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Tag Archives: downsizing

I love things vintage, so you can imagine that I don’t always have an easy time getting rid of…um…stuff.

But, I am trying genuinely hard to downsize and have lately been embracing the experience as an opportunity to curate my…um…stuff down to the things that I truly, truly love, have space for, and use very frequently.

To quote Yoda (which seems apropos recently):

Donated, I did, the rhinoceros doo-dahs I used to collect.

Still, today as I was going through drawers in my craft room/office, I came upon a cache of old greeting cards we’ve received.  I save (too) many cards because it feels like a way to make them worth at least some of the paper and glitter and money that people have invested in them.  I’m writing this with glitter in my eyebrows and socks so trust me when I say there’s plenty of glitter and think about it:  cards are a whole lot of environmental and fiscal energy that get read in under 10 seconds.  Then later, you toss them away.

Except, if you’re me of course, who collects cards like a chipmunk collecting nuts for winter.

Insert “she’s a hoarder in denial” theme song here.

Anyway, I save them for a while (okay, fine, I found one today dated 2004) and then spend time with a big stack, while watching TV or listening to music.  I cut out the bits I want to re-use with my pinking shears and fashion them into gift tags which I will (and do) use later.

Like this:

Two gift tags: left (Christmas scene), right (grinning, cartoon panda)

(See, you thought I was just making this up, didn’t you?)

Some of you are snickering, I’m sure, but it really does make me feel as if I’ve extended the life of cards for at least one more round.

(Just pretend it’s wartime and we’re rationing stuff.)

Long ago (like, until last year), I used to save cards for sentimental reasons but I have eschewed sentimentality (or tried to) lately.  I have been sensible and rational and only kept a sampling of cards from my years of teenage angst and youthful adventures (in the plastic Harrod’s bag I got while working on Oxford Street in London, the year I was 20.)  Okay, fine, and I also have the Harvey’s hamburger wrapper my friend, Ugly Orange Sweater Guy, wrote me a letter on while I was languishing without Harvey’s in England, the year I was 16/17, but I’m sure you can agree that a letter written on a Harvey’s wrapper is an artifact well worth hoarding—I mean, preserving.

Anyhoo, while cutting and chopping, pinking and punching today, I found some treasures.

Two cards from my old friend, Little Julie, who became an angel to her husband and three, young sons, a few years ago, after cancer.

Handwritten: love, Julie

I could hear her voice as I read her words.

What a gift, I thought, and tried to blink away the tears.

Then, a card from my Grandma Helen, gone now for nearly a decade (I can’t believe it).

Signed the same way, her cards always were:

Handwriting: All my love, Grandma xoxoxoxox

All my love back to you, Grandma.

Sniffle.

It’s lovely how someone’s handwriting can immediately bring them to you.  I wonder, in this age of so little handwriting anymore, will we have lost the chance to re-connect for those brief moments with people we have known and loved?

Then, cards from Practical Man’s German Mutti (now, sadly, living with dementia) and his Canadian mother, (cancer took her, too.)

German writing then, "love Mutti"

I know that the um…stuff…is not the same as the person.  I’ve watched the shows and chanted those mantras to myself.  I’ve even photographed said stuff and then let it go.

But, I recently received the book my dad and aunt wrote about my great-grandparents.  In it, there is a sweet and flirty letter my great-grandma wrote to my great-grandfather, while they were dating.  There are tender and lonely letters my great-grandfather wrote to his wife and children while he was in the sanitorium for tuberculosis for two years.  There is even the original hotel bill from my great-grandparents honeymoon night in Chicago in 1923:

Receipt from the Blackstone hotel in Chicago, 1923

Meaningless stuff, you might say.

I obviously come from a long line of hoarders, you might say.

And, you might be right.

But, to those angels who touched my shoulders today and other days:  thank you for visiting.

We miss you.

Copyright Christine Fader, 2016.  Did you enjoy this post from A Vintage Life?    Share on Facebook       Tweet


Knock, knock.

Who’s there?

Banana.

Banana who?

Knock, knock.

Who’s there?

Banana.

Banana, who?

I interrupt this vintage joke to ask an important question:

Do you like orange?

It seems like one of those colours that people have a love it or hate it thing for.

Christine wearing an orange and burgundy striped hat and burnt orange scarf.

Lately, I’ve been cozied up in this burnt orange scarf.

I’m on the side of love it.  Maybe that’s because I learned the magical, mystical power of orange when my friend, Grover, introduced me to Ugly Orange Sweater, way back in 1986.

Y’see, not only is orange the colour of creamsicles and beach vacation toenail polish, it is one of the few colours Grover can really identify, on account of the fact that he has colour blindness.

And, even though he is super talented and great at lots of things including but not limited to gift giving and swinging on non-pinchy-bum swings, Grover couldn’t really appreciate the nuances of periwinkle blue, Tiffany blue, or the colour of a certain Leonard Cohen raincoat.

So, orange it was.

Then came the day that his mom (if I’m remembering the legend correctly) knitted him a gigantic orange sweater.  It was (let me emphasize again) gigantic and orange and the wool kind of pilled up and the sweater ended up looking like a gigantic and orange, wearable muppet.  Grover (who I also think of as a lovely, wearable muppet, hence his nom de plum) named it Ugly Orange Sweater (U.O.S.) and it became a Thing.

If you don’t get the significance of a Thing to teenagers, you need to stop everything and read more John Green books.

Anyway, ever since 1986, I have loved Grover and U.O.S. and orange.

I found these two melamine plates recently and even though I have enough vintage melamine to host the entire cast of the Mary Tyler Moore show, they had to come home with me.

On account of the orange.

melamine plate with orange funky flower design

Yep, that’s my story and I’m sticking to it.  Even though I keep putting “tiny house” pics on Pinterest and we’re supposed to be downsizing, not bringing even more stuff that Practical Man gave away in 1976, into the house.  And, even though the orange in these awesome plates is not really the same colour as the orange in U.O.S.

Anyhoo.

These are vintage Maplex (from Toronto, Canada).  And, even though I’m definitely down-sizing, I just love their funky, flower-power motif.

Of course I do.

They go so well with the vintage daisy Pyrex (that my friend Shades gave me) and the vintage orange melamine (that we found in the melamine-mecca of Ompah, Ontario two years ago) and the little Japanese creamer that almost looks like the same flower-power pattern (that I found for 10 cents on a sunny morning of yard sale-ing with my sister-in-law in Sturgeon Falls, Ontario, four years ago).

Vintage pyrex bowls with daisy lids; orange melamine coffee cups and plates

It’s as if they were all meant to be together, from the beginning.  So, if you happen to find this Maplex pattern anywhere (I can’t find it, even online), please save it for me because, these would look great in our vintage Boler trailer.

Yes Indeedy, I am incurable.

It might be Grover’s fault.  Too much cozy orange scarf and not enough non-pinchy-bum swings or U.O.S. sightings.

Or something.

But in the end, all that really matters, of course, is:

Knock, knock.

Who’s there?

Orange.

Orange who?

Orange You Glad I Didn’t Say Banana?!

——————————————————–

Copyright Christine Fader, 2015.  Did you enjoy this post from A Vintage Life?    Share on Facebook       Tweet