What Is This Worth?

For those of you who subscribe to Country Living Magazine (and, I mean, who doesn’t ?!?), you are aware of their monthly feature entitled “What Is It Worth?”. For those of you who do not, this is where folks send photos of interesting old and antique items to find out what they are and how much they might be worth. If you are a picker like Coach, you are always hoping to find that one amazing item that you rescue from a throw-away box for a couple of bucks, only to discover that its worth thousands…or perhaps millions!! Well, that probably never happens, but he has managed to find a few gems along the way…like this thing…Gould & Cook Pencil Sharpener

He had picked it up at a yard sale, and it was hanging around the barn in a box for awhile when I finally asked him what it was-he had no idea, thinking it was an antique portable sander of some sort. So I said “well, we should bring this to the barn, someone will like it.” And so we did. Long story short, a customer informed us of its true origins and usage-and we were astonished-not only at its intended use, but its value! Do you know have an inkling as what to this contraption really is and what it is used for???

Click on our Ebay link below to get the story behind the story.

EbayHere’s hoping you find your one in a million treasure! And for all of you out there in peril’s way, please be safe…you are all in our thoughts and prayers. xoxo Susan

 

 

Junk ‘n History

Over the past year, I have researched and blogged about so many topics, including some of my favorite DIY projects like my shutter slat table

Patio Set finished

Reclaimed Shutter Slat Table

and my preppy pin-striped whale coffee table

Whale Table with Eye

Preppy Pin-Striped Whale Table

and scrumptious recipes,

Smores Popcorn Trays

Yummy S’Mores Popcorn!

our travels, both at home

Maine Two Beers Please

Two Beers Please!

and abroad,

village laundry

Village Laundry Dominican Republic

and all kinds of fabulous country-style decorating ideas.

Summer Porch Country Design Home

But I have to say, of all the topics I have blogged about, vintage and flea markets, antique sales and auctions have won this recycled, repurposed, reloved girl’s heart! So, in order to share that love of junk and fabulous finds with all of you, I have created a special new category called Junk ‘n History. It appears in the left hand column of my blog home page. There you will find the links of many of my favorite blog posts featuring not only our fabulous finds at places like The Vintage Bazaar @ Pettengill Farm,

Chicken @ Vintage Bazaar

The Vintage Thymes Monthly Market @ WinSmith Mill Marketplace,

Vintage Thymes

The Elephant’s Trunk in Connecticut,

Flea Jaws

The Brimfield Antiques Show,

Brimfield Crash Test Dummy

and the SOWA Open Market in Boston,

SOWA Market

but also the story behind the story. I like to share where the market originated, who runs the place and what do they offer for the avid flea market junkie. From this day forward, I am making it my mission to find the best (and the worst-remember the hairy guy getting a massage-yuck!) of the flea marketing world. To date, Coach and I have travelled all around Massachusetts, as well as New Hampshire, Maine & Connecticut in search of the best places to find treasures and trinkets, but I am certain we have not even scratched the surface of the flea market world! So now, we need your help! We are hitting the road again in a couple of weeks,

Aqua Thunderbird

and are searching for new places to explore and share with you! This time around, we are heading out by auto, so we are sticking to the Eastern part of the US. If you have a great flea market or antiques co-op in your area, or even a cute little town where there are lots of shops to browse in, drop me an email @ countrydesignhome@gmail.com, post in the comment section here or on my Twitter or Facebook pages. Your market or auction can be indoors or out, seasonal or year-round, but it must be some sort of medium to large-scale, co-operative effort (we are not looking for local yard sales or single antique shops, for instance). It must have interesting and colorful stuff,

Flea Circus Sutdent Desks

Flea Circus

old and refurbished or freshly dug out of the barn stuff,

Vintage Collection from Repurpose Shop

fun and funny stuff,

Flea Soldier

Elephant Trunk Flea

painted stuff,

Yellow Dot Bear

The Yellow Bear at Brimfield

just plain old stuff

Mill Old Bean Carriage

The Old Bean

or even gilded gold stuff.

Flea Trinkets

Gilded trinkets at The Elephants Trunk

Doesn’t matter, as long as we can shop there, learn a little about the history of the place and share that information with my readers.  And, for all of you who are lusting after the amazing items Coach and I (well, mostly Coach) have dug up at the various sales, shortly we will be introducing his new Etsy page: Junk ‘n History. Here you will find many of his favorite items (well, except the anchor, we can’t ship an anchor…)

Anchor

available for purchase. So, dear readers, you’re up-start sharing your auctions, fleas and markets now! We will need the name of the place, an address or town and hopefully a website or link to the Facebook or Twitter page for reference. The more the merrier, we just need to know soon so we can chart our path for the upcoming road trip. (thankfully, it’s summer, so this is probably not likely to happen, but you never know…)

snow in lap

And, from this point forward, Fridays will be now known as Fabulous Finds Friday. Whatever we find, we will share with all of you! Have a fabulous Friday 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

To Market We Go!!

It’s Wanderlust Wednesday, and this past couple of weeks Coach and I have been driving all around the Boston area. Logged 185 miles in one day last weekend, pickin’ and junkin’ and packing up the CRV!

Market Odometer

Why, you ask!? Well, I have finally decided to put my money where my blog is and join the Vintage Thymes Monthly Market beginning in May-so excited!!! This is my empty booth, waiting for some country design treasures…

Market Space Before

The first time I ventured down to visit the WinSmith Mill Market (remember that whole “snow through the sunroof“, mixing up photos fiasco!?), I was completely impressed by the all of the shops, but my attention was drawn to the Vintage Thymes Monthly Market in particular.

 Vintage Thymes Monthly Market

I loved the feel of the old tannery space, with soaring ceilings and wooden floors, with shoppers everywhere clutching their newly prized possessions, reminiscent of a bustling General Store offering vintage goods and wares. Busy as it was, one of the owners, Nancy Murphy, spent time with me chatting about the Market, the participating vendors and their goals and aspirations. It became clear to me that this is way more than just a job for her, it is a passion, one that is shared by millions of others out there who love to refurbish and recycle and make what was once old, new and beautiful again. And since we have a barn full of “junque”, and Coach is adding to the collection daily, like this gorgeous red Radio Flyer wagon we found over the weekend… Radio Flyer Wagon

…I figured it was high time to join in the fun! So, beginning the weekend of May 10, 11 and 12th, I will be offering a carefully curated collection of  of antiques and vintage goods,

Market Tasco Sign

reflecting the simple casual country style I love to feature in my blog posts. LOVE this old crackled scale…

Market Simmons Scale

Some of the items are untouched and will be offered as they were discovered at estate sales and auctions (minus the dust and cobwebs)

Vintage Aqua Ice Cream Maker

but many pieces have required painting & polishing, (like this pink commode I wrote about in “Coming Unhinged” a couple of weeks ago)

Market Pink Commode

and staining and waxing as well. This is the table I decorated with the wax paper printer transfer technique in “Waxing Nostalgic

 Cacao Telephone Table

To give you an idea of what will be available, I have added a Pinterest Board: Vintage Thymes Monthly Market, that you can visit.

Wooden Footstool with Rubber Treads

This month’s theme is Mom’s Garden, so you can expect to see quite a bit of garden-inspired furniture and accessories. (and, yes, that’s a real anchor- Coach dragged it home last weekend- what the heck am I supposed to do with that!?)

Anchor

Not everything posted there will be available each month, as I only have so much room in my booth!  And once it’s sold, it’s gone, and I will mark it as such on the Pinterest board. Some things will have a “before” pic, and once I complete the refurbishing, I will post the “after” as well. I adore this dreamy mint farmhouse table, but it did need a lot of TLC. Wait til you see the after!!   Market Mint Table

I will be pinning additional items as the date gets closer, so check back often, and if you see something you must have, drop me an email @ countrydesignhome@gmail.com and I will see if I can squeeze it into the CRV! OK, back to work…see you in May! Susan

Simply ReMARKable Finds

Two weekends ago I visited the WinSmith Mill Market and, as I usually do when I find something awesome, I blogged about it. Because I really didn’t fully understand the size of the place and the amount of vendors doing business there, I spent many hours shopping and researching, and did my best to make sure I covered all the bases when giving out the information. In a couple of instances, I got it wrong, so I would like to correct that now, once and for all. Upon entering the parking lot at 61 Endicott Street, I saw the first building, where I encountered the shops called ReMARKables and Gallery 2.

Gallery 2 Entrance

Perhaps it was due to the mild head injury I experienced with the snow/sun roof incident prior to my arrival, or the sparkly stars hanging above the entrance, but I got the signs confused and used photos from one space that were actually of the other!

Remarkables Bed Springs

I received a lovely email from the store manager Arlene, who had seen the blog and noticed the photo mixup. (I mean, who could confuse where this sofa came from?!)

ReMARKables Sofa

She, in fact, informed me that she had spoken to the owner Mark (more about him in a moment) about making the signs clearer, as many customers are just as confused. So, I returned to the scene this past weekend, met Arlene and got a little background information about the two shops: ReMARKables (the large warehouse filled with stuff owned by- you guessed it- MARK Waters)

ReMARKable showroom

and Gallery 2 (which is a little vintage shop in the same warehouse building, curated by Deb, the owner). ReMARKables Cleanouts is a family-owned cleanout service with over ten years of experience.

ReMARKables Cleanouts Truck

What started as Mark hauling stuff out of houses and into his garage has morphed into the enormous warehouse space you see in these photos.

Remarkables Sofas

You name it, they have it- lots of it- and its anything and everything, both vintage- like this amazing Maytag Washer,

Remarkables Maytag Washer

and modern- loving this  dining set: )

Remarkables Dining Set

can be had for a great price (Edith actually bought the shelf itself-minus the china!)

Remarkables Shelves

ReMarkables also holds a monthly auction, and some of the goods are set aside for that purpose- you cannot purchase them until the auction. The next one is scheduled for Friday, March 22 at the Norwood Commerce Center, where the Mill is located. For more information about the auction, you can contact them at 781-352-3162.  Gallery 2 is a small shop that is filled with vintage pieces, like these glamorous furs,

Gallery 2 Fur Coats

these adorable children’s books

Gallery 2 Children's Books

and these vintage office supplies (loving the table fan!)

Gallery 2 Vintage Typewriter

Deb , the owner, says that she started out with hats and bags, and has grown her shop into a warm and welcoming space that offers jewelry, vintage gowns and some pretty, pretty vintage decor.

Gallery 2 Showroom

Below is a legend that is on the WinSmith Mill Market Facebook Page. Once again, this market is housed in the Norwood Commerce Center @ 61 Endicott, and is open on weekends only.

Winsmith Market Legend

Although it is difficult to see, you can identify that there are 4 separate, but adjacent builings that house all of the shops listed. Some shops, like Vintage Peacock and Vintage Thymes, which are downstairs in building 23/24, are actually more of a co-op, where many vendors share the space to sell their wares. Other shops, like  The Old Bean Antiques, are separately owned and operated.

Mill Old Bean Wagon

I can also tell you that many of these shops do not have websites, but some do have Facebook pages where you can find general information. According to the WinSmith Market Facebook Information, the hours of operation are: Friday and Saturday 9am-6pm and Sundays from 12-5pm. (this is directly from the information page) For additional information you can contact them at Sre@61endicott.com One exception: The Vintage Thymes Monthly Market is just that- a MONTHLY Market, and is generally open on the second weekend of every month (Friday through Sunday).

Vintage Thymes Monthly Market

For more info about their upcoming schedule, you can click here. So, I hope this clears up any confusion about the hours of operation and the shops. For any additional information, my best advice is to contact the WinSmith Mill Market email listed above or better yet, take a ride down  (or up) there to see what all the fuss is about- you will NOT be disappointed! These past two weekends I visited more shops that are not listed on the legend above, but are included in the one below I found while shopping on Saturday.

Mill Map

So I am assuming that means that new shops are opening quickly as the word spreads, which is a good thing for you! Hope you are having a remarkable day! Susan

Have a Whale of a Fourth!!

Before heading into Boston today to view the Tall Ships via Hestia Cruises (an early birthday gift from our kids : ), I was excited to give Mr. Whale the coffee table a new look. As soon as I saw him at the yard sale this past weekend, I knew he just needed a fresh face to return him to his former maritime glory! Since our back porch is red, white and blue, it only seemed appropriate to make him the patriotic focal point. Mr. Whale before:

During the transformation process: the whale wash

Sanding off the old shiny varnish

Painting the base (Coach did this while I was at work- one less thing for me!)

Designing the pattern (best not to do this after a long work day and a couple of wine coolers-makes for many mis-measures)

Taping off the design

first coat of red stripes (remember 7red, 6white…7red, 6white) taping makes for perfectly straight rows and sharp, clean edges

Addition of the stars on the blue background these little stickers were perfect as a stencil- stick on, spray over, peel off when dry! Couldn’t fit 50 stars, so decided to go with a random, funky look instead. My apologies to Robert G. Heft, the schoolboy who designed our current 50 star American flag for a school project…for which he received a B-!!!

Unfortunately, today is a damp, rainy one. Not great for Tall Ships viewing, and certainly not great for painting and glazing whales out on our makeshift workshop on the porch. Sooooo, here is Mr. Whale- patiently awaiting his glaze finish. Moby Dick never looked this good : )

Left to do (once the air dries and the sun comes out):

1. Sand one last time for a truly rustic, aged appearance

2. Antique glazing to add a touch of shine and protect Mr. Whale from the elements

3. Enjoy our new coffee table!!!

Have a whale of a Fourth everyone!! Susan

That’s A Crock!

Once again, this weekend flew by, along with my best intentions to work on the Hall of Shame. I know, it’s getting to be old news by now. But it was just so darn hot, especially in the hall, where heat rises and turns the upstairs into an inferno. The alternative? Hit the road in the CRV with the AC and music cranked up, on yet another trash to treasures hunt. Had some major scores, including these pretty vintage fruit compotes ($1.00!), this amazing pressed glass punch bowl set ($5.00!) and

…my new favorite piece of porch furniture- meet Mr. Whale!!! I have been searching for quite some time for a whale coffee table to replace one that Coach and I had acquired for our first apartment- is it possible that was 30+ years ago!?! Not sure why we ever gave it away the first time, but I am so happy to give this little guy a new home. We had (shall I say it?) a whale wash today, and it will be sanded, primed and painted, hopefully in time to celebrate the 4th in patriotic fashion. After a few yard sales, we made the trip to Todd Farm in Rowley, still searching for a final piece for the porch- a couch. Although I think we have done a fine job of filling the porch with vintage wicker, Coach has complained loudly and often that he needs a couch for his afternoon siesta. After months of fruitlessly searching yard sales, antique shops and

craigslist, we came upon this vintage Benchcraft rattan sofa. Vintage is putting it nicely. It is smelly, dirty, has UGLY cushions and some unexpected guests-yuck! These creepy little things started crawling out of the sides when we were hiking it up on to the roof rack. Brought back memories of Rod Serling’s Night Gallery– remember the episode when the earwig laid eggs in the guy’s brain and they hatched?!?!?!? Not sure if I will ever be able to lay down on this couch, but the reno has begun in ernest. Washed, bleached, cushions tossed. Stay tuned for the final results.

Along with the couch, Coach picked up yet another crock for his growing collection, this one a George Washington Commemorative Crock! (Click the link if you would like one of your very own)

Him being a history teacher and all, anything presidential always peaks his interest. Me being married to a history teacher, I am all about learning important historical origins. So I wanted to find out where the phrase “that’s a crock of Sxxx!“came from. Let’s just say the Romans could have used a little indoor plumbing while waxing philosophical.

Walking along the dusty paths of Todd Farm, saw some really cute vintage yellow kitchenware I love it when the dealers actually bring some sense of order and style to their offerings like these stacks of vintage crates

Anyone got the time?

I am kicking myself for not buying this beautiful set of Virgina Glassware- Tangerine Tango!!

But I am not kicking myself for not buying this clock. Vintage and pretty, but not sure if it worked (if there is a worm stuck on the second hand, does that slow the time?) and just saw it listed on Ebay for $10 less than the dealer wanted. Phew!

So that’s a wrap (gotta find out where that saying came from). Time to start sanding Mr. Whale. For those of you who have the whole week of the 4th off, have a great vacation! For the rest of you, does anyone have a red,white and blue punch recipe? If you do, send it to me at countrydesignhome@gmail.com and I will post it! Susan

Filled to the “Brim”

We spent Saturday tromping through the fields of The Brimfield Antiques Show, “The world’s largest outdoor antique show”. One mile in length, scattered over 23 fields, with over 3000 dealers and 130,000 visitors that shop during the four show days, Brimfield is an adventure, to be sure. After spending the better part of 8 hours sorting through tents of refurbished furniture, industrial re-makes, textiles, bric-a-brac and other assorted “junktiques”, I can honestly say that I have had more than my fill of “treasure hunting”- at least for a while.  So many vendors, so little time…so I am just going to show you a few highlights here.

Color was the name of the game, like this row of pretty vintage dresses hanging in the sunshine. The landscape was littered with painted pots, buckets, stools, signs- anything you could paint got a splash of color- sometimes with good results, sometimes not so much.

Late in the afternoon I stumbled upon (literally, I was sunburned, sick, hungry and about to call it quits) this lovely tent from Windham, Maine, by the girls from My Sister’s Garage. Beautifully decorated, it had more the appearance of a lovely shabby chic showroom than the random piles of goods many dealers had laying around on the ground. Rejuvinated, I moved on to Beth Hylan Designs, another pretty booth featuring vintage creations by Beth, next to her partners from Nesting on Main, another lovely tent at the show.  The next stop was at Painted Pretty– and boy was it ever! The show-tent pulled me in with the color palette- teals and grays and black- so country pretty! I had seen badly re-painted furniture all day long, so I was so impressed with the quality and the beauty of their work. (By the way, they sell at the SoWa Vintage Market in Boston- definitely worth the trip if you are in the market for a vintage painted piece).

And the winner is..Industrial Chic! This table from Vintage Studios is an example of what you can do with some old factory parts, ingenuity and a lot of heavy lifting.

The biggest presence at the fair (other than those blue glazed jugs that seemed to be on every single table!) – was Industrial. If it came from an old warehouse, factory, barn or henhouse, someone up-cycled and re-purposed it into a bed, desk, sign, table, lamp, bench or light fixture. The more rustic and rustier the better. AMAZING. Got some great ideas for the Barn Workshop Project (details soon)

So with that I will leave you with a few more images of the best of the day, like these fabulous woven bags by Ahinsa Lifetime Weavers or these colorfully painted stools…and if you were wishing you had gone to “The Show”which I guess you could call the Big Leagues of Antiquing, don’t fret, they’ll be back in July! Signing off to put more sunburn cream on my face… Susan

Antiquing Essex

Sunday was yet another glorious day here in the Bay State. Warm & sunny, not a cloud in the sky-not bad for March 18! Time to take the shrink-wrap off the porch. Huh?! Well, last fall we had our old deck enclosed and transformed into a screened-in porch. We didn’t have much time to enjoy it before the winter months were upon us, so rather than packing away all of the furniture and accessories that we had flea-marketed last fall, we decided to wrap the porch in plastic, creating a greenhouse effect while protecting the freshly painted wicker. They shrink-wrap boats, don’t they?! Turns out that since it was such a nice winter, we actually were able to use the porch for sitting and enjoying the outdoors, without actually being outdoors, all winter long.  Now that the plastic is gone it’s time to shop for some porch decor- going with the simple pretty country style- lots of red, white and blue, wicker and old wood and iron.

Our first stop was Essex, a pretty little Cape Ann town (pop. 3500) steeped in ship-building history- a go to destination for a leisurely afternoon drive. The town center is surrounded by marsh lands and the Essex River, which leads out to the Atlantic Ocean. Just 25 miles north of Boston, Essex is known for its art galleries, funky antique shops and delicious and plentiful seafood, especially lobster and fried clams. Legend has it the “Chubby” Woodman invented the fried clam back in the early 20th century. On any given summer day, you will find the long lines of hungry tourists and locals alike waiting patiently in lines that snake around the building and down the street for a taste of Woodmans fresh seafood.

Antiquing in Essex is an adventure, and the old saying “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure” surely comes to mind. Most of the shops are housed in antique village homes -full of charm and character-each room stuffed to the rafters with junk/treasures. You never know what you might find as you make your way through the packed, narrow hallways and into the yards and sheds of the shops, most of which are within walking distance of one another. Because of its rich maritime history, there is an abundance of nautical art and artifacts available. Everything from buoys to boat models, lobstah traps, maps and brass are available, all prices negotiable.

We came to Essex searching for some hanging pieces to create lighting for the porch. Beyond excited to find these rusted old planters, soon to be transformed into hanging lights for the porch, that will add more of that vintage country style that we love. Pics to follow (once I figure out how to make them). Happy Spring, everyone!

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