Monthly Archives: April 2013

All About Antiques: The International Antiques Fair Opening Party

On Thursday evening I attended the Opening Night Party of the 16th Annual International Antiques Fair at the Merchandise Mart. Being deemed “the premier event of its kind in the Midwestern U.S.” and “Chicago’s ultimate treasure hunt” I went into the preview party knowing I’d see some pretty neat things…and I definitely did!

More than 100 of the world’s top dealers showcased an array of fine art, antiques, and jewelry dating all the way back to BC up until 20th Century Modernism. Words won’t justify all the neat, unique things I saw, so I’ll just show you some of my photos from the night…

International Antiques Fair - Weathered HorseWeathered Variegated Galloping Stallion, circa 1880s – $7,800.00


"Anemones" Oil on Canvas Painting “Anenomes”, Cecil Kennedy,  Oil on Canvas – $19,500.00

"Carnations" Oil on Canvas Painting “Carnations”, Jules Leroy, Oil on Canvas – $35,000.00

International Antiques Fair - Painting

International Antiques Fair - Floral Painting

Silk Embroideries…

International Antiques Fair - Vintage Embroideries

International Antiques Fair - Vintage Embroideries

International Antiques Fair - Vintage Embroideries

International Antiques Fair - Vintage Embroideries

Woven Carpet Rugs…

International Antiques Fair - Woven Rugs

International Antiques Fair - Woven Rugs

International Antiques Fair - Woven Rugs

International Antiques Fair - Woven Rugs

Whittled Wood…

Hand-Carved Wood Bed Frame

Hand-Carved Wood Bed FrameCarved Wood Bed Frame- $18,000.00

International Antiques Fair - Wood Carved Cabin Carved Wood Miniature House, circa 1932 – $3,800.00

International Antiques Fair - Wood Carved Eagle Carved Wood Eagle, circa 2nd half of 19th Century – $2,800.00

Stunning Silver….

International Antiques Fair - Silver

International Antiques Fair - Silver

International Antiques Fair - Silver

Cartier Silver Tea & Coffee Set

Cartier Silver Tea & Coffee Set Cartier Silver Tea & Coffee Set – $125,000.00 (the set weights nearly 20 pounds!)

Tiffany & Co. Silver Flatware Set

Tiffany & Co. Silver Flatware Set Tiffany & Co. “Chrysanthemum” Pattern 208 pc. Silver Flatware Set, circa 1880 – $128,500.00

Rare Hand-Carved, Hand-Hammered Silver Flatware Set

Rare Hand-Carved, Hand-Hammered Silver Flatware Set

Rare Hand-Carved, Hand-Hammered Silver Flatware Set Gorham Silver Company 285 pc. Silver Flatware Set, circa 1897. *1 of only 4 sets ever made and 1 of 2 known to still exist. All hand-crafted & hand-hammered. Not a piece is missing – not even the grape sheers! Price tag = only a mere $360,000.00

Luxury Designer…

Vintage Louis Vuitton Trunks

Vintage Louis Vuitton Trunks

Vintage Louis Vuitton Trunks Lots of Vintage Louis Vuitton Trunks!

Chanel Jewelry

Chanel Jewelry and Chanel Jewelry.

Chanel Handbags

Chanel HandbagsChanel Handbags,

Hermes Birkin Bags and Hermes….

Hermes Birkin Bags   Hermes Birkin Bags   Hermes Birkin Bags A whole bunch of Birkins!

Like I said…I saw some pretty cool stuff! A special thanks to one of my vendor friends who gave me a free VIP pass so I could experience this special viewing :) Obviously with the hefty price tags I didn’t walk away with anything; but it was really neat to see all of the rare pieces. I doubt I’ll come across  a 6-figure, 116 year old silverware set again, or be in such close proximity to so many Birkin bags any time soon!

I know what my favorite is; but if you could, what unique antique would you have purchased from the International Antiques Fair?


All About Antiques in April – Modern Vintage Spring Fashion Explosion

It’s April – and this month is all about antiques! Earlier this month I blogged about my shopping spree at Clothing Optional’s close-out;  now I’m going to blog about my trip to the Modern Vintage Spring Jewelry, Fashion & Accessories Explosion today, and next weekend I’ll be blogging about my trip to the regular Randolph Street Market and the International Antiques Fair!

This weekend the producers of the Randolph Street Market presented Modern Vintage Chicago, a fusion of fashion-forward contemporary designs and classic vintage from the Mid-Century, Art Nouveau, ‘60s, ‘70s, and more. Vendors from around the country brought their textiles, jewelry, handbags, artwork and accessories from legendary fashion houses like Hermes, Chanel, Prada & Gucci, while Chicago’s leading indie designers presented creations of their own to shoppers.

Modern Vintage Chicago - Spring Jewelry, Fashion & Accessories Explosion!

Here are some snapshots from my day at the market…

IMAG4269Special Occasion hankies

IMAG4298Clowning Around!

Raccoon Jaw Bones (1)Raccoon jaw bones

Mummidied Cow Fetus (3)A mummified cow fetus



I love the wooden boxes & old desks Susie, one of my favorite sellers at the show, uses as jewelry boxes to display all her merchandise…

Old Wooden Jewelry Boxes (1)

Old Wooden Jewelry Boxes (6)

Old Wooden Jewelry Boxes (3)

Old Wooden Jewelry Boxes (4)

Old Wooden Jewelry Boxes (5)

Old Wooden Jewelry Boxes (9)

And yes……every drawer is filled with one-of-a-kind treasures! Just like this…










So what did I walk away with this weekend? Well…

IMAG42633 needlepoint books; I bought a book of folk designs cross-stitch pattens for only $5.00 and the other two for $10 apiece. The Needlework Book is an embroidery, crochet and knitting how-to book that shows hundreds of stitches!

The Needlework Book Inside Pages (1)

The Needlework Book Inside Pages (2)

The Needlework Book Inside Pages (3)

And, of course – I bought a couple bones :)

IMAG4449I’m going to make a necklace out of one!

Don’t worry – I left the mummified cow fetus behind :) I didn’t want to spend all my money at once! After all…I’ll be back again next weekend!! ***And for free! A different dealer that I’ve made relations with gave me a complementary admission pass (usually $10.00) for being a repeat customer!

What’d you do this weekend?

ReCreate the Look: Florals From the Front Page of WWD

The moment I pulled this issue of WWD out of my mailbox I was instantly inspired to recreate the look photographed on the front page!

Outfit Inspiration: Floral Top & Burgundy Bottoms from WWD

Of course, it was January back then and with temperatures in the teens & snow still on the ground “the very idea of spring” was far from my mind. That wasn’t the case for Reif Simons, as that thought was the premise around his Dior Haute Couture collection for Spring 2013. But now that the snow has melted & the weather is getting warmer it’s time for me to start styling outfits for spring! So I simulated the floral top & burgundy bottoms ensemble seen on the cover with something from my own closet. Check it out…

WWD Outfit Inspiration - Florals & Burgundy

Golden daisies bloom from the white background of the  perforated lightweight sweater from Anthropologie; sure, it’s not identical to the individual organza petals that flourish from the couture top…but the color schemes within both shirts is consistent. A match to the cigarette trousers on the model, a pair of burgundy knit stretch pant from Free People completes my look. I couldn’t decide between my Minnetonka Moccasin cognac suede fringe lace-up boots or my Steve Madden cognac leather tall boots; but either way – the duplicate is done!

Anthro Floral Top & Free People Burgundy Bottoms

I photographed the look using the effects on my Android camera phone to capture a more accurate representation of the outfit because my regular camera didn’t quite project the correct colors, but here are those photos as well…

Spring Outfit - Floral Top & Burgundy Bottoms

Spring Outfit - Floral Top & Burgundy Bottoms Close-Up

Spring Fashion Inspiration - Floral Top & Burgundy Bottoms Outfit Layout

Spring Outfit - Floral Top & Burgundy Bottoms Detail Shot

So what do you think of my rendition of the runway outfit? A close comparison…or a bad couture copycat?

‘Shroom Style

There’s something about mushrooms that I find fascinating. The mysterious fleshy fungus cultivates in damp, dark places and comes in many different varieties & potencies. Some are edible and you put on top a pizza or make a Portobello burger with, while others are poisonous and so toxic they can actually kill you. Then there are magic mushrooms, those which possess psychedelic properties that cause “life-changing insights often described as mystical experiences” when you ingest them; aka…they make you trip out & see crazy sh*t.

I’ve come to identify general themes throughout my clothing collection & home décor; and here’s how ‘shrooms have influenced my personal style…

Embroidered-Front Mushroom Accent Pillow

Embroidered-Front Mushroom Accent Pillow Close-UpThis intricately embroidered cap-&-stem mushroom-front pillow is a colorful accent on top my couch

Fairies &  'Shrooms Home Decor

Hand-Carved Mushrom Cluster I bought this classic umbrella-like hand-carved wooden mushroom cluster at the Christkindlmarket last winter. I love the complexity and attention to detail that must have went into whittling down this unique piece

Crate & Barrel Mushrrom Motif Dish Cloth My cute mushroom motif dish cloth from Crate & Barrel

Meadow Mushroom Pot HolderAn old mushroom potholder that was my mom’s

Metal Mushroom Bottle Cap OpenerMy metal mushroom-cap bottle cap opener

I also happen to think the fungus is rather fashionable. Mushroom motifs are a playful print and always make for a fun outfit…

Retro Mushroom Print TopI bought this ‘shroom shirt back when I was in 7th grade. Obviously I don’t fit into the tiny knit top anymore, but I still can’t part ways with it. I love the bright retro colors and psychedelic print. I’m sure I’ll find something to do with the fabric eventually.

Gypsy Junkies Mushroom Motif TopperSomething I can still wear – this mushroom motif topper made by Gypsy Junkies. The lightweight cap-&-stem printed chiffon cover-up has a black fringe trim and drawstring waist, allowing it to be cinched in or hang loose

Randolph Street Market - Vintage Finds (16)

Vintage Gold-Gilled 'Shroom NecklaceI came across this vintage ‘shroom statement necklace while perusing the Randolph Street Market. I didn’t buy the old, gold-gilled morel necklace….but sure was trippin’ over it.

Mushroom Painted RocksI saw these hand-painted mushroom rocks on Pinterest and think they’re adorable…they may just be my next DIY project!

Do you have a unique motif that has influenced your personal style?

Random Stop at a Vintage Shop Turned into a Shopping Spree!

I was walking home from the gym on Wednesday and when I passed by one of my favorite vintage shops I noticed signs on the windows indicating that they’re going out of business at the end of the month. This caught me by surprise, so I went inside to talk to the store owner and see what I could find while I was there. In an effort to get rid of inventory, everything in the secondhand store was an additional 50% off. Here’s a look at the treasures I found…and a little narrative to go along with it…

I was very happy to see the intricate owl embroidered wall hang that I was debating on was still up on the wall; so what was once a questionable buy at $48.00 was now a definite must at $24.00!

Vintage Owl Embroidery

Vintage Owl Embroidery

Since this was a spur of the moment stop and I already had my clunky yoga mat, I initially thought I could manage with just the large framed hang, but then I found 2 more mounted embroideries. I really only wanted the canvases, so I deconstructed the frames they were in and left them behind – there was no way I could carry 3 big frames & my bulky belongings.

Vintage Owls on Birch Embroidery

IMAG3840Owls perched on a birch branch – a unique mix of latch-hook & needle-stitch

A Field of Flowers Embroidery

A Field of Flowers Embroidery Close-UpA field of flowers flourishing embroidery

A pair of silk scarves…

Silk Scarves

And why not throw in a couple old pillow cases that were only $1.50 each and two large fabric panels while I’m at it…

Vintage Pillow Cases

Vintage Fabric Textiles

I thought that would complete my little shopping spree, but then I went downstairs and hit the jackpot!

Clothing Optional Vintage Shop

Underneath two tables covered with stuff I spotted a beautiful brown & gold patterned area rug. I instantly fell in love with the tonal color scheme and varying woven design! Since everything had to go, I figured it wouldn’t hurt to ask if it was up for grabs as well; and much to my surprise – it was!

My first thought was – oh my God, I have to have this!!! And my second thought was – how on earth am I going to get this home???

Vintage Rug

Gold Patterned Area Rug

For only $100 bucks, I bought the huge carpet rug! Sure there’re slight signs of wear-&-tear and some of the braided fringe trim is frayed, (it’s a rug for heaven sake – people have been walking all over it for who knows how long), regardless, I think this old piece is well worth the price I paid! But now there was no way home I was getting home with all my stuff!

I had a 10×13 sq. ft. area rug + a 20×24 in. framed piece + 2 more embroideries + a bulky yoga mat + 2 silk scarves + 3 pillow cases + 2 textile panels / half the price = I got a lot of cool stuff!…and I was stuck!

I called up a friend who lives in the area to see if he could rescue me from my vintage shopping spree. He obliged, then sure enough, while waiting to be picked up, I spotted a vintage Singer sewing machine in the corner of my eye…


Since I was already getting a ride I figured why not seize the opportunity and add that into the bunch as well :) And for another $30, I added the antique to my pile of purchases.

Thankfully my friend showed up right after that or who knows what else I would’ve walked out with!

Have you ever been stranded after a shopping spree because you bought too much?