In my kitchen, I have open shelving over my desk. This is where I try out my collections before they go into the shop. This process allows me time to consider the way objects play off each other. I am a matchmaker but sometimes the results surprise even me. For example, I really liked this collection of chinoiserie that I paired with gold dinosaurs. But I didn't know why right away. Then one day I walked in with a bag of groceries and it hit me. This vignette represents Godzilla in Tokyo. And since one of my nicknames in middle school was "Mothra", it all makes sense.Read More
It was April in Wisconsin, the meanest month of the year when winter jabs a fat finger in your chest and laughs as she slowly backs out the door. Coincidentally, April also happened to be the name of my companion that night.
April and I can't go anywhere without drawing a lot of attention. Maybe because she's what you would call a long tall drink of water. Or a nice piece of wicker. She's one of those lucky dames who never has to contend with the usual midwestern roll of fat that can turn on your laptop if you're not careful. It's just not in her DNA.Read More
Mr. Grant must be scowling at the news, and not because of the usual bumbling incompetence in the WJM-TV newsroom, but because his best hire ever, Mary Richards, has finally let him down.
Mary Tyler Moore passed away this week and right now, all I want to do is pull out a hide-a-bed, grab a box of kleenex and mourn Mary the way that she mourned Chuckles the Clown. Laughter and tears.Read More
Phew! It's done. I just completed my dating questionnaire, uploaded two flattering images, clicked 'profile complete', and am now anxiously awaiting my matches. Once I receive "today's harvest", as it's called, I will begin the process of swiping left or right. Please let me rise above my shallow nature and judge not on looks alone.
Because my son is depending on me as his new online matchmaker. A mother gone haywire, you wonder? Nah, I thought it would be funny.Read More
This collection took months to put together. Kris and I messed around with different frames. We tried chunky wood finials. A shiny orange vase. Worn baskets. I can't tell you how many iterations we attempted. Probably twenty. We got close a couple of times, but after stepping away for a day or so, we would come back, growl in frustration, and begin again.
The screenprint, titled "Winter Sun", is the work of Milwaukee artist Miriam K. Eaton who passed away in 2008. In 2013, I bought a large box of her prints and old posters without knowing much about her.Read More
This is Meeko, a kitty cat who sashays onto a photography set and owns it. He doesn't mind the lights, the flash, nor the attention. He is a natural in front of the camera, and tomorrow, he will be the lead attraction in the shop's new April Fool's slideshow.
For those who don't know, I used to celebrate April Fool's by pranking my kids. This year, the only child left at home is out of reach, traveling with the high school marching band for spring break. So annoying.Read More
It's Cyber Monday and I'd like to know who coined that hideous term. There's nothing wrong with internet shopping, but Cyber Monday sounds like an evil robotic cyborg named Monday who sucks cash out of your wallet and leaves you empty and staring in disbelief at the confirmation emails. In response, my Cyber Monday offering is handmade. Hand-painted. Stitched by hand. And it's on sale.Read More
When I decorate a room, I ask myself, "WWJD?" The man who mentally helps me in a pinch is Jonathan Adler, the lovable goofball design genius from New Jersey whose louche rooms (above) make me want to be a gypsy queen.
You know what he would do? He'd shine up a space with metallic finishes, toss in chunks of tropicana orange, and stick a face in a strategic spot for a bit of fun.Read More
I listed this trio of pen and ink and arrows in the shop today. There's something about a line drawing surrounded by an ornate frame that is irresistible.
Also irresistible? Elephants. Did you know that their wrinkly skin keeps them cool in high savannah heat? Moisture trapped within the creases does not quickly evaporate. Not sure why that principle doesn't work for wrinkly fifty-year-olds with hot flashes but it doesn't.Read More
I love politics. But man, do I hate asking for a vote. Today I'm asking for a vote in the Martha Stewart American Made contest. I entered it hoping that someone at that organization would notice my shop. You know, a back door entrance to get on their radar. Now that the contest has progressed, I feel it necessary to see this through and ask for your help. If you are inclined, click here for my page to vote. You do have to give Martha your email. But you can unsubscribe afterwards.Read More
I wish I could invite all of you to my house for this sale. I'd give you all French bises on each cheek, hand you a nice glass of champagne and after you've finished shopping, I'd offer you my homemade mousse au chocolat served with fresh raspberries and a sprig of mint. We would proudly talk of the recent heroics of the Americans on the train and how they were the toast of Paris, despite wearing golf shirts to receive their medals from the president of France.Read More
It's been about one year exactly since my husband and I made an emergency trip to France because our son suffered a serious accident. As I wrote about here, last year, it was a harrowing experience. I can only emphasize that if your child decides to study abroad, do make sure that your passport is up-to-date as well. Check and confirm that his health insurance covers him even when he is out of the country. Also, insist that he program his phone with that country's version of 9-1-1.
One year later, the kid is healthy, and that's my takeaway advice. Oh, and if the hospital's visiting hours are restrictive, go shopping. It passes the time very quickly.Read More
I'm hanging out my sign. And going to bait my hook. Because in my world, the salmon are running. I mean to say that this is the height of the vintage season with estate sales, antique fairs, outdoor flea markets, and garage sales taking place every other day. Plus, if you have been to my shop lately, you'll notice that the pickings are getting a little thin. So I'm off to fish.
Come to think of it, stocking my shop is like fishing. It takes time for each vignette to come together. Often I'm searching for months for the right elements. Then comes the photography, which is like cleaning the fish. I'm picky about that. And finally I weigh and measure and write up descriptions. That's akin to battering the fish, frying them crispy, and serving them up with some nice sides.Read More
Growing up in Waukegan, Illinois, along the shores of Lake Michigan, summers never seemed terribly hot. When the heat did arrive, I had a favorite place to hide -- the bookmobile. Did you grow up in the era of the bookmobile? In my neighborhood, the Waukegan Public Library's bookmobile arrived on the same day each week and I would be waiting, sweaty, my bicycle discarded in the weeds, my shoulder bag full of last week's selections. Oh what cool comfort I derived from inside that book-lined van.
Forty years later, I still love children's books. What is it about them that is so appealing? (By the way, Anthropologie carries reissued sets of vintage children's books and they can't keep them in stock.)Read More
Yes, I'm having a sale. New inventory and old is all discounted this weekend only. (By the way, if you subscribe to this blog, you got early notification.) Use code july4sale at checkout for 20% off through Sunday evening.
One of the collections on sale is brand-spanking-new. It is called "The Life Aquatic Wall Collage" (pictured above) and it was inspired by the Wes Anderson film, The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou. I've watched Anderson's movies over and over, drinking in the saturated colors, the quirky costumes, the precisely perfect sets. He creates a world so nostalgic that you feel the way you do flipping through your parents' wedding album. Everything has a fairytale aura that has no basis in reality but that captivates our imagination just the same.Read More
What would Grandma do? I ask that question all the time. She is gone but her voice is in my head, and whenever I'm in doubt, I hear her loud and clear.
I'm in doubt a lot these days. It comes with the territory of selling online. Opening a business is like embarking on a home improvement project that seems straightforward until you tear down a wall and find 3000 brown bats roosting between the joists. (Read about that here.)
When I walk into my basement storage room and see the boxes of inventory, staring at me with an accusing look, like I'm not doing enough to make people love them, I get a pit in my stomach that all small business owners can understand. It even has a name: the "Trough of Sorrow". (Paul Graham, world famous internet start-up investor, came up with that.)Read More
We all know this mug. After all, John Wayne is a bigger-than-life symbol of the American West and Old Hollywood. But did you know that John Wayne was a homebody? And a consummate collector?
"The Duke" made more than 142 films all over the world. While on location, he spent his downtime haunting local thrift stores and antique shops. He lugged home all sort of art, furniture, and objects. His weaknesses were guns, kachina dolls, Japanese ceramics, Native American relics, bronze sculptures, and fine English furniture. Here is what he told Architectural Digest back in 1977:Read More
Okay okay, I'm not knocked up. I believe the term I'm looking for is knocked off. But heck if it doesn't feel like I've been knocked up. Like, how could this happen? What should I do? What does this mean? Does this change my routine?
I'm taking a deep breath now and backing up to explain: today on one of my favorite blogs, I read about a new shop that just launched. It's called Still Life No. 3. Go ahead. Click here to take a peek. And come right back.Read More
Summer is upon us! Remember that old Farmer's Almanac adage about getting your flowers planted before Memorial Day? Never mind my yard, this year I planted in my shop. Why don't you take a moment and stroll down my virtual garden path? You'll see a lot of butterflies and flowers.
Mostly butterflies, actually. What is it exactly about those creatures that we love? When it's the middle of a Wisconsin winter and I see butterflies adorning things at estate sales, I reach for them instinctively. They are interlopers that flit in from another world, like a beloved child home from college. I marvel at their wings -- as thin as a nightgown. And is there a biological reason why they're so colorful and showy?Read More
I am pleased as punch to share the news that I am a new "tastemaker" at the lovely online destination, Lila Mae. A few new Finder Not Keeper collections are exclusive to Lila Mae, including the Serengeti Vignette, pictured above.
Lila Mae is an eco-friendly destination for high quality products that are sustainably made to minimize the environmental impact. Most of you have figured out that everything I sell is used, antique, and vintage, which means my collections are almost as green as the moss growing on my copy of Aldo Lepold's A Sand County Almanac. So Lila Mae and Finder Not Keeper are a good match.Read More