My first, and the rest is history…

I was inspired by an Instagram post to share about the first antique I ever bought, and how I got into interested antiques.

The first antique I ever bought was a book. The title of the book was The Reveries of a Bachelor. I had never read it, and I never did read it. I did not know at the time that it was one of Emily Dickinson’s favorite books. I was a teenager, and I was browsing in an antiquarian bookstore. I wanted to buy the oldest book I could find. When I realized that I could not afford the oldest book I could find, I settled for a book published in the 1850s that was only 99 cents. The book was meaningful to me because I felt the value in its age, not because I knew anything about the books itself. I had it for about 20 years, and unfortunately it met its end with some puppy teeth.

Growing up I also heard stories of an aunt and uncle who sold antiques and frequented auctions. I romanticized the world of antiques. I wanted to do those things, too. I wanted to buy from Sotheby’s. (One day?!)

How did I get from buying an old book to selling antiques? In college my favorite classes were my furniture history classes. I loved how an age of a piece could be identified by the shape of its legs or the pattern in the veneer. I still have my furniture history textbooks to use as references. During one of my internships a designer I was working under asked what my dream job was. I told her it was to own an antique store. She seemed surprised, but I do think a degree in interior design is certainly helpful for that line of work.

Funny enough, I cannot tell you what the second antique I ever bought was. I have tried to remember, and I just can’t. I have continued to love to buy antique books. Today my favorites are old versions of the classics I’ve read. I also love to buy books written by Lord Lytton, who shares my maiden name. I’ve said it before, buying an antique is usually a sentimental thing, and so I’m truly curious. What was the first antique you ever bought?

Vintage Book Titles for Boys

I did a lot of reading as a kid. I remember telling the elementary school librarian that I had already read all of the books in the library. I’m positive that I had not really done so, but I read A LOT.

Certain titles that I read over and over again became sentimental to me, so as I started getting more active in the vintage and antique world, I began to look for vintage and antique copies of my favorite books. I’ve shared pictures of some of my favorites over on Instagram and Facebook, but I thought I might share a list of some of the titles that I specifically look for. I separated those titles into a boys’ list and a girls’ list, but boys and girls would enjoy books from either list. In fact, two of my very favorites that I re-read many times are on the boys’ list: My Side of the Mountain and James and the Giant Peach.

If you’re like me and you’d like to have a vintage copy of one of these books on your bookshelf, you might be amazed how easily you can find them once you start looking for a specific title.

If you’re looking for a vintage copy of a favorite book, try garage or estate sales, thrift or antique stores, or online auctions.

Here are a few of the classic titles that I think are great for boys.

  • White Fang by Jack London
  • The Call of the Wild by Jack London
  • My Side of the Mountain (a triology) by Jean Craighead George
  • Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson
  • Robinson Crusoe by Robert Louis Stevenson
  • Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls
  • Old Yeller by Fred Gipson
  • The Chronicles of Narnia series by C. S. Lewis
  • To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
  • The Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Slinger
  • The Giver (a quartet) by Lois Lowry
  • Hatchet by Gary Paulsen
  • A Journey to the Center of the Earth by Jules Vern
  • The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood by Howard Pyle
  • The Legend of King Arthur and His Knights by Howard Pyle
  • Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift
  • The 3 Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas
  • The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas
  • The Black Stallion by Alec Ramsay
  • James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl
  • The Indian in the Cupboard by Lynne Reid Banks
  • Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster
  • The Last of the Mohicans by James Fenimore Cooper
  • Swiss Family Robinson by Johann David Wyss

And just for good measure here are two more that I think are must-reads for boys and are sure to become classics:

  • Wonder by R. J. Palacio
  • The Harry Potter series by J. K. Rowling

Do you have any that you would include on this list? Connecting to characters in books can be different for everyone. As an adult we think back on those characters with sentimental feelings. I hope you will look for one of these books and reconnect with a favorite character from your childhood. And better yet, I hope you will give one of these books away to a child so that they can connect with them, too. Happy Reading!

Favorite Books for Vintage Lovers

Favorite Books for Vintage Lovers

Do you have a favorite book from your childhood?

I read a lot as a child. A random, odd fact about me is that our family did not own a TV from the time I was about 7 until I was 13. My parents decided that they didn’t want a TV in the house. While I think that this can be a great thing if done correctly, I do regret that my siblings and I missed out on a lot of Pop Culture. One benefit, however, is that I read. A lot. 
Through my antique finding and selling adventures I discovered that there were some titles I remembered fondly, and I made a point to look for them. A few of my favorites:

Anne of Green Gables, Pollyanna, The Secret Garden, Heidi, Little Women, and Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm. 
If you have some favorites from your childhood that you would look for, what would they be? Some titles are especially valuable. Some titles are especially hard to find. For example, The unabridged Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm was really hard for me to find. Of course, condition and published year can make a big difference, too. For me, I didn’t so much mind the condition of the pages as I did the cover.
Online auctions are a great resource if you are looking for a specific book!
Happy Book Hunting!

Our Easter Mantel

// thought I’d share a few photos of our Easter mantel this year. If you’ve read my past posts then you know that I like to decorate by “shopping” my house for items I can use. I always gravitate towards shopping for items of specific color. This time I was on the hunt for blue.

To see the photo larger, just click on it!

I can’t for the life of me remember where I bought the banner, but I am certain that it was one year after Easter and on discount. Then it sat in a Rubbermaid bin for a couple of years before Samantha and I put it together last year. We stamped “Hoppy Easter” on it.

The blue books on the mantel were easy to collect throughout the house. And well, Ball mason jars are pretty common around here. Let’s just say that I’ve hoarded passionately collected them. I regret every one of them that I’ve sold!

You might recognize the little bunnies from this post HERE. They’re from World Market.

I keep meaning to spray paint that candle holder. Warmer temps are here, so now may be the time!

I am pretty sure the bunnies (one piece) came from Hobby Lobby. The wall color is Danville Tan by Benjamin Moore. It’s been our wall color since we moved in ten years ago, and I still love it as much as I did the first day. It looks different at night than in the day. It’s very calming in person. (P.S. This color looks great in person. It looks totally wonky on my cellphone screen, so keep an open mind!)

Do you remember the barn wood that Ken and I got off of a an old barn/army building HERE? And also used to make THIS?

We used some our favorite pieces to make some free wall art for our mantel. The color is all natural and original. All we did was cut it and attach it together.

The “S” is for our last name. 😉 The window was picked up on one of our Craig’s List adventures.

I had fun pulling everything together. Everything other than the fresh tulips and the tiny bunnies on top of the books are things we already had. My favorite kind of decorating…FREE!

If you want to save any of these pictures, just click on the Pin It button and you can save it to Pinterest.


Crafts to Make with Hymnal Pages


Yesterday I listed several vintage and antique hymnals in my Etsy shop, and I had a friend ask, “but what would someone do with an old hymnal…?”

Besides simply enjoying looking through it and being reminded of many of the traditional hymns that are no longer sung at church services, there are many wonderful ways you can repurpose them. In a way, repurposing will actually extend their “life.” Something like an old hymnal that may be worn thin and have no value to most people can be turned into things that will be used and treasured for years to come. Below are just a few of the neat crafts I found on Pinterest that use hymnal pages.

One of my favorites, Miss Mustard Seed used old hymnal pages on a lovely dresser:

Music Sheet Dresser....I would like to do this with some of the old hymnals I have
On AJ’s Trash to Treasure Blog, you can see that just about anything can get covered in hymnal pages, including lamp shades: 
10,7,10 CA projects110  SPECIAL HINT FOR LAMP SHADES:  Paper the INSIDE as well as the outside.  When the light shines through, all you seams and overlaps are OVERLY obvious.  By double layering your paper (one layer outside and one layer inside) it will minimize this.
The Picadilly Post turns hymnal pages in works of art:
I love this -- I think I would use the hymn 'The Old Rugged Cross' or 'In The Garden' or 'It Is Well With My Soul'...
Christmas ornaments seem like something doable even for the beginning crafter. These were found on Houzz
IDEA:  Hang on dining room window latches    in love with these diy cloth ornaments and color scheme for sun-room - all year
Use them to make a wreath. Here’s a How-To from HomeTalk:
A Hymnal Page Wreath :: Hometalk
Here’s an old blog post of mine where I used hymnal pages in a painting:
In my opinion the easiest and cheapest way to use hymnal pages is to simply frame them! In my home I have this framed song in our guest bedroom: 
Now let your imagination flow! 
Tips: You can link back to all sources. Hover in each introductory sentence to find the link.  If you are interested in purchasing one of the hymnals in my shop to use for a project or just to keep, go HERE. (Listed under “Books” on the left.) Depending on the day there’s usually 2 to 20 available. I’m happy to check a hymnal if you’re looking for a particular song, year, or church affiliation. 


How to Plan for a Home DIY Project

Spring Break for our kids is in just a few weeks. Because of Ken’s job, this means that he will have some more free time on his hands than he usually does. So what are we doing for Spring Break? The beach? Lake? Stay-cation? Not quite.

We are diving head first into some home renovation projects. Some indoors and some outdoors. These are not projects that we have any kind of experience with. None. Zilch. This could be disastrous amazing! So if we have no experience with these types of projects, how do we expect to have a good outcome? Here are a few tips for you:

  • Research. ReSEARCH. REsearch. Easy to say, but how? We are researching in these ways: YouTube, Pinterest, Blogs, Books, and Friends. Search for the type of project you are doing, and endless results should come up. This is not a “one and done” type of research. We’re piecing together tips and instructions from different sources that will work best for our house and our taste.
  • Measuring. Know exactly how much of each material you will need. Guessing is going to add to your frustration when you either have to go back for more or you buy too much. Frustrations = Stress = Bad Experience.
  • Pricing. This could go along with research, but it’s important enough to stand on it’s own. Know ahead of time how much you’re going to spend on materials. Simply deciding to walk into a store and buy what you find isn’t the best way to do things. You should shop around, price materials, and discover all of the options that are available to you.
  • Gather and prep your materials. I like to think of this as making a recipe for dinner. You’re going to make sure you have all of the ingredients before you start cooking it. Make sure you have all of your “ingredients” before you start your project. If some items can be prepped ahead of time, like priming something, go ahead and do it before the day you plan to do the project.
  • Make sure you have the tools you need. If you need a tool such as a saw or nail gun that you don’t have, make arrangements to buy it, borrow it, or rent it before the day of the project. You don’t want to spend time on the day you start your project to track one down. Tool rental places may have rented all of them out, friends may not be reachable, and impulsively buying a tool that you need will likely lead to overspending.

When you take the time to plan ahead and prepare yourself with knowledge and materials, your project is going to go a lot smoother than if you don’t.

Maybe next year on Spring Break we’ll actually take a break. 😉


    The Gospel Truth

    Have you ever unintentionally collected something? One minute you have one extra casserole dish/figurine/pound and the next you have twenty? (Hey, I know I’m not the only person to have unintentionally collected twenty pounds at some point!!)

    I have unintentionally collected antique and vintage hymnals. I mean to say, I didn’t set out to collect them. The collection just sort of happened a long the way. Now here I sit with a stack of hymnals from the Bible Belt (that’s the South, y’all) in varying conditions.

    I love the ones that are falling apart at the seams. There’s only way to get like that — by being used. Unfortunately some have no life left in them as a song book, but I just can’t bare to throw them away. (I might surprise you that I am the total opposite of a “hoarder.”) I haven’t had a plan for using them before, but this past Sunday at church I was completely inspired. The words to “Holy, Holy, Holy” are truly beautiful, and I was inspired by the verse, “Early in the morning, our song shall rise to Thee.”

    I decided to use one of the hymnals that had seen better days to create something new.

    Abby //

    One for the Books

    I have a love of books and reading that crosses over into my vintage/antique obsession. I devour a good book. A good series of books is truly dangerous. There may not be any clean clothes or meals served until the series is done. Sad, but simply true.

    Sometimes I buy old books because it’s written by a well known author. Often I buy them because the title is interesting. I also buy them because of the color of the cover. I’ve mentioned a few times before in previous posts that I will walk through the house looking for a book of a certain color to add to a holiday vignette that I am working on. There’s something about the smell of old paper that makes an old book holy regardless of the subject matter. There’s something about looking through an old encyclopedia of “modern” knowledge that makes even a young person long for the days of simplicity and ignorance of old. How little we knew. How happy we were.

    Rudyard Kipling is known around the world. This copy of his works shows the once innocent swastika symbol with Kipling’s name on the inside cover. In the Hindu culture of Kipling’s beloved India, this was a symbol of good luck and fortune. Once the Nazi party later began to use it, Kipling ordered that it no longer be used in any of his books. I wonder, one day in the future will people remember that this symbol was not always one of evil and hatred? If books like this are tossed and thrown away the chances of that being known may die with it.

    Not quite as well known as Rudyard Kipling, but symbolic to my home of the metro Atlanta region is poet and storyteller Sidney Lanier. The lake nearest to my home and also our source of drinking water takes the name of Sidney Lanier. Many people are probably unaware of who he even was. This copy of his poems, edited by his wife, also happens to be signed by the author. Lanier was important enough in his day to have a major body of water named after him. Lovely, isn’t it, that a man was appreciated for his artistic abilities?

    Here is a gathering of old hymnals, which is quite appropriate for an antique lover living in the Bible Belt. Imagine the souls that held these hymnals week after week, who sang out and praised God, that begged for his mercy, that felt his Holy Spirit. There’s something about holding an antique church hymnal that makes me feel electrified.

    And here are just a few examples of books that I’ve chosen because of their color or title alone:

    The great things about collecting old books is that they are incredibly easy to find. Buy what you personally like and you will be surrounded by some of your favorite things.