Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Retelling the Past

I'm sure you may have bought a vintage or antique treasure in the past and have wished you knew more about where it had come from, who may have owned it in its past, or what stories it may be able to tell, if only it could speak...
I'm often found wondering about such things and would love it if more treasure came with little hand written notes about their past, or an indication as to whom they had belonged to...

Well, just for a change, that is exactly what happened recently when an old lady brought some bits and pieces into my shop which she wanted me to have (Yes, that was 'have' and not 'buy' - so sweet!!!...but I did give her payment for the items, as I am more than happy to offer them for sale in my little shoppe)
They included this rather tattered and unassuming brown box with the words 'Handmade in Belgium' on it...
Now here's the rather sad bit...
Can you imagine being willing to part with this little keepsake knowing of its story as to how it came to be in England? Here is the little hand written note that the lady included with it...

I asked her if she was 100% certain that she really wanted to pass on such a sentimental possession, particularly as she had kept it for so long...She replied 'yes' as she was downsizing ?!!... and would rather it went to someone who would love to own it...
Inside the box is this charming little purse covered in pretty sequins...never used and as pristine as the day her father purchased it.

Then there was this dainty little doily with another hand written message. Its story?...
Just three years on from the purse's tale...
I could weep!
Also in her pile of lovelies was this traditional silk dress of the prettiest pastel pink...
Accompanied by this little note:
(I've taken the dress to be dry cleaned and will add it to my shop's stock when it is looking its best.)
All lovely stories which will stay with the items to pass on the history to the next owner...

I suspect most of us own an old book or two with a hand written inscription inside the front cover, sometimes with a date which always excites me as it gives a definite moment in time that records the beginning of its life.

Occasionally I have also stumbled across an antique with a little more information to retell its past. For example this sugary pink box holds a sweet tale...
The outside indicates that this was owned by Violet Stokes...
On the underside of the lid are these words: 'Violet Stokes wore these at Daisy Storey's wedding Aug 7th 1891 when Brides Maid'.
Inside are the slimmest pair of pale blue silk shoes I have ever seen and are only 6" in length.
They are one of my treasures that I shall never part with.

I also have this heart shaped box that is completely made by hand from satin fabric...
Lift the lid and inside are these charmingly hand embroidered words: 'To dear Margo, Many Happy Returns of the day, Love Odette & Baby!'
I bought it many years ago and it was full of lovely millinery flowers. Now-a-days I use it to store a few keepsakes on my dressing table.
Finally, this little notebook was given to me by a friend on my Birthday last year.
On the first page is a message from its previous owner which reads: 'From my little sister May on my 21st Birthday (is that 1901 ?) 8th October, Gwen'.
As is more usual though, my latest finds do not include any indication of their past...For instance, I wonder who painted this wonderful rose painting?

And who wore this dainty wax orange blossom spray, or did it decorate a wedding cake perhaps?
I suspect I shall never know...


Thanks for stopping by!
I'm sorry that I find so little time for Blogging these days...the sourcing and making of my shop's stock, not to mention all the constant paperwork to keep on top of, means time to think of my next post, or to comment and visit others, sadly has to be way down on the to-do list...
I'm also thinking about the next V&H fair, which isn't very far away now, so I will be sewing some goodies to take along to that too.
Have a happy Wednesday,
Niki x


  1. Hi Niki

    How very kind of that lady to give you personal treasures which she clearly cherished for so many years. You must have been delighted and at the same time moved that she should be happy giving them to know knowing that they would be cherished again in turn.

    That is one I my biggest wishes when I buy old things...If only I could know it's full history... A note can reveal a little glimpse in to past times...

    They really are wonderful treasures.

    A while ago, my Father gave me of box of personal papers & personal items that belonged to his parents. My Father wrote a note to go with each item so that I and future generations would know more about them. I love going in to that box from time to time..

    Lovely post Niki!

    Warm wishes
    Isabelle x

  2. What a lovely story! Or rather lots of lovely stories, and gorgeous items. I must come and visit your shop one day soon, a few weeks off coming up so I shall try!
    Becky :-)

  3. Hi, I know exactly what you mean re the sourcing and paperwork! I know which of the two I enjoy most:)
    Your treasures from the old lady are so lovely! I had a pack of stuff from someone who had saved all of her ATS join up notes from the war. The social history contained in our treasured finds is beyond value! All such fun:)
    See you at V&H, Lidi and I are having an outing:)
    Lesley X

  4. Your treasures with provenance are so charming, Niki! What a dear lady to pass her treasures on to you! I would never part with that box pf shoes either! ;)

  5. What a lovely post, I always wonder about things I buy. That lady was so kind
    Best wishes
    Sue x

  6. Hi Niki
    How lovely of that lady to pass on her treasures to you, the stories are lovely.
    Jo xx

  7. I don't mind waiting for your posts, they are always so interesting, informative and full of wonderful photos!
    You are so lucky to have that lady bring in her treasures, so sad that she either did not have anyone to pass them on to or felt that they would not look after them?
    Thanks for sharing.

    Sandie xx

  8. I find it a bit sad when I see old photo albums of people, at car boot sales/antique fairs etc.I have been going through the old family ones handed down to me, making sure I write the names on the back so future generations will know who the people are.I especially love that 'this is England' plate!

    Bellaboo :0)

  9. OH, Niki! Such wonderful treasures! What a dear woman to bring you those beautiful sad that she felt the need to part with them...but how wonderful that you appreciate them!

    I love family history--and history in general--so I very much understand what you mean about wanting to know those things...

    Thank-you for sharing these beauties and their stories.

  10. I thoroughly enjoyed seeing those wonderful treasures and their accompanying notes.
    I certainly understand that you do not have as much time to devote to blogging now that you have your lovely shop to tend to. That's all right - we will anticipate your posts when you DO have a minute, and savor them all the more because they are fewer!

  11. This is a very dear post. How kind of that lady to give you her lifelong treasures.
    I think you are doing a great job of blogging, especially since you are so busy with many things.
    Thank you for the pleasures you bring to us.

  12. How lovely of that kind lady to give you her precious treasures :)
    That doily is so pretty, and all the more so being made from parachute silk!
    Enjoy your week Niki..

  13. Anonymous6:54 pm

    beautiful touching post nikki and even if you dont blog as much I always here about you through other peoples blogs thanks for sharing

  14. Beautiful treasures and how wonderful to have a little history with each lovely piece. I often wonder about the previous owner of the many treasures I purchase, who it belonged to, how it was acquired, was it a favorite, etc. My maternal grandmother attached a note to everything she received, just identifying where it came from and when. I have received many pieces from her and was so happy to see that some of them came from my great, great grandmother.

  15. Lovely post as always, very kind of the lady, but sad at the same time, at least she knows they will go to a good home....

  16. sweet treasures as always

  17. Hi NIki, I am so inspired by your lovely blog. I too love to read any note that comes with an antique that I buy. I once bought a beautiful set of brass flatware with a note that it came from Saigon during the Vietnam war. Made me cry to think beauty can exist in a war-torn country. Thanks for sharing.

  18. Busy as always Niki, when you do get the time, your blogs are as beautiful as your shop.
    What a lovely story, I think it would have brought a tear to my eye.

  19. I love reading your blog it always seems to be so in-tune with me... What lovely, lovely treasures... Im going to start putting notes on things I own now.

  20. Just promise that you'll still post photos every now and then for all your readers who can't get to your shop. They really are a pleasure to look at.
    What a wonderful thing to have - a record of an object's history. I believe it makes an item more interesting, valuable and saleable. I certainly would have passed the doylie but for the note attached. xx

  21. What lovely items. She picked the perfect person to sell them. Your place is lovely and I have so enjoyed my doll that I got 3 weeks or so ago (it seems like a lifetime). It was good to meet you.

  22. How wonderful to have these precious things..this is one of the main reasons I love antique and vintage things, they seem to infused with love.

  23. I found you fron Vivs post and I just wanted to say how much I enjoyed this post with all teh handwriting. Just for fun I decided to have a hanwritten post on the same day and lots of pothers joined in . What a lovely coincidence.

  24. Hi, I have left an award for you on my blog. SueXX

  25. Hi Niki, just popped by to catch up on how it was all going, it all looks amazing as usual. Those bridesmaids shoes make me weep! So lovely. Look forward to catching up with you again on Saturday! xx

  26. What a great post! Totally captivated me.


Thank you for finding the time to visit me...
Niki xx