Thursday, April 28, 2011

Blumen Gardens Sycamore Illinois Antique Show

As I am packing the car to do this antique show, I am wearing a coat and wish I had a pair of gloves on.  Yes--it is a month into spring and April 29-30 is the 6th Annual Garden Gate To Spring Antique Show to be held at the Blumen Gardens in Sycamore Illinois.

We are looking foward to being part of this little gem of a show.  Blumen Gardens is a fabulous sprawling garden shop-and the show is held in their 19th century factory building that used to be a barbed wire factory.  The show is made up of a variety of delaers who bring all things garden--vintage garden treasure in all price ranges--and in the beautiful setting of the gardens. 

What are we taking?  Vintage treasures including floral oil paintings, english garden tools, fresh to market french tolewear, berry carriers and berry gathering tools.  I have an awesome set of wrought iron planters, a wire fernery, and an incredible 3/4 height cupid bird bath from an estate in Riverside.  Just to name a few things.

Sycamore is a short drive from my house--and I am looking forward to being surround with great garden items--and a goodt group of dealers.  This group takes care with their displays--and should put us all in a good spring mood.

The show opens Friday and Saturday at 9am.  Blumen Gardens is located at 403 Edward St.  815-355-1746.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

What is this French Macaroon Craze?

Before Dear Husbola and I left for Paris this spring--I did a great deal of reading of what was "on" and "happening" in Paris in anticipation for the trip.  Macaroons macaroons macaroons.  Recipes for macaroons.  Decorating with macaroons.  Best colors-best flavors --all things macaroons.

Now--I remember some dreadful soggy things sort of cocoanut spongie things from my childhood.  In my adventurous youth, I got terribly seasick on a boat in the North Sea and I had eaten some "scottish macaroons" just previously.  I wanted no part of the 2011 version of macaroons.

Our vacation started in London, and walking by the beautiful Burlington Arcade in Picadilly one day--I noticed that a high end scottish cashmere shop had disappeared and a garishly decorated top of a wedding cake looking shop had replaced it--Laduree french pastry shop.  French macaroons in London--what next!

Coincidentally, our touring group ate at the flagship Laduree in Paris.  I report a beautiful belle epoque over the top decor in this restaurant. ( I also report an excellent starter and dessert.  Main course--not so much.  But I digress.)  Yes--with coffee we got to taste several kinds of mini macaroons.  Think pastel colored Whoopie Pie.  The two biscuits are almond flavored--and filled with a stiff filling in multitudes of flavors--pistachio-coffee-chocolate-hazelnut--and some much more unusual ones like rose, violet and geranium.  If I were making a guess--and I am no "foodie"-- I think probably that France has passed the cupcake craze and moved on to macaroons.  Get ready American bakeries!

So what do macaroons have to do with antiques?  After we got home, my email contained an announcement for a Shop the Shed event in East Dundee last weekend.  Dealers Joy Frey-Waltmire and Angela Joy Reed had a wonderful antique and vintage event.  The weather did not coorperate--but never mind as these women had tents and canopies and stuffed a smallish yard and shed with gorgeously displayed vintage treasure.  AND MACAROONS!  Yes--boxes of beautiful little pastries.  I arrived at Shop the Shed about 15 minutes after opening--and there was a huge line at check out--a great crowd and treasures being snapped up right and left.  You can bet Shop the Shed will be on my calendar next year.

So--you see that antiquing can satisfy many cravings--including your sweet tooth!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Antique Dealers are the Same Abroad--But the Shops are Not

Dear Husbola and I just returned from a two week trip to London and Paris.  The trip celebrated our 25 year marriage and gave us a jump start after a weird medical few months.  Nothing pops you out of the doldrums like full throttle blooming cherry trees in Paris and smiling daffodils and primroses in London.

For us antiquers--a little antique hunting in spring time can fight away the winter blues pretty well too.  In a previous post--I mentioned that shipping and cost has made Europe antique buying a tough occupation these days.  While in London, Husbola and I did plan a few days out of London to visit old antique haunts--and had reserved a bit of room in the suitcases--as well as had our tape ready if we would find a treasure to send back via a shipper.  But--this was a vacation trip--not like the non stop antique hunts of previous years.

Stop Number One--We go to a "fall off the train into the shop town" with four large shops and have always come away with bags and bags.  This trip--the best part was a great strong coffee from a new coffee house nearby.  We combed the shops--where are the great paintings-sporting items-victorian decoratives that we have bought in the past?  Not there.  We did buy a large collection of great old brass sprinkling can nozzles--the buyers at our next show at Blumen Gardens in Sycamore will love them--but that was it.  That was it.

Stop Number Two--Brocante Fair in small town.  The day was sunny, crisp and anticipation was high.  Best to say we bought some french enamelware from one dealer and spent 15 minutes at the fair.  Maybe 16 minutes.  Bad lunch.  Nice view of the sea.   Better move on to Stop Number Three.

Stop Number Three-We saved the best for last.  Our favourite Sussex town.  We were to start the day with a small auction, move on to pub lunch and then hit four or five true blue shops.   This auction house is filled with gritty dealers from London and afar--the smell of bacon rolls and coffee hits the nose as you peruse the inventory.  Auction report?--everything was broken, chipped, dirty, incomplete or reproduction. WHAT???  You could have found silver bits and bobs--but we don't "do" silver.  We left before the auction started.  We went to a true blue shop--and FINALLY-- did find some things.  We were met by the smiling faces of the owner Simon and dealer Stephen who remembered us from years past.  We came away with quite a few french decoratives--you will see those at our spring shows too.

I can report the pub lunch was great.  Husbola had his once a year glass of  bitter so he did not grumble the rest of the day.  The rest of the shops proved unfruitful.  One was filled with second hand and repro.  We did find a couple of small tables and  other larger pieces--but we were not shipping this time.  We returned to London with a single carrier bag of loot.

It was good to catch up with Simon and Stephen--they report that they still get American dealers--but I sensed they were quite subdued in their reports.  I did notice several empty cabinets--waiting for new dealers to move in.  Nothing different from the US--being an antique dealer today means you have to negotiate rough waters.

More soon on our Paris part of the adventure...

Sad Farewell Beautiful Lady of Paris

Adieu Belle Dame.... View from the beautiful blooming park behind the cathedral.