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First off, a gigantic thank you! to all who participated in our Very First, Very Official Reader Survey! The results are in, and – not that we’re surprised – it turns out that you guys are just as awesome, funny and curious as we suspected. (We literally LOL’ed many, many times as we read and re-read your responses!) We’ll have a recap, a rundown, and a big ol’ stack of answers to your questions and inquiries in the coming days.

Survey aside, you all know we’ve been up to our ears in new house stuff for the last few weeks. We’ve closed on the new place, have lined up a wonderful couple to rent this home of ours, and we’re beginning to stockpile some treasures for the new studio and our big new garage (my favorite part!). All that said, every hard-working man needs a weekend diversion and my diversions usually involve bicycles. When the weather isn’t great for riding, I can often be found lending a hand building and maintaining our trails at The Garden Dirt Jumps, a bike park that my friends and I have been building top of the remains of a defunct Chicago amusement park for the last half-decade or so:

While we’re out working on the park, we often find unexpected things in the dirt. Like, really unexpected things. Over the last 6 summers of building in the woods, the boys and I have found parts of cars, roller-coaster bits, unidentifiable bones (yes, really, I say!) and often chunks of antique dishes and glassware.

It is, however rare to find anything whole and/or in good shape. Last weekend was an exception and on a build day at the park, I uncovered an adorable little half pint milk bottle and a cool blue glass inkwell.


After the day of digging was all wrapped up our tools were cleaned and put away, I headed home to polish up my newfound treasure. A quick scrub and a short soak in the sink later and we were left with some clean and quirky glassware with a history all its’ own.

An Ebay and Etsy search confirmed that neither one is worth much, but it turns out there is some really cool history to be told. The milk bottle is from Rusche Haller & Co here in Chicago, and according to this Google Doc, Mr Rusche. really knows his milk! The ink well was manufactured by  Sanford’s, likely in the late 19th or early 20th century. And for all of you history nerds (myself included) this is the same Sanford’s that still manufactures Sharpie markers and PaperMate pens. Who knew?

What sort of treasure have you unearthed in backyard renovations?

  • Heather {A Fire Pole in the Dining Room} - June 17, 2013 - 10:17 AM

    Wow! Those are cute finds! I’m surprised they weren’t broken.

    We found a lot of buried trash when we were working on our yard – like buckets of old bricks and assorted house-building material. The only thing close to a “treasure” was a rusted star anchor plate (like the one from Soulard:

  • Tina S. - June 17, 2013 - 10:25 AM

    The ink well has a link to Sharpies? My goodness, I’ve died and gone to Heaven! I’m a major Sharpie addict, so if I found that ink well I’d equate it to finding winning lottery numbers! Very cool finds.ReplyCancel

  • Kim - June 17, 2013 - 11:45 AM

    Thanks, Tina! Who ISN’T a Sharpie addict? ;)ReplyCancel

  • Jackie B - June 17, 2013 - 12:16 PM

    So cool to find some buried treasure! When digging in our backyard, I found some nice stones and rocks that are now surrounding my fire pit.ReplyCancel

  • Jessica@CapeofDreams - June 17, 2013 - 2:58 PM

    Cool finds! It was a relief to find out that was a dirt bike park; I was afraid you were going to say it was the backyard of your new house. Of course, if you are into jumping bikes, that would be an awesome backyard.ReplyCancel

  • Kim - June 17, 2013 - 3:08 PM

    Jessica, Scott would be in HEAVEN if that was our new backyard! Luckily, our home isn’t too far from the park though.ReplyCancel


Our little virtual home turns four today!

To be honest, we can never quite remember the actual day – it’s not like we have our very first blog entry marked on the calendar (although, it’d be funny if we did!) – but every June, we remember to do a quick search, find that first entry, and celebrate with a little… something. (After all, the blog did birth our shops – all thanks to a very enthusiastic, very loved readership!) Last year we shared a slice of pie, and this year, we filled our bellies with biscuits. And gravy. (Which, as it turns out, makes for a not-so-pretty photo, and the four cats have graciously subbed in.)

The timing of our blog birthday couldn’t be more perfect; aside from being on Friday (the best day, we think), it falls right in line with our new home adventure. It’s really amazing to think of our yearly, traditional travels as the starting point to our question: Where will we end up?

And in the end, it was here all along! Chicago, we love you. Here is our home.

This year, we’d like to do something a little different and have our very first, very official Reader Survey! In 15 quick questions, we want to know – who are you? (You know, really.) What do you like/dislike and everything in-between when it comes to this virtual home of ours? Your feedback would really mean the world to us; as we grow, we want to improve. Our survey ends with a good ol’ open forum; ask us anything. We’ll round up a reader Q&A and share in the coming days. Just click below to get started!

If you take nothing else from our over-rambled birthday speech, hear this: thank you. For stopping by, leaving your advice, suggestions and inspiration, and for being our cheerleaders. It may seem we say that a lot for every Shop milestone, birthday and anniversary (in our minds, not enough), but we mean it more than you will ever, ever know.

Cat photo via.

  • Hannah K - June 14, 2013 - 8:40 AM

    WOOT! Congrats! I am so happy to have found your blog this year and look forward to following for many more to come!ReplyCancel

  • Cait @ Hernando House - June 14, 2013 - 10:01 AM

    Happy blogiversary! Here’s to more adventures!ReplyCancel

  • Jessica@CapeofDreams - June 14, 2013 - 11:48 AM

    Four years is quite an accomplishment. Congratulations! I know that blogging can be a tiring and sometimes thankless job/activity, but you really have created something beautiful here. Thank you.ReplyCancel

  • Kim - June 14, 2013 - 12:31 PM

    Thank you! And thank you so much for the survey responders – wow!ReplyCancel

  • Shannon - June 14, 2013 - 12:51 PM

    Yay!! Happy Blogiversary! Looking forward to following along for the next 4!ReplyCancel


Last week, I kissed the studio goodbye for a cool 24 hours and hopped aboard a brightly colored car with 3 other (very awesome) ladies, Nicole, Jess and Heidi. We took a mid-week overnight trip to Camp Wandawega – a 2 hour drive from Chicago in Elkhorn, Wisconsin – a gorgeous gem full of cabins, teepees and tents on, get this, Wandawega Lake. (Fair warning: their website plays music, so you might want to turn down the volume before clicking over.)

Nicole invited us along for the too-short trip (I’m still pinching myself; if only we had the time to stay longer!), and while we did all those things that girls do when they get together – you know, eat, drink and talk, talk, talk! – we also took a moment to sneak in an archery lesson, swing on the trees and, of course, take way, way too many photos. It rained constantly, but it didn’t matter.

I woke up the following morning on a top bunk – making my heart so happy – after spending the evening over a bottle of wine and a fire in the lodge. The Camp, I’m telling you, is magical.

See Nicole’s recap right here.

  • Carrie @DreamGreenDIY - June 12, 2013 - 7:23 AM

    Gorgeous photos!! Looks like it was a blast =)ReplyCancel

  • Michael Wurm, Jr - June 12, 2013 - 7:29 AM

    These are some of the most beautiful pictures I’ve ever seen. I’m sure your gals had a blast!

    xo MichaelReplyCancel

  • Ashley - June 12, 2013 - 7:51 AM

    Major blogger envy! I’ve been wanting to head up there – it looks so cute!ReplyCancel

  • Jill - June 12, 2013 - 8:47 AM

    Looks super fun. I will camp if shelter other than a tent is involved. Now what about the fashion? Am I missing something here? ;)ReplyCancel

  • Kim - June 12, 2013 - 8:50 AM

    Thank you! Ashley, it was the CUTEST. You should go! And Jill, luckily, no tents involved for us – just a cozy cabin. As for the fashion, Nicole covered that. It was completely impractical for a camp trip (Jess called it “glamping”), but it just made it that much more fun!ReplyCancel

  • OhMelvin - June 12, 2013 - 10:47 AM

    Wow, so stunning and remarkably sweet!ReplyCancel

  • Molly - June 12, 2013 - 11:01 AM

    Oh my gosh! Elkhorn is so close to me! I’ve never heard of this place. I will definitely be planning a trip up there. I love that they have dog-friendly cabins. So cute!ReplyCancel

  • blair @ the fox and she - June 12, 2013 - 11:43 AM

    what an amazing little gem of a camp! looks like a nice relaxing trip, and of course, your pics are amazing!ReplyCancel

  • Stacey @ Likes to Smile - June 12, 2013 - 1:05 PM

    I can’t believe you got to go there!! The photos are so stunning and so fabulous!ReplyCancel

  • Kim - June 12, 2013 - 2:04 PM

    Everything was so ridiculously cute, it was hard not to photograph EVERYTHING! Thanks, guys!ReplyCancel

  • Kate - June 12, 2013 - 7:24 PM

    Great photos! This place became what it is after I’d moved away from home, but I did a photoshoot for a family on that t-shaped pier a few years ago – so beautiful! Glad it was such a great time. =) WI pride!ReplyCancel

  • Kelly - June 12, 2013 - 8:41 PM

    what a gorgeous place!! glad you got a little r&r :)ReplyCancel

  • Beautiful Wandawega – Hands Occupied - June 13, 2013 - 12:06 AM

    […]  Other write-ups from our adventure: Nicole / Kim […]ReplyCancel

  • tereasa - June 13, 2013 - 5:54 AM

    thanks so much for visiting! your photos are so lovely. you really have a beautiful eye. please come back and visit us soon! :)ReplyCancel

    • Kim - June 13, 2013 - 8:32 AM

      Tereasa, you’ve done the most beautiful job! It was so amazing to be there – thank you!ReplyCancel

  • Dave - June 13, 2013 - 7:11 PM

    Ann and I want a print of the canoe paddles. All the photos were awesome.

  • Trude - June 14, 2013 - 12:56 PM

    Oh man. As if I didn’t want to take a summer vacation before…just gorgeous!ReplyCancel

  • Lindsey - June 15, 2013 - 1:49 AM

    lovely photos! I’ve been wanting to go there! which place did you stay in there?ReplyCancel

  • Kim - June 15, 2013 - 10:11 AM

    Hi Lindsey, we stayed in a 3 room cabin on the lake – Jess and I bunked in the room with the bunk bed! It felt so fun, like Girl Scout camp or something ;)ReplyCancel

  • Victoria | Oh So Pretty - June 17, 2013 - 12:57 PM

    These photos are absolutely GORGEOUOS!!!ReplyCancel

  • Kim - June 17, 2013 - 1:44 PM

    Thanks, Victoria!ReplyCancel

  • Ada (new york) - June 17, 2013 - 5:15 PM

    The FUN was def captured in the photos … all beautiful! I wanna go to camp too!!!ReplyCancel

  • Hannah C - June 18, 2014 - 11:58 AM

    Looks like you guys had a great weekend getaway :)ReplyCancel