Tuesday, April 26, 2011



My namesake.

A beautiful dresser with curves and carvings...and she is painted the most beautiful shades of gray and white!

My friend Michelle...from Vintage Junky...gave new life to this antique beauty. One day last week she posted a note on Twitter saying she needed to come up with a name for a piece she was finishing. (She names all the pieces she paints, isn't that the coolest thing? Why don't I ever think of things like that??)

 Anyway, I of course responded that "Mary" sounded like a nice simple, yet vintage name. Hee....hee!

Wow. As I just typed that I realized even my first name is considered 'vintage'. My Mom knew what she was doing!

Anyway, that crazy girl Michelle did name her Mary!! And I love her. Every inch of gray paint and chippy-ness is just so "me", so I would say the name fits perfectly!

I love how she lined the drawers...

The contrast of the gray and the white is so beautiful...and those handles??...beyond fabulous!

Now, who lives in Tennessee and wants to adopt me...I mean 'Mary'??

I wish I lived closer, because I would scoop her up for my guest bedroom. I hear she is waiting patiently at her new home at Winchester Antiques in Franklin, TN so if someone makes the drive to take her home, I want to hear about it! And just so you know, I will be jealous.

Oh, and did you all know Michelle has an incredible Etsy shop, too!? Well she does...so click over and take a look at the goodies she has to offer. I've got my eye on a couple of things myself! She has an amazing collection of milk glass and tarnished silver that makes my little heart go pitter-patter!

Ok, I am off for another day at my warehouse. I have 2 huge trucks that need to be loaded with furniture on Thursday, so I have to get the finishing touches done today! I hope to have a photo preview of what I am bringing to the show on the blog by Friday.

Wish me luck!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

take an 'urban journey' and win $175!

Happy Sunday, girls!

I am off to a farm auction this morning...those are the BEST! I love mixing in with all the farmers, they are the salt of the earth and I love my Sunday morning 'mixers' with them. They offer to load my truck...buy me hot chocolate when its cold...all the while laughing at the things I buy. I just play the 'silly girl that doesn't know what she is doing role' they seem to love so much and walk away with some AMAZING things. Do you go to auctions? I hear a lot of women are intimidated...maybe I should do a post on it. Hmmm...

Anyway...the real reason for today's post is to spread the love of my friend Jen Rizzo's spring collection over in her Etsy shop. Have you seen her flip-book showcasing her spring line?? AMAZING...AMAZING...AMAZING! Do you get that I love it? Just a little?

You MUST click over to her blog...I'll even give you the link at the end of this post...she is one uber-talented girl! I am slightly jealous of her creative...AND photography skills.

Oh, AND she is having a giveaway in her Etsy shop. Not just 'a giveaway'...a $175 giveaway to her Etsy shop!!

Isn't she the most generous girl out there? Love her.

(all photos property of Jennifer Rizzo)

So go on...pop over to her blog HERE...check out the AMAZING collection of photographs in her flip book and enter her giveaway! It ends Monday....so HURRY!

Speaking of being in a hurry...there is an auction waiting for me. Maybe I'll keep you posted about how its going on Twitter. Stop by and see what goodies I find!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

urban plains teams up with cabbages & roses!

Once upon a time...a long, loooong ago I mentioned in a post that I had somehow talked my friend, Andrea into helping me redesign my guest bedroom. Andrea came up with a fantastic moniker for what we were about to embark on...the 'Urban Plains Project'. A little of me, a little of her...and we were hoping to have the result be a whole lot of beautiful! Does anyone remember that? It has been a while since we talked about it, but we have good reasons for our delay, I promise!

Because of that blog post, Andrea and I have been given the most amazing opportunity to work with Cabbages & Roses, and each make over a space in our home! We could not be more excited to work with Christina's lovely fabrics, and are beyond thrilled to bring a little of the English countryside into our rooms!

I decided my guest bedroom would indeed be my room of choice. I could think of no better place for such soft, beautiful fabrics and I am so happy with the lovely selection they have sent for me to use in my space!

When my husband and I purchased this house a few years ago, I admit it was not the house of our dreams. I never pictured myself in a 1950s era ranch style home. I am a girl whos style is more farmhouse, with a squeaky screen door and lovely old windows with their original wavy glass. I like falling asleep to the sound of the country...and waking up to birds chirping and a breeze making my curtains billow. But living in this house was an opportunity we could not pass up. this house was right next door to my sister. I can look out my office window right and see her working in her flower garden. I love that. I love cranking open the window and having that 5 minute conversation about nothing. I knew I could always return to my roots and move back to a farm, but when would I ever again have the opportunity to build the memories that living next door to one of my favorite peeople in the world. So I had to make it happen. And I am turning this rancher into the cottage of my 'current' dream.

And Cabbages and Roses is helping me make that happen...

So just how do I plan to make a guest bedroom in a 1950s ranch style home into the English Country cottage of my dreams??

Here are a few little snippets of my room "before"...and a preview of my plan.

This is the view standing at the door, as you would walk in. This is your standard 12x12 bedroom, totally lacking in architectural interest and style. But, I plan on fixing that with some unique things I will be adding to the room.

Remember that barn I took down piece-by-piece last fall?? Well, I am using some of the oak boards from the interior to cover the headboard wall! I am so excited to show you how it turns out! That wood, along with new mouldings, a crystal chandi and C&R 'new penny pink' fabric on the windows should give this old room a bit of panache!

This is the wall to the left of the doorway when you walk in the room. I plan on using this beautiful old piece of driftwood on the wall with rusty hooks I salvaged from a workshop space. They will hold a couple of totes made from C&R fabrics.

The headboard wall will be covered in the salvaged wood, but the headboard for the bed is a repurposed piece with a wood frame and a fabric insert in the center. It will be made beautiful with a little 'hatley cerise linen' fabric.

For the other side of the room, I have plans for a antique chest of drawers painted a pale gray. It should be beautiful with the 'new penny pink' drapes hanging next to it.

Oh, and I cannot forget...I have beautiful, new closet doors on the way, too! Out with the 1950s plain birch sliding doors...I am bringing a little farmhouse feel to this space with a new set of swinging double doors.

So there you have it, girls.

One plan, two girls, and an amazing opportunity to make our space beautiful!

Andrea and I are going to be working hard the next few weeks, so stay tuned! Cabbages and Roses will be bringing the English countryside to our homes, and we can't wait to share it with you!

 We will have a full reveal of our spaces during the first week of May!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

hunt & gather...and a contest winner!

A few weeks ago, I headed North to Minnesota for a quick girl's weekend.

We made the trip with 2 goals...shopping and a concert. Both proved to me AMAZING!!

There were so many Midwestern girls that emailed, asking me where my favorite stops were...I decided I will post about a few of my must-see places when I head up through Wisconsin to Minnesota.

I am going to jump to the first place I visited when I arrived in Minneapolis...a shop called

Hunt & Gather

Hunt & Gather is the store that has the cabinet I am still dreaming about...

The outside says it all. It is a wacky, eclectic mix of funky, retro, pretty and antique...


When I see a store with stuff piled up outisde...I cannot get my car parked fast enough. Seriously, am I the only one who has their heart race a little bit over a good pile of old junk??

To say this place is "sensory overload" is a complete understatement! I have seen a lot of shops, in a lot of towns, in a lot of states. But this one takes that prize for the most ecclectic array of merchandise and volume of treasures. It was beyond amazing!!

You literally can get lost in this store for hours. It is a maze of rooms that spreads over 2 floors, each stuffed to the ceiling with amazing finds.

The lockers I fell in love with were in a room that was full of 1000s of vintage paper items. It was an altered artists dream room, I tell you!

It is as if they knew I was coming! I walked downstairs and there was a sign...beckoning me home. How in the heck did they know I had driven there from Rockford! I should have bought it just for the memories.

They had 100s of signs. Street signs, old restaurant signs, framed tailgates from old trucks that said Chevrolet or Ford...farm signs, ice cream shop advertisements. I could go on forever. You get the idea. Signs. Lots of them.

If only my husband's name was Steve...this baby would have gone home with me!

It seems every trip I go on there is the one item that is the "kick myself for not bringing it home" item.

Well, this was the one for this trip. I was looking through photos when I got home and could not believe I didn't get this cool old school map for my sunroom. Ugh.

This photo was only part of an area that had frames. Every shape. Every color. All old and beautiful!

One of the rooms down in the basement was a french-lovers dream. Everything was girly. Antique. Ornate. French. And lovely. I love the idea of using an old footboard for artwork!

And the garden area...it was nothing short of incredible! You could even buy live plants!

And look who I ran into while I was there! Jeanine from Chippy Shabby and her sweet husband. Aren't they just the cutest couple?? So funny we both traveled to Minneapolis that weekend, then run into each other while we are there!

Jeanine sells the most beautiful things...if you ever have a chance to visit one of the shows where she is a vendor, you will not be disappointed! She has the best vintage garden decor and always lots of things with chippy paint!

Whew! That was alot of photos...hope I didn't lose anyone. I just had to show you the awesomeness of Hunt & Gather. And let me tell you, that was only a fraction of the store. I have about 100 more photos I could have posted! If you ever get to Minneapolis, you have to take the time to stop in!

In a blog post before I left...I showed a photo of a cute little tush as a hint to what concert I was going to. I knew a true fan of this person would know who it was just by seeing it. You girls proved me right...I couldn't help but laugh at how many of you knew the man just by the jeans. All of you that guessed Kenny Chesney were right!! The concret was 5 hours of bliss, I wish you could have been there singing along with us!

I chose one of you from the comments and Chelsy from Sweet Pea Kisses is the winner! Email me Chelsy, you will get a little surprise package full of vintage goodness I picked up on my trip!

Happy Tuesday, girls!

I am off to paint my never-ending pile of furniture!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

I'm baaaack!

Did you miss me??

Please just say YES so I feel better, ok?

Whew...its been quite a week, let me tell ya! Ok, ok...so its actually been almost 2 weeks since I have posted, but I have a good excuse. I have my first "show" at the end of the month. You know the ones I talk about, at the flea market outside Chicago where I sell my painted furniture. Well, I have been BURIED under a pile of furniture for a couple of weeks, and have finally painted my way out. One would think I was  painting all winter, so I don't have to cram like I do EVERY spring, but apparently that is just not my style. I work well under pressure...thank goodness! I devoted my winter to Etsy selling, so there was just no time left for furniture. Or at least that is my excuse. (wink...wink...)

Not only have I been painting, but I'm in the middle of moving into more space at my warehouse. I officially have 4,000 square feet that is organized and ready for my painting pleasure.


Gone are the days where a new pair of shoes or jewelry make me happy. Now all it takes to make this girl smiles is wide open space in a big old building. What has happened to me??

For years I have had just under 2,000 square feet, which I know sounds like a lot...but once you pile in 412 beds, 673 dressers, 212 nightstands and truckloads of other furniture...it gets a little...well...cluttered. The numbers there are totally exaggerated, but if you saw my space these last few months, you would think I had that many. It was a mess. I was totally overwhelmed, and I desperately needed more space to organize everything so I could work more efficently.

I get a lot of emails asking me to post photos of my warehouse where I do my painting, and I am a little torn on that idea. On one hand, I could show you what it takes for me to store, prep, paint and finish all the furniture I sell....but on the other hand, it would be just plain ugly in photos. But we will see...maybe I can show you snippets of my space.

Once I start moving in today, I can breathe a sigh of relief and hope that my husband will finally take the Sanford and Son ring tone he has so {lovingly} assigned to me...off his phone. You read that right. SANFORD AND SON. Remember that show from the early 80s?? Ugh. If you do, than you totally get it. Fred Sanford had a junkyard. Sure...I pick a couple of good things out of a neighbors trash, and I get labeled for life. Geesh! But I have to admit, doing what I do, you accumulate a lot of "stuff". But, I could just die when I think about what people must think when I call him. Oh, he thinks he is soooo funny!

I will be back tomorrow with another little post about my Minnesota trip. So many of you asked me to name names and tell what little towns and shops I like to stop in along my route from IL to MN, so I will do just that...and let you know who won the little contest I had before I left. 

Just a note to my local peeps that are looking for specific pieces of painted furniture...emails are already starting to roll in asking what I am bringing to the the April 30th - May 1st show at the Kane County Flea Market. I will try to do a photo preview before I load my trucks for that weekend, so keep watching. But, if there is a specific piece you need, do send me an email. I will do my best to respond with photos to you directly before the show.

(photos in this post were taken at my shows last year, everything shown in the photos has already been sold)

The hubs is making breakfast for me this morning....and it smells soooo good, so I am signing off!

Happy Sunday, girls!