15 Jan 2013

collecting furniture

She pulled open her tidy tray and delved into the papery chaos to retrieve a lolly pink pencil case. Remember the ones that came with a swatch of golden card emblazoned with capital letters. It was almost brand new and from her secretive smile one could assume it held something to be treasured. Slowly she unzipped the pouch and began to pull out ice cream cones, cats, teeny tiny pieces of fruit and cars all sickly sweet smelly and vibrant coloured. Her rubber collection was pristine and oh so enviable. I tried in vain to replicate such a thing of beauty yet my often skittish eight year old brain always justified using one of my pretties to rub out some smudgy line of text or such. My pencil case soon held only a collection of worn edged, lead stained orbs of rubber neither lovely nor overly useful. Rubber collecting was not for me.

I dabbled in stamp collecting. A regal hobby with ordered lines, fragile vellum paper pages and talon like  tweezers for retrieval and exact positioning. I always felt somehow like a puzzle piece from the sky section of a panoramic scene that looks "kinda" right but had to be pressed in more firmly than it should. No matter how hard I tried I just didn't fit. Knowing myself far better these days it is crystal clear why such a collection was a dismal failure.

But faded patinas, chips and cracks, aged hard wood and dove tail joins. Glorious pieces of handcrafted furniture worn by time and use and further aged by neglect. These elegant beauties of by gone eras are on my behalf regularly and many could vouch...rather additively hunted out. A bevelled mirror tucked behind the Ab-serciser 2000 at the local flea market. The tall and proud silky oak gentleman languishing on the side of the road. The shamed "turned leg" lady hiding behind layer upon layer of gaudy makeup. The cast out, the no longer loved...the beautiful. I bring it home with the pomp and ceremony of a Papal parade and nurture each piece like a brand new kitten. Old furniture..now that's my collection.

What do you collect? Were you one of those gorgeous tidy girls with enviable rubber collections?

Steph x

In eleven days this lovely soul will fulfill a dream...please give her a hand to get there.


  1. Just stumbled upon your blog via Little Gnomes Home. Love your collection, love the patinas, love it all! The more rustic, the better - it's my passion! Alison

  2. I was one of those tidy girls with a rubber collection! haha that made me smile. I do adore old furniture, but the old already lovingly nurtured old furniture. Must be the tidy little girl in me still.

  3. I am a mad collector of crockery especially Crown Lynn cups, saucers and jugs. I do love furniture too though, bedside draws and chairs. I have a growing collection in the store room waiting to be restored. I need a bigger house! xo

  4. For a while I seemed to collect stray animals but luckily that's all in the past now. I think I want to take a page from your book and start collecting the old furniture...with an old farmhouse to fill it seems a great idea. Lovely post.

  5. Oh Steph me too!! Nothing quite like old furniture with stories tucked inside. Your writing is beautiful xx

  6. you know i also love the hunt of something old ... something with a story. we must make a day of it together sometime soon. beautiful images steph x

  7. You probably already know how I love old furniture and all the more with the signs of age and wear that only time can bring. I have always been a collector - I inherited old stamp albums when I was little and collected coins and rocks. Now it is Pyrex, green glass and 50's vases I find it hard to go past. I guess we don't really change afterall! ps- thank you for your comment on the fires. I can report so far so good and I am hoping to get back to some normality soon!

  8. I've never restored old furniture myself, but I really do love the idea of it and admire people who take the time to do so! I think tracking down something that someone no longer wants and turning it to a new cherished piece for your own home is such a beautiful thing to do.
    Ronnie xo

  9. Oh yes, I adore old furniture..the older the better! It doesn't seem to matter how much I have collected, I still keep my eyes peeled when out on my day to day travels in the hopes of finding another great piece.
    I think I was born a collector, I inherited it from my parents/grandparents. It was never anything as classy as stamps or rubbers, more along the lines of books and nana's treasured items that she no longer had a need for when I was younger..no one understood my desire to keep such things and vintage linen and crockery these days.

    I really love the way you write Steph, you have that ability to draw one into another world..would love to see your desire to one day write a book come to fruition :)


    1. Lovely Tammi! Having a bit of a blah day today so your comment not only brightened it but made me cry! What a beautiful thought...my own book. A far off dream perhaps but so lovely to think of souls like you thinking it could become a reality. WIshing you the loveliest of days :) x

  10. I loved my eraser collection! (I may or may not still have one.) I also had a marble collection, stamp collection, sticker collection etc. I also love collecting old furniture but I am rubbish at restoring it. Plus, the man notices it accumulating much more than he notices my sticker book ;)

  11. Stephanie, what a magical eye you have! I love your sense of hope for all the lost souls of the furniture world! I too have a penchant for that stray on the curb side, or in the local oppy...it's those that can imagine a peice, even with all it's flaws as still beautiful than can really appreciate saving it. I once collected stamps, but like you it couldn't stick. I also went through a phase of having quite a substantial candle collection...and now well, besides revamping the odd vintage furniture I'm pretty good at collecting fabrics (oh if only there were enough time to sew!) Gorgeous days to you my lovely friend xx

  12. Your writing is utterly enchanting Steph, and your photography is wonderful. I love visiting you here. Thank you for sharing x

  13. I envied those girls too, and at an earlier age, the ones who always coloured in fastidiously inside the lines.

    Collecting furniture is something I would love to do. Unfortunately I lack any sense to restore it (I have two 1950's tv chairs waiting to be sanded and recovered) and like Bron, my husband is not fond of bits of old furniture hanging around 'waiting' for me to suddenly realise I'm a DIY queen.

    Just beautiful writing and images. I can't wait to see these pieces in their full glory again.
    x Laura

  14. love the details you have captured in these images. i collect shells, driftwood, stones. love the stories i remember and the moments attached to them. xx ashley

  15. Oh so gorgeous! You took me back to Grade Three when I longingly admired a friend's stationary collection. I am such a collector, I'm sure it's in my blood. One of my childhood favourites was the fleeting phone cards, I used to run up payphones in hope that someone might have left one behind. Right now it's little things like feathers, marbles and the odd Staffordshire tea cup. Oh and if I found a pink typewriter, I'd have it in a heart beat!
    Thank you for invoking such lovely memories!
    Sophie x

  16. i really love the details you have captured in these images. i collect shells, driftwood, stones. love the stories i remember and the moments attached to them.
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