Monday, January 17, 2011

American Gothic with Elk Skull

Happy New Year!

A to Z Things

A to Z Things
Originally uploaded by Accumulata
They probably have everything you need here at A to Z Things.

I'm always intrigued by odd store names. This time I remembered to photograph it. It's in Chicago on Kedzie near Irving Park I think.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

The Apartment That Ate My Time

I had big plans to participate in the Vintage Bazaar which is happening this coming Sunday, 8/22 from 12-7pm at Congress Theater, 2135 N. Milwaukee. But, unfortunately, I’ve had to cancel at the last minute.

This crazy apartment re-model and impending move just has us totally overwhelmed. We are splitting the cost with our landlord and therefore we are very much involved in the process.

You’d think that having someone else paint and refinish the floors would actually relieve some of the pressure. But that has not been the case entirely. Sure, we didn’t have to actually paint, but we definitely had the pain. Finding the workmen, getting the estimates and overseeing the jobs takes up time. Mostly in piddly little bits which eat big holes out of your day. And worry. Worry takes up a lot of psychic energy which interferes with ongoing daily life, and I am a big worrier without a doubt. Can’t change that at my age, though.

The floor people were great, and in the end all I had to do after they were done was some minor clean-up. And the new floors are worth the money. I can recommend Peters Wood Refinishing here in Chicago.
Floor refinish LR facing east

The painter was another story. While he did an OK job in the end, he was a complainer all the way. Every time he was asked to fix something he slopped up, no matter how nicely I approached him, I got constant talk back and a million bizarre reasons why nothing was his fault.

The thing is, he underestimated the time and the cost of the job, so he got resentful half way through and he really wanted to give it all a lick and a promise and just skip out. I do understand that some people are desperate for work these days, what with the downturn in the building trades right now. But no matter how desperate you are, do not underestimate what you are really willing to accept for a job. And if you do, just do the damned job and learn from your mistake, already. Don’t take it out on me, please. I could never recommend him for other work as a result of this bad experience. And, I really resent the loss of time and energy that dealing with him took from me.
dining room

There are a lot of other details to see to as well. Again, all piddly little stuff, but time consuming in bits and pieces and always requiring yet another trip to hardware store because something was forgotten. We got new blinds, some new switch plates, cleaned all the cieling fans and lights, windows, floor grates, etc. We fixed the door knobs, found and installed new cabinet locks. I'll try to put up a little how to soon on cleaning brass grates and on making new cabinet knobs look old.

We had to find bathroom vanity and sink we could afford and have it installed.(Man, those things are expensive! As are plumbers.) We removed and replaced baseboards. We still have to seal grout in the bathroom, replace the mirror and put all the fixtures back in place.Like I said...piddly, diddly stuff.

The big DIY moment for us will be finding and installing some sort of cheap but decent looking tile or linoleum solution for the back porch floor, and then installing wainscotting on the porch, but not until we determine if some partial drywall needs to be replaced due to a previous problem.
Porch w beadboard waiting for install

Then there is The Kitchen. We started from scratch in the kitchen. So I’ve had to learn to be a kitchen designer, layout artist and contractor. After exploring kitchen options at both Home Depot and at IKEA, I decided IKEA was the best option for us, cost-wise.

Designing a new kitchen in the most efficient and cost effective way for that small space, and figuring out how it would all fit took the most time of all. I had to do it in InDesign because the IKEA software was not compatible with my Mac. Now, I understand IKEA has a new web based system which should be better for future users. The kitchen install will be soon, but not before the plumber and the electrician get done. If you move the placement of sinks and stoves, you inevitably will have to move some of the utilities around. That is being done this week.

Of course, this all messes mightily with our getting our business done, so that is suffering as well. We squeeze it in whenever we can. Not a good thing when you are bleeding money.

Oh, and did I mention that in the midst of all of this we actually have to pack and move? Even if it is just downstairs we can’t avoid packing up everything, although we have been trying really hard to avoid it.

So these are all my excuses as to why we will not be exhibiting at the Vintage Bazaar this time. But please do go and support Katherine and Libby’s efforts. They did a great job with the Spring show at the Dank Haus, and I am sure this one will be even better. We hope to find a little time to drop in just to shop if we can.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

I Love My City

Went to the Art Institue last week to see the Matisse show. The AIC Lions were doing cos play in honor of the Chicago Blackhawks. Wonder if they have all manner of costumes in stock and they just send a call to wardrobe to bring out the helmets?

 I think the guy is touching the lion for luck.

Then I went to the Chicago Cultural Center  and happened to get this postcard view of Millenium Park from the window upstairs.
I love my city. I really do.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Collections Out of Control? Oh, What to Do?

Once you start collecting seriously, you put yourself at risk for addiction. One item is not enough. You think you can easily handle three, or five or ten. Soon, everything is completely out of control and your collection is now in charge. The objects of your desire have taken over your space. You are at risk of becoming the subject of a hoarders episode. You finally realize that you have to do something about the problem, so you can get your life back and get your space back in order.

What happens when your collections get out of control?

You rent a space in an antique mall and sell it off. To wit.

On the way back from the East coast, we stopped at some antique malls, one, a big mall in Centerville, IN where we found the following evidence of collections which clearly had gotten out of control and which had to be banished to the antique mall.

First, an entire booth focusing mostly on BREAD containers.

Another booth had hundreds of rolling pins.

Found a grinder line-up in another booth. What's up with those kitchen items, anyhow?

Looks like the car collectors came to their senses early on. Only three here.

But wait, right next to the cars there’s a booth with motor oil. Lots and lots of motor oil There were three huge shelves with different brands. Full cans. I understand most collections, but I really do not get motor oil collectors.

All kidding aside,  Webb's Antique Mall, Centerville, IN, is a huge mall with booth after booth of really great stuff, lots of it. It is not far from Richmond, IN. We bought very little there though, because our car was already full from a previous stop in a small town mall earlier in the day. Here are just a couple other pieces I photographed.

For those who want to store their collections we saw this Library cabinet on legs for only $250. Very nice buy and in great condition.
On top of it was a wallpaper trimmer, of interest to me only because it was originally from Evanston, IL, my old hometown. But actually totally useless.

And for the mid-century modern collector, there was this 1950s cafe booth. Hard to say for sure whether it was original or a repro, but it looked very nice. The boomerang formica was beautiful. They were asking $695 for it.

If you ever go to Centerville, take an empty truck. And an appetite. They have great peanut butter pie.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Back Home With Decisions to Make

We had a great trip and the workshop went well. More on all that later.

We have a new issue to deal with which is consuming my brain right now.

We are seriously considering moving downstairs to the first floor apartment in our building.  We've lived in the building for ten years, so we are very much ensconced in our space. So moving, even downstairs, is going to be a big task. But the opportunity to both continue with reasonable rent and to live on the first floor is very attractive, not to mention getting squatters rights on the yard and possibly use of the garage. And I think my knee will thank me very much for being spared going up and down two flights of stairs every day.

The apartment needs a fair amount of work, plus painting and cleaning throughout. I'm approaching this as a reno-for-renters opportunity as we try to pick and choose what we are actually willing and able to do and how much we can really afford to spend on property we don't own to make it acceptable for us. So we will be working with the landlord as to how we will handle it all.  At the same time I am also wondering if all the work required will really be worth it in the long run. Accomplishing it all definitely feel a little daunting.

I'm not putting any pics here, because it's technically not really my apartment yet. But if we do this, I will try to post some pics of the ongoing process.

After speaking with the owner, it definitely looks like we are all in agreement and we are going to proceed.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Shape Shifting

Dear Internet,

Please excuse my absence.

I’ve had to set the vintage and collectible blogging aside for a bit as I’ve assumed my jewelry artisan persona and have been busy filling a lot of jewelry orders. Next,  I’ll be shape shifting into bookclasp workshop teacher. Since the workshop is coming up very soon, I’ll have to do some prep for that, and pack my tools and equipment.

While having so many personae can certainly be interesting, it can also be counter productive, especially when there is an inconvenient intersection of demands on my time, and I have to be more than one person simultaneously. Inevitably, just when I begin to get engrossed in one thing, I have to shift to another mode which often prevents me from being able to devote enough time to do anything as well as I would like.

Now, more than ever, it's time to think seriously about eliminating something. Most likely it will be the thing which produces the least return for the amount of time I put into it. I'll be thinking about this while I am on my trip east.

Along the way I am hoping to stop to search random antique malls for bargains. If I find something good and if there is a free moment I may surprise you with a brief update or two.

When I get back I hope to post new entries in my collections series, which I began in March.  In the meantime, I noticed someone else has picked up on my accidental collection thought in her post over here. 

Meanwhile, you can always shop, live, in Chicago at the Edgewater Antique Mall. We are always adding new items to our booth as we find them.

I still have a lot more work to finish before I leave, so I'd better get on it before the next shape shift.