With the weekend ahead I’m certain that some of you are planning to hit a few flea markets. Time to plan your attack! I’m quite pleased that it’s about time for my annual trip to the Brimfield Flea Market May 13 – 18 in Brimfield, MA. I found my handmade guide to Brimfield from ’07, it’s this system I create and follow each year because it keeps me on track since this is one gigantic show. I need to get started on the ’08 version for next month’s visit.
Why do I bother? At one time, I would attend huge fleas without a game plan and always purchased things I didn’t need, that didn’t work in my home (size, color, etc.), or none of the above — I left empty handed because I felt overwhelmed with options so I didn’t buy a single thing. Then I got smart and started making these little guides for myself so I could chart my course. Here’s what I do:
Pack supplies: I carry in a large tote some sunscreen, bottled water, a snack bar, almonds, glasses, a hat, my guide, and a smaller zippered pouch (shown above) that holds scissors, pens, pencils, a tiny notebook, a few of my business cards, a few spare ziploc bags (for storing parts that may come with a piece, like screws), measuring tape, fabric swatches I’m looking to match, and paint swatches.) In my car, I have rope and a few screwdrivers just in case. I also bring with me measurements of current spaces I’m looking to fill. Let’s say I need a dresser and I have a very specific place for it. I will measure the space in my home and note it so when I find something I want at the flea market, I can measure it to see if it will fit.
Make a binder: Grab a bunch of clear page inserts and instead of putting them in a binder, tie them together with ribbon (make knots). I do this because it’s much lighter to carry around in my tote and I can roll it up if I need to. In it, I carry fabric swatches, paint swatches, floor plans, measurements, clippings from magazines of things I’m looking for, etc. All of this keeps my EYE ON THE BALL. I don’t get overwhelmed or confused. I know the exact red I’m looking for, or the pattern I’m trying to find, etc. There’s no guess work. I make purchases that I’m confident in thanks to my handy guide.
Chart your course. I download the various maps from the Brimfield website and highlight the vendors that I want to visit, writing down their name, booth number, and quick notes (what they sell, contact name, etc.). I number them in order of importance so I’m sure not to miss the vendors that I really want to see. You can use their database online to search for vendors that carry what you’re looking for. Let’s say you’re into McCoy. Click here, search for McCoy under Items Exhibited, click Search and you’ll see that two vendors carry McCoy items along with their location. Look for them on your map and highlight their booths so once you arrive, you know where to look first. I also note the time that the show begins, as the flea market contains several fields each with their own opening times.
Tip: Don’t forget a rolling cart! I regret not bringing one last year! You can buy them at a few locations on the fairgrounds for around $40 but they sell out quite fast so bring your own if you can.
Have fun at the fleas this Spring/Summer! Oh and if you’re looking for some flea market inspiration, the Raised in Cotton blog and the Junk Market Girls website are great places to start. And here’s a handy guide I wrote on How To Find Flea Markets and Indie Craft Fairs.
(images from holly becker for decor8)
Back in February we discussed using dress forms in the home for both practical purposes (sewing of course) and for displaying favorite items as more of a decorative element. I was pleasantly surprised when an email arrived today from decor8 reader Cathe Holden of Home Grown Logos who wanted to share her newly created dress-form-as-decor with us. Yay! DIY done right!
You can view her entire DIY project from start to finish right here, the finished product is shown above. Lovely job, Cathe!
(images from cathe holden)
Time for a little Bemz-spiration.I’ve talked about Bemz a few times here, they carry slipcovers that fit IKEA sofas and chairs so that you can customize your IKEA finds turning them into something more personalized. They just launched a section on their site called “Lifestyles” where you can view different collections of Bemz’ fabrics in real homes. Seeing some of their fabrics living in a real environment is really helpful. Currently there are 6 Bemz Lifestyles and more will follow later this year.
This is my favorite of all the rooms. I’d have a little more in this space (a rug, a few chairs, etc.), but I really the cool colors and the mixing of florals with stripes in a way that looks very stylish, like a fashion designer would live here.
I found their break down of the various styles they’re trying to mimic helpful since we often try to define our look to friends and don’t know what to call it, there are so many styles and definitions floating around. As I look at these definitions along with the Bemz images I realize that they are based purely from a Scandinavian perspective, as they’re Stockholm-based and this is their own take on these looks. In other words, I don’t think Country Romance or Downtown really looks like the typical country or downtown style that we’d see here in America.
Fun exercise: As you read through their definitions below, examine the images shown as examples and consider how each style would be interpreted in your part of the world.
1. Bohemian Chic - Aimed at people who love combining old and new to add unexpected contrasts to their home. This Lifestyle employs a palette of dark, intimate colors, with elements of brown, mauve, black and pink.
2. Country Romance - Is Bemz’s modern interpretation of a delightful past: elegant and graceful, romantic and playful, while not coming across as cute. Shades of white anchor this Lifestyle, thoughtfully blended with pale pastels, gentle florals and muted checks.
3. Downtown – This look pays tribute to city slickers, people who are energized by the skyscrapers and pulse of a big city. Downtown draws from an urban palette of black, grey and white, combined with discrete patterns and bright accent colors.
4. Nordic Home - Embodies a clean, simple and harmonious backdrop for the changing seasons that can be highlighted with materials such as cushions and curtains. This 5. Lifestyle features some of Bemz’ distinctive Scandinavian patterns.
5. Playground - For those homes where the walls are white and it’s the furniture and art projects that add color. Red, green, orange, blue and black are combined with strong graphic patterns and bold horizontal and vertical stripes.
How would you define your style?
(images from bemz)
I’m always looking for new fabric and wallpaper so the second I came across this photo in the March issue of Livingetc magazine, I had to learn more about the headboard. The fabric is called Birds and Butterflies and is hand printed by Rapture and Wright, a company based in the UK that I’d not heard of before.
The headboard itself is custom made by The Dormy House, but I can’t stop thinking about how easy it would be to DIY this idea with plywood (or an old door), cotton batting, your favorite fabric, a staple gun, and some mounting hardware for the wall (easy video here on You Tube). It’s also amazing to me just how great this particular print looks in person as I don’t think I would have given it a second glance if only seen on their website. Livingetc really grabbed my attention with birds and butterflies – I love the serene neutral space with a pop of black and yellow. Heaven!