For as long as I can remember, vintage treasures have made my heart skip a beat.  Always on a frugal budget when my sister and I were growing-up, my mom pulled-together the rooms in our church parsonages with thrift store finds, hand-me-down treasures, and a little (or in some cases, a lot!) elbow grease.  In fact, a few of those pieces are still being used in my own home!  An old desk/table with a planked top. A trunk that my mom and I refinished together when I was in middle school. And an oak kitchen table and chairs  that my grandmother bought at an estate sale and hid in her basement to surprise my mom.  Covered with Kraft paper, that table now stands front and center in my art studio.

Now, aside from our slip-covered couch and few other pieces, I can safely say that most of our home is decorated with vintage finds and I love it that way!  The craftsmanship. The scratches and odd marks here and there.  The chippy paint.  Together, all of these characteristics make -up a sort of imperfect beauty .  They tell a story about the original owner.  They remind me of the anticipation felt while watching multiple layers of paint bubble-up before steel wool exposed the beauty of the raw wood. Or they represent the excitement of stumbling upon the perfect piece that just “makes” a room.  Perhaps it is these stories that allow to me feel so at home when I walk into a store filled with vintage findings.

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When my husband and I wandered into an obscure little shop called Everything Vintage several weekends ago, I nearly squealed with excitement over a set of vintage gym lockers standing near the entrance!  Those rusty metal gym baskets transported me right back to the middle school locker room.  My extra-small navy and yellow trimmed gym shorts (which my mom still had to take-in because I was so darn skinny!), the baby-powder smell of Tickle deodorant, and the heavy-duty combination lock hanging on my gym basket.

lockersTaking delight in the creaky old wooden floors,  great-big vintage signs, heavy wooden map drawers and bins of old photos, tin numbers and brooches,  we moved past the entrance and into a little side room filled with vintage clothing and accessories.  My husband maneuvered his way to the front display window where we spied a suitcase filled with all kinds of pink wires and cuffs:  The Relaxalator!  Those of you who watch Mad Men might be familiar with the first season’s episode where Peggy is given the job of testing and writing ad copy for  the Electrisizer. Well, The Relaxalator must have been the sister gadget to the Electrisizer!   I’m not sure how relaxing the Relaxalator was back then, but it sure did provide us with a good giggle!

relaxalatorRight next to the blue suitcase sat a hat box housing a large collection of old prescription glasses.  We unearthed a tortoise-shell pair just like the glasses that my dad used to wear!  I remember thinking that my dad looked so handsome in those glasses.stuglassesBefore leaving the shop, my eyes rested upon this vintage red and white Coca-Cola refrigerator.  Once again, memories of the little country convenience store where I spent my earliest years filled my mind.  Prying-off the metal lid on the bottle opener outside of the refrigerator.  My chubby little hands feeling the cool beads of condensation as I held the thick, green glass bottle.  And later, depositing the glass bottles at our local Safeway for a few extra cents.cocacolaFeeling all warm inside, we left Everything Vintage and made our way to a few other nearby shops. That first shop was a hard act to follow, but we did find bits of beauty along our way throughout the rest of the afternoon.  An old farmhouse storefront looked promising with its cute front-porch;  however, this spider hanging-out near the entrance caught our attention over the odds and end chairs and home-grown fruit cluttering the inside rooms. Isn’t she a beauty?spiderAfter lunch, we made one last stop before heading towards the Virginia Capital Trail, our original destination.  Charlie’s Antiques and Amazing Stones.

Charlie'sAntiquesA massive display of rocks and statues stood willy-nilly amidst the grounds and lined the long gravel driveway leading back to an old warehouse building filled with antiques from all around the world.

statuewomanloungingWe found this lovely lady lounging amidst carved stone Buddhas, fountains, large mammals and flocks of Renaissance women.

statueromanceAnd the intensity captured between these two lovers made me stop right in my tracks!  The sculptural lines are exquisite.

While my husband and I intended to punctuate our adventure with a leisurely bike ride down a portion of The Capital Trail, a flat bike tire changed the course of events…Instead, a “home-cooked” meal at Cracker Barrel provided a delicious end to a day of vintage beauty finding.  I guess we’ll just have to make another trip to complete our bike ride and maybe do a little more browsing?

 

 

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