There it is. It probably won’t surprise you to know that fixing up the old, smelly pantry to match the rest of the sparkly, brand-new kitchen is taking longer than I thought it would. I figured, one week for this project. I’d knock it out in one week, and this post would be a “reveal,” and you’d all be surprised and impressed that I actually did a project so fast that it was done before you even realized I was working on it.
Well, I’m two weeks in, and all I’ve managed to do is tear out the old shelves and slap on a coat of primer. Which doesn’t exactly deserve the standing ovation I was envisioning.
So, as you can imagine, I’m bored with this project already and I’ve been looking for a distraction.
Enter the Minneapolis Remodeling Expo: a convention center filled to the brim with people who, for a price, will do your remodeling for you. What a novel idea!
Of course, I was mostly just window shopping. Because I don’t have money. I just wanted to talk to people and get ideas, because god knows I don’t have enough ideas of my own. So as much as I’d like to tell you that I hired someone from the expo to finish the pantry while I moved on to grander schemes, that is not what happened.
I did, however, meet some really fun people with interesting stories behind their businesses. So I thought I’d share them with you. And FYI, this is not a sponsored post. I haven’t even tried most of the products I’m about to tell you about. I’m really just avoiding painting the pantry, and these people were my unwitting accomplices.
1. Beth from MakennaDel Nature Products
Here’s what I found interesting:
- Bacon…scented…candles. I could just leave it at that, because that should be all you need to know. Beth does for candles (and lotions) what Bertie Bott does for jelly beans. Campfire. Beer. Pipe tobacco + caramel. Oh, and lots of “normal” fragrances, too.
- A lot of Beth’s fragrances are based on suggestions from her clients. So if you visit the MakennaDel website and don’t see what you’re looking for, you can always make a fragrance request.
- Beth makes all her candles and lotions in her workshop at home.
- MakennaDel is named after Beth’s daughters.
- Beth also made that sign in the top picture. A woman of many talents, no?
- I left with a “tomato leaf” candle. It was the only thing I bought at the expo. It smells like spring and makes me happy.
2. Tracy from Twin Cities iCoat
YOU. GUYS. These are pictures of skim-coated concrete counters…and they are way cooler than mine. I stand by all previous statements that:
- for the price, I love my DIY skim-coated concrete counter tops. For the price.
- They scratch waaaaay to easily. And I’ve been keeping an eye out for other finishes or topcoats that might be more durable. (From iCoat’s website: ”ICoat Epoxy is scratch resistant and scorch resistant to over 500°F.”)
- If I had money, I would have chosen just about ANY other option for counter tops, besides laminate.
- If I had money and still wanted concrete, I would hire someone else to do it.
The iCoat booth seemed to be one of the busiest ones at the expo, and the words I heard most often (in a tone of disbelief) was, “That’s concrete??” My friends, this is how I hoped my counters would turn out. Specifically: glossy, durable, and scratch-free. I was blown away. And now, I need that epoxy.
If you’re still intent on DIY-ing it, you might want to look into iCoat‘s products. Because they also offer training classes. Which sounded pretty good to me, especially after a conversation with Tracy revealed that the epoxy is a precise two-part system, and that it involves a process called “torching.” Learning curve, indeed.
3. Brett and Jim from Minnesota Farmhouse
What can I say? These guys were just my kind of people. Brett quit his IT job so he could start a business making rustic and reclaimed furniture, after making a table from plans he found on Ana White (are you kidding?? I read Ana White, too!). He teamed up with Jim, his father-in-law, who had always had a woodworking
addiction hobby. Now they make custom farmhouse-style furniture and home decor. How perfect does that sound?
And get this: a lot of their stuff can be shipped. So you can visit their website and buy your own little piece of rustic perfection.
I talked to Jim for, oh, probably half an hour. I kinda wanted to kick back on their display couch and have a beer with him while talking about woodwork-y things.
4. Joe, the Slipcover Man
In the category of “Things I Did Not Know Existed”: custom-made fitted slipcovers, without the furniture ever leaving your house. First of all, I’ve never seen slipcovers that fit so precisely. Looking at the examples that Joe had in his booth, and the pictures of his work, you’d think these pieces were upholstered, not slip-covered.
Secondly, did you catch that bit about the furniture not leaving the house? Yeah. Slipcover Man comes to your house and takes a paper template of the piece, then ships/delivers the finished slipcover back to you. What the what? So you don’t find yourself one sofa short of a living room set for 6-8 weeks, or however long it takes to have a piece reupholstered.
5. Becka from Origami Owl
It’s probably obvious, but I just have to say: I am a sucker for a good story. And this company has a pretty good one. I was drawn into Becka’s booth because it was sparkly, and I’m attracted to shiny things. So I said, “Tell me about all this shiny stuff.” Okay, get this: Origami Owl was started by Bella Weems, a 14-year-old girl who asked for a car for her 16th birthday, and was told, “Sorry, you’ll have to work for it.” So she started a direct-marketing company that sells custom jewelry. The idea is that you can build your own locket or bracelet or whatever that “tells your story.”
And now Bella is 17 or 18 years old and has her own car. And her own multi-million dollar company. And 60,000 independent designers like Becka helping her tell her story.
When I was 14, I worked at KFC. Now I am 33, and I can’t even get my dogs to do my bidding most of the time.
So, you know…proof that greatness comes in all kinds of packages.