Kathy Eber joins the Fox and Finch Antiques blog… Continue reading
Finery & Finishes Boutique and The Richmond Brathaus treated everyone to a unique experience last night. Throngs of people came out on an especially warm December night to watch “It’s A Wonderful Life” outside. People brought lawn chairs, blankets, sleeping bags, Thermoses and an optimistic attitude. It was really fun!
October, damp and cold this year, made lighting the boiler last week a heralded and longed-for occasion. I began mixing rye bread dough this morning at 4:30 just for the joy of baking it. One grey day I stopped … Continue reading
A veteran of the Korean War brings his collection of 1945-1958 Asian figurines to the shop. Continue reading
In far southwestern Wisconsin, down endless two lane roads, lives a sturdy population of no-nonsense farmers. These farms are not part of an amalgamation, but 500 acre farms grown larger by marrying the girl next door or by purchasing from a neighbor without children.. Angus cattle, Holstein cows and wild-looking horses with manes and tails embedded with burrs are too leery to come to the fence and take an apple from my hand.
These farms are inhabited by people who have owned them for generations. The oldest members of the family retire, no further than to town, when the next generation gets itchy to fill their thick-soled barn boots and get to it. Men and women hunt deer and turkey and watch football games on TV. A squirrel supper is not uncommon. The type of rugged individual who lives here would be good to have with you in an emergency. They wouldn’t hold your hand or say comforting words, but they would get you through it.
The wind blows fierce across these corn stubble fields in January. Roads flung like ribbons across an eider down quilt cause apprehension at the top of hills where one wonders what will be at the top, a sheer drop or a man on a tractor straddling the double yellow line.
I spent a week there in January while my sister and her husband reunited with the sun in their prior hometown of Sarasota, Florida. The white frozen fog lifted high enough on just one day for me to go outside and walk on the property.
It is an interesting feeling to be alone in someone else’s house for a week. I’ve never been able to feel my sister in that house. But, I saw her personality outside hidden under fallen leaves and in the birdhouses riding on wire strung over the thick arms of old oak trees.
Stay warm…I’m back to work at the shop beginning the first weekend in February.
“The stripped and shapely Maple grieves The ghosts of her Departed leaves. The ground is hard, As hard as stone. The year is old, The birds are flown. And yet the world, In its distress, Displays a certain Loveliness” – … Continue reading
I have long thought that being a gilder would be a fine way to make a living. It even sounds elegant, doesn’t it? But before I join the Society of Gilders, I want to try this ancient technique with faux … Continue reading
Remember my post about my friend, Robert’s, Morning Glory window awning? I think he switched to moon flowers and I haven’t seen how that worked out. However, I can tell you want happened to my cat-run roof of … Continue reading
An awning made of flowers… Continue reading
A new post from Fox and Finch Antiques, Living Above the Shop…. Continue reading
The answer to the on-going question of how to ship with USPS Regional Boxes. Continue reading
Saving string during the Depression proves to be advantageous to heirs of the thrifty. Continue reading
Living with comfort and style in a 19th century general store… Continue reading
The Eternal Art Exhibits at Fox and Finch Antiques Continue reading
A chance meeting leads to the building of a replica of the Northbrook, Illinois, home our grandparents bought in 1937. Continue reading
I put the exterior Christmas decorations together this year with garage sale ornaments, wreaths and garland. Plus, a lot of hot glue sticks and burnt fingers. Every year, I make a wreath with vintage ornaments found over the summer. I was … Continue reading
Designing a cohesive, put-together shop with inventory ranging between the time periods of 1850 to 1950 has baffled me since I opened my shop. I’ve read dozens of design books and studied how other shops do this successfully on Pinterest, but short of renting a storage unit where I can accumulate things that go together, I haven’t learned a thing to make it easier.
Then I saw an article about a publisher looking for people to review Apartment Therapy’s new book Complete + Happy Home. The ultra-bog, Apartment Therapy, features apartments designed by thousands of creative renters and home owners using flea market, antique shop furniture and furnishings mixed with new or newer furniture.
I could hardly put this book down. All of the principles can be applied to a shop just as easily as one would apply them to an apartment, split-level, ranch or six-bedroom house. I finally grasped something that has previously eluded me. The approach is to throw out all ideas of what Pottery Barn is selling, what is currently trending and what you know about design. Decorate to make yourself happy. Learn how to use what you have, what is comfortable, easy to clean, maintain and is affordable to you. In other words, don’t choose a painting because it matches the color of your couch. Choose one that you enjoy.
Read every page; don’t just look at the pictures and you will have a new eye and the knowledge to create a comfortable home for yourself, family and friends.
There is too much between the covers of the Complete + Happy Home to mention in a review, but the editors aren’t pulling your leg when they put the word Complete in the title. The sections on creating flow, energy, balance and mood helped me tremendously with arranging the shop.
Apartment Therapy contributors essentially live in rentals so they don’t take out walls and install new windows. That is what I love about this book. The point of the book is to train people how to look at their homes in a new way.
Say you just bought a first home with an old board and batten paneled dining room. The new owner envisions a sleek modern design. Bringing in a vintage 1950s red-painted table with steel hairpin legs and adding black modern upholstered chairs turns the room in a new direction. By changing the overhead light fixture to a pendant style with a pierced metal drum shade the room is transformed from hunting cabin to cozy modern in an afternoon.
For the shop, I learned how to unite multiple patterns by adding one color that unites the room. Do you see how the coral lap robe and a vase of coral-colored flowers unifies the bold mix of patterns? It is all about decorating with things that make you feel good and making the room congenial for anyone who visits. I could easily use this technique in the shop. For example, by adding five green linen pillows to the room, the entire shop looks united with the use of color. Of course, this is easy to do in a small shop like mine, but the idea works for any size room.
The book shines because it is realistic and it trains the reader to really see, just like an artist learns to see. Forget about what the neighbors have, what some marketing department wants you to buy, and get happy with your home.
I found a carton of 100 bars of black pumice soap for 2.00 at a recent sale. Last night, I rubbed a bar on the dried milk paint on my blue jeans and the paint came out. The pumice is very fine. It … Continue reading
I took this photograph the other night as I was admiring a quarter moon through the tree branches. Something went wrong because instead of a quarter moon, the camera registered this. My neighbor walked by and I pointed to the … Continue reading
This is where I left you last summer:
And, this is the roof I spent most of September on.
I was tuck-pointing, roof-tarring, glass-glazing, window painting and dealing with other issues that needed attention in the back of the building. (Let’s not talk about it.)
Besides this work and the shop, I took care of six of the village’s gardens. I added another garden to the list this year. Many people stop to talk throughout the hours, as you can imagine. Gardening is a social event in a small downtown area.
It is autumn and I have been washing and ironing the textiles I found over the summer. I still have more to do. These American quilts are wonderful, aren’t they? The blue on the Victorian postage stamp quilt is indigo dyed and the red color is the infamous Turkey Red.
Last night, I finished tucking in the last of the flower gardens for a winter nap. The night was warm with that kind of soft, wild wind that we have in Illinois in October. I wanted to cross the gardens off my list so I gardened until 8:00 pm under lamp and moonlight. The town is closed on Monday night so no one saw the crazy gardener in the dirt-covered blue jeans. I didn’t care if anyone saw me, anyway. It would be something to talk about.
And the “In a Pickle” dining room cabinet? I could have sold a half-dozen of them!
I am throwing in the towel for today. That’s it. I’m done for July. Continue reading
I don’t often talk about my husband here on the blog. I tend toward privacy regarding the relationships in my life in order to remain professional but occasionally I think it’s a good idea to let my readers in on some of my personal life.
We all speak our love in different ways. My husband is very good about telling me he loves me verbally. But it’s the quiet little things he does that speak the loudest to me. Recently when I was working on my Maple Seed Butterfly project, I was trying to finish up in time for the Double Dip Flip deadline. I had thought I saved up more than enough maple seeds (a.k.a. helicopters) to complete the project. On the day I should have been photographing it I was scrambling to try to find some more seeds. Some of my stash had torn spots and others weren’t dried out enough and were still too green. I didn’t have enough good ones to finish. I went into resourceful mode and scoured the yard to no avail. We even checked the gutters on the house but found none. I decided I would try to make do and resigned myself to using some of the funkier shaped seeds that I had previously rejected. I continued to work, sorting through the seeds to find any that would pass. I began gluing the first few layers, hoping that I would have enough.
A couple of hours into the process my husband came home from mowing grass at our son’s house. With a grin on his face (that handsome devil!) he presented me with this:
Beaming with pride, he told me how he found the pile of maple seeds under the car port at our son’s house. Can you stand it?! He rescued me. In his quiet, sweet way he provided for me. He hunted and made the kill. He used his hat to bring home the spoil.
I was able to use several good seeds from the pile he brought me and honestly the piece would not have turned out as nicely with some of the seeds I was going to settle for. His gesture was a project saver but more than that it was an act of love that I will always treasure.
My kitchen is in what was the employee break room when my building was the town bank. It is long and narrow, edged with a long sink on one side and two arch-topped windows with the hot water radiator in between on the other side. You won’t see my kitchen featured on a blog. You may have a hard time telling if it is 1940 or 2015 inside. I feel comfortable in my uncomfortable little kitchen. I paint, sand, glue and fix things here. Everything that is in it is a reject from the shop for its broken, repaired or cracked condition. But, I’m not done playing with it yet.
The reason I came in here was not to show you the kitchen. I want my little antique shop enough that any inconveniences are easily over-looked. Anyway, I want show you these tulips.
I’ve never seen a flower glow like these do and the scent is divine. Did you know most fragrant tulips are early blooming types in the orange and red family?
I have to make a quick run to the post office to mail an eBay package. Come with me. It is close to the shop.
When I walk to the post office, I usually walk past this building. It used to advertise Gold Medal Flour on the side. One day, I called the corporate office for Gold Medal Flour in Minnesota, asked to be connected to the right department and then asked the representative if General Mills would possibly donate the paint so the town could repainted the advertisement in a long-lasting oil paint. They said no because “Gold Medal Flour only donates to India.” That is what the woman told me. I still think about that when I walk past the building.
This is the next home. The new owners did a fabulous job of keeping its best qualities. It looks so sturdy, doesn’t it? I imagine that its owners feel safe during storms within its sturdy framework.
This house is the next house on my errand to the post office. I just turn left and the post office is around the bend.
Everywhere in town the sidewalks wear a layer of flower petals. Have your ever seen anything so pretty? The sign says that animals and people have a refuge on these grounds.
This little dog run leads to the front gazebo. Walking to the post office is interesting because there are short-cuts, back ways, and alternative paths…and it is only three blocks away.
My kitchen clock says it is time to get back to work.
I am remembering our uncle this Memorial Day, Capt. Donald August Peuckert, killed at the Battle of Saipan on June 15, 1944, at the age of 18. Two thousand marines were killed that morning and before it was all over, the total number of people killed (civilians and soldiers on both sides) numbered more than 30,000.
Later, my grandmother received a letter from a friend of Uncle Don’s who was also there. He wrote , “It was such a beautiful, calm day that we would not have guessed that a war was going on.” Only now, when I am decades past the age my grandmother was then, have I learned from reading about that morning and the night before, that his friend wrote these words to comfort my grandmother and that they were not really true. I am glad she never knew truth. It was hard enough as it was.
Wishing the world peace,
The beginning of a new project… I planned on doing the upholstery on this child’s Edwardian version of an adult’s over-stuffed chair myself. Then, I saw that the springs needed tying. I traded the upholstery job for selling a couple of … Continue reading
I spent part of last week working on a couple of assemblage art projects. I used old parts and old artwork and some vintage linens to create a 1940s Florida motel door and a make-do child’s circus toy. Whether these … Continue reading
This apron was a mystery to me. I thought someone made it, but didn’t complete it. There are no neck straps or ties. Then I saw this pattern and the purpose was clear. It was a style of apron that went … Continue reading
As you come and as you go this Christmas, I am sending you my best wishes for a cheer-filled and meaningful Christmas, from my place to yours, I wish us all Ginene
A small stack of paper sits on my desk today, all found after the removal of drawers from several pieces of furniture. An old recipe for a coffee cake. Three tiny cookbooks probably picked up at a grocery store. Two are from the 1920s; the Domino Sugar … Continue reading
Last week, I found some furniture whose sale, I know, will pay my winter utility bills. Five pieces of solid walnut furniture decorated with hand-painted scenes and fancy bird’s eye maple and mahogany veneers, very French, and some of the best furniture America ever had to offer … Continue reading
Here are just a few examples of the many vintage metal rakes I decorated this week to sell in the shop. I ask 12.00-15.00 for them and when a customer decides to change to something new they get a strong, good old-fashioned metal rake. … Continue reading
Have you ever wondered how vintage clothing dealers present such perfect examples of 100 year old clothing? I’ll share a wonderful stain remover recipe with you. Stain Remover One Cup of Cascade Dishwashing Powder and Two Cups of BIZ to Five Gallons … Continue reading
I’ve painted and sold a lot of furniture this month. It looks like I forgot to put the handles on this one before I took the photograph. I was lucky to find this piece with all the original Eastlake handles still … Continue reading
I have walked past this old farm for 12 years and today was the first time I walked up the driveway. No one has lived here for years and it now belongs to the conservation society. They don’t have the money … Continue reading
This antique rocker with a fancy double steam-bent seat and face of the mythical Pan detail was a recent find at an auction in Wisconsin. Rocking chairs aren’t in fashion now but if you have a front or back porch they are wonderful for old-time comfort. … Continue reading
A favorite way of calling attention to groupings of “smalls” in the shop is to cover them with a glass cloche. Here are a few vignettes I had the fun of putting together today. Bell jars are perfect for putting small mementos and collections out in … Continue reading
Last week, my busy and private friend, Margaret Cox and I got together for a day that started with cappuccino at her beautiful home near Rockton, Illinois. Margaret and her husband, Kevin Darrah, own a company, Darrah Barns, that installs barn … Continue reading
The real estate taxes are due on June 4th. It can get pretty scary around real estate tax time, but the bills are paid and I have somehow managed for five years to work for myself during a pretty … Continue reading
This post has nothing to do with fixing anything vintage or antique.
I’ve been thinking about nothing but those things for the last 12 years. I love the stuff and everything about it. From old kitchen utensils to hand-wrought wheelbarrow wheels, from feedsack aprons to chintz bedspreads, from tiny boxes to beds, my days and nights are filled with finding, cleaning, restoring and selling all the things that I think make a home cozy and charming.
Then, last weekend, I locked the door on the building and went out to see what was happening in the world. I’ve never done this before on a weekend. I usually have my nose to the grindstone. I had to get out of here.
Saturday, I went to the Urban Farmgirl Main Street Market in Rockford. It was a nice setting, a beautiful day and there were lots of wonderful, creative people. Plus, apple pie on a stick. On Sunday, I went to Highwood, Illinois to meet some more people. That was fun, too! Danielle Colby was there. She is on the TV show American Pickers. She has a vintage shop in Wicker Park in Chicago. I loved the cool hipster Chicago sellers I met here. I “get” them.
Before I close, I want to share some pictures that I received in my email box today. (I sound like Fannie Flagg’s Neighbor Dorothy.) Well, I like Neighbor Dorothy.
My friend, Kathy, bought this work bench from my shop and turned it into a potting bench. See the blue pitcher with the petunias growing out of it? It looks like it is pouring petunias.
And, Cindy, my sister, counted 32 birds nest in her yard this afternoon, just in the pine trees. There is something so hopeful about eggs in a nest. I always feel like I should lower my voice and tiptoe passed. I think you can super-size the middle one if you want to see the babies up close.
I hope you, my friends, can get out and enjoy a little freedom, too.
I’ll be back on the job soon. As soon as spring fever lets go of me.
Hi! Can you come for a walk with me? I’m just walking around the block. I want to show you the Violas. First a short-cut down the path, past the old church and then into the neighborhood. I … Continue reading
I’ve been cleaning out the basement for weeks. That always leads to lots of projects and very little cleaning of the basement. Here, a basket of tourist wooden shoes becomes a door wreath. I found this old board from the front of … Continue reading
One of the ways I have fun in the shop is to ask people why they collect a certain thing. It is a fascinating way to enjoy the unique aspect of other people’s life experiences.
I have found many Mid-Century Asian figurines for one of my long-time customers. Frank is in his mid-80s and has over 1,000 figurines. After several years, I asked him why he began to collect these figurines.
He told me that he used to walk hand-in-hand with his grandfather through Chinatown in Chicago in the 1930s. One day, they went inside a long, dark shop where Frank saw an old, old Chinese man drinking tea and smoking in the back room. He had a long braid and wore red silk pajamas and had black slippers on his feet.
There was something about that day that Frank wanted to remember. I don’t know if it was the thrill of watching someone so exotic while his hand was safely ensconced within his grandfather’s or if it was just that he loved the memory of being with his grandfather.
Most of the folks whom I’ve asked this question usually tell me that they collect something that reminds them of happy and secure times. And, usually, it was when they were a child.
If you were lucky enough to have a nice grandmother, you may collect something that reminds you of the time you spent with her. I had a wonderful grandmother that belonged to several women’s clubs through out her life. They took turns hostessing luncheons and they made stuff, usually for the annual bazaar, with the money going to the church or school. I collect the stuff they made. These things have no monetary value and are worthless to anyone but me. But, when I look at these things I remember Grandma saying, “I’ve got club today.” That meant we were to skedaddle because Grandma had to put together a luncheon and cook and set the table with the best china and a long white tablecloth that probably took her an hour to iron. She was, like her mother before her, and her mother before her, very proud of her linens. Today, I don’t buy any clothing that needs to be ironed, but you should see my tablecloths.
These are my church lady eggs:
I once found mention of my Grandmother in an old newspaper. She was one of the members of The Thursday Thimble Club. That was one even her daughter, my treasured Aunt Ginny, didn’t remember.
Someday, maybe, I’ll show you my crocheted Christmas card boxes. They were always making those. When I pick up one of them and lift the lid, I can almost taste home-grown raspberries on vanilla ice cream and hear Lawrence Welk coming from the den.
Do you collect anything that reminds you of happy times?
The House at the End of the Road Do you have a lovely place you can walk to or past when you are getting your daily fresh air? Well, look how lucky I am to have this pretty place near … Continue reading
Fox and Finch Antiques was featured on lilhuckleberries today! What a compliment it is to have professional interior designer, Wendy Nolan, chose something I created. Thank you, Wendy. I am “sponging up” everything you write.
I’ve meant to share a couple of these photographs with you for a long while. The horse is a Friesian; named Felkert K, and photographed here for a 2014 calendar entitled An Enchanted Carousel. Each month is illustrated with a living carousel … Continue reading
…Joanne S Joanne, your new candle will be shipped to you on Monday. Please drop me an email with your mailing address. My email address is email@example.com. And, I hope this is the beginning of a delightful spring and summer … Continue reading
Just a little springtime give-away… Continue reading
“Time has this way of slowing down and speeding up, depending on how it feels.” – Carol Lynch Williams, Waiting 8:00 am, March 5: I took this picture standing at the back of the building in the doorway a few … Continue reading
Yesterday, the sun shone brightly and most of the day’s sales were for antique cement garden sculptures. These two 1930’s stone lions were kind of hard to let go. Aren’t they gorgeous? I like the way the paint wore and … Continue reading