Monday, November 29, 2010


The joy of the season has arrived and collections that have created traditions over the years are being unboxed and unwrapped.............each and every one creating a memory.   As the former owner of  a very special shop, you just have to know that I have some pretty wonderful collections. It went like this..........As I shopped the markets in preparation for the Christmas holidays, I would buy some for the shop and some for the shop owner!!!!!!! Hmmmm.

One of my very favorite things to do every year was to put a a small lit Christmas tree on each child's dresser and now they are grown with children of their own.  I still put those trees in every room of the house and it creates an instant warmth that is so inviting and cozy!  My kitchen tree is dressed in white lights and is filled with antique sterling silver baby cups (theirs, that I still can't part with), teething rings, rattles, family heirloom silver treasures and spoons, sterling silver napkin rings and just about anything else that is appropriate and fitting for this tree.                                                                                

    When friends gather, it is always a great subject of discussion and so much fun to talk about where
     each treasure began its "life" and who it belonged to.  Some of the pieces are over 150 years old and  
     so many have been handed down from generation to generation..............


My Dee Gann santa is back to visit for the holidays and for some reason, he seems more beautiful than ever.
He is sporting one of those waistcoats I talked about on my post about Dee and I will photograph him from the back for you as we proceed with Creating Christmas in our home.

This area has been created on top of a French console in my dining room.
The angel is from Venice and I felt she would be high lighted beautifully inside this cloche.

I'll be back soon.....................

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Back To That Little Town on the River...............



It was the day after Thanksgiving and our guests wanted to go shopping and their wish was to avoid the malls.  Not wanting to be selfish and knowing exactly where I would like to take them, I made the suggestion and their response was positive!! So after a leisurely breakfast fireside,  we were off to Geneva, Illinois, to one of my favorite shops ever, SCENTIMENTAL GARDENS and a new shop called 610 HOME. The gentleman who told me about this new shop is quite the creative soul himself and knows good from bad!!  So his endorsement alone held great merit!  He promised me I would love it!  So, off we headed to that little mill town on the Fox River.  We pulled up, parked and I just knew we were in for a great time!!!
As they say, the outside usually tells the story of what may be looked like it was going to be a treat.  I held the door for my friends and all the while tried to keep my calm......................WOW!  If my friends were going to shop fast, I knew I was going to be in trouble.  It was fabulous!

Vintage sofas had been recovered in linen fabrics of all textures and colors.  Pillows of all shapes and sizes were scattered throughout, along with holiday candles and accessories perfect for the season.


Extra large bird posters were everywhere......................and the images so endearing.  These fine feathered
friends would definitely make a statement over a commode, a table or an over sized wall looking for the attention they deserve!  The lighting.......check out the macrame fixture overhead.

           Vintage accessories, antiques and reproductions shared tables, mantels and walls...............
            it was a feast for the senses and the intrigue, beyond belief.  The "mix" was always a part of
            the unexpected and the treasures, were  mixed so well in their independently mixed environments.

                                      The Equestrian would find themselves very "at home" here. 
                                            Lots of  horse figures, carvings and silver trophies.        

                                 Even Mr. Ralph Lauren might find something kidding!

More acquisitions of good taste and more wonderful bird decor.................statements you will love to have in your home.  Vintage plates, domes galore (and can we have too many? ?????   well, yes probably), marble carved busts and lighting for just about every taste and style.




                          Reproductions were also a part of the decor, but seemed to be  so grounded
                             because of European buying trips in this stock filled wonderland.

As we were leaving, I was so happy to chat with two of the owners and learn more about this wonderful "find" in the far Western suburbs of Chicago.  This creative shop
is owned by three women, Mary Garvey James, Catherine Connor and Barbara Freeman.
If you live in the Chicago area and wish to experience an eclectic mix of vintage and new,
you are surely not to be disappointed in your day trip to Geneva.   Becky, one of their
assistants,  is a treat to work with and  is always ready to help you with your purchases.

~Many thanks for allowing me to photograph your beautiful store.   I couldn't have enjoyed
myself more..............and I will be back soon. 

*** Remember to leave a comment, scroll down to the white bar below this post and with mouse right
click held down move the arrow across the bar until comments pop up.............the rest is easy!  As always,
I would love hearing from you.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Thanksgiving Guests.............

 The bittersweet wreath on my front door welcoming our guests for a long Thanksgiving weekend..........

It is so hard to believe that Thanksgiving is only four days away.  Our guests will be arriving on Tuesday and you know what that means.  Because it is so important to me that everyone feels at home, I really go the "extra mile"  making sure rooms are comfortable and cozy, guest baths fresh with soft fragrant towels and extravagant soaps, candles in each room reminiscent of the holiday season and a fresh floral bouquet at bedside.   A little wrapped gift always awaits my guests as well.  A very dear family of four arrive from Houston on Tuesday as well as our daughter who lives in Minneapolis.  Dinner will await them all..............and as of today, my table is festively set with a hushed
                                                                                     ............ ELEGANCE. 


My dining room console with a collection of my vintage cake plates

My dining room table set for brunch


The fish plates I have used on the table were a gift from one of my daughters
on one of her trips to France.  They are fairly rare and I have a set of
eight.  Four images repeat themselves twice.



A guest room..........all ready.

White silk drapes, vintage chair gone wild, an old
Peacock Alley display bed dressed in white mattlasse,
antique European shams from England and a yummy,
fluffy duvet.  Wall color is Benjamin Moore, Desert Twilight


The toile loft bedroom all ready for the teenager of the family visiting.  She loves
anything having to do with the Wizard of Oz.  When I saw these legs, I knew I
had to have them to place under her bed while visiting!  When I walked out of her
room and looked back, even I smiled!

One of our guests bathrooms.


Another "guest ready" bedroom.  The chaise lounge is from Summerhill

The foyer gently dressed for the Thanksgiving holiday.  The French commode was a
'find' from one of my trips to England.........yes, talk about a traveling road show. Dealers
travel about just as we do in the states.  The top hand colored egg prints are French and quite
rare, c.1750.  The bottom row of egg prints are from England, c. 1835.  As the owner of
Robins Egg Blue, I collected egg prints and these are among my favorites.

It was a holiday open house at Stems and Twigs in downtown
Western Springs, Illinois and I was caught up with the beautiful arrangement
that had just been made for the event...........the touch of crystal beads
gives the pumpkin arrangement a new look.  I loved it!

It is Thanksgiving Eve and our guests are waiting.  The fire is in the fireplace,
the men have gone to bed and the women are having a cup of pumpkin spice tea.
So, I must go.  I wish each and everyone of you a very Happy Thanksgiving and
for those of you that do not celebrate Thanksgiving, I wish you PEACE.

HELP!!!!!!!!  I guess I still don't have this system set up right for those that wish to sorry.  I promise to get this resolved today if "my coach" can
assist me.  So dear friends, go down to the white bar at the bottom of this post and
run the mouse along the white bar until 'comments' pop up.  Then click and go to comments.
I would be so happy to hear from you.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

ONE LAST LOOK..............

I took this picture about two weeks ago as the winds were picking up and the evening air a crisp reminder that the summer was indeed over. ( tho' I must admit, Chicago had one of the most beautiful warm falls with colors like I have never seen before.) This was one of my favorite vinettes off the patio.  The fountain was always so relaxing on a warm summers night...............the fountain has been turned off, the kale has now been nipped by Jack Frost and I have decided to use this French marble table inside for the Winter.  I will be using it in my new gray dining room where many changes are about to take place.

I think I will bring in the lamb this year as well.  Also note the green pumpkin in the background on the marble top table.  So, from this vinette and coming inside for the holdays will be the marble top French table, the cement lamb (a find from my friend Debra at Scentamental Gardens in Geneva)  and  the green pumpkin...... 

See you soon,
Mary Anne

Sunday, November 14, 2010

The Santa Maker..........


 Well, it would be about now that I would be dressing the shop in holiday fare.  As I run my errands, I am
 reminded of the beautiful store windows and how festive everything is beginning to look.  Holiday home shows are starting to pop up, invitations are arriving in the mail and the festive season is truly upon us.  It was at one of these shows, many years ago, that I would have the pleasure of meeting Dee Gann.  She would come to be known in the Chicago area as the Santa Maker.  Her Santa's are a "one of a kind" and amazingly, she is never without a name for each one.  

This Santa is called Chef Claus......from his chefs hat and bright twinkling eyes to his lace trimmed chefs coat.............

Each one of these jolly ole fellas are made from her heart and soul with the end result reflecting the whimsical side of Christmas.  They are dressed in bits and pieces of vintage clothing, antique buttons, vintage laces and velvets, castoff pieces of mens' suiting, or maybe even a collar or a jacket made of Mink or Fox.  Vintage photos are stuck here and there and are often members of Dee's family


                    ANATOMY OF A DEE GANN SANTA...........his name, Ole Time Santa

                          His bright twinkling and happy face...................

                      Goodies ready to share in one arm.........Grandma's face hand sculptured by Dee

Another arm full of toys

                       Ole Santa has turned his back on us in his vintage red satin coat and hand knit
                                         red hood.....................

                  ........"he is dressed all in fur from his head to his foot"...............


Santa the Sailor Man



This Santa has been named Sweet Santa

Mr. S Claus

This santa has been named, Santa Delivers.............this is one of Dee's smaller santas.  He is only about 12-14 inches tall.

Women's waistcoats from the turn of the century,  are a favorite of Dee's, but they have become scarce. (if you happen to know of anyone who might know where to find them, I am sure she would love to know).  The toys, miniatures of all that could be possibly stuffed into Santa's pack, will always find their place. One thing that will always catch your fancy, is that "twinkle in their eyes".  Each Santa face has been carefully sculptured, left to dry and then painted.  It is at this time that they begin to come to life.  Their expressions are unlike any other Santa I have ever seen.

If you are interested in purchasing a Santa or wish to chat with Dee about a custom Santa, you can go to her website:  She couldn't be more wonderful.......and I feel so lucky to call her my friend.  You can also find her Santas represented at Scentimental Gardens, Geneva, Illinois          

*To Note:  If you wish to leave a comment and the comment box has disappeared again,  scroll down to the white bar following this post and run your mouse across the bar until you see comments pop it and it will go to a comment box.  I would love to know that you have stopped by.  M.A.