Category Archives: Antiques

My Space

Last weekend I attended the Washington County Antique Fair. The Fair is only 15 minutes away from home so it’s a pleasant half day away from the Wee One. While channeling every Better Homes & Garden decorator article and Pinterest home decor board, I picked up an old sewing cabinet drawer for $5.

A few days later that same drawer is now a sewing curio shelf.

Sewing and St. Theresa. There's a connection somewhere.

Connecting crafting and St. Therese.

I took the picture at an angle because apparently I can’t center shelving. I was wondering about any connection between St. Therese of Lisieux and crafting, and one came to me. The Little Flower’s mother made lace and had a thriving home business that allowed her husband to sell his jewelry business.

My space is a cute little room just off the bedroom. About 35 years ago, the room was a larger one that was divided in two. The half by the hallway was turned into a bathroom. A doorway was cut into the bedroom to make the other half a sitting/dressing room. I think the wallpaper is 35 years old, too. Someday I’ll fix the walls and paint it some color. Red? Sage? In the meantime, I’ll sit well-contented under the gaze of St. Therese.

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My Space

I have a little sewing room that’s off the bedroom; it was one of the main selling features when buying the house. It used to be a separate bedroom up until the late 1970’s when the previous owners (actually two owners ago) cut that bedroom into its present sitting/sewing room and a full bathroom. I can shut off the water to the tub when reaching into the shelves in the sewing room.

The sewing room has two windows facing north and east. Great morning light. Steady natural light throughout the day. It’s toasty in winter and cool in the summer (the AC is in a window closest to an outlet).

Currently the room is very cluttered because I’m working on a project that should be done in the next two weeks. But I will show you my icon wall that’s behind the sewing machine.

My personal icon wall

I suppose they are not “technically” icons but they get me into the right place. Starting on the upper left, clockwise, is Dali’s Christ of St. John. Picked that up from a Saver’s, BTW. Next is Petrus Christus’ The Virgin of the Dry Tree. I LOVE this painting. The red cloak offset by the stark black background, framed by the brown branches. Beautiful. A Christmas present from Hubby. Sigh.

On the bottom are the words “Litany, Martyrs and Canticles.” I got the words, $2 each, from the Round Lake (NY) Antiques Festival. I placed them in a frame already in my possession and used a black t-shirt (soon for the rag pile) as the background. Finally, everyone’s favorite protestant-American image of Jesus. I think I got that from Saver’s, too. It’s in nice shape with a lovely gold frame.

The goal is to fill the wall. I recently spied an image of Theresa of Lisieux and have been thinking the space needs some little flowers.

Of Toddlers and Antiques

Last week, Mother-In-Law, Wee One and I attended the Brimfield Antique Show in Massachusetts. Don’t know if you’ve ever heard of it but Brimfield is billed as the

LARGEST OUTDOOR ANTIQUE SHOW IN THE WORLD!!!!!!!

I knew we were in for it when there was backup at the Sturbridge rotary, 6 miles away from the fair grounds. Why the backup? Construction!!! Once past that, it was smooth sailing west on Route 20. About three miles past Sturbridge center, we saw the devastation wrought by the tornado that touched down in August. I never expected to see tornado damage in Massachusetts. It was extensive. Closer to the Show, traffic started piling up but we able to find parking for $5 in a Brimfielder’s backyard.

Yup, Brimfield is MASSIVE. Basically the Show is a series of fields each run by a different promoter and dealers rent out space from the promoter. The Show stretches over a mile along both sides of Route 20. Before going, I got a tip from a frequent attendee on which fields to hit, otherwise, there is no way in HADES anyone can do the whole thing in one day, especially with a toddler.

With tip in hand, we walked down to Quaker Acres and started in. Almost instantly, we were regaled by dealers discussing how lousy the week had been with the weather. Rain. Flooding. As the sun was out and it was promising to be a warm day, I wanted them to stop complaining and start offering me deals.

In the end, after 4 hours, I snagged a small bookcase for the Wee One, a chenille bedspread (with some restoration to do on it), a vintage tablecloth for the kitchen, piano stool clawfoots (to use as coat hangers in the mud room, eventually), and other odds and ends that I can’t recollect right now.

Would I go again? Possibly. As the day wore on, it got crowded and I hate crowds. I can deal with them but I prefer fewer people, not more. In some ways antique fairs are better than museums because you can touch items, pick them up and say out loud to yourself, “That’s cool” without a security guard escorting you off the premises.

How did the Wee One do? She was a trooper. I could tell she was tired but there was too much going on for her to nap. Back in the car she dropped like a rock into dreamland. And I have proof:

One sandal on. One sandal off. Brimfield is hard work.

 

Me So Crafty

To pass the time as a kept woman of leisure, I’ve been learning the ancient arts of womanhood. I’ve written before about my foray into crochet. I’ve learned the main stitches and have stitched my first circle and granny square. I’m ready for my first project. It’s either going to be a beenie or a potholder. Decisions…Decisions…

In July I visited one of my fave antique stores, Hobart Village Antique Mall, located in Townsend, MA. The place also has a reproduction furniture section. I suppose you could call the style “primitive” which is like yuppie-level country kitsch. (I’ll confess that I do like “primitive” type furniture, except for the really, obviously distressed furniture made last year but looks like it’s been abused for the last 300 years.)

Anyhow, I noticed these really neat runners made from small circles stitched together. The large runners went for around $25 and I thought, “I could do this.” I found out later that these are called penny rugs (more info here). I didn’t buy a kit or any sort of pattern. I just looked at pictures online and figured it out myself. Take a look at the finished product:

Cutting out the circles was a pain.

Cutting out the circles was a pain.

I bought swatches of brown, red and grey felt and yellow/gold embroidery thread (DMC #744).

 

 

 

 

Blanket and Whip stitches were used.

Blanket and Whip stitches were used.

The brown circles were made from the rim of a scotch drinking glass. The red circles were from a basil spice bottle and the grey from one of my pill bottles.

The stitches on the grey and red circles are blanket stitches and the brown has a whip stitch. I connected the circles in a stitch that has no name. It’s called “whatever works.” It ain’t pretty so that’s why I have no pictures of the back. 🙂

 

 

This may not be professional looking but I’m proud of it. Thank goodness for the term “primitive” for this type of project!

My Primitive Penny Rug

My Primitive Penny Rug

Of Stereoscopes and Stuff

I spent the last two days with the folks in Dartmouth, MA. Of course, it was scorching hot and my allergies kicked in. (I LOVE walking around with my nose running and my eyes so itchy, I want to gouge them out.) One of my favorite things to do with the folks is to visit antique stores. There are some cool places to shop where the prices are very reasonable. New Bedford Antiques at the Cove is a very large multidealer showroom and I always find a deal there. On this last visit, my Mom made out big.

If you wonder why I like taking cemetery pictures, blame my mother. The first section in the newspaper my Mom checks out is the obituaries. She visits burial grounds on a weekly basis. You get the picture…

At NB Antiques, she finagled a lower price with the dealer on this antique and won:

Don't even THINK of parking here!

Don't even THINK of parking here!

A month ago, she swooped on another antique which is just the coolest thing. She bought a tabletop cabinet stereoscope:

Want to come up and see my stereocards?

Want to come up and see my stereocards?

I always see the hand-held models (check out the one sitting in front of the cabinet) and I own one myself, but I’ve never seen the tabletop model. I can only guess that they were meant for wealthy homes.

The cabinet holds up to 50 stereocards that are held on a cylinder. Turning the knob (that you see on the right of the cabinet) flips the cards. The cabinet top opens (as you see) to let in more light and to insert the cards on the cylinder. The whole thing is too cool for school. Go Mom!

Looking thru the viewer.

Looking thru the viewer.

Dispatch from Maine II: Buy Old Stuff

Tourists love visiting Maine because of it’s natural beauty, charming villages and slower pace of life. The reason for the “throw back” feel is the dearth of young people. During a bicycle trip around Castine, Maine, one of those charming Down East villages, I noticed all the retirees and one standout: a mother with two toddler-aged kids. It was the standout that made me realize, “where are the people in their 20s and 30s?”

Maine knows it, too.

Maine already has the oldest population in the nation based on median age, said Charles S. Colgan of the Muskie School of Public Service. A report by the Maine State Planning Office on Maine’s aging population puts that median age at 41.2, or almost five years older than the national median age.

Colgan stresses that states such as Florida and Arizona have a higher percentage of residents at or near retirement than Maine. Maine is older in median age, he said, because the state has fewer young people than most states and that situation will continue.

AGING BOOMER EFFECT: Impending retirements will have profound impact on Maine, Kennebec Journal

Another Dead Mainer

Another Dead Mainer

One reason for the disappearing children is lack of jobs. L.L. Bean can only hire so many folks. Is it any wonder that the state’s largest employer is the State of Maine? With a disappearing tax base, that won’t last long.

What Maine needs is more antique stores. The stores will employ the young so they won’t move to Massachusetts. That’s all I did over the weekend. I visited 6 antique stores and I truly believe that the stuff sold in such stores come from the estates of all the dead Mainers.

And I certainly supported the Maine economy with my purchases. The best items I got was a porceline urinal and a huge enamel coffee pot. Both will be used as planters in my suburban oasis, i.e. the patio.

So, during your next visit to Maine, make sure to visit at least 3 antique stores. The disappearing adolescents of Maine will thank you.

Maine's economy displayed on my counter.

Maine's economy displayed on my counter.

Where’s My Rubber Ducky?

Yesterday Hubby and I visited my folks down in southeastern MA. We love checking out antique stores, so my Mom suggested visiting a salvage store in New Bedford. These folks, New England Demolition & Salvage, rip out the cool architectural stuff like banisters, doors, windows and sinks from buildings before tearing them down or turning them in minimalist luxury condos.

I can not even begin to describe all the neat stuff we saw (a train ticket booth, a humungous bar complete with back mirror, fantastic wood work columns and 10 taps). Just before we left, an employee encouraged us to check out the second floor, “It’s a real treat.” And she was right.

I'm in the middle!

Can you find me?