Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Guest post: Plates, grain sacks and chalets - why I love vintage

Occasionally I come across a blog that I really love.  It might be a turn of phrase, a pretty photo or just a sense of being likeminded in life so when I bought some pretty vintage pocelain in France I wondered who else loved vintage china as much as me?  I've been reading a lovely blog written by Andrea Mynard called Shabby Chick so I called her and asked if she'd like to write guest post about why she loves vintage china. 

In my cupboard and stacked on my dresser are piles of old vintage china plates. Some are sprigged with roses, others are gold edged, a few are covered in daffodils and many are chipped. While some of my tea plates are pretty, others are better described as handsome and many when looked at objectively are decidedly dodgy. All are well-used, well-loved and when placed around the table in a mismatching jumble, very pleasing to the eye. Well, to my eye anyway.

Andrea Mynard writes a lovely blog called Shabby Chick 
I'm not in the least bit precious about any of my old plates. They're all there to be used and enjoyed, certainly not wrapped up and stashed away for 'special occasions' that never quite happen. Many of them were bought from a nearby barn sale when I was on my way to buy paper plates for my daughter's 4th birthday party.

Stumbling across lots of old china plates and saucers (perfect for children's snacks) for a few pence each, I realized they were cheaper than buying disposable plates and far more attractive to me and my daughter. A lot better for the environment in my view too to get more use out of something that may otherwise end up in a landfill.

I have to admit that when I was asked to write a guest post about vintage for Vanessa, I was keen to contribute to this very lovely blog but had a slight reservation that I was certainly no expert on vintage. Although I would love to be the sort of person who makes water bottle covers out of old flannel shirts or transforms vintage pillow cases into beautiful, life-affirming objects for the home, SouleMama  style, I have to admit to being distinctly more shabby than chic. I may manage to rustle up lavender heart bags from old sari material and love to knit welly socks from magic wool, but mostly when I attempt to sew I'm reminded of my attempts as a child to make dolls' clothes using cellotape and staples.

Finding vintage treasure in Bridport
Yet I look around me and realise that some of the most beautiful and useful things around me are vintage. I'm sitting on a cushion made from an old Hungarian grain sack. On top of a pew which we retrieved from my mother-in-laws' garage; it was oil-stained but sanded up beautifully and is far more solidly made and comfortable than anything we could've afforded new. Lots of children regularly squeeze up on the pew, which fits perfectly along the kitchen table that my partner made from reclaimed oak.

Facing the wood-burner in our kitchen, my daughter often likes to snuggle up on the sofa under a multi-coloured crochet blanket, made when I was a child by her great-grandmother out of leftover bits of wool. Outside, I regularly dig up potatoes with an old fork that once belonged to my Grandad. And of course on the shelves within easy reach of our battered old sofa, are some of my favourite vintage buys: books, including several lovely ladybird childrens' classics.

Bridport this summer
The ladybird books remind me of the fantastic vintage market in Bridport, where some of them were bought. We spent a lovely time in Bridport this summer, enjoying the fabulous Shabby Chic charms of the Bull hotel, where Parisian flea market finds mix wonderfully with contemporary local art While we also had so much rock-pooling, winkle collecting and crab eating fun at the seaside in Wales this year staying in our friend's 1960s beach chalet. In a wild spot, surrounded by tangles of honeysuckle, ferns and foxgloves and with a stream in the garden that trickles down to a glorious beach, the beach chalet is the same vintage as me. I won't say that due to the 1968 vintage, we're both showing a few signs of wear and tear. It would be unkind to the lovely holiday home. Which still has most of its original furnishings and was such a comfortable, fun place to stay in an idyllic spot.

All reminding me of that lovely satisfying mix of money-shaving thriftiness, nostalgia and fun to be enjoyed from having vintage finds in our lives. Perhaps most of all, the environmental reasons are why embracing vintage makes good sense to me. As I look around and realise how so many beautiful, well-made vintage items add loveliness to my life, I'm inspired to try harder. There is so much that is quick and disposable around us these days. Yet with a little more thought, turning discarded possessions into treasures seems to add so much more comfort and richness.  

1 comment:

  1. Lovely post. I so remember Ladybird books and still have a couple from my childhood.


If you are reading my blog I must warn you that I am not impartial. I want to influence you. I want to make you stop for just a moment and consider the effect of a lifetime of seemingly insignificant decisions and how making small delicious choices can change the world.

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