Balloon Rally

balloon profile @designerssweetspot.com

I have been taking it easy lately. It feels good to spend time out doors, and catch up on things behind the scenes. My son and I took a side trip to see the Balloon Rally going on in the Monroe, WI. It’s a lovely small town in the southern part of our state. We ate hamburgers and ice cream from the food vendors, and listened to live jazz and blues music while we watched the balloons. A perfect summer’s evening in my book.

Blue balloon stripes

I have always wanted to see the Balloon Festival in Santa Fe, New Mexico. I had no idea such a thing existed here in Wisconsin. I happened to see an ad for this event that they haven’t had in almost 5 years. What are the odds?

Balloons rising

We arrived at the fair grounds just in time to see the balloons filling up and taking off into the horizon.

black balloon rising

They are of course absolutely huge!  So graceful and beautiful!

Pilots in the balloon basket

We were fortunate enough to be right below the flight path….

Bottom view of balloon basket

You would be surprised how loud they are as they release the hot air into the balloon. It seemed like we were so close we could have touched the basket!

2 balloons

Have you ever read Around the World in 80 Days? Seeing the balloons makes me want to read it again, such a great book!

Balloon glow

balloon profile

As the balloons disappeared behind us, we would turn around and there would be another one up in the air ready to take off. There were 6-8 balloons total. They all took off at once and made a short 6 mile trip into the countryside. Then they descend to the ground, pack up the balloon, and bring it back to the rally for another go. The last take off of the day is just before sunset. They call it “The Balloon Glow”.

Rainbow balloon overhead

This balloon was even more beautiful than the first! Wouldn’t it be wonderful to go for a ride in a hot air balloon? Definitely on my bucket list! #yesIamcrazy

Balloons on the horizon

There were dozens of photographers at this event. I couldn’t wait to see how the pictures came out. I wasn’t disappointed.

Tuscan sunset balloon3

The last balloon to take off was named Tequila Sunrise. What a great name! Such summer fun! What are you doing for fun this summer?

 

 

 

The Randolph Street Market Roundup

Randolph market

We are back home after a wonderful weekend in Chicago at the Randolph Street Market. It’s been years since we visited Chicago during the summer months, lots of things have changed since the last time we were there in warm weather.

painted windows

The Randolph Street Market is one of those things. I am absolutely certain it would have become one of my favorite haunts no matter what the time of year. It was amazing!

I was completely inspired by so many things! These painted windows were stunning!

letters for sale

The vintage market is full of unique items, repurposed, or artistically created. So many wonderful things could have come home with me! It was such fun to see more urban style things, we don’t have much of that here in Wisconsin.

You know, we are very country.

Randolph Market decor

The blogger event was a two day affair. We had a tent full of bloggers who came to network and shop the market. It was a tremendous success.

Blogger conference

We had great food, fun and conversation. We heard inspiring words from some of the event Sponsors. This is Paula from the Randolph Street Market, along with the girls from Blitsy.

Gina and Jess

Our main presenter was Gina from Shabby Creek Cottage. I really enjoyed meeting her and hearing her blog story. She is an amazing woman, I can’t wait to meet her again some day.

Randolph Market decor2

The decorations were so adorable! My friend Karen from Dragon Fly and Lilly Pads made them.

DIVA of DIY

 

During the market, there were six of us bloggers who presented a project to the group. This is Leanne from Diva of DIY, she made the most adorable backpack station!

#buildup

I presented my DIY Lap Desk, it was fun! Everyone was so sweet and encouraging.

It’s hard to be the presenter, you never know what to expect when you are on stage. We had a smallish group, so we were very informal and it made everyone feel very comfortable.

I learned so much from these ladies! We decided we would use the hashtag buildup to remember to encourage each other in our blogs.

Boutique double beds

While we were there, we stayed at the beautiful Chicago Athletic Association Hotel on Michigan Avenue. The hotel was also one of the event sponsors.

My life will never be the same.

The hotel was simply GORGEOUS.

It also had the most comfortable bed I have ever slept in.

seating in the billiards room

The “boutique” hotel is full of beautiful period details, I loved all the woodwork in the Billiards Room. I can just see a group of friends meeting for cocktails and a few games of pool here!

billiards room

 

They even have a broom ball court! How interesting!

 

Boutique hotel bath

The stunning hotel renovation has only been open for a few months. The Chicago Athletic Association hotel was built in 1890, and was originally an all men’s athletic club. Many famous Chicago athletes were trained here. The design team that renovated the hotel was careful to preserve much of it’s original character, in a very delicious, masculine,  Ralph Lauren sort of way.

Boutique hotel bath2

The bath that made me SWOON.

I love black and white tile, just love it!

Bike and flowers

 

One of the things we love to do while we visit the city is take long walks. There never seems to be a lack of things that inspire me.

We had warm humid days with a misty rain. All the plantings were simply glorious!

I don’t ever remember Chicago being so full of plants. Perhaps I just never noticed? Or perhaps they are doing more to make the city an inviting place?

Either way, they sure were beautiful!

landscape

 

Simply, stunning colors and folliage!

outdoor cafe

There were also outdoor cafe’s everywhere we went. They had the most creative uses for plants to create a desirable outdoor space. Love this look!

landscape at night

As night fell, the city lights were captivating. I love how the look against the misty sky.

skyline on the river

 

chicago skyline

 

skyview from the ground

During the early morning, we explored more of the streets of down town on our way to the Randolph Street Market.

kayaks on the river

I didn’t know you could kayak on the river, did you?

Opera house portico

The Lyric Opera house was stunning, we happened to come across it when we were on our way to the Market one day.

Did you know that I am an opera nerd? Yup, true story.

front

Beautiful!

 

Sponsors

 

This event was one of the best I have ever attended. The Randolph Street Market and all the sponsors were so hospitable! Everything was beautifully done, the food, decorations, the presentations and all the wonderful sponsor gifts and goodies, it truly was an experience to remember!

A big thanks to Randolph Street Market, Hometalk, Chicago Athletic Association and Blitsy for making it all possible, along with the following sponsors:

Mariano’s West Loop

MillerCoors for Blue Moon

Plaid, makers of Mod Podge, FolkArt, Gallery Glass and One Stroke

Homeright

Rockler

Show them some love and visit their websites!

I look forward to doing it all again next year!

 

Journey to Haven

 

Haven or BustIt’s been a hectic couple of weeks. My trip to the Haven Conference in beautiful Atlanta, Georgia was nothing short of amazing. I am still overwhelmed by the experience.

I met so many wonderful people, and learned so much!

The highlight of my trip was traveling with my sweet friend Karen from Dragon Flies and Lilly Pads. We went to the SNAP conference earlier this year, and decided to travel together again to Haven. This time we drove, which allowed us more time for seeing the sights!

Butler's antiques

 

One of our favorite stops was Butler’s Antiques in Hopkinsville, KY. Hopkinsville is a beautiful little town, so quaint and picturesque.

outside Butler's antiques

 

One of our blogger friends, Kathy from Petticoat Junction recommended this place. WOW! It was a junkers dream!

Good thing we brought a van!

Raymond

 

Raymond was so helpful, he’s been in the antique business for more than 20 years. If you stop by be sure and tell him I sent you!

Buckhorn Hyatt Regency

 

When we arrived at our hotel in Atlanta, we were amazed at it’s beauty.

view from the 17th floor

Sunsets views from our window were epic. Almost made me want to live there. Almost.

garden party

 

The first night there was a cocktail reception on the garden terrace. The Haven Team never fails to impress with their sense of style and color.

cocktails

 

We enjoyed refreshments for hours, met new friends and old.

garden party food

 

I love getting ideas for party food. This display of nuts, raw veggies, assorted cheeses and crackers was right up my alley.

HGTV girls

 

We spent the next several days meeting new people, bloggers and sponsors. Here are the HGTV girls. Sarah (left) and Lucy (Lucy) from the HGTV series Beach Flip. Karen and I roomed with Lynn (middle right) from Fern Avenue and Evey (middle left) from Evey’s Creations, who were recently on the HGTV show Flea Market Flip. It was so fun to meet these ladies. They are all as sweet as sunshine and super talented.

We are HGTV addicts at our house. Did I mention that?

hotel seating

 

The hotel was beyond beautiful, I would love to have this look in my house.

DIY hall of fame

 

There were so many wonderful sponsors, each one had a booth for us to visit and connect with. I was partial to the Home Depot booth, I love this DIY sign made with yard sticks. The sponsors do an amazing job of making us bloggers feel welcome, and never fail to inspire.

There are so many more pictures I could post, if you follow me on Instagram  you can see more insights to our amazing experience.

sanding with Ryobi Tools

 

One of my favorite parts of the conference was the building classes. A group of bloggers built 8 of these beautiful dining tables. Karen and I were in the group that helped sand and refinish them. Karen rocks the tool world by sanding in a dress.

You go girl!

 

Karen under the table

The legs of our table were finished with this beautiful blue stain. The top received a special treatment from Beth from Sawdust and Embryos.

Isn’t it beautiful?

IMG_0024

 

Looking forward to another great Haven experience next year!

Copper Falls State Park

 

Bad River landscape

I have been off the grid this week. We have returned from our travels to the great Northern Territory of Wisconsin. We enjoy camping and this year we decided to explore one of the parks in our home state. We have lived here most of our life, but have yet to see all there is to see in our home state.

Copper Falls State Park is one of several parks in the northern area. It has 5 star ratings across the board on Trip Advisor, Yelp and just about every other site I looked at. The park has many amenities like hiking, swimming and boating, and the ones they don’t have are available near by.

North Woods Canapy

We chose to hike into our tent site which was a mere 250 yards from the parking area. The park provides a small wagon for hauling your equipment to your site which made it very easy. We have never used a hike -in site, and would do it again. It was a lovely spot, with very tall maple and ash trees.

Sleeping under the canopy was great, we were protected from the majority of wind and rain. There were a few Mosquitos, so bring your repellent just in case. Temperatures can be very cool at night here, it was in the mid-forties the few nights we were there, so bring lots of blankets.

Red Granit Falls2

During the day we explored the parks hiking trails. They were well marked and we appreciated how well groomed they were. As we neared the end of the 2.5 mile trail we heard the rushing water of the Red Granite Falls, one of two beautiful water falls in the park. It was absolutely  breath taking.

Red Granit Falls

The massive red rocks help give the water some of its unusual coloring. High concentrations of copper and iron give the water its blackish color and mysterious character. The Ojibowa Indians named this river,  Bad River. You can see why, it is a massive river, and the rapids are huge.

Bridge to Copper Falls

The second water fall is Copper Falls, hence the parks namesake. You can walk around the falls from different viewing angles over these lovely rustic bridges.

Copper Falls

Copper falls is a bit smaller, but no less impressive. I couldn’t help but think that the water looked like dark ale, complete with its rich golden foam.

Copper Falls Rapids

The sound of the rushing water is so musical, I could have listened to it forever.

Basalt steps to Copper Falls

 

Be prepared to do some serious climbing while you are here. These stone steps are made from naturally occurring basalt, a lava rock left here ages ago. We had no idea that there was any thing like this in our state. I was sore for a day or two after scaling many upward paths such as this.

Bayfield Harbor

If you would like a day trip, there are a number of small towns in the area with sights to see. We headed further north to Bayfield, right on the shores of Lake Superior. The historical town is built along this beautiful bay.

Bayfield Harbor Yachts

The Lake superior region is very unique looking, the deep lake is a rich blue color and there is always a cool breeze.

Bayfield WI

Established in the mid-1800’s, there are lots of period homes and buildings to see. They all had beautiful gardens and landscaping.

Petunias

 

This restaurant pictured above, got its name from the local fish packing plant. Fresh white fish from Lake Superior is still packed into wooden barrels, salted and pickled for pickled herring as it has been done here for the last 150 years.

Pickled Herring

 

I love the character of this vintage sign.

Red Yacht

There is plenty of sailing on Lake Superior, Bayfield is famous for its yacht race over the 4th of July holiday. There were a number of vessels already in port for the race.

Sailboat on Lake Superior

We wanted to try sea kayaking, but it was so cool the day we were there we decided to postpone it. There are guided tours available and lots of equipment you can rent at a reasonable price.

The car ferry can take you over to the famous Madeline Island, one of the Apostle Islands along the coastline of Lake Superior. Madeline Island is supposed to be a lovely place, we were disappointed that it was so cold and wet, so we decided to save this for the next trip as well.

My husband and I agreed that this trip was one of our best camping trips yet. We look forward to exploring more of this area, see you at the campground!

Blue Glass Bottles

lead

 

Hello friends!

I took some time today to pull out my new collection of blue glass bottles.

I found them on our recent vacation.

I discovered them stashed away in a box of other stuff I was unpacking.

I recall that these bottles just had to come home with me, they reminded me so much of the deep blue sea.

I love them even more on this chippy window ledge.

I don’t ever want to paint it.

starfish

I found them among rows and rows of decorative stuff at the Old Time Pottery Store.

Have you ever been there?

It’s fantastic!

Next time, I am bringing an entire suitcase along to carry the haul home.

Perhaps I will need a trailer too.

I just loved the little star fish ornaments that came with the bottles. Aren’t they darling?

The twine that holds them on just makes it so beach like.

yellow rose

I grabbed these yellow roses from the $3.99 flower bin at Aldi’s over the weekend.

I couldn’t wait to add them to the blue bottles.

I think I am addicted to this blue shade.

Or perhaps the yellow.

Or both.

Hummmm…..

bottled roses-3

finished-2

We all need a little color in our lives, don’t you think?

Have a lovely day!