Who’s Interested?

We were headed down a country road on the way to Vermont the other day and
spotted this gang of sheep seeking shelter under a tree from a storm that was
definitely headed our way.
One little renegade left the flock and ran to see what what we were all about.

He was just like a wooly stuffed animal and it was so hard to get back in the
truck and leave him behind.
I looked back and saw his mother (or some other sheep in authority) coming to
fetch him back into the fold.  The storms were brutal that day and I was glad
to think of him warm and dry under the wide branches of that tree.

Strong Bodies

It is obvious to me, as I watch Ken and Tom load this very heavy, 11 foot long
country store counter, that they must have eaten their Wonder Bread.  Because,
as we all know, Wonder Bread Builds Strong Bodies 8 Ways.
I was thrilled to get this fabulous counter because of  its hand-painted advertising.
We will probably make 2 four foot counters and one 3 footer. Or something like that.
Unless a customer wants it long.  Maybe I’ll put half  in the Hudson Supermarket and
keep the other half.  Here I go again, planning to keep my inventory.  But, when will I
ever see another one of these again? Sheesh.
It is difficult for most antique dealers, at least the ones who purchase only what they
love, to part with any of it. Especially the special things, the one of a kind items, the
pieces that you will never forget.  Most have lists in their minds of the things they
wish they kept.  Many of us constantly switch this piece for that one in our houses.
But in the end, it is a business, a livelihood and, sadly, we can’t keep it all.  But why
not just this one counter??????

 

Perfect or Patina?

The iron horse (below)  languished at the bottom of the ocean off the Jersey shore until

it was discovered, along with many other small treasures, by a deep-sea-diving antique

dealer.  Its charm is so great that I have never wanted to part with it.

Would anyone else have chosen this rusty old downspout?  It is one of the oldest
downspouts in my large collection. The fact that its top is a bit bashed and I have
had to glue its original embellishments back on a few times has only made me
love it more.
Or this worn out puti? There is real beauty under the fabulous old paint.  It is nice
to see the cracks and texture in the straw-plaster mix and find parts of the iron
wire structure, that help to make permanent what really is so delicate, peeking out in
places.
My best frame? Not for everybody. And, the gilded lion who perches inside it once graced
something far fancier than I’d ever possess. Unless covered in layers of paint and grunge.
The beautiful mirrored glass fragments with the deeply-cut stars were originally owned,
in the same broken condition, by a dancer with the New York Ballet who must have
loved them as much as I do. His downsizing (at a sale run by the fabulous Janet Sherwood
of Antiques at 30B) was my good luck and, while I’ve moved them around many times
over the last 15 years, I have never considered, even under the greatest of customer
pressure, letting these lucky stars leave my house.
Alligatoring!  Nice!  Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder, of course, and alligatoring…one
of the many expressions of patina… is one that I always hope to find.
Most people don’t want lamps in this deteriorating state. But, “looks good, works good,
is good”, that’s what I say. The tests of form and function are both satisfied and so am I.
And I guess they wouldn’t pick this copper flag pole topper out of the crowd, either. Or
should I just admit that it is an industrial plunger and move on? Where there’s patina,
who needs a fancy title?
Patina with writing? I love it! This colorful early washtub is a testament to our
longing for beauty in our work-a-day lives, the hope for little pleasures to make
what could be a dreary chore more fun.
Zinc labeling on wood. Old gray paint. Good as it gets.
Nothing like a whole pile of patina to make my heart sing.  So many people stopped
on their way down our country road to ask when our sale started that we had to
pitch a tent, hidden behind one of the barns, to temporarily store this huge overflow
from a week’s worth of shopping at Brimfield.
Some would say that these doors had seen better days. They would be wrong!
Raggedy old her? Right up my alley!
Her, too…same alley.
Mighty good pickins in some of those alleys!
Why, oh, why did I sell this cupboard? Yes, I know it is the top half of a cupboard.
But, so what? Its proportions are good and just look at the layer upon layer of
whites, grays, blues over nice old pine.
And this one? Sooo pretty. And, look here: while the previous cupboard was the
top half, this one is the side half… cut down the middle. See the bottom rail? When
it was whole, it had a traditional inverted heart-shaped skirt. A clever fix for a
piece that must have been too damaged to retain its full width.
What about this cupboard? The paint is original on all of these, I swear that it’s
true. The way that the paint has re-arranged itself on this one is a feast for the
patina-loving eye.
At least I still have the weather vane (below).  It is not old, of that I am sure.
But it is extremely well made from old patina-ready iron parts and I couldn’t be
happier with it even if it were celebrating its hundredth birthday.
And, this one! I took it to my shop, then thought better of it and brought it right back home
where it belongs.
But, this pretty-in-pink shutter panel, one of 8…..gone with the wind.
Same sad story for the pink-over-green sofa. Gone but not forgotten.
Potato Chips? Paint chips? Who’s asking?
Another metal label. Why don’t they do this any more? I mean I know it’s about cost, but
what a shame to see bar codes on hard-to-remove stickers where craftsmanship used to
reside.
Green, over red, over white, over who knows what else? So many layers, so carefully
chosen, showing for all they are worth and knowing full well that things of beauty
have no fear of time.

And, patina does take time…
Sometimes the elements help.
But, wait! Did I say that patina takes time? I guess that I meant that SOMETIMES
patina takes time. While other times it just needs a little skill: like in the case of this
cupboard, currently at the Hudson Supermarket,  that benefited so greatly from
Ken’s magic brush.
I’ve never chosen perfect things and, to be honest, while I can appreciate items of
high quality and fine finishes, I don’t particularly care to own them.  They seem
ordinary,  a little hum-drum, too high maintenance. Maybe too easy. Definitely
not as much fun. Sometimes it is price that makes me choose the fixer-uppers, the
pieces begging to be turned into something else. Sometimes it is just the imperfection
itself that reels me in. I do know for sure, though, that given the choice between
perfect and patina, I will choose patina every time. Or, maybe that’s just another
way of saying that patina IS perfect.

Another Year…

 

Another year, another baby…

This darling newborn (above) belongs to the mother with the red tack.  A second
one (below) belongs to the horse with the blue tack.
They put on a nice little show for us and didn’t seem to mind my camera at all.  We were
lucky again this year to be in the right place at the right time and look forward to
seeing the little ones grow.

Yeah, We’re Cute.

This time of year is perfect for spotting baby animals and we always take
the time to get out of the truck to admire them.
There were three of these black and white lambs who were so wooly and
soft looking.
Hopping the fence was not an option but it was hard not to be able to
get close enough to touch these adorable things.
Bah-bye.

Rollin’

Tag sales just aren’t what they used to be.  But when what looks like just a so-so
sale is in the yard in front of an 1847 country school house, it is worth getting
out of the truck.
Sure enough, there was a treasure in the shed: a  beautiful stone mill wheel that we
were told had been pulled out of the Battenkill River many years ago.
Rolling it down the hill was easy…easy for me, with only the camera in my hand.
Setting it down was the hard part but, luckily, no one crushed any body parts.
The guy in the white tee was an innocent by-stander, bamboozled into the job
when I asked, not at all innocently, “wanna help us move something?”  What a
good sport and what a great stop this turned out to be.

Oh, No! Hearts!

Things that I love:
Mitten, almost lost in the cozy down of a grain sack chair.
Piles of books.
A French architectural fragment.
A cuff, hand made by a friend.
A heart-shaped white rock.
A factory chain.
An old Christmas ornament.
Horse tack. 

A huge button in Henry’s workshop…he insists upon keeping it.
The country look exploded onto the decorating scene in the 1980s, seemingly
for good, with its many styles (primitive, shabby, anything-goes) and symbols,
many of which were/are just too cutsy for words. I don’t ever need to see another
goose with a ribbon around its neck. Or a heart. Or so I thought. While I believed
that hearts were out of my life by the end of the 80s (like tie die in the 60s.
Please! How did that one get back in?), apparently, if these photos are any
indication, they are here to stay… for me, at least. It is hard to say what
attracts us to the things we love, the things we choose to live with. Styles come
and go, but some things stick around. Forever? Your guess is as good as mine. I
just know that I am off now to make sure that there are no geese with ribbons
lurking anywhere around the old homestead.

Dang It !

Life is meant to be fun and I am committed to doing my best toward that end.
The copper sink, the custom steer head from a western ranch, the letters that
could have come straight out of the mouth of a cowboy on that ranch all put a
smile on my face.
Friendly Service…is not a thing of the past. All these photos are of my items in
the Hudson Supermarket, where friendly service is alive and well.
This glass melting pot, from a 1905 glass-blowing factory in West Virginia has an
unusual story attached. The pickers who cleaned the place out when it closed in the
1990s, were told that this was called a “pee pot” and, in order to keep the pot primed,
it was necessary to (yikes!) pee in it first.
I have a tall stack of  1950’s Motor Magazines and every cover is a
joy to behold.
Who doesn’t like a tiny pair of 1930’s football pants?  Only about 2 feet long,
I can just see the tough little freckle- faced kid who wore these.
I have a real thing for contractor’s model houses (see the roof sitting behind it?).  The best
one I ever saw, at Brimfield, of course, was enormous, about 5 feet long and three stories
tall. It, too, was a contractor’s piece but this time, the house was an advertisement for
home renovations. It had a dozen tiny workers: painters, carpenters, roofers, electricians,
all standing on ladders or in some way attached to the building, doing their jobs. The
happy homeowners were standing outside watching the proceedings with much good cheer.
A few of the people and house parts were sitting near the house and the seller told us that
he had driven all the way from Virginia with the house, uncovered, on top of his truck.
Sheesh! No wonder all those renovations were required. That house did not make it to my
house, only because the price was so sadly, but justifiably, high. But, after 20+ years, I
remember it still.
This garden string winder is a thing of such beauty to my eyes. The patina, shape
and the remnants of old twine just leave me, like that cowboy, saying
“Dang!” Life sure is fun…