Starting a blog is often a fruitless endeavor when it comes to me – I have such an uncanny knack for never finishing what I start. I honestly can’t say why I bothered to start up again, except I’m finding myself at the beginning of a great many new adventures in my life, adventures I’d like to chronicle for a change. I’ve tried writing about everything from my personal life to attempts at physical and emotional change, but I lost my interest almost as quickly as I had gained it. So here we are, starting again, but focusing instead on passions that I’ve rather abruptly and strangely fallen into. Funny how a dorky, shy teenaged girl can hit her midtwenties and fall in love with the usual oddities of wine and lingerie, but also the more old-soul world of antiques and travel hacking. And, as the title suggests, I’m still an amateur in all of these things, but my hope is to become less of one as time goes on.
So where do we start? Might as well begin with my adventures of the day. San Jose’s Antique Mall has some of the most unique treasures I’ve ever stumbled across, usually in excellent condition. I’m a sucker for eccentric pieces that are unusual and difficult to find. This one in particular caught my eye.
This pretty little doodad is a gold scale, used by bankers to measure the weight of gold in carats. The damn thing is fully functional, dated 1907, and 295 dollars more than I had readily available. There’s absolutely no reason for me to ever buy it, buuuut, let’s just say I’ve got some spare capital, I’m walking down the street, and I see this thing still at Antiques Colony, well, let’s just say it will be my least practical purchase. But just so damned awesome, once I figure out where on earth I would even put it.
I have a bit of a dirty confession to make – I’m an absolutely, almost Freudian sucker for locks and keys. There are three things on Planet Earth that I adore more than anything else – teapots, railroad tracks, and antique keys. I’ve collected the former most for three years, and the lattermost for over twenty – the Burbank Antique store was an old favorite haunt of mine when my grandmother was still alive. I’d ride my bike over there with a dollar and find myself a beautiful old brass skeleton key. I accumulated a pretty ridiculous collection of them, a collection which, I’m sad to say, was lost to a lot of moving and family drama. And I hate to say it, but my taste in old keys has evolved the older I’ve gotten – skeleton keys don’t quite “do it” for me, anymore. Now I’m picky about material, the ornateness of the bow, and the detail of the bits – I’ve developed a bit of a partiality towards older gate keys. I own a Georgian-era gate key some two hundred years old that I’m almost ridiculously fond of. But, those aren’t the types that you can just walk into an antique store and find anymore. And because I’ve evolved towards a more practical mindset, I’ve found I prefer a lock to go with that key. Then I found these beauties.
WHAT WOMAN ON PLANET EARTH WANTS TO DROP HER PANTIES FOR ORNATE DOORKNOBS AND FACEPLATES?! This one, right here. I should probably also mention that a dream of mine is to buy a beat up Victorian house, and I make it a point to look for proper-era accoutrements. Those door knobs/plates with the associated keys and hardware (not pictured, since the store was hiding them) pretty much fulfilled that little fantasy…at least as far as the doors go. Only 225 bucks! And probably ridiculously easy to break in to. I’d be an insurance company’s nightmare/dream.
I also have to admit I’ve become kind of a silver snob lately. It’s depressing how hard on a champagne taste/beer budget I am. Plus, I’m only 27. I know only one person on earth my age who cares more about having a complete silver service than, say, owning a new car or new clothes, and that person is me.
Needless to say, a fine silver service is probably the one extravagance I wouldn’t be able to afford, unless I bought every piece one at a time, because a complete sterling silver service would run me well over a grand at the very least. And I’m talking fully silver, not silver-plated. A fork by itself would probably run me almost a hundred dollars. Would it be worth it? Probably. Would it be feasible for me to purchase? Probably not. So frankly, I’m looking at a silver-plated set, which really, isn’t a terrible compromise. The only problem is, and I don’t know if you’ve noticed by now, that I am one of the pickiest people on earth when it comes to long-term purchases. I have to be absolutely in love with whatever it is I’m buying, or I run the risk of getting bored with it. So I found this set while browsing today, and I like it. Do I love it? That’s a work in progress.Last, but not least, since framing devices are often my favorite, and this is definitely an unusual piece, I’m topping off with a lovely little doodad known as a butler valet. Today marks the first time I’ve ever seen one in person, and as usual, it was a few hundred dollars outside of my teacher’s salary. Anyway, butler valets were used in high-class households as a sort of garment hub – an ensemble, down to the shoes and accessories, would be selected, and each piece would have a place on the butler valet, so they were all within vicinity when the decidedly non-wooden (mostly) human valets would dress the gentleman of the house. They had a heydey until the mid 20th century, and now they’re just novelties for weird little nerds like me.
The fact that this is meant for men and I’m decidedly not a man notwithstanding, this is another one of those little oddities that I’d love to take home with me. You know. If I had the cash. Or the space. Or clothes good enough to put on it. Hint hint.
Of course, there were lots of awesome little treasures to be found in today’s hunt, but these four were by and large my favorite. And I suppose that’s a good way to start off a new blog – by talking about old things. Brilliant.