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.

 

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.

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.

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.

What’s In Hudson?

About a third of our smaller Brimfield purchases have absorbed into our space
at the Hudson Supermarket.  The big stuff, the counters,  cupboards, workbenches
are all in the rough and all require cleaning, repairing, re-purposing or something.
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It is nice to wind down from our days at Brimfield by moving furniture around
and making things look fresh.
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I am crazy about the door and the industrial scale, both from Brimfield.
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Sadly, the counter with the fab back splash didn’t work in my bathroom.
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I love this counter with its many layers of robin’s egg over red over mustard.
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When I admired my friend’s tea chest, she said “don’t you think it’s a side table?”
Lucky me to have friends with the good sense to know a side table when they see
one.
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This 3′ trough (I have a pair) is my most favorite small purchase from Brimfield.
I guess it is something to do with chickens? If anyone finds more, I will buy them!
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More things from Brimfield: an unusual tin and enamel pitcher and a moonshine
jug.
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I love tiny stove doors, especially if they have great decoration. This one is
just 6″ and is my first with a crown. Next to it (not shown)  is one with a
mermaid.
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Below, another Brim favorite. The skulls might be a warning: Hands Off!
Keep Out! Or just a trendy statement. Either way, I couldn’t keep my hands
off of this funky box.
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There’s a whole lot of stuff I couldn’t keep my hands off of at Brimfield.
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And in the coming weeks, it will all make its way to Hudson.
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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…

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.

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.

Before and After

What a difference a day makes

24 little hours….

Oh, and a mantle and some antique furniture and some funky accessories.

24 hours is about how long it took for a wonderful 1927 Craftsman-style house

in Burlington, Vt. to go from ok to Oh Wow!

The 1920s mantle made all the difference. It took Ken a few hours to chip away

the existing brick surround and cut off parts of the mantle for a perfect  fit, then 

 splash on a coat of paint (or 3).

I couldn’t operate without an armload of German grain sacks,  piles of floppy

washed linen or my good friend, Jerry, the world’s best upholsterer.

And, where would I be without a few buckets of blue-grey paint?

I notice that, once again,  animals factor heavily in my decorating decisions.

And books! No one should be without them!

Books stack on shelves, fill baskets,

and line up waiting to be read or just to be admired.  Books add warmth to a

space like nothing else.

A day is not much compared to the  months and years of comfort and

 joy that those 24 little hours will provide.