Life’s Little Treasures a Treats Store That Won’t Break Your Bridge

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The Art of Miniature
One of Heather Silecchia’s first memories is of creating tiny houses and villages out of juice boxes with her sister. When she was 10, she saw a hand-painted baby shoe in a children’s boutique and told her mother that she was sure she could do that, too.

So she did, as a gift for her new baby cousin — followed by scores more for new moms and dads who commissioned her hand-painted, custom baby shoes until she was 23. “I’ve always had a love for all things miniature,” says Silecchia.

Her passion led her to found Little H Designs, where she creates children’s clothing, keepsake jewelry for moms and kids, and paper goods. Fresh and whimsical, yet clean and sophisticated, Silecchia’s creations are all one-of-a-kinds.

From adorably simple and sweet T-shirts, onesies and dresses that are screen-printed by hand with florals, tools or ballerinas (replete with tulle tutu), to block-printed stationery and jewelry like custom-crafted lockets and bracelets, embellished with customer-chosen charms of monograms, birthstones, flowers, animals and more.

“I always wanted to be an artist,” says the Birmingham native, now living in Chicago. “I told this to my mother when I was in kindergarten, and my parents always supported and encouraged that aspiration. As I grew, I found that I really enjoyed creative problem solving and my interests turned to design, art and teaching.”

While earning a B.S. in apparel and textile design from Michigan State University, Silecchia, now 30, headed to New York City’s Fashion Institute of Technology for a year of studying children’s wear before settling in Chicago.

She has worked as a costume designer, bedding designer and art teacher at the Birmingham Bloomfield Art Center (which she calls her favorite place in Detroit) before turning into and entrepreneur while working as a fashion design instructor at the Illinois Institute of Art-Chicago.

Always most happy when she’s creating, Silecchia says she is most inspired by three things: friends and family and nature.

“Some of my original pieces are inspired by my grandparents and close friends: The Lil’ Flossie onesie is named after my Grandma Florence Weinberg. She was a huge fan of sassy jewelry and, in her honor, I created a onesie with reams of beads and bows.”

Little H Designs are created with non-toxic, water-based inks. Shop online at littlehdesigns.com or at the Knitting Room in Birmingham (248) 540-3623.

Easy on the Dentures

Heading Up North for a late-summer fling? Be sure to stop at the Taffy Barrel on Bridge Street in Charlevoix and fill up a basket with old-fashioned treats.

In a throwback to the nostalgic general store, the Taffy Barrel doesn’t disappoint — with its hardwood floors, turn-of-the-century tin ceilings and Lake Michigan breezes wafting through the open door.

There you’ll find Sandie and Rick Root welcoming you, proffering samples of their finds: more than 90 different flavors of gourmet salt-water taffy brimming over old oak barrels. The pair searched across the country until they found a family in Salt Lake City, that had exactly the recipe they wanted of soft, creamy, whipped nougat-style taffy — chewy, but doesn’t stick to your teeth the way traditional taffy does.

All of the taffies are peanut, tree-nut and gluten free, certified kosher and made fresh the day the Roots order them — so that they can control the freshness.

The Taffy Barrel also offers a large selection of sugar-free taffies; and plenty of classic sweets, too, like Mary Janes, Slo-Pokes, Black Cows and more. Just try and stick to your diet. The Taffy Barrel, 211 Bridge St., Charlevoix (231) 547-9280. Fill your virtual basket at thetaffybarrel.com.

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