Category Archives: Brimfield Antique Show

The Brimfield Report: May 2019

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The Brimfield Report: May 2019

Sorry to have missed you all last week.  I like to post at 8:00AM Eastern Standard Time (US) every Friday, but Flickr, where I keep my pictures for my posts, had a few glitches last week.  It seemed better to save this post as my “outside” photography post for May instead of trying to get it out then.  That’s a definite benefit of not monetizing your blog/hobby—you get to stick to your own time schedule!  This week, we’re talking Brimfield!!!!

Have you heard about the Brimfield Antique Flea Market?  It’s the largest outdoor antiques flea market in the US, and it’s so much fun.  Whenever possible, I try to go once a year.  (You can find my past posts here:  2014, 2015, 2016, 2018.)  It’s helpful that there are three “shows” every year, stretching from a Tuesday to a Sunday in May, July, and September.  These shows turn the small town of Brimfield, MA into a very full town for each of those weeks.  The whole, big show is actually a mile-long strip of road with smaller fields stretching back on either side.

Brimfield Antique Show!

Each field has its own flavor and dealers typically set up in the same spot if they are regulars, so you can often find your favorites again and again.  Oddly enough, my friend and I noticed that a lot of the specific dealers we normally see weren’t there this time.  Was it because they came earlier in the week and didn’t stay until Saturday?  Was it some weird fluke?  Or has something at Brimfield changed this year?  Mysterious!  I plan to ask around at my local flea market to see what I can find out.  We also saw a new field or two that we didn’t fully check out.  I think one of the bigger fields may have gotten divided and perhaps another was added at the end of the row.

Brimfield Antique Show!

I keep notes from year to year in a notebook and store dealers’ business cards in a little accordion file organized by field so that I can find my favorites again the next time I come.  If there is something specific that the dealer sold that I was interested in, I’ll write that on their business card.  All the fields have unique names, like New England Motel, one of my favorites.

Brimfield Antique Show!

My other favorite field is The Meadows, but I also really like Mahogany Ridge, Quaker Acres, Brimfield Barn, Central Park, and Hertan’s.

I love a good treasure hunt, whether for information, foraged plants, or antiques, which is why Brimfield is one of my favorite events.  I like to show up around sun-up or a little after, and walk until everything closes in the late afternoon, stopping now and then for a meal or a snack.  I keep a shopping list and save my Christmas money in a “Brimfield Fund” so that I can buy fun and useful vintage items as well as gifts.

This year I probably bought less than I ever have, but I went with my Best Brimfield Buddy, and we walked all day, checking everything out.  I found gifts for my kids, some jewelry for me, and an enamel bucket to use when gardening.  My favorite things to look for are:

clothes and jewelry,

Brimfield Antique Show!

sewing (and maybe knitting) items,

Brimfield Antique Show!

gardening supplies and plants,

Brimfield Antique Show!

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Brimfield Antique Show!

and kitchen and decor items.

Brimfield Antique Show!

I rarely spend much, but you could furnish a pretty amazing house if you had an unlimited budget and an empty house.

I could go on, but how about some pictures instead?

Brimfield Antique Show!

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Brimfield Antique Show!

(I didn’t buy this antique sewing machine, but it was SO FASCINATING!  And beautiful!)

Brimfield Antique Show!

This was at Jim Nardone’s booth in Quaker Acres.  He had tools and a few sewing machines.  Sadly, he doesn’t have a website on his card, but if this is the machine you have been looking for, I do have his e-mail address.

Brimfield Antique Show!

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Brimfield Antique Show!

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Brimfield Antique Show!

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Brimfield Antique Show!

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Brimfield Antique Show!

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Brimfield Antique Show!

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Brimfield Antique Show!

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Brimfield Antique Show!

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Brimfield Antique Show!

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Brimfield Antique Show!

Here’s where to find those extra mannequin legs you’ve been looking for!

Brimfield Antique Show!

Maybe I should have gotten this to hold my fabric scraps…

Brimfield Antique Show!

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Brimfield Antique Show!

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Brimfield Antique Show!

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Brimfield Antique Show!

 

And here is my food recommendation for you, because if you’re walking all day, you can eat whatever you want!  Faddy’s Doughnuts!

Brimfield Antique Show!

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Brimfield Antique Show!

Behold the most amazing Boston Cream doughnut I have ever had, made fresh for me while I waited.  I had to stop and really focus on eating this so as not to wasted this amazing experience.

Brimfield Antique Show!

And that’s my May 2019 Brimfield round-up.  Have you been?  Do you have any tips or favorite fields?  Share in the comments!  Also, let me know if you have any other favorite antique shows.  If it wasn’t so far away, I would love to go to Round Top in Texas!

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The Brimfield Report: July 2018 (Better late than never!)

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The Brimfield Report:  July 2018 (Better late than never!)

And I’m back!  After taking a little more than a month off of blogging, it’s time to get back to it, and first up is a report on my trip to Brimfield Antique Show in mid-July.

The Brimfield Report:  July 2018 (Better late than never!)

For anyone who hasn’t heard of Brimfield, it’s a small town in western Massachusetts that hosts the largest outdoor antique show in the US three times a year (May, July, and September) for about a week (Tuesday-Sunday).  I love antiquing, and while I don’t get to go every year, I make it for a day when I can.  The show (which is really a collection of different fields) stretches out on either side of a one-mile strip of road.  You never know what you will find, from sought-after antiques (and new things that play well with antiques), to repurposed items, to raw materials to make your own upcycled creations.

The Brimfield Report:  July 2018 (Better late than never!)

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The Brimfield Report:  July 2018 (Better late than never!)

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The Brimfield Report:  July 2018 (Better late than never!)

I love antiquing.  A full day of wandering through the fields with a friend or by myself is one of my favorite kinds of days.  This July, my best Brimfield buddy Jo-Alice (of Hillcraft Designs) and I managed to get away for the day.  We left before the sun was up, drove out to western MA, and got walking!  Each show has its own flavor, and July tends to have fewer vendors and fewer customers, because it can be the hottest weather (although sometimes September is pretty toasty, too).  Having said that, though, there is still A LOT to take in.  A few of my favorite vendors weren’t around, but despite that, we walked from about 7 A.M. to maybe 4:30 P.M. and found plenty to look at.

The Brimfield Report:  July 2018 (Better late than never!)

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The Brimfield Report:  July 2018 (Better late than never!)

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The Brimfield Report:  July 2018 (Better late than never!)

No, that didn’t come home with me.  That dress form made me laugh and cringe at the same time.

The Brimfield Report:  July 2018 (Better late than never!)

I always go with a list of things I’m looking for for our house, my sewing practice, as gifts, or just fun things like jewelry and plants.  I save some of my Christmas money toward this end, and don’t usually spend much, but always have a great time.  Anything I don’t spend, I roll over for next year.  I only get things I can use, because our apartment is small, and we don’t have wall or shelf space for knick-knacks.

The Brimfield Report:  July 2018 (Better late than never!)

Storage items are always useful finds!  I didn’t find any affordable pattern storage boxes, though.  I’m not willing to pay a lot for those.

The Brimfield Report:  July 2018 (Better late than never!)

Hm.  Maybe I should have gotten this sign.  😉

The Brimfield Report:  July 2018 (Better late than never!)

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The Brimfield Report:  July 2018 (Better late than never!)

Health fads of the past…

I didn’t find quite as much as usual this time, but I still came away with some good finds:  deadstock top sheets with a great border print.  These were unused and unopened and are 100% cotton.  I think they’ll make a great maxi dress.

The Brimfield Report:  July 2018 (Better late than never!)

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The Brimfield Report:  July 2018 (Better late than never!)

I found a sparkly necklace and this cute chocolate tin for gifts, but…bonus!  It was filled with sewing odds and ends for me!

The Brimfield Report:  July 2018 (Better late than never!)

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The Brimfield Report:  July 2018 (Better late than never!)

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The Brimfield Report:  July 2018 (Better late than never!)

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The Brimfield Report:  July 2018 (Better late than never!)

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The Brimfield Report:  July 2018 (Better late than never!)

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The Brimfield Report:  July 2018 (Better late than never!)

We needed some enamel ware for camping.  Check!

The Brimfield Report:  July 2018 (Better late than never!)

I also thought I would try out this folding drying rack for holding patterns that have been cut out but aren’t sewn yet.  Right now I drape them over my husband’s chair and, while he’s very patient, I bet he would like his chair back.

The Brimfield Report:  July 2018 (Better late than never!)

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The Brimfield Report:  July 2018 (Better late than never!)

My favorite jewelry lady and plant lady weren’t in attendance, so no treasures from them this time.  Not a huge haul, but a good one, nonetheless.  Next year, if I get a chance to go, I’ll reevaluate this year’s list and roll anything over that I am still looking for.

After a day full of walking and looking (and eating second-breakfast and a delicious lunch of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream), my friend and went to Cracker Barrel for dinner since it’s on our way home.  What a great end to the day, and a wonderful chance to hang out with a dear friend!

If you get a chance to visit Brimfield, here are a few tips:

  • Don’t bring your young children.  If you plan to make a full day of this, it’s a lot of walking and can get long and hot.  Can you do it with kids?  Definitely.  Will you (and they) enjoy it?  Probably not.
  • Bring cash.
  • Wear good shoes.
  • Park in the middle so you can drop things off in your car as you go back and forth.
  • Write down the fields your favorite vendors are in.  After walking for a while, things start to look the same and the paths through the fields are sometimes curvy, which can make remembering exactly where you found that perfect item a little tricky when you are tired.  My current favorite fields?  New England Motel and Quaker Acres.
  • Pack a cooler filled with water and leave it in your car.  Plan to take a midday break with some water and a snack as you drop off your purchases so you can get that second wind to keep going!
  • Wear sunscreen and be prepared for varying weather.
  • Have fun and chat up the vendors.  They are usually really friendly, really interesting, and great to learn from (whether you want to know the history of your latest find, its provenance, or the psychology of Brimfield).

 

Do you have a favorite antique fair where you live?  Have any tips to share or recommendations for fun flea markets/fairs to visit?  Leave them in the comments!

The Brimfield Report: May 2016

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It’s Brimfield time again!  I love Brimfield!  What is it?  The Brimfield Antique Show in Brimfield, MA is the largest outdoor antique market in the United States.  It happens three times a year in May, July, and September from a Tuesday to a Sunday.  Usually my wonderful husband takes a day off to watch the kids so I can get up long before the crack of dawn to head out there for a full day of antiquing.  I love it!

Brimfield Antique Show

Brimfield Antique Show

Brimfield Antique Show

Brimfield Antique Show

Unlike some people who go to Brimfield, I’m not a serious collector of anything.  I keep a list throughout the year of antiques I’d love to find, but I’m usually looking for things that are maybe mid-century, on the smaller side, and something I can use.  I save up Christmas and other money, but I don’t think I’ve ever spent it all.  I love to look at everything, hunt for treasures and gifts, and get lessons in both history and the psychology of Brimfield.  It’s never dull.  I walk all day, and then I enjoy some good food.

This year, for the first time, one of my friends was a vendor.  Laurel’s business is called Retromat Vintage and she sells vintage clothing as well as other things that are interesting and cool.  Here a just a few pictures of some of her goods.

Brimfield Antique Show

I vote for bringing gloves back.

Brimfield Antique Show

Or how about hats?

I got the chance to work for her for about 20 or 30 minutes and, despite my nervousness, it went well.  She gave me some sewing goodies that I wanted in return…and a lobster roll.

Brimfield Antique Show

I felt richly rewarded for my minimal work!  Thanks, Laurel!  Laurel also gave me this Necchi-Elna catalogue, which was fun to look through since I have a much-loved Elna.  I had no idea they were one company at some point.

Brimfield Antique Show

The pattern was a freebie from another vendor.  It has no instructions, but I’m working on tracking those down…

I also got to see my friend Maggie from my favorite fabric store in NH, and we had some fun checking out the vintage sewing goodies.

My strategy this time, since I wanted to be available to Laurel if she needed me, was to hit my favorite fields first, and then walk through whatever other fields I could get to.  All the fields have interesting names.  Because I love to delve into whatever I am really interested in, I started a notebook to record favorite fields (currently New England Motel, Quaker Acres, and The Meadows), notes to remember, etc.  Inside I have directions to Brimfield, a page for each field with notes, general notes about where I like to park (in the middle), and my wish lists for the current year and years past.

Also included are a few Bingo lists I’ve made.  My husband created Brimfield Bingo when we went together one year:  think of the craziest things you can (because you never know what you might find at Brimfield), and then check them off if/when you find them.  While I didn’t play Bingo this year, here are a few of the weirder things I saw:

Brimfield Antique Show

In case you lose an eye…

Brimfield Antique Show

or become a cook in a giant’s kitchen.

My notebook started to get so full of vendor cards, that Scott got me a little accordion file so I can keep track of which vendors are in which fields.  Yes.  We ARE cool.

Brimfield Antique Show

Want to see what else I got?

Brimfield Antique Show

Owl scissors!  At $2 apiece, I wish I had bought a bunch more for gifts.  Maybe next time.

Brimfield Antique Show

A sleeve board for pressing sleeves.  Don’t worry–I’ll clean it up before using it on my sewing projects.

I also got some fun jewelry:

Brimfield Antique Show

Brimfield Antique Show

Brimfield Antique Show

And I got some gifts, some of which have to remain secret, but here’s one that doesn’t:

Brimfield Antique Show

And finally, here are some pictures of things I saw as I walked around.

Brimfield Antique Show

Brimfield Antique Show

Brimfield Antique Show

Brimfield Antique Show

Brimfield Antique Show

Brimfield Antique Show

A Singer Featherweight sewing machine complete with case!

Brimfield Antique Show

Not everything is antique–some things are upcycled from antiques or are handmade goods like these jeans or supplies for making other things like the yarn below.

Brimfield Antique Show

Brimfield Antique Show

Brimfield Antique Show

Brimfield Antique Show

It was a great Brimfield, I have to say.  I had a lot of fun looking for treasures and hanging out with Maggie and Laurel.  If you’ve gone to Brimfield, I’d love to hear your thoughts, tips, or favorites.

For posts on Brimfields past, see these links:  2014 and 2015.

 

The Brimfield Report, May 2015

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A trip to Brimfield with Pattern and Branch

 

If you’ve been a reader of this blog for any significant amount of time, you’ve probably heard me mention The Brimfield Antique Show.  For newcomers out there, The Brimfield Antique Show is the largest outdoor antique show/flea market in the U.S.  It runs from a Tuesday to a Sunday three times a year in May, July, and September.  This amazing explosion of antiques takes place in the small town of Brimfield, MA, just a bit west of Sturbridge.

Brimfield is a showground for the old, the common, the unique, and the just plain weird.  It’s a mix of antiques, raw materials for creation, junk, and true artistry in the way of upcycling and re-creation.  As a person who loves a deal and a treasure hunt, it’s irresistible.  A good chunk of any Christmas money I get goes into the “Antiques Fund” in the hopes of a trip to Brimfield.

A trip to Brimfield with Pattern and Branch

I go for the fun of the hunt and the possibility that I might find unique treasures to use in my home or cool gifts for others.  Each show, I decide if I want to try to “see it all” (or at least walk through every field–you can never really see it all), or focus on going slowly through favorite fields.  This year, my best Brimfield buddy and I went the slow route and hit our favorites:  Quaker Acres, New England Motel, The Meadows, and a bit of Hertan’s, Brimfield Barn, Central Park, and Mahogany Ridge.  The various fields stretch back on each side of a one mile stretch of road and have, as you can see, rather unique names.  This may make it seem like we looked through a lot, but I bet we didn’t even get through half of all there was to see.

Want to look through some of our finds?  Let’s start with some of the weirder stuff:

A trip to Brimfield with Pattern and Branch

Need some extra teeth?

A trip to Brimfield with Pattern and Branch

How about a fully stocked dental cabinet?

A trip to Brimfield with Pattern and Branch

Maybe you’re looking for an alligator (foot) change purse?  We saw about a billion alligator purses, some with heads attached that you could have used with this baby.  You may be surprised to hear that I didn’t buy it.  😉

A trip to Brimfield with Pattern and Branch

We also found some super cute kitsch, like these owl scissors from Diane at ferdinandhome.

Not only did she have owls, she had something that reminded me of my wardrobe…

A trip to Brimfield with Pattern and Branch

Check out this sheet!  It almost matches my shirt (which I made from a sheet).

In fact, we found a lot of great fashion at Brimfield.  I took fewer pictures than usual because I got so caught up in everything, but here are a few fun finds.  My friend Jo-Alice and I think it’s time to bring great hats back.

A trip to Brimfield with Pattern and Branch

A trip to Brimfield with Pattern and Branch

A trip to Brimfield with Pattern and Branch

A trip to Brimfield with Pattern and Branch

These look perfect for next winter.

A trip to Brimfield with Pattern and Branch

Or maybe you need some cool gear for your motorcycle or bike rides?

Because you never know what you might see at Brimfield, the last time I went with my husband, we created our own game of Brimfield Bingo.  We came up with whatever wild and crazy things we thought we might see or that we would be surprised to see and made a checklist.  Jo-Alice and I did the same thing.  I had a hard time keeping everything in mind because I started to get mesmerized by all the treasures, but Jo-Alice was a pro.  Here’s our list:

A trip to Brimfield with Pattern and Branch

We found everything but #8 and our bonus.  Pretty good!  Brimfield Bingo is still in its early stages.  Should there be a prize?  Actually finding this stuff feels like a prize in and of itself, but I’ll take suggestions.

Here’s our non-traditional bike (#5):

A trip to Brimfield with Pattern and Branch

I think it folds up!  I tried to convince my husband that this was the kind of “new” bike he should get when his old one died, but somehow, he didn’t go for it.  Oh, well.

A trip to Brimfield with Pattern and Branch

Maybe we should have put a hot air balloon basket on our list!

Speaking of baskets, check out these beauties!

A trip to Brimfield with Pattern and Branch

This shop was owned by Robert Markey of Christiby’s and was filled with gorgeous baskets, wool blankets, and all the things you’d love to see in your dream cabin or hunting lodge.

Check out these gloves.  They are so beautiful.  Can you imagine how much work it would have been to add all those beads?

A trip to Brimfield with Pattern and Branch

I always love the kitchen and home stuff at Brimfield, too. Here’s a nice selection of Catherineholm pots.

A trip to Brimfield with Pattern and Branch

I also found this cool shaving mug (I originally thought it was some kind of tea cup) with a picture of “The Old Man of the Mountain“.  Sadly, the Old Man fell off the mountain a few years back, but now we have a picture of him!  I got this for my husband.

Unfortunately, it won’t work with his shaving supplies after all, but maybe it should hold a succulent and an air plant.  What do you think?

A trip to Brimfield with Pattern and Branch

A trip to Brimfield with Pattern and Branch

We always love to look through the printmaking blocks.  I think these were used to make saris.  Jo-Alice uses them to make impressions in clay.

So, what did I get in the end?  Not a lot of quantity, but some fun stuff, nevertheless.

A trip to Brimfield with Pattern and Branch

I got this shirt.  I love the floral print.

A trip to Brimfield with Pattern and Branch

I also got some clip-on earrings and a necklace for me, as well as the shaving mug for my husband (which is mine now 😉  ), and a sweet bug book and two handkerchiefs for my girls.

I’d say it was a successful trip.  We walked for 10 hours (minus maybe 15 minutes when we sat down for a snack and some water), found a billion treasures, learned new things, and ate good food.  It was an education, as always, and a ton of fun.

 

Field Trip: BRIMFIELD!

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I have LOTS of pictures to share with you today.  I’m very excited.   After being sick last week, I was a little nervous that I wouldn’t recover in time, but by the time Friday rolled around, I was fully healthy and ready to go on one of my favorite yearly pilgrimages (with my favorite antiquing buddy) to Brimfield, Massachusetts and the largest outdoor antique show in the US.

I need to hold myself back a little so I don’t write and write for pages on how much I love going to Brimfield, so I’ll try to keep to a few points.  (I have an entire notebook dedicated to Brimfield where I make notes on favorite fields, collect sellers’ cards, and note where to park and what to wear, etc., etc.)  Here are the basic details:  The show is three times a year (May, July, and September) from a Tuesday to a Sunday.  People come from all over the US and even other countries to find antiques, treasures, and “upcycled” goods made from odds and ends.  If you’re looking for something in that realm, there’s a pretty good chance you’ll find it at Brimfield.  The Brimfield Antique Show is made up of numerous fields on either side of a one mile stretch of road.  Each field has scores of dealers.  Some fields are open every day of the show and some are only open on certain days.  You can walk all day long and, depending on your pace, still not see everything.  My record is 12 hours of walking (with breaks–let’s be realistic–walking all day allows you to eat like a Hobbit).  Friday we covered about 9 miles and walked about 10 hours.  We saw almost everything (if that’s even really possible).

Enough talking, though.  Let’s see some pictures.  One of my goals this year was to take ‘lots of pictures, so here’s your photo tour of the May 2014 Brimfield Show.

At Brimfield Antique Show with Pattern and Branch

At Brimfield Antique Show with Pattern and Branch

If you’re looking to outfit your sweet loft with large-scale coolness, look no further.

At Brimfield Antique Show with Pattern and Branch

Along with vintage goods, we came across the work of some seriously creative and fabulous craftsmen.

 

At Brimfield Antique Show with Pattern and Branch

Everyone needs a pink hair dryer for a rainy day, right? (Plus, check out the cool coral necklace I scored for only $10! One of the other dealers told me it was worth $150.)

At Brimfield Antique Show with Pattern and Branch

At Brimfield Antique Show with Pattern and Branch

At Brimfield Antique Show with Pattern and Branch

 

At Brimfield Antique Show with Pattern and Branch

At Brimfield Antique Show with Pattern and Branch

Can you imagine the time and skill it takes to carve something like this?

At Brimfield Antique Show with Pattern and Branch

At Brimfield Antique Show with Pattern and Branch

At Brimfield Antique Show with Pattern and Branch

 

At Brimfield Antique Show with Pattern and Branch

At Brimfield Antique Show with Pattern and Branch

At Brimfield Antique Show with Pattern and Branch

There’s plenty to decorate the outside of your place as well as the inside.

At Brimfield Antique Show with Pattern and Branch

At Brimfield Antique Show with Pattern and Branch

 

At Brimfield Antique Show with Pattern and Branch

Brimfield’s not all about the shopping…it’s also an education.

At Brimfield Antique Show with Pattern and Branch

At Brimfield Antique Show with Pattern and Branch

At Brimfield Antique Show with Pattern and Branch

At Brimfield Antique Show with Pattern and Branch

At Brimfield Antique Show with Pattern and Branch

 

At Brimfield Antique Show with Pattern and Branch

At Brimfield Antique Show with Pattern and Branch

And my biggest purchase at Brimfield…….?????

The motorcycle jacket of course!  Did you think I got a motorcycle?

At Brimfield Antique Show with Pattern and Branch

My friend Jo-Alice and I took a well-earned trip to Cracker Barrel after “hiking” through the wild and rainy antique fields of western MA all day.

My total haul for the day included the coral necklace you saw, a three-strand aurora borealis crystal necklace (Also $10.  Yes!), a large and healthy rosemary plant, a test tube rack and some test tubes to use as vases, my awesome motorcycle jacket (which I am wearing as I write this), and a secret stocking stuffer for my husband.  It may have been the best Brimfield yet.  Good company, good weather even with the rain, great finds, and lots of good pictures.  All in all a great trip.

Have you ever been to Brimfield?  Do you plan to go?  Have any tips to share with others or questions to ask?  I’ll do my best to answer!