What’s In Bournebrook ?

This 10′ work table (below) is among my top ten favorite factory pieces of all time.  It once

had straight legs.  Someone didn’t like it that way and cut them off.   I love the odd 

arangement of criss-cross legs and supports and the curved drawer fronts.

Mountains of old string-tied book remnants grace an otherwise-empty spot.

An 1800s French horse stall window hangs (crookedly, I see) over a counry store counter. 

As usual, grain sacks and grain sack upholstered furniture take pride of place. The old

rippled glass of the display case is so pretty that anything looks good inside it.

Jennifer Lanne’s paintings make everything look better, too!  See more of her paintings at

www.jenniferlanne.com .


Is it a cupboard or a big easel ?

So much stuff, so little room.


Walking sideways is always a must.

Visit Bournebrook  in Troy, New York or at www.bournebrook.com .

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.

Grain Sacks. They’re Everywhere !

I always think of myself as a seller of industrial furnishings, with a little bit of

mercantile, a little bit of painted country, a little bit of European and a lot of funk,  just

to keep it interesting.

And, while I’ve been buying and selling grain sacks for 13 years,  in the last year it

seems like they have really taken over.  They’re everywhere!   

They are certainly all over my house.  And, I  have a large grain sack room where I store

the hundreds of sacks in my stock. 

Of course,  my spaces in Bournebrook and Hudson Supermarket are brimming with

sacks, as well.

One of my favorite times is when I happen to be in one of my spaces when someone from

Germany comes in and spots the sacks.  They are always so pleased to see these items

from home and to think of the names of German towns on furnishings across America.

I fell in love the day I saw my first German grain sacks in a pile of junk  in a  guy’s attic. I

knew that something good had happened, in fact  I felt like I had hit the jackpot!  But,

even then, I had no idea that  they would fill my space and life in this way.

Storm Of Colors In Hudson

June 12, 2010.  Put it on your calendar!   ‘Cause that’s the day that

Earth Angels, Hudson Supermarket and I are finally coming together 

in one giant colorful explosion of art, antiques, food and fun.

Above, Chris, Cassandra, Able, Ken, me, artist Jennifer Lanne, artist

Kitty Babendreier, and Earth Angel’s Jen O’Connor make the final

arrangements for an Artists’ Showcase, to be held at the Hudson

Supermarket, Hudson, NY.  It  promises to be an event to remember.

Featured in magazines such as Country Living and Where Women

Create,  some of today’s most talked-about  artists will be showing

their work which includes  paintings, mixed-media,  jewelry and

wearable art, textile pieces, vintage shadowboxes and more. The

antique dealers of the Hudson Supermarket will be ready with

fabulous items to charm and amaze. Me? Grain sacks, natch !

Not to be missed is The Cafe at Hudson Supermarket, where the

incredible Chef Chris will be rustling up the most delicious food.

Plus, cupcakes! Worried about that second helping? Walk it off on

Warren Street where dozens of antique and other very intriguing

shops await.

Above, on the right, is Kathy. She’s royalty, the queen of some small

country that no one has ever heard of.  And yet, her invitation to

come and enjoy the day with us is as warmly extended as if she were

everyday people, like you and me. We hope you can make it!

Information :  www.earthangelstoys.com

Directions :  www.hudsonsupermarket.com

My Grain Sack Wing Chair Vest

Last week, my good friend, Jennifer Lanne (www.jenniferlanne.com),

and I were were bad influencing each other in a small re-purposed

clothing store in Hudson. We each came out with a pretty pricey bag,

hers concealing a skirt, mine a jacket…because we so richly deserved

a treat after our hard day of breezing through antiques shops and

lunch with friends.  That night I had a dream. In it, I asked Jennifer

to get me a grain sack down vest. I did not expect her to bring me this : 

the top half of a grain sack wing chair with straps to hold it on. Picture

just the top of this chair…..

Kind of like this….

It was so heavy and I looked ridiculous in it. (Do ya think?) The next

morning, the first thing I did was to write Jennifer an email removing her

from all duties as my stylist! It was just a dream. But, somehow I think

there is an idea here. Maybe if there were armholes in the wings?

Heading To the Dump?

I can’t count the number of times, when we’ve parked in some little town,

that someone, after checking out our truck and trailer full of wood and metal,

 has asked  if we’re heading to the dump. They are always surprised and, I am

sure, appalled to learn that we are, in fact, heading home to repurpose our

otherwise junk-worthy load into furniture.

This 8′ cart (above) turned into a cool daybed (below) and only lasted a few hours in

our space in Hudson.

The grain sack cushion cover featured lovely hand-drawn graphics and, of course,

wonderful hand-worked patches and darnings.


I wonder if the customer who purchased my factory cart daybed will be asked if

he is heading to the dump on his trip home with this piece. It is a good possibility!

Tooting The Horn For Grain Sacks

Ken’s daily trip to our little post office to send and collect mail usually

includes a chat with the Post Mistress and at least one or two neighbors.  

I always look forward to his return, hoping for French magazines and

other intriguing bounty. The most exciting days, though, are when I hear

the tooting horn announcing a truck full of boxes.  Boxes full of grain sacks !

He wheels them onto our front porch. I run out to slice open the tops. I

can’t wait to see what’s inside. I pull out sack after beautiful sack, as dust,

dirt and all manner of things,  remnants of the sack’s contents, fly through

the air.  There is good reason to open them outside.

Two of today’s boxes have linen rolls tucked inside. This is good as my supply

of these has dwindled down quickly.  This linen, used to make grain sacks in

early days, is prized for upholstery and other design projects today.

Every sack is turned inside out and shaken.  Again, stuff is flying.  Enough

down feathers for a small comforter,  plenty of grain and seeds for a loaf,

other items small enough to ruin a washing machine. I know. I’ve already

done that once.

Next is the laundromat.  Ugh  !    11 washers, 11 dryers, 3 hours.  But once 

they come home and are finally inside the house, I can really have fun

spreading them out, discovering the varying weights, weaves, textures and

colors, choosing the ones for upcoming projects.  Happily, there is no dust

or sneezing involved with these freshly-washed sacks.

I also make a pile of the ones that have been pre-purchased and will require

yet another trip to the post office to continue on their journey. I regularly

send photos to the pickers in Germany of furniture and other grain sack items

that I have completed.  They express great pleasure in the idea of the names

of German towns ending up all over the United States.  They agree that this

is an adventure worth tooting about.