Keep Your Country Clean

Over the past several years I’ve developed a deeper love for vintage items. I suspect it’s due to my dad and all of my grandparents now being gone. And my own advancing age, ha, ha. Somehow, 46 sneaked up on me. It baffles me sometimes 🙂 I don’t feel 46. HOW can I be 46?? My mother was right. Time really does fly!

The younger generation, for the most part (not every one of them), views antique and vintage things as junk. For me, I’m fascinated with the history attached to “old stuff”. Who owned it first? Was it a gift? Why did they get rid of it? Or did a family member carelessly do so? Was there simply no family left to keep it?

I suppose that’s just how it works out sometimes. I have several pieces that are special to me. I don’t have kids though. Once I’m gone, I imagine my things quite possibly could end up in a thrift store. I pray never a landfill!

I made the choice recently, prompted by a severe (and extremely educational) cash flow problem, to sell much of my stuff. It’s been stored away in boxes and bins for eons anyway. What’s the point, right? I’m a pack rat trying to kick the habit of hanging on to everything. It’s difficult, easy and freeing all at the same time!

The other day I was looking for a small drill bit to complete the construction of a mason jar organizer. During my rummaging around I came across a key chain. I’d seen it many times and largely ignored it. It sports a picture of Uncle Ben and I’ve never been a beer drinker.028 I figure it once belonged to my dad, a fan of cerveza 🙂 I thought, “Oh, maybe I’ll sell this after all, surely there’s an Uncle Ben collector out there. I could get five bucks for it. Maybe” and I picked it up.

And decided to keep it! (give me a break, I’m still a pack rat)

I love, love, LOVE what it says on the back. Aside from the awesome Canadian flag, it promotes fighting litter and pollution. 027I have to keep it because I’m highly dedicated to being as environmentally-friendly as I possibly can.

This incident proved to me that we can see something over and over and over again and never give it a lot of consideration and then one day. . . voila! We view it in a whole new light and appreciate it. Being a PR does have advantages 🙂

I actually Googled ‘Uncle Ben beer’ and now that I know the story, this key chain is even cooler. The man behind the beer, made it all happen right here in my home town! AND the beer came out the year I was born!

We have an off leash Ginter’s Park where Uncle Ben’s house once stood. Knowing the history of something is like hitting the jack pot 🙂 For a weirdo like me, lol.

For those of you who can’t make out the blurry photo (sorry, my camera is cheap), it says ‘Please fight litter and pollution, Keep your country clean’.

Wise words to follow!

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Reuse, reuse, reuse

images (84)I’m not the sort of person who requires shiny, sparkly, brand new stuff. Thrift stores and garage sales are fantastic places to shop. I very much believe in the reusing aspect of the 3 R’s.

I have an old crock pot that doesn’t work anymore. . . . next year, the base will become a planter in my garden! The ceramic pot will become an indoor planter for the kalanchoe that just won’t die. Not that I’ve been trying to kill it.

I’d cut the main plant down to stubs because it was getting stupid tall and spindly. I stuck the cuttings in water to see if they’d live and they’re thriving! 036The main plant is coming back too!

But I’m getting off topic. Reusing both the pot and base means I don’t have to toss something that won’t biodegrade.

The last new purchase I made, and probably the only one this year, was a mat for outside my door that says “Wipe your paws” (I have dogs). It’s manufactured in the U.S. from recycled materials, both big pluses in my book. Had it been from China, I’d have immediately put it back down.

I love vintage items. Old or antique, it doesn’t matter what it’s called. If it was previously owned, it has a story. Probably one I’ll never know but I like wondering. Who had it first? A young wife beginning a life with her new husband? A bachelor destined to always be alone? How did it get scratched or dented? Was it carelessly given away or passed down in the family? It’s massively fascinating to me.

I think this appreciation has developed from my own advancing age (HA! Okay! I’m only 45. But still). I’m sure when I was younger I viewed “old” things as junk, like many people do.

I feel differently now. I wish my brother and sister did as well! Our paternal grandmother passed away almost 11 years ago. A large portion of her belongings ended up with me. My siblings had neither the room nor the inclination to be the pack rat that I am. And they have no interest in taking anything.

My brother, who recently moved into a new home, removed the photo I’d put on his fridge. One of our dad, also no longer here, when he was 2. 025It’s sooooo cute! But no, it ended up hidden in a drawer. I just don’t understand that.

The vintage, coffee table made from reclaimed wood that I gave him as a housewarming gift. . . . he said he’ll probably give back to me. Huh?!

Yesterday, of all things to come across, while I was rummaging around, I found my grandma’s shower curtain 🙂 There’s absolutely nothing spectacular about it. It is just a shower curtain after all! But I remember it. And it’s dark green, a color suiting my own bathroom. AND it’s made in Canada! It’s one of my favorite discoveries when I check the tag to see where something is made and it’s NOT China! Stuff from “back then” was more commonly made in Canada, before everything was out sourced.

So I washed that shower curtain (fabric of course!) and hung it in my bathroom. Weird, maybe. I don’t care. I’m giving it a new life after being in a box for over a decade, lol.

I thought I’d share a few photos of some of my most-loved pieces. I have larger ones, such as the table my computer sits on right now, the antique rice bucket holding my hand and ankle weights or the weathered trunk with my grandmother’s name and the words Steamboat Mountain barely visible on it. I didn’t take pictures of those though.

For today, I haphazardly selected various, smaller items and took quick, unprofessional snap shots.

1958 Siamese Cat TV Lamp025

A picture of my dad when he was a young boy. I found the perfect, old frame for it!006

Roller skates from when I was a kid. Metal and made in Canada!007

An orange, glass bowl of my grandmother’s. I filled it with rocks 🙂 002

A blue, glass decanter missing it’s top.

Found in a thrift store, bought with plans to make a lamp, but still sits on a shelf.043

A 1950’s cookie tin. I LOVE tins and do admit to having “just a few” 🙂

They’re great for non-plastic storage!

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A ceramic vase once owned by my maternal grandmother. Unfortunately, she lived in a different city and most of her belongings were given to charity when she passed away.

Her house would’ve been a treasure trove of vintage and antique items!009

An old, acrylic painting. An old, wood and velour (yes, velour! lol) frame and voila! A perfect pair 🙂 In my eyes anyway. I know this would be a hard sell for most people.040039

A wooden box my dad made in school  012

An old coffee tin, rusty and dented, that I use as a garbage can in my sewing room.

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An apple cider jug I use for collecting loose change.

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Another old coffee tin, much smaller, and a tin from OXO boullion cubes. No cardboard back then! A pair of vintage salt and pepper shakers.005

I have plenty of other stuff. In boxes or bins, inside and out in my shed. I KNOW I must whittle it all down. But I love it when I “find” things I’d forgotten about! I think what I should at least be doing, because I don’t have the room for it all to be on display, is rotate my favorite items. Maybe every 6 months? Or once a year? I’ll have to ponder the idea. And sell a few things. . . . . .sigh. . . . . anyone who is a pack rat will understand my difficulty 🙂