Sunday, February 20, 2011

8th Avenue Bike & Coffee House and Homemade Wallets

Coffee Bag Wallet Selection
It's getting to the point where I won't have too much quality time with my son for a month or so as I finish my thesis work, so when he asked to go on a bikeride with me this morning I eagerly accepted the invitation.  We ended up taking a route around NE park and then on to the new bike trail that runs from 16th avenue to 10th avenue; then we followed an unofficial bike path behind Bread of the Mighty Foodbank that took us to 8th Avenue, and then to the 8th Avenue Bike & Coffee House which is a really neat shop; lots of bike parking, outside/inside seating, cool bikes to look at (or get your own cool bike fixed) and a full-service coffee and baked goods selection with fair trade coffees.  Oh, and they also have free Wi-Fi, so what more could you ask for?

Artisan Mary and DJ
While we were getting our order at the counter, DJ noticed a selection of shiny, cool-looking wallets for sale.  There was a big selection, and he picked one that had a blue toile-like material covering the shiny metal outside.  Inside the wallet it had a place for credit cards, a coin pouch, and a good-sized bill compartment.  It was 15-dollars and I quietly went "yikes" while I paid for it, but then said something to the counter person about it "supporting local artisans," and she said, "the artist is right over there," and pointed to a couple sitting by the window facing 8th Avenue.  That's Gainesville - you can buy locally-made goods and meet the artist at the same time!

DJ and I ended up having a nice conversation with Mary, the designer/maker of the wallets, which are produced from various repurposed food and coffee bags and other recycled materials.  The wallet DJ had had been covered with material from a former Dance Alive costume which made it extra special!  Mary said the wallets were very labor-intensive which is why she only makes about 2 or 3 a week, but they were all really cool and really unique.  She said that she sold four the day before Valentine's Day, so they obviously make great gifts and I'm already scheming on who I'm going to give them to.  She even said she would set up a gift certificate system with the bike shop so I could just buy the gift certificates and let folks come to the shop and pick out their own.

After DJ started getting restless (mostly because Mary and I started chatting about sewing and construction) we finished up and headed back home.  I was abandoned midway down our street so DJ could help his buddy haul some paving stones down to where they're building their fort (his buddy's grandmothers home site down the street).  At least we got to spend a little time together on a beautiful, spring-like Gainesville morning.
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