Tuesday, March 16, 2010

The Find: Romantic Impressions

People always ask me about what I buy at thrift stores, flea markets and garage sales, but the response may surprise you. I actually buy very little. Of course, I'm drawn to old postcards, well traveled ephemera, vintage cook books, silly sewing notions and Dolly Parton memorabilia, but if I bought everything that spoke to me I would have a starring role on Hoarders.

You see, there are several reasons why I don't always buy, mainly being that I live in a one-bedroom apartment in the middle of Manhattan where I write my blog in the corner of my living room and do my projects sprawled out on the floor in front of my sofa.

But the other reason is that for me, it's more about the journey of a discovery than the acquisition. It's sort of like people who decide to decorate their homes all at once and fast and furiously as they can, and then when the creative fun is complete, they're bored and are ready to do it all over again. (Or buy a new house!) But when I do make a purchase I do it from the heart without having too much research on hand about what I'm looking at or exactly how I'm going to put my new acquisition to use.

Take for instance a pair of Homer Laughlin salad plates I talk about in The Find: The Housing Works Book of Decorating With Thrift Shop Treasures, Flea market Objects, and Vintage Details. As I was doing research and taking photographs of Sharleen Reeder's work at her lovely shop, Luticia Clementine's in Independence, Mo., I spied a pair of Homer Laughlin plates with romantic characters in silhouette on sale for a few dollars. My heart spoke strongly, so I bought them. As Sharleen wrapped up these lovelies in her signature polka-dotted bags, she paused as she passed me my change: "I'm so happy you bought these," she said. "I can tell you love them just as much as I do."

And I did. But once I got them home, I couldn't quite figure out what to do with these pretty possessions I had flown half way across the United States -- until my pal Bevy Smith's birthday arrived that year. I wrapped them up in pretty paper and presented my finds to her on her special day, knowing that the treasure that spoke my name while shopping in my home town was headed to a warm and welcoming Harlem home.

Always Frugal, Always Fabulous!

The Elegant Thrifter


  1. I LOVE that story of the plates going to Bevy!

  2. Sweet post!!! Unfortunately, too many things "speak to my heart", but I am trying to simplify...

  3. It goes without saying that you and I have a very similiar passion. Thrifting. Im with you. I dont often buy unless I feel as if I will not survive if I leave it in the store. Ive been reading your blog for a while and have to say Ive learnedva lot.

    Mr. Goodwill Hunting

  4. Found your blog only b/c I am dying to find these plates too! Wish i could be lucky enough to find them in a thrift store for a couple of dollars. Very Modern Baroque looking to me and I want to hang them on a wall! There some on eBay right now...but still not as thrifty as I want them to be! -still searching for HLC "Silhouette" or "Minuet" plates :) Amy in NC



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