Friday, 21 November 2008

The magic of old things










Hosted by Cecily and MamaGeek

I have once again been inspired to consider and write about a topic discussed on this blog. The post asked the question, 'is there beauty in decay?' and I was thinking about this and why l like old things, the vintage clothes,  authentically distressed furniture, beautiful tea cups and saucers, old vanity items, the bold colours & prints of vintage silk scarves, to name but a few of my favourite things.


My mother is a lover of antique and junk shops and having followed her on endless outings I firmly caught the 'bug' at an early age. In fact my parents ran an antique shop for a time and I was their first customer as I recall I bought a cut glass perfume bottle, which I still have on my dresser. I like nothing better than walking into a shop, a market or a charity shop, wondering what treasure I will find and pondering on what I will be leaving with in my bag.


l love tactile old fabrics in jewel colours, velvet, devore, taffeta , chiffon, rayon, silk. My husband thinks I'm not a little weird in that I seem to him to live in the past, (pot, kettle, black,  spring to mind) and perhaps I do or is it that I'm afraid of change? I think both may be true in small part, but it is much more than that ...

I love the history,
the possible stories,
the hidden secrets,
a life lived in full,
the glamorous nights and a sweet tryst
hidden amongst the frills, pleats and bows.

l may have a silk scarf tied to my bag today or be wearing an old silk petticoat under that LBD (little black dress), which I'm thinking of wearing to the  Christmas dinner.

The dress, the bag, the scarf, they keep the secrets of a lady who once danced, who sang, who loved, who dreamt, who cried...

It may be a bold bark cloth printed skirt from the 50's or a confetti lucite box bag which harks back to a love lost or a friendship made, these are all memory keepers.

This fills me up, like the pages of a good book, like the warmth and comfort wrought from a roaring fire in the dark of a winter evening. Or like the light cast by the candle  in the night, evoking what may be, what could be,  what should be.

I don't inderstand the horror when people are aghast that I may be wearing a dead persons clothes .... LOL, I know I probably am, whether it is a 1940's dress, a 1930's coat or a flapper opalescent string of twinkling glass beads or a fine silk pouch bag, they are most likely the items of a woman no longer living.

Or perhaps they are sitting in a favourite comfortable armchair, staring into the fire and beyond, reminiscing about the party they once attended, wearing my dress, carrying my bag and being whirled around the dance floor or terrace, stolen moments.

There is the shadow cast from a young woman's whimsical dream, the yearning and the hope bound up in the weave of the fabric's lifetime.

When I'm alone, I often make a pot of tea in a 1930's earthenware teapot, which has a decorated band around the top of pastel flowers. I lay a tray with a cloth and place an assortment of mismatched china out and enjoy a long cup of tea or two. I like the experience, the comforting warm feeling it evokes within me. It is also a little self spoiling , which is what every good -or bad- woman needs. Cherish and indulge your good self.

I recently read a new edition of a fiction book originaly printed in 1936 and this too made me wonder if my grandmother, who was a voracious reader, may have read it. I'm now on a mission to find an original copy, just to have the essence of nostalgic veneer of things past in the present. It's all in in there somewhere, life's rich tapestry.

I find it fascinating and it pulls me in...



Hosted by Cecily and MamaGeek



A contender for post of the day at Authorblog, thanks again for the mention David!

34 comments:

  1. My ten year old and I visit antique shops together. She LOVES them. I never have trouble finding her the perfect gift. I just pay attention to what makes her squeal the loudest when we're shopping.

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  2. Oh I loved reading this. Here in Canada we don't have such a rich history as you in the UK and I think we miss a lot because of that. The best teapots are the old ones, especially the old (what I call) the Brown Bettys. But one year for Christmas my sister bought me a lovely teapot with teddy bears on it plus a matching china mug. I use it EVERY day and drink the whole pot all by myself. Sometimes I nuke a cup later and the tea still tastes good. Gotta run...haven't had my fix yet today.

    You might be interested in what I was pondering last night and ended up with a post about it. :D

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  3. Nicely done. I like old things too but from the other side of the economical spectrum. I like the day to days of poor people, every day, every thing like a rolling pin that might have rolled out tender dough or a book that might have been their only. But either way, it's a keeping alive that counts and the hope that one day someone will keep a part of me alive.

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  4. This was very nice. I am a great lover of history (the love is great, not me). And there is absolutely beauty in decay -- just a visit to the national parks in Utah will tell you that. It is magnificent desolation.

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  5. I love everything old because I know its been around and certainly has heard and seen things.

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  6. I am new to your blog and love your post! Came from PSF. I too love old things. I think the same way you do about their stories and their lives. I live in an old historic town, all of downtown is pretty much as it was in the early 1900's. The buildings have such great architecture. We love to walk downtown. It is also filled with antique shops. There are many treasures! Thanks for this wonderful PSF, and the mental imagery you provided!

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  7. I love antiques! I was also visiting them at a young age, and fell in love fast!

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  8. I love old things and antiques.
    Doesn't matter if you wear things that belonged to a dead person. Doesn't matter at all.
    Lovely post.

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  9. I love old things, but don't have the knack that others have for making second hand look like vintage!

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  10. Loved your post, and so glad I found your blog :-) I love old things too (unlike my hubby, who's a divil for chucking things out, I'm forever fending him off!) I collect old glass, especially carnival and pressed glass, and love browsing in antique shops and arcades looking for new finds. eBay is a good source as well :-) I live in Birmingham which has a huge industrial history and learning about the early development and conditions people worked in is a fascinating and eye opening study. I'm not far from Stourbridge either, which was a huge glassmaking area and again the dangerous conditions people worked and lived in during the 19th century is a constant revelation to my 21st century eyes, as I learn more and more about it. I think we owe it to future generations to value and preserve the things of the past :-)

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  11. I'd never thought of it like that. How lovely that you are keeping alive those things and traditions owned by others.

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  12. Another lovely post FFF. I think I love old things because they survived and because they were made by loving creative hands rather than machine; hand-painted china, handstitched scarves, verneers cut and inserted by craftsmen. Buy a dining table made today and it will be coated with polyurathene [sic] and will remain shining forever, but yesterdays tales can be lovingly polished to a gleaming shine the smells of loving care. How many hours go into making a patchwork quilt, and how long does it take a Chinese worker to run up one on her machine, for her low wage? Old photo's in handcrafted frames, people long gone but never forgotten all the while we take out the album and marvel at the gowns of the women, the moustaches of the men and make up stories of their lives.

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  13. Nicely written. Feels like I'm reading a page from a book describing details of time gone past.

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  14. Lovely post FFF. I love antique shops and often buy old china (I love your set you have in photie and your vintage scarf) Beautiful things are beautiful full stop, doesn't matter where they come from. In fact, if they have a history that makes them even more special...

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  15. Wonderful post. I love things made in another era, because many were hand-made. There is a charm and wonder about those items, the history...

    We have MANY antiques in our home. :)

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  16. I totally agree...everything is better when it's old! :)

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  17. This is something I want to get into, but haven't had time to explore yet. I love the scarf you have tied on your bag!

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  18. What a fun post. I love the story and mystery of items of the past.

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  19. Give me an antique diamond ring over a new one any day! ;)

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  20. Just as you said .....

    I love the history,
    the possible stories,
    the hidden secrets,
    a life lived in full,

    That's why we write. That's why we enjoy life.

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  21. Afterthought time: OK, so I'm a bloke and I think R E A L slow .....

    I think I used the phrase ``beauty in decay'' about a week ago.

    What a huge coincidence.

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  22. I agree, wouldn't you rather have history live on by adding more life to those things? Decay is beautiful too, it's a part of life.

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  23. Most things grow better with age (except maybe diapers). There's nothing wrong with wearing vintage clothing, jewelry, what have you. I even wore some of my own mother's clothing after she passed. It made me feel very connected to her, and she had great taste!

    Peace - D

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  24. I totally loved this post.

    My post for today is much shorter, and less eloquent, but is along the same lines.

    If you write books, I would like to read them. :)

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  25. This was a simply beautiful piece to read and I concur absolutely x

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  26. Good morning from across the big pond.As always I love reading your blog.

    You have an award waiting for you at my blog!

    http://southernartistictouch.blogspot.com/

    Happy Saturday!

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  27. I have been handed the most beautiful artifacts, not to mention clothes, from my now 84 year old mother in law.

    The most precious piece ever handed to me from her was the old tin full of love letters sent to her while her husband (then boyfriend) was posted to various countries during WW2. Each letter is like a delicate leaf and I take extreme care when reading them. It's like a respect washing over me and I'm awe of each letter.

    One piece of clothing was her fur coat - real fur - that I'd never have the nerve to wear these days.

    Is there beauty in decay? Very much so. I often wonder how the world will look upon this era in a hundred years' time!

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  28. My parents used to drag us kids all over looking for antiques..maybe that's why I don't do it. But I have a few old china cups that my grandmother used for tea and sometimes I make a cup of tea in them and remember her....

    New Rambling Woods Site

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  29. How lovely! I enjoyed this post a lot. I love old crockery, but don't really have any. Except a pitcher and bowl I admired in an antique shop when at University and husband bought for me (on limited student funds) as a surprise. So that has a story just since I've owned it!

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  30. I quite understand where you're coming from.
    I write at my mother's desk which was given her in 1937. It was made circa 1790. In Morocco we lived in a five hundred year old house.
    That said, I think one has to tread a fine line between loving the past and getting swamped in accumulated stuff.
    However, show me a pretty old teacup........
    still haven't forgiven my father for giving the lustre ware tea set to the church auction in 1977
    love your thoughtful blog

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  31. Ahhh....I love it all: the antiquity, the history....the secrets. The more secrets, the better!! I'm so 'connected' to those kinds of things. It's a part of who I am. I see you feel the same way!

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  32. My daughter and I both love to visit antique shops. Not only do we find some interesting items from the past, but it's fun to share time together. There is magic in old things.

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Take the weight of your feet, draw up a chair and pour yourself a cuppa. Leave your troubles at the door and together we shall ride out the storms.
I will walk a while in your shoes...

Saz x