After retiring from CPS in 2006 following more than 30 years of
teaching, James Paskiewicz and his wife, Linda (herself a retired
teacher from a parochial school), began a second career in
small-scale real estate: building and selling birdhouses.
The husband and wife team always had a fondness for vintage items
and enjoyed scouring flea markets for fun and unique finds. Once
retirement provided them with more free time it seemed a natural
progression to start turning their recovered treasures into
something new, which led to using their found items as elements
in handmade birdhouses.
Linda does the house designs, then sends James to the lumber
store to get the supplies they need. Then they both get down to
business in their workshop making the miniature visions come to
life. Their birdhouses all have whimsical themes, and past
creations have included rustic camping cabins, a posh London
rowhome, a tiny tugboat, and a replica of the classic Pac-Man
Their birdhouse building hobby eventually
turned into a business venture, called Out on a Whim Birdhouses,
which they bring to art and craft fairs and shows all around the
Chicago area and its suburbs. No two birdhouses are the same, so
James and Linda always have a new assortment to show, and their
designs are so distinctive that they’ve even begun to get repeat
customers: once of their first customers from 2016 recently
purchased her fifth birdhouse.
James and Linda love coming up with ideas of how to repurpose
items they find into birdhouse architecture, and seeing people’s
delighted reactions at the shows they attend is just the icing on
the cake. To learn more about Out on a Whim Birdhouses, check out
their feature in the May 2018 edition of McHenry
County Magazine (pages 18-20), and visit their Facebook
page to see photos of their works and to learn about upcoming
shows they’ll be attending. Maybe they have the perfect place for
the feathered family in your life.