Monday, January 30, 2012

Picnic, Anyone?

Yeah, so our house is really small, but that hasn't stopped us from being collectors. One of my obsessions is vintage picnic tins and baskets.  It started when I read an adorable little book by Tereasa Surratt called A Very Modest Cottage. I loved all of the vintage picnic accessories she used when she outfitted a 1920s one-room cabin that she and her husband brought back to life several years ago.

My picnic tin collection got started at a yard sale. A young man barely out of his teens was selling the contents of his grandparents' house. It was late on the second day of the sale, and there wasn't much good stuff left. But I spotted the red tartan plaid tin and asked him what he wanted for it.

He looked a little puzzled. "Well, I was actually trying to sell the stuff in it, but you can have it for $2."

I handed him two wrinkled dollar bills from the pocket of my shorts and gave him back the fishing twine, hardware, and reading glasses tangled up in the bottom of the box.

Since then, I've bought some baskets as well as several more tins.

But I never got another deal that good. Yesterday when I was in an antique store with a friend, I saw the same one for $48, and the color was faded out.


Sunday, January 29, 2012

How can something so wrong feel so right?

My husband, Doug, and I live in a Sears kit house, the Hammond model, built in 1939. When we first saw the house, we fell in love and said "no way" all at the same time. He fell in love with the 1952 Chambers gas stove on one side of the galley kitchen:

and I fell in love with the glass-front cabinets on the other side.

 But at 1,000 square feet, the house was tiny, and in April of 2007, the time was wrong. We had plans to marry in February of 2008 after my daughter started college in September of 2007. We wanted to wait until she moved onto campus to start our new life. I pushed the little house to the back of my mind, but it kept popping back up, wanting to be remembered. Just hours after I told the owner that we were no longer interested, my 20-year-old son, Alex, called me, just to check in.

"Hi, Mom, what's up?"

"Nothing, Doug and I just looked at a house that we really love, but we decided we just can't do it right now. Christine's graduation is coming up, we have parties to plan..."

"Whoa, Mom, if this is your dream house, that other stuff doesn't matter. It will all work out. You need to call that lady back and tell her you want the house."

We did, and four months later, despite bad timing and tiny dimensions, it was ours.

As I walked down our sidewalk to the street one day shortly after we moved in, I noticed some tar markings on the grey concrete.  The black stuff had hardened into the initials "AK."

 AK. Alex Kukich. The guy who talked me into making one of the best decisions of my life even though he was just a junior in college.