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Posts Tagged ‘Antique Shops’

The maples and sumacs have shed their glory.  That riotous circus of color is over for another year, and the muted shades of the oak leaves remain.  The maples and sumacs catapulted me into action.  Now those subdued autumn oaks quiet my soul, as a prelude to the season of rest.

Oak leaves are the last to turn, and the last to fall.  Some will cling tenaciously to their branches until the new leaves bud out in the spring.  I rejoice in the mellow oaks as they reflect the hues of many things I love:  rusty iron, tarnished sterling, faded bronze, weathered copper, ancient pewter, muted gold, and my late autumn paint palette—purple magenta, alizarin crimson, burnt sienna, raw umber, Naples yellow, quinacridone gold. 

Yesterday Joe and I set out on country roads for an end-of-the-season visit to an antiques shop in a cozy barn, COUNTRY ECHOES.  The atmosphere of this shop induces euphoria.  Retro music plays softly in the background, and every display sparkles in the sunlight which filters through the barn windows.  There’s a tucked away section for country primitives, an area reminding me of my mother’s kitchen, and a Victorian parlor—replete with English and Bavarian china, and American pressed and patterned glass in jewel tones.  

The shop features cases of vintage brooches, necklaces, earrings (mostly the clip-on variety), rings, and bracelets.  Attempts at reproducing these beauties are rampant, and supposed “look alikes” may be found everywhere—from Walmart, to hospital gift shops and the finest goldsmith establishments.  But none of the new costume jewelry can begin to match the quaint, subdued beauty of the old stuff! 

Barring special pieces containing precious gems, vintage jewelry is still very reasonably priced.  This will continue until a new generation discovers that old can be lovelier than new in many instances.  Meanwhile, since the prices are moderate, I’m buying the vintage treasures—for myself as well as for kindred souls who also enjoy “old”.  If I have a “signature look”, it’s that of vintage jewelry—the kind my mother and grandmothers wore.

Vintage housewares, vintage table settings, vintage costume jewelry—reminiscent of late autumn, when our souls are stilled by the shades of vintage oaks! 

Margaret L. Been, ©2011

I am not alone in my passion for most things old!  Again, I recommend visiting my favorite kindred-spirited author and photographer via her inspiring books—especially FOR THE LOVE OF OLD by Mary Randolph Carter.

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Yesterday I savored some mellow moments in the little town of Delafield, just 5 minutes from our home.  My first stop was a yarn store where I bought baby fine cashmere/merino blend yarn for seaming my knitted sweaters. 

From the yarn store, I went up the block to an antique shop in an old Victorian era home.  I’ve been visiting this shop since the 1970s, when the (then young) husband and wife who own the shop had just moved in.  In the beginning, they sold out of the dining room on the main floor of their home.  That was exciting, because as well as being able to browse in a gorgeous period dining room, one got a glimpse of the adjoining living areas—all packed with family treasures.

Now the shop is in 2 cozy basement rooms, also packed with treasures and ambience.  What a treat to know these people.  Like me, they grew up with antiques, and their appreciation goes far beyond the mundane level of market value.  Enjoying antiques is all about cultural history, family roots, a love for beautiful craftsmanship, and the art of filling space with objects of interest—things that really mean something! 

A home antique shop is nearly an anachronism in our current age of shopping malls.  When I was a child, many of the antique shops were in homes—with the exception of galleries and outlets in cities.  When my parents and I “road-tripped” we wandered through the small towns, as freeways and by-passes were unheard of back then.  Residential neighborhoods contained homes with a sign in a window, advertising “ANTIQUES”.

I’ll never forget the wonder of entering these private sanctuaries overflowing with porcelain, glassware, old kitchen gadgets, and boxes of sheet music and books.  I was taught not to touch.  Nothing could tempt me to violate that rule, as I didn’t want to jeopardize my special privilege in being allowed to walk around in the shops.  With my hands clenched behind my back, I relished a feast for my eyes.  Bits of information were given out here and there by the shop owners, and I absorbed all I could of that enchanting world of antiques and collectibles.

Pictured above, is my small collection of shell art jewelry boxes.  I purchased the center one yesterday, at the home shop in Delafield.  The others were acquired via EBAY—a fun place to shop, but not nearly as satisfiying as browsing in a store!

The vintage evening bag, hanging above the shell boxes in the photo, was a gift from one of my nieces in Colorado Springs—my nephew Andy’s wife, Sandy. 

The elegant handkerchief under the center shell box was carried by my Grandma Rose on her wedding day in 1892.

The toothpick holder on the little shelf was my VERY FIRST COLLECTIBLE.  It was given to me when I was 6 years old, by an antique shop proprietor who was impressed by my quiet, “hands-OFF” behavior in her store.

The toothpick holder has tiny forget-me-nots painted on it.  It has gone with me nearly everywhere all these years, with the exception of the time I lived in university dormitories—definitely not places for treasures. 

The forget-me-nots remind me of never-to-be-forgotten mellow moments!

Margaret L. Been ©2011

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