Merry Christmas

The wreathes are all hung.

On the cupboards…..

On the barn doors…..
On the telephone booths…..
All that’s left to do is to say that we wish you, good friends, old and new, near and far,
the Merriest Christmas ever!
The items in the photographs above were all in my space in The Hudson Mercantile.
If you are in the neighborhood, please stop in. We promise to be of good cheer.

Favorite Things

I’ve told this story before: I said “that’s my favorite thing” so often that, one day, a friend said
“oh, Steph, EVERYTHING is your favorite thing!”  I guess it is so: I like a lot. So here are a few
of them:
Glass girls…
A grey cupboard full of white stuff. May I have that back, please?
1930s homemade tinfoil birds, glittered for the Christmas tree…..
Pretty clock faces…..
Old homespun linen, gathered in the corner of a daybed cushion…..
Tiny leather diaries, meticulously documenting one man’s life through the 1930 and 40s……
Leather books, old European paintings and (always) sheep…..
A country store counter-turned-sideboard full of things that I love…..
A barn vent, stunning with its remnants of white paint…..
A hand painted (by me) trunk and a spotted tin horse…..
Letters made of mirrors on a shocking blue board…..
A zinc architectural piece, the best one I’ve ever had…..
A navy blue basket full of navy and cream coverlets…..
A wooden processional piece from the flea market in Tongeren, Belgium…..
A pot metal bird…..
A navy corner cupboard with a hoop skirt form as a wreath…..
More leather books and European paintings…..
Which is the best? Could I ever pick just one? Some of the items in these photos were sold at
The Hudson Mercantile but  I still think of them lovingly from time to time. Most, though,
I have kept. As my eye sweeps back over these pictures, I know my friend was right. Everything
IS my favorite.

There’s Just Something About The Way They Look

People ask me all the time how I choose what to buy for my store. There are always

certain pieces that sell well for me: cupboards, tables, daybeds and interesting

accessories. But why this old wooden industrial drum?

It certainly wasn’t an easy piece to load and as more things were added to the trailer,
the decisions about how to get it all on became more serious.  The long trip home was
accomplished at a slow crawl, with constant stops to correct load shift and tighten straps.
Fortunately, this sweet, fat hitchhiker was spotted before we hit the road. I would
not have minded at all, though, if he ended up at my house.
And, why all the old car fronts?
Below, the  1930s Dodge Rum Runner…as evidenced by its bullet holes…is an all-time favorite of mine…
And the old, fabulously-patinaed truck doors…
A 70s Volkswagen Bug trunk with a nicely color-coordinated license plate…
What about this one with its cool Cuban license plate?
A refrigerated rail road door…
Why this table, with its divine storm of colors?
Or this one, in shocking orange?
And speaking of color…
Below, the long, bleached out tavern table (wonderfully lacking in color and a perfect match for the
practice balls in the box beneath it) was something I wished I had room for at home…
So, why do I buy these things?
There is something about the way they look that makes my heart sing. I know that this is my intuition
speaking, reminding me that if I love it, so will someone else. Happily, my intuition has never steered
me wrong.
Most items pictured above are/were in  The Hudson Mercantile.

Just Perfect

I like things to be in order. Dramatic is good, chaotic is not. This counter is symmetrical:

drawers, doors, drawers. On top are display cases, one, two, three. Behind are factory

molds, all in a row and just the width of the counter. Nice!

A row of French baskets on a bench…

Verticals and horizontals in perfect harmony…
Straight farm-implement shelves displaying license plate frames: one on one,
no more, no less.
But, wait! What’s this? What happened to symmetry? Harmony? Everything in its
place?
I guess a laughing friend, keeping warm under a grain sack at an early morning
flea market is as perfect as it gets.
All but my cozy friend were in The Hudson Mercantile.

Word!

When I look at photos from The Hudson Mercantile, I spot themes that continue
from one year to the next. Things with writing on them have always struck my fancy and
the pair of factory doors, the men’s department door, the ice bag and the Hudson’s Soap
doggy dish are no exceptions. I don’t know if it is because I really love to read and write
words or if there is something about the visual effect of them that pleases me so much.
These packages, books shipped in the 1940s, which sat, unopened til now in a warehouse in
Chicago, were just too good to pass up. The waxed brown paper, creamy twine, the old
stamps and…again!…the writing. On either side of the books are a toss game and a parade
banner. More words! Do other people notice that they are everywhere?
A close up of the beautiful penmanship…..
I guess I wouldn’t have been so enthralled with this folksy cupboard without its assertion
to “Keep Out”!
I had two of these “Old Home Day” banners (below), one for upholstering the back of a sofa,
the other to sell “as is”. The banners always made me think of childhood picnics, fireflies
and dropping off the tire swing over the river that ran through my parent’s friend’s place
in the country.
The European rail road signs (below) let us know what to do using symbols
rather than words. That’s a good thing in a situation where many different
languages are spoken. But, while I love them and think they are fun, they
don’t do it for me the way the contractor’s sign behind them does.
Words have a power over us, they tell us what to do and where to go. They
inform us and make us feel. As soon as I was born, my mother started reading
to me. Maybe when I see words now, something deep within me remembers
gazing upon the pages as I listened to her magical voice. It’s something to think
about anyway.

New For The New Year

The new year is always an exciting time and, for me,  2014 will bring a new name, two new

stores and so much fun that I can hardly keep still.  After four very happy years at the Hudson

Supermarket, I will be moving on to a new adventure in Hudson:  The Hudson Mercantile. We

will have two fantastic stores, one located in a huge old warehouse, seen below in a “before”

picture. The warehouse will be ready to open in April-May, 2014.

The other,  a traditional shopfront at 318 Warren Street, opened January 1, 2014.

Both Hudson Mercantile locations will be home to a wonderful mix of dealers, all

dedicated to offering the coolest furnishings around. We all hope that you will love

the new stores as much as we do.

 

 

 

 

 

A Room For A Reindeer

 

It is no surprise that I am crazy about German grain sacks. And even though

I no longer import them in the huge quantities of a few years ago, I sometimes

can’t resist making a purchase.  The hand-drawn reindeer on the grain sack

(below) is a recent acquisition that is so special that I have named a room after

him! Alfred’s Room.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

He belonged to, and was named by, my dear friend, Karin, a German antique

dealer who lives in France and writes the most charming blog, found here:

http://lapouyette-unddiedingedeslebens.blogspot.com

I have this little room in the old 1790s part of my house that never quite got to

be anything but a dumping ground for all the things that had nowhere else

to go.  When Karin agreed to sell me Alfred, this treasured sack from her

homeland, I knew that it required a place worthy of such  kindness and I got

busy making a room ready for his arrival.

I brought in other reindeer.

Including a favorite painting by my great friend, Jennifer Lanne

(www.jenniferlanne.com)

Made some grain sack curtains, all sporting reindeer, natch!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I looked out the window one snowy day and realized that the lovely bare winter branches

looked like antlers! Even nature was cooperating in creating a warm welcome for Alfred.

For now Alfred is draped over my little fireside bench.

The bench is upholstered with a Swedish drop cloth from the

1800s and is full of the most beautiful old hand-worked repairs.

 

My coffee table is a Swedish sailor’s trunk. It is wood, covered

in grey canvas. There is a wonderful brass label on the top…

But, best of all, is the hand-written inventory label on the inside. While I have been

assured that Swedish is easy to learn, I am content, for now, to just imagine what

this pretty thing says.

Whenever I am doing a new room, I run around the house gathering

favorite things. This Victorian pillow is perfect for a reindeer’s room.

This one had to come, too.

 

A southwestern corner shelf, Vischy baskets, more animals and,

of course, books.

Who’s to say why some things please us so? Colors, shapes, words or maybe just

some long-forgotten memories trigger our senses.

The group below includes a tole box (on the left) that my mother painted

back in the 1970s. During that same period of time, my parents gave me the

oval lunch box on the top of the pile of document boxes. It was my first piece

in old paint and I still love it…and old paint, as much as I did then.

My oldest grain sack. Sigh.

I have had this chair for a million years. It is surprisingly comfortable

and, along with my bench,  allows me to entertain a friend  in my

new room. I hope someday that friend will be Karin!

There are all kinds of things I could do with my new reindeer

grain sack.  A  jacket, a bed cover, anything would be fun.

But for now, I am happy, whiling away some time in Alfred’s

room, looking at his funny little face, thinking of Germany and

wondering what treasures Karin is out there finding right now!

For things like these, please visit us at The Hudson Mercantile.