You only have to step inside our home to see that I have a..bit of a ‘thing’ for all things vintage. Quirky bits of vintage furniture stand happily alongside industrial shelving units and my shelves are filled (some might say cluttered) with my favourite vintage finds. From barn finds to car boot treasures and the many pieces that I have hauled home from trips abroad – my husband is a long suffering man – I’m surrounded by little things that make me smile.
It started with a tin
It’s true…my addiction to collecting vintage started when I inherited my grandma’s old sewing tin. A battered little floral tin that had once been the home to peppermint creams and now held old tape measures, a tiny tin of carefully kept sewing pins, little wooden cotton reels and the cake topper from my parent’s wedding cake. I loved it then as a thirteen year old girl and I treasure it still. It held memories, stories, a sense of the original owner and a little snapshot of the person no longer with us. It even smells of my childhood.
In the many years that have passed my addiction to tins has become severe. I now have probably more than 100 tins. Clearly these cannot all hold personal memories but each one holds a story, a sense of a time passed but not forgotten. They also look absolutely awesome on a kitchen shelf! And so do sewing patterns, vintage sewing machines, fabulous cake stands that have probably served a thousand WWI ladies as well as a growing collection of old bakeware and cookie cutters.
The life changing magic
From tins to kitchenalia, vintage toys to prints and the odd dabble in vintage furniture, every treasure sparks a little joy in my soul. Forget the life changing magic of tidying, try the life changing magic of vintage!
Vintage treasures for modern kids?
Absolutely! As babies, my children’s nurseries were adorned with bookplates from old children’s books, my daughter’s favourite doll was a ragdoll that had once been mine and we still have old pull along toys and wooden bricks. Sadly I can’t always replace a screen with a well-thumbed book but vintage roller skates? Hell yes!
But what does vintage teach a child?
Quantity isn’t everything
I’m probably as guilty as the next modern mother of buying my kids what they want when funds allow. We have hundreds of books and often I cringe when they can’t think what they want for Christmas as they have what they need. My mum tells them tales of her childhood in the 1950’s when most children had one special toy and a handful of books at the most. She can still remember the titles of all the books she had and has many a fond memory of whiling away the days in the summer sunshine reading and re-reading the same books. They look at her with disbelief until I show them a ladybird book in superb condition which has finally made its way to the boot fair, languishing behind a stash of unwanted playstation games and a ripple of understanding passes over their little faces.
The importance of caring for things
When they find a doll with all it’s clothes still in lovely condition, or a set of tin soldiers with all the men from both sides standing to attention in neat little rows, it (sometimes only temporarily) encourages them to take better care of their own toys. If one little boy somewhere back in time managed to keep 100 tin soldiers in a little wooden box then surely it’s not too much to ask to get them to put their jigsaw pieces away or the pen lids back on.
Follow your own style…
My favourite thing about vintage is having something nobody else does. With IKEA culture still riding high, it’s easy to walk into three houses in as many weeks with the same throws, the same plates and the same prints on the wall. Now don’t get me wrong, I love IKEA as much as the next woman but mix it up with a little retro here and there and the whole scheme changes.
Right now I probably sound a little…preachy. Our ventures into vintage aren’t always successful. My kids taste in vintage is a tad…how shall I put it…dubious…
Leo has a penchant for all things ‘bling’, gilded, covered in shells and hailing from a seaside holiday on the Costa del Sol circa 1970. Ella has thankfully outgrown her love of unsettling pottery victorian dolls and Phoebe…well Phoebe loves books and I can’t really argue with that. Admittedly her attachment to a handmade wooden ‘tiger’ (I never could tell what it was meant to be) has lasted longer than it probably should. My son keeps treasured shells found on the beach in an old wooden ‘treasure box’ and my daughter keeps letters and birthday cards in an old sewing box. And those little vintage roller skates…they are just as lethal now as they were back in the day!
Why not check out our new post on Where to Look For Vintage Treasures and start your own vintage journey!