Category Archives: Decorating

Rain or Shine…Randolph Street Market’s on my Mind!

Precursor: I’ve been so behind on blogs lately I just realized I never got around to publishing my post about last month’s trip to Randolph Street Market – and it already came up again this month! I typically write my posts out on paper before typing them up & pressing the publish button. Even though this is a little late, I didn’t want to take the time to re-write about my trip to July’s market (especially since I have August’s trip to write about as well) so I figured I’d just stick with the original draft. Here it goes…

Every morning I wake up with ‘going to the market’ on my mind I awake with an indescribable amount of energy and excitement. I just know it’s going to be a good day! I mean – who wouldn’t be excited to go on a scavenger hunt and spend the day searching for one-of-a-kind treasures from the past?!

But today’s dreary outlook made it difficult for me to pick out an outfit; with a gray, overcast sky & mid-60° high, today felt more like fall than it did a day in the middle of July.  I decided to go with a monochromatic look similar to what a man was wearing walking on the street a few days earlier.

Monochromatic Outfit

I got a little warm on my walk down to the Watertower Place to hop aboard the free trolley. But then, as we were driving over to the market with the windows wide-open, it was a bit breezy and even started sprinkling. Thankfully the rain stopped by the time we reached our destination and it ultimately cleared up to be a beautiful day. Here’s how I spent it…

I saw this tractor trike right away when I walked in and contemplated buying it all day long.

Tractor Trike

But after thinking of 1) how I was going to get the trike back to my studio apartment, 2) how I was going to get it back to Minnesota, and 3) where (in my studio size apartment) I was going to store this thing in the meantime, I decided to pass it up. It would’ve been the perfect present for my little nephew Peter to ride at Papa’s farm. If only I could’ve driven it home I probably would have…after all, I’ve had my practice with an old Oliver on the open road before :)

Driving the 'ol Oliver

Another neat gift for my nieces & nephew would be this vintage rocking horse

Antique Rocking Horse

…but my mom already has one at home from when I was a kid. She spruced it up with a fresh mane and ears made from an old pair of leather boots. Horsy rides, eh hum, rocks like new!

Mom's Rocking Horse

Too big for a rocking horse? Maybe this life-size mare will better suit you. This harness maker’s display horse, circa 1880 – only $4,500.00.

Horse in Trailor

As much as I love it, after two seasons of wearing my stallion sweater all of my co-workers are sick of seeing me in it; if I wanted, I could buy this one and switch it up…but I won’t. Nothing, I mean nothing will stop me from wearing my favorite stallion sweater!

Stallion Sweaters

This worn-in leather horse head makes for a unique piece of home décor.

Leather Horse Head

Enough horsin’ around…check out these stuffed animals…

Animals & Antlers (1)

Animals & Antlers (2)

Black Bear  Raccoon

Lucky rabbit’s foot? How about a lucky otter’s foot…

Otter's Foot

These vendors were asking $200.00 OBO for their vintage Singer sewing machines.

Vintage Singer Sewing Machine (1)

Vintage Singer Sewing Machine (2)

Vintage Singer Sewing Machine (4)

Singer

Best offer…all good thanks! I’ve already got one…and I only paid $30 for mine!

IMAG8855-1

I may have passed on the sewing machine, but I didn’t pass on this stuff…

Home for my HorseYep! The horse head :)

Small African Snake Vertaebraeand small African snake vertebrae.

Random, yes. But I’ve got something planned for them. You’ll see!

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‘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…

IMAG3762

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?

Accenting My Home with Accessories

I have an eclectic mix of accessories that, lets just say, aren’t exactly made for “everyday”; but just because I can’t wear them all the time, doesn’t mean that I don’t still want to admire them! Instead of packing away my statement stuff, I decided to merchandise it among the other décor on my shelves. Check out how I accessorized my home with what usually adorns my hands…

Statement Shoes Mosaic Home Decor (1)

Statement Shoes Mosaic Home Decor (2)

Let’s be honest, my Jeffrey Campbell Lita booties aren’t exactly Monday-Friday footwear. The 5 inch platform patchwork booties are a bit much for the office…but come the weekend – I’m all for rockin’ em on a night out on-the-town! And when I’m not wearing them, I like to think of them like a mosaic ceramic vase – a unique work of art that’s thoughtfully pieced together to be appreciated. On the shelf, my statement shoes are the focal point that brings together the photo frames & finishes that surround them.

My Accessanctuary (1)

My Accessanctuary (2)

The amazing artwork my friend made creates the background and sets the color scheme for my “Accessanctuary” – the place I pay homage to all that adorns my hands. A hot pink glass tray & olive green velvet jewelry box act as alters that display my array of accessories. With a skeleton on praying on bended knee behind, I fill my knuckles with the striking sterling, luxe leather, sparkling diamonds & pretty pebble baubles. And of course, an “Accessanctuary” wouldn’t be complete without the aroma of burning incense.

My accessories aren’t the only things that are overflowing! My bookshelf is filled to the brim with fashion resource books, so I’ve started using some of the publications as added accents to theme my merchandising around.

Gypset Style Home Decor (1)

Gypset Style Home Decor (2)

I couldn’t imagine carrying my multicolored chevron clutch on a regular basis – I usually leave my house with a huge hobo and another bag as well! There’s just no way I could fit everything I need during a typical day in this tiny little carrier; but together with a globe, my bold brass jewelry, a random rock my mom mailed me (yes, she shipped a rock she found :)), a tribal tile picture frame hand-carved out of bone by artisans in India – the title of the book says it all. Gypset – an approach to life that fuses the wild and unconventional ethos of a gypsy with the sophistication and speed of the jet set.

Savage Beauty Home Decor

Atop the book, Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty, a vintage tin tray builds the base that holds my everyday outfit add-ons. Generally speaking I wear the same set of rings & bracelets every single day (with the exception of swapping here & there). After getting ready for the day, I head over to my tray and add-on the finishing touches to my ensemble. With nature & Native American accents, my peaceful presentation is artful and appropriate for my pretty little things.

My Closet (1)

My closet…….Ohhhh my closet!!! It is way beyond it’s capacity! My clothes have spilled over onto not 1, but 2 rolling racks that permanently reside along the wall. I have no choice but to have my colorful dresses and patterned tops on display.

My studio apartment has basically turned into a walk-in closet – but I wouldn’t want it any other way :)

Spray Paint Transformation – Old-Fashion Fridge Frames

I saw these Mini Memories Magnetic Frames on UrbanOutfitters.com and thought they were kind of cute. To quote the description online, they are “the perfect piece for fridge decoration,” well…almost.

Urban Outfitters Mini Memories Magnet Frames

Since the details in the description were a bit vague I added two of the frames to my shopping cart and waited to see what I got when they arrived. (I wasn’t able to choose a specific shape and the only color option was blue). When my package arrived I ended up receiving one white oval frame and one orange rectangular frame (weird that neither were blue?…a little). But it didn’t matter either way because I purchased the picture frames with the intention of painting them gold. The bright colors are vibrant and add a modern touch, but I personally prefer vintage, so I figured these antique-style frames would be more appropriate if they were gold.

I pulled out my can of hammered gold spray paint, an old pillow case and simply sprayed over the plastic finish. It took a couple coats to completely cover the bright orange; but after that, my old-fashioned fridge frames were transformed to their more suitable antique gold.

DIY - Spray Painted Picture Frames

DIY - Spray Painted Picture Frames

DIY - Spray Painted Picture Frames

Again, I always try to think outside the box when I shop. If I see something that’s similar to what I want, I think about what it would take to turn it into exactly what I want; then, if what it takes isn’t too hard, or expensive, I’ll often do it myself. In this instance it was very easy – just a few layers a paint and…whaa-lah!

DIY - Spray Painted Picture Frames

Spray paint is a pretty amazing thing. It can instantly change anything to give it an entirely new effect. Unfortunately for me, it’s often more work to get the can of spray paint then actually do the project itself. In 1995, the city of Chicago enforced a ban on the sale of spray paint within the city limits. City administrators call it their “efforts to curb graffiti vandalism”…I call it my “arts & crafts annoyance.” I have to travel out to the suburbs (which means borrowing a car or having a friend take me) or smuggle it in my suitcase when I fly back from home (and run the risk of it exploding all over my stuff). All that – just for a can of spray paint…annoying at the very least! FYI city officials – there’s still a ton of graffiti turning up all around Chicago, so just overturn the ordinance, so I can do my DIY projects with ease! Thank you.