Thursday, July 31, 2008


Am I the only person who is plagued by recurring shopping dreams/nightmares? A good dream is that I am at a fantastic estate sale and everything is priced low. The more frequent nightmares consist of overcoming terrific odds and still trying to shop. The dream usually begins at a great estate sale in a basement, I am scooping up as much as I can carry and the basement starts to flood, catches fire, scary people come in, etc... I wake up in the morning exhausted, yet with a mean hankering to go junk shopping. I need help.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

37 Cracker Barrels Between Chicago and NYC

It's getting to be the time in the summer when everyone hits the road for the last road trip before school starts again. We are planning our annual trip to New York and mentally preparing for the many hours trapped in the car. I look forward to the stops at Cracker Barrel for some odd reason, I think they play subliminal messages behind the country music. "You will buy a novelty sweatshirt and order chicken fried steak" quickly takes over the unconscious mind! Mr. Man usually has to talk me down from trying to buy a Coca Cola tumbler or a John Deere night light. It is guaranteed that we will stock up on cute nostalgic candy to put in our kitchen jars. By the time we get to Ohio my jaws ache from the bag of Bit o' Honey that I pounded, I am sure they were soft in '92. I take comfort in the fact that the Ohio Turnpike has the cleanest bathrooms along the way, I still have to use my foot to open doors, turn on water, get paper towels. What did I do before Purell? Hope everyone has a great vacation.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Freshly Baked!

16" by 20"

Friday, July 25, 2008

Here Comes The Brides and Grooms

Mr. Man And I have decided that we have to thin our herd of vintage bride and groom cake toppers. Periodically we have to edit our collections. The bride and grooms use to reside quite comfortably on a long green hinged box that we bought at the Lyric Opera garage sale 14 years ago. Our collection has grown so big that they barely fit across our long fireplace mantle. I have placed some of our collection in my Etsy shop and hope they will go to a nice home or once again adorn the top of a wedding cake!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

The Cutest Place!

Please click on the skinny mystery rectangle above to enter the shop. Sorry I still don't have a clue how to add links here.
This is the cutest online shop and it just opened. Lama Designs is an adorable shop with the most unique things. I could easily get into big trouble here. Really cute things like egg cups with faces!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Ho Ho Ho

How cool is a giant Green Giant? We stopped for pics with the Jolly Green Giant in Blue Earth Minnesota off I-90. We recently went on a road trip to see Mount Rushmore in South Dakota and we were easily distracted by roadside attractions like the big green guy and any signs for antique malls, cowboy boots and homemade pie. It takes us twice as long to get anywhere as a result of our frequent stops. I am a sucker for a giant duck with a gift shop inside (Long Island), or a house shaped like a shoe (Pennsylvania). We are going on our annual driving trip to N.Y.C. soon and I can't wait to discover new attractions along the way!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Cotton Candy

Don't you love cotton candy? It's so pretty and it melts in your mouth. I have tried to come up with different uses for cotton candy over the years. I bought bags of white cotton candy for a party and made bird's nests with them. The edible nests at every place setting looked beautiful with chocolate eggs. I have also lined dessert platters with cotton candy and placed pastel pastries on top. The only thing to avoid is moisture, so place a frilly cupcake liner under each pastry! I suddenly have a mean hankering for light blue cotton candy.

Monday, July 21, 2008

C'est tres jolie papier

My younger sister, Susan Hammerman made these adorable quilled paper pastries. Susan started quilling paper as an embelishment for her beautifully wrapped gifts for nieces and nephews. Susan and her husband Tom always have a gift for the kids and the wrapping is so creative it is a shame to open the gift. I have never seen quilled paper food before, it is such a modern use of a Victorian craft.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Tres jolie

We had these cupcakes for Mr. Man's birthday! I collect these adorable ballerinas, why don't they make them anymore? I found the most amazing box of vintage cake decorations at the Volo Antique Mall in Volo, Illinois. I bought six packages of beautiful birds made from sugar, they had their original dime store price of .19 cents. I wonder why these are no longer produced either. I can't imagine that anything so beautiful could fall out of favor with consumers. Whenever we travel I always check out the local grocery store in hopes of finding beautiful cake decorations. I did strike gold in Paris at Bon Marche's Food Emporium! They had wonderful colored sugars and shaped sugar cubes. I picked up pastel sugar cubes that look just like buttons, they even have two holes in them. My goal is to find every place in the world where they are still making these lovely decorations. Check out The Layer Cake Shop, the link is under my favorite places!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

They're Here............

The Chicago Tribune is here today photographing our home! I am so happy that the cleanest our house has ever been is being captured on film. If I could arrange a photo shoot every couple weeks we would always have impeccably clean digs! I didn't want to hide the unsightly things this time, but I did just heat up my lunch in the basement where the microwave is now located. I can hear furniture moving upstairs, oh poo I didn't vacuum under my bed. I hope a giant dust bunny and some Star Wars toys don't frighten them. I am saying the don't go in my closet prayer right now.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Magic Jelly Paper Chase Project

Karena Colquhoun makes the most amazing collages under the name Magic Jelly on Etsy. Karena has come up with a lovely idea for acquiring interesting pre 1970 ephemera. Send a wonderful package of your extra papers to Karena and you will receive a small collage made with some of the bits you shared. I found some great newspaper pages from my hometown paper in the 1930's, some vintage valentines cards, postcards, a travel journal page from 1950, vintage wallpaper and plenty of extra cool stuff! I love the idea of sharing. If I could figure out how to do a link from here I would, but I can't. Please click on the link under my favorite places to get all the info
Send packages to:
Magic Jelly
PO Box 542
Welland. South Australia 5007
(don't forget a return address)

Charmed Life

My kids have had some pretty cool experiences! LuLu got to meet Annie Leibovitz yesterday while she was waiting for Mr. Man to give her a ride home after Second City Camp. Mr. Man was taking Annie around the Super Great Doll Place, getting props for portraits and he was able to introduce Annie to LuLu. I tried to impress upon LuLu how extraordinary this was! Annie took the last photo of John Lennon, it was the Rolling Stone cover where John and Yoko were nude. Annie also recently irked the Queen of England during a portrait sitting, changed the attitude towards pregnancy with Demi Moore's famous cover. Wowee, I wish I could have been there! The kids got to walk a red carpet in L.A. for the opening of the Super Great Doll Place at the Grove. LuLu's first parade was riding on a float down Michigan Avenue as Mickey Mouse waved a wand to light the trees on the Magnificent Mile! One of the coolest experiences was when LuLu got to throw out the first pitch at a Cubs game.When we went to the next baseball game Bam Bam asked when we could go onto the field, he assumed this was a normal custom.

Monday, July 14, 2008

A Perfect Day for the Flea Market!!!!

It was a beautiful day for the flea market yesterday. There were tons of outdoor vendors and it was packed inside the buildings! Lulu made out like a bandit, she scored some great vintage political pins and some excellent jewelry. I found an old potato chip tin with really cute graphics that will make the perfect wastebasket for Deke's room. I could have spent the whole day hunting but we only had one hour to shop. We had a nostalgic lunch at Dogs and Suds in Grayslake, who doesn't love a tray of food being hitched to the window? I miss the heavy glass root beer mugs which have been replaced with paper cups. I guess after seeing A & W mugs at the flea market, I understand why they made the switcheroo.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Crazy Clean

After we get back from the flea market today we have to insanely clean the house. We have another photo shoot here on Thursday, and we live in a crack den when no one is photographing our house. I told Deke to think of our house for the next few days as if a museum and an operating room had a baby, it would be our house. This may be a bit too abstract, just don't dump your toys out. When we had Home Companion shooting at our house I knew there would be no reason for anyone to see my closet, they certainly weren't going to shoot a closet full of black Target t-shirts and khaki pants. My closet became the dumping ground for everything that doesn't belong in a magazine shoot. Our toaster oven, coffee pot, Costco size box of Rice Krispies, legos, boots, backpacks you name it, and it ended up in my closet. I had to run out on the first morning for a few minutes and when I returned I saw one of my tunics draped over a chair in the living room. Yikes, they had innocently ventured in to my closet to find something with color. I can't imagine what they thought when they had to step over an ice cream maker and a basketball to get to my shirt. I learned my lesson, this time we aren't going to hide things in my closet. I think we will bury everything in the backyard.

Today is the Lake County Flea Market and everyone is still sleeping at 6:45am, yikes there's excellent junk waiting to come home with us!


My very first blog! I should have waited until I had something meaningful to say.