Apartment Therapy Complete + Happy Home Book Review


Designing a cohesive, put-together shop with inventory ranging between the time periods of 1850 to 1950 has baffled me since I opened my shop. I’ve read dozens of design books and studied how other shops do this successfully on Pinterest, but short of renting a storage unit where I can accumulate things that go together, I haven’t learned a thing to make it easier.

Then I saw an article about a publisher looking for people to review  Apartment Therapy’s new book Complete + Happy Home. The ultra-bog, Apartment Therapy, features apartments designed by thousands of creative renters and home owners using flea market, antique shop furniture and furnishings mixed with new or newer furniture.

I could hardly put this book down. All of the principles can be applied to a shop just as easily as one would apply them to an apartment, split-level, ranch or six-bedroom house. I finally grasped something that has previously eluded me. The approach is to throw out all ideas of what Pottery Barn is selling, what is currently trending and what you know about design. Decorate to make yourself happy. Learn how to use what you have, what is comfortable, easy to clean, maintain and is affordable to you. In other words, don’t choose a painting because it matches the color of your couch. Choose one that you enjoy.

Read every page; don’t just look at the pictures and you will have a new eye and the knowledge to create a comfortable home for yourself, family and friends.

There is too much between the covers of the Complete + Happy Home to mention in a review, but the editors aren’t pulling your leg when they put the word Complete in the title. The sections on creating flow, energy, balance and mood helped me tremendously with arranging the shop.

Apartment Therapy contributors essentially live in rentals so they don’t take out walls and install new windows. That is what I love about this book. The point of the book is to train people how to look at their homes in a new way.


Say you just bought a first home with an old board and batten paneled dining room. The new owner envisions a sleek modern design. Bringing in a vintage 1950s red-painted table with steel hairpin legs and adding black modern upholstered chairs turns the room in a new direction. By changing the overhead light fixture to a pendant style with a pierced metal drum shade the room is transformed from hunting cabin to cozy modern in an afternoon.


For the shop, I learned how to unite multiple patterns by adding one color that unites the room. Do you see how the coral lap robe and a vase of coral-colored flowers unifies the bold mix of patterns? It is all about decorating with things that make you feel good and making the room congenial for anyone who visits. I could easily use this technique in the shop. For example, by adding five green linen pillows to the room, the entire shop looks united with the use of color.  Of course, this is easy to do in a small shop like mine, but the idea works for any size room.

The book shines because it is realistic and it trains the reader to really see, just like an artist learns to see. Forget about what the neighbors have, what some marketing department wants you to buy, and get happy with your home.

I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.  Blogging for Books encourages reviewers to write honest reviews.  This book was published in 2015 by Crown Publishing Group.

Where Was I Before I Was So Rudely Interrupted?

This is where I left you last summer:





And,  this is the roof I spent most of September on.

I was tuck-pointing, roof-tarring, glass-glazing, window painting and dealing with other issues that needed attention in the back of the building. (Let’s not talk about it.)

Besides this work and the shop, I took care of six of the village’s gardens.  I added another garden to the list this year.  Many people stop to talk throughout the hours, as you can imagine. Gardening is a social event in a small downtown area.



It is autumn and I have been  washing and ironing the textiles I found over the summer. I still have more to do. These American quilts are wonderful, aren’t they? The blue on the Victorian postage stamp quilt is indigo dyed and the red color is the infamous Turkey Red.



Last night, I finished tucking in the last of the flower gardens for a winter nap. The night was warm with that kind of soft, wild wind that we have in Illinois in October.  I wanted to cross the gardens off my list so I gardened until 8:00 pm under lamp and moonlight.  The town is closed on Monday night so no one saw the crazy gardener in the dirt-covered blue jeans. I didn’t care if anyone saw me, anyway. It would be something to talk about.

And the “In a Pickle” dining room cabinet? I could have sold a half-dozen of them!





Tarnished Royalty’s Post on The Language of Love

The summer passes so quickly and my days are filled with work related to running the shop; I do try to keep up with my Internet friends posts and this one from Ann at Tarnished Royalty is worth sharing.

~ Ginene from Fox and Finch

The Language of Love

I don’t often talk about my husband here on the blog. I tend toward privacy regarding the relationships in my life in order to remain professional but occasionally I think it’s a good idea to let my readers in on some of my personal life.

We all speak our love in different ways. My husband is very good about telling me he loves me verbally. But it’s the quiet little things he does that speak the loudest to me. Recently when I was working on my Maple Seed Butterfly project, I was trying to finish up in time for the Double Dip Flip deadline. I had thought I saved up more than enough maple seeds (a.k.a. helicopters) to complete the project. On the day I should have been photographing it I was scrambling to try to find some more seeds. Some of my stash had torn spots and others weren’t dried out enough and were still too green. I didn’t have enough good ones to finish. I went into resourceful mode and scoured the yard to no avail. We even checked the gutters on the house but found none. I decided I would try to make do and resigned myself to using some of the funkier shaped seeds that I had previously rejected. I continued to work, sorting through the seeds to find any that would pass. I began gluing the first few layers, hoping that I would have enough.

A couple of hours into the process my husband came home from mowing grass at our son’s house. With a grin on his face (that handsome devil!) he presented me with this:

Beaming with pride, he told me how he found the pile of maple seeds under the car port at our son’s house. Can you stand it?! He rescued me. In his quiet, sweet way he provided for me. He hunted and made the kill. He used his hat to bring home the spoil.

I was able to use several good seeds from the pile he brought me and honestly the piece would not have turned out as nicely with some of the seeds I was going to settle for. His gesture was a project saver but more than that it was an act of love that I will always treasure.

Flower Power

My kitchen is in what was the employee break room when my building was the town bank.  It is long and narrow, edged with a long sink on one side and two arch-topped windows with the hot water radiator in between on the other side. You won’t see my kitchen featured on a blog. You may have a hard time telling if it is 1940 or 2015 inside. I feel comfortable in my uncomfortable little kitchen. I paint, sand, glue and fix things here. Everything that is in it is a reject from the shop for its broken, repaired or cracked condition.  But, I’m not done playing with it yet.




The reason I came in here was not to show you the kitchen. I want my little antique shop enough that any inconveniences are easily over-looked.  Anyway, I want show you these tulips.

I’ve never seen a flower glow like these do and the scent is divine. Did you know  most  fragrant tulips are early blooming  types in the orange and red family?

I have to make a quick run to the post office to mail an eBay package. Come with me. It is close to the shop.


When I walk to the post office, I usually walk past this building. It used to advertise Gold Medal Flour on the side. One day, I called the corporate office for Gold Medal Flour in Minnesota, asked to be connected to the right department and then asked the representative if General Mills would possibly donate the paint so the town could  repainted the advertisement in a long-lasting oil paint. They said no because “Gold Medal Flour only donates to India.” That is what the woman told me.  I still think about that when I walk past the building.


This is the next home. The new owners did a fabulous job of keeping its best qualities. It looks so sturdy, doesn’t it?  I imagine that its owners feel safe during storms within its sturdy framework.


This house is the next house on my errand to the post office. I just turn left and  the  post office is around the bend.


Everywhere in town the sidewalks wear a layer of flower petals. Have your ever seen anything so pretty? The sign says that animals and people have a refuge on these grounds.


This little dog run leads to the front gazebo. Walking to the post office is interesting because there are short-cuts, back ways, and alternative paths…and it is only three blocks away.


My kitchen clock says it is time to get back to work.

I am remembering our uncle this Memorial Day, Capt. Donald August Peuckert, killed at the Battle of Saipan on June 15, 1944, at the age of 18.  Two thousand marines were killed that morning and before it was all over, the total number of people killed (civilians and soldiers on both sides) numbered more than 30,000.

Later, my grandmother received a letter from a friend of Uncle Don’s who was also there. He wrote , “It was such a beautiful, calm day that we would not have guessed that a war was going on.” Only now, when I am decades past the age my grandmother was then, have I learned from reading about that morning and the night before, that his friend wrote these words to comfort my grandmother and that they were not really true. I am glad she never knew truth.  It was hard enough as it was.

Wishing the world peace,



An Edwardian Child’s Over-Stuffed Arm Chair with Footstool


The beginning of a new project… I planned on doing the upholstery on this child’s Edwardian version of an adult’s over-stuffed chair myself. Then, I saw that the springs needed tying.  I traded the upholstery job for selling a couple of … Continue reading

Assemblage Art: Florida Vintage 1940s Motel Door and a 1930s Toy Circus


I spent part of last week working on a couple of assemblage art projects.  I used old parts and old artwork and some vintage linens to create a 1940s Florida motel door and a make-do child’s circus toy. Whether these … Continue reading

A Sister is a Life-Long Valentine


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“You may be as different as the sun and the moon, but the same blood flows through both your hearts. You need her, as she needs you..”– George R.R. Martin I received a treasure box from my sister this week. … Continue reading

An Apron Mystery and A Dog’s Day

This apron was a mystery to me. I thought someone made it, but didn’t complete it. There are no neck straps or ties.   Then I saw this pattern and the purpose was clear. It was a style of apron that went … Continue reading

Travel Brochure to the Middle of No-Where


Last week, I found some furniture whose sale, I know,  will pay my winter utility bills. Five pieces of solid walnut furniture decorated with hand-painted scenes and fancy bird’s eye maple and mahogany veneers, very French, and some of the best furniture America ever had to offer … Continue reading

Quick Autumn Decorating with Vintage Rakes


Here are just a few examples of the many vintage metal rakes I decorated this week to sell in the shop. I ask 12.00-15.00 for them and when a customer decides to change to something new they get a strong, good old-fashioned metal rake. … Continue reading

How to Clean Vintage Clothing

Have you ever wondered how vintage clothing dealers present such perfect examples of 100 year old clothing? I’ll share a wonderful stain remover recipe with you. Stain Remover One Cup of Cascade Dishwashing Powder  and Two Cups of BIZ to Five Gallons … Continue reading

Happy August Days ~ Painting and Gardening


I’ve painted and sold a lot of furniture this month.  It looks like I forgot to put the handles on this one before I took the photograph. I was lucky to find this piece with all the original Eastlake handles still … Continue reading

Using Glass Cloche Domes to Display Collections


A favorite way of calling attention to groupings of “smalls” in the shop is to cover them with a glass cloche.  Here are a few vignettes I had the fun of putting together today. Bell jars are perfect for putting small mementos and collections out in … Continue reading

For the Love of a Midwestern Barn

Darrah Barns, Rockton, IL

Last week, my busy and private friend, Margaret Cox and I got together for a day that started with cappuccino at her beautiful home near Rockton, Illinois. Margaret and her husband, Kevin Darrah, own a company, Darrah Barns, that installs barn … Continue reading

Happiness Collections – Easter Egg Ladies


One of the ways I have fun in the shop is to ask people why they collect a certain thing. It is a fascinating way to enjoy the unique aspect of other people’s life experiences. I have found many Mid-Century Asian figurines for one of my long-time … Continue reading

Featured by Lil Huckleberries on Mondays Moments Today!

Fox and Finch Antiques was featured on lilhuckleberries today! What a compliment it is to have professional interior designer, Wendy Nolan, chose something I created. Thank you, Wendy. I am “sponging up” everything you write.

Upstairs Vintage

Living above my shop is all pros and no cons. I don’t have to drive to work and I can bake oatmeal raisin cookies and offer them while still warm to people who come in on a winter day. The … Continue reading

Gift Wrapping Idea for Mailing a Small Present and a Snowy Road Trip with Janet


If you do a quick search on Google Images for vintage postcards, you’ll find hundreds from which to create a unique presentation package to send through the mail.  Print it on cardstock, wrap your small parcel,  and mail off the … Continue reading

Create a Reusable Stencil for Decorating Vintage Painted Furniture


The Graphics Fairy web site is a free resource of over 4,000 vintage images for any creative work that you can dream up. Block Posters is the go-to spot for free image enlargements. The Graphics Fairy has a dozen tutorials on how … Continue reading

Christmas in Black and White

1950 christmas

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            I dream in color, but many of my memories of the 1950’s are in black and white. Some of what I think of as memories are probably remembering the black and white photographs we … Continue reading

Sehnsucht Christmas Memories


Decorating my Christmas wreath last week in kitschy 1950’s and 60’s ornaments brought nostalgic and bittersweet family memories  to mind. There is a German word that best describes my thoughts that day. We don’t have an English word for it. … Continue reading

A Vintage Buffet Gets a New Look for Autumn

Moss grows on the north side of the alley pavement behind my building and I brought some in last week in anticipation of missing everything green in January. I filled plant saucer pots with soil, pressed the moss inside and … Continue reading

Vintage Squirrel Finds for Autumn Table Centerpieces

A vintage Jadeite console bowl with an composite squirrel thermometer.

This gallery contains 7 photos.

One of the fun things I do when I have a dining room table in the shop is create centerpieces from some of my favorite finds. Here are some centerpieces with “Squirrel” motifs that I put together today.

Imagining Her Life

Vintage Ball Canning Jars used as Picture Frames

Vintage Ball Canning Jars used as Picture Frames

With a large family present at an auction today on an old farm in southwestern Wisconsin, bids ran high as the immediate family and nieces and nephews tried to win an item tied to their memory of the 97-year-old woman who enriched their lives. The woman and her Swedish husband bought the farm in 1944. They raised eight children in the house. But, she spent the last 18 years living on the farm alone.

A neat white house sat in a circle of barns, sheds and out-buildings, all empty now. The vintage tractors, implements, fencing, and thousands of parts and tools leave on trailers and in the beds of pick-up trucks throughout the day. Old members of the woman’s flower garden wave slightly in the breeze of this off and on blue day.

I am, being a woman, am mostly interested in the life of the woman of the farm. A granddaughter shows me the site of her kitchen garden. I can see the grey poles that once held up the clothesline.

There are four apple trees, two grape arbors, a large cherry tree, a stand of raspberry bushes and, I am sure, there were rhubarb plants at one time. A granddaughter tells me that her grandmother made apple butter, apple sauce and apple pies, but she rarely used the cherries. Hundreds of blue canning jars with zinc lids sold. A Victorian cherry pitter comes up for bids. It is a big black cast iron affair and I wonder if the work involved didn’t merit cherry jam.

The heirs got most of the treasures they wanted and that is so right. I heard a young woman with a baby say to her husband, “Don’t let your emotions make you lose your head.” The weathered, but sturdy, outhouse sold for 215.00.

People who come to my shop often tell me that the shop has a good energy or good feeling inside. I think that comes from all the things inside the shop that were part of some wonderful person’s life. Each piece has its own story; its own interesting past.

My winnings of the blue glass jars will, no doubt, be upcycled into candle holders, light fixtures, snow globes or something else an imaginative person creates.  I will keep one just because I like the sparkly blue glass and each time I look at it, I will remember the sweet, old-fashioned smell of hundreds of heirloom apples lying beneath the mother tree.