Sunday, January 10, 2016

Cool Old Stuff

All these things we find are pieces of ourselves. I've built a future by rummaging through the past. -- Thea Beasley
I usually have no trouble finding something to keep me entertained wherever I travel. All I need are either one or any combination of the following:
  • A yarn store
  • A comfy cafe
  • A used bookstore
  • An antique shop
If that's all there was in a town, you could drop me off and come back a few days later, and I'd still be quite happily wandering around, exploring, reading, daydreaming. In fact, I kind of wish that would happen sometime. I should add that to my list of life goals.

I especially enjoy being left alone to explore an antique shop. If you've been reading my blog for a while, you know that I adore old things. I especially love old useful things: I'd much rather find a used item than a new one that's been freshly cranked out of a factory. Old things are full of stories and charm, and I am delighted every time I'm lucky enough to find a "new old treasure." It's my favourite way to recycle: I win, and so does the planet.

I feel quite fortunate because I've been finding some really lovely treasures recently. Firstly, there's this little vintage French teapot:

The hubby got it for me for Christmas. I asked him for it when his original plans for my birthday gift fell through, which meant he had to shift my Christmas present forward to my birthday present, which meant he had to find a new gift for me for Christmas. Such are the issues with giving presents to winter babies.

I'd been coveting it for ages from a shop on Etsy that is full of the pretty little vintage trinkets I adore so much. I've wanted it for so long that I've searched every single antique shop for something that was equal to its charm, but found nothing quite like it. I adore everything about it: its squat, pobby little body, the thick spout, and the delicate silverleaf on the lid. I'll admit it: I went over to Etsy a number of times before it arrived to gloat to feel pity for all the other people who had favourited it and weren't going to get it. That's the deal with one-of-a-kind things: Only one person can get it.

I love vintage French kitchen things. They make me feel elegant, but not too pretentious. I imagine I'm one of those beautiful French women who eat croissants every morning with their cafe au lait and never gain any weight:

I put this apple next to it for scale... and also because it looked cute:

It goes perfectly with the teacup my friend, YarnKettle, got me. I love it when teapots find their teacup friends. Doesn't it look like the teapot has got its arm around her friend?

I've also become more and more interested in old jewelry. I often find myself looking at brand new jewelry in a store and then say to myself, "I've seen old jewelry that I like much better." And it's true. I was at a wonderful place near here that I call "the Antique Barn," because that's what it looks like:

And there, in amongst one of the hundreds of displays, I found this necklace for $15:

It's a lariat necklace, which means it's essentially just one long chain with no clasp on it. I had no idea how I was going to wear it, and neither did the guy who sold it to me, but it was so lovely and for such a good price that it was worth the gamble. A quick Google search showed me at least one way that works perfectly. I wore it like this to work the other day:

It's not all teapots and necklaces around here. I found a really neat old thing a few months ago in a used bookshop, which I eventually gave to the hubby for his birthday. It's an old wartime magazine from 1941 that details all the things you're supposed to do during an air raid, but I think it's really a magazine for airplane enthusiasts to geek out over:

It's full of pictures and facts about just about every airplane that flew during the 1940s. It even shows you the silhouettes of each so that you could identify them if they flew over you... though, I'd be really impressed if someone could actually do that from these diagrams:

Secretly, I got it because I enjoy flipping through it and imagining I'm studying for an air raid. You never know when that stuff might come in useful...

I discovered some of my very own "antiques" while I was home at my parents' house for Christmas. While I was down in the basement loading the dryer, I found some of my old books. Finding them was like finding money on your jacket pocket that you'd forgotten about: an unexpected bonus, and a boost for the day.

Most of the books were by L.M. Montgomery, who is best known for writing Anne of Green Gables. I fell in love with the whole series as a child, and went on to read just about everything else she wrote. This book was given to me as a prize when I was in grade 6. I can't remember what I won it for. I think it must have been a writing competition or something, because that's all I ever did that was worthy of any sort of acclaim as a child. I only remember seeing the cover and thinking it was the loveliest thing I'd ever seen:

I decided to pack it to take it back to my house, amongst a few others:

I keep wondering if my love of all of this old stuff makes me a collector. I'm not sure if it does. I sort of think that a collector keeps things for display, but most of my little treasures are things I use regularly (except for the airplane magazine -- but again, you never know!). When I found that quote at the beginning of my post, I realized that that is exactly what each of things are: they are little pieces of me. They're part of my daydreams and fantasies, my memories of my childhood, and even the memories of my childhood dreams.  In truth, I'm just a dreamer. That's a hard thing to be in a world that demands action and drama, moment to moment. I'm grateful to be able to retreat with my tea and books and knitting once in a while.

But you know: once I'm there, it inspires me to make new things, or solve nagging problems.

I'm building a future by rummaging through the past. How about that.


YarnKettle said...

Hey I just started reading Anne of Green Gables last week. I wonder who put that thought into my head.
I love your stories about the things that you find. I wish I could find some good second hand shops near me. Guess I'll just love hearing about your finds instead.

AdrieneJ said...

My findings got a lot better once I moved here, but I was sometimes lucky with finding neat things in thrift shops. One of my nicest teacups was found in a thrift shop for $0.50!