More Crazy Wonderful

This handmade, rough-cut steel table is a folk art treasure. I don’t know if its

creator meant for it to be so quirky or if he just wanted to make something nice.

Either way, he succeeded. And, it’s a keeper…

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A cupboard full of stuff, collected over time in England, Belgium and, of course,

here in America. These won’t be going to The Hudson Mercantile any time soon…

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A painted crate, a model house and an old golf marker, one of a set of six, from Scotland…

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Two little gifts from Jennifer Lanne: a tiny ca. 1930s painting of sheep on a

papier mache plate, probably the work of a member of  a women’s group, and

a fabulous log cabin in the woods, painted by Jennifer, herself. I love them…

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Him…

 

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Birds and cards in an old wooden sorting tray. A giant depression-era ball of string…

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Lots of drawer units in an old warehouse (now in my barns and in

The Hudson Mercantile)

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Mugsie, with his big mutton chops, smiling like a loonie tune, just ’cause that’s

the way he was…

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I guess I might have to just keep posting more and more of the crazy wonderful

things that make my heart sing.

Crazy Wonderful

Beyond fabulous, this ziggedy-zaggedy house in the Catskills…

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A silo, pretty in pink polka dots…

IMG_6860 A stupendous folksy-painted staircase…

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An iron step, declaring that a good time should be had by all who climb…

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Wooly sheep, grazing in lush, tall green grass…

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And, one more, snoozing in front of a nicely-carved gravestone…

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An artist-friend’s back porch…

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A collection of re-purposed industrial washtubs-turned benches, dressed in grain sacks and down, waiting to go to

The Hudson Mercantile

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A pile of cool stuff from a picker’s yard…

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Sleeping Willie, looking like a little bat-cat…

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The world is just chock full of wonderful things.  Sometimes they are disguised, mixed among the ridiculous

and weird.  Sometimes they actually ARE the ridiculous and weird. It is just a matter of perspective and

expectation and the willingness to see.

 

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.

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.

Give Me Back Those Jugs!

We just doubled our size in the Hudson Supermarket and, while I

never really have enough room, this is so much better than before. 

Maybe in another few weeks, I’ll be complaining and expanding

again.  But, for now, I feel the luxury of space all around me.

 

The huge garage door (above), a gift from a friend,  is the perfect backdrop

for my forever-favorite colors of grey, blue-grey and white-grey.

     

And a good place to hang some of my  post-plumbing sconces and soap dishes.

The sun has set and, since I am finally free to look in the direction of my window

without squinting, I can see that going home is not on the agenda just yet.  I spot

a sign  (below…leaning on the trunk) and remember that I was so tempted to

change the name of my business, which relies so heavily on the redundancies

of farms and factories,  to “Hauled Away” after finding this quirky thing  mixed in

among some heaps in an old workshop. 

Below, a shocking blast of color for someone like me.  But I couldn’t resist the

make-do shelving (made from mid-century signs) found in an old family-owned

lumber yard in Massachusetts, a Farmhall tractor grill, a ship’s flag box (Ardith III)

and a  soapbox car tool box (Wheels).  I am pleased with this grouping and, while I

require the soft, pale, faded and peaceful shades at home, it is fun to see a primary

riot in my booth sometimes.

But, green!  All of a sudden it is all over my booth.  My long-standing indifference

to this color that (so they say) is perfectly lovely, stems from my first car. I was 19

and it was a 1960s clunker, which caused Ken’s brothers to fall all over themselves

laughing.  “Look! It’s a Nash Rambler! She’s driving a Nash Rambler! Whataya call

that color? Puke?”  Ok, so big deal, I was driving a Nash Rambler!  Although I’m

not so sure that “driving”  is the appropriate term for the starting, bucking and

stalling that actually took place on that very first day, and for many days

thereafter, as I learned to drive stick shift.  I got over the derision regarding my

Rambler’s lack of cool pretty quickly.  But the remarks about its color kind of

stuck.  The table (below),  however, is fit for a king, color not withstanding.

Architectural renderings (below), some one’s dream come true.  It is hard for me to

pull my eyes away from them, they are so charming.  I wish I could walk inside this

pretty 1930s-looking house to see what the rooms look like and the furnishings that

the lucky owners chose.  I want to watch “Mr. Blanding’s Dream House” or “Christmas

in Connecticut.”  These kinds of houses make me feel such nostalgia.

  

The mirrors (below) once were an old pair of double doors.  The gentleman’s

dressing room cupboard to the left of the mirrors has a hidden compartment for

stashing valuables and secrets.  The wonderful folky daybed, with its deep, cozy down

cushion, is freshly dressed in a vintage French postal bag cover.   Just add a purring

cat and a good book, please.

The toothy detail (below) and the old orange paint peeking from beneath the

charcoal color are just part of what makes me love this daybed so much.

An amoire full of  shelves (below)  is topped with a few of the polite gaggle

of geese that grace my booth without honking or leaving droppings.  They

really make me smile.  The base of the bench  was an old galvanized

commercial refrigeration shelf.  Topped with down and four-season wool,

there’s not even a hint of its icy past.

The trunk (below)  is covered with tan and brown striped linen and lined

with paper in blue and cream. It made its way around the world in those

long-ago days when the Grand Tour was not so unusual.

A cupcake stand piled with lavender bags and a drying basket full of Swedish

pillow covers keep the industrial worktable from being too manly.  A gray chair

(above) and navy blue ones (below)…..Phew! I’m back in my element.

Oh, no!  More green!  But, I couldn’t pass by the drop leaf with its beautiful,

but, sadly, unseen legs.  And, the bench…green, over red, over lots of other colors…

nobody says no to a sturdy bench, do they?

The worktable (below)  is one of my all-time favorites.  The funky leg set up!  

The curved drawers (why only two in such a long table? and why the

curves?)!   The honey-colored wood!  I really want to bring it back home.

I just love an early sofa.  They are way more comfortable in these modern times

with deep down cushions.  So good looking, too, with the French hand-rolled edges and

hand-covered button tufts.  All thanks to fabulous Jerry, the upholsterer to whom I owe

all praise and allegiance.

The thing that looks like a bike (below, left) is a saddle maker’s work station.

The worker sat on the seat and pedaled, making a saw blade go up and down

through the platform where  leather was cut into pieces for horse tack.  It

is wonderfully sculptural but I’m sure it could not have been so much fun

as a tool.

         

In my window is part of my collection of white jugs with blue writing.  The rest

are strewn around my space. I don’t know why I am selling them at this time.   

I like having big groups of things on offer and, as I was walking through the house

on the day we were bringing down the last load for the bigger space, I said “bring

those jugs!”  While I can’t say I’ve noticed they are gone from a house that is so full,

seeing the photos of them makes me want them back. 

Here are close-ups from some of the jugs.  Aren’t they beautiful?

    

This is making it harder. I may have to rush down to Hudson to reclaim what

is mine before some white-with-blue  jug-loving customer shows up.

  

If only I had had a collection of green jugs lying around on the day I said

“bring those jugs!”,  I could be relaxing right now, safe in the knowledge that

all is white in my world.

“What Are Those Things?”

A customer came here the other day, a set decorator I’ll call D, who I really like

a lot. She was looking for mostly workbenches and industrial pieces for an up-

coming movie she is designing.  She brought her friend along, another set designer

from California, who I will call S.  After my house, they were continuing on to the

Finger Lakes where they both have family. 

As we wandered through the house, on the off-chance that something for the movie

was lurking around inside, S asked “what are all those things you have everywhere?

I love them!” 

  They were, of course, grain sacks.

But why had she never seen grain sacks before?  A set designer! From California!

Well, she just hadn’t!  But, now that she had made this miraculous discovery, she

wanted two for some chairs.  So, while D and Ken went out to the barns to check

out the big stuff, S and I went to work picking out the two very best sacks in the

bunch.

This was no easy task given the hundreds of choices and, at some point, S said  “I

wish you only had two!”   We started with the new-old stock (like the ones above),

which most people who are new to grain sacks prefer for its less well-worn presence. 

      

And, graduated quickly to the old-old sacks.  S is a set decorator, from California,

after all, and was thrilled with the old hand-worked repairs, the darnings and

patches that I love.

    

We tried different ones on the back a chair,  made piles on the floor and, in what

felt like no time ’cause I was having such fun,  found the perfect two. 

Customers always offer to help put the grain sacks back on the shelves and I always

decline.  There’s nothing more relaxing than being alone with my grain sacks, folding,

stacking on the correct shelves : wreathes with wreathes, plows with plows. A bonus

that day was finding Mitten, sound asleep and not even pretending to help. I guess I’m

not the only one who relaxes around grain sacks.

Silhouettes (sort of) In The Snow

There are so many tasks calling out to me on a day like today. Income taxes (so much

pleasanter to do my usual extending till October). Cleaning the house (ho hum).  Errands

(on a Saturday? When everyone and their brother is out there?).  Instead, I decide to

clean unnecessary photos out of my Picasa.  Of course, that leads to this :  a discovery

of pictures that are almost silhouettes. Almost.

Horses

Other things

This vane seemed worth a full photo

These brawling cats were found on a fence in Pennsylvania

From my collection of French Christmas pageant wings….

Should I look for something productive to do? Maybe I better go to the movies.

Sacks and The City…country wing chairs go uptown

It is amazing how the addition of an old French mail bag and an old French sheet can

transform an old country chair into a sophisticated dazzler…

Of course, Mitten doesn’t care about wing chairs or going uptown. A cozy pile of grain sacks

is just fine.

She’s happy