Saturday, October 30, 2010

So Excited: Three Fabulous Pieces

Last week, Joe and I had the opportunity to buy some fabulous stuff, in fact several of my favorite pieces of the whole year so far. Just check out this vintage banker's cabinet:

It stands about 4-feet tall on metal legs with casters. We were told that the individual drawers held the tellers' counted cash for the start of each day. What a great storage piece!

Next is this wonderful 10-foot ZINC TOP worktable. We were told that it came out of a machine shop in Ohio; its patina is awesome and it would make a wonderful island, buffet or studio piece.

Last but not least is this all original 1920s kitchen hutch in terrific condition. It would be great for its intended purpose, but would also be sweet as a store display, in a craft room or in a child's bedroom.

The pictures don't do any of these hotties justice -- we were in the middle of our annual pre-winter studio cleaning, so everything was in a jumble. Just consider it live action! The hardest part was deciding which things to take where. Joe is headed to Midland tomorrow with the worktable and the hutch, in addition to a bunch of great industrial finds and smalls. I'm off to Chicago with a load of Christmas. The banker's cabinet is headed to next weekend's Kane. Check back next week to see what else we've got up our sleeves and have yourself a FABULOUS weekend until then. xo

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Vintage Vocab: Parlez-Vous? Plus Weekend Update

Just like every little corner of the work-a-day world, the antiquing business has its own insider vocabulary. Bet you already know a lot of the key words, but if not, read on! We'll have you speaking like a native in no time:

antique: technically, to be "antique," an item must be at least 100 years old

vintage: this one's a little loosey-goosey and seems to depend mostly on the age of the person using the term! But you're probably safe using it to refer to any item from the '70s on back

as is/as found: means the owner is aware of a flaw, but has taken that into consideration when pricing the item (so don't aggravate him by pointing it out when asking for a lower price!)

NFS: boo! This thing is Not For Sale

flea market vs. antique show: a flea market can contain any kind of merchandise, while an antique show offers old stuff and/or stuff made from old stuff, depending on the show's rules

c.: this means "circa" and usually appears before the owner's age estimate on a piece; it generally refers to an educated guess as to which half-century an item originates from

provenance: documentation about an item's history, ownership, origin, etc.; an interesting provenance can increase a piece's value

bespoke: actually, I've never heard anyone use this term, but I see it all the time in British magazines, so I was curious. Turns out it means "custom order," so just let us know if you'd like anything bespoke from rhubarb reign!

I know there are lots of other terms bandied about out there. Any come to mind? Leave a comment, and we'll see if we can help! xo

Joe and I were on the road this weekend. Our first stop was SoBo Style, getting Katie all re-stocked. Next we headed over to Lebanon, Ohio, to visit our friend Heather of Maddie Lisee. Along the way we picked up several fabulous items that will be destined for Midland this weekend. Yesterday, I opened my new issue of "Where Women Create" and was pleasantly surprised to find our customer Beth Harlow of Chicago's The Painted Lady profiled. Congratulations, Beth! Check back later this week for a sneak-peek at our Midland load!!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Five MORE Fall Favorites

ONE: Vintage Handwriting (Italian-style)

TWO: Original Paint (in seasonal colors!)

THREE: Funky Old Signs

FOUR: Vintage Saints

FIVE: Fabulous Skies (is the sky ever bluer than on a clear fall day?)

What about you? What do you love this time of year? Let me know! 'Til then, we are headed to Ohio. Have a great weekend. xo

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Five Fall Favorites

ONE: Letters (yes, and eating. Wait, I guess I like both letters and eating all year long, but let's try and stick to the theme of today's post!)

TWO: Containers (The amber glass practically shouts "fall!")

THREE: Doll Heads (Great for Halloween, but at rhubarb reign, we love them all year round!)

FOUR: Industrial (This vintage grocery store ice cream cart was the first piece to sell at this weekend's Burlington show.)

FIVE: A big crowd of happy shoppers (okay, you've got me again -- I love that all year long!)

But there's just something about strolling through a show on a fabulous fall day -- it just feels right! We couldn't have asked for a nicer way to end our outdoor season. Many thanks to all who came out to support the show. Come see us this winter in Chicago! xo

A special note of congratulations: We were pleased to see one of our favorite customers, Gosia Korsakowski of Bluebell Bazaar, mentioned in the new Country Living as a supplier for the magazine's 2010 House of the Year. Way to go, Gosia! :)

Friday, October 15, 2010

Repurposing; Burlington

Our friend Katie would be the first person to tell you that she's not artsy-craftsy, but I think she may have outed herself on this project:

She found some vintage Dixie cups at an antique mall and used them to create this wonderful lighted garland. Fabulous! Have you got a terrific repurposing idea? Share it with us! We'll link up and spread the wealth around. And if you're in Columbus this weekend, or in the mood for a road trip, be sure to stop by SoBo for Katie's annual October Arts Market, and indie art fair. Our BFF Heather Kramb of Maddie Lisee will be showing, along with a talented group of other local artists. Indie and repurposing -- two things you just gotta love!

And, after you're done at Katie's, come see us at the Burlington Antique Market for the last outdoor show of the season. Can you believe how the year is just flown by? We have a terrific group of industrial pieces, cute painted furniture, seasonal projects, smalls and more. Details are just a click away on the show sidebar. See you there. xo

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Steampunk 101; Grayslake; Annie

Ever been attracted to something, only to find out later that it is part of a larger world, full of things that you like, and even has its own name? Well, that's how Joe and I found out about Steampunk. And if you see anything you like in the photos below, courtesy of this month's Restoration Hardware catalog, my guess it that you are into Steampunk, too, whether you know it or not!

A little background: Joe and I have always loved gadgets, from rusty old wheels to vintage machinery, as well as anything industrial. One day at an auction, we were loving up an old adding machine that had glass sides, figuring out how we could remove the interior to create a showcase. Our friend, artist Brett Gregory, turned the light on when he said, "Oh, you guys must be into Steampunk. You should check it out online. People who are into that have a convention and everything." What! I didn't even know there was a name for liking this kind of stuff, let alone a convention!

Turns out that Steampunk as a home decor idea actually has roots in a literary movement "...that came into prominence during the 1980s and early 1990s. Specifically steampunk involves an earlier world where steam power is still widely used -- usually the 19th-century and often Victorian-era Britain...Works of steampunk often feature anachronistic technology or futuristic innovations as Victorians may have envisioned them; in other words, based on Victorian expressions of fashion, culture, architectural style, art, etc." Quote thanks once again to Wikipedia; click here to read the full article.

So what's Steampunk in these photos? The lighting, for sure. The clocks, wheels, chalkboards, wire and other items you can imagine coming from a turn-of-the-century factory. Any of the other industrial-inspired pieces such as the tables and shelving. If you start looking for it, you'll see Steampunk in many places -- stores like Anthropology, books like "A Series of Unfortunate Events," movies such as "Stardust" and "Sherlock Holmes." Pretty cool, huh? While you are exploring, check out one of our favorite sites, The Steampunk Home. And do share with us, gentle readers, about your most delightful finds in this most fascinating corner of the vintage world.

Grayslake Report

Beautiful weather greeted Grayslake shoppers on both days last weekend. Sales echoed Kane County, as many of our bigger pieces found homes before most of the small ones. Usually, it is the other way around! Also unusual was that we did not sell much collage or other creative elements. However, mirrors and chalkboards sold out, as did several new project ideas. We finished the show about 10 percent below our sales goal, but were satisfied. As always, a huge THANK YOU to everyone who came out to support us. We could not do it without you!


We learned Saturday morning that our good friend and customer Annie Grosvenor had passed away after a well-fought battle with cancer. Annie had a fabulous eye -- check out her blog drawing-a-blank for a glimpse of her amazing vision and talent. What a stylist! She had an even more fabulous sense of humor. She will be greatly missed by so many in our antiquing community. Our thoughts and prayers go out to her family and friends. xo

Annie, wearing her Chicago Marathon medal, just last year. Our thanks to Joy Waltmire, Savvy City Farmer, for letting us use her photo. Read more about Annie on Joy's blog and on The Gilded Junque Yard.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Let's Make a Deal, Part 2; Plus a Grayslake Sneak Peek

I was pleased to find that last week's post on bargaining drew so many readers -- both dealers and customers -- and some thoughtful comments. Last year, we were invited to contribute an article on flea market shopping to one of our on-line favorites, Vintage Indie. If you're not familiar with the site, but sure to check it out. Here's a little more of what we said on bargaining, with a brand new heading:

To Shop Early, or Wait, That Is the Question (Ta-DA! What a great heading -- lol)

"When you shop a show can affect your ability to bargain. Many shows feature an 'Early Buy' time before general admission, but this can be a Catch-22. You are paying a buyer's premium to shop during set-up, and many dealers aren't ready to do business because they are still unpacking. Dealers also may be reluctant to part with merchandise at a discount before the show even starts. However, coming in for Early Buy does allow you a first look at things that may be gone by general admission. You may have to decide what you really want: first dibs or lowest price. Sometimes they are mutually exclusive!

It can also be risky to wait until the very end of a show to get a deal. First, the piece you want may be gone. Secondly, don't assume that dealers will automatically drop the prices then. This strategy may work with someone who is just cleaning house, but may not work a professional dealer who has another show next weekend. However, if you live somewhere with a definite indoor/outdoor season, the last show of the year can be a good time to negotiate. Seasonal dealers may be willing to bargain in the fall rather than store merchandise over the winter."

So, what's your style? Do you love Early Buy? Or do you swoop in at the end of the day? Do tell!


Joe and I, plus a cast of thousands, are working extra hard on this week's load since we were not able to be there last month.* We've got a good selection of furniture, both large and small, seasonal projects and graphics, containers, industrial, garden, smalls, project parts and more. Whew! Do plan to join us -- the weather is supposed to be fabulous. Details are just a click away on the show sidebar. xo

*Sincere thanks for all your nice comments about our friend, Preston.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Pumpkin 101

Joe has known local farmer Tim Lemler almost forever, but it was really just by accident that we stumbled on his fabulous pumpkin patch 5 or 6 years ago on the way home from an auction. What makes his place so amazing is all the heirloom varieties:

These "gourmet" pumpkins are much more widely available now than when we first bought them, but a trip to Tim's farm is still a much-looked-forward-to autumn ritual at rhubarb reign.

Just a couple of our favorites include the Peanut, named for its peanut-like bumps, left above, and Cinderella's Carriage, right, which turns a fabulous shade of orange as it ripens. We also love Cinderella's twirly stem; I always try to pick pumpkins with lots of curlicue foliage.

Other favorites include Cheddar, far right, and the good old Pie, left. The bright orange cutie in the background is a new addition to our repertoire; anyone know the name for this guy?
While you're looking that up, check out these fun pumpkin facts from our pals at Wikipedia:
The word "pumpkin" originates from the word "pepon," which is Greek for "large melon;" how clever!
Pumpkins generally weigh 9 to 18 pounds, but the current world-record holder topped the scales at 1725.
Out of the 7 continents, only Antarctica is unable to produce pumpkins; boo, poor Antarctica.
Illinois is the top pumpkin producer in the United States.
Pumpkins are used for cooking, chucking, competing and our favorite -- decorating! There's just something fabulous about pumpkins plus antiques -- the colors are a natural. Send us a photo of your favorite idea -- and pass the pie while you're at it! xo