Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Check out our article!

Our first article has appeared in the on-line magazine, Vintage Indie (http://www.vintageindiemag.com/). Check it out under the March 27 posts! We will be writing every month during the spring and summer. xo

NEWSFLASH: Kane County Only April Illinois Show

Due to the Easter holiday weekend, Kane County will be our only Illinois show in April. We're really gearing up, so don't miss it!! xo

Monday, March 30, 2009

SoboStyle: the magic combination

I love a well-decorated house. Not the kind that looks like an expensive hotel lobby. No. Rather the kind where everything works together, yet looks comfortable and tells a little bit about its owner's story. Our friend and customer Katie Palmer's house in Columbus, Ohio, is a perfect example. Everything is well-chosen -- from the fun furnishings, to the collectibles, books and music -- but the overall effect is like magic -- it seems effortless and is therefore inviting, not intimidating. I always love to stay with her and see what's changed since our last visit. Katie is also a great cook and host and wields the same magic at the table -- the food is always delish (see the note in today's Bright Spot for details on this!) and beautifully presented, but has a laid-back, spontaneous air about it that puts you immediately at ease.

Katie's magic touch -- the well-edited mixed with the seemingly effortless -- extends to her beautiful store, Sobo Style (http://www.sobostyle.com/). I've been a huge fan of Sobo since the first time we walked in the door. And on each visit since, I'm amazed at her ability to combine the familiar with the new and present it in a way that allows her clients to re-create the look in their own homes with ease.
Spring was everywhere on our visit last weekend -- from the fresh flowers and garden furniture to the super-cute Easter decorations and latest must-have jewelry.

We are so pleased to be counted among Katie's regular suppliers. Now, if only we could get her to franchise in Indiana so we could get together more often. And cater. She'd definitely have to cater...we'll have to work on that idea during our next delivery appointment! And next time we're there, I'll ask if I can take some pictures at the house, too, so you can see more of Katie's "magic" for yourself! xo

Monday, March 23, 2009

Operation Turn Up the Volume: Midland

Losing a major client can present the small business with an unexpected gift: a little more time. We've decided to use this windfall to "turn up the volume" at our other sales events. For instance, this last weekend we took our largest load ever to the Midland Gallery in Indianapolis (www.midlandathome.com). We were pleased with how the space looks and will see how our strategy plays out over the next few months!

If at first you don't succeed...

Unfortunately, sometimes this: Leads to this:
We were very sad to learn that our friend Heather has had to close her store in Lebanon, Ohio. You may remember from an earlier post that Heather found out her street was going to be closed 18 months for a city-scaping project. Heather tried just being open on the weekends for several months, which worked fine until the wrecking crews started. Then no one ventured down the torn-up street. Four of the businesses on her block have closed. What are city officials thinking when they inflict a project like this on merchants?
However, it's not all bad news. Heather has set up this lovely home studio, pictured below. She's looking at expanding her Esty site, hosting studio parties and trying some shows. You go, girl! We have the utmost respect for how she's handled all this and expect great things to come. Visit Heather on-line at http://www.maddielisee.com/.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Mini Portobello Road

Shopping in our show neighbors Patti, Judy and Denise's booth is like browsing a mini-Portobello Road: garden items, furniture and textiles mingle with vintage clothes, jewelry, paper and architectural salvage. The common thread is that all the items are first-rate, coming from some of the finest estate sales and markets in Chicago and as far away as Paris.

Dealers Patti, Judy and sometimes Denise, have worked together for 15 years, combing sales and doing shows. They say it's the thrill of the hunt that drives them, along with a healthy dose of fun and spending time with the friends they've made along the way.

And these ladies know what they are talking about when it comes to fun and friends. They are excellent hosts, staging many a birthday party or dealer holiday potluck right along with their other show responsibilities.

Visit Patti, Judy and Denise in our dealer neighborhood at both the Grayslake and Wheaton markets, as well as on-line at www.neighborhoodfriends.blogspot.com.

Many thanks to all who came out for the Wheaton show this weekend -- the weather was gorgeous and the joint was hoppin'! We're off to Ohio next. Anything special on your shopping list? Let us know -- we'll be hitting the auctions and sales over the next few weeks. xo -- Sandy and Joe

Monday, March 9, 2009

Be right back!

We're taking a short blogging sabbatical this week because -- drum roll please -- we've been invited to be guest contributors to the online "magazine" VintageIndie (www.vintageindie.typepad.com)! We couldn't be more excited. Our first article is due this month, so that's what's getting worked on today. Thanks to one and all for braving the March lion's stormy skies to see us at Grayslake (and to our wonderful "roady" Lynda) -- we had a great show despite the torrential rain. There were also lots of positive comments about the blog and the show "neighborhood" -- we appreciate every one's feedback! We did hear that there were some problems finding the new fairgrounds. We'll put our heads together with the promoter and see what we can do to prevent that in the future. She who leaves home in the rain to shop MUST be able to actually find the market! Sorry about that. But do come and see us next weekend at Wheaton. xo

Monday, March 2, 2009

Kane County Season Premiere a Big Hit

Bright but chilly skies greeted shoppers at the season's first Kane County Flea Market. And what a show it was! Joe and I want to thank all our wonderful customers for making it our best of the year so far. Sales were brisk in all categories -- painted furniture, smalls, artwork, garden, primitives, industrial, and more. Now we're back to the drawing board for Grayslake -- stay tuned! xo

Cookie Exchange Extravaganza

Excitement was in the air as contestants from five states began to arrive at Lynda Boyd's home in suburban Chicago and place their entries on the judging tables for her ninth annual Cookie Exchange. Now stop for a minute and consider the cliche "excitement was in the air." What is that really like? In this instance, something akin to waiting at the top of the stairs Christmas morning combined with having to give your first speech would about recreate the feeling. It takes a lot to win the coveted Baker of the Universe trophy; entries are judged not just on taste, but also on creativity and presentation. And this year's contestants were all seasoned Exchange veterans. This was going to be no cake walk!
Oohs and aahs were heard as the tables began to fill up, each entry more beautiful than the one before. The photos only show a sample! For 2009, cupcakes were allowed, in addition to cookies. Lynda explained that the Exchange evolved from a pre-Christmas brunch when she lived in Michigan; this is the third one to take place in Chicago. Part of the annual struggle for contestants is to actually save room for the tasting, as the evening includes cocktails, appetizers and a fabulous Mexican buffet. Lynda even brings the fajita meat all the way from a speciality grocery store in Texas. While the airport security in Houston is used to this, it's a little more challenging to explain to the guards at O'Hare why you are coming through with a cooler full of frozen meat!

After dinner, the moment of truth arrived: time for tasting and judging. This is a peer contest, so everyone votes, but as host, Lynda excludes her entry from winning in any category. Each participant presents her (or his, as Joe was made an honorary girl for the evening several years ago,) entry, along with a fictional or real-life explanation. At this point the mood was somewhere between rowdy girls' night out and a knock-down, drag-out state fair baking contest. Both hilarity and competitive spirits runs high -- it's a blast, but everyone really wants to win!!

But there can be only one! Drum roll please: the 2009 Baker of the Universe is Virginia's Meri Drake, who also swept the Best Chocolate and Best Novelty categories. Mary graciously thanked her family, the Academy and Bakerella's recipe for their parts in her success, adding that it only took eight hours of toil to make her Cupcake Pops, pictured above. We want to thank Mary for graciously taking the rhubarb reign-created trophy on her victory walk the next morning at the Kane County Flea Market! Go sista! For more on this, check out today's post from our excellent friends at http://www.artisansball.com/.

We'd also like to thank my excellent mother, Cris Causey, for baking rhubarb reign's entry, and Elizabeth Hary for proving the recipe. And to mention, ahem, with all due modesty that Team Rhubarb won the Best Improv category for the third year in a row! Go Joe!
And in all seriousness, we'd like to thank Lynda, our most excellent friend and customer, for a lovely evening. Lynda puts heart and soul into everything she does, this event being only one example among many. xoxo