Frank’s Kitsch Collection Arrives at Fox and Finch

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Shown above is one third of the cartons of 1940-1960 Asian kitschy figurines stacked in my apartment above the shop. Those that are not vintage were left out to be given away. The ones for the shop are this type:

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Now What?

How can I display these in a way which would encourage customers to see that a collection of these would be colorful and fun?

 

The rainbow display is trendy and modern. The colors of the 40s and 50s were various shades of maroon, Chartreuse, dark green, pink, red, yellow, turquoise, black and white.

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I like this Chinese boy bookend shown in this person’s collection mixed with natural specimens, a gourd and books. There are bookends in the cartons. I can’t imagine how the braid was never broken.

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I am picking up 24 printer trays next week so I can fill a couple of the trays with the three-inch statues.  The plan is to use Velcro Dots to adhere them inside the tray.

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Chinatown, New York City, 1930s

When my friend Frank was a child in the 1930s, his grandfather walked with him through Chinatown in Chicago. It was an exotic place and his  hand was securely held within his grandfather’s larger one. One day, Frank’s grandfather stopped in front of a shop to converse with someone and that placed Frank directly in a shop doorway.  Looking deep within the dark shop, he saw an old Chinese man sitting in the back room. The man wore a long Chinese robe, had a long braid, sprouted long fingernails and was smoking a long pipe. He returned Frank’s stare. So, why did Frank begin to collect Chinese and Japanese figurines? Because they remind him of the feeling  he had that day. It is the memory of being afraid of the old man and yet, not afraid, because his hand was within his grandfather’s hand.

Frank is a Korean War Veteran. After returning home, he signed up again  and spent  years, 140 miles north of Anchorage, Alaska. When he came back to Illinois he worked for 30+ years in the railroad yards. This is a man who isn’t afraid of much. His collection reminds me that inside all of us, even the biggest of men, is the child we once were.

No one in Frank’s family wants his collection which is how they came to Fox and Finch. I like them.  I remember seeing them everywhere when I was a child. Stay tuned to see how I decide to display them.

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Lucille Ball on the set of I Love Lucy standing with her “Oriental” figurines.

Sojourn to Northern Farm Country

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

~Ginene

 

Autumn Apples plus The Princess & the Pea Project

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“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”
–   John Updike, A Child’s Calendar  

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Haf’s Apple Orchard Photograph – Old Apple Tree

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Walking through Haf’s Apple Orchard last month was a picnic of smells and color. Some trees seemed to be chosen for allowing dropped apples to remain on the ground. The smell of vinegar rose from these fallen apples and the bees were having a wonderful afternoon.

If you live near Haf’s, remember that apple season is not over in November. They have coolers kept at 35 degrees and all of the wonderful varieties are still for sale at prices less than the grocery stores. The comparison stops there as there is no comparison between taste and freshness-Haf’s is the winner in that category, also. All of the apples are marked by variety and purpose. My freezer is full of pies now. I look forward to baking one on a cold January and February night. 

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From where I sit in the dark shop late this afternoon,  leaves are rattling down the sidewalk like old chicken bones. I’m still in the Autumn mode of enjoying mystery movies curled up in the chair with an old cotton blanket from the 1940s. Just as the movie begins, I take two out of the drier and curl up covered in soft, old cotton.

I finished three Christmas wreaths, two to sell in the shop and one to send my sister for the door of the post office where she is the postmistress. I made it from tiny envelopes stamped with dates ranging from the 1930s to the 1950s and Midwestern place names.

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Before I leave you in November, I want to show you the Princess and the Pea bed I began last winter. I have 22 mattresses finished for this antique doll bed marked 1898. Using only ticking and other fabric made between 1930 and 1960, it is a like a small encyclopedia of fabric design.3-img_57795-img_57826-img_5783

If you are a local reader, remember that Haf’s sells bags of apples with tiny flaws (like a real apple) for 1.00 a pound! It’s fabulous!

~ Ginene

 

Since I’ve Seen You Last

Little Chair

The heavy child’s chair and footstool, which some may remember, sold today. I think I had it for over a year which is too long for a space this small. I could have sold it many times, but no one wanted to pay 300.00 for it and I had to get that.  Note to self: Don’t do that again. I held out and this wonderful antique will live on with another lucky little girl.
Closeup Birdseye

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My friends, Margaret and Kevin, gave me this Empire Birdseye maple beautiful piece.  All I had to do was sand it and put an absolutely flat clear sealer on the top. If you would like to see what Birdseye looks like close up, I think you can click or double-click the image.

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I found an entire bedroom suite of this furniture a couple of weeks ago. I bought it from the great-grandson of the original owner. It was his grandmother’s bedroom suite in Milwaukee in the 1920s. It is solid mahogany with all sorts of fancy veneers and hand-painted flowers. Each piece, except the bed,  has  jewelry inserts of glass and mahogany and polished glass protectors. The little knobs on the interior boxes are sterling silver.

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The dressing table and mirror sold immediately. The original needlepoint cream-colored seats on the bench for the end of the bed and the dressing table chair are spotless. Can you imagine?  This well cared for furniture was wearing, however,  96 years of coal soot, wax and every day embedded dust.

I used New Life Furniture Mask on it, as I did on the mahogany book cabinet shown above.

The last of the zinnias are blooming now. I put bowls full of zinnias all over the shop. I made a little lamp, last week, out of three lamps. The marble base, the porcelain figurine and column and the hobnail glass ball were all in a lamp parts basket.

Newby, Nippersink Library Cat, Richmond, IL
Newby,  Nippersink Library Cat, Richmond, IL

Our library in town houses a slightly famous library cat.  The July 21st, 2016,  edition of The Chicago Tribune, ran a story reporting that Newby is one of the last two remaining library cats in service in the state of Illinois. Library cats have been a time-honored tradition since the days when libraries and universities kept them to stop rodents from damaging books. Their jobs are dwindling quickly as people with allergies want their removal and some surveys report that 30% of people have allergies.

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Picking up furniture yesterday, I stopped to look at the long rows of corn drying in the fields. The fields seem endless. It was overcast and the cornstalks appeared to be rattling their bones.  October…this is  the season where we begin to get cozy for winter and have fun with Halloween. I begin to read mysteries in October and listen to scary stories on old-time radio.  I haven’t turned the heat on yet as there will be more warm, soft days. An old, soft cotton blanket to wrap up in at night is all I need.

I began this in September and October 1 is tomorrow. It is so nice to send a word out to you all, what ever your season is and  where you are.

Ginene

Fox and Finch

Richmond, IL, USA

Morning Glory Roof and More from Fox and Finch Antiques

 

 

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All throughout the summer, things move in and out of the shop at high speed. It is like moving house every week.  Art is my favorite thing, but I’m not crazy about hanging art.  When one piece sells, everything else has to be moved.

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 Morning Glories. It turned into a giant chipmunk blind.  The two cats, Emma and Kaiser, can’t go outside until I have the time to cut some of the Morning Glories down. I’ve managed to save the two that Emma caught, one of which lived under the radiator for two days, but that can’t go on. I picked one up that I believe fainted from Emma whacking it on the head and it was so soft. As soon as I got it out of the pen, it high-tailed it away.

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I didn’t know that chipmunks love to eat the spent Morning Glory flowers.  So, I won’t plant Morning Glories near the cat-run again. The shade provided is perfect, but I can figure something else out that doesn’t attract chipmunks. Meanwhile, I will need to make sure that Emma and Kaiser didn’t get fleas from my house guest of two days.  I had the front and back doors open for 8 hours a day and that chipmunk would sit on the door threshold and not go out. Finally, I corralled him one night and lead him outside.

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The basil remains as a plant and has not miraculously turned into pesto. Darn it.

Side Note: The coffee trick that I’ve read about on line to remove the musty smell from a really cute 1940s suitcase doesn’t work. I put a pound of cheap coffee in the suitcase, put it all in a big bag and left it for six months. I swear it smelled even worse and the next trip the cute suitcase took was to the garbage bin.
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A sweet gift from my friend, Catherine. I studied her bouquet and taught myself how to include leaves in garden flower arrangements.
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Kaiser spots a chipmunk.

~ Ginene, August, 2016

 

Charming Make-Do Awning for a Sunny Window

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Robert Anderson came up with an ingenious idea to make a living awning to shade this west-facing window at Sedge Meadow Antiques in Alden, Illinois. He built the frame and attached vintage wire fencing for his Morning Glories to grasp, climb and cover the top of his storefront window. I think the scalloped fencing is charming with or without anything growing upon it. Don’t you love the idea of an awning made of flowers? -Ginene

Home: Our United States of America

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Keeping the shop filled with inventory, upkeep on the building and working in the village gardens keeps me busy in June. The freezer is filling up with black raspberries. There are still plenty to share with my neighbors.

I took a friend to the hospital today for a test and saw many people fighting age and illness. A nurse walked by with a tomato plant in a wheelchair. I called out, “I hope your tomato plant gets better.” and she laughed.

I finished watching the Ken Burns and Stephen Ives DVD called The West. Once you pick yourself up from the floor, the history of settling the western part of the United States has much to teach us now.

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This is the criteria of Cheyenne people when choosing a chief for the tribe:

  • He must be a father to all members of the tribe.
  • He must be good, generous, brave, courageous and must have concern for the welfare of the people.
  • He does not acquire wealth for himself; but to give to the people who are less fortunate.
  • He has led a morally up-right life and is respected.
  • This is how the people choose a spiritual father, a true servant of the people.

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Four of the last seven governors of Illinois went to prison. They were very bad chiefs.

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Stay strong America. We must have courage and not become apathetic. We must close our ears to the self-serving people who tell us good people are weak. That is a lie.

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Good leaders know how to compromise for the well-being of the people, all of the people. Democrats and Republicans, throughout history, have used tactics to block the meaningful decisions of good leaders. That is wrong. We should not allow this.

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We are Americans first. This is our America, all of ours. We must act and think like chiefs.