It's old, and we hope it's valuable
There's no promise the figurine your grandmother left you or grandpa's collection of signed baseballs will be worth thousands.
We're betting the owner of this Lalique Alicante vase knew it was valuable before Mastro Auctions in Burr Ridge sold it for almost $50,000.
But if you're curious about the value of something you inherited, purchased or found, the auction house will give you a free evaluation.
The second Monday of each month is "Consignment Monday" at the auction house, 7900 S. Madison St., Burr Ridge.
On April 14 and every second Monday, you can bring in two items from 1 to 4 p.m. Appraisers will look them over and give you an idea of their value.
They include Brian Marren, known for his expertise in sports and pop culture and host of the company's collectibles radio show on ESPN 1000 in Chicago. Nicholas Dawes, who you may have seen on "Antiques Roadshow," will also help out.
The company recommends you bring photos of larger items. Do not bring jewelry with gemstones, stamps or furniture.
No appointment is necessary. For details, call (630) 472-1200 or visit www.mastroauctions.com.
Which flowers will be best this spring?
It's finally April, and all this winter weather nonsense had better be behind us. So we might want to leave our antiques for a bit and get outside.
Have you ever noticed that each year a certain plant seems to do best? When you drive or walk through the suburbs you notice how great the forsythia look, or maybe it's the year for magnolias or perhaps the crab apples.
Spring is one of the favorite seasons to visit the Chicago Botanic Garden in Glencoe because so many delightful plants take turns blooming.
While May offers crab apples and tulips, before then we should see daffodils, some perennials and pear trees.
Major events at the garden include the Illinois Orchid Society Spring Show & Sale today; Antiques & Garden Fair April 18-20 and "A Bloomin' Sale" May 16-18 where you can get plants for your very own garden.
The Chicago Botanic Garden is on Lake-Cook Road one-half mile east of Edens Expressway (I-94) and U.S. Route 41.
Admission is free with parking $15 per car.
Call (847) 835-5440 or visit www.chicagobotanic.org.
Here's another way to find beauty
We've covered two passions -- antiques and flowers.
People also get excited about quilts.
The International Quilt Festival will be Thursday evening through Sunday at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center in Rosemont.
Tickets are $10 for each day or $25 for the whole event. People who attend Thursday evening can come back for another day, too.
Besides more than 1,000 quilts, dolls and garments on display, there will be booths selling quilts, materials and tools.
You can register on site for classes. Call (713) 781-6864 or visit www.quilts.com.