Wednesday, December 28, 2011


OK, so Joe and I just figured out that this weekend's DUPAGE EXPO SHOW will be both our LAST and FIRST show of the YEAR! A two-fer if there ever was one. So we've got LOTS of

great stuff planned -- a whole NEW load of furniture, smalls from this week's shopping from here to Ohio and back, plus a peek at Valentine's Day, new chalks and more. Plan to spend part of your holiday weekend with us and all your other favorite Expo dealers!

As the HALF-OFF GENERAL ADMISSION blog/Facebook promotion has remained so popular, Zurko's have renewed it for another season! Hurray! Just print this page out (or show it on your phone at the door) to save a little $$ for spending once inside. If you need more info, check out the show sidebar on this page or click on the link it contains to go the the show's website.

A very HAPPY NEW YEAR, one and all. Thanks for being some of the greatest friends and customers on the planet. See you this weekend. xo

P.S. Just restocked at Mishawaka Antiques, Midland and on Etsy -- come see us there, too!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

A Slightly Victorian Christmas Wish from Our Place to Yours

For the last couple of years, we've collected these cute Victorian postcards featuring Christmas robins. I kept expecting a project to materialize, but so far, that hasn't happened. But looking through them the other day, the thought occurred to me that robins seem a little out of place at Christmastime. Even in Victorian England, it must have been chilly! So I decided to do a little quick Internet research, and I totally get it now!

It turns out that to the Victorians, robins symbolized "light at the darkest time of year" -- even with snow on the ground, the hope of spring is right around the corner! It is one of the things I love best about that time period -- every little detail was packed with meaning.

So from our place to yours this holiday week, we wish you everything a Victorian Robin stands for: new beginnings, cheer, joviality, light-heartedness, joy, hope, clarity, renewal, pleasures, simplicity, happiness, satisfaction, rejuvenation, contentment and a bright future!

Merry Christmas! xo

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Feeling Merry? A Short List of Reasons Why

Today, I have a to-do list that is long as my arm -- or at least elbow to fingertip! But I'm feeling distracted. I guess you could say actually merry. Downright full of Christmas cheer. Do you ever have days like that? Where you just feel full of good fortune?

Partly, I think it is due to lack of this:

Now, don't get me wrong. I love a white Christmas as much as the next girl. But every day that I don't have to drive in it, I count as a blessing. Cold but sunny weather drew a big crowd of shoppers to last weekend's Grayslake Antique Market, which we always count as a blessing. And everyone was in a great mood -- another reason to celebrate!

What about you? What is making you merry this week? If you need a little cyber-perk, check out Emily Martin's blog today for an awesome download-able FREE project. And also print out the coupon below while you are at it. Bring it along to this SATURDAY's Wheaton Antique Market, our last show of the season, for HALF-OFF general admission. Check back later this week, both here and on FACEBOOK, for a peek at what we are bringing. And leave me a comment and share what's making you MERRY this time of year. xo

Friday, December 9, 2011

Grayslake: So Many Good Things!

This weekend's Grayslake Antique Market is full of good things -- and we aren't talkin' Martha here (although we're sure she'd approve!) First of all, thanks to Zurko Promotions, print this page for HALF-OFF general admission.

Second, we've got Santa's Workshop Bench (or maybe it came from the elves' classroom?!), plus a van load of furniture, smalls, mirrors, containers and more. Everything you need to deck the halls and gift-ify everyone on your list. One-stop vintage shoppin'.

Third, remember the weather for Grayslake last year? Well, this weekend's forecast is seasonably chilly, but SUNNY!! So what are you waiting for? Make sure your weekend plans include a trip out to see us. Details can be found on our show sidebar, and I am loading photos of some of the new merch on to Facebook right now. See you at the show. xo

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Holiday Shopping List: Vintage Style! Plus Kane Report

So, how are things coming with your holiday shopping? Assume you've been making your list, and checking it twice! Remember that this weekend's Grayslake Antique Market can be your one-stop holiday shopping resource. There are countless possibilities:

Jewelry, books, purses, sweaters, hats, scarves. Artwork. One-of-a-kind collectibles. Something for your best friend who loves pink. Or cats. Or owls. Plus seasonal greens and everything you need to deck the halls. And, thanks to Zurko Promotions, just print the coupon below for HALF-OFF general admission. What could be better?

Click the link on our show sidebar for more information and check back this week, both here and on Facebook, for a peek at what we will be bringing. Ho-ho-ho!

Many thanks to everyone for braving the gloomy weather last weekend to come and see us at Kane. Saturday started out a little too quiet, but picked up as the morning went on and cold rain let up. Holiday handmades were big sellers, as were smalls. Not much furniture, but that is kinda typical for the time of year. Sunday was steady. We enjoyed visiting with our new neighbors and hope they will be back when the season re-opens at Kane in March. xo

Friday, December 2, 2011

Pipe (Leg Table) Dreams and the Last Kane of the Year

In just a few short years, industrial pieces have gone from easy-to-buy but more selective to sell to the exact opposite -- prices have skyrocketed and finds are in hot demand at all our markets.

Thankfully Joe is a whiz at creative carpentry, allowing us to make some wonderful pieces from parts that we find. Case in point, this great pipe-leg table.

We found the legs on a buying trip a few weeks ago, and Joe remembered that we had a lovely original-paint top from an earlier auction score. What great patina!

A match made in industrial/garden/primitive heaven! The piece would be awesome in a store, as a worktable, in an office, as a many options.

Come visit our dreamy Pipe-Leg Table at the last Kane of the season -- this weekend! Can you believe it!? Where has the year gone? We will also have lots of new furniture, smalls, holiday and handmades. Click on the link in our show sidebar if you need more details. But be sure to join us. See you there. Can't wait!! xo

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Need a Simple Gift? Plus Expo Report

Need a simple gift that's fun to make? How about an embellished eraser? Anyone with a chalkboard can use it! What you'll need: scissors, Tacky Glue, straight pins, brush, fabric or paper, eraser, pencil. Now, the eraser might actually be the tricky part. We order ours from the local office supply store. (Order some chalk while you are at it!) You might also try on-line. Once that problem is solved, the rest is easy. Remove the label and place the eraser upside down on your fabric or paper. Trace leaving about a 1/4 inch extra on each side.

Cut out along traced lines, then brush top of eraser with glue. Cover evenly. Smooth your fabric or paper over the glue, then brush some additional adhesive on your 1/4 inch margins. Fold edges like you are wrapping a package and pin in place 'til dry. That's it! You can now use your imagination to embellish your eraser -- buttons, stray earrings, keys -- whatever you like. And add a little strip of trim around the edges to cover the sides.

That's all there is to it! No time for this? No worries! We are planning to stock these from now on! Come get one from us anytime.

Our thanks to all who came out for the Expo Show. Saturday was busy until about 2; Sunday was steady, but slower. Industrial, holiday and smalls were the big sellers. Wish we had about a dozen mini-mail carts! Today, we start work on Kane -- the last one 'til March! Where did this year go?! Check back later this week, here and on Facebook, for a look at our latest finds and plan to join us for the show. xo

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Our THANKS to You: Customer Appreciation Weekend

If you a regular rhubarb reign blog reader, this little coupon probably looks kinda familiar to you by now. BUT WAIT. This weekend, there is something different. You will need to print TWO COPIES. Present one at the door of the DuPage Expo Show this weekend for HALF OFF your general admission. That's the first good thing.

Bring the second one to our booth for 15 percent off YOUR ENTIRE PURCHASE. Just a little thank you for all you do for us all year long! And yep, calling it up on your phone works at the door and in the booth, too.

So what are we going to have? One of the best groups of VINTAGE AWESOMENESS that we've had all year. We are pulling out all the stops, including a fabulous pipe-leg table and an equally cute zinc top companion; dressforms; mail carts; containers; smalls galore. Plus holiday handmades and LOTS of possibilities for gifts, entertaining and decorating. It really is gonna be something to see, so be sure your weekend plans include a trip to the DUPAGE EXPO. Show details are just a click away on our sidebar. The Expo Center is located on North Avenue in St. Charles, Illinois, just across from Pheasant Run. Can't wait!! xo

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Small Business Saturday; EXPO SHOW Update

Here at rhubarb reign, we LOVE all our retail customers -- boutique owners from five states who not only keep us in business, but never cease to dazzle us with their individual creative vision. How can you not love a wonderful shop, carefully edited, full to the brim with eye candy and excellent ideas?

We heartily endorse Small Business Saturday, coming up this weekend. Remember as you are planning your holiday shopping to get out and support all your wonderful local businesses!

These photos were taken over the weekend as we restocked SoBo Style, in Columbus, Ohio. Katie has worked her holiday magic all over the store. One of my favorite twists is that so many of the holiday goodies can be used way beyond the Christmas season. Just one example -- Katie already sold an entire window-full of garland to a bride-to-be, who is saving it to use for her June wedding. A little multi-purposing never hurts any one's budget! After the wedding, the newlyweds will be able to use the garland again and again. What a great idea.


This week, Joe and I are getting ready for the season opener of the DuPage Expo Show, coming up this weekend in St. Charles, Illinois. We have LOTS of surprises in store, so please check back later in the week for details. Remember to print out this page and bring it along for HALF-OFF your regular admission, courtesy of Zurko Promotions.

Over the weekend, we also restocked at Midland -- click our Facebook link to take a peek! Tomorrow, I am headed to fluff our space at Mishawaka Antiques (another great small business -- hint, hint!) New stuff was posted Friday on our etsy store, too. Whew! Happy Thanksgiving -- and happy holiday shopping! xo

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Vintage Wrapping Station 101

You can't be in this business long without things tending to, well, accumulate. Actually, if you like vintage stuff at all, it tends to accumulate, business or no! But look how cute it is when it all gets together:

Awwh! So instead of our usual collage table, we thought it would be fun to try a Vintage Wrapping Center at our pre-holiday shows, putting our vintage baubles, trims, paper flowers* and more to good use.
Our Grayslake customers loved it, so we will be restocking for the Expo Show. Come give it a try yourself! It is really great fun to put a special touch on your holiday packages.

Many thanks to all who came out to support us at Grayslake over the weekend. The show was sold out -- and packed with customers Saturday. Crowds were steady Sunday, too. Mishawaka Antiques and Midland reported busy weekends, too, so we will have lots of restocking to do! Thank you, thank you! We really, really appreciate your business. We are headed to Midland this weekend, and will be back in Mishawaka next week, so check to see what's come in. Plus, new items are going up on etsy today! Will have details about the Expo Show next week. Until then, check our Facebook page for the latest finds. xo

*While the instructions for lots of different paper flowers are available on-line and in magazines, we'd like to thank Joan Babb, Diane Passi and CJ Zondervan for their inspiration.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Shortest Post Ever! Come See Us This Weekend at Grayslake

I am running late this morning! Need to get down to the studio to unload TWO vans and one trailer. Needless to say, we have LOTS of great stuff for this weekend's Grayslake Antique Market. Details are just a click away on our show sidebar. And be sure to print this page for HALF-OFF REGULAR ADMISSION at the door!!

Click the FACEBOOK link to see more photos of what's coming to the show. And PERK ALERT -- we just restocked at Mishawaka Antiques and will be adding new items to the etsy store next week. Come see us there, too. xxoo

Monday, November 7, 2011

Ode to Puttering; Kane County Report; Grayslake Preview

One of my all-time favorite movies is the French comedy, "Amelie." If you've never seen it, stop reading immediately and go rent it. Of course, I fully expect you to get back here and finish reading once you're done!

Now that you've seen it, I can share one of my favorite parts -- the depiction of all the quirky little things the characters like or don't that make them, well, them. Like her father loving to peel long strips of wallpaper. I get that. Although, at the top of my list has to be puttering. Puttering, by my definition, involves working through a long list of chores, but taking as long as you need. Not rushing is the luxury (although I do like to check things off lists...geeky, I know, but you'll understand once you see the movie.)

Puttering is especially joyous when it takes the place of a less exciting task, in today's case, tuckpointing. Both messy and involving standing high up on a ladder...bleck. But the weatherman was helping me out with a little drizzle, so I'm inside, with Starbucks, U2 and scented candles. You know, puttering.

One thing on the list was getting Tuesday's blog post done a day early, which bring me back to writing about rhubarb reign, what I'm supposed to be doing! Thanks to a busy weekend at Kane and Mishawaka Antiques, Joe and I will both be shopping this week, me tomorrow, Joe Wednesday. Good shows are always appreciated, but even more so after an up and down summer (weatherman NOT helping there). Many thanks to all who came out to support both events.

Check back later this week for a Grayslake preview, plus the half-off general admission coupon. We are going to try something new for the holidays at Grayslake-- a vintage wrapping station! Check out our ideas for making your holiday packages extra special. And drop me a note about your favorite little weird things to do! Can't wait to hear! It will make me feel better about sharing mine....xo

Friday, November 4, 2011

This Weekend: Kane County Flea Market, Mishawaka Antiques Holiday Open House

After our week off, we are ready for a double -header! Join us Saturday and Sunday for the Kane County (IL) Flea Market. Details are just a click away on the show sidebar. We've got great new furniture, LOTS of smalls and handmades, a little Thanksgiving and a lot of Christmas!

And speaking of Christmas, don't miss Mishawaka (IN) Antiques Holiday Open House:

We set up for the show Monday, along with the owners and several other dealers. The rest of the gang worked hard during the week to fill every corner with wonderful vintage items for decorating and gift giving. Come and see us! Need more info? Just click the link in our "Come See Us" sidebar! xo -- or maybe we should make that ho-ho-ho!!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Girls' Weekend Mission: SHOP CHICAGO

Once or twice a year, Joe and I have a free weekend, and it has become tradition for me to spend one of those precious time periods with my excellent friend, Lynda Boyd. And what could be more fun than exploring the great shopping landscape of my favorite city, Chicago!

Our first stop was Scout in Andersonville on the city's northwest side. We surprised owner Larry Vodak -- Larry has been a long-time rhubarb reign customer, but this was our first-ever on-site visit. What a treat. The shop has a relaxed but wonderfully edited feel, full of vintage treasures, artwork and repurposing, all with a clean, contemporary feel. I was so excited to actually get a look at it.

Larry was kind enough to show us all around the store, then drew a map of other must-see spots in the neighborhood.

Next we popped in to say hi to Larry's neighbor Julie Fernstrom, owner of Brimfield. While many of our Chicago customers would remember Julie from Kane and Grayslake, she now has a gorgeous permanent outpost, full to the brim with fabulous textiles and vintage finds. Think lodge, lake, English country house. Julie also does custom upholstery, which has been featured many times in national publications. In fact, the shop's name comes from her signature plaid, not the east coast show.

Julie was excited for us to see her newly opened lounge right above the shop, which is available for private parties. Her next project is a boutique hotel opening soon on the building's third floor. Wow.

Next we cut across the street to hit one of Larry's recommendations, Brownstone, an antique clearing house chock-a-block full of treasures. If I lived in Chicago, I'd definitely be a regular. Check out this great metal cabinet with original wood top that I bought right off their sidewalk:

It will be making its rhubarb reign debut very soon! Just down the street was an outpost of the popular local thrift store chain, the Brown Elephant. The racks were packed with all sorts of vintage treasures, but I had a hard time keeping my eyes off the surroundings. Once upon a time, the building must have been a theater. What a fabulous setting -- crusty, crumbly and oh-so-romantic. Again, if I lived closer, I'd be a regular.

Next, we surprised ourselves by agreeing to be interviewed for HGTV. It took a little longer than expected, because I kept forgetting to insert "HGTV" in to every sentence. Seriously!

Before heading north along Chicago's lakeshore to Evanston for lunch and a peek into Secret Treasures, we stopped in to see another rhubarb reign customer, paper store extraordinaire, Foursided, full of terrific, creative project projects and the raw materials for making them.

After lunch, we headed over to the Grand Street design district. I was dying to see Painted Lady, one of two locations owned by another long-term client, Beth Harlow. It is always super helpful to actually see the store environment. Sometimes what we picture for a particular customer is not exactly on target in terms of look or feel. I made some mental notes before we took a look at the other stores on Beth's block, which had also been written up in a recent Chicago Home and Garden article.

The sun was starting to set as we made our final stop, Greer, a wonderful new (to me) discovery that I read about in a Lucky magazine article on Chicago shops. Another lovely paper store, full of letterpress stationery, ribbon and wrapping. A little Starbucks rounded out our day. To check out Sunday's adventures, take a look at our Facebook page. Monday, we set up for the Holiday Open House at Mishawaka Antiques. More on that and Kane County coming up later this week!! xo

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Fall Break and Zurko's Haunted Halloween Market

A couple times a year, there's an extra weekend in the month, and we don't have a show. That's this weekend, so rri is on fall break! Joe is cleaning out the studio in preparation for winter, plus taking the trailer in for a much-needed paint job. I'm catching up on paperwork, putting final touches on the etsy shop (!) and working on our "big reveal" -- all the new handmades we're been creating for the holidays. Enjoy the beautiful fall weather and check back next week for a peek at what's coming to Kane and Mishawaka Antiques! xo

Don't forget about Zurko's Haunted Halloween Fleamarket, this Saturday, October 29, from 4 til midnight, at the DuPage County Fairgrounds in Wheaton, Illinois. Sounds like lots of fun: in addition to all the vintage vendors and their treasures, there will be special appearances by stars from some scary movies, plus live music! Visit Zurko's website for details and print this page for half-off regular admission.


Friday, October 21, 2011

Mishawaka Antiques; Tent Sale Details

Joe and I were so pleased to be invited to join Mishawaka Antiques, a lovely new shop in the old downtown section of Mishawaka, Indiana, about 40 minutes north of our home base. Owners Scott and Glenda are real gems -- totally gracious, totally talented, super nice. They felt our area needed a different kind of resource, an antique-based, up-to-the-moment, design friendly shop where customers could find looks they see in shelter magazines. With personal assistance from shopkeepers who "get it." And are happy to help.

The store got such a great response in the first month that they've added on already, taking the space next door as well. I have been in to restock our space every week and have bought a number of things to resell. So what are you waiting for?! Make a roadtrip this weekend -- the forecast for northern Indiana is looking dandy. The shop is located at 118-122 Lincolnway East; hours, Tuesday-Saturday, 11 to 6; Sunday, 12-5. Telephone, 574-252-5400. For additional photos, see our and the shop's Facebook pages.

Diane's Tent Sale

And speaking of lovely and talented, our dealer pal and frequent show neighbor Diane Passi is hosting a TENT SALE this Sunday, October 23, from 10 to 4, at her place in Wheaton, Illinois, 841 Delles:

Diane's stuff is always awesome; be sure to check it out. More photos are available on Diane's Facebook page, as well as

We are off to Columbus this weekend with a load for SoBo Style. Katie's October artist showcases are in full swing; she is featuring a different local artist at the shop each Saturday this month. See her blog and Facebook sites for details! Shop well and have a great weekend!! xo

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Happy Hallow-'Ristmas? Plus Midland, Burlington Update AND Chicago Weekend Shopping Opportunities

I've been feeling kind of outta sync the last few weeks, working on Christmas just as the first leaves were falling outside. Don't get me wrong, I love the holidays, and Christmas handmades are some of my favorite things to create, but I am feeling a little creatively crowded!

Every year, I say that I am going to get started earlier, and this year I actually did! But it was really tricky buckling down and getting things done. Still have lots to do over the next few weeks, so stay tuned for a peek at what we'll be debuting in November!

Now, this is more like it! Normally I try not to post a lot about family stuff on the business' blog, but my son was so proud of his pumpkin that he asked me to share it:

Personally, I was a little worried about the deep-seated pyschological implications of his creation...'til he said it was a design he saw on-line! But, kudos, Jack, on the execution. Puts us right back on the correct seasonal track.

Midland/Burlington Update

Had a busy weekend at Midland and Burlington. The weather was great both days, but windy and running the gamut from mittens-in-the-morning to shorts-by-afternoon. Good crowds, too. A big THANK YOU to everyone for coming out -- especially our pal, Heather, who brought some of her wonderful jewelry to sell and hung out for the day. Can't believe the tent will be packed away now 'til April! But here's to the start of the indoor season.

Coming This Weekend: Diane's Tent Sale

Hey, our fellow dealer and frequent show neighbor Diane Passi is having a TENT SALE this Sunday, October 23, from 10 to 4, at her place in Wheaton, 841 Delles. Diane's stuff is always to die for, so be sure to check it out. Will have a sneak peek on the blog later in the week, or you can friend her on Facebook right now to take a look.

And don't forget about Zurko's Haunted Halloween Flea Market on October 29. Will post the half-off general admission coupon again next week. Happy shopping!

Today, I'm off to fluff our space at Mishawaka Antiques, run down a few more holiday supplies, then will be back at the office working on our NEW ETSY STORE!! Too exciting. More to come on that. Have a great week. xo

Friday, October 14, 2011

Burlington Bound

Tomorrow, Joe and I are headed for Burlington, Kentucky, just outside of Cincinnati, for our last outdoor show of the season. Come join us! The Burlington Antique Show is awesome -- one of our favorite places to shop -- and the weather is supposed to be beautiful. Can't wait.

We'll be stopping by Midland to restock on the way. Summer is such a busy time, it's hard for us to get a full shot of new merchandise in there, so tomorrow is key. We've set aside a bunch of great stuff for our Indy friends, so check us out at Midland as well. Take a look at our Facebook page for new pics of what's headed to both locations. And come see us!! xo

P.S. For our Chicago friends who can't travel this weekend, don't forget about Zurko Promotions next two October shows -- the Wheaton season opener is Saturday, and the new the Haunted Halloween Market (which has been getting lots of great press!) is on the 29th. Details can be found on the Zurko blog, and their HALF-OFF GENERAL ADMISSION coupon can be found on our blog post from earlier this week. Happy shopping! xo

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Are You Pinterest-ed?

Sunday at Grayslake, I was talking with Joan and Emily, two of our pals from EsseMade, about our new love, Pinterest:
Giving credit where credit is due, it was another customer, Carol of Vintage Charm, who originally mentioned it to me. OK, several times. And of course, as with all things tech, it took me a long time to actually take a look. But I have to say, I love it! Not enough yet to start my own board, but it has replaced some of my magazine perusing. Too many of my print friends have folded in the last few years, and Pinterest more than fills the void. Plus it is just so darn easy to use.

If you aren't familiar. do take a look. It is basically a virtual bulletin board where you can "pin" things you like and/or look at images that other people like. It is a great place to jump start creative thinking!

Grayslake Report

As predicated, the weather for Grayslake was LOVELY. So there were lots of outside dealers and a good crowd both days. We just squeaked over the line in meeting our sales goal as the show was closing, and we appreciate everyone who helped us to do just that. Smalls and graphics carried the day. Now we are getting ready for Burlington, our last outdoor show of the season, as well as a trip to restock Midland. Burlington is a great little show, and the weather is supposed to be beautiful. Did I hear ROAD TRIP!! Grab some friends and join us. And for our pals in the Cincinnati area, what are you waiting for? Be sure to come and see us. I'll have photos posted later in the week of what's coming to both locations, here and on Facebook, so be sure to take a look.

Zurkos also asked me to mention that they will be honoring the HALF-OFF GENERAL ADMISSION coupons for Wheaton's season opener this Saturday, as well as for their special Halloween show on October 29. Check their blog for details. And if you set up your Pinterest board before I do, let me know so I can take a look! xo

Friday, October 7, 2011

The Best, The Worst and the Half-Off Coupon

Thursday is both the best and the worst day for me to take blog-worthy photos. It is the best day to take pictures because we have just finished shopping and sorting for the weekend's event. It is the worst day in that nothing is ready to actually be photographed:

Welcome to my weekly dilemma! Suffice it to say, we have LOTS of great stuff for Grayslake: wonderful painted furniture, lots of original paint, boxes and boxes of smalls, containers, lamps, mirrors, silver, paintings and graphics, chalks and handmades -- everything you need to create an awesome fall look that will ease right on in to the holidays. But right now, it's kind of like "Where's Waldo," it is in the picture somewhere!

Do plan to join us. The weather is going to be fabulous -- perfect for antiquing. And don't forget to print this page and bring it along for half-off general admission. Show details are just a click away on the blog's sidebar. And some slightly more civilized photos will be posted on Facebook this morning. Do plan to join us! xo