Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Brimfield Wrap Up


It was my first time as a vendor at the Brimfield Antique Fair. But that didn't stop me from
doing a little shopping of course.  Brimfield is an amazing place, and if you like to decorate
using older things, it is worth the trip.  Every category imaginable is there~from old fixtures and 
doors, to mid century modern, farmhouse and my favorite, French items.  
The best thing about this trip to Brimfield was sharing the experience with my son,
Justin Power, who has been running his Boston shop, Pioneer Goods Co. for the last 
two years, after starting with me in my shop, Maison Decor.  
The other best thing was the chance to meet in person, some of the folks I have
admired online, including the Swedish furniture and clock guy, The Lone Ranger,
and a brilliant artist, Jennifer Lanne.  I walked away with one of her barn board art panels,
painted to look like a mora clock.  It fits my home perfectly, a bit of whimsy, the mora obsession thing, and the duck egg blue color that I love.  But that is starting at the end of the story, so I will get back to Brimfield and do a little show and tell with the photos I snapped.
(Me, setting up our tent before we opened on Tuesday)
Tuesday was our set up day.  Hubs drove our stuff out in the big trailer, dropped us off
and then Justin and I worked our butts off trying to make sense of it all.
 It took us forever to get it looking how we wanted, mixing the french
 with the rustic americana was harder than we thought.  
Eventually we just put my stuff in one area and that seemed to work best.
Tired and exhausted, we left to check into our (fleabag) motel to get some shut eye.
Opening day had arrived after only 5 hours of sleep...
The sun was just starting to come up, and it was freezing outside. We arrived at our tent, only to discover we couldn't get inside!! We had been advised to close it with zipties, but we forgot to bring scissors or a jack knife to cut them off. hahah!! I went to a neighbor and she happily lent us her scissors.  
We got inside the booth, and got ready for the mad rush we had been told to expect.
Then right at 6 am, it began!  People were dashing in and out of our tent as if on an Easter Egg hunt.  We had no immediate sales and I quickly grew nervous.  But after about 45 minutes, sales started and didn't stop all day long.  It would be our best day of sales and we were quite thrilled with how it was going! 
 This is a shot of our tent, located in the New England Motel field. 
(Brimfield is a series of fields with names, and many have different opening dates and times.)
You can see Justin in the blue hat and the shoppers entering the tent.  
The guy with the baseball hat had just bought the blue metal garden chairs.
All of the garden furniture seemed quite popular, but our prices were great,
and we didn't want to take any of it back home with us.
 As things sold, we would need to revamp quickly and sometimes it was too hard
 to rearrange things so we would do it at the end of the day, or first thing in the morning. 
 This shot is inside our booth, and shows off an early pine step back cupboard and 
an old pine farm table, covered in old bottles.  All our garden chairs and tables and the like sold quickly.  Justin's early rustic style was translating into sales, clearly his stuff was popular.
 My style of vintage French was not selling at all....it was a big surprise to me. 
 Thank goodness I never had the wild idea to do Brimfield with just my stuff!! 
Victoria, a blogger (Trois Petite Fils), came by with cupcakes and 
a fabulous pink french chair that I offered to consign for her...now I was 
worried that maybe her French chair wouldn't sell either.
But it sold in about twenty minutes, and had three interested parties in it
right from the start. Two were photographers who thought the chair was
perfect for that cool kind of portrait shot in an antique chair, and one of them 
snapped it up for a mere $110. I told you we had great prices!

 So as Justin sold more and more, I would go on walkabouts looking for things
 I might want to take home.  And I had every intention of finding the dealers in the past 
who load up on the Shabby Chic French stuff.  My favorite dealer, Donna, was now
 on the main drag in our field and I couldn't wait to get a break to go see her booth.
 Her booth was bigger this year, and absolutely loaded with wonderful things.  She sells under the name of Corrabelle Rose, and I am pretty sure she sells on eBay as well as all the big shows.  
 Donna sells all things pink and shabby, like old windows and doors and vintage 
paintings and fabrics embellished with roses.
 This is another shot from her booth. I bought two old pink silk lampshades from Donna as well as a painted backdrop of Hollyhocks. Justin was back tending the booth sales, and I had left on a quick "bathroom break" which meant I found the long way back to our booth, stopping in at those that caught my eye.  After Donna's tent, I made my way to finally see Jennifer Lanne's booth.
Jennifer Lanne is a NY artist and she was selling her fabulous floral paintings and her new line of textile art for the home.  Big squishy tuffets and eiderdowns and pillows covered in her paintings or old wallpaper from her old NY home are reproduced into fabrics for the home accessories. 
 I had recently bought a pillow and now I wanted to check out her mora clock
paintings that she does on barn boards. 
We had met quickly the first day during the setting up phase, and now that we were on day 3 I had more leisure time to check our her booth and see if I would find some art to take home.
And there it was....right behind her she had two of her clock paintings, one already
marked with a sold tag.  I claimed the other in a heart beat!  She is just so talented and 
I love her whimsical style and upbeat personality that comes across in her paintings.
 Right next to her booth was Flax and Bloom, a booth owned by Sandra Kelly
 and decorated with quite a bit of Jennifer's artwork. 
 It was the most magical booth in all of Brimfield!  
I found so much inspiration here, it was Swedish Gustavian and whimsy 
all rolled into one big yummy ball!  I briefly spoke to Sandy 
but she was busy as all get out with the mobs in her pretty and popular booth.
 The next exciting booth I wanted to check out was the Lone Ranger! 
 He sells Mora Clocks, and you can see them tied to the posts all around his
 enormous booth. Prices range from about $2000 for a simple clock to $5000 
for a decorative version.  His clocks have reproduction faces with battery clock works,
 but the cases are true antiques, although many are restored.  
Simply exquisite!  
The interior of his booth had loads of Swedish and Gustavian style furnishings
one more desirable than the next.  I enjoyed a long conversation with him on 
a Gustavian settee and he was incredibly nice and generous with his information
about his business.  What a breath of fresh air!  He has legions of fans, and I can see why.
I hurried back to the tent, my "bathroom break" was way too long!
 Whenever I would return to our tent, the scene was always the same, with Justin selling...
The shoppers were never ending, and we were on our toes for the hours the field was open.
 More "bathroom breaks" for me so I could visit more French style dealers.
  Our field at New England Motel has the best French dealers!! 
 This wonderful French booth was a few doors down from ours.
 Jenny had the most beautiful things, and her friend who helped her run the booth, Suzanne, recognized me from my blog on the first day while I was setting up. She was a delight!
Jenny's business name is Two Cherubs and she travels yearly to France bringing 
things home to sell.  She has a shop in New Jersey, and her inventory is amazing.
I loved shopping during my breaks and checking out all of the lovely things 
in our New England Motel field.  I never made it any other field.
  Then  I would head back again to find shoppers, like these ladies debating to buy this long farmhouse table we had in the center of our tent.  Although not old, (a farmhouse reproduction piece) they passed on it, and suddenly it occurred to me that I wanted the big plank top table for MY dining room!! So I told Justin I wanted it....to which he said, lets mark it up and if it sells at a ridiculous price then so be it.  So thats what we did, but it never sold. As a matter of fact it was clear to us that many people were just random shoppers looking for crazy bargain prices.  With a few exceptions, like decorator sales for their clients, we noticed that price was everything for most shoppers.  And I mean crazy low prices....ugh. 
 By Thursday afternoon things were slowing down, and I decided to return home because my 
feet and back were telling me they needed a break. Hubs was telling me I had loved ones at home and a needy puppy to get back to...I really wanted to sleep in my own bed too.  So after spending Mothers Day loading trailers and Tuesday Wednesday and Thursday on my feet lifting furniture, I departed Brimfield.  Justin would be on his own til Friday, when Colin went out to help.  
 The amazing thing about Brimfield is the quality and quantity of antiques you can find.
These urns were amazing, and priced for the wealthy. 
 They were still there on closing day. 
Off to another show until they find their forever mansion.
 Back in our booth, we cut and slashed prices and most of our inventory sold. 
 Justin's shop is closing, and we had no place to bring back our inventory to sell...
that is another story to tell, the closing of the amazing Pioneer Goods Co store. 
Next July and September when Brimfield returns, I will be back as a shopper.  Its 
such a wonderful experience, and I love the fun of it all.
 You never know what you are going to come across that makes you fall in love...
On my way to the dealer parking lot on Thursday, I ran across this mirror.
It said, Take me Home.
And so I did. 
One more thing...
This was an extra special experience with my son, Justin.
I loved doing this with him, he is such a great guy~so helpful to 
the solo women vendors who needed a helping hand, and a real trooper
for sticking it out for the entire week. Well done Justin! 
You make me very proud to be your mom.

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Friday, May 6, 2016

We are selling at the Brimfield Antique Fair next week!

 The Brimfield Antique Fair is starting next week!  
This year I have booth with my son, and for the first time
we will be vendors at this amazing antiques fair! 
 Its the oldest antique fair in the country and people travel from around the world to attend. 
  Brimfield Fair dates are May 11-15, 2016.  Our "field" opens on Wednesday at 6 am.  
 Last year and the years before I attended as a shopper. 
 It really is a blast!  Plenty of places to park, many charging less than $10 for the day. 
There is a food court at the field that we are at, 
so no worries about packing a lunch for both shoppers and vendors alike. 
Portable bathrooms are generally kept clean and are stationed all around the fair.  
Here is a map of the layout at Brimfield. 
The Brimfield Fair is composed of fields (sections) that run along both sides of the main street, Route 20 in Brimfield, Massachusetts.  I will be with my son, Justin Power of Pioneer Goods, at New England Motel field in #40.  (He's going to sell rustic furniture and accessories and I will be offering the frenchy stuff, as well as some of my purple transferware!! 
There are tents that are set up side by side 
and back to back in the fields that are assigned lot numbers. 
 We are also listed in the Brimfield Flea Finder App, that you can download on your smart phone.  This is a great app as it has GPS and you can search for dealers as well as for certain specific items you are trying to find.  Sometimes it feels like looking for a needle in a haystack
 as there are so many dealers selling such a variety of antiques. 
 For example, if you enter "purple transferware" you will find my listing...
  The App is FREE, so download it on your phone 
before you get to Brimfield so you can find what you want!
Here is another map showing a wider scope of the setup.
Shoppers advice:  Bring a backpack, or a rolling cart to hold your treasures.  For larger items, the sellers will hold them for you so you can pick them up with car when you are done with your shopping.  Its a bit of a madhouse, but people are having fun, and on the hunt for their treasures.  There is something for everyone and then some!  Things to bring:  water bottle, sunscreen, wetwipes for hand cleaning,  hat, sunglasses, good walking shoes, phone with the Brimfield Flea Finder App, a few tote bags that you can fill, maybe some packing material if you plan to buy glass or breakables as sometimes dealers don't have packing materials.  Then hit the road with your best friend and have a great day at the fair!  
 One of last year's vendors...I love the old iron stuff mixed with chandeliers!
I bought quite a few things from this guy...
We are excited for the fair and hope the weather will be good.
And we hope to see you at our booth,  Maison Decor and Pioneer Goods! 
 New England Motel #40!  Time to get the trailer loaded.....
Wish us luck!

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Thursday, April 28, 2016

Spraying my French Day Bed Fiasco, Getting Old and more


Before we get to my fiasco this week, I did have a triumph to share.
 Here is a little consignment project I took on this month. 
I don't do much painting of furniture anymore since my shop closed, but
a friend from my tennis days asked me if I would...so I agreed.  What I love about this is
that you can see how a perfectly fine piece of furniture (not antique) can look a bit dated in a room.
After painting it with Annie Sloan's Paris Grey and giving it a hand rubbed clear wax finish, 
the icing on the cake was giving the server (and the china cabinet, not shown) new hardware.
 A trick for any of you who want to change to a knob instead of pulls, is to use a backplate.
That can cover the old holes of the pulls, and then you simply drill one hole in the center and 
push the knob stem through the hole of the backplate.  We picked this hardware out from Myknobs.com and we were careful to not select acrylic knobs (they don't look that great).  Glass is ok, but crystal is BEST!  We loved the difference it made in the room.  
And while I was there putting on the hardware, I noticed that my friend had left a photo on the server.  I didn't even look at it for the first fifteen minutes...then I realized it was a photo of us and all the other tennis pals from twelve years ago!! 
Wow, I really feel old now.  I am on the right in the lilac top.  Smokin' hot, right? Haahah!!  It was the year I met my husband to be, and so it was the year that my life changed forever.  No wonder he wanted to date me. And why do we, as women, get so critical about ourselves only to figure out as time passes that we had no reason to be.  Anyway, I stopped playing tennis a few years later, and I miss all the fun we had together.  The gal right next to me is the one that gave me the piano that I painted white.  She moved away to Florida.  Life has a way of carrying on, doesn't it?  Anyway I have to say my forties were so much fun, and now that I am almost through the next decade, I am having an adjustment with the things age is doing to me.  Ugh, right?  Enjoy where we are, because I suppose when I blog in ten more years, I will be saying how fabulous my fifties were and what was I thinking??  
Mr. Maison Decor and I went to dinner at a french restaurant that we love to celebrate nine years of marriage.  Twelve all together, as we started dating in April, and we married three years later in April too.  Happy years and a happy union, its been the best thing that has ever happened to both of us, and how I know this, is that he wrote me a letter and told me so.  How sweet is that?  
 Soon I will be writing a blog post on how I am suffering from ADD, because I have so many projects going on at once.  And this project is the French Day Bed project.  The bed is a rusty mess, and anything I put on it gets rust marks.  I am making a Sunbrella cover for the mattress I bought for it (another project with Matthew Mead) and so I wanted to preserve the rusty look by coating it....so I went to Lowes and talked to some guy in the paint department, looking for an Exterior grade clear coverage thing.  
 I went home with this...when I applied it, it was so noxious, that all the doors and windows had to be flung open...the house still stunk. I finally dragged it outside myself after barracading the dog in the kitchen behind a bench.  He is afraid to go around stuff, so I take advantage of that, haha. 
 He is so funny. He was whining his heart out to let me in...you can see his toys and stuff all over the floor, and my basil plant waiting to go outside as well sitting on my Matthew Mead french settee, which doubles as a dining room barrier.
So the bed went outside...after awhile I checked to see if all the rust was now encapsulated.
NOPE. Turns out this inhibitor spray is an oil!! And now I had rusty oil all over the bed.  GRRR. So I washed it all down with a bucket and scruffy sponge and some Mrs. Meyers.  I was over the fumes and now mad that it was going to take another step to get my bed ready for the cushion I was sewing.
My supplies in the cellar yielded a can of this spray...so I gave it a try.  After that dried, I wiped it with a paper towel and rust was still coming off.  A facebook friend said she had to do two coats, so I just applied another coat today. If that doesn't work, I am going to have hubs take it to the autobody guy and ask him to spray it for me.  I won't have a rust finish if I do that, but at this point I am OVER trying to figure out how to preserve this rusted look.  Hahha.  Ok, that is the latest from here....I will be stitching up the sunbrella cushions and pillows and hoping the weather turns warmer so I can get some outdoor living started! 
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