Last weekend a car full of my coworkers and I went to the Brimfield Antique Show in Brimfield, MA. We were originally going to go back to the Raynham, MA Flea Market, but that one isn't open on Saturdays. I had originally read about the Brimfield one, which is on a few times a year, in the Martha Stewart Living Magazine. I met my corworkers who live in North Adams, MA at the Lee Outlets, and it was about a two hour drive total. It was totally worth the distance though.
One of my coworkers naively thought we could or should see the whole thing. This thing is monstrous. We got there pretty early, and still couldn't really see it all. By shopping around we only paid $3 for parking, which was pretty good because there were $5 and $7 lots right next to that lot. I got a crazy amount of stuff: one green polka dot dress, one brightly colored floral dress, a schnauzer brooch (we had one of those dogs when I was a kid), a cookbook from 1930 about hot weather dishes, a plate to hang on the wall that has a cool illustration of Canada, a cool white frame with an awful painting of a cat (I just wanted the frame), some needlepoint projects that were framed, an awesome big bag of vintage table linens for a $1, and a huge metal "L". We also liked the food. I got some spicy nuts:
Here are some ways I have incorporated my flea market finds into my home:
Big metal letter "L", awesome yes?
You may or may not recognize him as from the label of the Chateau Lafayette Reneau Northern White. I bought that frame at the flea market with an awful cat painting. Then, we went on vacation to the Finger Lakes and right when we walked into the tasting room we spotted that you could buy him for $5. Another couple was standing there and said "You guys are obsessed with him? We are obsessed with him too!" Totally awesome. When we walked in to our house when we got back from our vacation, I immediately unrolled the poster and saw how well it fit in the flea market frame and knew it was meant to be! Adorable!
This is one of the cool antique textiles I got in a huge bag for a dollar. I'm never sure what I will do with things like these, but I know there are cool things to be done with them. I just have this one hanging up in my bathroom, and I am sure the other ones in the big pile will speak to me eventually. That might have been one of the most fun parts of the flea market experience - my boss and I standing knee deep in vintage table linens, me ruffling through them exclaiming "We should have been textile conservators!"
Needlepoint wall! I painted the frames to make them look a little less old-timey.
I was on quite the redecorating kick on the second half of my vacation. I talked a bit about my feelings on the subject at the end of this post. I think ultimately that old things make me feel that our house has a bit of history (which it doesn't because it is new, but whatever), which leads me to think of stability, but I think I also want to indicate a bit that we are still young and have a sense of humor. It is a bit like a farmhouse (that is actually a modern condo) where we will offer you a freshly baked-from-scratch pie with just-picked produce, but then talk about the newest hilarious HBO show. Completely modern in outlook, but with linen napkins at dinner with quaint flowers embroidered on them. You know, a bit like how Joy the Baker talks about old school ingredients like buttermilk and bourbon, but also quotes lame Black Eye Pea lyrics.
I know I sound quite torn. I think there is also the conflict between displaying your own personal history and keeping to a color scheme or a Pinterest-y ideal. Does that teapot I bought in Amsterdam when I was 17 match the rest of my dining room? Who cares, I bought it in Amsterdam when I was 17, maybe the dining room should accommodate the teapot? Oh, so confusing.
Anyways, I think I did great at the flea market! My advice to you is browse the Pottery Barn catalog as much as you want, and for sure go for their glasses and cocktail-making accessories, but when it comes to frames and decorative arts items you can do much better at the flea market. It is on again in September, and I'd love to go back!