about town

2014 REA Award Winner!

August 20, 2014
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Our Cupid Call campaign we launched last January started out as a little idea, but turned into a BIG blessing for all parties involved.  Word spread about it like wildfire so we thought it was a perfect marketing acheivemnet project to enter for the Gifts and Dec annual Retail Excellence Awards.  We were thrilled to be selected as a finalist which means we get a lovely write up in their magazine.

rea marketing awardIn addition to the write up, we also get invited to a 4 star dinner and awards ceremony in New York City at the Chelsea Piers!

rea awardI brought my lovely date Danielle, our Berkley manager and we basked in the sun reflecting off the Hudson River during cocktail hour.

rea awardThere are a variety of different categories stores are selected for including… visual merchandising, store events and store design/redesign.  Each category had 3 finalists that were featured.

rea awards

Cupid must have shot his arrow into the heart of the judges because they selected catching fireflies as the winner!  Ahhhh… my mini oscar moment.  I shared a short little speech and received this lovely Waterford vase recognizing my achievement.

rea awardOur mitten state was very well represented that night because Mary Liz from Leon and Lulu also won for visual merchandising!

What a wonderful night we had.  We’re so lucky to be in the business of making days brighter and this evening really shined!  A BIG THANKS to all who helped make our Cupid Call campaign one to remember.

Like to see where I spend my time away from catching fireflies?  Then sign up to receive blog posts like these in your email inbox HERE

my berkley art bash picks

June 9, 2014
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Tis’ the time of year where talented artists fill four blocks of 12 Mile in downtown Berkley for the 13th Annual Berkley Art Bash.  Since our first catching fireflies shop is located in the middle of it all and it is a Chamber of Commerce sponsored event,  I’ve had the pleasure of directing this show for the past ten years.  It’s hard to resist all the amazing goodies that will be for sale this Saturday so I’ve been doing a little pre-shopping.

lily ryanI have recently treated myself to a nice slr camera and a couple of lenses and it just happens to be the lovely Lily Ryan makes special bags to tote those around… so I do believe I need one of these pretties.

smished dominion I don’t plan on going on safari any time soon, but you don’t need to go to Africa to grab one of these uber adorable crocheted elephant heads from Jane Rennalls.  I already own this one and am looking to add a bunny or bear to my collection soon!

lead head glassI’ve been on a bit of a plant kick lately and although I like pretty pots… I think one of these terrariums by Lead Head Glass would look quite magnificent in my abode.

Marna McGlinn

And speaking of pots… I cannot get enough of Marna McGlinn’s  work!

Jodi lynnSince my husband, Steve is a bit of a fanatic about cycling… I think this print by Jodi Lynn needs to go in our new home office.

Ruthie KieferGus’ dog collar has seen better days so we need to pick out a fun print from Ruthie Kiefer for summer.

marcy davyI love the look and feel of Marcy Davy’s canvas prints.  I can envision this one in my imaginary cottage up north.

jill hamiltonWith our third international daughter heading home this June, I need to sneak of few of these buttons by Jill Hamilton in her bag before she heads back to Finland.

jennifer allevetoFabric, felt and pure cuteness… cannot resist these little pops of sunshine for my walls by Jennifer Allevato.

bucuraCome summer my everyday wardrobe consists of cute comfy skirts so I will definitely have to peruse through Julie Crouse’s selection.  Each one is unique because they are made from a variety of second hand t-shirts.

So that’s my top ten for this year.  I invite you to peruse through our 120 artists to make yours or better yet, come on out and see all these fantastic goods in person this Saturday from 10-6.  And did I mention catching fireflies’ annual GIANT SIDEWALK SALE will also be going on all day?  There are tons of great deals to be had at delirious discounts!  Visit BerkleyArtBash.com for more info.

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quick trip to the tropics

March 31, 2014
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Since the forecast called for yet another cold Saturday in March, we decided to head west to a warmer climate.  There’s no need to fly down to Costa Rica to get your tropical fix… you can just mingle with a few hundred of butterflies for an hour or two at Frederik Meijer Gardens in Grand Rapids instead.

frederik meijer gardensIn addition to the greenhouses, there are loads of sculptures all around the park.  Iitu and I did not venture off to see many of them since it was a bit chilly but you can’t miss this marvelous marching band parallel to the parking lots.

arid gardenBefore you make your way to the tropics, you travel though a desert area filled with cool catci that look like they belong on a different planet.

meijer gardensThere are many great places to take photos.  We both took our fancy cameras and brushed up on our photo skills.  There were lots of those big beautiful blue butterflies pictured on the sign in the gardens but boy-oh-boy they are hard to capture with a camera so this is the only photo you will see of them.

butterfly exhibit

It’s fascinating to see all stages of these stunning creatures.  The annual Butterflies Are Blooming exhibition is the largest temporary tropical butterfly exhibition in the nation. For the months of March and April you can experience tropical butterflies from around the world flying freely in these gardens.

butterfly exhibit meijer gardens

There’s beauty packed from head to toe in this place… the flowers, trees, plants and of course the star of the show ~ the beautiful butterflies.  Plus did I mention that it’s a balmy 85 degrees in this sweet smelling conservatory?

meijer gardens

If you’re going on the weekends, I would recommend getting there earlier in the day.  The gardens open at 9am.  We arrived around 10am and by 11am it was already getting pretty crowded.  There are lots of spots you can just stand or sit to soak everything in.

butterflies are blooming meijer gardensAnd I do recommend just hanging around… you never know when a butterfly wants to stop by and say hello ~ like it did on this gentleman’s hat.

Like to see where I spend my time away from catching fireflies?  Then sign up to receive blog posts like these in your email inbox HERE

season of change

October 27, 2013
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While looking over the last year of photos on my Instagram feed, you can tell my most favorite seasons are fall and spring.  Of course I also love summer and some parts of winter too, however my photos don’t seem to show it as much.

It’s the gorgeous changes of the trees during these seasons that make my neighborhood walks so full of beauty.

That and the stunning sunlight warming up brisk mornings and cool evenings.

I’m not one to ponder deep thoughts often, but I do find it interesting that the most beautiful seasons in Michigan are the ones that go through the most change.

And ironically most people including me tend to resist change.  It’s uncomfortable and unknown.  It’s hard and scary.  You have to take risks and are not always guaranteed rewards.

It’s often far easier to stay in our comfortable cocoon of perceived safety.

october love

But I think we can cheat of ourselves of unknown beauty that will enrich our lives beyond measure if we resist opportunities that require change.

I love that every six months our wonderful world reminds me that change is beautiful.

art for everyone

October 6, 2013
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One amazing event that I’m proud takes place in our state is ArtPrize.  It’s now in its fifth year and all began with a “social experiment” idea from Rick DeVos.  He was going to give away the world’s largest art prize based solely on a public vote. DeVos said the event would take over downtown Grand Rapids, Michigan, that fall. As it turned out, that was just the beginning.

Steve & I have attended this awesome event 4 out of the last 5 years.  Here are some bits and pieces of what we enjoyed this time around…

Sleeping Dune National Lakeshore created from fabric took first prize.  Silkwaves added fantastic color to the Grand River.  This heart has the right message… Actions Speak Louder.

The wood carved Dancing With Mother Nature sculpture was stunning in person.  And this Earth Giant looked like he has been kicking back fishing in the Grand River for years.

Glass orchid garden  & photo-like painted polar bears.

Plus I love the magical peep holes in All Things Possible.

The origami swans jumped off the painting and filled the ceiling in Wing and a PrayerTaking Flight was amazing in person too.

Back to Eden was a lovely living wall of prettiness and old tires never looked so cute on Tired Pandas.

That may look like a quilt… but is actually carved from wood!

Thanks for another inspiring experience ArtPrize.  We’ll keep our head in the clouds dreaming of artful ways to look at the world until next year!

Like to see where I spend my time away from catching fireflies?  Then sign up to receive blog posts like these in your email inbox HERE

brooklyn bound

September 14, 2013
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I promise this is the last entry about my August adventures (since I’m only posting this about a month late).   I’ve been to New York many times for gift trade shows but never made the time to explore across the bridge in Brooklyn.  Since Steve and I had a free Saturday on this trip we took the gray line to Bedford Ave for the afternoon.  Williamsburg is a hub for hipster’s so it’s no surprise that vintage & diy market, Artists and Fleas is located there.

artists and fleas brooklyn

I remember hearing that Ferndale’s own, Rust Belt Market was inspired by these guys and it definitely had that feel… but I have to give props to Rust Belt owners, Chris & Tiffany for taking this concept to another level.  Ferndale has a true authentic gem because of their passion, dedication, creativity, collabration and lots of hard work.

smorgasburg

Just a block down from Artists & Fleas is Smorgasburg.  This foodie’s paradise happens every Saturday from 11am – 6pm.  The creativity, variety of foods & view of the Manhattan skyline makes this a must-top  on my list.

smorgasburg brooklynIf anyone is looking to transition into being an entrepreneur and can make a good pie… I think this idea is brilliant.  I saw a similar concept when visiting a street fair in Seattle a few years ago and am surprised that it hasn’t made its way to Michigan yet.   Pizza Moto is basically a mobile wood fired brick oven.  In this age of food trucks, festivals & universal love of pizza… I hope to see one of these joining a food truck rally near Detroit soon!

smorgasburg brooklyn

Lots of great logos, clever company names and food combinationscraft cocktails and dessert bar anyone?

smorgasburg brooklyn

This Arnold Palmer slush was oh-so-tasty.  I knew there was a long line at Kelvin for a reason!

brooklynWe toured through the boutique district and ended up dining at the the festive Rosarito Fish Shack before heading back to Manhattan.

rea awards

The main reason we visited New York was to attend the Retail Excellence Award Gala at the Chelsea Piers.  We were one of three finalists for store design of our newest Ann Arbor location.  Here’s our pretty feature in Gifts and Dec magazine.

rea awards

We didn’t win, however I really want to visit the store that did!  Talk about having vision… they transformed a 12,000 sq ft Firestone garage into a lifestyle store where I would like to go live.  If you’re ever near Sioux Falls, you might want to swing by the wonderful world of Zing.

We ended the evening with a lovely late night walk on the highline and enjoyed all the sights and sounds of the city on a sleepy Sunday.

Like to see where I spend my time away from catching fireflies?  Then sign up to receive blog posts like these in your email inbox HERE

5 fabulous stops up north

September 7, 2013
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I was having too much fun living my life this past August to find time blog to about it so bear with me as I share a few more summer themed posts.  After all, it is going to be 90 degrees this week so just pretend this happened last weekend :-)   I’ve chatted up many lovely things I like about up north over the past years here and here and here … but I couldn’t resist sharing some more shots from my girls weekend away this year.
sugarkissed traverse city

This new sweet stop in downtown Traverse City lured us in with its sherbert colored Dr. Seuss vibe.  We treated ourselves to some tart key lime frozen yogurt that was capital D-elicious!

leland

Off to M22 and the lovely town of Leland.  I suggest wandering a block or two from the fishtown area to this delightful park.  In the center stands a handsome old tree surrounded by handmade tiles.  This definitely is one of the more artful ways to fund raise for a most beautiful public place everyone can enjoy.  And on a side note…  swing by Two Fish Gallery for a sweet shopping experience.

glen arbor

I never tire of Glen Arbor and all its charm.  Cherry Republic never disappoints and I always walk out with a bag of clothes from Cottonseed.  This year I discovered Malia style Jag Jeans there.  They are my new go-to jeans because they make me look & feel so slim PLUS being stretch denim they are so comfortable and never get saggy!

lelanau sunset

Of course no shop or town can compete with the stunning sunsets and gigantic dunes that grace this one of a kind place.

monumental finds

On the way home we detoured to Frankfort to see if Monumental Finds was still creating giant playhouses from discarded doors, windows and other finds.  These Alice-in-Wonderland flavored structures always make me smile.  Another thing that brings me a grin is finding an ice cream stand that serves Dole-Whip!  I haven’t been to Disney World since I was in 4th grade, but one thing I do remember is LOVING pineapple Dole Whip.  I’m still on the hunt to find that flavor in Michigan, but until I do… tangerine will have to do.

Like to see where I spend my time away from catching fireflies?  Then sign up to receive blog posts like these in your email inbox HERE

fantastic scupltures in sebastopol

September 1, 2013
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With every new area I explore, I always hope to stumble on a surprise that makes me smile.  These incredibly clever sculptures created from junk that was destined for the scrap yard make a stop in Sebastopol, California worth it.

patrick amiot

The talented duo behind these wild and whimsical creations are  Patrick Amiot and Brigette Laurent.  A snippet from his website reads, “The whole purpose of my work is to glorify these objects, because they have their own spirit,” Amiot enthuses. “When a hubcap has traveled on a truck for millions of miles, and has seen the prairies in the winter and the hot summer asphalt, when it’s done traveling with that truck and finds itself in the scrap yard and I find it, I kind of like to use that. This hubcap, or whatever piece of metal, from the day it was manufactured until now, has an important history. And I like to think the spirit of all these things lived incredible lives. If they could talk to you, they could tell amazing stories. That’s something I don’t want to hide.”

renga arts

The first place we saw his work was at the lovely shop, Renga Arts.  They have a fabulous sculpture garden that highlights some of their work.

renga arts sebastopol

After we soaked in all that Renga Arts had to offer, we headed off to Florence Street which is just a few blocks from downtown Sebastopol.  I have to say that I’ve never walked through such an artful and happy neighborhood.  My guess is Patrick & Brigette created many of these front yard sculptures in themes the home owners requested… from sports teams to professions to pastimes ~ you see it all!

florence street sebastopolpatrick amiot

It’s hard to see all the details in these smaller photos, but rest assured… they did not miss a beat.  I love batman’s tool belt ~ complete with a toaster!

florence street sebastopol

I took photos of almost all the sculptures we saw but if you’re hungry for more, see additional pictures of their work HERE.  Or better yet ~ if you ever find yourself in Northern California, make sure to spend an afternoon in Sebastopol.

Like to discover artists who are marching to their own beat?  Then sign up to receive blog posts like these in your email inbox HERE

marmalade and curly girl tour

August 26, 2013
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Since I snapped well over 100 photos of my 3 day girl getaway in Boston, I had to dedicate an entire post just to the work spaces of Leigh Standley.  We sell a number of Leigh’s lovely goodies at catching fireflies so it was fun to see the behind scenes of her warehouse/office space.

curly girl warehouseLet me just say this place is cute enough to be a tv set!  I’ll let the photos do all the talking…

curly girl offices

Here is where all her retail web orders get fulfilled & shipped.

Curly Girl Design OfficeAnd her office…  no words ~ just drool.

curly girl office

Thank you Mati Rose for capturing all us gals in this happy place!

marmalade belmont ma

Next, off to her retail shop in downtown Belmont.  Once again, I’ll let the photos be your tour guide…

marmalade belmont mamarmalade belmont mamarmalade belmont ma

marmalade belmont mamarmalade belmont ma

Thank you Leigh for sharing a slice of your life with us.  This little trip filled my tank with inspiration for a long while.

Like to see where I spend my time away from catching fireflies?  Then sign up to receive blog posts like these in your email inbox HERE

a whirlwind of wonderful

August 26, 2013
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I have been a very lucky girl this summer.  You know that saying, Work Hard, Play Hard?  That has defined my August.  One of my long weekend escapes earlier in the month was to Boston for a girl’s weekend hosted by the lovely Leigh Standley of Curly Girl Design. Our three delightful days consisted of a sunset cruise, flea marketing, shop perusing and celebrating Leigh’s soon-to-arrive twins…

tatte bakery bostonand eating… lots of eating :-)  Our first stop for lunch was Tatte Bakery & Cafe.  This is one of Leigh’s favorite spots and after eating a most amazing tasting sandwich, I can see why.  But the real star of the show here are the gorgeous pastries, cookies and other scrumptious baked goods.

After lunch we shopped at Marmalade, Leigh’s retail shop in downtown Belmont.  I took plenty of pictures of this happy shopping space … so many that they will be in their very own blog post.

picnic fixingsAfterwards we headed back to Leigh’s pad to make picnic fixins for our sunset cruise around Boston Harbor.  This is where I began to feel like I was living in a magazine shoot.  I also believe that all sandwiches taste even better when wrapped in parchment paper and bakers twine.

Leigh Standley's Home

 In between getting helping with kitchen prep, I explored her gorgeous home…. like I said ~ magazine shoot :-)

Leigh Standley's Home

Next…we were off to the harbor!

sailing bostonIt was a most perfect evening for this memorable event.  All the gals were instagraming many of the moments, so I used a few of their pics for this collage.  Thank you Close2MyArtLizzyFlanagan and LacyLike.

breakfast buffet

After a late night of sharing stories, we awoke to this gorgeous scene for breakfast… complete with a vintage handkerchief runner.  Ahhh ~ the subtle and sweet details.

Leigh Standley's Baby ShowerThen the beautiful baby shower organized by the oh-so-thoughtful & crafty Alyssa.  After the festivities, we had a relaxing afternoon.  I forget how good it is for the soul to spend time with inspiring women… hearing their stories, learning about their passions and visions for what’s next.  Thank you (from left to right) Mati Rose, Lacy Young, Leigh, Margo Tantau, Michelle Allen and Alyssa Barr Klatte for an unforgettable weekend.

grapefruit sangriaLater that evening we feasted on fish tacos, grilled Mexican corn, homemade guacamole, salsa and grapefruit sangria… all under the starlit sky on the back patio.  So stunning and yummy!

flea market

The next morning we grabbed a most delicious donut for some flea market fuel.  Leigh’s dog, Lucy led the way and sniffed out some spectacular finds for us.

flea market finds

Here’s a bit of my bounty.  Muffin tins and glass jars are great for jewelry displays. I plan on using these critters & toy figurines in some 3 tiered displays  inspired by the ones I saw at the store, I Like You a couple years ago.

bostonNext we headed to a very hip area of Boston and scouted out some more second hand finds, food trucks and also hit a fantastic art market where I scored some hip handmade clothes from cinderloop and mountain ash design.

sowa boston

It was definitely a whirlwind of wonderful.  A big thank you to Leigh who organized this great gathering.  I think we might all have to return to celebrate your babes’ first birthdays next year!

Like to see where I spend my time away from catching fireflies?  Then sign up to receive blog posts like these in your email inbox HERE

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April McCrumb

I'm April McCrumb ~ a creative gal from Michigan that loves to share clever gift ideas, simple recipes, my favorite tunes & all things crafty.  Thanks for stopping by my whimsical world. I hope you enjoy your visit.

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