Antiquing In the Brimfield Tradition

It has become a tradition (cue the Fiddler on the Roof theme!) for my mother and I to hit Brimfield twice a year- once in spring, and once in the fall. Brimfield is a town in Massachusetts that becomes the antique mecca of the US three times a year. The town is overtaken by a baffling quantity of antiques dealers from all over the country, selling every possible thing ever made. That is what I like most about it. While I may be seeking certain things for my various collections, mostly I like to take pictures of the oddities that I never expected to see. And so, I share them with you! I hope you appreciate the old and odd, too!

Who you lookin’ at, punk?

I didn’t expect to see Harrison Ford, for example.

Harrison and Mom, together at last!

Early Christmas!

Are they live, or are they cooked?

Here you can see a set of the original, deadly steel-tipped Jarts, along with a painting of…questionable content.

What is going on in that painting?

I can’t buy everything, but IF I could, this would be amongst the purchases:

You can never have too many wooden bunny carts, I always say.

Here’s another one of those “Wha???” kind of items. They are plaster wall hangings depicting… human peas?

OH, the humanity!

These make me want to be a chocolatier, so I would have an excuse to own them all!

Continue reading “Antiquing In the Brimfield Tradition”

FRED Goes Global

Boston Global, that is. There is an article in today’s Boston Globe about the delightful company I work at, FRED.

For those of you who have wondered, yes, Fred is a real guy, and this is what he looks like (albeit slightly loonier looking in this photo than in real life. Slightly.)

I was not at the office the day they did the article, but they did call out a couple of my products: a mention of Dust Bunny, and a photo of Calf and Half.

But wait…what’s that? Zoom in a little…

Holy cow! I’M FAMOUS!
Haha…I didn’t notice I was technically in there the first couple of times I saw this.
I promise not to let my new-found fame change me.

You can read the real article here, which has been freely and wantonly stolen from the Fred site. Huzzah!



Here’s our remaining old girl cat, Georgia, on my desk. Obviously, she is not hanging out with the balsam pillows. Instead, she is 100% asleep and precariously dangling her neck over the side of my desk. Ironically, she is right near a Mary Blair book I was looking thru that happens to have an orange cat just like her in it. After I took this picture, I gingerly put her head back on the desk. It scared the bejeezus out of her.

Silly old cat!

There’s Just Something About Balsam…


Do you know what I mean?
These little balsam-filled pillows that you get in souvenir shops throughout New England.
The smell reminds me of childhood, as do the seemingly unchanged graphics and notable heft of the balsam needles.
Happy, happy summers!
These 4 particular pillows are sitting on a box I made for my cat Georgia. It’s sort of her “couch”. It was my attempt offering her a better place to sleep than my scanner or my keyboard.
I am happy to report that it works about one third of the time.
The other two thirds of the time she spends on my scanner or my keyboard.
Personally, I’d rather nap with the balsam pillows!

Tagged, and Playin’ Along…

Barb tagged me for a little exercise in randomness…here’s what I was supposed to do:

1. Pick up the nearest book. 

2. Open to page 123.*

3. Find the fifth sentence.**

4. Post the next three sentences, so if my math is correct that’d be sentences six, seven and eight.

5. Tag five people and post a comment to the blogger who tagged you.

The alternate PB version is to go to page 23 and just put down the text.
Well, OK then…remarkably, I cleaned my desk recently, and there were NO books on it (!!)
So I went to my special book shelf (where I keep my signed books) and pulled off Lyle Finds His Mother, by Bernard Waber. Here’s the surprisingly pivotal scene I found:

Gosh I love Lyle…he was a big favorite of mine as a child. I met Bernard Waber in 1990, at RISD, I guess.
Eesh, that was a long time ago!

I’ll tag:
Kim Norman
Jannie Ho
Kathy Weller

Six Weird Things…

I have been tagged by Barb to proclaim six weird/obscure things about myself. Here goes:

1. My first job was as a “chambermaid,” which is a quaint term for someone who must do all the crappy work in a hotel. Highlights included 9-hour days in the hotel basement doing hotel laundry, and cleaning the public bathrooms. The public are slobs, trust me!

2. In junior high I was Romeo in the “Romeo and Juliet” play we did. And I was good- I got one of the only “A’s” that year.

3. In keeping with my fabulous theatrical career that was cut mercilessly short- I was called back twice to audition as the Polynesian daughter of Emile DeBeque in the stage version of “South Pacific.” Sadly, at 8 years old, I wasn’t able to project my voice properly. I still can’t!

4. I am addicted to maple sugar candy- you know, the kind that’s shaped like maple leaves and pilgrims. Oh, sweet heaven!

5. I studied Tae Kwon Do for 4 years in high school and tested through to 2nd-degree blue belt.

6. I collect foil. Not just the boring silver kind, no! The kind that comes off chocolate rabbits and Santas, and things of that nature. There are some at the top of this post. Purty, aren’t they? I have hundreds of them, and some of them are over 30 years old!

So, there you have it- a tiny fraction of the weird things about me. But that’s plenty. I am now tagging the chicks and guy of the Outside of a Dog group- you’re up!

Creativity LOST

I’ve had a little something on my mind lately. OK, for years.

I have had the pleasure to run after school art classes for quite a few years now. Subjects I have developed classes for include cartooning, painting, fine art, animation, and drawing. Now, some children come to these classes already loving art, and others come with no real artistic leaning at all. I love ’em both! They always end up doing well regardless of how they begin.

What always surprises me though is the BAGGAGE they bring!

The kids who have had formal art classes before are often “afraid” of making mistakes. The kids who are new to art are afraid to try, or fear being “bad at it.” I always nip these fears in the bud- in my classes, there is NO right and wrong in terms of the end product, and the kids quickly learn to not worry and have fun. But time after time, I find that I must undo these insecurities.

Why? Well, I have a couple of theories- for one, art has been turned into this:


“Arts and Crafts” like these are not exactly harmful ,and are maybe better than nothing, but they do NOTHING to foster actual creativity in kids. They are too spelled out, pre-fab, and defined. The kid doesn’t have to DO anything here- the shapes are cut, the arrangement is pre-determined, the colors have been chosen for them, etc. If you want children to work on their motor skills, these are swell- but so is putting together a puzzle, or setting the table.

But wait! Here are some fine alternatives to those kinds of things!


These are open-ended items that foster TRUE creativity! Open-ended is good. Kids should NOT have everything spelled out for them in an instruction book. If that’s all they have to go by, they positively flounder when asked to come up with their own ideas and methods. I know most of the people reading this blog are creative types, but if you see yourself in any way here, fill your house with supplies (they don’t have to be expensive, dollar store stuff works fine). Real supplies and a dose of encouragement can keep a kid busy and happy forever.

Don’t even get me started about the demise of the toy business and playtime in general…another post for later.

Tiki Time!

Check out this guy! I bought him (oh, yes, it’s a HIM- you can tell) at a local antique shop. Whatta deal!

The tag said it was from New Zealand. I don’t know if that’s true- but I LOVE HIM. He will have a Very Special Place in my spare room, aka “The Tiki Room”. There are lots of other tribal and indigenous art pals for him to hang out with up there, because that’s an interest of mine. I love anything that has been hand-hewn of locally available materials. I also like to occasionally hand-hew things myself out of locally available materials around the house and yard.

Sooooo, if you ever happen to stay over at our house, THIS is what will be watching you. Sweet dreams!