Sunday, March 31, 2013

Antiques at Heartland East in Maryland

There were first rate dealers at the 2nd Heartland East Antique Show--they were selling mostly Americana. In spite of the fact that the show was a feast for the eyes and the offerings appeared to be new to the market, sales were slow and many dealers said they  would not be coming back. Some had traveled all the way from Maine and Northern Ohio to sell at this one day show. Not really worth the trouble, was a refrain I heard! Attendance was so low that when I was there it was virtually empty of customers

This was definitely a retail show-prices were not bargains, but bargains were to be had-if you asked. I would like to see this show survive, but I am not hopeful. Where were the customers?

Scroll down to see some of my favorite items from the show. 

 Colorful and sweet. Perfect hanging over a table displaying these carved birds. 

Some of you may recognize this beautiful whole cloth chintz quilt (glaze is still perfect) from the McCarl sale a few months ago. The print is the iconic pheasant and palm tree pattern on a rich reddish brown ground. The quilt is large and has foot corner cutouts for a post bed-de rigueur for fashionable beds pre-1820s. The backing is a wonderful striped and printed cotton. It was documented in the Pennsylvania state project. This quilt is being offered by Patricia Clegg Antiques. Her email is 

Hooked rug is also from Patricia Clegg Antiques.

 A nicely mounted beaded picture.

 A large lot of rag rugs-perfect for covering a room wall-to-wall, but if you just need one for stairs or a hall this one is better and retains the colors.

Stone fruit, everyone was selling it but no one had prices on it,  is popular, especially on One Kings Lane.

Great gardening stuff here.

 I love silvered glass and this group was fabulous.

Cornish ware from Judith Lesser 

All photography is by moi, with permission from the dealers.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Shopping the Big Flea in Chantilly Virginia

The Big Flea at the Expo Center in Chantilly, Virginia is held every other month- I try to go as often as possible. It is a great place to buy, as well as check out trends and prices. The January Flea is considered the best as most dealers come with fresh merchandise, but March is good too. Per my usual routine, I went with a former museum colleague and we spent the entire day shopping and visiting with old and new friends. This weekend the Flea was super crowded and people seemed to be buying. Dealers told me they were selling well.

Jim Barker, an appliance dealer who always has truly wonderful old electric appliances, film reels, glass storage containers, oil cans, and interesting bottles, gave me an adorable little electric plug in the shape of a dog. I have long admired these early electrical plugs and Jim found one that he was willing to part with. Jim's booth is always crowded as customers know he will gladly share his knowledge.

 For more about collecting these visit this post on my Facebook page here.

I loved these little hanging glass bud vases. Do Re Me! Unusual and sweet. This one was once painted white. Even though we are expecting a big snowstorm mid week, Spring is right around the corner. I can't wait for the warm weather. 

There were lots of bunnies since Easter is the next big holiday. This big bronze bunny was a show-stopper.

Candy containers in the shape of bunnies

One of the frustrating things about the Big Flea is that some dealers don't bring business cards, have no web site or shop so you just have to catch them at the show or you are out of luck. The dealer selling this lovely railroad china had a wonderful selection of all types of china used by different railway lines. His menus were interesting. He is more of a collector than dealer, but has a great eye and good prices. Wish there was a way to contact him.

I became interested in hands after someone asked me to look for a reflexology or astrological ceramic hand. I have three little hands for sale here, but found these 2 interesting as well. They make nice jewelry holders for your dressing table.

This set of 4 pressed glass curtain tie pins or backs were so pretty. I am attracted to tie pins since they are a small and relatively inexpensive detail that makes a big impact in an interior. I use them for doorknobs and hooks, too.

These beautiful hand painted miniature sewing baskets are highly collectible and rare. They were featured items for sale in the booth of the Frank and Mary Ann Brandt from Cleveland. Mary Ann is a mentor and friend and I have purchased many things from her. She has a keen eye for folk art and primitive. These gorgeous baskets were being offered for a very reasonable $125 each. The condition was excellent. If you are interested in purchasing the baskets you can reach the Brandts at If I still worked at the museum I would have definitely purchased these for the collection.

I met a lovely couple, David and Mary Lee Snuffer. They just happen to be good friends of the Brandts-good people always hang with other good people. The Snuffers were offering a nice selection of 20th century modern. They have a shop, Mahla & Co. Antiques in Pittsburgh. This lucite chair, one of a pair, could be easily taken apart for shipping, and was to die for! I need to take a trip to Pittsburgh. 

The Snuffers also were offering this Italian bar cart for a little over $200. A good deal. Excuse my photography-I use my Iphone and I can't keep my hands from shaking when I see something I really like.

Are you familiar with One King's Lane? I love that site, especially the Vintage and Market Finds section. I shop there frequently and have noticed that Italian glass grape clusters are big sellers. They appear to sell out quickly. Well, as I strolled down the aisle at the Big Flea a booth with several grape clusters caught my eye and I immediately thought of One King's Lane. The dealer, Robin Prior of The Gilded Manor just happens to be a successful dealer on One King's Lane and is probably the one offering all those fabulous grape clusters. I talked with Robin for a long time and loved her attitude, enthusiasm and eye. She was featuring a giant mahogany campaign bar-a one-of-a-kind piece that just stopped you in your tracks. 
Here are my favorite items from her booth. Look for her on OKL.

This tray of enameled egg charms was astounding. 

Figurative vanity brushes

Someone said, "If I was looking for a collection of these vanity brushes I would never find them, I am not so here is a complete selection!" Really nice condition on all of them.

 Leopard print hat and muff

 Nipper, the RCA Victor dog. 

The next Big Flea is May 4-5. See you there. 

Saturday, December 22, 2012

A White Christmas: Foxes in the Snow

It appears that most of the country will have a white Christmas. Here in Maryland it is blustery and cold but no snow, unless you are up in the mountains of Western Maryland

On the way home from dinner last night a very fat red fox trotted in front of my car-he wasn't in a hurry and luckily I didn't hit him. I often see foxes here in the Maryland suburbs, but not like this one-not this fat. Seeing him got me thinking about how truly beautiful these creatures can be. Here are some pictures of Foxes in the Snow.

Cheers and Merry Christmas,


Sunday, August 19, 2012

This Girl Had Style

Allison Kimball with Troy Donahue in 1959

Tall, blonde and beautiful, Allison Kimball embodied good taste and sophisticated style. Think Julianne Moore's character in the Tom Ford movie A Single Man. 

I first met her in the 70s as a college friend of her daughter, Lynn.  I had no idea moms could look like her.  She was stunning. Once she complimented my shoes-Capezio T-straps-and I fell in love with her. 

Allison with Troy Donahue in 1959
Allison is on the left and Lynn, her daughter, is second from right. They are dining with friends-Helen Crane McClure, wife of the actor  Doug McClure, Tane McClure and Steven Crane, Jr. 

By the late 60s she was back in Memphis training Labrador Retrievers for field trial 
competitions. One can only imagine the excitement of the other trainers as this stunningly beautiful and poised woman walked onto the field. Memphis had rarely seen the likes of Allison Kimball.

Stylish and quick witted, Allison had friends in high places. In the early 70's you might find her at the Carlyle Hotel in New York or on the estate of friends in Middleburg, Virginia.  She went to the races in Deauville and the yearling sales in Saratoga. It was during this time that she began collecting Hermes scarves and D.Porthault linens.

Allison, right, with friends Betsy and Richard Ohrstrom in Deauville, France

In the 80's Allison divided her time between Memphis and Cottage #1, Round Hill, Jamaica. She always said that Round Hill was her favorite place in the world!!

Like many beautiful women of the time, she was influenced by the great style icons of the 20th century. In Memphis she shopped at Francis Wright where she bought clothes from the designers Norman Norrell, Halston, Geoffrey Beene, to name a few. Her collection of Hermes scarves is impressive-and she knew how to wear them!
This girl had style.

With the Hamiltons in the 70s. From left to right Bill Hamilton, Allison, unidentified man, Ann 'Teensy" Hamilton, George Hamilton, and Lynn 

Tragically, Allison died of cancer in 1993. She made a profound impression on everyone who knew her and is deeply missed. 

Following are some of the things she owned that are for sale at Many were passed down to her from her grandmother who was an antiques dealer and jeweler in Knoxville, Tennessee, and some were collected by her. All are examples of her exquisite taste and unerring style.

A Pair of 18th Century Fruitwood Tea Caddies

18Kt Gold and Diamond Brooch

Gold Tiffany (not marked, but purchased at Tiffany ) Earrings with an unusual clasp. This clasp has been identified as patented by Tiffany.
A Pair of D. Porthault Cotton Hand Towels

Hermes Scarf, 1963-LVDOVICVS-MAGNVS

Hermes Scarf, 1963-LVDOVICVS-MAGNVS

Hermes Scarf, 1960s, By Philippe Ledoux 

Hermes Scarf, The Hunt Scene

This Hermes scarf is probably the most wearable of all of Allison's scarves. The soft gray, tan, and pink are tres chic! 

Hermes Scarf, 1968 by Cathy Latham 

Celine Scarf

All images of Allison courtesy of Lynn Barrasso and can not be published or copied without permission