyer, that cabinet would’ve came home with me.  And maybe a set of antlers.
If antlers aren’t your thing…then maybe you’re looking for bunting.  You know, those flags seen all over Pinterest?  There was a ton here!  Triangular, square, vinyl, paper, burlap, chalkboard…
No matter what your style, there was a bunting for you.
Or maybe you’re into wooden crates and baskets.  Yeah, they had one or two…at every tent.
Peck baskets were $16/each (eek!) and those crates I think were $22/each.
Maybe a dough bowl or cutting board is more up your alley?  Sure you can get them from Potterybarn. But these are the originals worn with years of usage.  I would LOVE one of these hanging in my kitchen.  And if I had a kitchen with huge walls and tons of light, these would’ve came home with me.  I’m actually tearing up a little that I left with out one…maybe next year.
These type trays are very popular with the country folk.  I’m not sure what I would store in them, but if you have a thimble collection (?) or maybe a tiny GI Joe collection, this would be perfect 🙂
 Have you been looking for vintage shoe trees (mannequin feet???)?  Who isn’t?
Vintage road signs?  They got ’em.  Lots of them.  See that industrial cart sitting behind them?  I’ve been eyeing these for a while!  I would love one for my coffee table.  This definitely almost came home with me.  There were rows of these carts…so I’m confident there will be more next year.
There were plenty of rustic homemade racks too.  Like this one below, which I think would be a cool DIY project.  Those are spoons flattened and nailed to weathered wood, and then the handles are bent so they can be used as a hanger.  How cute would these be in a kitchen to hold a hand towel or apron?
I had an immediate connection with the repurposed door knob racks below.  Love at first sight? Oh yeah. 
Here’s another idea with silver flatware – a silver pie server bent to go over a door or cabinet.  Mind. blown. 
How about unique lighting? There were so many great ideas – baskets, jars, cages… all repurposed as light shades.  These were some pretty cool ones…
And you know I’m partial to mason jar chandeliers.
All of those lights were plugged in to an outlet, but could also be hardwired.  And they were only $40 each!! What!?
These aged maps are one of the first items we saw.  They can be used as framed art or wrapping paper.  A little pricey at $5 each if using as wrapping paper – but a steal if framed out.  I’m a fan… I actually snagged one of these exact maps a year ago while we were visiting Baltimore.  I’m still trying to find the perfect spot for it…
If you’ve ever flipped through the pages of Country Living, then you will probably agree that any of these items would be seen in the pages of the magazine.  There was just so many different items…
Old and new.
Repurposed and replicated.
Antique…
Timeless…and just random.
I didn’t know what kind of prices to expect prior to our trip.  So I mainly went with the thought that I would bring back some great ideas.  And I definitely got a few.
Like these word cards.  These could easily be recreated (although the vintage ones are pretty cool).  I can picture this hanging among a photo gallery on the wall.  A little reminder for all my friends who think grammar and spelling isn’t important.  Spelling is cool.  And so is this little sign.
While these little signs were only $7 each, they would be an easy and free DIY project.  And a cute sign to direct wedding guests to the ceremony and reception.
I particularly like the shape of the sign below.  The saying is pretty darn adorable, and I like the weathered wood.
Oh, and this is my favorite weathered art piece.  Ever.  I love the wittiness of this.  I may just have to recreate this to go over my own sofa.
There were so many great ideas for fall.  Like these fabric pumpkins with a stick used as a stem!  The fabric choices weren’t really my style.  These pumpkins were actually creating by sewing fabric pieces together.  I’d have to use this idea, but avoid the whole sewing part.  I’ve seen other fabric pumpkins where the actual stem from a real pumpkin is used – which I like even better.
Or I can just scrap that idea all together and make a book page pumpkin.  Love love love this idea.  This will definitely be a project for craft night.  Who’s in for craft night book page pumpkins?
I snapped this picture below to remind me what this burlap wreath looked like.  The price on this guy was only $38, and I almost sprung for it.  Amy convinced me that I can make this.  So I guess I’ll be making it…
Look who represented Michigan!  Cari from HGTVs ‘Cash and Cari’ had a stand with her goods.  Her storefront is in Ann Arbor.  I didn’t realize she was actually working her stand until after I took a picture.  But she was there!  Recognize her?
It took us 1 1/2 days to see the entire fair.  I think we would’ve done it in one day had we gotten there early enough.  But we had such a great time that we decided to make this an annual trip.  Next year we plan to to drive out Thursday night and then spend all Friday at the fair to avoid the weekend crowd.
Even the food at the fair was unique.  We stopped by the Sweet Carrot Casual Cuisine Food Truck and indulged in this housemade pulled pork with corn salsa and cole slaw on a corncake.  Oh, and loaded with a layer of mac and cheese.  Yum and yum.  We didn’t say this was a healthy eating weekend…
I had to make a stop at my favorite ice cream spot.  I first had Jeni’s Ice Cream in Nashville – who knew they had food trucks!  Come to Michigan, please!!
Salted Caramel and Brambleberry Crunch ice cream.  This treat can even entice the most lactose intolerant folk to try it…
And finallyhere’s what I took home.  I practiced a lot of control people…
This burlap Christmas stocking and wire bird ornament.  I buy a new bird ornament each year for my tree, and I like having a variety of different stockings. 
This bird necklace.  Justin calls me Katniss Everdeen when I wear it.
Two vintage tea towels, and one new one.  I have an obsession with tea towels.  I don’t understand it either.
These dachshund pillows.  I couldn’t pass them up!  You’re rolling your eyes.  I know I know.  It’s a dachshund thing…we’re all crazy.
And finally, this doorknob coat rack.  I haven’t found the perfect place for it yet, but I’m thinking it will hang in my bedroom to hold my purse and maybe a sweater.  Because I keep the temp in my house just above freezing in the winter.  Why?  Idontknow.
So, what do you think?  Annual girls trip?
Mary

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