Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Holidazed At Fort Plain Antiques

The little Christmas tree in the front window
The season came upon us so quickly. The move from Main St. to Willett St. got finalized just a week or so ago as the final pile 'o stuff made it to the new location. Chris has been focusing his attention on making this new space everything he dreams of.
The move was daunting to say the least, but there was no time to whine about it. The holiday season is here already and Santa's elves have a new headquarters! Altho Chris is working like mad to try to break out new merchandise and also to unpack some of the nicer things from the old store, he still has to find time to make the holidays come alive in the store. This looked like a job for the me, the Network Minion! I visited last Saturday, before the stormy snow hit, and help put up decorations. We put up a tree downstairs next to the horse in the window. After that, I dragged poor Chris out into the now raging wind and snow, and he got up on the ladder and put up lights outside in the front doorway. It looks great, and now this end of the street has come to life!

The snow came down as we put the lights up outside, but now it's Christmas time at Fort Plain Antiques
This has been a great opportunity for Chris to roll over some inventory and get some different things into the store. It's the perfect place to shop for that special something you haven't been able to find yet. I love to help him put merch on the shelves. I find so many odd and unusual little things and I covet them all! Bad little Network Minion!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

OPENING DAY on Willett Street-Today!

What an incredible journey it has been for Fort Plain Antiques!
The new store has taken an amazing amount of energy and fortitude. Chris and Robert have been working towards this common goal for months and finally we can see the light at the end of the tunnel.
Work was intermittent. Some days a lot of things got accomplished. Other days, it seemed as the world came to a standstill. The Hoardmaster General worked thru these fits and starts and one day in October it became clear that this move was going to happen at last.

C'mon in and let's take a look at the progress. Chris picked out this great door. I simply have luv for the doorknob!

The transformation unfolded slowly, and now the fruits of everyone's labor can be enjoyed.
Chris is trying to create a unique ambiance in his new store. The structure of this new building lends itself to an entirely new feeling. The Main Street store was like Grandmas closet with it's low ceilings. The shape of the store was a simple rectangle. Although Chris filled this store to the rafters with crazy collectibles, the store itself didn't really offer anything to the setting. The new store on Willett St. is directly the opposite. 30 pane windows with brick arches, seemingly ancient thick beams, a balcony, vintage tin ceilings, and a 4 story tower are just a few of the details that capture your attention. These features provide a super backdrop for the myriad goodies that Chris has for sale. I loved the way the empty store accented the architecture. I ended up taking a whole bunch of stark photos in black and white to be used in my artwork later on.

This is the groovy back door with it's cute archway. Robert made sure this blended into the building nicely don't you think?

Late in the day, looking towards the front entrance.

You can see how big the 30 pane windows are in this shot. It took Chris mega hours to completely restore these for usage. Up close, they retain that old wavy glass look.

The front door, from the inside.
It won't look this pristine and empty again.

Black and white pic of the textile room that is the 2nd floor of the tower. I get to decorate and fill this room! I am so excited!

The calm before the storm. Chris surveys the new shop in the late afternoon sun. The store won't look this empty ever again.

The majority of the move happened last week. Robert supplied some happy Amish help! Chris said they were jolly guys and they really helped break the tension on such a busy day. Hard work it was, and it took till the wee hours of the night to finish moving.

The huge wad o' stuff in the middle of the floor. After the first moving day, it became clear just how good the Hoardmaster General is at being a packrat!

The massive pile seemed so daunting at first. Chris came home from work that night with such a long face. I thought he would be excited about the move and his new adventure. But the huge task of making this new store his new home was still ahead of him. He dove in immediately and began arranging his counter area. He created a basic aisle structure and started making sense of the pile. This process will continue for weeks and months. I am happy to be a part of this unfolding. It's going to be a long and satisfying journey.

The pile that faces us! These precious things will all find new homes on new shelves in the new store!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Willett St!

Fort Plain Antiques has been running like mad all summer! It's garage sale season and Chris is out and about the countryside seeking out those odd and unusual items that you probably want in your house. Savvy buyers know that the early bird get the worm. It's work to get up early and be one of the first to arrive at these town-wide sales. Treasure hunting is one of Chris' favorite activities, it's his passion! Summer goes by quickly.
But this isn't the reason that we are starting to get super busy. It's been a fast summer, but the work has just begun! We are preparing to move to a much nicer and larger location!!!

This is the main space. It looks rough now, but wait till it's done! Sweet.
There is a beautiful vintage brick building on Willett Street in Fort Plain. It's very large, and when it's finished it will house several businesses, including us. On one end of the building is a super tall 4-story tower. This is the end that Fort Plain Antiques will be moving into!
A lot of work is getting done to ready the space for us. The wiring is already finished and next will be the painting. Amish folk have been working on the internal construction.

We have a wall that now separates us from the machine shop! Soon there will be flooring on the balcony, a nice spanking paint job, and a smooth concrete floor.

Before winter, we hope to be in our new location. There is so much work to do before then. Just the sorting and packing of the items in the present location is a daunting task, not to mention all the prep at the new place. Have no fear, Chris is hard at work facilitating this move. It's going to be a couple of VERY busy months, I fear! I am so excited!

Friday, June 5, 2009


A reflection in the front window of Fort Plain Antiques
I was in the store yesterday and caught Chris in the act of cleaning and rearranging. There are so many different things that are for sale. It's a challenge to find creative ways to display them. The variety of interesting objects can be staggering, so it's easy to get item overload. I was reflecting on the various pieces of furniture that have come and gone. Sometimes these furniture pieces make the ideal displays. On a dresser, for example, you can set up a brush and comb set, a lamp, or a pretty doily. But when the dresser is sold, those things have to find new homes, so the store requires constant upkeep. There are some larger displays of collections of things, such as the Blue Willow, that don't change as often. Chris leaves this table up for awhile, giving Blue Willow lovers a chance to add to their collections. When most pieces will have sold, another display can take it's place.

Some of the Blue Willow resting on lace

Everyone loves jewelry! I am so fond of wearing different rings, necklaces...it's really one of my favorite things. I can't help but spend time looking thru the budget jewelry counter now and then to see what I can't live without. This is a jewelry recyclers dream! I have found precious pieces on this table and I simply can't resist fondling things almost every time I am in the store. The super fine jewelry Chris keeps under the front counter. I always have to peek in there, too. Irresistible!

The budget jewelry display. The better jewels are under the counter.

Even though Chris shows me a lot of things as he gets them, I am always finding something I haven't seen before when I get to the store because he keeps adding stuff! I marvel at what a lively business this really is.

A sense of humor is required when creating displays

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Our new chair

The chair and the vintage turtle freeloader that also came home to Mapletown!

This weekend we were out and about the neighborhood scouting out for goodies. It was Memorial Day weekend and really it's not the best time for garage and yard sales. Most of the people are on vacation, or having barbecues. Shopping really isn't in the radar, unless of course it is raining.
Which it wasn't this past weekend. It was beautiful. We still managed to come across some interesting stuff. We got this chair.
As soon as I saw it I loved the bizarre animal print. I am supposed to wear glasses, and of course I wasn't>so I didn't see that this animal print was simply tacked to the seat! It didn't matter much. I loved the leather seat and backing...the crazy quarter sewn oak sides....the simple little scroll on the railing...immediate luv luv luv for the chair! I exclaimed out loud about it and told Chris it was SO cool. He's sweet on me I think, and he indulged me. We got to keep it! Now it sits in our den by the woodstove.
There was also this vintage turtle. There he sat forlorn, just waiting for someone to take him home. He looks quite handsome against that animal print!! My sweetie let me keep him too.

Mr. turtle posed for a pic

It's a lot of fun scrounging with my guy for antiques. I don't go with him all the time. It's his business and I don't want to cloud him with me being there as a distraction. What a cool diversion to be able to go with him and see all kinds of interesting things. I have to be careful. He's a very generous man. If I show too much that I really like something, he most kindly gives it to me. And I know that if he gives it to me, it isn't on the shelf at the store making him any money to live on. Times are tight for everyone these days, and that includes us! It's nice to know he is such a sweetheart, though. I am working at keeping my needs to a minimum. It's better for the planet, and better for you. It means more stuff at the store, and less stuff at my house!!

Mr. Chris did not pose for this pic!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Springfest in Fort Plain

The weather is gnarly today. The wind blows and blows out there. It makes it hard to put some choice juicy antiques out on the sidewalk for people to see as they drive by. The rain could damage things, the wind could blow things away....Rain just isn't good for business!
This weekend there is a Springfest event going on in Fort Plain. There's rides and bands in the park, a re-enactment at the museum, and here at Fort Plain Antiques, we are in the celebrating mood! In honor of the Springfest, we are throwing a 30% sale! You can come on in and find that special item you have been looking for and also get yourself a special deal!

Monday, May 11, 2009

Saturday at the Textile Show in Nelliston

Stuff from Fort Plain Antiques for sale at the show

Saturday was my first time alone without Chris at a show representing Fort Plain Antiques. I was a wreck in the morning...Where's the tags? I need a pen! Those boxes aren't going to fit in there! I would like something nicer to put these in...mini panic! Good grief I was still feeling as tho I was forgetting things even after I left the house!
I got there relatively early at 9:30. The show started at 11:00 and I figured I had plenty of time to set up.
Good thing I got there when I did! We misread the contract and so I didn't realize I would need tables! Luckily, Donna Reston, the super nice lady who was helping organize the event, had an extra table in her car. I am grateful to her for loaning it to me. Without it, I would have had to drive to the store (10 minutes away) and bring tables back. After I arrived, I inquired as to where our booth was located. It was upstairs! GASP! I hadn't considered having to tote the entire load of vintage goods up the narrow vintage stairway! Hello stairmaster. No yoga for me today.
It was quite humid and sunny and carrying these things up the stairs made me break out into a monstrous sweat. How embarrassing, and certainly not conducive to sales with me standing there with soaking wet sweaty hair! Nonetheless, I managed to get everything up there by myself and an hour later, the thankful the sweaty hair was gone. Once I stopped running up and down the stairs, I cooled right off and the rest of the day I kept comfortable.

The doll booth
My booth was located next to a dollmaker and her daughter.--I didn't get their names, sorry! (bad blogger!) The mother made beautiful primitive dolls and her daughter was hand sewing colonial style clothing. She had a fabulous corset there that she had made and I couldn't brag enough about it for her! It was a beautiful work of art to see something so utterly intricate sewn in so beautifully by hand. I totally loved the little sewn pigs they had! Unfortunately for me and my buying fetish, the wallet is closed for business at the moment. I am working very hard to make money, not to spend it!
Molly McKay was there in the booth across from me. She had a bunch of sweet vintage clothing, including a most fine black riding jacket I was coveting. (note: i was also coveting the size 2 body it would take to fit into it!) She told me about her and her husbands' new antique shop in Mohawk. I believe she said the name was Angelo's Antiques. I can't wait to go and check it out!

Molly setting up her booth, Dori in the background
The Mustard Seed, a great little shop located in the Stone Mill Antique Center in Little Falls, brought some sweet little cross stitch gingham aprons. They were in such great shape I couldn't believe they were vintage!
Dori, who is Chris' brother Johns' girlfriend, and thereby somehow like a sister-in-law to me, that is if both Chris and John married us, (HA! don't you just love modern day relative naming?) brought along an entire entourage of stuff. She's always loaded with linens and she just adores vintage textiles. So the upstairs was chockful of interesting things that of course I wanted to buy! I had to really try to behave to not spend anything at the other booths. I did manage to keep my promise to myself and I went home without spending a dime! Yay!
I am disappointed in the pictures that I took while I was there. I was hoping to get some shots that I could share here on the blog that would show the great stuff that was there. Unfortunately, I was a bit nervous since I was on my own. Next time, I promise better views of all the cool stuff!
Downstairs in the main rooms there were demonstrations of weaving, embroidery, spinning, and rug crocheting. I have to mention that there was a gentleman who was spinning, isn't that great?? Joy was there making her rugs that I covet so much...

It was really cool to see the textile arts still thriving. I enjoyed several conversations with woman that are heavily involved with fiber craft. It was all so inspiring that last night I started an embroidery project!!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Vintage Textiles On Display

Chris and I have assembled a sweet 'lil pile 'o textiles for display at the Nellis Tavern this Saturday. I am excited that this will be my first time breaking out on my own as a representative of Fort Plain Antiques. We have spent evenings as of late picking out homespun Irish linens, hand sewn beaded remnants, pieces of lace and more! I can't wait to share these goodies!

Here's the press release:
On Saturday, May 9, 2009, the 1747 Nellis Tavern of St. Johnsville will host the 3rd Textile and Fiber Show and Sale, sponsored by the Palatine Settlement Society. Donna Reston will display antique quilts.

There will be vendors with textile and needlework items for sale, including antique clothing, linens and sewing notions by Dori Decann, Molly McKay, Chris Takacs and Julie Sadler; also antique quilts by Joan Draus; herbal
linen sprays, sachets and vintage aprons by Julie Webster; folk art dolls and period clothing by Cheryl and Emil Loadwick. Other vendors will be demonstrating the following arts and skills: machine embroidered handmade items such as purses, toy bags and table runners by Sally Kuehl; knitting by Sandy Lane; and rug crocheting.

Volunteers will be displaying and demonstrating for anyone to learn the following: spinning for kids to add beads for jewelry by Barbara Hojohn of Circuit Spinsters, hand appliqué by Karen Nabors, and Brazillian embroidery by Jean Quick.

Refreshments will be served. Admission is $3.00. Hours are 11:00am - 4:00pm. For further information call Mary Nellis Davis at 315-866-2619 or Sandy Nellis Lane at 518-762-8259.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

3 years ago

One day 3 years ago I found myself freshly divorced and in the mood to concentrate on my own life and interests. I am a collage artist at heart, and I enjoy frequent treasure hunting trips to find ephemera and strange objects for my artwork. Naturally, this sort of preference leads me to garage sales, flea markets and occasional trips to local antique stores.
I was living in Fort Plain at the time and I noticed that there were a few different antique shops there that I had not visited. Fort Plain Antiques stood out among them all, with a large sign above the front door made of hand hewn letters. I wanted to get in there and see what kinds of goodies could be had. And so I strolled on in.
The proprietor was speaking with another customer, so I headed for the aisles and began to stare in wonder and amusement at the various displays. This store has a little bit of everything! Funky furniture, knick knacks, kitchen accessories, linens and doilies, jewelry, iron wheels, odd farm implements, lamps, little tiny dollies, the list goes on and on!

As I searched the shelves and looked to see what things would end up coming home with me, I could hear the owner in the background with another customer. His kind and compassionate voice really struck me, and I ended up deciding I wanted to talk with this man....
Chris and I hit it off really well and found we had similar interests and a common sense of style. We worked on an art project together as we got to know each other and soon enough we were spending every evening together eating dinner and discussing our past, present, and future.

Now we are living together in rural bliss in Canajoharie, NY. Chris runs the store and I am his part time right hand girl. I still work full time as a graphic artist/webmaster/computer tech...but our goal is to join forces and start running this whole production together sometime in the near future. Until then, I will be your personal reporter, relaying pictures and experiences as Chris and I build our future together.