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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

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I mentioned the other day that our kitchen cupboards are over full.  I offer you Exhibit A (with random modern dishes removed, in case you’re wondering why there’s space):

the inside of my cupboards, full of vintage pyrex

Our cupboards are full with–if you’ve been paying attention–practical things like cheese slicers, scales and oatmeal and stuff.

Not vintage Pyrex and melamine dishes.  Nuh unh.  As you can see, once you take the boring stuff out, there’s plenty of room.

None of that matters though, because you won’t believe it–I mean I can barely believe it myself–but I did it:

I edited a cupboard.

Not one in the kitchen, but that’s beside the point.

You may recall that we have a 1974 Boler trailer.  It is a full 13 feet of vintage delight.  I loooove it in a way that is annoying to others, I’m sure.

The diner/bed inside our 1974 Boler

The diner/bed inside our 1974 Boler

Anyway, I realized suddenly as I was stacking and piling in the kitchen to no avail that no wonder my melamine bowls didn’t fit.  Pyrex is for inside.  Melamine is perfect for camping in a 1974 trailer.  Those dishes belonged in the Boler, of course!

The Boler that I loooove.

With joy in my heart, I trundled out to the Boler, but when I got there, the cupboards were…mysteriously…over full.

I’m sure it’s not my fault.  Right, because when we bought it from the previous owners (who had owned it since new), we inherited all its contents, including Maplex and Duraware dishes.

Plus, the Boler “kitchen” is REALLY tiny.  I like to call it “bijou”, because I’m slightly addicted to alliteration.  A “bijou Boler” sounds great, doesn’t it?

Anyway the kitchen only consists of 4 cupboards and one drawer.  Not even cupboards really.  They’re more like bread boxes.  Yes, four bread boxes and a cookie tin.  So bijou.

boler kitchen

Our Boler “kitchen”, complete with homemade trays to cover sink and stove top and give us more counter space.

And, the cupboards were chock-a-block with the necessary dishes (we have to eat, don’t we?) as well as things coveted by Practical Man, like flashlights and bungee cords.

So, they were full and I’m pretty sure that, as usual, it was not my fault.  Still, I decided I had to edit.  Somebody had to go and the dishes outnumbered the flashlights by 20 to 1.

I felt like a judge on The Voice or American/Canadian/Pop Idol.  I had to choose between my favourites.  It was heart-wrenching.

Before I could do the dastardly deed, I had to psych myself up.  First, I had a little nap on the oh-so-stylish Boler couch:

Boler couch/bunkbed

It converts to a bunk bed for people who are not strapping women of 5’9″, like I am:

bunk beds in the Boler

Then, I pretended I was drinking chicory coffee and had Laurie Partridge hair out of 1974.

Then, I shoop-shooped and sang a few rounds of “C’mon, get happy” (Composed just for the Boler, I’m sure,  because who wouldn’t be happy lounging in the 1974 Boler that I looove?!)

Then, I admired the new cups and plates I was about to put in the cupboards, again.  All the while, I tried not to think about the pitiful cries from the little brown plates that hid behind the Boler kitchen doors.  Little brown plates, you’re so, so sweet but you’re just not my colour.  I don’t really loooove you.

Sorry.

But these make me a little giddy:

fern pattern on melamine plates

Not so giddy for the grey and white vintage Tupperware coffee mugs (replaced with more cheerful and vintage-reminiscent harvest gold, orange and avocado green):

tupperware cups for the Boler

Finally, after my napping and chicory coffee and hair and shooping and singing, I was ruthless.  I edited.  I was the Simon Cowell of cupboards.

Sort of.

In addition to being a terrible haggler, I am also not ruthless…even about inanimate objects.  The ones that didn’t make the cut to keep were given away to a good home:  I have re-ignited the collecting bug in my friend, Shades.

Her husband loves me even more now.

But never mind because today, all is right in the Boler.  And now, there’s even room for Practical Man’s flashlights.

I’ll get to the kitchen cupboards in the house one of these days.  Right now, I’m celebrating with another round of “C’mon Get Happy” .  Tra-la-la, shoop-shoop.

A flashlight makes a great microphone.

Our Boler

Our Boler – what colour do you think we should paint it? I’m thinking flowers (of course). Practical Man is thinking anything that will allow him to drive without wearing a mask to disguise his identity.

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