Thursday, February 12, 2009

The International Collectibles & Antiques Show -Charlotte, NC

After visiting the new show a couple of weeks ago I must say I was very excited and a little nervous about going back to Metrolina’s old/new show, The International Collectibles & Antiques Show. I wanted it to be just as big as it always was but I was afraid that some dealers were picking one show over the other. We went on Friday at about 10 am and found a parking spot right up front. In all fairness, I have no idea how crowded it was on the weekend but it wasn’t crowded on Friday. Going through the gate, the outside vendors are set up! Hooray! I saw several of my old favorites and found a few cool things to buy right away. Truthfully, there were not as many dealers outside as usual and no sign of Linda who is always in the process of setting up under the mall.

Checking out Piccadilly Lane I found a sweet little Mid Century chair at a booth where everything was half price. Good thing we brought the SUV.

This booth also caught my eye. Bed of Roses Boutique is run by DeAnna Jackson. Her and her husband restyle old pieces of furniture in a shabby chic kind of way. I love this piece designed by her young daughter and made by her husband.

There were only two rows of shops open in Piccadilly. The whole middle row, all but vacant, so on to the buildings we went.

We stopped and shopped at Harry’s booth. He sets up along side of building C and always has great bargains and interesting treasures.

Building C is filled with an eclectic mix of booths and very few empty spaces. Sandra of Salvage Art is set up and I get to meet her new puppy Lady Marmalade. OMG what a cutie! More on pets later.

A little known fact about me is that I’ve got a somewhat unhealthy obsession. I hoard buttons-there, I’ve said it. I have discovered, while discussing this vice with other vintage clothing dealers, that I am not alone. Oddly, this makes me feel better. Many vintage clothing dealers that I know ‘hoard’ buttons. It starts out innocently enough. You rescue buttons from damaged pieces and pick up jars full at flea markets. But it doesn’t take long before you have an entire cabinet - or in my case closet - stocked full with a bazillion buttons that you would not even think of selling. I am not proud, but I love buttons for some reason.

So when I came across Kristine Tibbetts’ booth I was in awe. She has a beautiful booth where her buttons are organized and displayed. Little boxes full of buttons, jars full of buttons and buttons sewn to cards. Glass, plastic, wooden, leather..okay, you get the picture. She is a true collector and she definitely knows her buttons. Notice, I didn’t call myself a button collector. I am but a mere hoarder and browsing Kristine’s booth the differences between a hoarder and a collector become very clear. That’s okay-I can live with my little vice.
Next was the covered mall and, honestly, it looked about half full. The next building, building B had very few dealers but my favorite jewelry seller was there. Tom Smith "Smitty"
of 'For the Time Of It' is always set up right inside the main door and to the left. He carries the most beautiful estate jewelry and has great prices. If you are looking for something special for your sweetheart (or for yourself) be sure to stop by his booth.

As we cross through the breezeway and go into Building A we spot a lady wearing a fabulous vintage patchwork mink coat. I couldn’t help but comment on it and she tells us that she had just bought it! For less than $100! Good for her-bad for me. When I asked her where, she pointed to a booth and I immediately recognized Elaine of Stony Run Antiques.

Had I known she was here I would have started in Building A. Oh well. Elaine and her husband Jim have a wonderful antique store in Oaksboro, NC. It is in a quaint little house and the whole upstairs is full of vintage and antique clothing and accessories. Unfortunately she is only open by appointment so I don’t get to visit as often as I’d like. I do see her regularly at Hinson's Auctions though, which is also in Oaksboro. So, I am always excited when I get to check out her treasures at the show.

By now we’re hungry and there are lots of choices here for lunch. There are two cafes in this building and today we chose the little one in the back. The food is made to order and doesn’t disappoint. I recommend the BLT but my daughter loves the baked potatoes.

Re-energize after lunch we start up the aisles of this last building. I don’t think I have ever seen an empty space in Building A and today is no different.

I am a squirrel lover and so this little guy caught my eye.

As I look around the booth I am surprised to see another squirrel and then another. It was a bit weird and exciting at the same time. I don’t usually see a lot of squirrel collectibles and certainly not a bunch in one place. That’s when Brooke pointed out the sign.

Okay, I get it. They specialize in Early American Antiques and American Stoneware (and squirrels).

We took our time browsing and shopping and talking to dealers. I have to admit that a lot of the talking was done by my daughter Brooke-not me and was about Aashka, her dog-not antiques.
That girl goes nowhere without her ‘baby’ and I have to tell you she was quite upset when I told her that I read on the website that they were no longer allowing pets at this show. She called the show to confirm. Even the new sign above the front gate read “no pets”. Obviously, none of this had any impact on her because here we were, Aashka in tow. And no one seemed to mind. Plus, like I said before, Sandra had Lady Marmalade with her and there were other dogs there also. I’m feeling a little guilty for having left Trigger at home. Oh, well.

All in all it was a great day. We saw a lot of beautiful antiques, met some new friends and caught up with old ones, scored some treasures and had fun. Oh, one last note. As we were leaving I asked the lady at the gate what was up with the new ‘no pets’ policy. Guess what. She told me they changed their minds and they decide to go back to their old policy of allowing pets. Icing on the cake!
You can see more pictures here.

Sunday, February 01, 2009

The Charlotte Antiques & Collectibles Show

There's a new show in town and I had to go check it out.
Well, it's not really a new show. The Charlotte Antiques and Collectibles Show, which has been held at Metrolina for decades, has moved to Concord. So now it's dubbed The "Greater" Charlotte Antiques And Collectibles Show. I am not keen on the new superlative. Moving the show to Concord did not make it "greater" for me. It's a freaking hike to get from South Charlotte to the Cabarrus Arena and there is no direct route to get there. And, after attending the "Grand Opening" yesterday, I can't say the show itself is "greater". Okay, there is paved parking and the buildings are pretty and new if that's what you're looking for. But the parking lot was near empty at 11am Saturday when I arrived and that can't be a good sign.

No lines to get in and only about a half dozen outside vendors. That was the worse part for me. At Metrolina I always shop the outside vendors first and, honestly, that's where the bargains are.
So, moving on, there are 2 buildings. The smaller one on the right is where they stuck the new stuff. There were about 2 dozen vendors in there selling anything from fudge to reproductions to carpets. It was not a good first impression (or second impression as I was already disappointed over the lack of outdoor sellers). I did see one booth that I recognized from Metrolina and I am totally perplexed as to how she got allocated to this little annex building.
of "Salvage Art" is one of the most creative people I know. Her booth is always filled with her own creations like the desk lamps and wall hangings she makes from vintage ads or the purses from vintage patterns. When I asked her why she was in this building she said she was told that the big building was only for real vintage and antiques-high end stuff. She said I would know what she meant when I went in. As I said goodbye to Sandra, in my head I was crossing off a mental list of my favorite vendors that I guess I won't be buying from here.
There's the guy that sells cheese and butter, the guy that sells display items for jewelry, Linda who sells the best vintage clothing and sets up under the Mall at Metrolina and of course Harry who always has the best bargains outside.
Okay, on to the main building I go expecting to see only high end, authentic antiques. First impressions: "Wow, this place is huge!"
Lots of vendors. I'd say there were probably twice as many booths as you'd see in the main building at Metrolina in a building three times the size. So it's pretty roomy with wide aisles and lots of seating for bored husbands (not that I ever bring my husband-I know better).
So I stared down the first aisle. So far so good and I find another one of my favorite vendors right across from one of the two concession stands. More on the food later.

Unfortunately I do not remember this lady's name and she was very busy with customers so I wasn't able to ask. I do remember that she is from Pittsburgh and she always has beautiful vintage linens and purses. If you go, be sure to check her out.
This is where I stopped at the concession stand. If I do ever visit this show again I will be sure to eat first and bring a drink. It was early and the only breakfast item they offer is a sausage biscuit for $3.00. It was one of those awful frozen ones you buy at the grocery store. And the sweet tea was $2.75 for a medium! Other than that they have a very small selection of items. Hot dogs, hamburgers, french fries, nachos, popcorn etc. All at premium prices and all pre-made and wrapped up and sitting on the warming shelf. And don't bother looking for the other food vendors that you are used to seeing at Metrolina. Absent are the barbecue stand, the Java Hut, the candied pecans, kettle corn, funnel cakes and the beer. I'm just saying.
So I continue shopping, or browsing really as I really didn't buy much. There are a lot of antique jewelry and furniture dealers with real period pieces but scattered throughout there seems to be several vendor selling strictly reproduction pieces. And the guy that makes 'art' by framing old ceiling tiles was there as well as the guy selling new jewelry displays, a booth with Obama and McCain buttons and a guy selling vases made of coral. All cool stuff but not antiques. So there goes the theory that there are only high end, authentic antiques in the big building. Are you confused yet? I was.
I did discover two very unique booths that I hadn't seen before. The first booth belonged to Nanette Johnson of Floyd Virginia.

Nanette & Mike own Floyd Antiques 116 N. Locust St. Floyd, VA. They specialize in antique tools, dollhouse miniatures, primitives and, my favorite, vintage clothing. Nanette and I chatted for a while and she talked me into making the 2 hour drive up to visit the Floyd Antique Show & Appraisal Fair on March 8th, 2009. If her booth is any indication of what to expect then I know I am in for a fun day.
The other dealer that I am happy to have met is Roberto Frontera-Suau from Elizabeth City, NC. A biology professor by trade, this charming Spaniard shares with me a love of vintage clothing. His booth was breathtaking and the clothing he displayed was divine. He says he specializes in 20's and earlier and he had some beautiful examples like a lovely mid 19th century wrapper. But he also carries later, more wearable vintage like 40's suits and dresses, dresses from the 50's and 60's and this stunning 30's gown that he had on display.

So, all in all, I am glad I went to check out the new location but I will still be a regular at Metrolina. That's right! I forgot to mention the best part. As much as DMG would like us to think that their show is the only one in town, the show at Metrolina will go on! Many dealers there refused to move to the new location and many others chose to do both shows. Besides, the new show is only going to be held 5 times a year:
  • January 30-February 1, 2009
  • April 2-5, 2009 "Spectacular"
  • June 5-7 2009
  • August 28-30, 2009
  • November 5-8, 2009 "Spectacular"
...whereas the show at Metrolina-now called The International Collectibles and Antique Show , will continue to be held once a month.
  • February 5-8, 2009
  • March 5-8, 2009
  • April 1-5, 2009 – spring ‘Classic’ show
  • April 30-May 3, 2009
  • June 4-7, 2009
  • July 2-5, 2009
  • July 30-August 2, 2009
  • September 3-6, 2009
  • October 1-4, 2009
  • November 4-8, 2009 – fall ‘Classic’ show
  • December 3-6, 2009
A few of the dates conflict which seems rather like poor planning to me but, if I have to chose one show, I'll be shopping Metrolina. Maybe I'll see you there.