Bits and Baubles, Oh My

I spent yesterday jewelry shopping with an old friend, a most pleasant way to spend the holiday weekend. She took me to the near northwest side to a small store labeled, “Antiques and Resale.” I was skeptical at first but am glad I did not judge the interior by its exterior. This shop is an antique jewelry lover’s dream. It brims and brims with vintage and antique jewelry, all sorted by color. Why had I not been to this store before?

Necklaces drape over shelves, earrings rest on cushions and bracelets abound. The back of the store features vintage clothing, scarves and hats.

While fine estate jewelry is locked in cases but the staff is very willing to open cases and let you try on anything. We tried on amethyst rings, cameo necklaces, pearl chokers, black beaded fringe necklaces, turquoise bracelets. It was almost an overwhelming display of jewelry riches. I could not restrain myself.

Of course, I ended up with a few things, including three pairs of earrings, a delicate pair with seed pearls and this striking dangly silver pair that will look perfect with a black turtleneck and a pair of jeans.

I also left with one pendant, a stunning Art Nouveau piece that struck me and I could not put it back. The woman behind the counter even fixed it for me, so it hung a little longer and the clasp opens on the right, not the left. She also added a stone where one was missing. I was truly impressed by their customer service and attention to detail.IMG_0930

We found this lovely pearl choker with crystal accents for Audrey’s daughter, Stephanie. It looks gorgeous on her. IMG_1393

I cannot wait to take another trip and go back as their website claims the inventory changes daily. Who knows maybe Anne and CC will find a clue to a Spoon Sisters mystery here? Or maybe Alexandra, the Gem Hunter, will stop in for a rare treasure?

It was great to spend the day with a friend and take a break from writing. I am almost done with the first draft of the Antique Hunters Book 5 and hope to have it out in early October. Then I will be moving on to the second book in the Witch Cat Mystery series.

What is your favorite antique store or your favorite piece of jewelry? Please share in the comments below.


Shopping, Barn Style

Between the puppies, work and the house, t’s been a crazy couple months so my husband and I left the house on Sunday morning and headed to a barn sale in St. Charles. Tucked within a neighborhood of suburban homes, the barn was back in a corner and was owned by an antique dealer. She used it to store items she didn’t have room for in her booth at the local antique store.

Here are some of the highlights:

Old Comic Books
A wood-burning stove
A lovely 1940s Price Brothers Cottage Ware tea pot.
indian tree
My favorite Indian Tree China

I did not buy anything inside the barn, however, the tables outside were loaded boxes with costume jewelry. I enjoyed sorting through them and settled on this lovely Bohemian crystal necklace.

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While heading to the first sale, we had noticed a sign for a second Barn Sale so we had to stop. Sitting out in front was this motorcycle and sidecar.

motorcycleInside I found car models which my brother used to collect, old beer signs and 1950s Photoplay magazines. coke machine

The only thing that captured my interest was this original 1969 movie poster from a Johnny Cash movie.


Even though I did not buy much, it was a fun morning, and I plan to go out next week. I’ll share my finds with you.

It finally happened

Last night, I heard the words that I had given up hearing in my lifetime, “The Cubs have won the World Series.” I almost gave up on them last night, too, in the eighth inning when they gave up their lead. But I didn’t. I stood at attention, on pins and needs, watching. . . through the bottom of the ninth when the score remained tied, through the rain delay and finally through the top of the tenth when they once again took the lead and then through the bottom of the tenth for that last dramatic out. It was a moment that took my breath away.

I grew up with the Cubs. My father watched the games. During the 1980s, he even took me to a few screen-shot-2016-11-03-at-5-01-01-pmgames. He had season passes. He taught me how to keep score using the old-fashioned scorecards. We went on camera day when you could go on the field and take pictures with the players. Then in college, my roommates and I watched the games, leading up to the playoffs in 1984 when they lost to the San Diego Padres. Although separated by distance, my roommates and I spent the last seven games, texting and cheering the Cubs on.

All day, I have been switching between work and reading the news stories or watching the videos, including the touching one that has Harry calling the game and that final moment, “Holy Cow.”

Now that the Cubs have won, what is next? I woke up this morning and the world was still here. I am reveling in the excitement, wearing my World Series playoff shirt, waiting for my official World Series Champions shirt. Everything else continues except the knowledge that the Cubs which joined us together as super fans supporting the “lovable losers,” now bring us together as “winners.”

Now when we say wait until next year, we can say it with confidence knowing that it might just happen.


Anne’s Fabulous Find 2

screen-shot-2016-10-08-at-9-27-33-amAs many of you who are familiar with my adventures in the Antique Hunters mystery series may already know, I am not always practical. Case in point, this week I been fascinated watching antique epergne centerpieces on eBay. See this stellar example with its cut crystal candleholders. Wouldn’t this make a spectacular centerpiece for Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner? Imagine a darkened room with only the candlelights from this epergne glowing?

screen-shot-2016-10-08-at-9-27-06-amOr, this example, a silver plated Sheffield candelabra from Victorian England. Its central column features a sleeping lion as well as rococo shells, vines and rosettes. Both these pieces are in great shape and would truly change a room.

Alas, I have been forced to downsize from my Chicago Bungalow to a mere apartment above mine and CC’s antique store, Great Aunt Sybil’s Attic. These are too good to pass up. I will consider adding them to my collection.

Anne’s weekly tip: Never be afraid to splurge on yourself. You work hard and deserve it.

About Anne Hillstrom: Anne and her best friend, CC, is the heroine of the Antique Hunters mystery series. She searches for treasures amongst garage sales, flea markets and resale shops.



Anne Hillstrom’s Fabulous Finds

Welcome to my weekly insights into what I am shopping for. If you don’t know me, I am Anne Hillstrom, antique hunter extraordinaire. Me and my best friend, CC Muller, are the heroines of Vicki Vass’ antique hunter mystery series. To help Vicki with her research, I spend my days scouring estate sales, online auction houses and resale stores to find the most interesting antiques. I am going to chronicle those finds here.screen-shot-2016-10-01-at-1-34-19-pm

My current obsession is the Afternoon Tea Party china by Anna Weatherley. Trimmed with 24-karat gold, this china features hand-painted botanicals modeled after 18th and 19th century prints. I didn’t think there was any china set more expensive than Flora Danica but this one has it beat. One plate can cost more than $500, a serving bowl can cost $700. Isn’t it lovely? If I only won the lottery. Maybe I will find a set in the dusty corner of a barn or at a garage sale.

I would not use this set for anything other than breakfast and never around children or pets (Sassy, I hope you didn’t hear that).

Anne’s tip: I’m going to let you in on a little secret. When I search eBay, I search for misspellings. Often people are in a hurry to add their post so they misspell words. You can find great deals if you search for variations of a name like Limge instead of Limoge.

Clowns, books and chairs, oh my. . .

Last weekend, I sacrificed myself in the name of research. I spent one of the last fall afternoon driving around to garage sales. It was a beautiful fall day, the sun was shining, but I got a late start due to having to wear out the five-month old puppy first.

When I finally got in the car with my patient husband and not-so-patient Australian shepherd puppy, we made our first stop a mere block away. Our neighbor, who loves antiquing and garage saling, was setting up her front yard with Halloween decorations. She had a few items out, including two vintage Schwinn bicycles, but nothing we needed.

Then we drove down the street and found one house that was chock full of stuff, including these clown paintings. I was tempted to purchase one for a friend who is afraid of clowns but decided to pass. They also had a lovely double gilt mirrorclown

The next stop featured a collection of children’s books, National Geographic magazines and a vintage wedding dress preserved in a box. I wondered about the bride. Who she had been? Was she happy? I hoped so.

Not satisfied, the next day we traveled a little farther out to a sale that advertised seven tents, including vintage items. Unfortunately most of it was all old children’s books, VHS tapes and caimg_1844mouflage belts. None of those interested me. Then we drove to another location advertised on Craigslist and found a wonderful barrister bookcase that was in need of restoration. Some vintage items including a set of mason jars.

When leaving, I spotted a sign for a book sale, and I couldn’t pass it up. We drove to the storage locker. A couple who ran an online book sale business were clearing out their inventory. The inside of the locker was neatly encased in organized bookshelves. All books $1. I loaded up on books on witchcraft (research for a new story), several biographies and this wonderful book on Lalique jewelry. All for $6. These will be added to my growing pile.

img_20160924_121822_581While I was out doing my “research,” the real-life Anne, inspiration for the fictional Anne of the Antique Hunters traveled to the Randolph Street Market, one of Chicago’s largest antique and vintage fairs. She found this lovely set of chairs and was inspired by their artistic lines. She says, and I quote, “They were these cool chrome-looking garden chairs, looks like they were straight from art nouveau Paris. Alas, no table! Lots of pure style, sensual, lots of curlicues.”

And, both Anne and I have spent hours on our new favorite auction website, Everythingbutthehouse. While I haven’t bid on anything yet, I have spent hours looking, all in the name of research.

Up next, this week, a trip to an antique store, perhaps? Or maybe a rummage sale?


My book addiction

All right, I admit I have an addiction. I cannot stop buying books. And even though I have a Kindle fire, and the kindle app on my iPad and iPhone, I still buy paper books. Maybe it’s because I stare at computer screens all day that I can’t bring myself to read onscreen. I do have a number of books piled up on my Kindle. I read those while waiting for the doctor or other appointments.

So, this week, I made two trips to Target and both times ended up buying books. I had a hard time narrowing my choice down to two. For me, Target usually has a good selection of fiction, and it’s very close to my house so I find myself there frequently.  I enjoy contemporary romance at times and suspense and historical fiction. I bought and finished America’s First Daughter about Patsy Jefferson, Thomas Jefferson’s only surviving child who served as hostess when he was president. Then I bought Beach Town by Mary Kay Andrews, a light summer read about a location scout for a big Hollywood scout. On my second trip to Target, I bought a suspense novel which is now sitting on my nightstand. It might be next on my list.

Then on a trip to the grocery store, I stopped at Kohl’s which happens to be adjacent to Barnes & Noble. I ended up with Titans, a novel about Commodore Vanderbilt, and the Romanovs, a new book detailing the entire Russian Imperial family from their origins in 1613. I can write those both off as research for upcoming books. My character, Alex Kustodia in Gem Hunter, is Russian and in search of the lost Romanov fortune. My main characters in the Antique Hunters Mystery series find themselves embroiled in a mystery surrounding the Vanderbilt fortune in their next adventure.


On a visit with my nutritionist, she recommended two books which, of course, ended up in my Amazon cart and are now sitting on my bookshelf. One is on stress free living and the other is on mindful eating. Both sound intriguing. My Amazon cart also contained a book on Murder in Long Island so that is now sitting here. To top it off, one of my friends mentioned she is reading a book about a slave plantation on Long Island so that is now on  my nightstand.

The worst part is that since we brought the puppy home I find that I have very little time to read. My 11-week-old Australian shepherd puppy requires constant supervision and leaves me little free time to do my own exercise much less read.

What are your addictions? Or better yet, what are you reading? There’s always room on my bookshelf for more.