I will admit that last year’s Renegade Craft Fair Chicago kind of bummed me out. I mean, I ended up with a great little purse from Custom Made UK and a pretty funny felt bacon ornament for my sister but I have a very distinct memory of turning to my husband, who was being very tolerant of the whole experience despite hating chubby hipster dudes in medium shirts more than you could ever possibly understand, and saying “what the fuck are people supposed to do with this many stuffed owls?”

So I was a little hesitant this year, between Melisser coming in from San Francisco and the Texas-sized monsoon that overtook the city all week end. Determined to find a housewarming gift for my sister (you know, the one who got felt bacon last year,) and to get myself a god damn Chicago is for Haters t-shirt, I grabbed my umbrella and jumped on the bus. Well, that’s not entirely true. First Melisser and I stopped at The Bleeding Heart Bakery, ate too many vegan cupcakes and took pictures of ourselves in “the good light” and then we jumped on the Damen bus all the way to Renegade. (I am no longer a supporter or fan of The Bleeding Heart Bakery. That’s all I have to say about that.)

It was pouring, and I’m sure we blew it on a lot of great stuff because I have to say, there was like, 80% less ironic bullshit this year. To quote Frankie, “My headband is so ironic. Everything’s a joke to me!” The only mustache item I saw was actually pretty awesome and though I still thought there were too many owls I was happy to see the plushie count down to a reasonable amount as well. We did scour the plushies for Strummer, Melisser’s 1 lb. Chihuahua and I almost had to talk her out of a $35 felt Mr. T. Until I saw the Dog the Bounty Hunter one sitting right next to it, and then it was her turn to talk me out of something.

Next stop: the Seibei booth where we squealed with joy over t-shirts that said many amazing things. I bought Teno a “make me a sandwich” shirt that will fit him when he’s 15 and Melisser bought this other one that pretty much sums it up. I got a button that says the same and then immediately lost it.

We fondled every last bit of cute in The Small Object booth. I meant to go back and buy this set of rubber stamps and ended up stepping in a puddle and just wanting to go home. But just look at that ice cream cone, is it not the funniest? Oh, another thing we blew it on was getting matching snack tattoos. I tried to talk Melisser into a Pee Wee Herman tattoo but she just laughed. I was serious, Melisser. So, so serious.

My one mission all day was to go to Circa Ceramics and find something cute for my sister’s new house. I can’t say what it was because Nina reads my blog (like a good little sister) but it’s really beautiful and she’s going to love it. Melisser was thrilled with her record-insert thingie bowls and cups and I was psyched to have Nancy take maybe the best picture of me ever taken. (See above.)

I was actually carrying my wood paneling (and um, owls) purse from Cookoorikoo at the fair, so we popped in to see all of her loveliness and then it was off to consider necklaces that said funny stuff from Brookadelphia. Had their been a “vegan” rather than a “veggie” I’m pretty sure Melisser would have nabbed it. We took refuge from the rain in MadebyHank‘s tent, which was filled with quite possibly the most beautiful handmade purses I have ever seen. Had I not just blown $100 on screen printed shirts and a felt taco that I totally don’t even need now (it was a gift for Future Cat, who I later found out I am not allowed to have) I would have snatched up one of the lovely lemon buttercream-yellow ruffly numbers. Note to Tony: buy me one of these purses for sXe-mas. Thank you.

I think my last purchase of the afternoon was an “I love you more than zombies love brains” mug for Jenn, which she promptly blogged on our zombie blog, SendMoreCops upon receipt. I have a feeling Jenn will be purchasing some brain bowls sooner than later.

Melisser got a sweet deal on a cute tea towel from Tartella and I very disappointedly admitted that I have no use for a wooden Fire Flower or a Robot Moonscape puppet set, no matter how beautifully crafted.

Then came the part where Melisser’s boots were full of rain and I stepped in a puddle in a pair of Iron Maiden Vans. We ran into the Renegade store and were psyched to see Cakespy originals inside! That chick is everywhere!

After we spent too much money on things we went and spent even more money on vegan cupcakes from Sweet Cakes. The staff is the cutest, and the vintage oven was to die for- we might have caught the cupcakes on a bad day, they were about to close after all, but we had a good time taking pictures of the totally weird sculptures in the patio anyway. We headed home to re-flat iron our hair dos and then we ended the evening at Blind Faith Cafe. I’m sure Melisser will blog all the of the food, she’s very responsible like that.

So, even though Chicago was taking a weather-related crap on our heads all week end we partied as hard as two people who don’t drink and who obsess over cinnamon rolls could possibly have. Prepare thyself, San Francisco, there’s a 5’2″ thundercloud named Natalie Slater headed your way and I will eat your entire city.