Snow. Yes, please!

Oh, how I love the snow…..

Oh, I don’t mean that I want to go outside! No skiing, sledding or snowshoeing for

me. I, all cozy and warm,  just want to look up from my work to see it piling up all day.
And, to be there, at my window, when the deep purple dusk arrives, the Christmas
lights come on and all is well in my world.

Merry Christmas

The wreathes are all hung.

On the cupboards…..

On the barn doors…..
On the telephone booths…..
All that’s left to do is to say that we wish you, good friends, old and new, near and far,
the Merriest Christmas ever!
The items in the photographs above were all in my space in The Hudson Mercantile.
If you are in the neighborhood, please stop in. We promise to be of good cheer.

Favorite Things

I’ve told this story before: I said “that’s my favorite thing” so often that, one day, a friend said
“oh, Steph, EVERYTHING is your favorite thing!”  I guess it is so: I like a lot. So here are a few
of them:
Glass girls…
A grey cupboard full of white stuff. May I have that back, please?
1930s homemade tinfoil birds, glittered for the Christmas tree…..
Pretty clock faces…..
Old homespun linen, gathered in the corner of a daybed cushion…..
Tiny leather diaries, meticulously documenting one man’s life through the 1930 and 40s……
Leather books, old European paintings and (always) sheep…..
A country store counter-turned-sideboard full of things that I love…..
A barn vent, stunning with its remnants of white paint…..
A hand painted (by me) trunk and a spotted tin horse…..
Letters made of mirrors on a shocking blue board…..
A zinc architectural piece, the best one I’ve ever had…..
A navy blue basket full of navy and cream coverlets…..
A wooden processional piece from the flea market in Tongeren, Belgium…..
A pot metal bird…..
A navy corner cupboard with a hoop skirt form as a wreath…..
More leather books and European paintings…..
Which is the best? Could I ever pick just one? Some of the items in these photos were sold at
The Hudson Mercantile but  I still think of them lovingly from time to time. Most, though,
I have kept. As my eye sweeps back over these pictures, I know my friend was right. Everything
IS my favorite.

Oh, No! Hearts!

Things that I love:
Mitten, almost lost in the cozy down of a grain sack chair.
Piles of books.
A French architectural fragment.
A cuff, hand made by a friend.
A heart-shaped white rock.
A factory chain.
An old Christmas ornament.
Horse tack. 

A huge button in Henry’s workshop…he insists upon keeping it.
The country look exploded onto the decorating scene in the 1980s, seemingly
for good, with its many styles (primitive, shabby, anything-goes) and symbols,
many of which were/are just too cutsy for words. I don’t ever need to see another
goose with a ribbon around its neck. Or a heart. Or so I thought. While I believed
that hearts were out of my life by the end of the 80s (like tie die in the 60s.
Please! How did that one get back in?), apparently, if these photos are any
indication, they are here to stay… for me, at least. It is hard to say what
attracts us to the things we love, the things we choose to live with. Styles come
and go, but some things stick around. Forever? Your guess is as good as mine. I
just know that I am off now to make sure that there are no geese with ribbons
lurking anywhere around the old homestead.

Winter Walk…Hudson Style

On Saturday Ken and I had the extreme pleasure of attending Hudson’s  Winter Walk.

We started the night in the same way we start everything we do in Hudson, with

something delicious from chef extraordinaire Chris Hebert, whose cafe is right in the

back of the Hudson Supermarket where we have our antique show space. Next, with

the idea of walking off some of our desert, seeing the sights and, for me, the chance

to get some photos, we headed out into the street just in time for the most charming

handmade parade.



Music was everywhere.

We wondered how those musicians performing outside could make their fingers  

work on this 30 degree night.

You know what else was everywhere? Dogs!

Hudson is a dog-loving town and there were almost as many bowls of water on

the sidewalks outside of shops as there were tasty people treats inside.


Move over Amsterdam! We’ve got the windows!


The hula-hooper, belly dancers, balloon-twisting clown and ballerina worked it

without a break and drew admiring crowds all night.


Windows,  fine…..




and Dickensian.

But, what happened here? The bad monkey wrecks the joint and then just sits there

contemplating a piece of broken crystal while in the background, a bird, obviously

an accomplice, flies around doing who knows what on the carpet.  I just love this

totally unexpected Christmas crisis window.


Our first stop was at 3Fourty Seven. As soon as you see The Chandelier, you know that

these people are not afraid to say who they are. Housed in a big old garage, this place has

Bold! written all over it.


They just opened, but with their ecclectic mix of modern, factory, textiles and oddball

artwork that just works, I know they will be enjoying a long, successful run.


They are a super-friendly group of architects, set designers and style-makers. Check

them out at 347 Warren Street. 518-291-4780.




Next, we headed into Hudson Home.  Again, we were met by friendly smiles and given a

tour of the beautiful shop with its stylish, comfortable-looking  furnishings, plush bedding

and unusual accouterments.


And, again, dogs! I wasn’t kidding when I said Hudson is a dog town. A dramatic orange

room sports a few dozen photos of white-framed white dogs and the theme of orange

and dogs is carried out on the table of Christmas decorations and in the two

Chi Chi Chi Chia-looking poodles in the front window.

Be sure to ask about the unusual modern fireplace and the checkerboard rug.


It is no surprise that Hudson Home just had a nice blurb in Vogue.   356 Warren Street.




And then there’s Kosa! The home of organic, recycled, green, indie clothing and jewelry.

Even when time is not on our side, my friends and I stop here. I go straight to the

legwarmers, fingerless gloves, spats and skirts all made from vintage sweaters by

Oh Deer.


My friends, all artists, like the indie clothing and would love the coat being modelled 

by the accommodating customer below. I hope she bought it because it looked pretty

great on her.    502 Warren Street. 528-828-6620.



Hudson and Mark Wasserback. Mark Wasserback and Hudson. These names are

synonymous. Mark’s Antiques has been around for as long as I can remember and,

luckily, some things just never change. The inventory is crazy, edgy and heaped to

the rafters in any old higgledy-piggledy way. But don’t be fooled. This stuff is 

fast-moving and it’s not the kind of place where you should say “I’ll think about it”

and then wander off to lunch.


The photo on the right (above) is of a section of a fabulous 8′ x 5′ table top that Mark

had made from metal printer’s plates.


So many disparate things to see, like the wooden Madonna, above, and the

aluminum light fixture, below.


Below, a divine blue-gray tack cupboard that I really love.  Apparently,

and for reasons not understood by either Mark or me, alfalfa was placed in

the top part of the cupboard. Something to do with cleaning the tack.  I did

go home…happy!…with the factory board in the photo on the right, below.


Mark’s factory presentation of party snacks induced me to step away from my

no-sugar routine long enough to enjoy one or two cookies.   612 Warren Street.



But, there’s more!  At the back of Mark’s store, steps, like a stairway to heaven,

lead to another of Hudson’s long-standing gems: Larry’s Back Room.

 Chock full of treasures, some traditional

period pieces, some not traditional at all, you’d need some time to poke around

in here.


I spotted a pair of  tall silver factory molds that, to me, are just begging to

be wine tasting tables. Larry’s walls are lined with collections, backed with

burlap, interestingly mounted and accurately labelled.


 612 Warren Street.  528-248-2643.

At this point, Ken, who had been really patient while I took almost 300 photos and

talked a blue streak, looked like he was getting weary.

So we headed back to the Hudson Supermarket…..

to check up on our space….

straighten the grain sacks…

and the mountain of lavender bags…

and the big pile of pagent wings I brought in to sell…

and to watch the fireworks that call an end to a very happy night.

The Faces of My People

My house needs some editing. Well, I guess it could use a whole lot of

editing.  Until recently, I sold from my house and barns to antique dealers

and designers but time doesn’t allow for that any more.  What seemed like

an abundance of cool stuff then, now feels like a crowd.  As I was walking

through my rooms, I noticed, not for the first time, that there are an

awful lot of people living here with us. Here are some of their faces….


So many of them are religious. While I cannot be counted among the orgainzed

faithful, something deep in me responds to the music, accoutrements and

ceremony of places of worship whether meeting-house simple or over the top.

My parents believed that children should  grow up knowing about God and

have some experience of church in order to have something to believe in.

They were pretty lackadaisical, though, and I either attended Sunday School 

at  our own Dutch Reformed Church or went with a friend to their Sunday

School or Synagogue. I was fortunate to live in a town that had dozens of different

choices and I visited almost all of them.

Except for the Catholic Church. Things were different back then, the Catholic

Church was more closed and I was never invited to a service there as a kid.

For a long time, I thought I  didn’t know anyone who was Catholic.

Of course, I eventually got in and, once I have my foot in the door, I’m hard

to get rid of !  The pomp and cirmcumstance, the glory of it all has kept me

enthralled with Catholic services and it is always my first choice when in a

foreign country. I have found that I am perfectly capable of lifting my voice in

song in any language. The Tallis Scholars performing Thomas Tallis’ sacred music

is my favorite to listen to, with Krishna Das’  “All One”  a close second.  But, when it

comes to my people, I don’t confine myself to the pious….


My taste is catholic, not just Catholic.


Anybody want to join me in the church of maple syrup? Aunt Jemima is a saint

in my book!


My big garden girls are all inside the house where they belong.


Big Mouth, from the carnival, and Bedroom Eyes, a mannequin.  These guys

don’t go outside, either.


A santa, hand-made by Terry John Woods.  And a mask which has holes in the

eye area allowing the wearer to see. Terry used to have a sale at his Vermont

family farm one day a year, the day after Thanksgiving. People came from far

away places, like California, and slept in cars overnight on his country road in

order to be first through the door. The handmade items and antiques were pretty

wonderful but I don’t think I would give up Thanksgiving for them. It only took

me 2 hours to drive to his hamlet.  And another hour to find the place, tucked

away on a dirt road, a mile down from a five corners. I could never quite remember

which of those roads to take.


Old papier mache angels. Too nice to keep in a closet till Christmas.  And,

Patina and her other sister, Patina.  Patina is technically the green that shows

up on metal when it oxidizes. However, most of us call the signs of age on any old

surface “patina” and get away with it every time.

There are dozens more people in my house, but enough is enough.   Above,

though, is a preview of what’s coming…the faces of my animals! I have a very

strong feeling that, during the editing process, none of my people are going to

get the boot.