One of My Happiest Happy Places: Vintage Market Days STL

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

I'm pretty easy to please, to be honest. Give me a mild day with a breeze, some food trucks on hand, and any event with tents and booths and things to look at and maybe buy, and I'm a happy girl. Live music is just a bonus. I've joked for years that you could land me at a Harley-Davidson vendor fair and I'd still be delighted. There's just something about booths and tents and music and the smell of cooking food.

So when I found my way to my first Vintage Market Days, back in the fall of 2013, arm in arm with my bestie Katie who was visiting from out of town, it was like angels singing from heaven. Not only did this market have all the elements of an Emily Good Time, but this market... THIS set of tents: THIS was carefully curated to bring together all the trinkets and treasures and thrift shopping and flea market hunting and craft/art fair handiwork of all the various other tent-y events I already loved, but ALL IN ONE PLACE. Condensed. Intoxicatingly specific. Junking AND art. Old things waiting to be repurposed AND new-old things already lovingly refurbished and set out for sale. Artisans AND trash-gatherers. 

And food trucks. 

And funky, vintage, catchy live music. 

This is Vintage Market Days. And they're oh so cruel/amazing because they hold this market TWICE a year. Not once. TWICE. Fall and spring. And I've managed to get myself there at least six times of the eight times they've held the VMD in St. Louis. It's just my happy place, you know? 

In the past three and a half years I've been going, I've brought home a dollhouse, little chairs, handmade fabric dolls, pillow covers, succulent plants, wire baskets, quilts, props for my photography business, gifts for my kids, and on and on. And on and on and on. I vow one day to bring home a refurbished dining room table set and probably a lovely hutch of some kind... someday. I look for both every time and find courage to walk away every time because it's not yet that season for me. But they're there. So many amazing things to look at, even when you're not buying. The Vintage Market Days is a sensory feast. 

This spring, I got to bring my other bestie, Genny, and I toted Larkin around with us. Last fall, I had returned again with Katie, who was again visiting from out of town. (In 2013, she came to shoot our family photos when Quinn was still small, and in fall 2016 she came to meet little Larkin.) We walked six-week-old Larkin around the market days and she slept the whole time.♥  It was so good to return and still have this sweet baby girl who was so content to be worn as Gen and I browsed and ooh'ed and aah'ed at the treasures.

But enough words... have I effused enough? Do you wish you were there with us? Guess what: I took a bajillion photos this time (with permission from the vendors and the VMD owner, woo hoo!) and I'd love to show you some of my favorite moments from the latest VMD last weekend.  If I managed to remember to grab contact/website info for various vendors, I tried to include it for any of you who might want to do some couch-surfing shopping. 

We started our day taking the obligatory selfie in front of the VMD's incredible rusty metal sign. 
It's a must! I mean, isn't that the coolest sign? 

One of the first booths we stopped in our tracks for was the huge corner booth for
Come On In Antiques. There were endless things to ogle:

Come On In Antiques:
This gorgeous yellow flower display was in another nearby booth... Maybe Boxwood and Brass?? I can't remember. 
But I loved the sunny abundance of the display!

At the far end of the line of booths, there was a huge tent set up for some premier vendors who wanted  a little more shade and room. Dominating this tent was the incredible booth of Whimsy Willows. This is the first year this vendor has been at our VMD, and she's a perfect fit. Ashley Wilkinson, the owner, designed the booth herself and carries a huge variety of regular and plus sized clothing that speaks to the bohemian gypsy spirit. Lots of florals, lots of lace, and so many trendy cuts and styles. I sure hope we see her back in the fall: I need to save up and treat myself to something extra cute, I think.

Whimsy Willows:
Also in the big tent was a beautifully staged booth with trinkets and throw pillows, Cottage Collections by Suzi Ulkus. So pretty!
Cottage Collection: Suzi Ulkus 636.394.1628
And oh THIS booth: Winnie & Tulula's. Last fall was the first I noticed them, and they stood out for their lush, cozy, gorgeous monotone linen bed displays. Very appropriate for fall, the beds were covered in grays and off-whites, and I wanted to lie down and nap among the linen ruffles right then. So imagine my delight to see this booth again this spring, and in the middle of their other monochromatic bed displays (as gorgeous as ever), there was this utterly colorful SPRING display. Forget monochrome, I'll take THIS bed, please. Can you even handle the floppy, abundant, soft, elegant long ruffles of it all? This is all in linen. LINEN, people. Someday when I can afford it, I want my whole bed dressed in Winnie & Tulula's. *sigh*
Winnie & Tulula's: 214.395.4970
This fabulous old shelving unit, styled to perfection with Ball jars, plants, and other ceramic details, was it the JMG Design booth. I swear if I had a place for this tall vintage shelf thingy, I'd have bought it right then and there.
JMG Design:

Another fun booth, The Trendy Cottage, had a knack for styling her corners of her booth in "themed" treasures. This was her "strawberry display". So cute! She had a dozen other equally cute corners with other themes. 

 The Trendy Cottage:
Genny was stopped in her tracks at this jewelry booth, Tarnished Charm. She ended up treating herself to a few pairs of earrings. I was enchanted by this velvet and pearl book ribbon. *swoon*
 Tarnished Charm: 
Cabin Creek Mercantile was a booth with a great selection of items to look at, but what grabbed me most what that it selectively had this beef/cow theme hiding among the greens and ceramics and such. What a fun whimsical twist!

Cabin Creek Mercantile: 
Another show-stopper booth (and maybe also I am discovering I have a thing for how linen looks when it's in abundance) was the always incredible Spellbound Collections booth. In the fall, their booth was made from old windows and doors assembled to make a full BUILDING, topped by wings and a gold crown. Seriously impressive.
Also impressive is the racks upon racks inside, filled with more flowy, gypsy, boho funky clothing, much of it linen.  Another wall is filled with beads, and another display carries duplicate wooden wings and crown like the ones that top the outside of the booth. SO COOL. 

Spellbound Collections:

Lunch break for us included enjoying the food trucks while Larkin napped, and being treated to live music from Miss Jubilee and the Humdingers, a vintage jazz and swing band that fit right into the vibe of the VMD. 
Miss Jubilee and the Humdingers:
After lunch, we browsed the second half of the booths, finding more fun things to photograph:

 Bella Vintage Home:
And then we found the Stapley Dolls booth, a favorite of mine. I've come to really enjoy the owner, Christy, and she impresses me every time with her craftsmanship and fresh ideas for her dolls, as well as her charming displays. I confess I've caved in and bought a doll from her not once, not twice, but THREE times, counting this last weekend. They're just TOO CUTE. I could make dolls like this. But why bother, when Christy Stapley does such a marvelous job at it?? So Lucy has one, Larkin has one, and now I have one for my very own. Ha! 

 (Please note how she has found perfect vintage books to add to her displays. PLEASE BE AMAZED LIKE I WAS.)
Stapley Dolls:
Next door to the Stapley Dolls, I met a new friend, the owner and creator at Birch Tree Bundles. This booth featured beautiful baby quilts in modern fabrics, as well as some really cute bibs, burp cloths, and other baby items. This girl seriously has such good taste in fabric. Why didn't I buy these bunny quilts, whyyyyyy????
 Birch Tree Bundles:
We wrapped up our three+ hour exploration once Larkin began getting fussy and the clock began to run down on my amazing babysitters' time. A few more quick photos of a few more too-cool-to-walk-past items, and we headed to the car, finally. WEARY, for sure, but so filled up. (Literally and emotionally!)

All in all, it was as fun as ever, and I came home with these treasures:
clockwise from top left:
1. Strawberry creme mini bundt cake from Nothing Bundt Cakes (only the bag here, since I devoured the cake. YUM.)
2. Sweet regency-style doll from Stapley Dolls. Mine, all mine!
3. "Be Still My Soul" nail art from Boxwoods and Brass
4. Heather gray lace-bottom tank from Whimsy Willows
5. bamboo and fabric teething bunny from Urban Chic Baby Boutique
6. Dare to Be Different zip pouch from Come On In Antiques
7. "Grandma's Kitchen" scented soy candle from Beckley's Best Blends
 8. and 9. Weathered red bench and framed quote from two other booths I forgot to grab a business card from, so I don't remember who to give credit to! 


The next VMD here in St. Louis will be in the autumn, typically in early October. Keep in the loop by following their Facebook page here:


Thanks for letting me show you one of my happiest places. I love treasure-hunting, and love time with friends, love chatting with artisans.... It just fills me up. I hope everyone I know figures out their own happy places-- finds tried and true ways to fill up, too. It's so good, this feeling of knowing yourself enough to know what brings you joy. Thank you, dear readers, for being here. You also bring me joy. I hope you have a great rest of your week! 

Now We Are Six: For Lucy

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Now We Are Six

When I was one,
I had just begun.
When I was two,
I was nearly new.
When I was three,
I was hardly me.
When I was four,
I was not much more.
When I was five,
I was just alive.
But now I am six,
I'm as clever as clever.
So I think I'll be six
now and forever.

Author: A.A. Milne

Sweetest Lucy-- 
 It is so unbelievable to me, yet utterly inevitable as well, that you have turned six years old today. From before Day One, you were yearned for, prayed for, hoped for, and wanted. From Day One, you were a surprise and a mystery-- stunning us with your unexpected blonde hair and blue eyes, confounding us with your colic and infant frustrations. You've been easy on the eyes and challenging to our souls every step of the way, and I wouldn't have it any other way. I think you were a gift to me-- a puzzle to be slowly, lovingly puzzled over, maybe one day to be "solved". Your feelings run deep, and you've only just begun finding a way to tell us a little about them. You find your way to your own enlightenment through creativity-- through your artwork, through your pretend play and costumes, and through your quiet times alone with yourself. You have begun to find your way to friends and are learning how to engage socially, and it is a joy for me to see you thrive at school and out in the world without me. 
But I confess I also miss you. I miss you being one of my constant sidekicks throughout the day. Miss you and Quinn as my daytime duo. I miss being able to give you more time and space to meander through life at your own pace in your own style. If I could, I'd give you a nearby woods and our meadow and I'd slow our days so we could all wander wildly a bit more, create music a bit more, make art a bit more. I ache for that, really... For all of us. But for now, I hope it's enough that I try to create space and time for some of it here at home, sometimes. That when you ask to "make", I almost always say yes. I hope you feel heard and supported. I hope you feel unconditionally loved. 
Six means you're officially a real, big KID. Six is the gateway to the world, and from here on out, it just goes faster and faster, and you'll just get more and more amazing. I cannot wait to see it unfold. 

But for today: stay six, enjoy the rare delight of another birthday, and know that so many of us are sending you magic and love and extra wishes. 

All my love, 

Miss Larkin at 7 Months Old

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

 I'm nearly two weeks late for this post, but back on March 30th, Larkin rolled over (literally) to SEVEN months old. There's no stopping her now, and she is determined to find her independence and grow right on up and out of babyhood as quickly as possible. 

Despite my wishing for her to SLOW DOWN, she sure is fun right now. It really is a perfect baby age, this 6-8month stretch. So many expressions, so responsive, but not yet mobile and tricksy. She's the light of all of our lives, even Quinn's, and we're utterly lucky to have her in our family. 

Larkin at 7 months:
  1. This girl is a rolling FOOL. I swear she's a more adept roller earlier than any of my other kids. She can get herself all over a room just by dropping one arm and tucking into a roll. She lands on her tummy and loves to crane her neck to look around as she props herself up on both arms.... But as soon as she spots something she wants-- a toy or a new destination-- she drops the arm again and is off and rolling once more. 
  2. She has moved from "beginner" at baby food to very skilled. She loves to be fed the purees and keeps most of it in her mouth now... but her FAVORITE thing is eating Baby Mum Mums. And she is a PRO at those. So far, she's enjoyed avocado, butternut squash, sweet potatoes, carrots, apples, pears, and bananas. 
  3. She's officially "attached" to her Foxy Loxy lovey-- she takes it with her as she rolls all around her crib, and wakes with it in her arms every time. 
  4. She's learned to chatter and babble during her 6th month- every so often she'll go into a series of "a-da-da-da-da-da-da!!!" babbles, and even when she's not practicing consonants like that, she is often shrieking or making loud noises just for the heck of it. I think it's because she's a 4th kid in a VERY loud household. She's just learning how to be heard. 
  5. She continues to LOVE being outside. Its a sure way to shift her mood quickly! 
  6. And she loves LOVES being worn. When she's getting fussy and tired and won't stay content on the floor or in her jumper or exersaucer, I know I can get a little more time out of her by putting her into my ring sling as I finish up whatever it is I'm trying to do.  
  7. She also still adores Daddy's forward-facing "chair-carry" he's been doing since she was teeny:
8. Larkin avidly follows her brothers' antics and her daddy's goofy faces and it is very easy (and satisfying) to make her laugh.
9. Still no teeth! But I *swear* they are coming. They have to be... she's showing all the signs (but don't they all? For AGES??? ugh.)

10. She sits up!! She's still wobbly, but she can do it for a minute or more. 
11. Her current favorite song is the Pokemon Theme Song. For real. She lights up and quiets down every time! 
12. She's just a light--- her smiles are abundant, her whole body wiggles when she's excited (to get out of bed, to get out of her car seat, to head to a bath, etc.) I wish I could bottle this up for all of you so you could feel the same delight we all do when we're around her. ♥

(Photos taken on Larkin's amazing bird quilt made by my friend Melanie Hess of Thoroughly Modern Minis, on Etsy. See her 1 month photos HERE, her 2 month photos HERE, her 3 month photos HERE, her 4 month photos HERE, her 5 month photos HERE and her 6 month photo HERE.)
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