Friday, July 21, 2006

Getting Ready for an Antiques Show

It's been such a busy week. I've been cleaning and pricing fresh antiques finds, preparing for the show I'm exhibiting at in Camden, Maine. Most of the things I'm taking are country-antiques, since that's my specialty.

Recently found some fun old decoratives - an old forked washing stick, the kind they used more than a hundred years ago to stir hot laundry while it was in the old wash tubs. I have friends who have several of these wash sticks, and they look wonderful hanging as a collection on their wall. Each is different, and because they are long - each is about 3 feet in length - they fill a small area but are quite eye-catching.

Another item I found last week is an old wooden 'Detour' sign, used somewheres on a highway years ago. It's just a simple white painted sign with lots of character, with the word 'Detour" boldly handpainted over a giant arrow. It's funky and interesting, and would look great hung in someone's home - maybe in the kitchen (I'd hang it over my refrigerator!!!) or family room.

This weekend's show is a small long-running antiques show, maybe 50 dealers or so, and is held at a local high school. Dealers come from five states to exhibit. It's a lovely show - good dealers with great quality - and both local residents and visiting tourists always attend. It's especially popular amongst the local antiques dealers - they are always the first in line at the door when the show opens. They've learned that this particular show has many affordable antiques, which they can buy and still make a small profit in their own shops.

It's not a hustle-and-bustle type of show; instead, it's more relaxed, definitely the kind of show where you actually have a few moments to talk with shoppers, visit with neighboring dealers, and even have a chance to wander around the show and buy a few things myself.

Yesterday I spent part of the day loading my van with my latest finds, since the weather was so beautiful. Probably would have preferred to be walking the ocean shoreline with my camera, having fun and playing the day away. But work calls, and I didn't want to do it today, since the weather forecast was for rain as a storm moves up the coast. As I write, the rain is softly but steadily coming down. I'm glad I did all my van loading for the show during yesterday's beautiful, sun-shiny afternoon. I don't mind today's rain - it's such a soothing, comforting sound through my windows as I write. The catbird is singing as he's perched on the blackberry bushes - he really does sound like a cat - and I'm glad he's there as we haven't seen him in several days, and wondered if the local hawk had encountered him for breakfast.

The gardens are happy for the rain. All the flowers are showing their best this week. From my living room and kitchen windows I can see at least ten different kinds of day lilies (maybe there's more - I can't quite count them from here), plus phlox, Russian sage, astilbe, many kinds of roses, delphiniums, and several flowers I don't know the names of. My landlords keep telling me to pick bouquets for my apartment, but since I won't be around much this weekend, I'll wait until I'm home next week and can enjoy them fully. It's such a treat to be able to enjoy fresh cut flowers!

From my bedroom windows and my office I can see the vegetable garden's raised beds. The tomatoes are nearly 4 foot tall and have many green tomatoes on them - we'll have a bounty this year, as I planted nine plants. We have Amish Paste (sort of like a Roma, but a bit bigger), cherry tomatoes, early-ripening Glaciers (perfect for Maine's short growing season) and something called Chelsea. I don't know what that is, but it was available in a six pack of plants for only $2.15 for six and I couldn't pass up such a bargain. Whatever they are, they are growing like crazy, and I'm already collecting tomato recipes to try out as soon as they are ripe.

Within a a couple of weeks the blackberries will be ready, and I'll be making jam and freezing them for future use. The vines are already drooping from their heavy load - we're going to have lots of blackberries this summer, especially if I beat the birds to them. The birds and I have an agreement - they can have the berries inside the middle of the patch, where I can't reach. But they have to leave the outer edge of the patch for me to pick. I think the catbird is checking the patch frequently, singing and letting me know he's around and will be getting his fair share.

But I digress - the antiques show is the order of business for this weekend. I'll see many dealers - both as shopping customers and those selling at the show - who I only see once or twice a year. It's such a transient business - we sometimes only see dealer friends when we're both working the same show, and many shows only happen once or twice a year. Still, over the years I've become friends with several, and we're happy to visit annually. Sometimes we go to dinner after working all day - it's a wonderful way to catch up on news, have a glass of wine, exchange stories and generally wind down a bit.

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