Friday, July 26, 2013

vintage treasures and a little celebration

 Yesterday was my husband's birthday and instead of presents and a party,
we had a relaxing and fun day out and about. Brian and I are both introverted
(yep, two introverts can indeed make a good match!) and prefer quiet times
and not a lot of hoopla and fanfare. Might have a little something to do
with getting older, too. ;-)

I've talked before about the town of Evanston - me, my mom and aunt were
there on a day trip recently and I blogged about it here. Brian wanted to spend
the day in Evanston for his birthday since he grew up there. And we saw
that there was a soul-rock band playing in a park that evening and that there'd
be some top food trucks from Chicago at the park as well, so we thought
that sounded like a fun thing to check out.

We first had lunch at one of those small, greasy corner pizza places that turns
out the best pizza. And you can get it by the slice. I'm telling you, this place - 
Gigios - should be on Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives. Anyway, Brian and I used
to frequent this place all the time when we were dating way back in the early 80's
and the employees were so thrilled when we got married! Those employees aren't
there anymore, but the restaurant still turns out the same pizza. 

We then went to our favorite resale antique store - Secret Treasures. Like I've
said, I think it's a good thing we don't live close to this store because it's too
 much temptation for me. So many cool, vintage things...dishes, glassware,
suitcases, jewelry, silverware, linens, art, small pieces of furniture, kitchen tools,
dice, buttons, toys, postcards, greeting cards, on and on. And the prices can't
be beat. I never walk out of that store empty-handed. My favorite thing I 
found yesterday was this vintage brownie camera. I knew it'd look perfect
on top of my old books.  The two vintage chess pieces are from the barn sale we
went to at the beginning of June. 

 Someone had brought in a cool collection of watercolors. There were a few pieces
I really liked but we are on a budget, so I had to draw the line somewhere. This one
was Brian's favorite piece since it's of the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco ~
where we spent our 25th anniversary. When Tim moves out (only three weeks!), we'll
be transforming his room into a guest room and we already have some special art
pieces that we know we'll be hanging in that room. This will be one of them.

 Who remembers sharpening their pencils in school with one of these hand-cranked
sharpeners? I sure do. This still works, too. By the way, that's phlox you can see out
the window. Isn't it lovely?

I have never collected thimbles. I've never even been interested in thimbles.
But I saw a bowl of these for 25 cents each and decided to pick through them
to see if there were any that caught my eye. There were four that I really liked
and I knew they'd fit perfectly in my shadow box. Not sure if the one on the left
is a Holly Hobbie, but I thought the little boy and girl were endearing. The one on
the right is a hand-painted thimble from Israel (marked inside).

I simply thought the pewter thimble was pretty (the other side says "mother") and
love the detail of the kangaroos and grass on the other.

The entire shadowbox...

 Was excited to find a large Goebel owl since I had the baby owl at home.
I acted silly with the two owls at home, having the baby one "kiss" the mama
and saying in a high-pitched voice, "Oh, mama, there you are! I've been looking
for you!" Brian just rolled his eyes and said, "Oh, brother." Hey, you have to 
lighten up sometimes and act silly, right?

 Not sure why this tiny metal garden tool has a rake on one hand and a shovel on
the other, but I thought it'd be great for a fairy garden. I placed it in a pot of 
geraniums for now.

Last, but not least is this pretty blue vase. Not sure if it's old or not, but it
sure is pretty. I'm a sucker for blue and red glass.

 A trip to Evanston wouldn't be complete without some time at our favorite park
by the lake (Lake Michigan - or the Michigan Ocean, as Brian calls it). I had made
a homemade banana cake for Brian's birthday and brought along a couple of pieces
for us to enjoy. Here is Brian shoving the cake in his mouth while talking to his sister
on the phone. Who says men can't multi-task?

I took some pictures at the lake with my phone camera and loved how this
one turned out. Had no idea the sun's rays were shining on us like this.

It was finally time to head to the park to listen to the band and try some
food from one of the food trucks. I had read about The Tamale Spaceship online
and it had great reviews. Check out the masked guy at the window! One of the 
guys behind this business is a mask collector, so I'm assuming they thought wearing
masks would be a positive attention-getter for the business.

 The tamales did not disappoint. I had the adobo roasted chicken tamale with poblano
mole sauce. I'll let you in on a little secret about me: I adore mole sauce. I know there's
many different kinds of mole and different ways of making it depending on the particular
region of Mexico, but I'm willing to try just about any kind unless it's super spicy.

The band was fantastic. The female singer has a strong, sultry voice
and I loved the trio of the trombone, sax, and trumpet. 
Give them a listen here!

I hope your weekend is full of treasures and little celebrations, too. 



  1. Oh my gosh, Melanie... what an absolutely perfect day, for both of you! We don't do big celebrations either, usually just dinner at home with a cake or brownies and ice cream.... just the two of us.

    Sure love the camera. My grandmother took many a childhood photo of me and my siblings with one of those.

    Lovely post!

    1. I wonder if this brownie camera even works - I should fine out! Have a wonderful weekend, Diane.

  2. You totally crammed a lot in one glad Brian's birthday went so well! Love all your finds!


  3. What a fun way to spend the day. I have only been to Chicago once - flew in on Christmas Eve for our son's wedding. I remember being surprised that Lake Michigan looked like the ocean instead of a lake.

    You reminded me that I used to collect thimbles. Where are they now? Maybe they are in the attic.

    1. I think you'd better find those thimbles and work them into a display!

  4. Looks like a great birthday. My husbands birthday is today, seems like our 2 families have overlapping birthdays.
    I don't know if the thimble is holly hobbie or Joan Walsh or what, but it is that 70-80s time frame and is just adorable. Looks a little like my Gavin and Elizabeth.

    1. You wouldn't believe how many birthdays our family has at the end of July! Phil, Brian, a cousin, an uncle, my mom, and my sister - all between the 21st and the 30th. Guess what...I don't think the thimble is Holly Hobbie or Joan Walsh! I just look inside the thimble to see if there were any markings, and there's a sticker that says "made in West Germany". I just did some hunting through google and on eBay, but I can't find anything like this thimble.

  5. Melanie that is my kind of fun day! Food, fun, junkin and music! Love all your finds and the Brownie camera is so cute! I have a mini Brownie and it is one of my favorite things. Love the photo of you sweet!
    Happy Birthday to your hubby!


    1. I think I'd like to find more cameras and start a collection - they'd look great in a bookcase! Thanks for the happy birthday wishes for my hubby.

  6. I love the SF bridge watercolor! Steve was born in San Francisco and his family is still there in the area.

    Could that photo of you and hubby be any better!! It's like a blessing from God shining down on you.

    1. San Francisco is a gorgeous city. I'd love to go back one day. I agree with the photo! :-)

  7. What a wonderful day! I really love all the finds you shared. The camera is very cool, I'd love to try one of those sometime. The pizza and tamales sound delicious!

  8. Happy Birthday to Brian! Looks like the perfect day and weekend. I am so glad you both had a good time!

  9. Melanie, it is obvious Brian was having a great birthday. You found some really fabulous finds at the antique store. I especially like the watercolor, which is sure to conjure up memories for you each time you look at it, and the thimbles are wonderful. They look great in your shadow box. It had to be fun visiting your old hang-out and eating the pizza, just like you used to eat, not to mention all the other great food! I checked out the video of the band and they really are good. That is a mean lead guitar. The picture of the two of you with the rays of the sun is just about as perfect as can be, just as the day must have been. Happy Weekend!

  10. Such lovely compliments, Lynn...thank you so much!

  11. Food and shopping for vintage items. . . What a perfect day! I just love those kinds of outings. My wife not so much, lol because I usually end up buying something we don't need lol You've found yourself some lovely pieces.

    1. Ha ha Alex, you and your wife are the opposite of me and my husband! I'm the one who finds stuff we don't really need. :-)

  12. I love that pencil sharpener! It seems you had a lovely day!

    1. That little pencil sharpener was only $3 - pretty good deal, right? :-)

  13. Melanie,
    Such an endearing post and what sweetness there was in so many ways on this very special day and outing!
    Happy Hugs,

  14. That sounds like a perfect day! Love the things you got especially that little rake and the brownie camera!

    1. Thanks, Manuela - hope you had a good weekend!

  15. Wishing Brian a very happy belated birthday! Sounds like you had a really fun day together. That is the best kind of birthday a person can have.

    Hugs from a very hot Holland ~

    1. Thank you, Heidi. I totally agree with you!


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