Monday, February 29, 2016

classic midwestern vintage

Over the past few months, I've been busy researching vintage markets that I felt Mick & Rita's would be a good fit for. In the process, I discovered a pretty amazing one I'd never heard of before. I printed out the application, checked all the necessary boxes, and sent that baby off in the mail. I waited, with fingers crossed, for that email to find its way into my inbox saying that I'd been approved to be a vendor at my very first show. When that email finally arrived, I have to admit, I was absolutely on cloud 9.. There was finally a date circled on my calendar to work toward. Its given me more motivation than I had before, and there was a lot of that to begin with.

The market is called 3 French Hen's Country Market and its located fairly close to home, in Morris, Illinois. The show I'm signed up for is June 11th and I can hardly wait. While I was applying, I had to sum up in words what my "style" was and what types of items I would be selling. Putting into words what Mick & Rita's "style" is was harder than I thought. I could see a vision in my head but wasn't quite sure where it fell in terms of the usual style buzz words people like to throw around when talking about vintage ( i.e. shabby chic? industrial? retro? kitsch?).  After making a brainstorming sheet, ala' 4th grade, I wrote out the words "classic midwestern vintage".

A lot of the items I gravitate toward as they sit on hayracks at estates sales had previous useful lives on farms- whether the item served its purpose in the barn or in the farmhouse kitchen. The majority of the furniture I purchase to refinish would look great in your average midwestern farmhouse. Furniture that's sturdy and strong, with design that's no-frills but appealing & classic in its simplicity.

In relation to my handmade items, most of the reclaimed materials I'm using had previous lives in farm kitchens and feed bunks, seed sheds & farm shops-- old aprons, feed sacks, seed sacks, ticking, quilts. Or as the structural sides of barns & corncribs.

Filling out applications for shows has allowed me to really hone in on what my vision is for Mick & Rita's. A few applications required pictures, so I went out in the cold and started grabbing items out of my garage and staging them. So here's a small sampling of some of the treasures I've compiled & constructed thus far. I hope you like what you see!

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

the magic of january

No matter how cliché it sounds, January is the queen bee month of motivation.  Even if, statistically, many people forget about their New Year's resolutions before the end of the month swings around,  there's something to be said about the magic that January brings. For me, no other month holds as much potential in a a single day than January. I'm able to see every goal I've set for myself clearly. Everything seems doable. Mountains seem to look like molehills. Plans are being made.

I've been prioritizing and it feels great. In November of this year, I will turn 30. I'm not upset about it at all. As I've neared closer to 30, I've honestly felt better about myself and the life I'm living than I did 10 years ago. Its a great feeling. For my 30th birthday, my husband and I are planning a trip to the Grand Canyon. I visited once when I was 12. Standing near the rim on crutches and smiling for some family photos was the extent of my visit. So for this trip, we plan on obtaining backcountry camping permits and backpacking to the canyon floor and back over the course of 3 days. I'm SO looking forward to this, but the endurance part of it has me a little bit worried. The magic of January has helped me carve out 30 minutes to an hour every morning before the kids wake up to workout on my own. Its felt marvelous! I really hope I can keep up with it.

Due to January's sweet motivation, I've read both Marie Kondo's  acclaimed books on tidying and plan to put them into action after we return from a quick trip to Texas next week. I can't even begin to put into words how much I am looking forward to everything having a place in my home once and for all.

My stockpile of old seed, feed, and flour sacks is getting higher and higher and my brand new, Christmas present sewing machine is looking awfully lonely in the closet. My finger tips are tingling with excitement at the idea of making my first set of vintage throw pillows for Mick & Rita's. I can't wait to post them for all to see when I get them put together.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

On the hunt: kitchen edition

My kitchen is the one room in my house that I'm always shopping for. Which makes sense, because I spend a lot of time in there, making 3 meals a day for my hungry toddler, farmer husband, and often times, my father-in-law.  The kitchen is the heart of our home and I'm constantly trying to make it the most enjoyable room to be in, aesthetically. If I'm shopping for me & my kitchen, these are the things I'm hunting for at antique stores, flea markets, and estate sales.
Jadeite dishes
When I was 15, my dad & I took apart and fully restored a 1967 Chevrolet pickup truck. We color matched the original paint and gave her a slick new coat of it. That color is a minty turquoise green. Ever since, I've been drawn to anything remotely close to that color. Its my happy color.  Enter jadeite dishes... I'd always seen these colorful beauties sticking out like sore thumbs in antique stores and fleas. That's one of the things I like about them! When searching for pieces, you don't have to look too long & hard. They jump out at you right away. I bought my first piece of jadeite, a pie plate, last year at the Pork & Apple Festival in Clinton, Illinois. Since then, I've received a stack of shell-pattern mixing bowls and a batter bowl as gifts, and just a few weekends ago, in Elkhorn, WI, I got a bargain on a 2 quart casserole dish. I'm always on the searching for a good deal on Fire King Resteraunt Ware dinner plates, but sets usually seem to be out of my price range for now. That's ok, though. It just gives me something more to hunt for, which I love.

source: Pinterest
Kitchen canisters
Along the same lines as my jadeite obsession, is my canister obsession. I make a beeline for sets from the Depression era. No matter the color, or pattern, I'm there flipping them over to reveal the price, which is usually too deep for my pockets. I'm really drawn to the sets that are made of clear green or just plain clear glass with the art deco nameplates still intact. A lot of these sets are ribbed with stripes in the glass. Salt & Pepper shakers from this same time period are special to me, too. If I could just get my hands on a jadeite pair for a decent price, I'd be a happy girl.

source: Pinterest
Vintage tablecloths/linens
There's something about tablecloths that makes me nostalgic. There was a time where most every table in every household had a beautiful, starched, wrinkle-free table linen draped over top. That seems so funny to me. Today, I almost never come across a table cloth unless I'm dining out. I'm especially drawn to the bright pops of color and beautiful prints found on tablecloths from the 1950's and '60's. I love the themes a lot of these cloths have. Last weekend, I saw a tablecloth and napkin set dotted with kitchy cacti and maracas. You never know what patterns one may come across. That's the fun of it!

source: Voorhees Craftsman
Oak pedestal tables
My husband and I have never purchased a kitchen table. The table that's currently sitting in our kitchen belonged to my in-laws. When we bought the farm and house, the table came with the house. Its an oval, non-descript four-legged wood table from the 1980's. There's nothing inherently wrong with it, its just not our favorite thing. Growing up, my sister and I would go to my grandma and grandpa's with my dad often for dinner when my mom was working the later shift. They had an old round, oak pedestal table.  We grew up sitting around our own 1980's version of that table at home. There's something special, to me, about sitting around a circular table where no one is sitting too far away. I have a very specific table in mind when I'm out and about looking. I'm obsessed with quarter-sawn and tiger's eye oak. The pattern of the wood grain is the most beautiful thing to me. I used to be into the "claw foot" pedestal tables but, the more I studied the style of my kitchen,  I've realized that a Mission-style base might be more well suited in there. Also, this baby needs to have a 54" table top so 6 of us can sit comfortably around it without having to use any leaves. What's the point of finding a round table if you have to have it be oblong all the time?  It does still need to come with matching leaves, incase I end up hosting a holiday dinner for the family or something. So, there's my mile-long grocery list of traits that are a MUST in a table. I've come across a few that fit the bill to a T on Craigslist, but I didn't pull the trigger in time and missed out on some pretty good deals. 6 matching chairs are also a must. I'm always looking for a set that would match the table of my dreams. 

What are some items you are always on the look out for? I'd love to hear what makes your list of vintage favorites. 

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

what's in a name?

Mick & Rita were my grandparents. 

My grandmother was Rita. She's someone that I hold in the highest regard and I aspire to be like in many ways. In addition to raising 7 children, she was an entrepreneur. She sewed with great skill, doing seamstress work for others out of her basement. People, from miles around, brought her furniture to re-upholster. She had an eye for furniture and a good deal, having no problem refinishing her purchases, if need be. If you ask my dad or any of my aunts & uncles about her, the phrase "there's nothing she couldn't do" gets tossed around a lot.

My grandfather was Wayne, but everyone called him Mick. He was a hard working man with a crooked grin and a sparkle in his eye. He had a soft spot for a good yard sale or auction. When I was a child, he'd knock on our door with cardboard soda flats filled with little trinkets and treasures that he'd picked up for pennies at an auction he attended every Tuesday morning. He could see the value in those old and forgotten cast iron cars, jars of beautiful marbles, and whittled wood figurines. He knew that he was making them "new" again by handing them to my sister and I.

I named this business venture after them because I feel like
they are the embodiment of what I hope to accomplish. I plan on taking my love for all things old and dusty and putting it to good use. By shining things up, sanding things down, and reimagining items, I plan on helping to find these relics new homes, where they will be appreciated and loved again.

And this all works out pretty nicely for me because there are few things that make me happier than spending my weekends digging though hayracks at estate sales or perusing the nearest antique flea, hunting for bargains and things that make my heart go pitter-patter. I'm hoping to get a jump on next spring's antique flea market season by compiling a good selection of furniture and home goods in need of some t.l.c. now, and working on cleaning them up over the winter. I'm hoping to get my feet wet as a vendor at my very first flea market show late next spring. Stay tuned for details!

That's the plan for now, at least. So if you want to keep up-to-date with my latest finds, or just want to follow along on my journey, this is the place to be. I hope this venture turns out to be something Grandma & Grandpa would be proud of.