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.

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.

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.

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.

What Have I Been Doing?

For months I’ve been under the impression that, because of some changes in Picasa,
I could not post pictures in my blog.  I’ve missed it so much and have even stopped
taking photos except for those that I need for business.  Tonight I sat down to try
one last time and, somehow…magically,  it all fell into place.

Writing the blog has always been something I have done just to please myself,  kind
of  like keeping a journal.  I never really know if anyone sees me here and that is just
fine.  But, with no recent written record,  I wonder what exactly I have been
doing since the last time I posted.
 

Well, there’s this.
And this.
 

Does it look like Ken does all the really hard work?
It’s true.  It’s a well known fact that all I do is point.
And, he’s not just a pair of strong arms either.  His re-purposing skills are  legendary.
The lockers (above) are a case in point. (This, and many other items in this post,
are on offer at the Hudson Supermarket).
The industrial cart (above) will probably become a small sofa.
The factory table (above) is my most favorite Brimfield purchase. We will
let it sit outside so most of the grease can bake off.  The sun, a
bottle of purple stuff and some sand paper will turn this into a fabulous
honey color.

Another Brimfield favorite, an International tractor grill… soon to be
a piece of sculpture, with the addition of a wooden stand.
Oh, and more prizes!  The zinc tub,  sporting  just the right amount
of old white paint.  The two tall spool boxes leaning on the wall are
from the Scalamandre workshop.  The iron sign, “On the Avenue,”  is
made of pipe and full of holes.  It was originally attached to a gas line
and stood  in front of a Manhattan restaurant back in the days when
there were no rules prohibiting flaming signs on public streets.

Another of Ken’s beautiful pieces (above).
Oh, now I see some more Brimfield favorites.  The blue grey bench!  The French baskets:
goose, truffle, egg, feather, and a stack of 7 for rising bread dough.

One time, a friend said “oh Stephanie, EVERYTHING is your favorite!”
I cannot disagree as I look at this huge ball of string, big enough to
fill a chair, and think “it’s my favorite!”

And, just one last favorite…a grain-sack-covered friend, warming up in the best way
possible on a chilly Brimfield morning.
Looking back at what I’ve been doing for the last few months,  I have to think
it has been time well spent.

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.

Wishes On Grain Sacks

A few weeks ago, a friend, one who started out as a customer, came to my

house to get some grain sacks. She drove a distance, at least 8 hours one

way, to get here. Before she came, she emailed that she was so excited about

seeing me. My exact feelings went right back to her. I like her so much and,

when we finally saw each other, we smiled and hugged, talked, laughed and

went crazy looking at grain sacks. It was a perfect few hours before she had

to be on her way, each of us making promises to see each other again soon,

expressing wishes that we lived closer to each other. 

The really unusual thing, for me, is that we had never met in person till that

day! Our entire  relationship was made of air…. words in the air via the

computer and boxes of grain sacks sent through the air from me to her.

Without computers, the internet and google we probably would never have

met. And what a loss that would have been.

Some of my favorite grain sacks state “God Bless Our Crops and Animals”….

A few ask for the  blessing of the owner’s handiwork….

I hope that someday, among the piles of my treasured textiles, I will be able to

say that I have a grain sack that expresses my wish :  “God Bless My Friends”