December 27, 2011

Happy 2012!

What does New Years mean to you?

Celebrate quietly at home? 

How about any family traditions? Ours goes back many generations; one must have herring on New Years Eve, it brings good luck! 

Or do you go out and celebrate?

 Here is the recipe for a celebratory cocktail "Ice Wine Martini". In case you are not familiar, ice wine is from grapes harvested after a hard frost, picked frozen, they are a heavy concentration of sweetness.

Ice Wine Martini

10 seedless green grapes, plus 2 halved grapes for garnish
2 ounces of Ice Wine (I like Inniskillin)
2 ounces vodka, preferably Ciroc

In a blender puree the 10 grapes with ice wine and vodka. Pour the puree through a strainer, into an ice filled cocktail shaker and shake well. Strain agin into a large chilled martini glass, garnish with the grape halves. "Heavenly!"

Wearing a classic black dress? How about some adornment? Carla Fox is a blog friend from the Pacific Northwest and a jewelry designer. Her "Art and Adornments"  are one-of-a-kind necklaces and headpieces. The following examples are in the Geneva, Il shop currently. Carla can also be found at her ETSY site. 

And the last order of business is announcing the winner of the "World of Department Stores" book, the immensely talented Pamela Terry of 'The House of Edward' blog. Pamela is a magical wordsmith, her stories, life and inspiration is a favorite. Enjoy Pamela!

May all of yours come true............

Thank you from the bottom of my heart for visiting 5th and State blog. Your support and comments mean the world to me........

Much love

December 22, 2011


 Don't worry, this a delight of a read, your feet nor pocketbook will suffer.
Lavishly illustrated with photographs and ephemera from all over the world 'The World of Department Stores' by Vendome Press, offers a fascinating history of these centers of shopping and regional culture.

Born in the Gilded Age in France, the department store grew-up due to the industrial revolution, the rise of the middle class, and the invention of steel-frame architecture and the elevator.

Spectacular buildings heralded a new way of shopping, as entertainment rather than a laborious grind. 

 The department store quickly spread through Europe and Asia, then the New World by the great architects of the time
                                                                                       from Design Chic
Let's explore these temples of consumerism, where dreams were fulfilled

 Remember this chain from New York, now defunct, it was an elegant favorite of mine.

Personally entranced by the large collection of perfumes, one could find Armani, Prada, Gucci........all under one roof, plus the clothes, shoes, handbags.........ahhhh
 The most renown being Harrod's of London
 And Galleries Lafayette in Paris
Today the interest is waning, the chains in particular. But as we know, the winds of taste can quickly change.
Designed by Gustave Eiffel,  Bon Marche of Paris, is the very first department store

At Christmas they took on another veil of magic, especially the windows

And the great trees
The lavish Marshall Fields in Chicago, at Christmas were lunch around the "great" tree in the famed Walnut room was a family ritual.
 Regional favorites are Macy's in New York
 Wanamakers of Philadelphia
Internationally there is Liberty's of London
And GUM of Moscow, to mention a very few


Our Chicago institution was revered and tradition centered for numerous families. We used to meet my dear grandmother Minnie (love that name) under the clock. When it became Macy's, the uproar was tremendous. Many refuse to shop there to this day
To win a copy of this beautiful book, simply leave a comment

In the Geneva, Il. shop or via email, you can still shop for the renowned DEE GANN SANTA'S.
Dee is a local phenom that hand crafts each of her magical Santa's; the faces, beard, clothes.....for instance the sleeve of a Victorian garment becomes his cloak. Adornments are collected through the year truly adding to the individuality of each creation. 
Thank you Dee for selecting us annually to represent your treasures!

From Chicago wishing all of you a blessed Christmas season, filled with joy in your heart, a glow in your smile and well-being in your soul

Merry Christmas!
with love

December 11, 2011

Christmas House 2012

Every year we are honored to be included in the Geneva, Il. Christmas House walk. The chamber matches five homes with five shops to decorate. Over 2, 500 people attended. Our goal is always to inspire and interject the unexpected. This years home, that of Amy and Bill Cook is an 1895 stone gem.
These containers held a collection of red twig dogwood gathered as a "teepee" at the top. Garland gathered bottom to top,  and not visible in this photo, a battery candle inside the bottom of the dogwood
Let's enter via the adorable stone covered porch
Adding the plaid to the settee brings an old fashioned charm and pop of color to this charming space. Fresh greens are everywhere

The porch leading into the living room. Here is where I begin my disclaimer; many of these photo's are terrible, yes, really terrible.......that's what I get for being in a hurry!
Well, here is a prime example......Vicki's fireplace is me
GOOD quality faux's; stems and garland. Berries upright in a faux bois container furthers our theme of "woodland"
Our tree was in an urn and embellished with fresh magnolia clusters, a gazillion white lights, gold garland and owls. Look closely, Vicky added large stems of cut birch sticks all around the base imparting a "Nest" effect.

On a landing at the stairway
Dining room. Remember, not all rooms can accommodate red, work with what you have
At the Maison de Objet show in France, I noticed two tall vessels on a stand connected by a strand of beading. Playing with that idea we added a green garland. Major effect, maximum visibility in seeing all the diners. 

Let me explain what you are looking at. This is the kitchen sink. Garland embraces the double window. "Birch" ribbon winds itself around one side as it houses red glass cardinals. Two wreaths are set on the ledge of each window
SIGH........this work of art is barely visible in this snap. My friends Alain and Esther, owners of the amazing 'All Chocolate Kitchen' created this sugar spun art piece which lights emitting an amber glow. Built in "shelves" hold a variety of truffles....torture but no one touched! If you look closely the center has a red cardinal sitting in a nest on a branch

More torture, their Buche de Noel......I will be ordering one this year after just looking at this for days!
What to do with two curtain-less windows flanking the fireplace? Create a window treatment with vertically hung garland strands and swag with red ribbon
The courtyard viewed via so many windows begged to be included. On the table is a zinc-like cherub that actually holds a flaming torch (not visible). The chairs and table were woven with draping and swooning garland
Up close. The white strands you are seeing are battery operated LED seed lights 

Thank you for visiting and some serious patience with sorry looking snaps. Did you know the symbolism for Owls is wisdom, messages, intelligence and secrets? Unleash the beauty of your own home and display your decorating secrets to grand acclaim!

With love
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