Saturday, August 30, 2008

Banksy In New Orleans

Banksy 2008, Click on image to enlarge pic

If you aren't familiar with the mysterious artist known as Banksy please check out his latest outdoor paintings in New Orleans. I have a link to Banksy in My Favorites.

Our thoughts are with all of you in the path of Gustav, stay safe.


Lulu's after school snack today. Poor Deke is under the weather so Lulu will have to consume this in a stealth fashion. Are we all in agreement that the Necco Wafer is the perfect food? It's fat free, cool colors, makes a perfect polka dot decoration on a store bought cake and you can't tell the difference between a new Necco Wafer and one from the 1970s!

Let's Try This

"Don't be yourself, be someone a little nicer" Mignon McLaughlin

Friday, August 29, 2008

Witch Slippers!

My friend Karen Otto at A'Musements (Link in my favorites) has created the most wonderful little witch slippers! I haven't seen anything like them, which is amazing since I feel like I have seen everything. When someone creates something so completely original they should be celebrated. Please visit her site and tell her what you think.
Your Pal,

Top This

I offer these adorable bride and groom wedding cupcake toppers in my Etsy shop. Wedding cupcake toppers are extremely hard to come by, especially if you want a bride that isn't the spitting image of Winston Churchill. This by far has been my biggest seller. They have been sent all across the country and even to Germany! It is really quite extraordinary to think that my little brides and grooms are attending weddings all over world. Cupcakes are so "retro-modern" and you can save money by having cupcakes for all of your guests instead of a traditional tiered cake or using them as a lovely party favors. Who doesn't like to see a beautiful cupcake coming their way?
PS. I ate the coconut cupcake right after shooting the picture!!!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Believe It Or Not There's More...

We are starting to look a bit eccentric with all of our collections. I wouldn't call us hoarders, but we certainly aren't normal. The good news is that Mr. Man is big on editing our collections and in some cases actually giving the entire collection away. Our collections have to fit a specific space, the birdhouses that Mr. Man's Father made and some vintage houses fit perfectly in these shelves. The toy tin typewriters fit in the shelves on the other side of the window, we don't need anymore. I am not a fan of themed rooms, this is our bird room, our elephant room, etc. With all of our collections we can easily look too cutesy and themey, then it's time to edit again. I have noticed that when I am not out collecting new finds, I am dusting what we've got.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Buddy And The Ugly Side Of Collecting

No, that's not a dust bunny shaken off of my mop. Although he is the cause of many dust bunnies! That's our faithful, slightly dim witted little Buddy! When Buddy first arrived in our home I found myself suddenly drawn to all things dog. I vowed that I would not become that person with a picture of her dog on her purse, a dog charm bracelet, needlepoint pillows of dogs and most especially clothing with dogs on it!!! I must admit there is a very strong pull to go to this dark, dark side of collecting, why else would people have black velvet paintings of dogs playing poker? So far, I have kept my wits about me, just taking it one day at a time.

That Looks So Familar!

Photos by Bill Hogan, Chicago Tribune

I found photos of our house that have been published in other papers that must be owned by the same publisher as the Chicago Tribune. They didn't run some of these with the Tribune article so it was somewhat surprising to see them here. I believe one of the articles was called "Junk Decorating" -ouch.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Pearl River

How can you not be happy with a group of gaudy lucky cats waving to you everyday? This is one of my favorite purchases and they are from one of my favorite stores, Pearl River in NYC. I think they were $1 or $2 each, a steal! Pearl River is one of those stores that exudes good karma, you just have to buy something, and bring that karma home. I also bought two giant papier mache heads of a boy and a girl, you could wear them in a parade or just to startle unsuspecting people.

Monday, August 25, 2008


This is an assemblage of cake decorations that I put together. I found a wonderful box of old sugar birds and flowers at the Volo Antique Mall. When I was buying these 40(?) year old decorations the cashier told me not to eat them! Really? Can I eat the toy typewriter? I guess I don't look terribly bright.
The doll on the left is by Valerie Weberpal you can check out her other amazing creations at Harvest Moon under my favorites.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Instant Collection

A couple of years ago we stumbled upon a vendor at the flea market selling these Polish dolls. I was immediately drawn to these dolls because of their different folksy costumes and patina. I started making a little pile of dolls that filled my normal criteria for collecting, color and cuteness. The vendor told me that she had found the collection of dolls at an estate sale for a Polish woman, she said when the woman returned to Poland or relatives visited her in the U.S. she would get a doll. I suddenly felt uncomfortable breaking up this collection, taking only dolls dressed in green or blue. I asked for a price for the entire group and after a little back and forth negotiation we came to a fair amount. I am so glad I got them all and didn't split up the family.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

We'll Be There!!!

We are loading up the car and heading down to Springfield! We want the kids to see Barack Obama introduce his running mate, and witness what is sure to be an exciting event and an eloquent speech. I have actually never seen a President in person, or a person that I hope will be President. Mr. Man had to escort Vice President Cheney around Super Great Doll Place as he shopped for dolls. They had to awkwardly ride an elevator together, eeew. Tough making small talk. Anyway, we are all very excited about going to our first political rally. Lulu will most certainly be adding to her political button collection and Deke is hoping for an Obama action figure, I told him not to get his hopes up on that one.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Happiness=Unexpected Cake

My lucky husband Mr. Man attended a menu tasting with Yummy Catering, they provide the wonderful food for Super Great Doll Place. They are snazzing things up for the new opening at Water Tower Place in the fall! The result of his meeting was this lovely chocolate and vanilla cake wrapped in buttercream. Mr. Man had to carry it on his lap on a crowded train and lug it home a few blocks from the station. *Note to all husbands, show up with an unexpected cake and your family will treat you like a celebrity (even if the cake is for someone named Nancy). The cake was sampled right away, and a little later, and maybe a little bit more and just a wee bit after everyone went to bed. I can highly recommend the birthday cake at Super Great Doll Place!!!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

A Favorite Collection

I love this collection! The poor obsolete typewriter.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008


It is time to bid a fond adieu to our empty calendar. In about two days I will have to start filling in the chalkboard calendar with school activities, tennis lessons, PTO stuff and loads of other things I can't forget. There is such a sense of freedom when I look at the calendar in the morning and the day is blank, empty, we don't have to be anywhere or do anything. These tend to be are busiest days, we can jump on a train and spend the afternoon at museums or walk to the beach. Those days are dwindling down and we are returning to our scheduled lives. Time to buy a new box of chalk.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Collect This!

Pottery and photos by Julie Thomas,2008
Julie Thomas a.k.a. Farmer Julie is a very talented artist living in Idaho. Her pottery is so beautiful, I love her signature little balls adorning the pieces. Imagine a dinner party with her lovely vases running down the center of the table. She photographs her pottery and flowers so exquisitely that I would love to see a huge book of her work! I have to warn you that if you go to her blog (link in my "Favorites") you will long to live in her pastoral world with lush gardens and green everywhere!

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Tony Fitzpatrick, You Don't Get Any Cooler!

collage by Tony Fitzpatrick

Collages By Tony Fitzpatrick 2008

LuLu and Deke are photographed with our favorite artist, Tony Fitzpatrick. He invited us to the opening of his fantastic exhibit at the Chicago Cultural Center. He creates the most amazing fine art,collage drawings using vintage matchbook covers and wonderful ephemera. The collages above are part of his New Orleans Project they are heartbreaking and beautiful. His work is inspiring and you will learn something new no matter how many times you've looked at the piece. Tony's art is in countless museums, Art Institute of Chicago, Museum of Modern Art NYC, Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago. The most amazing thing is that he is a genuinely nice guy! My very first collage sale was to Tony, imagine that. He asked to buy one of my collages and I responded by saying I would pay him and bake him a pie. Tony insisted and gave me some valuable advice about keeping a kernel of dignity when it comes to my work. Please check him out under my "Favorites" or next time you're at a museum.

The Chicago Tribune layout of our house will be in the magazine section on Sunday, August 17. That would have been my Dad, George Summerfield's 70th birthday.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Thanks Dishwasher Guy and Katie Runnels!!!!

We recently had a new dishwasher installed and the man who came to install it seemed a bit discombobulated upon entering our kitchen. He scratched his head and looked around at our candy jars filled with candy buttons, Pez, wooden push puppets, ribbon candy, candy necklaces and our rocket man soda bottles, and finally the Lifesaver rack with jars of colorful sugars and vintage cupcake picks. "I don't get it, do you own a store or something?" he asked. He didn't intend on this being a lovely compliment, but I certainly took it that way! I love the look and feeling of an old Five and Dime and he saw the resemblance. I responded with a gushing thank you, and that I did not own a store. He seemed to want to get our dishwasher installed quite quickly, I think I gave him the willies with my enthusiastic response. After 15 minutes of exposing his crack he was gone.

A huge thank you to the lovely and talented Katie Runnels, The Constant Gatherer (Link in my favorites). Katie is a very talented artist with a gorgeous web site and Etsy shop, and she is an amazingly generous person! Katie often highlights the works of other artists on her blog, and I have been lucky enough to have somehow gotten her attention. Thank you so much for the wonderful blog, I have never been so flattered.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Pull Up A Chair

Just in case we have a dinner party with three inch tall people we collect these little dollhouse chairs! You simply never know when you will be entertaining the likes of the Tooth Fairy or Tom Cruise. We do seem to have some type of weakness when it comes to little chairs. I love using children's chairs as end tables or just seeing them lined up along a wall. It has been getting more and more difficult to find little blue and green dollhouse chairs. Have I bought them all?

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Rhubarb Reign

One of my favorite vendors at the Lake County Flea Market is Rhubarb Reign. Sandy and Joe are lovely people with impeccable style and I always finds loads of repurposed items that I must have. One excellent find was a group of framed chalkboards, these were in the Home Companion layout. The chalkboard in our dining room has been a lifesaver at dinner parties. When guests walk in they can see what beverages we are offering up so I don't have to rely on my faulty memory to rattle them off. Next time you're at the flea please check them out!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Cheryl Crow and James Blunt Came To My Party!

I had a casual dinner party last night. It was so gorgeous out that I set up and outdoor dining room under the stars. A couple of guests were vegetarians so I had oodles of non-meat things. I cut corn off the cob and it was so wonderful that I didn't butter or salt it. My basil in the garden is as big as my head (I have a freakishly large head) and it was perfect with ripe tomatoes and fresh mozzarella. Because I have Italian blood, I cooked for 30 people even though we had 10 guests. I had Mr. Man running about at the last minute lighting the hundreds of candles I set out in birdbaths, in the garden, hanging from trees and lanterns. The coolest part of the evening is that we were entertained by James Blunt and Cheryl Crow who were appearing last night at Ravinia Music Festival. (I have to admit that I don't love them and they were great!) We could hear them perfectly from our party! I think even the hipsters in attendance relaxed and enjoyed the live tunes.
**My brother Toby Summerfield is so disturbed that I enjoyed the music from the night before, that I got a stack of CD's from him the next day! Calm down, I have not gone easy listening in my old age.

Monday, August 11, 2008


I simply can't believe I won an amazing assemblage from Sandra Evertson! I feel so lucky and quite inspired. There is a quote that I love, and it has been attributed to a number of famous people "always be a little kinder than necessary". I think I shall attribute this quote to Sandra.
Thank you so much,

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Always Looking

I am always looking for things to pick up off the ground, a heart shaped rock or leaf, discarded, broken, rusty stuff. I think it makes me feel a bit like a treasure hunter or archaeologist.

Friday, August 8, 2008

She Was A Baby Yesterday

It is hard to believe that LuLu is 14 years old and starting high school in two weeks. Yikes, how did that happen? LuLu wanted to do some back to school shopping, but only at vintage and resale shops. She amassed the most unique and stylish wardrobe! My sister Susan took her to an auction of Leona Hemsley's clothes, LuLu came back with Ferragamos, gorgeous purses and very french suits! She has a knack for putting together some pretty cool looks, but every now and then she appears in something Little Edie would have worn in "Grey Gardens". I am very concerned for her, recently she has taken a shine to Richard Nixon. She has been wearing "Nixon Now" buttons on her coat, where did we go so wrong?

Thursday, August 7, 2008

More Collages

So That's Where The Missing Socks Go!

It is a beautiful day today! We are heading to the city (Chicago) for a girly day with Lulu, followed by a nice dinner out with Mr. Man and Deke. The last time we did this I wanted to dress up a bit with nicer black pants and wee heels. I opened up my package of Spanx, squeezed in like sausage in casing and was able to successfully button my pants.. Unfortunately, it was hard to enjoy the day not being in comfortable clothes. The Spanx weren't helping matters, everything felt a bit odd and misplaced. When we returned home and I was getting into comfortable clothes, I discovered one of Mr. Man's athletic socks had been clinging to the inside of the seat of my pants all day! Ickity, this explains the weird feeling all day. I think I'll wear a skirt today.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008


We are so lucky to be within walking distance to a lovely sandy beach on the shores of Lake Michigan. My children have grown up with frequent trips to our beach, combing the sand for sea glass and heart shaped rocks. They used to refer to our lake as an ocean, which is quite understandable since you can't see the land on the other side. I am always amazed at how even a short visit to the beach feels like a vacation, an escape, and we are minutes from home.