Thursday, May 29, 2008
Good for My Soul
That is me, in my other happy place. The first one, where I'm in a Weezer video, is great and all, but I really like to shop at antique or flea markets. The above image was taken years ago, by Steve, at Round Top. Then he left for the beer tent and let me keep shopping. Ah, bliss!
These days, it takes a lot out of me to get to that happy place, literally. Admittedly, I have my dream job in a cute store where every day I get to handle great things. It's just that I like being out there, exploring the potential, not the existing.
Nowadays, it takes more planning for even a simple flea market outing. Organizing. Behaving. Modifying. Shopping used to be more impulsive, but I have a different relationship with it now. It's more about fishing than hunting - though that doesn't quite explain it.
Let's talk about it this way.
Last weekend was the occasion of the Christie Antique Show. One of the reasons that was a good one to trek to with the family was because it's in a fantastic area. That's something to consider, you know, because four year olds HATE flea markets. There's nothing but table after table of frustration there for them - a litany of "don't touch" and too many toys that aren't for kids anymore.
There's also now way I'm going to get there for 8:30 am. And no way I'm going to get to see everything. My mantra that day was an old one revived from days when I was employed more professionally: "Lower your expectations!" (That's a great mantra for retail. Also: "Strive for mediocrity!") It's easier to modify myself than to expect my family to sigh in chorus with me over every flake of gorgeous old paint.
While there were some things that almost followed us home...
...such as this darling kitty priced at $15 .00, the only thing we bought? $3 popsicles. The kitty was tempting, but embroidery was missing and she had stains and I knew Josie would love her for the day but not for ever. However, if there had been a Steiff fawn, I'd not have hesitated even one heartbeat.
We made a day of it. We'd packed a picnic lunch, and found a grassy spot under a tree where we could have a break from the hubbub of the show. Two fawns hid themselves in the grass nearby, waiting to find out if we were friendly humans or not. So, I unpacked the basket, and soon the larger fawn decided I was friendly. Soon she was eating trail mix, bread and cheese and dried apricots out of my hand!
Though she was still shy, and I often had to persuade her to come back.
There was a lake in which to wade...
And after, she was content to be pulled around while I tried to see if there was anything we couldn't leave without.
One particular booth caught my eye.
Aesthetically pleasing retro kitchen stuff galore! And you'd think I found some kind of orgasm-inducing kitchen object, there, right? Something that floated my boat? That I bought it and carved our initials in a tree and married it and now we have darling little enamelled/gingham/darlingly illustrated babies? Right?
No. I was able to walk away from the $55 sifter.
We headed back to the car.
Josephine was so tired, she fell asleep within minutes of leaving the parking lot, nodding off with her hand just about to get another pretzel.
And it was fine that I didn't find anything. Fine that I only came away with things to think about.
I'd been mulling over my love of flea markets this past week, as I've known that Jen was going to present the spiritually rewarding side of previously enjoyed objects as part of her lovely new endeavour, Bliss Notes. I was honoured to be asked to contribute.
You see, my days are often all about objects. It often seems that all I do is pick up something, clean it, and either replace it or move it elsewhere - so the item had better be worth it. That's part of my job as a mother, and as someone who runs a funky little store with a lot of stuff. For all their physical space, they also take up a lot of room in my head.
In working on the Mighty Project, I've been helping a friend to become more mindful of belongings. Even as I sorted and moved my own along, the real work was discovering where the pleasure came from, and how it could be sustained without the items themselves becoming a burden. Photographs aren't the answer - feelings are.
I strongly feel there's enough "stuff" in this world. That, as it's said in Funky Shui, "...that generic art from Pottery Barn is squeezing out space for your own precious memories" and "Be reminded of your trip to the Bahamas, not the last time you shopped at Bed, Bath & Beyond".
It's why I oppose a Smart!Centres development in our neighbourhood -- the world doesn't need more shoddy goods.
I understand that some people *cough cough Jen* are a bit nervous about buying previously enjoyed items, and there are many who can't get their mind around any used items as having as much or more value than new. Which is why, as I must admit, since I've been outed, that I've reserved a blog under the name of Fussypea, where I can talk about the items I'll be offering for sale in various outlets. One such place is Pantry, where one of my dear old friends, Liz will be carrying a selection of vintage greeting cards and aprons. I'm also rolling ideas of Etsy around in my head, kind of like I'm powdering a donut. We'll see.
The idea behind Fussypea is its tag line: Carefully Curated, Practically Perfect, Very Vintage. The items branded under Fussypea will personally chosen by me, and offered as seasonally changing or themed collections. They are guaranteed to be in amazing, if not perfect condition for their age. They will be vintage, not reproductions, likely focused on post-war and mid-century small items. And each and every item is something I'd be proud to give as a gift, or would buy all over again. I cannot offer a more heartfelt condition of sale. My goal is to introduce the idea of buying lovely old things to people who would never otherwise think of doing so -- kind of like cool hunting. So, if you're not one to meander into a dusty little shop with a lot of stuff, where some of my other items sometimes end up, it's having the items find their way to you, instead of the other way 'round.
I like how the Bliss Notes find their way into my inbox - bringing thankfulness and lovely thoughts to mind, and hope more people discover how sweet it is to have mindful thoughts of abundance, balance and beauty. I hope that someday something from Fussypea finds its way to somebody, and brings the idea that there are wonderful old things to be discovered, if you're just opened to them - because the world is full of them. Just as Jen frames a beautiful picture with her Bliss Notes, I hope to showcase not just the objects, but the ideas that accompany them.
So, there it all is. For now.
at 2:20 PM