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