Sunapee Crafts Fair

An event I look forward to every summer is the League of New Hampshire Craftman’s annual fair held in Sunapee, New Hampshire. At the foothills of Sunapee’s ski mountain, a number of huge white tents are set up and within is every form of fine art, craft, and beautiful skilled art work you can imagine: Photography, painting, etching, ceramics, pottery, knitting, felting, weaving, jewelry, wood crafts, rock sculpture, and more!

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Group weaving project – everyone’s invited to contribute!

Every summer growing up, my mom would take my sister and I to the Sunapee Craft’s Fair. We were each allowed to pick out one little thing to buy; a tiny carved and painted wooden goose, a stained glass sun-catcher, a pewter stegosaurus, a small raku pot in the “seconds” bin for 20 dollars. I still treasure these things. I’m thankful my mom introduced us to artisan made crafts at such young ages! Though I don’t get up to crafts fair every single year anymore, I still hold such a place of fondness for this fair in my heart. From here forward I will try not to miss it (I even drove up by myself just for the afternoon last August!). There are new things to see every summer! Many of the artisans put on live demonstrations. I personally loved watching Richard Foye’s raku pottery demonstration this past year. The colors he gets on his finished pots are so beautiful!

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Richard Foye at work creating Raku pottery!

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I’ve also always admired the carved wooden spoons. Two years ago, I finally got one! I am sad to say I cannot remember this artist’s name, but he was kind enough to show me the tools he uses to carve spoons and recommended ones for home carving. Another fun thing to do is take a ride up and down the chair lift to see the beautiful mountain view! You can buy tickets to do this in the lodge. I’ve only done that a couple times, but it is a stunning view – just don’t do it if you’re afraid of heights 🙂

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There is a sculpture garden, fairy houses, a trout pond, a children’s tent, lots of yummy food. Really, something for everyone. The dates for this year’s Fair listed on the League of New Hampshire Craftsman’s Website are:

August 3rd to August 11th 2019 from 10 AM to 5 PM daily

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I still think about these ceramic Koi Fish! 

As a random aside, I discovered a sweet little farm shop on the way home from the Fair last year ~ the Sweet Beet Market at 11 West Main Street in Bradford, NH. It’s a nice place to stop for a snack for the road or to get your week’s produce. I just thought it was super cute. A perk of driving home on back roads! You never know what you will discover.

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As if there wasn’t enough to look forward to this summer 🙂

 

 

Brimfield Antiques Fair

Guess what’s coming up soon! One of my most favorite times of the year: Brimfield! What is Brimfield you say? Well, only just the treasure-hunter’s, antique-lover’s, junk-picker’s paradise! 14 acres chock full of weird and wonderful stuff! Brimfield Antiques Fair is held three times a year in Brimfield, Massachusetts, and it is always worth a trip. You literally never know what you will find there! Some years I’ve gone all three times, and some years just once, but I don’t think I’ve skipped a summer since finding out about it in 2012. While a bit more crowded (and a bit more pricey!) than it used to be, it is still very fun to poke around, even if you go just to look.

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Back when I was newly married, and first setting up house, I used to buy lots of things at Brimfield, to fill in the gaps for things we needed, and replace “boring” things with antique or prettier versions, such as intricate silverware or fun little juice glasses. Then I went on a bit of a Marie Kondo-inspired minimalism/tiny house/wanting to live in a yurt kick and went a couple years without buying ANYTHING at Brimfield- just going to look around (which was still wicked fun!) And now, this year, some of the practical little things I purchased for our home back in 2012 need replacing – our cloth napkins are stained, our dish cloths ragged, our juice glasses and all but 1 of our water glasses have broken. So I will once again be shopping for practical things at Brimfield. I love holding out for the treasure hunt. I will gladly wait a year until I find the perfect, old antique thing before I drive out to a box store or order something online. Finding the perfect little thing for your home at Brimfield is just so fun! And it feels better to re-use something and give it a new life, especially knowing that it was made during a time period where quality was prized over quantity and profit.

 It can be overwhelming the amount of stuff there is. I find if you LOVE something and it is totally unique and a cheap price – just buy it then and there. If you hesitate at all, take a photo of it (ask the dealer first! sometimes they get mad about photos) and then at lunch, scroll through the photos of things and see which things you forgot about already and which you are still thinking about. The things you forgot about should probably not go home with you.

In terms of practicality, there are a few things to consider. Brimfield is HUGE. There is no way to see it all in one day (believe me I’ve tried, as I’m sure my mother and friends will attest!) If you try to see it all in one day, it is exhausting and I think you end up seeing less in a weird way, cause you are only just skimming the surface. The tents line both sides of Route 20 in Massachusetts. The traffic from Highway 90 is AWFUL. If you can go any other route (such as coming in from the North on route 19/Warren Road – do it! I’ve sat in traffic on 20 for 2 hours before). I’ve tried all manner of parking arrangements- park in the beginning, drive to the very end and park, park in the middle- either way, it does not matter- you will never be able to see it all in one day. Just make sure you wear very comfortable shoes! If you go in July or September, it can be very hot! May is my favorite time to go- what a way to kick off the summer time! No matter what month you go, the earlier you arrive, the better and the more you will get to see.

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Yes, dogs are allowed! This was such a cute pup we met 🙂

If you end up buying a really big, bulky piece, the dealer will generally be kind enough to hold it for you until the end of the day (most dealers pack up between 4 and 6 pm) at which point, you can somehow navigate your car through the maze to get to them and pack up your find! If you plan to buy a lot of little things, carry a tote bag, or even better, a backpack to keep yourself hands free. Bring snacks and water with you – believe me, you will not want to walk all the way back to your car. I’ve even stashed my lunch by a tree somewhere so I didn’t have to walk all the way back to my car, but I’m not going to “officially” recommend that – hehe it was a good idea though. Of course, there is food to purchase in the middle of it all, but it is expensive and there are not too many healthy options (although that changes every year!) – think “Fair Food”.

I’ve gone in rain or shine, and though I prefer shine, rain isn’t so bad. All the dealers are under tents, and it is less crowded in the rain. Just make sure you wear the right jacket and footwear for moisture or you will be miserable. The fairs run from Tuesdays to Sundays, although some dealers (and entire fields!) do not open until Wednesday, and some do not stay all the way until Sunday. I’ve generally gone on a Friday. It’s not too picked over at that point, and it’s close enough to the end of the week where you can sometimes haggle a deal. Most dealers don’t mind you making a reasonably lower offer (especially if you are buying multiple things from them or a bigger piece). Some dealers are not super friendly- just telling the truth. You will quickly figure out their attitude 🙂

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Taken  from the official Brimfield Antiques Show Website, the dates for the 2019 shows are: May 14th through 19th, July 9th through 14th, and September 3rd through 8th. Mark your calendar for the dates now, so you can plan on getting there. Have fun!!!

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It was a glorious time at Brimfield yesterday- so many interesting things to see and I love the thrill of the hunt haha. You never know what you will come across and what deals you can wrangle out of the sellers. Some of the dealers are so nice too! I love hearing their stories. Here are the treasures that came home with me yesterday:

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First, I’ve been meaning to switch over to cloth napkins for quite awhile so I finally got that process started. I found these ones- all embroidered with our last name initial! They’re from the 30s or 40s and are in excellent condition.

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Next, this sweet little pale green apron. That second shot is a detail of the fabric- I love that print! The little berries are so cute.

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I found Ethan a funny deer tie and scored this little sewing supplies case made in Germany. Those scissors it came with are so tiny- like an inch long!

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A picnic basket! I was looking for one all day (I saw so many of them!) so I was waiting, pricing them out, comparing.. The waiting paid off because I found this one for the cheapest price, and it’s the only one I found that is lined and has spots to put flatware. I was quite happy about this find.

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I waited until the very end of the day to get this quirky painted tin document box and I’m so glad I ended up getting it because I’ve already filled it …

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Paid 2 dollars for this pretty little “tea” jar, which I knew I would use as a vase. I’m so happy the lilacs are all blooming. They smell wonderful.

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And perhaps my most interesting find were these two old wooden painters’ boxes, completely filled with oil paints and supplies! The dealer was so nice and gave me such an awesome price. He made me promise I would use them though. I will.