My love for secondhand things extends to receiving gifts of previously loved items, so I was a happy lady this summer when I was given these used offerings from both my mother-in-law and my mother.
I’ll start with the things given to me by Nick’s mom, which I brought home in my suitcase after our visit to the west coast in June.
I didn’t get the whole story behind this beautiful jet necklace, that had been my mother-in-law’s and that she thought I would like. I tried to decline taking such a pretty item from her, but she insisted that she wanted to give it to me. So I was thrilled to accept it.
Then when I got it home, I more closely looked at the box in which it came and saw that it came from a place called ‘Aldringham Craft Market, NR Leiston, Suffolk’. I knew this was in England because we once visited Nick’s grandmother’s former home there. I could find no information on the Aldringham craft market, except a 10 year old mention in a scanned copy of a book about The Hidden Places in East Anglia, which stated that the market had opened in 1958. There was no mention of it having closed however since there is no current listing for it, I assume it did.
So I asked Nick’s mom about the necklace during a recent Skype call. She explained that the necklace had been given to her by her mother, so that it had once belonged to Nick’s grandmother, who I never got to meet.
With that news I became a bit nervous to wear it, as now I know that it is somewhat of a family heirloom. But it seems very sturdy and the pieces are stuck fast, so I will wear it although I’ll be careful not to let it swing around and possibly bang into something as longer necklaces are known to do.
The second secondhand gift I received from my mother-in-law followed a discussion about my love of the interestingly shaped everyday cutlery we were using in their home, that Nick says is the only set he ever remembers as a child. I’ve never seen anything shaped like these pieces so commented on it. After I did, his mom presented me this box of two cocktail forks from the set. Apparently they had purchased some extra ones and she was happy to let me have them. I love them.
These mid-century pieces are are Fuga Stainless by Lundtofte, that were made in Denmark, but which are now discontinued. From what I can tell these particular forks are rare and cannot even be found by a company specializing in finding replacement pieces of vintage tableware.
These next items are are third-hand things given to me by my parents, from whom I inherited my love of the hunt for excellent used treasures.
My dad picked up this water pitcher in what we tease him as being his favourite shopping centre, the trash room in the condo building they live it. But before this begins to sound weird, I must add that there are shelves in the room specifically for other occupants of the building to put their ‘good’ castoffs, that they no longer want but that they want to pass on to someone who does. I think it’s a brilliant idea to have such a spot in a building and have been known to ‘shop’ it myself when visiting.
My parents have found amazing things on this magic shelf, including many great books that have only been read once, lots of kitchenware, and small appliances in perfect working order. And this pitcher.
When I admired it on my parents’ windowsill my mother insisted that I take it home, going so far at to wrap it carefully in newspaper and putting it with my luggage.
The next three things were all acquired by my dad, among some mixed lots he has won at various auction sales. He likes to go to country auctions as much for the camaraderie of the people who go to them, many of whom he’s gotten to know over the years, as for the good on the auction block. And he occasionally puts a small bid in on mixed lots. I have early memories of spending Sunday afternoon at farmers’ auctions and sales, which at the time didn’t interest me in the least. I just wasn’t into buying an old hoe or harness.
I won’t comment on the fact that my dad was the one to get these things but my mom was the one doing the giving away! I did make sure to run down the list of things I was taking with my father before leaving, so he knew they were coming home with me.
I love the smooth feel, buff colour and embroidery detail of these cute little cocktail-size cotton-linen napkins, and since my mom knows we always use fabric napkins she offered them to me.
And when I was getting down some plates for the sandwiches we were making for lunch one day, I complimented these vintage Corelle numbers. These 4 small bread plates are in the pattern Butterfly Gold, one I knew had been discontinued (and now know that happened in the late 80s, so they’re at least 23 years old). When I said I didn’t have this pattern in my collection yet, my mother insisted I take those home too. There was no saying ‘no’.
About those plates, I’ve mentioned before that Pyrex and Corelle are sister companies and the vintage dishes were accompanied by corresponding Pyrex serving pieces, so while I don’t have any of the Corelle ones, I do have a couple of Butterfly Gold Pyrex casserole dishes that I got from ebay, seen here.
Next up is this little piece of hand-turned pottery, which will come in handy as a toothpick holder at our next cocktail party.
Finally there is this triple-strand necklace that my mother found at her local consignment store. After seeing how well it went with this one that I found when the two of us were out thrifting together, she was right to point out that they would make a great stacked look worn together. And so I brought that home too.
How about you? Do you ever buy secondhand things to give as gifts, or do you have some favourites that you’ve received from others?