Monday, April 29, 2013

Nirvana on a Sunday Morning at Todd Farm

What is a better way to spend an early Sunday morning than meandering aimlessly through a flea market, coffee in hand enjoying the relaxed pace of other marketers walking dogs, chatting & admiring the wares?  Yeah, I can’t think of many better ways either.

Todd Farm Flea Market
Route 1A, Rowley MA
Loved these "rustic" rusty shopping baskets

So last Sunday, I headed to the Todd Farm Antique Flea Market in Rowley MA and was not disappointed.  You may remember my pals & I tried to go to Todd Farm last spring but we were rained out…so we went with a “plan B” on that particular day (you can read about that day here).

I'm not sure if this is authentic but it sure looks like an Enid Collins handbag...Fun!
oooohhhh la la look at the many lovelies

Todd Farm is open every Sunday (barring rain apparently :) from April to November from 5:30 am to 3 pm and from all accounts the best advice folks have is “get there early”.  Well, If you've been following me for a bit you may know by now I have my own philosophy about this “early bird” tactic….if it’s not there when I get there I didn’t need it to begin with…spoken by someone with a house full of goodies of course.

So I arrived just after 9am (my definition of being out & about early on a Sunday).  I’m sure there were a ton of wonderful things I missed out on but I certainly didn’t feel like there was a lack of fabulous goodies to draw me in.

Definitely tempting!

I always have my standards that I am on the hunt for (dishes, jewelry, artwork...) and my latest must have is a silver ice bucket.

Kelly from The Essence of Home shared this pic of her kitchen last year...I was instantly in love
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About a year ago I had spotted this bit of fabulousness on The Essence of Home and have been obsessed with finding an ice bucket and totally ripping Kelly’s idea off.  In all of my travels over the last year I have seen quite a few ice buckets but not the perfect one and certainly not one that was at the perfect price.

Imagine my excitement when I spotted this little beauty…not an ice bucket but it certainly fits the bill for fabulousness.  But with no price on it I hedged…I was so sure it was priced out of what I wanted to spend…I mean it was perfect right?

Yup - she came home with me!

So I circled the block a couple of times, sorted through what I was so sure she was going to ask ($75)…I mean, I’ve seen these in the shops.  And I made up my mind what the max price I would pay was ($20)….not a chance right?

My timing must have been right…I asked the price and I had to ask her to repeat when she said $15…couldn’t be right….but it was.  I quickly got my cash out before she had a chance to change her mind and off I went with the perfect utensil holder and a huge grin.

My cluttered countertop before...for someone who hates counter clutter (me) I sure did have quite
a collection going here.

I was so excited that it ended up being my only purchase of the day but I did spend another couple of hours walking the grounds of Todd Farm and thoroughly enjoying the morning.

My new counter set up...oh so much just to purge some of those extra spatula's

Monday, April 22, 2013

Boston Strong, The Art Forger & The Gardner Museum

I grew up in a “non-spanking” house.  Not that my parents were necessarily anti-spanking (to my knowledge) but I think it was more that my brother & I were basically good kids and it grounding/taking away privileges just seemed easier to them then exerting the physical/emotional energy to spank.  So needless to say, I had my fair share of days/evenings without the privilege of watching television or talking with my pals on the telephone.

This along with my Mom’s frequently taking us to the local library definitely fostered a healthy appreciation for reading.  I used to love wandering the stacks to find just the perfect book(s) to help pass the many, many mundane hours spent in “time out” (well before there was such a thing as time out of course).

I still am one of those avid readers that reads 3 or 4 books at a time…not all the same genre at the same time though…that would be a little too jumbled for me.

So it only makes sense that one of my absolute favorite monthly social commitments is my book club.  I have the BEST book club!  This is my second attempt at a book club…the first one seemed to turn into a “mommy & me” sharing event.  For someone without children…not so much…

So a couple of years ago I was introduced to a group of lovely ladies by a mutual friend.  The twist of this newly formed book club was that they wanted to read (really read) & do field trips that were book related.  We've done some fun things…movies, mystery dinner cruise, etc. Fast forward a couple of years and a few member changes and we’re still at it.  We definitely read more than we field trip but this last weekend we made up for it by planning a visit to the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston.

Isabella Stewart Gardner by John Singer Sargent
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Last month we read the Art Forger by B.A. Shapiro a fictionalized work taking off from the all too real life 1990 art heist at the Gardner Museum.   The consensus on the book was that we all really enjoyed the book.  A lot.

With all the tragedy happening in Boston last week it was tempting just to stay out of the city and meet up at a more local establishment but we all decided that it was more important to go in and not let the terrorists win and enjoy our day of art as originally planned.

Madame Gautreau Drinking a Toast by John Singer Sargent
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A New York Blizzard by Childe Hassam
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It was a good decision!  I had never been to the Gardner Museum but I had heard an awful lot about it and we had read quite a bit about Mrs Gardner and her relationship with John Singer Sargent in Strapless by Deborah Davis last year.  Isabella Stewart Gardner built this home with well-planned galleries to display her personal art collection and created a museum to share her art with the world.  It’s an absolutely uniquely AMAZING museum.

The Blue Room - that's bald man portrait is Henry James
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The Dutch Room - the empty frames just waiting for the stolen paintings to be returned to their rightful home.
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There is nothing staid and stiff about the Gardner.  The house was constructed with a masterfully landscaped courtyard in the center of the house and as you wander through the property you can’t help but just want to grab a cup of coffee & a book and sit in the courtyard and stay a while.

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Meandering through the museum the amount of art on the walls, tapestries, sculptures & architectural elements is just overwhelming.  I don’t think you can even remotely see it all in a day although the square footage of the building is definitely manageable.

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El Jaelo by John Singer Sargent
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If you’re in Boston I can’t recommend highly enough spending a block of time at the Gardner.  It’s not your traditional art museum, in any way but its eccentricities not only reflect its founder but are in my opinion part of what makes it so uniquely fabulous.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Lusting for Pink Lusterware

Are you acquainted with Pink Lusterware?  Well, I wasn’t….sure I had seen plenty of the ubiquitous gold & blue and even had a piece or two that I had found over the years…including a hand painted little bowl that my maternal grandmother had painted many, many years ago when that’s what housewives did with their spare afternoons (along with bridge).

My grandmother signed & dated this piece MSM '31 (a little blurry, you'll just have to trust me on this). 
It's kind of cool I know all these years later where she was in her life when she created this...
she was newlywed to my grandfather.

Well, a couple of months ago I was perusing the blog of a fellow north shore blogger Katy Elliot and I stumbled upon this photo that one of her followers had sent her and let me just tell you it stopped me dead in my tracks! 

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I was instantly intrigued…such a magnificent display of something I didn’t even know existed.  By the way, Katy writes a really good post about how to collect pink lusterware.  You should definitely check it out if your as intrigued by the collection as I am.
Well, to be fair, I have seen a piece or two over the years but for some reason had never really paid it much attention.  I think it’s the gravity of the number of pieces in this picture that caught my fancy…for sure a dedicated collector if I have ever seen one.

From Katy's post...isn't this a  beauty?
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I really don’t consider myself “a collector” but in reality I probably qualify (she says in the tone of someone fessing up at a “fill in the blank” anonymous meeting).  I freely admit my affinity to depression glass, red transferware, pin trays and a couple of other favs but does that make me a bone a fide collector….I have collector friends and we go on jaunts looking for the illustrious missing pieces to our “collections” but does that make me a bone a fide collector either…
Well, I think I may have crossed the threshold on this one…I have been actively seeking pink lusterware since I came upon Katy's photos.
It’s official I have been pulled to the dark side.  And just to put a nail in the proverbial coffin I have recently acquired these 2 lovely pieces as well as rediscovering this lovely little cup & saucer that was from my great grandmother’s collection.

The start of something good...much more contemporary lusterware but still beautiful

And to make it worse, I really am loving them.  Do I need them, no for sure not but after some deep soul searching I think I’m ok with that.