The Queen Of Muchness

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Yes, it is I, The Queen Of Muchness, so crowned by my good friend, Mary

Randolph Carter, otherwise known as The Girl Who Loved Too Many Things …..

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A while back, Carter, best-selling writer of interior design books, style maker

and long-time Ralph Lauren VP came to my house with photographer, Carter

Berg (the other Carter!), to take photos for her new book …..

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The greatest attention was paid to every detail, while, at the same

time, Carter, in her Amish beekeeper’s suit, saved it all from feeling

too much like work …..

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In May, the book was launched:

Never Stop To Think…Do I Have A Place For This?” …..

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And in June, we had a festive book signing at The Hudson Mercantile’s

202 Allen Street store …..

 

 

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It really is a fabulous book, just chock full of the private houses of

inveterate collectors, those who buy only with their hearts. There

are no interior-designer spaces here, just places that are comfortable,

lived in and loved. And full of every kind of collection imaginable.

It’s available at Amazon, Rizzoli, book stores and at The Hudson

Mercantile, both the 318 Warren Street and the 202 Allen Street

stores. And we can have it signed and shipped right to your door!

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Thank you, Mary Randolph Carter, for the fun and, most of all, for your

friendship. And, thank you, Carter Berg for making it all look so good!

What’s New In The Hudson Supermarket?

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MORE SPACE = MORE FUN.
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That’s what I keep telling myself as I gobble up more and more space in the world’s
most super market, the Hudson Supermarket.
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I love it here. I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.
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And even though I have just added on again, I still look past my now-very-long run
of booths and see how much more stuff I could put in here if I only had just another
30 or 100 feet.
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I could have more factory cart furniture. I’ve been making upholstered seating from
carts for more than 10 years and I never get tired of them. I don’t have one myself
because I  have to replace these faster than I can have the upholstery completed. But,
someday….
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I could have more chickens!

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And, more of the world’s largest flags.
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More French chaises. This one is upholstered in a vintage heavy linen, embroidered
French sheet, natch.
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There would be room for more deconstructed American chaises. This one
started out as a fainting couch…covered in that  fancy-schmancy shiny stuff,
stuffed with uncomfortable horsehair. It had one of those upholstered curved
things (to keep fair maidens from toppling as they fainted dead away, I
suppose) along what is now just an open side. The thick, hand woven linen
and piles of down invite cat naps and other activities that don’t necessarily
require passing out.
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And, another few Frenchy day dream daybeds.
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I designed the pair of fireside benches (the frames are built from the ground
up) and had them upholstered in the most beautiful ca 1900 Swedish drop
cloth material, complete with all the markings and fantastic hand worked
repairs and patches.
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They’ve already been copied by a well-known retailer. Whom I shall not
name.
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Their mass-produced fabric is unusual and really wonderful.
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But not as nice as mine!
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The 1930s steamer chair is upholstered in the last of the drop cloth material.
The grommets, old rope and other parts of the drop cloths are left intact and
look  incredible….so there, big international retailer!
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I really like small stuff, but only if it is old and different from the run of the
mill things that are everywhere. These jars, new-old stock with wonderful
labels, are sure to be reproduced and will show up in a retail store near you
very soon!
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These fabric sample books, ranging from 1887 to 1912, are loaded with
pieces of wool and the most wonderful old hand-written notations and
labels. They are real treasures and are hard for me, a lover of textiles, to
let go. The wavy pages of the book in the middle of the table is like art to
me and, thus, even though it is the newest, is my favorite.
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Other textiles, samples of linen and cotton duck.
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And an old artist’s apron.
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Piles and piles of old bags…
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of all different kinds.
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I have dozens of old Swiss Army bread bags, perfect for slinging
over a shoulder. The leather loops were meant to hang on the handles
of a bicycle.
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Canvas of all kinds gives me a thrill! The thermos cover is full of buckles
and ties and do-dads, including the owner’s initials.
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In a departure from my mostly masculine look, I couldn’t resist a load of pretty
1920s-40s lingerie and jewelry bags from a stone house in Vermont.
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Old advertising, there’s nothing like it anymore. Here, a heavy paper
electric light! I wonder if anyone really believed that the Easy Washer
and the Easy Ironer were  easy?
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 A 1950s paint bucket! I love the embossed numbers and the
happy housewife.
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Even old oil cans looked better back then.
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The window at my post office is nowhere near as good looking as this one
with its gilded lettering, patterned glass and lack of junk mail.
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I have a hundred cultivator parts that make perfect little shelves now that
their farmer has gone modern. The 1937 orange paper “license plates” in
the chrome holders are fillers, merely meant to show how they would look
on a brand new Chevy.
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A see-saw turned bench. Something fun for a front porch.
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A pair of 1800s iron rabbits.
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And a mid century papier mache panda.  Animals. Still the loves of my life.
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But, best of all, paintings by my friend and the greatest living artist,

Jennifer Lanne (JenniferLanne.com). This 6 foot x 6 foot depiction

of country life is the way we would all like it to be.  As much as I would

like to keep it for myself, I have it on 1st Dibs for all the world to see.

(1stdibs.com  >   click “Hudson” in the “Cities” column on the right  >

type “Stephanie Lloyd” in “keyword search” on left.

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I think this one is my favorite with its farm animals, barn, baskets and view.
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But what about this one? The color! The sheep! Is that a Swedish drop cloth
I see on the chair? Picking a favorite is hard for all of us. We really just want
it all. In the end, I guess it comes down to space. We always need just that
extra 30 or 100 extra feet.
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All photos and written materials are the legal property of Stephanie Lloyd
and Stephanie Lloyd At The Hudson Supermarket.  Please do not copy,
reproduce or in any way use without express written permission.

Amusing Myself With Patina

Last week, while Ken and Ned tore apart my space in the Hudson Supermarket

(www.hudsonsupermarket.com), I, who am so easily bored, wished for something

interesting to do while I waited for my turn :  to put it all back together again. 

I looked around, sighing, till I spied patina.  I love patina.  Endlessly fascinating,

patina, with its layers, textures and colors,  never lets me down. Here are some of the

patina-rich objects which were moving this way and that in my booth….

  

Above, a rusting farm thing, posing as a sunflower and an appealing tear in a canvas-

covered trunk. I guess this kind of beauty is in the eye of the beholder. And since, in this

instance, I am the beholder and I am alone, no one can dispute my claim.

  

Layers of paint on a diminutive (6″ x 6″) radiator cover and more farm things. Sometimes

I wonder what I would sell if it weren’t for farms and factories.

     

Above, left, is my favorite thing from July Brimfield, a zinc cupboard (no, not a fridge!)

from a defunct silver manufacturing company in Pittsburgh. The photo (below, left) is a

close up of the round industrial table in the photo (above, right). Hard-packed sludge…

ya gotta love it. (I am alone, no one can dispute me!)

       

I have a passion for these roof drain caps (above, right).  The shape, the color, the wire. 

Apparently, not everyone shares my enjoyment, as these sturdy little  gems were usually

tossed in the garbage, making them difficult to find. My pickers in Pennsylvania, who have 

the most discerning taste, had this nice bunch of 15 in their barn. 

Linen-covered French books (above) all in a row. Pretty toppers for a rustic work table.

I used them in my last blog to display my Vichy baskets. Today, when I was taking more

Vichy photos, I wished the books had been safe at home, instead of  in Hudson where they

were at risk of being sold!  I know that I have to let people buy my stuff. But, I don’t have

to like it.

      

Big cabana pins and a vane with peeling layers of old paint. I have hundreds of pins in both

Hudson and Bournebrook.  The staff in both centers say that all day long  they hear the

swoosh, swoosh, swoosh of the pins being pushed back and forth as customers look for the

one with a favorite number. Grain sacks, of course, are central to any discussion (of mine!)

about patina with their many weaves and beautiful old repairs.

Time spent admiring patina is never wasted.

Vichy, Please !

One of the things that I love about Brimfield is seeing old friends, many of whom started out

as, and remain, favorite dealers. A Wednesday treat is seeing Jackie Lantry of Bliss Farm

Antiques who sets up in the third pavilion in the New England Motel field. Although mainly

a purveyor of wonderful French antiques, which she shops for right at the source, it was the

German grain sacks that pulled me into her booth the very first time.

This time, she brought a fabulous collection of diminutive straw baskets (above), each

containing a glass to hold the health-giving Vichy water that, since 50BC has been luring

those seeking to “take the cure” to Vichy, France.  The backdrop in these photos is of old

French linen-bound books and French linen cloches, more of the treasures that went

straight from Jackie’s booth to my truck. Not shown here is the lovely daybed, one of many

special pieces of furniture I have been lucky enough to snag from this friendly and fun

dealer over the years. 

I had a few little straw things of my own (above), the Vichy basket on the right a previous

purchase from Jackie.

     

Because she loves history and loves what she sells, Jackie is among that vanishing breed

of dealers who really knows what she sells and, even better, has the gift of telling the

stories in such a compelling manner that, in spite of heat and other many distractions, I

remember them later!  The baskets (above) in the photo on the left, with the tops that 

slide open on their leather straps, are better, have more value, than the ones on the right

with the hooks.  But,  in the photo on the right, the cork lining in the open basket on the

left, makes it the best of that bunch.

              

Blown glasses are best. Colored glass is better than clear.  An etched Vichy label (above)

is better than one painted on (below).  The numbers on the back side (photo above, on

the left) would allow just the right amount of water to be consumed according to a

Victorian doctor’s orders.

  

I am certainly willing to overlook this clear, painted-labelled glasses’ lesser value in favor

of the charm of its cute little handle!

My collection is beginning to be quite abundant, thanks to Jackie’s French sojourns.  But,

maybe just sitting here looking isn’t enough. Maybe I should be asking Jackie to bring back

a case of that Vichy Water on her next trip to France.  Taking the cure might be just the

thing for breezing through the crazy  heat and humidity of Brimfield in July.

–If you feel the need to take the cure, the antique cure that is, it won’t be necessary to

go all the way to France.  Take a quick, easy trip to www.blissfarmantiques.com  instead.

Amazing Grace

–If I were the betting kind, and someone asked what one word described July  Brimfield

to most people, I would have to put my money on “hot.”  Or maybe “humid.”  

–But, I am going to take the high road.  I won’t complain, at least not now that I am

luxuriating in my air-conditioned house.  Besides, I came home with two truck and trailer

loads of  exceptionally fabulous stuff, saw old friends, made some new ones and was so

impressed, once again, with the good humor and kind hospitality of the dealers. 

–In addition to the things that they brought to sell, bottles of water, sandwiches, ice-

soaked towels, a chair in front of the fan were proffered.  These offerings, many times made

by dealers I had never before met, were gratefully accepted… and not only refreshed my

body and spirit but added to my store of experiences that reinforce my belief that

people are good.

–As I sit here now, thinking and writing , I realize that I’ve changed my mind.  The only

word that I could put my money on to describe Brimfield would be “gracious.”

A Circle of Friends

It started with my friend, Jennifer (www.jenniferlanne.com), procurer of much that

is good.  She  purchased a  banner that practically shouted, because of its 15′ length,

“Elm Tree Farm”.  She had the “Farm” part made into a huge pillow for herself and gave

me, pal that she is, the rest of the banner.  I picked up her finished pillow from our mutual

friend, Jerry, the upholsterer since I would be seeing her before he would. 

While I still had it,  Diane, a friend and customer of both Jennifer’s and mine,

from Washington DC, was at my house and took a photo of a bunch of us holding Jennifer’s

pillow. A few days later,  Diane  showed the photo to yet another friend, a picker (also

named Diane, so we’ll call her Diane #2), who is from Pa. and from whom both Diane (#1) 

and I buy.  Diane #2  was, with good reason, crazy about the pillow and called me right

away. To make an already-too-confusing story short, I had Jerry make “Tree” into a pillow

for Diane #2 using a plain grain sack for the back.  Above is what it looked like on my sofa. 

–Lucky me :  I have “Elm” tucked away, so there might still be a pillow in my future.

–Too many people?  From too many states?  Too many Dianes?  Too many pillows? Never!

For Those Who See

 Amish people live in New York State.  Did you know that?

We drove by this field of Amish haystacks one day when an appointment with a picker left

us no time to stop.  Edged in wildflowers and with a fabulous view, not to mention the funky

haystacks, the field begged us to come back another day.

A few weeks later, we were back in that same area.  After a few wrong turns, there they

were, right where we left them, looking like wonky little cartoon characters marching in

circles.

I know that they have a purpose and that hard work is involved.  But, as I sit here today, it is

easy to think that these haystacks, that have compelled me to go out of my way, are placed

here for the pleasure of those of us who don’t just drive by,  but stop to really see.

What’s It Worth?

Our friend-customers came the other day. It is always great when they are here because we share so much more than just the buying-selling thing.  As we waved them out of the driveway, I felt that tug on my heartstrings, the one that sneaks up on you when someone special is leaving and you won’t be seeing them again for a while. I decided not to chase them down the road to ask for just a few more hours of their company since they had a trip of more than a day ahead of them. Instead, I sat down to think about how much my business is worth.

While I won’t pretend that the money isn’t of interest, I am thinking more about the value received from doing what we love, the intriguing layers of experiences, the things we see and learn and the variety of people we might never otherwise have known.  This is what makes us rich.