My Grain Sack Wing Chair Vest

Last week, my good friend, Jennifer Lanne (,

and I were were bad influencing each other in a small re-purposed

clothing store in Hudson. We each came out with a pretty pricey bag,

hers concealing a skirt, mine a jacket…because we so richly deserved

a treat after our hard day of breezing through antiques shops and

lunch with friends.  That night I had a dream. In it, I asked Jennifer

to get me a grain sack down vest. I did not expect her to bring me this : 

the top half of a grain sack wing chair with straps to hold it on. Picture

just the top of this chair…..

Kind of like this….

It was so heavy and I looked ridiculous in it. (Do ya think?) The next

morning, the first thing I did was to write Jennifer an email removing her

from all duties as my stylist! It was just a dream. But, somehow I think

there is an idea here. Maybe if there were armholes in the wings?

What I Wish I Did At Brimfield

—This is the end of another incredible week of doing what we love in one of

our favorite places, Brimfield.  And, as usual,  there is only one thing that I

wish I had been able to do…take photos of the beautiful, the outlandish and

the wonderful things I saw. Continue reading

Funky Little Extras

Over the years, I have purchased so many otherwise-ordinary objects  just because

they included the name of the maker. I don’t know what drives a factory worker to

mark his territory this way. Maybe to do just that, mark his territory, warning others

to stay away from his tools or his space. Maybe for ego, to say “I am me, I am here.”

Maybe just for the fun of it.  Whatever the reason, the charm of these pieces always

makes me want them. And, I just don’t like to leave something so intimate behind.

Below, to the right of the wing with the grain sack pillow, is Clyde’s cart.

Brian took the time to make the iron sign, below, complete with mysterious symbols,  

for his work station.

Factory molds include so many small interestingly-shaped parts. Did the workers who

used the molds see letters among the mix?  Below, the word “build” has been newly

fashioned from mold parts by our friend, Jim.

Ken put “play” together with parts purchased from Jim.

I love it when the haul from one of the factory guys includes some funky-folky things.

Heading To the Dump?

I can’t count the number of times, when we’ve parked in some little town,

that someone, after checking out our truck and trailer full of wood and metal,

 has asked  if we’re heading to the dump. They are always surprised and, I am

sure, appalled to learn that we are, in fact, heading home to repurpose our

otherwise junk-worthy load into furniture.

This 8′ cart (above) turned into a cool daybed (below) and only lasted a few hours in

our space in Hudson.

The grain sack cushion cover featured lovely hand-drawn graphics and, of course,

wonderful hand-worked patches and darnings.


I wonder if the customer who purchased my factory cart daybed will be asked if

he is heading to the dump on his trip home with this piece. It is a good possibility!

Tooting The Horn For Grain Sacks

Ken’s daily trip to our little post office to send and collect mail usually

includes a chat with the Post Mistress and at least one or two neighbors.  

I always look forward to his return, hoping for French magazines and

other intriguing bounty. The most exciting days, though, are when I hear

the tooting horn announcing a truck full of boxes.  Boxes full of grain sacks !

He wheels them onto our front porch. I run out to slice open the tops. I

can’t wait to see what’s inside. I pull out sack after beautiful sack, as dust,

dirt and all manner of things,  remnants of the sack’s contents, fly through

the air.  There is good reason to open them outside.

Two of today’s boxes have linen rolls tucked inside. This is good as my supply

of these has dwindled down quickly.  This linen, used to make grain sacks in

early days, is prized for upholstery and other design projects today.

Every sack is turned inside out and shaken.  Again, stuff is flying.  Enough

down feathers for a small comforter,  plenty of grain and seeds for a loaf,

other items small enough to ruin a washing machine. I know. I’ve already

done that once.

Next is the laundromat.  Ugh  !    11 washers, 11 dryers, 3 hours.  But once 

they come home and are finally inside the house, I can really have fun

spreading them out, discovering the varying weights, weaves, textures and

colors, choosing the ones for upcoming projects.  Happily, there is no dust

or sneezing involved with these freshly-washed sacks.

I also make a pile of the ones that have been pre-purchased and will require

yet another trip to the post office to continue on their journey. I regularly

send photos to the pickers in Germany of furniture and other grain sack items

that I have completed.  They express great pleasure in the idea of the names

of German towns ending up all over the United States.  They agree that this

is an adventure worth tooting about.

Turn That Thing Off !

Ever been to Montour Falls ?  It is just below Seneca Lake, one of  New York

State’s beautiful Finger Lakes.  We used to go there a lot to see a picker who always

had antiques and wing chairs for me to upholster with grain sacks.  The first time

we went, this is what we saw…..


Right at the end of Main Street, a stupendous water fall that sure did look like it

was falling right into this house.

A sneak peek around the side of the house revealed a wide, fast moving  river

at the base of  the falls.   For Ken and me, who were only visitors, the sound of

the rushing water was appealing.  Although I don’t know how I would feel if I

lived in that house and could never turn the water off.

Sunshine On My Shoulder

Remember that old John Denver song that went “sunshine on my shoulder makes me happy” ?

That is just what came to mind yesterday when we plunked this wonderful early sofa down in

our space in Hudson. The sun would have been right on my shoulder if I had had the time to sit.

Meanwhile, the sun on this stuff was in my eyes and just plain annoyed me, even after I

rolled down the awning outside.

It is always so interesting to me how much light affects our moods. I watched myself go

from pleased to pissed in under a minute. Sometimes, sunglasses are the only way to go.