Mainely Antique Attractions

Recently, Coach and I spent a few days in Maine at the Bethel Inn and Resort for a little R & R. On our way there, we stopped at the Undercover Flea Market in Oxford Maine

Undercover Flea Market

(they don’t appear to have an internet presence, so no direct link. Ah, so maybe they are really undercover…) Thought long and hard about this table, but decided against it-too pricy to paint and flip.

Table

While in Bethel, we discovered not much going on downtown, so we ventured out to find some antique shops in the area that were listed in several brochures he had picked up at the visitors center. The Steam Mill Antiques

Steam Mill Collectibles

was right around the corner from our hotel. Looked promising, with a vast array of junk and stuff all around the property. We visited, several times, but it was never open! Will definitely have to return another time…Next stop, the Picker’s Paradise in Welchville (again, no links here).

Pickers Paradise Sign

We were drawn in by the beautiful Great Canadian wood canoe in the parking lot.

Pickers Paradise Canoe

Inside was a variety of antiques and collectibles. Wishing I had grabbed this chubby old cow doorstop. I often experience what I refer to as “non-buyer’s remorse.” I see something that I love, hem and haw about it, because I don’t need ONE MORE THING, so I leave it, then lust for it when I am back home. Oh, well.

Pickers Paradise Cow Doorstop

This shop featured several pieces that were reclaimed and repurposed, like this LOVE sign, created from old frame pieces and lace. LOVE.

Pickers Paradise LOVE

On our shopping expeditions, I noticed quite a few “Boston” items,

Pickers Paradise Boston Beans

which made me feel very nostalgic for the place we call home. Across the street was this shell of an old building, now being dismantled and sold for parts.

Burned Out Antiques Building

In year’s gone by it was the Welchville Methodist Church turned antique shop.

Burned Out Building Sign

But after being on the market for quite some time with no bites, the owner decided he could no longer afford the upkeep. So everything, including the bell tower,

Bell Tower is for sale. If you are in the market for some architectural salvage, this might be your place! Next up, Pa’s Tradin Company in Oxford, Maine.

Pa's Tradin Company Sign

…a huge co-op shop that was neatly organized into departments like furniture & outdoor gear-snowshoes, anyone?

Pa's Tradin Company Snowshoes and more Boston collectibles.

Melrose Crate

I did score a couple of great items, like this gorgeous cupboard (the vendor literally was loading it in the back door when I spotted it, and he and Coach moved it right back out the back door into my CRV!)

Pa's Tradin Company Cupboard

and my little buck (projects in progress : )

Pa's Tradin Company Buck

Drove by this place, Pic-N-Paw in Norway, Maine a couple of times, but again, it never was open! What’s up, Maine?!?

Pic N Paw

On our way home, we discovered Bridgton, Maine, a country town with some fun shops- again, many not open. But we did find Harry Barker’s Emporium and Harry Barker’s Two, antiques co-operative shops, with some donated items being sold to raise funds for the local Harvest Hills Animal Shelter.

Harry Barkers

There I found Exit, stage left.

Harry Barkers Exit Sign

Nearby was Flowerbed Farm Antiques in Bridgton. True to its name, there were exquisite, colorful flower beds surrounding the property. There are so many massive white homes in Maine with attached barns! Can you say barn envy?!

Flowerbed Farm Antiques Sign

Outside and in, an array of restored, repurposed and reclaimed items for your shopping pleasure.

Flowerbed Farm Entrance

Beautiful minty green bedroom set. Sooo country pretty!!

Flowerbed Farm Mint Green Set

Adorable rustic antique horse cart.

Flowerbed Farm Antiques Horse

Following Rte 302 South to Portland on our way home, we happened upon Naples, a picturesque resort town. And there we discovered Antique Revival. Again, no media presence, but this guy doesn’t need it. Sprawling property loaded with anything and everything you could possibly want or imagine you need!

Antique Revival Sign

A.M.A.Z.I.N.G.

Antique Revival Entrance

Enormous, three story barn,

Antique Revival Two Story View

packed to the rafters-literally

Antique Revival Rafters

Greeted by the human-sized roosters at the entrance,

Antique Revival Rooster

once you step inside, you are transported back in time.

Antique Revival Boston Beans

Room after room of antiques and collectibles and junk,

Antique Revival 2nd Floor

an overwhelming assortment of furnishings, goods and finds.

Antique Revival Store

For the serious collector (may the Force be with you)

Antique Revival Star Wars

or the casual collectibles shopper,

Antique Revival Patches

this is one spot that’s worth the trip!  So I’m adding a few more pins to my map, and we’ll be heading out again soon. But for now, it’s good to be back home.

Boston Embroidery Print

Have a great weekend, everyone! And if you are in the mood for some antiques shopping overload, head up Rte. 302 to Maine.

Maine Map

It is so worth the trip. OK, it’s TGWB (time to go wallpaper the bathroom)… Susan 

Maine, Unplugged

Literally. Last week Coach and I spent a few days away at the lovely Bethel Inn and Resort in, where else, Bethel, Maine.

Maine Bethel Inn

A quaint, rural town with a few little downtown shops and pubs, Bethel is a great place to kick back and unwind for a couple of days. The resort special was 2 nights, 2 full breakfasts (I made that waffle myself-yum!)

Maine Breakfast

one four-course dinner in the tavern and unlimited golf. Now for Coach that meant 3 days of 9 holes of golf each day. (Now if this had been me searching for my ball hit from the first tee of the first hole on the first day in the blazing sun, not sure I would have persevered for three days…just saying…)

Maine Coach Search

For me that meant one day of 7 holes, driving the cart around and replacing the divots I had made on the greens and fairways PLUS two other days of hanging around, trying to find somewhere that gave me some bars on my iPhone. (because what’s a blogger without internet?!?) I would like to know, AT&T, why Coach can call me from Germany on his old 1990’s flip-phone and it sounds like he’s in the next room, but I take a road trip to Maine and have no service at all!?!?!

Maine No Service

So, since my iPhone was not much use except as a camera and since today is Wanderlust Wednesday, I am sharing some of my favorite sights from our road trip. We took the inland route up (or down, depending on who you ask), but the coastal route home. Hope you enjoy!!!

Maine Road to Nowhere

The Road To Nowhere

Maine Cow Barn

Cow Barn in Bethel

Maine Chicken Barn

Chicken Barn

Maine Log House

Bethel Inn Lake House

Maine Porch Rocker

Porch Rocker on The Lake House Dock

Maine Bales of Hay

Bales of Hay

Maine Antler Tree

Antler Tree

Maine Ocean Edge York

Ocean Edge York Maine

Maine Kennebunkport Harbor

Kennebunkport View from the Bridge

Maine River Cottage Kennebunkport

River Cottage in Kennebunkport

Maine Sunset Kennebunkport

Sunset in Kennebunkport

Aside from all of the golfing and eating, we managed to do quite a bit of junking and antiquing. It is just astounding what my little CRV will hold!

Maine Cupboard 1

Have loads of pics of shops and treasures and finds, but that’s a blog for another day! Hope you had a “main”ly great day!!  Susan

Flipping Over The Elephant’s Trunk-Part 2

As promised, here is the second half of the Connecticut adventure to The Elephant’s Trunk Flea Market-this is the good stuff! So we arrived around 8am to a sea of parked cars

Flea Parking lot

in a large open field surrounded by rolling hills and trees. This place is huge-not Brimfield huge, but there are 55 acres with hundreds of tents and tables. Lined up in orderly rows and flanked by food trucks, it made for quite an excursion for the thousands of shoppers already rummaging and haggling for goods and wares.

Flea Crowd Shot

As we keep attending more flea markets, antique shows and auctions, I am noting that this year’s trends are still holding strong: industrial, schoolhouse, old tools and of course, animals. Taxidermy,

Flea Antlers

metal work roosters,

Flea Rooster and Fence

deer old lawn ornaments (aren’t these two so sweet?)

Flea White Deer

and mounted deer heads

Flea Deer Head

were all right at home in what once was vast alfalfa farmland. At this flea, there was not a lot of repurposing or repainting, everything was pretty much “as is”. With a few notable exceptions. One booth had many painted and distressed tables and cupboards. Nice work.

Flea Green Table

This amazing metal-work coffee table was created by Jepsen’s Restoration.  He uses everyday items like signs and horseshoes and boxes and pipes and creates custom industrial works of art.

Flea Welded Table

This hand-painted flag trunk

Flea Flag Trunk

and this vintage decorated suitcase using old census listings were re-designed by Don S. Wing. Very well-crafted and vintage pretty.

Flea Suitcase

So as we were strolling, Coach taps me and says “look, there are cameras!”.

Flea Camera Crew

Sure enough, a camera crew was running after a couple of contestants from the HGTV show Flea Market Flip! If you haven’t seen the show, Lara Spencer (the Lifestyle anchor for Good Morning America-an avid flea marketer herself and author of NY Times Bestseller I Brake for Yard Sales) hosts a televised flea market competition- two teams get $500 each to spend in 1 hour. Here, she was chatting with the vendor who had just sold a table to a team for the show.

Flea Lara Spencer Closeup

Then, they repurpose their items to resell at the Brooklyn Flea Market. The team that earns the highest net profit wins $5000! We watched for a couple of minutes, then moved on, only to encounter Lara and her entourage chatting and laughing.

Flea Lara Spencer

Back to shopping and not stalking the game show host. As I continue to work on styling my own shop at the Vintage Thymes Monthly Market, I notice that my eye is always drawn to groupings (must be my touch of OCD at work?). Trays of jewels sparkling in the morning sun,

Flea Brooches

Vintage brass pipes and faucets make an industrial statement

Flea Faucets

colorful license plates all in a row.

Flea License Plates

This collection of colorful circles-gears and wheels-is art in itself.

Flea Gears

Anyone got a welding torch? I always wanted to look like Jennifer Beals in Flashdance with my own personalized welder’s mask.

Flea Jennifer Beals Welder

Well, actually, I always wanted to look like Jennifer Beals. I did have me some rad leg warmers…

Flashdance Jennifer Beals Dancer

OK, back to the flea. This collection of broken statue heads was intriguing and I stood there thinking “what could I do with these?”, but nothing came to mind.

Flea Heads

As was this collection of metal junk pieces. Tiny Monopoly tokens, vintage jewelry pieces, broken barrettes, metal tokens, little bits of everything and nothings. Looked like a miniature Armageddon in a bowl.

Flea Trinkets

But I am really kicking myself for not grabbing some of these. I had seen a mirror once where they had glued all sorts of miniature items around the frame and then sprayed the entire thing white. That would have made a great conversation piece! This vignette caught my eye- not sure if it was the pretty umbrellas or the fake furs or the antiqued frames, but the pastel palette was pleasing to look at!

Flea Frames

I always enjoy hearing the stories of where people acquired their offered items. We came upon this truck with piles of these beautiful art prints on heavy parchment paper.

 Nantucket Prints

The sellers said that they were cleaning out a shop in Nantucket and hundreds of these prints were hidden away in a back storage room. They had been there for years, yet the colors were so vivid and brilliant! Of course, a couple right before us grabbed the whaling print we really loved. Moving along, we bumped into the Flea Market Flip entourage again. This time with different contestants, and Lara had changed her outfit. It appears that they shoot more than one episode per shopping day? Surrounded by cameras-both the crew’s and onlookers’-they seemed to be having quite a bit of fun.

Flea Lara Spencer and Contestant

And then we found The Duke…John Wayne.

Flea John Wayne

We never did get a chance to chat with the owner of this booth, but he appeared to have props-from an amusement park, perhaps? Menacing Jaws (he could definitely use some floss…),

Flea Jaws

pint-sized choo-choo trains

Train

20 foot signs and larger-than-life-sized statues (this one looks a bit like Coach, don’t you think?)

Flea Soldier

He also had these amazing rusted wheels that came from a vintage coffee grinder from the Enterprise Manufacturing Company. Each wheel weighs about 20#-they must have been some giant coffee beans! Coach and I looked at them, discussed what we would do with them, and then walked away. Enterprise Coffee Grinder Wheels

Word of advice-if you really want something at a flea market, buy it right away, because someone may come along behind you and scoop it up! In this case, we doubled back and a potential buyer was standing there negotiating with the owner for them! Coach swooped in and grabbed them-our prize for the day, along with this antiqued brass National Cash Register drawer faceplate. What are we going to do with them? You’ll have to tune it to a later blog post to find out. But for now, rest assured, we will be heading out again to the next big market in our own home state. No more Bates Motels for me!! Have a bargain of a day everyone! Susan

RitaJos Vintage & Me

True story. Loved this hilarious account by Lisa of RitaJosVintage of the Saturday we just spent wheeling and dealing (NOT) at the Mill 77 Flea Market. The only thing she forgot was the part about all the crap falling from the trees that had both of us sneezing and coughing and popping Benedryls. Apparently nature and flea markets just don’t mix-lol!

Ritajos Vintage

http://ritajosvintage.com/2013/06/04/the-fing-egg-plate/

Thanks, Lisa, for giving me a hearty laugh after more than a couple of days of sadness. Have a terrific Tuesday, everyone! Susan

Mill 77 Outdoor Bazaar

This week’s High Five for Friday goes to Mill 77 Trading Company in Amesbury!

Mill 77

As you may recall, yours truly recently entered and won a staging contest at the Mill-yay team Mother Knows Best! Well, this weekend, for one day only (Saturday, June 1), the Mill is hosting their Macy Street Bazaar from 8-noon.

Macy Street Bazaar

This is a monthly outdoor marketplace event featuring many of the inside vendors, as well as outsiders, like myself. I am teaming up with Lisa from RitaJosVintage

Ritajosvintage

to offer a variety of vintage and “junk-tique” wares. By the way, if you haven’t started reading Lisa’s new blog, check it out! You are in for one hilarious ride : ) We will have refurbished furniture (the finished bench, perhaps?), china, glassware, linens and so much more! Please stop by for a visit-we will be there from 8-noon only! Which means we have to be up at the crack of dawn…I take my coffee iced and black, thanks! Here’s a map: Mill 77 Map

It’s a straight shot up 95 north, or just a quick ride from 495 (unless you are using your car’s compass, yes, COMPASS, in which case you may find yourself driving through cow pastures and hayfields…just saying) Have a sunny weekend everyone, hope to see you at the Mill! Susan

Brimming With Fresh Ideas

 

Aqua Thunderbird

Whew! Another epic road trip adventure to Brimfield, via Framingham for a flea market stop and Palmer for an old church fair before we even reached the big show! This was the car after those stops, not much room left…

Brimfield Car Before

But once we had arrived, it was a go! Hours of walking, shopping, chatting and checking out what was hot and what was not. The hotBrimfield Signs Color

 of the year, if I was judging Brimfield trends? Fresh minty green

Mint Lamb

Mint Wicker Table and Dresser

Mint Statues

and pastel blues (ah, my dream truck- if only I had won the mega millions last night!)

Brimfield Aqua Pickup Truck

and not an orange anything in sight. This time it was all about more natural, muted colors

Brimfield Basket Pile Rustic

and pastel hues.

Brimfield Distressed Cupboard and Pitchers

Brimfield Vintage Stove

Worn, distressed, milk-painted and Annie Sloan’d furniture as far as the eye could see!

Aqua Desk

Even an old junky ladder takes on a new life with a coat of distressed blue paint : )

Mint Ladder

And architectural panels become dear hearts with some tin snips, satin ribbon and a few crystal baubles.

Mint Green Tin Heart

This year, the trend seemed to move away from industrial chic, and more into schoolhouse rock. Loads of old desks, chairs, science lab tables and beakers and lockers, lots of lockers.

Brimfield Barn Mint Lockers

“Sign, sign, everywhere a sign

Brimfield Signs Wood

Blockin’ out the scenery, breakin’ my mind

Brimfield Signs Parking

Do this, don’t do that,  can’t you read the sign? “

Brimfield Signs Warning

by the Five Man Electrical Band

Just wondering, where are people getting these signs? They all seemed to be in mint condition- are they climbing up poles under the cloak of darkness and taking them to sell at flea markets? These street signs were everywhere-and so not cheap either!

Along our five mile journey on foot, we came across this booth by Cari Cucksey from Cash & Cari. Loving her re-purposed sign.

Cash and Cari Sign

Her booth had all sorts of cute, remade, recycled products like these old license plate bags.

 Brimfield Cash and Cari License Plate Bags

And piles of plastic letters and numbers- one can only imagine where these originated!

Brimfield Cash and Cari Letters

This year, Nancy & Robin from Vintage Thymes Monthly Market had a fantastic booth representing the Norwood shops- they both look pretty great considering they had been working in a tent for a the past week!

The Girls from Vintage Thymes

As decorating trending goes, so does lighting. While last year’s lamps leaned more towards turbines and propellers, this year’s standouts were Steampunk-meets-Back-To-The-Future-inspired style.

Lighting Industrial Gears

Fanciful, intricate designs from fabulous, creative minds.

Brimfield Lighting Steampunk

Not to be unnoticed, these mid-century crystal beauties from Collection by Kelly McDonnell caught my eye as well.

Brimfield Lighting Crystal Orb Chandelier

What’s a market in farm country without some animals? Horses were big this year (well, they are big as a rule, so popular would be a more appropriate descriptive term)

 Animal Horses Animal Horse Head Animal Horse and Indian

but taxidermy appears to be making a comeback as well. What an angelic face- didn’t even know what hit it!

Animal Doe Head

And who wouldn’t need a gigantic yellow polka dot bear?!? Is the circus in town?

Yellow Dot Bear

Do you think this cage would be big enough?

Brimfield Peacock Cage

These two displays are a study in contrasts: the female mannequins accompanied by an ironing board,

Brimfield Mannequins and Ironing Board

while the male guy (why wasn’t he wearing those jeans, I wonder) was wearing a hard hat. Some things never change…

Brimfield Mannequin Army

Finally, we scored a couple of items: coach discovered this pile of old (well, I think they are old, but after reading Killer Stuff and Tons of Money, you never know what’s been artfully disguised) burlap potato sacks.

Brimfield Potato Sacks

They’re pretty stinky, but have great style and color. I discovered this campy violin shaped coffee table.

Brimfield Coffee Table

The dealer was asking $20, so coach started to walk away. This was the hard sell to me:

Seller Guy: “What do I need to do to make this deal work?”

Me: “You need to make it be shaped like a whale”

Seller Guy (looking befuddled): Why’d you ask me the price if you wanted a whale table and not a violin table?”

Me: “I was thinking I could make it into a whale.”

Seller Guy: “OK, you can have it for $10”   Sometimes it works when you act like you don’t have a clue…

At the end of five hours of traipsing through endless rows of tents, filled with anything and everything, I kind of felt like this guy.

Brimfield Crash Test Dummy

Dusty and exhausted. Destined for a crash landing. Which I did, in the car on the way home…but I can’t wait for July!! Have a sunny Sunday everyone! Susan

Vintage Thymes- Hours Update

Update: Since many of you were confused about the operations hours at the WinSmith Mill Market (me too!), I contacted the owner of Diggin’ Daisys for clarification. Her response: “With the exception of Vintage Thymes which is a Monthly Market,  all of the other shops are opened EVERY weekend.  Most are opened Friday-Sunday, others just Saturday and  Sunday.  Let me know if you or anyone else has any questions.  Thanks, Deb” So there you have it! If you venture down on Friday, you may find a few of the shops closed, but Saturday and Sunday are a sure bet! Happy shopping! Susan

 

Since it was such a beautiful day yesterday, I decided to take a ride down to the south shore to visit a shop that I had been following for awhile on Facebook. When internet browsing recently, I had discovered Vintage Thymes– a Monthly Vintage and Antiques Market

Vintage Thymes

that has its home in an old, refurbished tannery at 61 Endicott Street in Norwood, Mass. What I did not realize, until I actually arrived there, was that Vintage Thymes is a huge co-operative market that shares space inside the WinSmith Mill Market-which has many, many more shops housed in this old mill building! WinSmith Mill Market

Pulling into the parking lot, I immediately spotted a sign for Gallery 2, so I stopped there first. You know it’s gonna be fun when this is the entryway that greets you!

Mill Gallery 2 Entry

Floor after floor of any kind of vintage you can want or imagine! As far as the eye could see, there were sections for lighting, dining, sofas (could have picked up this orange chenille beauty with silver threads for $50!)

Mill Gallery 2 Sofa

clothing, tools and essentially anything else under the sun.

Mill Gallery 2 showroom

Exiting that first building, I made my way over to the WinSmith Mill Market, vintage nirvana. First stop was The Old Bean Antiques, chock full of amazing one-of-a-kind pieces,

 Old Bean Wagon

including this horse-drawn carriage! As I was standing there chatting with the owner, I was contemplating how I was going to get that home, and how nice it would look in front of the barn…do you think Coach would notice?

Mill Old Bean Carriage

From there, I walked through the double doors into Vintage Thymes, which is a giant showroom with little booths set up side by side.

Vintage Thymes

Kind of like Brimfield but without the tents and hot sunshine and muddy shoes.  I met one of the owners, Nancy Murphy, who gave me a tour and chatted about the concept. Being open one weekend per month gives the dealers time to refresh and redesign their spaces. Vintage Thymes changes up the theme as well-this month is Vintage Kitchen-so each visit will be like your first, with all new offerings and merchandise. You’d better get there early, though-apparently the local designers and dealers hit the ground running on the Friday mornings for first pickins’!  Each vignette had its own unique character, but all with a common theme: reclaimed, recycled, refurbished vintage furniture and accessories.

Vintage Thymes  Hanging Frame

Most had a small sign or business cards available to ID their spaces, but they all blend seamlessly together into a beautiful showroom with one centralized cashier area.

Vintage Thymes

A couple of my favorites (although by no means a complete listing- there are so many great booths!!) Modern Vintage Design Studio– the gorgeous pastel hand-painted distressed signs caught my eye.

Modern Vintage Design Studios

Sadie Wyatt is an adorable space filled with a soft, natural look of old time charm.

Vintage Thymes Sadie Wyatt

Exited through another doorway into a long hallway where I discovered room after room filled with more beautiful finds! Some of these shops, unlike Vintage Thymes, are individually owned, with proprieters having previously been part of the co-operative, then being so successful they branched out on their own. The Queen of Olde’s welcoming space was so sweet and country pretty, all decked out in pinks and blues.

Mill Queen of Olde

Down the hall was the Vintage Peacock-loving that painted mustard dresser!

Mill Vintage Peacock

From there, I met Deb, the owner of Diggin’ Daisies, another shop I had discovered online. As I was browsing, I overheard her chatting with some fellow shop owners about “the girl from Wakefield who is coming all the way down here!”- they were amazed that people were travelling from the North Shore and Cape Cod to check out this newly opened marketplace (since November 2012). I can assure you, if you are a lover of vintage and antique collectibles, it is well worth the trip.

 Diggin' Daisys

She was so gracious (as was everyone I encountered!!) and she took me on a tour, explaining all of the booths and introducing me to many of the vendors. It was difficult to keep it all straight! Upstairs I discovered the Salvage Angel, Salvage Angel

Winsmith Mill

Furnichicks, and Renewed, Reloved, who was celebrating her grand opening, offering beautifully painted furniture. Best of luck, Krista!!

Mill Renewed Reloved

And finally, POSH Vintage Upscale Boutique, comfortably decorated rooms with everything from vintage clothing to refurbished furniture.  POSH Mantel

Obsessed with this aqua painted cupboard…if only I had another wall in my house.

POSH

So that’s my virtual tour of WinSmith Mill Market. It took me a few hours to make my way around to all of the shops, but everyone was incredibly friendly and eager to share their story and offering refreshments too. There are so many more that I just didn’t have room to mention in this blog post. From the looks of the throngs of people streaming into the buildings and heading out with their treasures, it is a huge success! Today is the last day for this month’s Vintage Thymes Market, so head on over to see for yourself, and tell Nancy that Sue from Country Design Home sent you : ) Just remember to Spring Forward, everyone!! Susan

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Mission Accomplished

I just realized that it has been 2 weeks since my last post! Sorry about that, dear readers, but I was on a mission- literally. When I told people I was headed to the Dominican Republic for a quick vacation, their typical response was “Oh, lucky you, the Dominican is so beautiful!” The scenery was indeed, quite breathtaking, as this is a land of great beauty,

scenic vista

but also a land of devastating poverty,

Store front Puerto Plata

that which we experienced first hand during our week-long stay. Coach and I, through the Mustard Seed Communities, accompanied sixteen high school-aged boys from the north shore of Boston, to the Dominican Republic to work at an orphanage for developmentally challenged children: Hogar Immanuel in Sosua, just outside of Puerto Plata.

Mustard Seed        fairy

Anyone who is concerned about the youth of America need to look no further than these extraordinary young men to be reassured that the future of our country will be in good hands. These boys were funny, smart, energetic, engaging and very eager to pitch in to do whatever task awaited them, whether it was feeding the helpless, wheelchair-bound children

feeding Estevan

or cleaning and painting the village playground.

boys painting

Even the local villagers pitched in! (of course, it was rather difficult to explain, in Spanish, why they shouldn’t get oil paint on their hands!!! What a mess!!

locals painting                            painting the playground

While some of their classmates were hitting the slopes in the mountains or sunning themselves on some sunny island during their February vacation, these young men willingly gave up their precious time to volunteer for a cause they believed in. Through Mustard Seed, they were able to see first hand how the impoverished side-away from the fancy restaurants and resorts- of the Dominican operates, and how desperate the need for help is on a daily basis.

Mustard Seed LogoThe Mustard Seed Communities organization was founded in 1978 in Jamaica to service abandoned orphans, most of whom were either ill with HIV/AIDS or severely physically and mentally challenged. From their website: “Mustard Seed Communities has focused on abandoned children with disabilities for several reasons, the most obvious being that these children are the most defenseless in any community. Mustard Seed Communities provides care and shelter for children with severe disabilities”.

Hogar children

The Mustard Seed orphanage Hogar Immanuel in Sosua itself is quite bright and cheerful, and the twenty children that reside there are lovingly cared for by an amazing staff who spend their days feeding, dressing, bathing and entertaining them. The majority of the work is back-breaking, lifting heavy children in and out of bunks and wheelchairs, doing mountains of continuous laundry and preparing food in giant pots three times daily.

laundry

This is the work of angels, and the workers- primarily women- do it all with smiles on their faces and hugs all around. They use whatever available resources they have to create a warm and welcoming environment for the children and volunteers alike.

rug and basketball                               striped rug

These beautiful rugs were created from the leftover plastic diaper packaging- what a great idea! Brilliantly colored, sturdy and easily cleaned with a hose or sponge, they were perfect for blocking the sun, as well as using for mats on the floor.  The children of the village surrounding the orphanage-mainly in bare feet and hand-me-down ragged clothing-come from little.

village laundry

Some not privileged enough to even attend elementary school,  and living in the open shacks with barbed wire fences they called home, they were unfailingly happy and so excited to meet and play with our boys.

bball boys

One of the most dire areas we visited was Christ in the Garbage Ministries, located just a few short miles from the orphanage.

Christ in the Garbage

Here, local Haitian immigrants spend their days in the blazing hot sun picking rotting food, discarded clothing and anything recyclable to sustain themselves and their families. The sight of young men, old women and even some children dressed in rags walking over mountains of fly-infested garbage and filth was overwhelming, to say the least. Through the Mustard Seed Ministry, we spent one afternoon packing up a hundred food packages, then distributing them to these poorest of the poor.

Food Packages

A small contribution, indeed, to these starving and desperate people, but Mustard Seed continues to provide for them, and has set up a school for the local children as well.  To learn more about Mustard Seed, and possible ways to help and contribute to their extraordinary programs, click here        Mustard Seed Logo

So, that’s where I was on my winter vacation.

Palm tree sunset

Restful and relaxing? Not. Amazing, enlightening and incredibly rewarding? Absolutely! Was I happy to return home to clean, hot, running water, a microwave oven and snow? You bet! The greatest lesson I learned this week? Don’t sweat the small stuff, and don’t take anything for granted- we have so much more than so many. Have a sunny Sunday everyone, no matter where on earth you are! Susan

Same Old Story…

…same old song and dams!! After a day of shoveling and clearing off snow-covered paths and cars, Coach and I were resting our weary bones next to a roaring fire last night, having nachos and beer and watching reruns of Pawn Stars (I know, but how many on demand movies can you watch in a day when you are trapped inside!?!) When all of a sudden, I hear it: drip, drip, drip. Like Edgar Allen Poe’s Telltale Heart, the sounds grow louder, pounding into my consciousness with each drop until the deafening waves can no longer be ignored! (well, that’s a bit of an exaggeration, but you get the idea…) Looking up, I notice the tiny drops along the ceiling moldings that are slowly spiraling their way down my freshly-painted walls!

Ceiling Drips

Ice Dams!!!! For those of you blissfully unaware of this natural phenomenon, according to Wikipedia: “An ice dam (or ice jam) occurs when water builds up behind a blockage of ice. Ice dams can occur in various ways which include a glacier blocking an unfrozen river and a thawing river being blocked by a still-frozen section further on.  This is a pic I took in Alaska from a ship- beautiful, right?!

Alaskan Glacier

On a small scale the term can be used for ice blockages of gutters and spouts on buildings.”  Not so pretty.

roof ice dam diagram

In above diagram you can see how the ice dam forms on a building:  inadequate insulation, incorrect pitch in the roof, no ridge or soffit vents, multiple roof lines causing areas of built up icicles- all of those conditions are present in our old house. What you don’t see is Coach up on the lower roof with a hammer and a roof rake removing the glacier of snow that piled there during the storm on Friday night.

roof hammer

roof rake

These pics are taken from my upstairs bath window. I think Coach takes some kind of pleasure taking a hammer to our old house.

roof coach

Yes, much like the House of Seven Gables of Nathaniel Hawthorne fame, we have many roofs-or is that rooves-hmm…

roof gables

Our original 1850’s home was a small cape with a deeply pitched roof. Add a few rooms and a porch, and you have a recipe for ice dam disaster. This is Coach on the roof, shoveling off the six foot snow dune sitting over my family room!!! Now you may wonder where I was during all of this roof-climbing and snow raking…I was inside taking care of the dog. She is scared by the sound of pounding on the roof! Right.

roof dune

The confluence of roof lines causes large icicles to form on the upper roofs, which then drip down onto the lower roofs, resulting in multiple areas of built up ice dams that then leak back into the house and leads to the drips down the inside walls.

roof ice

Damn!! We have tried caulking, adding a rubber ice shield roof, heating cables, but nothing has prevented the return of the ice dam after a big snow storm. Now, looking at the front of the house with the gigantic icicles dangling ( just waiting for some unsuspecting mailman), you would think that would be the problem area.

roof icicles

Not so, because those just melt and fall harmlessly to the ground. Which in the spring leads to another problem, the leaky fieldstone foundation. But that’s a story for another blog. Of course, in the overall scheme of things, a bit of a drip is not a big deal, while in other places folks are being evacuated as their homes along the coastline are being swept out to sea.  And we have had a reprieve of sorts, with the weather being so mild the past few winters. So, it’s time to venture back downstairs to see if there was more dripping overnight. And do a bit more digging out.

roof view of street

And wait for spring, which is just a few short weeks away!! Have a (hopefully) sunny and safe Sunday everyone!! Susan

“Fall”ing for Vintage Flair

Taking advantage of another gorgeous fall Sunday, Coach and I headed back to the Vintage Bazaar at Pettengill Farm in Salisbury, Mass. If you recall, we visited back in the spring, and instantly fell for the vibe of this rustic country bazaar. If you love re-furbished antiques and junque, like these adorable re-purposed suitcases from Yellow Chair Market  from Melrose, Ma.

or this stunningly colorful repurposed silver-turned-enamelware by BMc Vintage Design Studio)

or just taking in a quintessentially New England fall fair, this is a go-to destination! I love the sights and sounds of a fall country fair featuring live music, local foods and hundreds of shoppers happily strolling though the fields filled with imaginative offerings. Where else could you find life-sized pumpkin people

or perfectly pretty hand-crafted ceramic teacups and plates from Elizabeth Benotti

and funky furniture from her sister from My Simple Home Life who Renovates, Revamps and Remakes castoffs?

We discovered unique shelving and benches created from old wooden palettes,

all-natural, deliciously flavored goat milk soap from Magic Moon Soapworks (great for the complexion, I am told)

and spectacular re-purposed glass flowers spilling out of a garden pot from Creative Glass Works?  Creative Glass Works BostonOn our previous visit, we had discovered the work of Jess from Jwrobel, an artisan who re-cycles time-worn pieces into new treasures. Loving this bench re-purposed from an old headboard.  

The folks from a new vintage shop in Newburyport called Ivy Lane

were introducing an eco-friendly line of yummy paints and waxes from CeCe Caldwell. Even the quart containers are bio-degradable! Can’t wait to try these on my next D.I.M. project!

This time around, the fair was sharing their grounds with a vintage motorcyle show. This sparkling aqua Harley-Davidson was a show-stopper.

Can you imagine me out and about on this so pretty pink Vespa?!?

The vendor was trying desperately to entice me to purchase one (for a mere $4,000!), and I was strangely drawn to this PINK bike, until she mentioned the hot pink matching helmet. Yeah, my hair and helmets, not so much. Just a bad hair day waiting to happen. Move on.

Pettengill Farm, “a flower farm of distinction” that hosts this bi-annual vintage bazaar is a charming family-owned endeavor, with just the right touches of vintage and modern scattered throughout the property. These “cat shovels” were cute (I cheer whenever I see something that may have ended in a land-fill being repurposed into something fun and decorative) This recycled ostrich sculpture is fun- I think he would have looked great in Coach’s garden!

Kept spotting these peacefully charming fish sculptures scattered throughout the gardens

so I floated on over to “Fish in the Garden“. These life-like creatures are created from ceramic and stainless steel, and they curve in a way that mimics a school of fish. Lovely. Peaceful.

Along the way we ran into some local friends who had read my previous June blog about the Vintage Bazaar and decided to check out the fair for themselves. They were having a great time, with grandchildren in tow wearing crazy balloon animal hats. Happy to discover that my blog is reaching and informing my readers, and that helps to reinforce the small part I play in the blogging world. Have a terrific Tuesday everyone! Susan

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