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

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

Apartment Therapy Complete + Happy Home Book Review

9780770434458

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.

IMG_3767

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.

IMG_3766

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 received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.  Blogging for Books encourages reviewers to write honest reviews.  This book was published in 2015 by Crown Publishing Group.

Where Was I Before I Was So Rudely Interrupted?

This is where I left you last summer:

IMG_3343

IMG_3195

IMG_3349

IMG_3360

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.

IMG_3335-001

IMG_3385

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.

IMG_3397

IMG_3527

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!

Ginene

 

 

 

Assemblage Art: Florida Vintage 1940s Motel Door and a 1930s Toy Circus

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

A Sister is a Life-Long Valentine

This gallery contains 15 photos.

“You may be as different as the sun and the moon, but the same blood flows through both your hearts. You need her, as she needs you..”– George R.R. Martin I received a treasure box from my sister this week. … Continue reading

An Apron Mystery and A Dog’s Day

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

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

How to Clean Vintage Clothing

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

Happy August Days ~ Painting and Gardening

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

Using Glass Cloche Domes to Display Collections

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

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

Happiness Collections – Easter Egg Ladies

013-IMG_1983

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.

24d03c24928c5465b0140959111eadc0

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:

015-IMG_1986

 

021-IMG_1993

069-IMG_1982

 

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?

 

 

 

Featured by Lil Huckleberries on Mondays Moments Today!

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.

Upstairs Vintage

Upstairs Vintage

Living above my shop is all pros and no cons. I don’t have to drive to work and I can bake oatmeal raisin cookies and offer them while still warm to people who come in on a winter day. The … Continue reading

Gift Wrapping Idea for Mailing a Small Present and a Snowy Road Trip with Janet

If you do a quick search on Google Images for vintage postcards, you’ll find hundreds from which to create a unique presentation package to send through the mail.  Print it on cardstock, wrap your small parcel,  and mail off the … Continue reading

Create a Reusable Stencil for Decorating Vintage Painted Furniture

The Graphics Fairy web site is a free resource of over 4,000 vintage images for any creative work that you can dream up. Block Posters is the go-to spot for free image enlargements. The Graphics Fairy has a dozen tutorials on how … Continue reading

Christmas in Black and White

This gallery contains 3 photos.

            I dream in color, but many of my memories of the 1950’s are in black and white. Some of what I think of as memories are probably remembering the black and white photographs we … Continue reading

Sehnsucht Christmas Memories

Decorating my Christmas wreath last week in kitschy 1950’s and 60’s ornaments brought nostalgic and bittersweet family memories  to mind. There is a German word that best describes my thoughts that day. We don’t have an English word for it. … Continue reading

Imagining Her Life


Vintage Ball Canning Jars used as Picture Frames

Vintage Ball Canning Jars used as Picture Frames


With a large family present at an auction today on an old farm in southwestern Wisconsin, bids ran high as the immediate family and nieces and nephews tried to win an item tied to their memory of the 97-year-old woman who enriched their lives. The woman and her Swedish husband bought the farm in 1944. They raised eight children in the house. But, she spent the last 18 years living on the farm alone.

A neat white house sat in a circle of barns, sheds and out-buildings, all empty now. There were vintage tractors, implements, fencing, and thousands of parts and tools left on trailers and in the beds of pick-up trucks. Old members of the woman’s flower garden wave slightly in the breeze on this off and on blue day.

I am, being a woman,  mostly interested in the life of the woman of the farm. A granddaughter shows me the site of her kitchen garden. I can see the grey poles that once held up the clothesline.

There are four apple trees, two grape arbors, a large cherry tree, a stand of raspberry bushes and, I am sure, there were rhubarb plants at one time. A granddaughter tells me that her grandmother made apple butter, apple sauce and apple pies, but she rarely used the cherries. Hundreds of blue canning jars with zinc lids sold. A Victorian cherry pitter comes up for bids. It is a big black cast iron affair and I wonder if the work involved merited cherry jam.

The heirs got most of the treasures they wanted and that is right. I heard a young woman with a baby say to her husband, “Don’t let your emotions make you lose your head.” The weathered, but sturdy, outhouse sold for 215.00.

People who come to my shop often tell me that the shop has a good energy or good feeling inside. I think that comes from all the things inside the shop that were part of some wonderful person’s life. Each piece has its own story; its own interesting past.

My winnings of the blue glass jars will, no doubt, be upcycled into candle holders, light fixtures, snow globes or something else an imaginative person creates.  I will keep one just because I like the sparkly blue glass and each time I look at it, I will remember the sweet, old-fashioned smell of hundreds of heirloom apples lying beneath the mother tree.