Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Lil' Red Schoolhouse Antiques, Part I

This is a new kind of post I would like to do every now and then. I will feature a local shop I adore (and possibly non-local if I ever leave my little nest) . I am going to try to stick to small businesses. These will be photo heavy posts. I just couldn't decide which to use! :)

Mind you, I am not a photographer, just a photo junky trying to learn how to use my DSLR.

The first store on my list was Lil' Red Schoolhouse Antiques located at 108 State Avenue in downtown St. Charles, Illinois. This little yellow house (yellow, not red) is situated on a hill, so over time you can see the character gravity and my tilted camera has bestowed upon this adorable shop's historic home. 

The lovely proprietor, Pat Arnott, previously was located in Warrenville, IL in - you guessed it - 
a lil' red schoolhouse. She recently made the move to St. Charles, and I'm so glad she did! 
The owner and her husband, Bill, are warm and welcoming each and every time I pop in to browse.

Even the entrance has a wonderful variety of goods for sale. Hello, rusty bicycle!
Why, oh why, did I not notice that scale by the door until I was looking at my photos at home!?

This yellow chippy chair has been repurposed into a planter with a burlap liner. 
So clever and versatile. I envision poinsettias during Christmastime on a wraparound porch.

Love primitive, rustic finds? Just walk up to the brick patio entrance. 
{Maybe it's more accurately described as a courtyard? Either way - charming!}
I'm finding all kinds of ideas in my head for that well-worn wooden tray, by the way.

I happened upon this store searching for another antique shop nearby. I was instantly 
drawn to its home-like appearance. And I'm talking about the inside of the store, too! 
The shop is set up in little vignettes everywhere, the likes I've see only on blogs - 
a la Miss Mustard Seed's retail location The Old Lucketts Store.

A very old farm hutch showcasing a local vendor's tasty gourmet goods. 
{Note the small holes worn into the corners of the two drawers? Those are mice holes!}

Now I knew shops like this existed, but in my limited time to visit antique stores, most were arranged 
in tiny booths with all the items grouped in categories. Such as, this vendor sells antique crystal, 
this vendor specializes in linens. But these other stores often felt claustrophobic, and had an overwhelming mustiness which disagrees with my sinuses. And since my time is limited, I am 
always concerned that it will take hours to sift through one vendor for potential finds. 
Flea markets are better, but the spaces are usually small - and hot! 

Not at this store - which is why I can spend 2 hours there and feel like time flies! 
And my allergies do not bother me a bit. An added bonus, indeed!

A chippy, shabby old ladder with a lot of stories to tell has linens draped on it and nearby.

An oil lamp in fabulous condition and candle stick holder sit on a large console table 
with a bust of a child. Hang on, now that deserves a close-up!

Vintage silver flatware tied up with string...these are a few of my favorite things. Cue the music :)

A great rotary phone sits on a desk with "Life" Magazines. The display case nearby holds crystal and other shiny collectibles. The shelves in the background hold poker chips and various "manly" goods.

I love the occasional mix of old and new. Look at this fabulous red radio cabinet! 
Talk about character. It is filled and topped with a hand-painted china set.
 The navy, floral purse hangs from the open door and coordinates beautifully.

Newly sewn purses are found around the shop from Sassy Sparrow, one of several local vendors that Lil' Red Schoolhouse Antiques adds to the mix. They intermingle gracefully with the vintage wares.

In the right photo is a perfect example of mixing modern accessories with vintage items. 
This mid-century nightstand is painted black with a pop of yellow on the inside of the drawers - 
and they are lined in damask patterned paper. Atop the stand is a vintage silver candlestick holder, 
a small vintage glass jar (with new lid liner) and a new clutch purse in a trendy yellow and grey.

I adore the wall displays throughout the shop! They spark my own creative ideas.
This ornate frame with a small oval-framed mother and child portrait - just makes it so special. 
And her use of a vintage hanger to display old advertisements makes it feel current.

Hmmm... I'm still contemplating if we NEED the embroidered alphabet in the play room.
The cheery little "Bless this house" tin matchstick holder might find a perfect place in my kitchen. 

A great old stove is helping to show milk glass collections, mason jars, enamelware and 
a pair of giant, old ice tongs. Notice the peak of a folding chair - it almost came home with me! 
Rats, I was too busy taking pics! Not to mention the red striped towels.

Love feminine and fancy? {"fancy" must be said with an accent - fahn-see}
I spotted a lovely tea service - and pearl & rhinestone shoe clips! Worthy of a vintage-inspired bride.

A small, black accent table with great lines holds a vintage sewing machine and linens. 
Knitting needles, thread and buttons are on show on the shelf below.

The shop has a great assortment of furniture for sale, as well (unless otherwise marked). 
I love this curvy dresser with harp mirror. 
New and vintage jewelry cover the top, cleverly sorted into a cast iron cornbread mold. 

I am loving old tins with plants inside. So colorful!
This great red tobacco tin reminds me of a post by Stacey from A Sort of Fairytale.

A little birdcage that was begging to come home with me. 
{But my husband keeps wondering what I'm going to do with the ones I have already!}

That concludes my part one of this featured shop! Check back soon for part 2, where I will include more photos and some of my favorite finds from Lil' Red Schoolhouse Antiques that now live with me!

~ All photos are my own. ~

Please note that store inventory is constantly changing, 
but if you would like to inquire about availability and pricing, give Pat a call! 

Here is the store information: 

108 State Avenue ~ St. Charles, IL 60174
phone: 630-393-1040
Pat Arnott, Proprietor
Store hours: Thursday, Friday and Saturday 11 AM - 5 PM and Sunday Noon - 4 PM

If you stop by, tell them I sent you - and make sure you leave some finds for me!

Friday, June 22, 2012

Risky Business

On Fridays, I participate in a Five Minute blogging/writing challenge hosted by Gypsy Mama. The rules are simple.

1. Write for 5 minutes flat – no editing, no over thinking, no backtracking
2. Link back to here and invite others to join in.
3. Please visit the person who linked up before you & encourage them in their comments.

5 Minute Friday Word: Risk


Risk. My first thought is "a leap of faith." Second thought makes me know that's not the case. Risk involves danger.
My son has been having a strangely hard year. Too hard. Because school is too easy. He was tested and is considered of gifted intelligence. In fact, his IQ would have been higher had he not been so concerned with perfectionism. Ugh. How did we make this child?
Unfortunately, the school districts don't have gifted programs until 4th grade. And then it is just an hour or two a week. "Enrichment" is better description of the program until middle school. We are concerned that his frustration and boredom will actually start causing him more problems socially, academically.
So, the next step was looking at gifted schools. We found one that I think would be a great fit. The only concerns I have are related to the enrollment numbers. It's hard to find the perfect school. One with enough kids to know they can have some social experience and not too many so they can excel to their potential. This school has only 8 other children enrolled for his grade next year. His public school (which is actually a very highly ranked school) has 120. In his grade alone. The gifted school has about 120 in PreK-8th grade!
Ok, so we can get past that. Now the big one. The RISK.
The school is so small it does not have a nurse on staff. My son has life-threatening allergies. He has to have an Epi Pen nearby. We have never had to use it. Ever. But that is a big risk. Who would administer the shot if the situation presented itself?
Risk. I am not sure it's a risk I can take. But at what risk to his livelihood? His potential?


~my little guy with the science eye~

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Little Things Thursday

It's the little things that make us happy.

Like how I love the fact that the house we bought almost two years ago had existing hydrangeas planted in the backyard. Full, lovely, bloom-all-summer-long hydrangeas. They range from pink to blue to purple. I know you can vary the color by changing the soil pH, etc., but I love to see what nature will bring on it's own. So pretty!

I just cut a few that were on their last days. The following are just a few that survived the night.

Two blooms are perched in a smaller white enamel pitcher from Ikea on a petite desk that is painted a soft shade of grey. I got it from Urban Farmgirl at the Kane County Flea last summer. Hopefully I will add better photos of the desk some day. I just love it.

The chalkboard on the wall is also from Urban Farmgirl. Matching grey/white paint. I have been SLOW to update my message - you can see a heart from my Valentine's Day message!

I can't stand chalk dust. Could be from having to pound the old black erasers on the brick wall outside my 4th grade classroom. Could be asthma. Either way, I much prefer the Chalk Pens they have now. 

I saw on my beloved Pinterest a better way to make signs on my chalkboard. I have been using my free-hand, wing-it approach so far, but I will see if I can try the new and improved technique next time. If it works, I will come up with something clever to put in a post. :)

For a sweet and simple vignette in the powder room, I used a few vintage bottles I have collected. I played around with their arrangement. {The stem in the clear bottle was acting a little zany, but it was such a lovely shade of blue. I forgave it, heck - I embraced it. We're all a little bent now and then.}

I had found the tiniest, pale bloom. I thought it was beautiful and so dainty. It deserved to be displayed all by itself. I placed it in an old silver creamer. I love me some patina.

I tried it out with the bottle collection. The combo made it look larger. Not so dainty anymore. Trick of the eye, I suppose.

I heart my blue bottles the most. I have several, but these two little ones and the clear bottle seemed to fit the stems best. The lettering on the bottles is so fun - it adds character and texture. Each one I have is different.

The image above makes me think it's tilted, but again - just a trick of the eye. Whether it's the perfectly imperfect bottle or the bend of the stem. 

I had many more in this much taller version of the same pitcher from Ikea. This bouquet was in a little alcove that I can never decide what to put there. They were a deeper purple than the rest. Some may think there is a lot of white going on here, but I'm fond of it myself. White, pure and simple.

Not sure if I trust these within arms reach of my little firecracker, though. This will probably be a short-lived display. This is NOT how the rest of my house looks - and I'm really digging its simplicity.

I'm going to try drying some out. I've read that the best way to dry hydrangeas is to leave them in their water until it is all gone. I'll post images if they turn out!

~All images are my own and can also be found on my Pinterest boards. ~

Monday, June 11, 2012

Ombré lovin'

I'm sure plenty of people are sick of hearing about the ombré trend. But...I'm not one of them! I am still loving it.

There is an amazing array of goods for sale from major brand names and stores to Etsy's handcrafted items.

Left to right, top to bottom: Stenciled Sign by, You Better Be-reef It Dress from, Flamenco Shower Curtain from, Ralph Lauren Ombré Romper at, Phoebe Teal Chevron Heart Shaped Wedding Programs via Cricket Printing on Etsy, Ombre Ruffle Front Linen Dress - With Tie Straps by bittybambu via Etsy, and Aqua Gradient Necklace silk ribbon embroidery by bstudio on Etsy.

The ombré wedding and party inspirations are endless. I think I want to throw a party just so I can decorate with some of these ideas.

Left to right, top to bottom:  

Pink Ombré Fabric Backdrop via Green Wedding Shoes, Pink Ombré Cake via Call Me Cupcake, Vintage 1950s Dress with Ombré Pink Tulle via Mill Street Vintage on Etsy. Cascading Orchids tiered cake via Bobbette & Belle, Ombré Cake Pops via The Party Wagon, Ombré Tissue Paper Poms via Icing Designs, and Fabric Ombré Hanging Chandelier via
Adaura on Etsy.

So, are you loving this trend? Or are you so over it?

I hope to return soon with an original project inspired by the images above. I'll keep you posted!

~All images can be found on my Pinterest Boards.~

Sunday, June 10, 2012

5 Minute Friday: Expectations

1. Write for 5 minutes flat – no editing, no over thinking, no backtracking
2. Link back to here and invite others to join in.
3. Please visit the person who linked up before you & encourage them in their comments.

5 Minute Friday: Expectations


My expectations for this summer are changing daily. First, I signed my 3 year old up for summer school, but they didn't have enough enrollment. So, she is only going on Tuesday and Thursday mornings. I tried to get her signed up for Occupational Therapy, but there aren't any openings currently. I had planned on trying to do something special on every Friday. Like go to the museum or arboretum. Unfortunately, real life smacked me in the face.

My son, he has certain expectations for the summer, too. He wants to play with friends as often as possible. And when they aren't available (which is always), his remaining choice is to play Wii or his Nintendo 3DS. I limit his video gaming to 30 minutes a day, which he thinks is cruel and unusual punishment.

My daughter's expectations are to harass her big brother as much as humanly possible now that he is home 24/7. She wants to be him. He wants to be alone. Story of most siblings.

My two children are not exactly compatible right now. Their age difference makes life challenging. My son is 8 and my daughter is 3. She wants to be 8, going on 21.

So we are all trying to adjust our expectations. And I am trying to remember to breathe.

Stop. {Below added after 5 minutes.}

What I wish my kids looked like...

What they usually look like instead...

~All images can be found with original links on my Pinterest boards.~

Friday, June 1, 2012


1. Write for 5 minutes flat – no editing, no over thinking, no backtracking
2. Link back to here and invite others to join in.
3. Please visit the person who linked up before you & encourage them in their comments.

5 Minute Friday: See

It's funny that as I age, I still see myself as young. I mean my mental image of what I look like. I see pictures of myself these days and I think, "Who's that?" Oh, that's me!

Wrinkles forming, eyes puffy, double chin far too obvious. But in my head - I still identify with my younger self. Like 15 years younger. Get over it, I think. Move on. You'll never look like that again.

But my kids don't know that person. They see me. Me now. The only me they've known. My outside may look different, but I am still me. I just need to adjust what I see in the mirror as the person I've always been. I need to see me.

~ All images can be found (with original links) on my Pinterest boards. ~