Saturday, March 13, 2021

Living the Pantry Lifestyle - The joy of collections

The weather turned from dreadful to lovely almost overnight.  Even though we have been at normal or slightly above normal temperatures this week, it feels so much better than when we were in the deep freeze.  It feels like Spring!

It took awhile for all the snow to melt but one night of a heavy rain finally made it possible to look out the window the next morning and actually see the gravel in the gravel lane for the first time in a long while.  Which also meant... I am free!  No more needing to stay inside because the van may end up in a snowy ditch as I try to pull out of the driveway.  Not to mention just getting to the van through the snow.

I had to get my monthly eye injection this week so as usual, when the weather permits, I like to stop by one or two favorite shops on the way home.  I don't get on that side of town often and it is my version of COVID relief.  I spent about an hour just walking up and down the aisles at my favorite antique mall and once in awhile, my eyes would catch a display of teacups or vintage Pyrex.  

I have had quite a few collections over the years but these are the only things I still look for since they tend to be inexpensive, especially if not purchased in a set.  When sold in a set, the vintage Pyrex is often well beyond my price range. I have read that the rare pieces have sold for thousands of dollars.  True collectors want the rare pieces and the sets.

I enjoy collecting different patterns so a set is not necessary.  This time, I was very happy to find a small bowl that matched a larger bowl I already own in the Early American pattern (also called Early Canadian), which I love and I had never seen a small bowl in the pattern before.

Individual teacups are sometimes called "orphans", which I like because I feel I am giving them a much needed good home.  I have collected teacups with saucers since the 1980s, when I was inspired by Emilie Barne's writings. Over the years, I have found them at thrift stores, antique malls, at the Brimfield Antique Flea Market, and I have received many as gifts.

The only other items I still look for (they are very difficult to find these days where I live) is my beloved brown transferware china.  Perhaps that is God's way of telling me I have enough?  Except I really could use a few more specific items like square salad plates and cups/saucers. The hunt is part of the fun.

I use my teacups, vintage Pyrex, and brown transferware all the time.  Although, I also have them displayed in such a way that I can just admire them as I walk by the areas they are displayed.  That is a part of the fun of collecting and displaying collections makes our homes personal reflections of those who live there.

My husband showed me an article in the newspaper that filled one page and part of another.  It was about vintage Pyrex being a big collector's item now.  I think it is not only nostalgic but in an age of cheaply made items, the Pyrex is very sturdy and fun to use.  I enjoy the various colors and patterns as I use them when cooking and baking.

I will warn you, though, vintage Pyrex does not like the dishwasher!  That is how I ruined a set of bowls in the early years of marriage.  The dishwasher removes the color and design on the outside of the bowls.  You also have to be careful about sudden temperature changes, even with the modern Pyrex.  I had a glass roasting pan explode in the oven when I added more water one time!

So, why wax poetic about a stop by the antique mall? Especially in a Pantry post?

I've learned some lessons this past year that I think will always be important.  For example, I need to take advantage of opportunities to do something enjoyable.  Something as simple as perusing the antique mall, stopping by Barnes and Noble to look at magazines, and walking through my favorite gift shop that sells primitive American items was missed during the shutdown when everything was closed.

I don't like shopping very much.  Especially at the mall like I did as a teenager.  But I came to enjoy shopping at thrift stores, Goodwill, garage sales, etc. when I had to be on a very tight budget.  I could find beautiful clothes and lovely items for the home for a fraction of what they cost at department stores.  

I much prefer to see photo articles of houses that have been decorated by shopping thrift stores, garage sales, and used furniture shops.  How about you?  There are never two homes alike and you can tell the personalities of the people who live there just by how they decorate.  

I heard many people say that they spent more time at home in 2020 than they ever had before.  For those that it did not hurt financially, many appreciated more time with their family.  Although, I doubt any of us ever thought that weeks would turn into months and in other parts of the country and the world... there have been multiple lockdowns.

All that time inside, except for a couple trips to the grocery store each week, had an interesting affect on me.  On one hand, I decluttered like crazy.  It was interesting that a lot of people did the same thing and places like Goodwill were overrun with donations.

However, I also came to appreciate how making a home over the decades has provided a space that best reflects what brings peace as well as joy more than any place in the world.  I learned from the COVID shutdown that the time invested in thinking about our house in every way... from art on the walls, to books in the shelves and on the Kindle, to green plants in various rooms, to the dishes food is served on, to preparing that food... everything was important.   

How difficult it must have been to be forced to stay in a house that was dark and dingy and cluttered.  A house where no one had put any thought into how it made them feel or how to prepare food that is inexpensive, nutritious, and tasty.  I hope people are more incline to put thought and budget into making their homes cozy.  

Kids need to be surrounded by what makes them feel safe and cozy.  So do people who live alone.  So do I and if you admit it to yourself... so do you.  If there is one piece of advice I would give to every new bride it is this... don't listen to the world that tells you home is not important.   

Give at least as much attention to your home as you do your place of work and if you really want to get wild and crazy... make your home your creative canvas!  Okay, time to get off my soap box.  ;)

Did I do anything for the pantry this week?  I have mentioned before that a priority has been to stock up on what I could not get in the stores during the shortages.  Recently, Meijer has started selling their packages of two "huge" rolls of paper towels again.  

I missed them when all I could buy was a package of multiple smaller rolls.  So, I purchased two packages last week to put in my paper pantry (which is just a shelf in the garage).

The shortages this week were the same as in previous weeks, especially various herbs/spices and cat food.   However, I was only shopping for a few items.  Cat food is always a priority in this house.  I have also noticed that the Mrs. Meyer shelves at Meijer are nearly empty, far past the date when they usually get the next season's items in. 


Deanna Rabe said...

I’ve hardly done any in person shopping this year other than groceries. I hate wearing a mask and so many places insist on it, that I’ve just not gone. I do enjoy it when I find a store or two who don’t mind if you have a mask or not.

It’s so important to make our homes a haven! This year has been a good lesson in why!

Margie from Toronto said...

So glad that you managed to have a lovely day and to enjoy a simple pleasure. Toronto finally moved out of "Stay at Home" last week - although we are still in the Grey Zone (the most severe of the colour code levels) and numbers are rising again so I have a feeling this brief relaxing of the rules won't last long. To that end I walked all along the little shops in my neighbourhood on Friday. It is a popular spot but I went early and it wasn't too busy. I wanted to support some of the little shops that have only just been allowed to reopen so I spend $15 each at 3 little shops. I didn't technically need any of the treats but I still feel it was money well spent.

My small apt. has always been fairly well organized but "stuff" still accumulates over the year so I have spent the last 10 days doing an early Spring clean and de-clutter and then moved around some furniture. I am going to buy a few more small bookcases from IKEA so can't finalize things until they arrive - but I can wait and in the meantime I'm going to go through a lot of paperwork over the next couple of weeks so that will keep me busy. I was very pleased with the metal shelving unit that I bought for the kitchen - it arrived from Amazon early in the week and it didn't take me long to get it assembled. I'm glad that I got it last week as the big Amazon plant here has had a mass infection outbreak and hundreds are infected and hundreds more sent home to isolate so it will certainly affect shipments for a bit.

I have a weakness for pretty dishes and coloured glass and really have to stop myself from going overboard as I simply don't have the space! I do have a gorgeous turquoise pyrex bowl that I found in a junk shop a couple of years ago for only $12. Out of curiosity I looked online and found that this large sized bowl now sells for around $60! I keep my eyes open for other bits and pieces but prices are quite here. I am trying to collect some "Blue Willow" pieces, mostly teacups and saucers and small plates - they were my mom's "good" dishes and I've always loved this old-fashioned pattern.

Ann said...

I would love to have a little area for a display of teacups. They're an art in itself. I've also often wondered why those with families choose to make their home a place to eat and sleep; "deorated" in closed up windows, laundry down the halls and simply a stopping ground. What a disservice to their children to have no "home." As one who loves to decorate, I've been at a standstill for quite some time. We "rescued" a cat 10 years ago at my expense and have not in a very long while been able to replace furniture it has destroyed. I am comforted by my surroundings and am getting ansy for it to come to it's end of days so I can get back my peace. I certainly don't need or want sterile and it's far from not being decent, however... looking forward to renewing my home with things I love that won't get damaged.

Mama Squirrel said...

I like finding vintage Pyrex too, and I use our pieces all the time, including one little casserole that belonged to my husband's grandmother.

Rubies said...

Using my Pyrex lightens my spirit, most of mine is from my Mom's Kitchen, I feel comfort in knowing I am cooking in the same cookware as Mom made her delicious meals in.

I have a set of Primitive Color Pyrex bowls,I was given them by my ex-grandmother, many, many years ago, I remember learning her personal recipe for making sugar cookies, she used the large yellow bowl to mix them in, 7 full cups of flour.

Spring hasn't arrived here and due to Covid my Spring cleaning was accomplished in winter except for window washing. I feel ahead of the game.

We are hoping to pick up some loss leaders at the grocery store tomorrow and praying the Lord blesses us with meat markdowns and bakery mark downs. My husband loves feeding our deer with bakery bread. said...

I've found all of my Pyrex bowls at the thrift shops also. So lovely stacked up. I do hand wash them also, not using the dishwasher, and I pick a lovely green color for my cleaning!
We're moving back to Ohio soon, so I'll be able to shop at Meijer again...I've missed that store.