Sunday, February 28, 2016

HOT Peanuts Anyone?

We have for sale one of the neatest pieces we have ever had.  A Buffalo Candy Company Uncle Sam Peanut Warmer from 1880s. 

This incredible piece would sit on a store counter--or maybe in a tavern.  It contained a kerosene hurricane lamp--and an ingenious patent from a Charles Quick.

Our piece contains most of its original paint and scrolling.  It has been outfitted long ago with a light bulb socket--so the HOT that is built out inside the piece lights up when it is on.

It has been living in our dining room as a conversation piece.  Now we are selling it on.  Sometimes the most simple inventions are the most interesting.

Friday, February 12, 2016

A Honey of a Book

While the American Midwest is still gripped with frigid temperatures, and any sign of spring seems a very long time away--I was happy to see a terrific new offering in the garden book landscape,  The Bee Friendly Garden by Kate Frey and Gretchen LeBuhn.

Because my husband and I are honeybee keepers-(well actually HE is the beekeeper and I am the apiary assistant!) a detailed book on how to plan your yard with bees in mind seemed like the perfect read.  This book did not disappoint.  The author duo are a combination of an  experienced famous garden designer and professor of biology--so I expected a good balance of practical and sophisticated advice.

The book is a visual gem.  It is 212 pages of beautiful photographs and is well laid out.  The photos do not show out of reach ideals of bee gardens--but are practical and attractive and help the reader feel that some garden changes are very attainable.

Who knew there are 4000 different types of bees in the US.?  Who knew that bees are really not interested in humans and will sting only when startled or defending themselves or their nests?  That said, Frey and LeBuhn lay out ideas to attract bees of all kinds to your environment--and provide lists of annuals, perennials, and shrubs and trees that will attract bees looking for nectar for energy and pollen to provide for their offspring.

The book provides pages of ideas for planting and organizing your garden or yard--whether you want to change up a few plants, or kill off all your grass and turn it into a bee smorgasbord.  The authors provide suggestions on voiding chemical herbicides and pesticides  that are bee killers.

The Bee Friendly Garden provides enough advice for novices and more detailed technical advice for the advance gardener.  I  know that I will bee keeping (sic!) my eyes open this spring and summer for some of those 4000 varieties and hope to identify a few who come by to nosh.

I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.

Monday, February 1, 2016

Twice Is Nice Resale Shop--A Secret Stop

You can put this little treasure shop on your radar.

Last summer, a  paragraph in the church newsletter  asked for volunteers to work at a church owned resale shop at 883 E. Geneva Road in Carol Stream Ilinois.  The timing of the request matched perfectly with a piece of my week that I wanted to fill with some "outside of myself" volunteer time.  This shop donates all proceeds after expenses to the Outreach Community Center in Carol Stream.  A win-win in my book.

Before I signed up to work--Dear One and I drove by this shop nestled in a strip mall between an independent grocery store and a bank.  What really caught my eye was the small but adorable front shop windows--they were colorful, seasonal, and showed a variety of merchandise.  I saw a  great vintage beaded purse.  It was on my radar to go back the next day--introduce myself to the manager, see what kind of help they needed and buy the purse.

One out of two isn't bad.  I met the manager Paress Hampson (this woman defines the word upbeat) and I signed up to work every Monday afternoon.  But the purse was already sold.

The merchandise sold in the shop is all donated--this is not a consignment shop.  The items are on a revolving color coded price tag system--three colors of tags--yellow-blue-pink.  Nothing stays in the shop longer than three months--and most times one color is 50 percent off and possibly another color is 20 percent off.  The clothes are clean and fresh--and current.   Did I mention very reasonable prices? The shop is light, bright and the music system is upbeat.   I am amazed at how from one week to the next, the windows have changed and items I have helped process the previous week are quickly sold.  The donations come primarily from the Wheaton Illinois area. (READ: big bucko donors)

Throughout the store are special displays and more often than not there are good vintage pieces  sprinkled throughout.  The store sells housewares,  clothes, furniture, books, records, toys, and on and on.  Over the past few months I have seen vintage musical instruments, typewriters, 1800s leather bound books,  toy trains, seriously good jewelry (organized by jewelry maven Denise)  child's scooter, leather horse collar, vintage sheet music,  vintage jewelry, collectible dishes and glassware, vintage suitcases,  Burberry raincoat, north face jackets, ice skates in the original box,  vintage record albums. Gurley figural candles, and incredible in the box 1950s Xmas ornaments, vintage beauty shop chair,  etc.  I know alot comes in on the days I do not work--but I have picked up a 1930s tailored men's opera coat, Austrian crystal costume jewelry, American flyer trains,  a1950s Pendleton wood jacket and some of those vintage Xmas ornaments.  Did I mention VERY reasonable prices?

In addition to Manager Paress, the shop is regularly staffed by Ken Black, who tells me his official title is Supervisor, but my observed reality is that he is Assistant Manager/Jack of All Trades..  In addition to making sure the shop runs smoothly, Paress and Ken, who have each been with the shop two years-ish,  are occupied with managing the small but mighty legion of volunteers--no easy task. Volunteers can be low or high maintenance--and this duo knows how to handle worker situations with aplomb.  (THINK:  scheduling issues and worker opinions on EVERYTHING oh joy oh rapture)

It is a pleasure to work with the varied clientele.  The double whammy here is that proceeds stay in the community to help folks via the Outreach Center--and the items sold help folks who can use the well priced merchandise.  The clientele covers all ages and varied nationalities.  There are are plenty of "regulars" who more often than not come it to see Paress and Kan and shoot the breeze.  These two special folk remember names and situations and   engage shoppers in conversations about their family, job searches and illnesses.  It does not take long to see that the shop attracts some folks who are just looking for some friendly conversation in a pleasant place.  There are always folks who eagerly shop resale--and then there are  the folks who seem uneasy or maybe embarrassed to bargain shop.  Without exception--this shop is upbeat, bright, dignified and provides a "we are happy to be here and serve you" vibe.

Big commercial resale shops have their place.  But trust me folks--this little independent resale shop Twice Is Nice has it all over her big sisters.  Did I mention the reasonable prices??

No More Concrete or Cast Iron Please

Dear One  and I spend many good hours wandering around looking for quirky things to sell.  There is nothing that makes a dealer smile more t...