my reward for raking leaves

ginger tea still lifeI don’t know why, but autumn always makes me crave chamomile tea and ginger cookies. It must be something about the warmth of the mug and the bite of the candied ginger, but it’s what I reach for each autumn when I come in from the cold after raking leaves or after a crisp morning spent at a particularly good estate sale – like the one we went to this past Sunday. We caught it on the last day (when everything was marked half off) and my husband scored some fabulous vintage National Geographic magazines from the 1960s, including the much coveted December 1969 – Apollo 11 issue …

Nat Geo Space Issues 1964, 1969, 1971

for a dollar each!

Nat Geo Space Issues 1960 & 1969

How cool is that? In addition to the articles and photographs, we’re also enjoying the vintage advertisements. The following examples are all from the July 1960 issue focusing on Hawaii “Our 50th State” and NASA’s goal to launch a man into preorbital space via Project Mercury (with much interesting commentary regarding NASA’s late entry to the post-Sputnik era space race with the Soviets).

vintage Bell Telephone Hawaii ad

vintage Space Laboratories advintage Coca-Cola Hawaii ad

Aren’t these interesting? Although I grew up going to garage and sample sales with my mom, I had never been to an estate sale until a dear friend invited me to one on Chicago’s North Shore over ten years ago. I was instantly hooked and have been on the prowl ever since. Within the last several years, my husband started joining me and now he’s hooked as well. We love the thrill of the hunt, the unique wares and the incredible bargains. Since much of what’s sold today as “new” is of such poor quality (seemingly designed to be disposable), we’d rather buy vintage. I’ve found bargains on everything from stainless steel mixing bowls to furniture, garden tools to live houseplants, studio pottery to Persian rugs. And somehow, I always manage to get my treasures home in our little Jetta. As is often the case, there’s always one item that got away; this past weekend, it was a nicely framed piece of paper-cut art – priced less than fifteen dollars.

estate sale papercut artI’m still kicking myself for not buying it.

I’m curious, do you like estate sales? I’d love it if you’d tell me about your best find (as well as the one item that got away) in the comments. And as always, thanks for reading.


shooting for the moon

We’ve been house-hunting for something closer to our families, but we’re quickly learning that the task won’t be easy.

Courtyard Agapanthus late afternoon 5

Once you’ve lived in something like this …

Eichler Courtyard from LR farewell

it’s difficult, if not impossible, to imagine living in anything else.

This clip from Coast Modern, an independent documentary by directors Mike Bernard and Gavin Froome, sums up our feelings perfectly. One of my favorite quotes in the film is from Professor James Steele of the USC School of Architecture.

“A good piece of architecture is a habitable work of art. The best of them create this sensation where you feel like, my God, this is amazing! I want to live here. I want to stay here. I don’t want to leave.”

That’s exactly how we felt the first time we stepped inside our 1964 Eichler. We instantly fell in love with how the architecture connected us to the California foothills and how we experienced light and space. That house changed us. To paraphrase Dion Neutra, we came to embrace the comfort of being inside while enjoying the feeling of being outside. We want need to recapture that feeling in the Midwest.

Did I mention that we prefer radiant heat to forced air, that we’d like to keep the size under 2000 square feet and we hate lawns?

Hang on kids, this is going to be one hell of a bumpy ride.