A Little Cracked, But Still Good

There was a time when I was avidly searching thrift stores and yard sales for inventory for my Etsy shop (which my heart is tugging me back towards - more on that next time) and if I found something cracked or chipped, I'd walk away. I didn't want my "shop" to be seen as having inferior goods.

One day at Goodwill I was excited to find a unique old cookie jar, only to discover a crack in the back and a chip on the lid. 
Disappointed, I put it back. Then a woman came up next to me and excitedly grabbed it off the shelf. 

I pointed out the crack. She brushed it off. "Oh, I don't mind. I have a collection on a shelf in my kitchen and it'll look great next to the other ones. I'll just turn it so you won't see the crack. I love it!" And she walked happily to the cash register with her treasure.

After that, I began to look at things a little differently. I still tried to only buy items in the best condition for the Etsy shop, but I started looking at things for my own home that may have not been "perfect" - but turned to the right angle or set up high enough on a shelf, looked great.

This guru-of-the-cookie jar also reminded me of my grandmother and her sun porch. Mi-Ma had lined the tall windows of the porch with tiny colorful bottles. Once, I pointed out to her that several of them were chipped or cracked, and then she pointed to the rainbow caste on the floor. 

"You don't see any imperfections there do you?"
She picked up a bottle and pointed to a crack. "In fact, this will make the reflection more interesting, like a prism." 

I often sat on that porch floor in the reflected colors while I played with my Colorforms or Barbies, and I didn't care if the bottles were damaged. To me that porch had a magical rainbow captured just for me.

My reflections on reflections probably come from feeling a little "cracked" and "chipped" myself, lately. Knees that make weird crunching sounds when I go down the stairs, an ankle that has never quite gone down to it's normal size after a bad sprain. A general feeling of being tossed around by life a bit over the last year or so. 

I think I would have to characterize myself currently in "vintage condition" -  as I did for items that showed some age in my Etsy shop.

Not to say these "vintage condition" pieces weren't good, seasoned, sometimes even my best inventory. Still useful. Still adding charm and character to a room. Even a little whimsy. 

Even though an item might show a little wear and have some crunchy knees...I mean...worn paint, doesn't mean it should be overlooked or left on the shelf. Some of my favorite d├ęcor in my home has some damage on it somewhere.

So if you spot something at the thrift or antique store you think would add that perfect touch to your home, but it has a crack, turn that sucker around and just enjoy it.

And I may start hunting for little glass bottles for my own porch, cracked or not, and make myself some rainbows.



Carol Ann's Corner

Carol Ann's Corner
Tips from our favorite shop keeper

Real or Reproduction

As you are hunting around for treasure at yard sales and flea markets, you will come across things that make you wonder if they are original or reproductions. It can be hard to tell.

These are a couple tip offs.

One, does it look a little worn? It should if its really antique or vintage. Even the best kept china got moved around in the cabinet, the doll's vinyl body and hair faded a bit, or the lunch box got a little rust around the hinges. If it looks shiny and new, chances are it is.

Two, are there a lot of them? If you are in a shop or flea market stall and there are ten of the items you've been looking for and haven't been able to find...they have probably been manufactured. Unless you are at a reputable dealer who specializes in that item, then you may have hit the jackpot for your particular collectible.

A good way to gauge if it is a reputable dealer is they will be happy to answer your questions about if the item is authentic or not, and how you can tell. A dealer with a passion and knowledge about that item, will enjoy explaining that all to you. A disreputable dealer, not so much.

Carol Ann Miller
Proprietor, Miller's Fine Antiques

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