Everyday Vintage

I have a confession to make….I don’t live immersed in vintageness. Nope. The ‘tea lady’ has a very modern house, eats off Maxwell & Williams plates and 80% of her wardrobe comes from Target. I do, however, have small parts of my life (other than the large vintage tea hire part!) where vintage goodies have crept into my modern, white walled life.

I am essentially a very sentimental person. I love trinkets and treasures that remind me of the past or have been passed down. These don’t always lend themselves to being displayed in an ultra modern house but I have found a few places for them.

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This teacup and plate is one of two that I inherited from my maternal Grandmother. I had given them to her as a birthday present and they were returned to me after her death. They are terribly impractical (tea goes cold quick and easy to spill) but I try and use them every few months when I have a quiet moment to think of her. They are certainly not vintage, more like Robert Gordon circa 10 years ago, but they are very cute. I often use the plates for late night snacks. Little squares of dark chocolate or strawberries nibbled by lamplight in front of the TV. Grandma absolutely LOVED her sweets so it’s quite fitting really. Perhaps I should start using the cups for icecream? She certainly passed on that particular obsession 🙂

I have no idea how old the vase below is but I loved it the moment I saw it. I found it over a decade ago at the Daylesford market and I grabbed it even though I had no idea what I would do with it. It actually lends itself quite well to our modern bathroom. Its gorgeous colours really stand out against the white tiles, especially when I remember to dust it!

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The cherry blossom plate came from some op shop in Melbourne. I don’t remember which one, where or even how much it was. All I know is I bought it as a uni student for the simple reason it was lovely. In those days I wasn’t really into ‘vintage’ and just haunted op shops for cheap clothes and kitchen items. I love that I bought this in a fit of out-of-character whimsy when I had never bought anything like it before. And also…..it’s an awesome plate!

IMG_7060 This fine chap is Scamper. Scamper the nutcracking squirrel 🙂

I recently attended the Fryerstown antique market for the first time and was blown away by the bargains I found. Not only did I find a huge haul of hire items for the business but I also bought many items just for me. At first I thought Scamper was a cigar cutter. He was very cute but I couldn’t really justify buying a cigar cutter for it’s cute factor. Once the stall holder told me he was a nutcracker I began to weaken. Throw in my helpful/enabling friend Jodie talking of family heirlooms and Christmas and that was it. He HAD to come home with me. Afterall, it’s a bit of a family tradition for at least two generations to have tasty nuts in shells spread around the house at Christmas.

Also, I’m very tempted to knit Scamper a tiny vest…..or beanie….or construct tiny glasses. Just so you know.

Scamper got his name from the books we are currently reading to our son. He has developed a love of Enid Blyton books and each night we read a chapter from one. After reading the Faraway Tree series (my fav!) and the Wishing chair books we are on to the Children of Willow Farm. I love that our 5 year old likes books where a chapter might merely consist of a group of well behaved children buying, naming and caring for new chickens on a farm. I started to read them after hearing of a kinder Mum doing similar. I also regularly buy vintage Enid Blytons at garage sales to sell on to a lovely collectables dealer Brooke, so there’s always a stack to pick from. One night, after finishing a book, I suggested we read a normal picture book the next night. Yells of “I WANT A BROOKE BOOK!” were heard across the neighbourhood I’m sure.

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Below is a teacup that I recently found in Melbourne. After a giant morning stuffing our car full of half of Ikea, we headed home. But the call of Melbourne op shops was too strong. A deal was brokered whereby I got 10 minutes in a Vinnies I’d spotted on the trip in and hubby got to stop and buy a softdrink. I held high hopes as I’d wanted to get into a Melbourne op shop for months. Unfortunately there was nothing at all for the business but this awesome retro cup was there and it was just my colour! Although it looks quite modern it has a very faded Hallmark saying made in England. I’m guessing it’s from the 50’s or 60’s. It’s hands down the most comfy teacup I’ve ever used. The handle is just the right shape and it holds a nice amount of tea. So as we assembled our modern Ikea bookshelves I sipped French Earl Grey from my new purple friend. 🙂

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Breakfast Cupcakes!

Iiiiiiiii know! Breakfast cupcakes you ask? Yes. Well, truth be told, it’s really just banana bread type mix but cooked in patty pans. Still…..breakfast cupcakes! 😀 They are also almost sugar-free (depending on your add ins) so I think they’re acceptable for breakfast.

This is my favourite kind of recipe. Chuck the ingredients in a bowl, mix, cook. No schmancy stuff but still a very tasty result.
First, the ingredients:
Three very ripe bananas (recipe says the riper the better)

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2 eggs

1 tbsp baking powder

3 cups quick oats

1 tsp vanilla paste

4 tsp of your choice filling (choc chips, cranberries, blueberries, date…the possibilities are endless!)

Line your cupcake tray with patty pans and mash up the bananas with a fork. Then throw everything else in and mix it up well. You can add the choc chips (or other) now or you can add lots of different things into the individual cupcakes. I mixed choc chips in some and chopped dates in others.  Bake at 190 for around 25 mins or until they are just browned on top.

These little guys also freeze really well so you can just grab one and microwave it when you want.  I found the recipe on Pinterest but have no idea where it originally came from. Some clever breakfast eating sweet tooth I imagine 🙂

Next on the blog: an Epic Bendigo op shopping adventure!

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A few of my favourite things…

I love every item in my vintage collection. If I didn’t, well, they wouldn’t part of it! But I love certain items a little more. My favourites. At first there were only a few but they are multiplying. Each is a favourite for different reasons. Some I just love; I purely enjoy their existence and appearance. Others I love for their story or how I found them. I thought I would share a few of them with you and tell you why they are each a favourite.

Royal Doulton saucer

This green saucer was bought in a whirlwind of op shopping at Kangaroo Flat Vinnies. I don’t remember why but I was in a rush. Just cruising through to make sure nothing exciting had appeared since my last visit. The second I saw it I plucked it from the shelf with a gasp and knew it was coming home no matter what the price. On inspection the price was more than right, 50 cents! I grabbed a few more things and went on my way. It wasn’t until that night as I washed my finds that I peeled off the price sticker to reveal a Royal Albert Hallmark! I thought: “I loved you before I knew that”.

These pastel trios were instant love. I spotted them at the Bendigo Showgrounds market and they were everything I was hunting for. I’d been following a mantra for weeks that I needed ‘more colour’ in my collection. I wanted pastels and solid colours and here they were! I’m a terrible negotiator but with a price tag of $25 each I knew I had to try and get it down. I tried to look casual and expressed vague interest. The lady on the stall wasn’t budging on price so I kept moving, knowing full well I’d buy them even at $25. I dashed to an ATM and then went back to the stall.

Tuscan trios

Lucky for me the lady’s husband was now there and he was a little more receptive to my half-assed negotiating. They came home with me for $20 each and have become quite the showpieces. One even made it’s way into a Bendigo Magazine fashion shoot they’re so pretty! 🙂

The next favourite is less about appearance and more about pure picking value. It was all a fluke. A garage sale sign caught my eye, I pulled over and was greeted by a table full of china. Most of it wasn’t really my style other than a few teacups. But the more I dug the more Hallmarks I recognised. Everything there was English and in great condition. I asked how much they were charging, planning to only buy my few cups. When the answer of “oh 50 cents a piece” was given I got a bit excited. At 50 cents surely everything here was worth much more than that. I started a pile and before long most of the table was empty. About 5 minutes later another customer came along and began sifting through my pile. When I told her I’d just paid for it all I suspect she wanted to kill me. I sold most of what I got that day for at least $3-$10 a piece but the biggest score was a set of bowls. The lady who I sold them to got herself a verysweet deal and I got $50!

Lord Nelson Ware bowls

These cake forks were another garage sale find. It was a deceased estate and all the family were obviously pitching in to help run the sale. I always try to be as respectful as I can at these sales and although I didn’t quite want to pay what was asked I didn’t haggle too hard. Eventually though I settled two sets of forks and some other items for a slight discount. I just love the Art Deco shape of these ones and they had never been used. Apparently they were a wedding present that was found at the very bottom of a linen cupboard. I spoke to the lady (the deceased’s daughter) for a bit and when she learnt the forks would be used, not just re-sold, she was happy. “They’re going to get used John!” she yelled across the yard at a man I assume was her brother. I’m glad that, although the original owner never used these, they are now being loved and bringing people joy.

Colclough side plate

Art Deco cake forks

Finally, a plate I resisted many times. I loved it but it was overpriced. Each time I visited the shop I’d look at it and then put it back. Then one day I decided to give in. Afterall…it was purple 😀

A Vintage Tea life for me….

After much consideration I have given in to the world of the ‘Blog’. In May this year I started a hire business; My Vintage Tea Hire in Bendigo. So many people ask about where and how I find my vintage goodies that I thought it was time I told some of those stories. So, yes, there will be an abundance of pretty teacups but I also plan to bring you some of my everyday life when I’m not hunting in op shops or packing china in boxes. I’m learning as I go about so many things: running a business, marketing, blogging (!) and the art of ‘picking’/negotiation. I hope you will enjoy my journey.

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