Happy Birthday Mother!

On Wednesday Mother, Melinda and I took a break to celebrate Mother's birthday. We gave her a choice - either go for high tea or to an antique mall and then out to lunch for her favorite onion rings. Without hesitation Mother said ONION RINGS! Both spots are closer to Melinda's area and it was our first time to visit this antique mall. We have been to many of the area antique malls and furniture consignment stores over the past several years and they have each been great in their own ways. Definitely many more choices than in the Chicago area! This mall is called Brass Armadillo and we went to the Goodyear location. They have a second location in Phoenix. It is easy to get to, right off the expressway. The store is very large, neat and organized. We beat Melinda there and at first we were going through a lot of aisles of collectibles that were not our cup of tea. A bit of discouragement had started to set in. Melinda joined us and luckily as we moved through the store we found more items that we were interested in. I found a beautiful Mexican tin mirror for my bedroom here in Arizona and also a darling Japanese Kokeshi wooden doll for the shadowbox in my office at home base. I had purchased a collection of Kokeshi dolls on Everything But The House a few years ago and wanted to swap one out. Although it is cute, it has the name of the town on it in big letters which does not have meaning to me since I have never been to Japan. Mother bought two great necklaces and a pottery piece and Melinda found a tabletop trunk and a tray. We almost bought some large metal sculptures which resemble desert flowers but changed our minds at the last moment. Mother is now itching to go check out the Phoenix location. They have a frequent shopper program where we can earn money off a future purchase based upon what we spend. And they are open 9-9 seven days a week so we can get our antique fix basically any time!

After the mall, we were ready for lunch! I have probably mentioned this before but the best onion rings in the universe are located at Dillon's KC BBQ restaurant. This marked the fourth time I have been to Dillon's. It is a fun, casual place and the Litchfield Park location is right next to a children's zoo. We have always dined outdoors and it is particularly important for us to try and stay safe right now. Right behind the outdoor tables is a live flamingo exhibit! The flamingos are so cute and they were very active on Wednesday. There are about 50 of them and all of a sudden they decide to run around in a circle and squawk. After they ran around they were fed some kind of large-scale bird seed and they were excited about that too. It is very interesting to see tropical birds in person having grown up in Chicago!

Now on to the onion rings - the first couple of times I have been to Dillon's, I have shared these onion rings with my dining companions. They are like no other onion rings, they melt in your mouth and if you bite into a larger one the entire onion does not slide out of the coating. We visited Dillon's once before during this trip because I was excited for Mother to try them. The three of us shared two orders. Now this time Mother said she wanted her own order because she didn't want to share! So we each ordered our own (and by the way, all this goodness is only $4!) As amazing as they are, an entire order was a bit much to finish on my own but we all did it. We ordered half sandwiches so it worked out well. Their other food is awesome too! Dillon's has three locations so maybe next time we will try the location that is on a lake with great outdoor views. Melinda's friend Frank said that location was his favorite.

After Dillon's we parted ways with Melinda and headed to Glendale to pick up a couple of dressers I found on Offer Up. Although I sent a lot of furniture from home on the rental truck, I was very lacking in the bedroom furniture department. These dressers have a great look, are sized perfectly for my room and were reasonably priced for what they were. They have been attributed to the 1950s, designed by Raymond Loewy for Mengel Furniture. I think they are made of oak which is pretty rare for '50s pieces. The previous owners sanded them down because they preferred the natural look rather than the teak color they originally were. I prefer the natural color as well but they are pretty rough to the touch so I am going to send them to the refinisher for him to smooth them out. I am going in a bit of a different direction here in Arizona than the decor at home - I still love mid-century modern furniture but I am going slightly bohemian to complement it. I am buying things I never thought I would - faux plants and a macrame plant hanger to name a couple. I am definitely planning to keep it simple here because it does get dusty way faster than at home.

The first of my eBay penny auctions are ending this evening. There have been lots of bids these 10 days but all but one of the pieces are at a level which is less than I paid. My loss is your gain! CLICK HERE to see all of my eBay items sorted by those which are ending soonest. It is a great chance to pick up a super bargain on a beautiful quality item. I am hoping for a flurry of activity at the end! I listed 11 more fabulous Native American pieces on Thursday, these items will end a week from today. I am going to continue this trend, although I realize that the Native American jewelry is the most popular of what I have, sterling silver still has value and I have the extensive Mexican and vintage / antique collections that I could try posting this way as well.

On Friday Mother and I broke down and visited Old Town Scottsdale for the first time since we arrived this trip. The temptations are very great for Native American jewelry lovers such as ourselves! But we had a couple of projects we wanted to take to our favorite repair spot, Old Town Jewels to get going on and it is a good thing we did as the lead time is currently 2-3 weeks. Mother found a great pair of earrings to match one of the necklaces that came from the antique mall. We ran into a Mexican store and Mother picked up some salsa dishes and a planter for the macrame plant hanger. It fits perfectly! They had the most darling tin Christmas trees! I never thought I would say this but I am ready to sell some of the vintage ceramic trees and get these instead. They are not cheap but the value I have in the ceramics would easily cover them. It would also be less Christmas stuff for us to store and I think I could get Mother to agree to leave these out longer. I will keep the ceramic trees for the top of the china cabinet, they looked really good there.

Next we went to Gilbert Ortega which is basically the Mecca of Native American jewelry. They have three stores in Old Town but we like the largest one, the manager Justin knows us and he is such a nice guy, so helpful. The collection is really second to none but the prices are $$$. However, they always have discount cases, usually they are 40%-50% off but this time they were 60% off! Justin told us they were closed for 6 months due to the pandemic. He turned to online selling and is definitely glad to be back in the store selling and away from sitting at a computer all the time. I found a cool pair of Navajo repousse earrings for myself and bought a similar pair for Mother for her birthday gift. They are going to look great with our Navajo pearls. Next we headed across the street trying to find another one of our favorite stores, Four Winds, but realized that they merged with their sister store Crazy Horse. I think that was a very smart idea since they have a second Crazy Horse store across the street which has different styles of jewelry along with paintings and glass art. Luckily Crazy Horse still has all of the wonderful pieces they had at Four Winds. I was sorely tempted to get a multi-strand Navajo pearl necklace and bracelet but it just is not in the budget right now. I also need to be patient and wait for the Gem Show!

Our last stop was Scottsdale Trading Post. I did some damage there last year, purchasing three vintage pieces. I love what they have, they are all one of a kind but you pay for the convenience of having them presented to you on a silver platter. We managed to escape without damage this time! Finally, we decided to get some lunch and I noticed a cute place across the street called The Herb Box. We thought we had to go behind the building to get to the restaurant and upon walking back there we noticed a little shop with nothing but cement tile! It was closed but I could tell it was amazing. I looked up their website and they have great stuff. I would like to use cement tile on the walkway leading to the front door as well as the floor of the area between the metal gate and the front door, as long as the climate can handle it. I would also like to see a row of tiles going across the top of the home below the trim if that is possible. I will definitely be telling our designer about this little gem! The restaurant was also really good, I would definitely go back there again. It is a little escape from the hustle and bustle of Old Town.

I spent much of the day yesterday on the online chat with GoDaddy customer support. Their support really frustrates me and especially as a former computer programmer because I seem to know more about their system than the front line people do. It also takes forever because there are delays while the front line people ask the more advanced people for the answers to the questions, a lot of time is spent correcting them on what is needed etc. I had two issues that I needed help with - one is corrected which was showing Australia as my home country but a new problem has been created as I can no longer access my online store. At least the store items have not disappeared from the website! The other problem is related to eBay, they have changed their requirements for listing Native American items online. They have to be in a special category and have the artist's name, tribe and state in the item title. Luckily I had or was able to retrieve the information on the six items I was trying to list but in most cases I deal with vintage estate pieces and most artists back in the day did not sign their work. It looks like I will not be able to list those items on eBay through the online store anymore. This combined with the uproar in the Facebook groups about how it is wrong to buy from resellers has and will definitely put a damper on sales. These are the challenges of business, always having to adapt to the changing times.

Our blockbuster weekend of five sales is winding down soon, we are going to continue Burr Ridge and Northbrook on Monday. Burr Ridge has been amazing and I am also eternally grateful for all of the jewelry sales, not only there but at the other locations. It has been very rewarding to see that the jewelry we worked so hard to polish, card, price and ship to home base from Arizona in a timely manner has been so well received. There was so much good stuff that the last box I sent was not needed but Mike and I will work on combining those pieces with the existing ones to create great displays for future sales. There is still more to ship home and that will be the goal for next week - finish polishing and pricing the sterling estate jewelry and get it into circulation.

Mother has been busy this weekend creating a Southwest Style jewelry collection with the turquoise, coral, dinosaur bone and other beads we had on hand. She is using vintage charms and other pendants as well. This will be another goal for me this week, to get this collection finished off and in the mail so we have something new to show in lieu of the Gem Show items we normally have to show at this time.

As usual, so much to do and so little time so until next week!