Monday, February 23, 2009

All points south: Maddie Lisee to Midland

The wind was playing crack-the-whip with the van and trailer as we headed south along US31, destination, Maddie Lisee (, in Lebanon, Ohio. But the perils of the journey were well worth it once we arrived. Maddie Lisee's owner Heather Kramb greeted us with a wonderful little snack of red snapper with a ginger-orange sauce and a killer South African wine. We enjoyed spending the evening with Heather and her family, catching up on a month's worth of adventures.

The next morning, we were off to the store. In addition to her gifts as a hostess, two things we admire about Heather are her wonderful color sense and great taste in fabrics. She'd done a couple of dressers in the most amazing layers of blue, so we were glad that Joe had picked a complimentary shade for the 3-drawer piece we brought, pictured below. Also shown is just one of Heather's beautiful fabric choices. She's always kind enough to pick up some extra yardage for us. My only complaint was that our visit wasn't long enough. We left at 11, heading back to Indianapolis, destination Midland Arts and Antiques (

Our goal is to restock our space at Midland every 3 to 4 weeks. Sales have been strong this month, so we brought in several new tables, plus lots of smalls. A favorite were some 2-foot green enamel letters -- the largest we've ever had -- spelling "TO HOUSES," as well as some killer locker baskets. We also did some shopping for Kane before leaving. Two personal finds were this terrific vintage sweater -- looks just like something from Anthro -- and these adorable fortune cookie fortune "albums" by artist/dealer Jenny Elkins. I love fortunes -- I have several jars of them, which I use for collage. But the album is such a fun idea!

This week we'll be turning our attention to KANE COUNTY, which starts its season Saturday, February 28. We'll be in our usual spot in the Main Building. I can't wait! Kane's two-month winter break heightens everyone's anticipation -- dealers and shoppers. It's going to be a great show. Come and see us. xo

Monday, February 16, 2009

Location, location, location: It's all about the neighborhood

Sugar-frosted chest seeks new owner Spring.Time pendant, made from vintage pearls, watchcase and millinery flowers

Joan Babb's artful display

Dealer Mark McKee, first human face featured on our blog!

Just like in real estate, a good location at an antique show is key to good sales. Outside, you need a tent. Period. A little afternoon shade and not too close to the trash cans or restrooms are all pluses on a hot summer afternoon. We also prefer level ground and being reasonably close to a main entrance. Inside, you want to be somewhat in the center of the action -- too close to the door and people move right past you, too far and you feel isolated. We like a corner because it gives better visibility, and long and narrow frontage always beats short and deep. Whether outside or in, we've found that staying in the same location has worked well for us.
And again, just like at home, good neighbors are key. A fun group of dealers with a positive attitude and an interesting mix of product will draw customers and create energy like nothing else. We first noticed this phenomenon at the Allegan Antique Market in Michigan where promoter Larry Woods was a "neighborhood builder." He actively recruited dealers whose product and personalities worked together to fill a previously dead spot in the show (the ground isn't especially level, and it's right next to the bathroom -- see above!) And his technique worked like a charm. Suddenly people were running to get to our "neighborhood" as soon as the show opened, telling us often how much they liked our part of the show. Success!

With the move to the new location at Grayslake, Joe has become a neighborhood builder himself. We've already talked about some of great people we have around us, but let me introduce two more: Joan Babb, of the Potting Shed, in Lake Forest, Illinois, and Mark McKee, of Golden Key Antiques in Howe, Indiana. Joan always has one of the most beautiful booths at a show, full of imagination. The key is her presentation, which she says is due to the influence of her parents' careers, a cross of the artistic with a good dose of German anal retention! This results in lovely objects, all perfectly packaged. Mark's booth is full of funky finds -- mid-century accessories, jewelry, ephemera, furniture and more. Be sure to look under the tables and in every container. I can't tell you how many times I've watched something I'd love to have snatched up walking away in someone else's hands because I didn't look closely enough. Mark is also quite possibly one of the nicest guys in the business. We've enjoyed getting to know Joan's husband, Fred, and Mark's partner, Sherman. Fine guys in their own right! Both Joan and Mark are in e-mail limbo right now, so contact me for their contact info.

Incidentally, there was a record crowd at Wheaton this weekend. Was it the sunny weather? The animal swap meet next door? Well, we're going to go with promoter Bob Zurko's assessment and says it's all about the neighborhoods!

Monday, February 9, 2009

Almost like spring at Grayslake

There's nothing that seems more like spring in Chicago than a 50 degree, sunny day in February. The contrast with the harsh weather that's preceded it makes you almost want to leave your coat behind! The great weekend weather brought a strong crowd out to the Grayslake Antique Market where many dealers were reporting good sales. We were pleased to sell all our large pieces of furniture, including a handsome Henredon buffet and the pretty claw-foot desk pictured below; Joe has been taking great pains to perfect our new painting technique, and we have been pleased by our customers' responses to it. We also sold most of our small furniture and a good share of the smalls in all categories. Two of my favorites were the found-item collages pictured that went to a new home during early buy.

I wanted to share two other great Grayslake dealers with those of you who love paper arts: 2 Sisters Things (, which sells a terrific range of paper elements (like the fun flash cards pictured), game pieces, findings and more, all at fabulous prices, and Patty Suttle(, whose vintage prints are to die for. Patty has pieces in all price ranges, from the wonderful old map of Paris pictured here, to an entire table of pieces that start at $1, which are perfect for projects. Contact these dealers directly for more information and be sure to visit them next time you're at Grayslake!

Many thanks to all our customers for their support and to all our on-line friends we see at the shows -- feels like homecoming now whenever we're together! On to Wheaton! xo

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Just a quick THANK YOU

Wanted to say a quick THANK YOU to two lovely ladies and excellent customers for mentioning us on their blogs, Candy and Judy! So check us out, January 22 on Candy's blog, , and January 18 on Judy's blog, Both are talented artists -- visit their sites often, like we do! xo

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Marvelous Midland

Know that feeling, when you drive up to a sale, whether it's an established outdoor market or a humble garage sale, that THIS is going to be a good one? It's that little tingle of anticipation about the finds that await just inside. Well, the first time we laid eyes on the Midland Arts and Antiques Gallery in Indianapolis, we had that feeling. And it has never disappointed us. The building is spectacular -- a 3-story, 19th-century brick factory that once housed a sash and door manufacturer, now is home to 2 floors of fabulous vintage treasures. Midland is heavy on the hip and trendy, from French furniture and chandeliers to turn of the century industrial pieces and contemporary artwork. The gallery has won numerous awards, and just opened a sister shop in Carmel, north of downtown. And the great thing is that there is terrific stuff in every price range. We have had a booth since 2006 and try to get down at least once a month to restock it. Check out these photos from our January trip:

The Midland Gallery is easily accessible from US 70; check out their website, for directions or more information. The staff is also terrific. Call them about anything you see pictured here! Or better yet, plan a road trip. And tell them that rhubarb reign sent you!!