Well here we are again then Beach Cottage friends, near and far, logging in from a newly floored, still a bit messy, but very much cleaner and freshly painted study this morning, on a polka dot desk. It’s kinda overcast but burning off with the sun streaming through and again this morning we are faced with the growing laundry monster that lives just adjacent to me in the Laundry Room.
But I guess, life is ticking along and all is good despite my role as washer woman to the masses.
Now today I want to talk about vintage collecting.
And in particular a few of my recent linen finds.
The one you see here is a beauty and just what I love to come across…the finest softest fabric, edged by hand and appliqued lovingly with a tulip, in blue, no less.
I love finding these things and for someone who started off in this career as a dabbler, ducking in every now and then to these little shops rammed full of potential discoveries, I feel now that over the years I have become somewhat of a thrifting pro. Perhaps I should write a book?
And though it has changed recently, in that, the old days of Vinnies and Salvos actually being places where people’s unwanted goods were sold to raise money, whereas nowadays these places seem to have some mis-guided notion that people want them to be some kinda downmarket antique shop (please please refrain from writing ‘an oldie’, ‘antique’ or ‘rare’ on your tickets, just please), I still enjoy it very much.
So along with vintage suitcases, plates, china and a rumble around in the the saucepans hoping, praying and looking for a vintage Le Creuset (please thrifting gods on high please smile on me) I love me a vintage linen find…
I love the gathering of these beauties, they seem to hold a personality of their own and as they make a new life in this tatty old cottage, I often wonder where they were before…who spent hours embroidering them, who flicked them out and laid them on a table for tea, who washed and pressed them and didn’t moan about it
I love how too they are so different, each stamped with a uniqueness that today, in the times of mass-produced, is rather precious.
The best thing though, when thrifting these beauties, is both the thrill of the chase and the story that, if you are in luck, often comes with …the one below is not actually a tablecloth, but a food cover. I am not sure if these are exclusive to a climate like the one I live in now but I certainly did not see any of these in my days in England.
This is a very fine linen, the edges are a slightly heavier weave and the centre panels are a fine almost gauze, each one hand embroidered (and extremely neatly worked, so much so that at first glance it confused me and I thought it might be machined).
This so light and fine that I couldn’t get a photo of it on the table or the ladder, but here weighted down.
When I found this particular specimen to add to the stash, that I don’t have Mr BC, I had sneaked off for a walk on a Saturday morning, to get away from it all and finish with a coffee…as I did my circuit to take in a hill, I came across a Jumble Sale in a local church hall. I stomped up my walking to a quicker pace, got that done and dusted, grabbed a coffee and headed back to see what I could find.
Nothing much better than an impromptu bit of vintage treasure hunting in life I do believe.
Outside were the usual stalls of plants and clothes and at the toys, some raving lunatic women who looked as if getting a bargain toy for their little one may indeed be their last act…I pushed through to the linens, where I have found, through experience, you get two quite distinct creatures. The one like me who is looking for something old and vintage and quite calm while wading through the stuff from the 90s. The other creature will be looking for a bargain, perhaps a Sheridan still in the packet or a 1000 thread count sheet that’s hardly been used. We size each other up, us linen thrifters, in one quick swift cursory but highly informed glance, ascertain that there is no competition and continue to delve.
Here at this stall I found this one and as I stroked it commented to a lady behind the table on its fine nature. She informed me of its job and how these food covers were laid over the food on tables at gatherings in the summer to stop the flies, they would be used indoors and out, taken on picnics and to the beach.
The one below is of different ilk altogether, a thick and heavy linen and embroidered with a very much heavier hand…to the back little stitches and slips and not the most delicate of knots, hinting of more stories that I don’t know.
I love it too when these are not perfect. Of course it’s nice if they are but a little patch here and there, an area that is soft and worn, perhaps a section that someone has darned! Be still my non-darning heart.
And this one below where some of the work has come undone…
If there is an op-shop, goodwill, charity shop or thrift store that does not have nearly always at least one piece of linen that I want to buy, bring home to this old cottage, look furtively around for any males and then run in and stash, then I have yet to find it.
And of course the best thing about this hobby? It’s pretty easy on the old pocketbook and beats a $198 napkin ring all the way to the bank
I hope you like my vintage finds, let me know if you have any knowledge on them that I wouldn’t know…I may be good at finding them but that’s as far as it goes
if you love reading about Barley, then come over to his page here, he blogged today and is enjoying himself getting toasty ;-)