The best gifts in life are those that we don’t expect at all, aren’t they? I was given one such package this Christmas that didn’t come wrapped, but rather in a plain brown box with my name written on it. I could hardly wait to get the chance to open it up + see the heirlooms that lay wrapped inside.
I uncrumpled each piece of newspaper to find these sparkling cut glass champagne/sherbert glasses emerge a week before the new year! What a delightful surprise! I immediately rinsed them off + placed them on our silver tray, adding a few small silver + gold ornaments in some + a couple tea lights in the others to throw together an easy vintage NYE table centerpiece.
For those who may be curious, the glasses are Wexford by Anchor Hocking, made from 1962-1998. I feel fortunate having been given this surcie because it’s always a nice treat to know the story about a vintage object + to have that bit of history to pass on to later generations of family.
I recalled first admiring these as I tried to think back to the last time we had visited at her house, pre 2020. I felt closer to Ryan’s Granny in spirit as I envisioned how many times these glasses may have been used on joyful occasions at her home. I just spoke to her yesterday + she has always been one of the most gentle people I know. Thank you to our sweet Granny Shirley!
I’m already imagining an ice cream party for one of the girls, her friends + their dolls, or maybe we’ll use these for an after school scoop of ice cream, or a cup of sherbet following a Sunday supper. Maybe one day we’ll pour punch for friends + family at a shower, or use them to toast the New Year with friends! No matter what we use them for, I’m excited to think about making new memories while imaging all the past occasions.
What do you think? Do you have any glasses like these that have a special purpose? I’d love to see them sometime!
historically, january has been a successful month for piddlin’ fun.
in january 2019 we found a couple of very unique, vintage garage doors, one of which we now use in our bedroom. looking back we probably should have bought the pair, because look at the authentic, chippy charm this piece can bring to any room.
the following year, we found a beautifully chippy old kitchen table, which felt like such a moment for ryan + i who had been looking for this exact table just before moving in 2016. in reality, no one admires the table more for the memories we made that day with our two littles. they hold naming rights to what we all now fondly call, “mom’s piddlin’ table”.
this year it’s been more of a slow start for many obvious reasons, but don’t mistake slow for lackluster! wednesday, i took the solo trip before the month got away, for a few moments of browsing “among the goodness” as a favorite dealer of mine likes to say. I was on the hunt for gathering baskets for the garden. having something special to look for, in this case for a friend, elevates the piddlin’ game.
have a look at this trip’s piddlin’ finds:
I have long admired blue willow china from afar + find even the smallest pieces bring an effortless dash of style to any space. I am loving it currently as a key dish in the pencil + ink studio.
what else; let’s see…
at christmas time I remember envisioning a pretty vintage red transferware dish to leave our cookies on for the big guy, because I’m a believer in utilizing the tiniest touches where possible in any + every moment.
while the kids may not immediately remember every particular from their childhood memories the same way I will, there are those moments in adulthood when glimmers of some of those details will most certainly begin to return to their minds, “remember how we always had that dish for santa…?”. speaking from experience, it’s at those times, when you realize just how much all the little thoughtful specifics can make the difference in a life well spent. they aren’t everything, but they do leave a kind of blueprint of how we cared for one another, even long after we’re gone.
we’ll likely need a larger dish for the christmas cookies, but this one will be just the thing for those small treats around christmas + valentine’s day. i’ll be using this next month for a chocolate brownie that i’ll share with my little one after her morning at preschool, or perhaps an after-supper sweet shared one sunday with my hubby.
this pink willow dish is almost a twin to the other in size + pattern + again so perfect for that little rosy touch for any spot at this time of year. take a moment to try placing one or two cookies on a special dish -in a color or pattern that appeals to you + your tastes- then, notice how it transforms the whole experience of enjoying even the smallest of sweets. it can be a few pink + red m+ms or a handful of mixed nuts on the bar for snacking before dinner; the contents don’t matter, it’s the intentional gesture that counts.
the more time we spend outside in the garden, the more flowers we have started to grow in our yard. the girls are always observing + admiring the pretties with me + asking if they might clip a few + take them inside. in this season of raising girls, these little glass jars are my weakness because I know how much they will love a teeny place to prop up the smallest little flowers, clovers + such that they will be enjoying again in a few short months.
who can remember finding beauty in the little flowers of the weeds among the grassy fields of our youth? only in these earliest of years can we fully imagine the magical world of fairies in our own yards + neighborhood forests. our girls love it deeply + I am here to encourage that behavior as long as life will allow.
this split oak market basket was the second one I laid eyes on + despite it’s obvious flaws, it’s going to make a great addition in our potting shed; particularly for those impromptu summer night strolls at dusk around + through the garden blooms + among the bumble bees wrapping up their long day’s work. also hoping to have a few more varieties of flowers growing around the garden this year that will allow a few more opportunities for making foraged arrangements that I so enjoyed last summer.
it was a surprise to see how many baskets were on display on my outing, but this little gem came into view as I was making my way down the last aisle + the moment i saw it, i knew it was just the thing i came for. surely one of my readers here knows more about this little beauty than i, but from my quick research, it looks like this is an amish wicker melon or egg basket. i love the handmade attention to detail + the overall look + feel of this charming little basket- what a find! I can just imagine my friend + her daughter carrying this outside to their vegetable garden to collect the day’s harvest- what simple joy I pray that task will bring to their day-to-day lives.
all these little treasures of course are just things, but used with a pinch of intention, they can often help lift our minds to a place of gratitude + beyond!
the best thing about finding a truly great antique, is how they will always have a special ability to evolve right along with you! Take this trunk for example. For years, it was the perfect end table in a warm + sunny coffee spot, then it was a moving aide, great for packing things into while between houses. Years later, it served as a dollhouse stand + the year after that an actual dress-up trunk. That’s exactly the journey this one has been on + who knows where it will land next! The adventure doesn’t end when you bring the treasures home; that’s sometimes when the magic is just beginning!
What old things are you repurposing at your home? Maybe you don’t even notice, they’ve been there for so long. Perhaps you just bought something “new to you” but with all the old-time charm or maybe you have a piece that you are making into a good antique with each passing year. Won’t you please share your favorites with us below!?
If you have recently bought something but don’t know where to put it, or maybe that unique thing caught your eye but you hesitated to bring it home– please get in touch + I can help you find a place for it in your space! Read more about my design business, pencil + ink creative, here.
so often, when the piddlin’ pals head out on a fresh adventure, we find things that speak to us + that is what we bring home. I’m sure you’re thinking, what kind of mumbo-jumbo is that? well… it’s not impulse buying + it’s not buying something to collect, it’s trading money for a good, because you are drawn to it.
early in our relationship, Ryan + I used to always say to each other while reflecting over our recent trips or finds “the best antiques choose you”. This is so true. Just look at this powder room from our tiny townhome from our early days in Charleston. My handy architect had already laid the tile, replaced the sink/cabinet + had even installed beadboard, the only thing amiss to me was the wall color. Funny as it may sound, every time I went into that water closet, I was thinking about paint colors! Finally I brought home a few samples, + made a move. We painted on Urbane Bronze + loved every second of what followed- why hadn’t we done this sooner?!
As fate would have it, we already had the antiques to polish off the new look as a result of all of our piddlin’ adventures together. After the paint went on, we threw together a basic layout for a gallery wall, using vintage, framed, group photos, mixed with a few new pieces, then added a preserved boxwood wreath to the towel ladder. I still love this room so much, years after moving that I’m thinking it’s time to recreate it in our home here in Georgia.
If you love this as much as us, let us know! I can find a way to add charm to any room/wall of your space too! Get in touch with me today + let’s make your spot feel more exciting, warm, friendly + fun. It would be my honor! Learn more about my design business pencil + ink creative here.
As I mentioned before, we really kicked off this new year with a few back-to-back piddlin’ weekends, all mostly around town. One particular weekend in January, we loaded up the crew in the piddlin’ pickup + headed north.
I had caught wind of a promising estate sale + the pictures were enticing. Despite the low draw it had on instagram it was also listed on an estate sale website, so the place was absolutely crawling with folks by the time we arrived (mid-morning). Items were all exactly my vintage style, but relatively overpriced in light of deep discount/liquidation sale prices advertised. It was a fun target + something that really slingshotted us away from the usual piddlin’ fare, which is so important to do from time to time. We got to enjoy the mountain views + pastoral scenes of the North Georgia Mountains, just by driving an hour away from home!
We were recently that way for a celebratory family field trip to go hiking + see a double waterfall this past summer. It brought a smile to each of us as we journeyed back to the area six months later in a different season. It’s nice to recall the warmth of summer memories in the midst of winter’s cold.
Even though we didn’t get to haul a bunch away from the main draw as anticipated, we found some items on this trip that we otherwise may have never come across. Simply leaving town makes a piddlin’ trip memorable. More often than not, the best treasures end up coming from the little side stops along the way + the journey is made all the more fun + spontaneous because of it.
Take a look at the great things we saw on our family pick:
Here are the items we brought home!
[TOP] extra large, old glass window pane // lots of charm on this extra large, chippy white, antique-glass window; my architect says it was likely used in an old church or factory [BOTTOM L] “vintage” toy cars // The part I most loved about this trip is how the girls got to pick out something that excited them! We’ve started giving them a few dollars to spend, so they pay close attention to the “number tags”, which is becoming a bit of a game for them! [BOTTOM Center] 1940s royal companion portable typewriter // I’ve been writing on it since we got her tuned up + working again! [BOTTOM R] black + white enamelware tray // just like the butcher used in Mrs. Maisel!
The girls discover such wonderful treasures, oftentimes items which I may never notice, if not for them. This time, they unearthed these toy cars, a cute little Curious George lunchbox + a pink fishing pole. None of these things were terribly old, but the fact that they are learning to hunt alongside us, learning the meaning of seeing value in something no one else wants at a young age is pretty fun to see!
I’ve been doing this so long, I only recently realized it’s so green to collect old things + find different ways to reuse + repurpose them– so much better than buying those cars, or that typewriter or containers from a store. On top of that, these trips are great family quality time for all of us + we always ask them for input before setting any plans on Saturday morning as to what they want to do.
The real fun often, is just riding in the piddlin’ pickup together + even more now that they have been given their own pint-sized piddlin’ picnic basket-!! These are the days, + this is how we love spending them right now– out + about exploring this great big world, with our crew. The family that enjoys piddlin’ together, stays together!
May all your piddlin’ journeys be full of smiles + memories to last you a spell…
I miss those days of meandering amidst endless cardboard boxes falling apart at the seams with chipped china plates + scuffed up architectural pieces. You just haven’t been piddlin’ until you’ve seen a show like that!
I’ve been spending lots of time lately at the usual haunts around town. After meeting a new friend late last year + kicking off 2020 with a piddlin’ streak, you could say the antique bug has bit once again! There are SO many fun stops around Metro Atlanta; this helped make our decision to relocate here so easy. Pro Tip: the areas that surround Atlanta are full of piddlin’ potential for miles for those willing to put in the travel time.
Sometimes you just gotta leave town to get a fresh look!
This past Friday I traveled a couple hours away to do just that. I found a lot of fun, saw some wonderfully unique things + also brought a few home. It was sensory overload with all the pretty booths + vignettes throughout the vintage market, though I’m forever on the hunt for a classic antiques show like the ones I cut my teeth on.
So here’s a few glimpses from the “show” + a few items that spoke to me that came home!
Piddlin’ finds that came home with me!
Does anyone remember Metrolina?
This quick day trip was a great change of pace + I’m beyond lucky my family can provide the flexibility to be able to let me go. I love the pause I’m given to think + reflect. I also found myself smiling, reminiscing about the time I snagged my first deal at Metrolina in Charlotte. I circled a very primitive wood bench (probably quite obviously, looking back), 😂 until I finally worked up the courage to make an offer. To my surprise, the dealer + I bargained a bit until finally settling on the exact price I wanted to pay for it. I have been hooked on hunting for treasures since. I still have that bench + have always treasured it as a symbol of the self-confidence I gained that day as well as the love for piddlin’ it instilled in me.
I so wish we could find another place where we can take a walk through piles of chippy, patinated junk as previously seen at places like Metrolina + Scott’s. I miss those days of meandering amidst endless cardboard boxes falling apart at the seams with chipped china plates + scuffed up architectural pieces. You just haven’t been piddlin’ until you’ve seen a show like that!
I’m talkin’ piddlin’ finds worth the bargain made for them. Those awesome things that hadn’t yet been dusted off or brushed up; rusty, dusty, fabulously forgotten finds. There is a bit of authenticity given to the phrase “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure” when you are actually digging through the tangle of tossed things found at a great antique show. Bonus points if the piles of stuff are found outside! There is simply something added to the whole experience when it’s out in the elements.
I also got to meet up with my mom!
This was an awesome time for the two of us to spend some rare one on one time + we both really enjoyed the spontaneity of the meeting in the middle for the day. One thing we are equally interested in is antiques-!
When I was in middle-school, mom’s mom + her aunt took my cousin + I to “The Flea Market” at the Gaillard in Charleston on many occasions. While we honestly didn’t love it at first, we grew familiar to the experience what, with all the visitin’ with my grandmother + great aunts friends, + we began to look forward to picking out the souvenir hankie we would take home. We ended up with quite a collection. Though we grew away from those trips, mom continued to go until the building was renovated. I can still remember the last time I went with her while it was being held at an adjacent building—that was where we found my beloved Bermuda bag! Such memories made at an event that I would have never asked to go to otherwise.
Mom has also taught me a few of the tricks of the trade over the years, like how to make a deal, how to stay nourished while piddlin’—always pack a piddlin’ basket for the “intermission” tailgate, + how to efficiently pack up the car for the ride home. When I go piddlin’ I always carry my cash in the sterling cigarette case she gave me. She has a lot of stories from all of her trips with friends + encourages me to make a few of my own with my girlfriends too!
Over the years our styles have evolved, but the silver lining is we can now appreciate each other’s eye + pick side by side, while helping each other a little along the way. Remember this tip: the best piddlin’ partner is one who is willing (eager) to go check out a few local spots before heading back home.
A friend of mine also made a girls’ weekend trip to some of her favorite spots + they snagged a church pew for $125 (steal) – at their FIRST stop!! Doesn’t get any more meant-to-be than that. They also ventured to an auction which is what drew them to the area + walked away with some lovely Americana pieces—a beautiful GE fan, a sturdy wooden pulley, some enamelware frigidair refrigerator drawers with beautiful art deco type, a wooden checkerboard with loads of charm, a ladder for almost nothing, some nice vintage metal bin labels with great type, vintage ice skates + roller skates!! It’s so fun to make a girls’ trip out of these journeys because even if you haven’t found what you came for, you walk away with such memories!!
Have you done any hunting lately? What’s your favorite thing to collect?
I’m already looking ahead to see where my next day trip might be + making a wish list for it. Until then…keep piddlin’!
Would you look at these beauties?! I can’t wait to figure out where I’m going to hang these concrete + plaster wall accents. Such charm! A friend gave them to me after I noticed them sitting in her garage. I owe her, right?!
‘pressed to the sound of Van Morrison’s latest album, Three Chords + The Truth while the girls play + sing Frozen for the umpteenth time since we saw Frozen 2. “No, I’m Elsa + you can be Anna…”
Some of the best finds are the ones that come from an impromptu pick…you know, the really surprisingly delightful finds that pick you.
It was that way for this table.
I. [backstory] When we were first married, Ryan + I used a new table that his parents had bought for him. It was rectangle in shape with a dark stain, had chairs, a bench + space for guests. It was nice to look at, but that’s about all we really did with the table, look at it + pile things on it. We made some changes to open up the galley kitchen since we always seemed to be talking through the wall when between rooms. We took out the top portion of the wall to create a more open feel with the adjacent breakfast nook. Throughout the process of making edits (before, during + after) we talked about the table + how we thought the eating space should function. It was more in-play now because where there had once been just a doorway connecting dining area to kitchen, there would soon be a ledge for us to visit while cooking + the long rectangular table was taking up too much of the available space. It would be hard to make the new open space flow without editing the size of the table.
II. [booth, please] My dream then + for the forseeable future was + is to have a breakfast banquette. It’s a cozy notion, don’t you think?
When given the option, I am always a bench-seat-prefered kind of restaurant patron, so it’s a no-brainer to bring this cozy seating option to my favorite place to eat! I credit this, in part, to a time when I babysat for a sweet family with three boys + their home had a breakfast nook, tucked between two walls, not so different from this one:
The booth seating was very non-traditional, + limited, but ever so inviting. I’d always be more likely to be found cozied up in the banquette instead of in front of the TV when Caroline + Dean would come home + to me, that was the most comfortable spot in the house—which, was architecturally gorgeous by design. We had a few life talks at that table + as fate had it, they later introduced me to my husband. I can also remember another sweet family from early in my babysitting career, who had a larger built in bench below a grouping of kitchen windows for their frequent, impromptu little family gatherings. I still remember watching that young mom + dad feed their little ones Mama Brown’s barbecue until their tummies were stuffed full of pork, green beans + mashed potatoes. The bench was loved + pretty beat up, but it boasted extra storage + functioned to perfection for their convivial family time around the table. I remember thinking how fun it made meal time at their house.
III. [table lineup] Until we have a banquette of our own, we have been relying on a lineup of antique tables to make family meal memories that count. What a blessing it’s been, to have tables with such character gracing our home.
First, there was the craigslist table. You’re probably thinking, “what? you never really know who or what you’re dealing with on craigslist”; I tell you, it was simply meant to be! The listing led us to my uncle’s neighborhood–okay, so we were safe at least. Then to a gentleman who was parting with not just any old table, but one full of memories from years spent eating, doing homework + living life at this beautiful oak table which originally belonged to his grandmother from High Point, NC. It was scuffed + loved + after we measured, we knew it would fit perfectly in our nook.
The table with four leaves + oozing with charm, had picked us to be it’s new keepers.
We brought it to our townhome + began making so many memories, mostly after we had our first child. It provided a close spot for us to huddle together over amateur, home cooked meals + provided a nice flow as the go between from the renovated kitchen to the living room. We realized a few months after our baby girl was born, we needed to start making family meals a “thing” just as we did with our parents. Even though she ate her evening meal much earlier than we did, we began the tradition we continue today of sitting together + sharing time + family fellowship around a table. A couple months after that tradition began to stick, I began baking cutout sugar cookies for friends, families + lots of new customers. That table was crucial to getting my orders completed, from rolling copious amounts of dough to cutting, cooling + decorating. That noble table once held 13 dozen Clemson Tiger Paw cookies (wedding favors). If you know me, you know it was practically a crime to have one, let alone 156 of these abominable symbols painting our table with their audacious orange. What self-respecting baker turns down a wedding order? It was an honor, regardless of team loyalties + it was a big moment for me, for the table, for us. I often wonder if the table could have held up to the growing output from our little-kitchen-that-could. It will forever be a special chapter in our family’s story.
Before we knew it, our second child was on the way + we were uprooting our little family of four + moving to Atlanta.
The table made the trip + was a very important piece of “home” that helped us establish our family’s new normal in Georgia. Different state, same table, same family.
The summer before the round table made the permanent move to Atlanta, we still needed a place to have a meal together while we rented. We looked + looked but weren’t able to find much of what we envisioned for our family ritual. We made-do by gathering around the house’s kitchen island until finally, in the last month of that summer, we took a chance + introduced our first daughter to Scott’s. As fate would have it, we found our second antique table, outside in what my mother always refers to as “the dregs” + what I refer to as chippy good stuff. After admiring the table on the first walkabout, we circled back after walking around inside + bargained a deal for this beautifully aged, green farmtable. We just barely fit it inside my Volkswagen + around one carseat. Upon unloading it back at home, we realized it needed a little love, but with time running short before our second babe’s debut, it got put on the back burner.
Once we moved permanently, it sat in our shed for months + months until we realized it’s full potential as a backporch summer supper table. It has become a functional piece in our lineup now for six plus months of family meals, happy hour charcuterie feasts, birthday cake toasts, puzzle working + even a backyard party or two. It is easily one of my favorite pieces ever, simply because of it’s soothing green patina + classic structure.
Back inside, the round, brown table was front + center in the new kitchen + it was really showing signs of wear + tear. It was nice to sit + recall how at the same round table, we fed both of our baby girls their first rice cereal + solid foods, welcomed a second high chair + continued the intentional family meal tradition we started years ago. The stain was long past time for a brush up, so we got crazy, bought a sander, took it back to its original wood + then—we painted it!! I got the idea after seeing a high-gloss end table painted an enchanting color of blue/green in an Architectural Digest magazine. I had a few moments of doubt during the process, but generally loved watching the beautiful blue-green glistening paint go on coat after coat. The scalloped underside of the table + turned leg details were highlighted beautifully with the color + I couldn’t wait to get it back in rotation for meal time!
That was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made; it was a bold move + everytime I look at it, it gives me such a feeling of confidence in a style that is all my own.
We’ve made it work in a space that isn’t quite the right size for the beloved round table for almost three years, here. So the time finally came in the week after New Year’s Day, when we found ourselves scouring the internet for the next table for our stone farmhouse. Our home was built in the mid-late 70s, so many of the rooms have a certain quirk to them; some of the floorboards creak, occasionally there are doors that curiously cross paths + none of the rooms measure like most houses built these days. Having said that, we wouldn’t have it any other way.
Quirk brings charm in our book, + charm begets a cozy value to a home if it is simply embraced.
So the ideal table for our oddly sized kitchen space would have to be a long, narrow farm table. When the sizes we kept finding weren’t falling into our ideal price range, we loaded the girls up in the pickup + went piddlin’!
We perused together, up + down aisles + saw some pretty fun picks. When we came across this table, I quickly we had that feeling; I found I couldn’t move from the spot. I hovered as I was trying to take in the table, it’s beautifully turned legs, its chippy layer of aged, white paint, it’s phenomenal pine wood versatile top:
I was entranced, just taking in all of the details. I didn’t want anyone to notice the treasure I was ogling, so I quickly found myself checking out the other items in the same booth that was chock-full of that vintage Americana style I always hope to see while piddlin’. When I come across a booth with such soul, I positively cherish it; it’s like meeting a new friend. We walked away to mill on the find, as one does + all routes led us back to see the table. It felt so right, so it was time to ask for a deal. Sure enough, it was on sale for 20% off. . . SOLD!
We got it moved inside + so began a piddlin’ inspired furniture chess game. Blue table to the dining room, those chairs here, china cabinet over there, it was all a bit mind boggling. Now that the dust has settled, I most love the way this new addition feels in the former breakfast table’s spot. Part table, part kitchen island, it is everything this room needed + opens the whole space up just like our first antique table did all those years ago in our townhome. It’s already become a favorite space for creative thinking, writing + soaking up the afternoon sun from our southwest facing windows!
Now-a-days, all eating takes place at the breakfast table in the dining room + we have had so many fresh ideas hatching since! As a creative mind, I so love a good shake up, it really gets my wheels turning. This is a good sign that our recent finds are truly meant to be. I once had a co-worker + friend from Buffalo, NY describe to me a kind of wives tale that all vintage/antique items carry a little of their past “lives” with them + some items have a kind of positive or negative energy about them. This idea sounds similiar to a feng shui concept, or as Ryan calls it, feng-fooey! Take it all with a grain of salt, y’all— for now, I’m loving the vibes of this new-to-us table. If only she could tell us where she’s been all this time! Imagine what stories each of these tables might tell.
What are your thoughts? I hope to have a few more updates to follow + I always feel we have a lot of catching up to do, so thanks for stopping by today.
What have you been up to so far in this new year?! What’s on tap for you in 2020?
We did it. Ryan + I took our little girls piddlin’ + it was A M A Z I N G!!
There isn’t much I love more than sharing my piddlin’ adventures… what we saw, what we picked… but this trip was one of those milestone moments for me.
The moment your children enter your life, you realize through a lingering fog, slowly, that life will never be the same. All of life with or without children is an adjustment- things are changing around each of us everyday. With kids, you go through a constant state of redefining “normal”. While we were piddlin’ on Saturday, I had a moment of clarity where I could almost see this proverbial page turning. We have reached a new chapter. My family has graduated to a piddlin’ cortet + the only way it could be better is if our pup could tag along too.
Not only could the girls hang, but the did so with gusto! The kept us laughing + smiling around every bend. We managed to squeeze in four stops, y’all–! F O U R -! I fully expected to head back home after the first refurbished mill stop, but the trick is staying “fueled”. man, woman + child alike! Pack snacks, eat often!
They enjoyed seeing all the old things, + as you might imagine had many talks about what is this + why is that + never has “don’t touch” been uttered in so many creative ways. We saw thousands of objects + it felt good to be back at it… like riding a bike. I have known the thrill of a hunt from a very young age + Ryan + I have enjoyed many a good piddlin’ trip… this one just took the cake.