Autumn Apples plus The Princess & the Pea Project

“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

Morning Glory Roof and More from Fox and Finch Antiques

    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

Time Traveling Interior Design – Robert Anderson and Sedge Meadow Antiques

Living with comfort and style in a 19th century general store… Continue reading

Our Grandparents’ Home

A chance meeting leads to the building of a replica of the Northbrook, Illinois, home our grandparents bought in 1937. Continue reading

Where Was I Before I Was So Rudely Interrupted?

This is where I left you last summer:

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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.

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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.

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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!

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Travel Brochure to the Middle of No-Where

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

Quick Autumn Decorating with Vintage Rakes

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

For the Love of a Midwestern Barn

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

Truck with a Full Tank of Gas

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

 

Happiness Collections – Easter Egg Ladies

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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.

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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:

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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?