Tuesday, July 28, 2009


I can't wait to share all of the shops I am hitting this week in NYC! Upper east side junk stores, lower east side vintage clothing stores, Pearl River, M & J Trimming, Tinsel Trading, Giant Robot and a few hundred more!

Monday, July 27, 2009

Cedric Smith

works by
Cedric Smith

If you aren't already familiar with painter/photographer Cedric Smith, then it is my honor to introduce you to your new favorite artist! His use of old photographs in his paintings of vintage advertisements, labels and signs is simply beautiful. I am so sad that I missed seeing his recent show at the Dillon Gallery in NYC, it would have been thrilling to see his work in person. Here is a link to his blog- Vintage Blood .

Friday, July 24, 2009

My Studio

Karen Valentine/My Desert Cottage is hosting a blogging event to show the spaces where bloggers and artists create. Please check out her site to see the rest of the gang and their creative spaces.
I have carved out a small spot in my basement where I can make messes and blast the Red Hot Chili Peppers or Edith Piaf, depending on my mood. I utilize my flea market finds to help me keep things somewhat organized.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Artology Workshops

Artology Workshop
October 11-14, 2009
City Flats Hotel
Holland, Michigan

Finally, we have an exciting art workshop in the Midwest! I have seen so many extraordinary offerings around the country, but nothing for those of us in the middle! Patrice Greene and Amy Hanna have teamed up with some very talented artists to teach a weekend of wonderful workshops.
This is Amy's class description: " 'Forgotten Treasures' Come spend the day with me playing in velvet boxes and old cigar containers where we will find new life in forgotten treasures. Bring your Granmere's jewelry box with old broken jewelry bits and bobs. Favorite old tintype photos even if they are not your family's, favorite religious relics, rosaries and medals. Your favorite uncle's watch fobs, keepsakes from a trip to a faraway place. Smashed coins from a machine or one that you placed under the railroad tracks yourself. Bring the things that you feel are special. We all have a different meaning for "treasure" so do not be afraid to bring whatever speaks to you and we will work with it. I will teach you how to wire wrap and to oxidize to bead and to use your imagination to build jewels out of things you would not think of using. I will also teach you to solder. I am looking forward to meeting you and hearing your story. " Sounds great, doesn't it?
The venue for all of this fun is at a new and very hip hotel in Holland, Michigan called City Flats Hotel. Holland is home to many great new shops and restaurants, and you can still buy wooden clogs here! This looks like something I have to sign up for.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Aren't These Pretty?

I have to admit that I am not much of a baseball fan, but I do love these old baseball cards. The colors are just extraordinary! These cards were distributed by the American Tobacco Company in the early 1990s in packs of cigarettes and loose tobacco.
Keep your eyes peeled for a Honus Wagner card, the rarest and most valuable of them all. Collectors believe Wagner's cards are rare because he stopped allowing the American Tobacco Co. to use his image, fearing it would encourage children to smoke. There are only 60 of his cards in existence, and one sold in 2007 for 2.35 million dollars.

Orangedotstickbutt and Superbadfriend

Isn't this a wonderful painting? My very talented friend, Jessie Smith Larson a.k.a. SuperbadFriend gave me this extraordinary gift!!! I love Orangedotstickbutt, but I can't grow too attached because I know the Whitney in NYC will be calling soon to add it to their collections.
The beautiful paper flowers with enormous pearl centers were made by Joan Babb . I am the luckiest and most grateful girl in the world!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Our Home In The Oman Trib!

The Oman Tribune

The Crispell family abode is filled with eclectic stuff
by Kathy Kaplan
As students at the University of Michigan, Linda and Gar Crispell didn’t have much money and so they bought furniture at local antiques shops. “While we shopped at the Ann Arbor antiques mall out of necessity, we discovered our love for collecting,” says Linda, a collage artist and antiques dealer.

Humble things like Pez and snow globes began to attract them. “We found these everyday objects made an impact, a nice graphic,” explains Gar, general manager of American Girl Place in Chicago.

Twenty five years later, Linda and Gar are passionate collectors of the sort of things most people either don’t notice or simply take for granted.

A delightful mix of flea market finds, junk-store treasures and found objects fills their cozy North Shore three-bedroom home. Items chosen for their unique or historical features became more than what they were intended to be.

Toy metal typewriters, croquet balls, sea glass, cucina dolls are viewed as accessories and displayed as clusters of colour or texture. “When I look at the brides and grooms (that usually sit atop a cake), I look at them as a series of black and white and they create a pattern that a piece of art might create,” explains Gar. Similarly, a grouping of little metal souvenir buildings from around the world (Statue of Liberty, Eiffel Tower, Empire State Building, etc.) becomes a reflective element that as a collection feels like a single piece of sculpture.

As their collections evolved, so did their respective talents. “I’m great at going into antiques malls or junk stores and spotting something that has been tossed into a corner,” says Linda. “I bring it home and Gar can immediately figure out where to plug it into the house,” she adds.

Gar, who studied fine art in college and whose parents were both artists, says, “Even though I have the formal degree, I consider Linda more of an artist than I am now. She has a very good eye and an innate sense of what’s interesting or colourful or unique.”

Deciding how to display and move things around is Gar’s task. “My experience in retail (Gar has worked at Saks Fifth Avenue and Bloomingdale’s) translates into merchandising the house,” says Gar.

Linda considers herself quite lucky. “I’ll go to bed and then come back down in the morning and he will have rearranged the room in such a way that never occurred to me. My friends all want to borrow him.”

But a week later the room may be completely different.

With all they have, the Crispells are careful to avoid clutter. Much is kept in storage only to be displayed periodically. “We will pull things out because it’s now the right colour or it feels right" says Gar.

But no one takes this house too seriously. The ever-changing landscape reflects its owners’ sense of humour and casual approach. Nothing is precious or untouchable. Linda feels the lesson of “collecting ordinary objects is that you aren’t putting importance on material goods.”

The Crispells’ two children have embraced their parents’ avocation. Once a month the entire family visits the Grayslake Flea Market. Deke, 10, loves vintage toys and food icons like Big Boy and Green Giant, and thinks that collecting is fun. Lulu, 14, collects junk jewelry and vintage purses, and has recently become interested in political memorabilia.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

My Garden

Robot/Tin Man Birdhouse made from a coffee can

Vintage doll pram rescued from the curb

I found this wonderful sign at the flea market

My new favorite thing to look for at junk stores and flea markets is wonderful vintage items that I can repurpose in the garden. Old metal dollhouses are so affordable and they look beautiful at night aglow with candlelight. This red metal house was only $8.00 and it can withstand any kind of weather! Can you believe someone was throwing away this old doll pram? It makes the perfect planter, and it can be easily wheeled around the garden.
I have discovered there is a fine line between clever repurposing and resembling Fred Sanford's yard, so I am constantly editing.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Happy Bastille Day!

These are pictures from a little French party that Lulu had. The guests sampled French perfumes and dined on a little pastries and grape juice. I covered the table with real rose petals, a very economical table decoration.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Lucky Number 13!

cool pics from Life

Congratulations Claudia !
Using Random.org the number 13 was selected as the winner of my vintage prize giveaway.Please email me your address so I can pop your loot in the mail tout de suite!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Demolition Score

I was so sad to see that an old estate in my neighborhood was being torn down, but I was able to salvage this arch that once hung over the carved front door. Have you ever been to a pre-demolition sale? You bring your own tools and you are responsible for removing whatever you buy, wood floors, windows, molding, patio pavers, you name it. It's actually loads of fun, and you can get some great deals on cool things! I hate to gloat, but the arch only cost $30.00!!!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009


I love these beautiful chandeliers, they range in price from $155.00 to $32,500. I have to admit that my favorite is the one made out of wire trash bins! Which one do you like?

Friday, July 3, 2009

Happy 4th

We are heading to Chicago tonight to see the fireworks and may even take the kids to the Taste of Chicago. It all depends on how intestinally brave we are feeling! E-coli on a stick and fried salmonella are mighty tempting!!!!
I hope all of you have a wonderful weekend.
Your Pal,

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Ginger Blossom

Welcome to Ginger Blossom

I must return for the Nepal shipment on July 12th!

Ginger Blossom in Richmond, Illinois is a truly amazing shopping experience! Ginger Blossom (love her name) and her husband Evan travel the world for beautiful carpets, furniture, fabrics, art and artifacts. They have filled their barn, home and various other farm buildings with treasures and unique handmade items. They are members of the Fair Trade Federation and they buy directly from the Artisans. I wish I had taken better pictures inside the barn, it is brimming with beds from Nepal, antique furniture and mosaic fountains from Morocco. If you get a chance, visit this amazing spot.
Please don't forget to enter my contest below!