Custom gardens, cool brands

Find creative home and garden ideas with these local entrepreneurs

One of the coolest new stores to open in Fort Wayne is Opal & Ruby, named for the birthstones of co-owners, and sisters, Kristin and Kelli Packnett. The charming and tasteful boutique carries clever, unique and thoughtful gifts for men, women and children, home decor accents, lovely and funny greeting cards and plenty of personal accessories. I found a gorgeous pair of earrings and a very cool hanging chalkboard arrow on my first trip. During my second visit, less than one week later, I found the perfect card and present for my husband for Father’s Day. On my third trip (I really couldn’t stay away), I found the cutest message in a bottle kit that we’ll be tossing into the Atlantic when we Foxes take our family vacation later this month. The Packnett sisters have impeccable taste and offer exceptional customer service, always a huge sticking point with me. Opal & Ruby carries hard-to-find brands such as Kneipp bath and body products, People for Urban Progress T-shirts and totes, WOOED wooden sunglasses, Illume Candles, MikWright cards, BeachWood reclaimed wood picture frames, Bourbon Barrel Foods, Doodle by Stitch artistic textiles for creative kids and Spitfire Girl glassware as well as cinda b handbags and accessories. There’s so much more, but you’ll just have to pop in to see it all. The boutique is open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Mon.-Fri. and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sat. in The Shoppes on Illinois Road, 5215 Illinois Road, Suite 104, 46804. (260) 444-2019. www.opalandruby.com

Some of the best businesses are born out of passion for a particular hobby. I’ve watched my good friend Erin Erb create gorgeous floral containers for her own home as well as friends and family for a few years now. As her requests started to grow (convenient pun), she decided to turn her avocation into her dream job. With her creativity and extensive knowledge, she can transform any outdoor space and add an instant infusion of style with lively and lush containers, for both residential and commercial clients. She looks to current design trends for inspiration but tailors her pots, planters and window boxes for each project, ensuring a unique look for every client. A favorite creation this summer was a front door arrangement that consisted of kong red coleus, periwinkle streptocarpella (try saying that three times fast), coral sunpatiens and apricot begonias with some lime and variegated trailing accents, a more bohemian look with lots of contrast. As we transition from summer to fall, spent plants will be replaced with hardier varieties such as aster, pansies, cabbage, mums, kale and fountain grasses. She says these plants are able to stand up to colder temperatures and, with the addition of pumpkins, gourds and branches, will make fall planters bold and bright. Once overnight frost becomes an issue, she’ll transition clients to winter greenery and holiday decor, indoors and out, and deliver holiday poinsettia arrangements. Pricing is largely dependent upon the size of the container and the assortment of plants, but an average 15″ pot usually runs around $65. Plantings are done on-site, and the area is thoroughly cleaned up afterwards. Call Erin to book your fall and winter arrangements. (260) 515-1116 or email ErinErbLivingExteriors@gmail.com.

I hadn’t been to Foellinger Theater since my youth, but I recently saw a beloved band there and it’s now oneof my very favorite venues to see live music. Foellinger Theater puts together a great lineup of national and regional acts during these warmer months, and there’s still time for you to nab tickets to an upcoming show before the season ends. In August, Foellinger will host Styx and Mavis Staples as well as screen “Despicable Me 2” and “The Wizard of Oz” as part of its free family movie night series. In September, you can see The Beach Boys and Los Lobos as well as the Fort Wayne Children’s Choir and the Fort Wayne Area Community Band. If it’s been a while since you’ve been to Foellinger, it’s definitely worth checking out. Over the last few years, the theater has seen some improvements and upgrades to the facility including a new roof, seating, lighting and pretty landscaping. This is a true Fort Wayne gem to be enjoyed and cherished by all. Check out the website for the full calendar of upcoming shows and events. 3411 Sherman Blvd., 46808. (260) 427-6715. www.fortwayneparks.org/foellingertheater

Tucked away in the corner of a small strip mall, diagonal from the Allen County War Memorial Coliseum, is The Art Shop – Highview Resale Art & Collectibles. The small showroom sells affordable home decor accents and ready-to-hang wall art (prices start around $18) in addition to art sourcing and framing services. The shop also encourages customers to bring in unwanted wall art for a 30 percent trade-in value toward new purchases. You’ll find art prints of classic works and well known contemporary prints, but as you work your way around the shop, you’ll discover quite a few Fort Wayne memorabilia items. Owner Steve Cebalt, also of Highview Public Relations, curates vintage (pre-1970) collectible items from historic local brands like Falstaff, Berghoff and Centlivre brewing companies, Wayne Bun Candy Company, Parrot Quality lard (the decorative tins are much cuter than the word lard indicates) and International Harvester. Cebalt showed me a very cool, vintage Charga-Plate (a pre-cursor to charge cards) in a chic leather pouch from legendary department store Wolf & Dessauer. I particularly enjoyed a full-color sales brochure from the Packard (my youngest son’s name) Piano Company. The gallery is currently growing its selection of Fort Wayne centric pieces, and Cebalt invites private sellers of items with local significance to contact the store. The shop is open 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mon. -Fri., evenings and weekends by appointment. 929 E. Coliseum Blvd. at Parnell, 46805. (260) 471-5870. www.UpgradeYourWalls.com

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