When cottage and camp design guru Tereasa Surratt bought an old summer camp with her husband, she discovered a treasure trove of abandoned vintage items, from potholders, aprons, glasses, and Fiestaware to picnic tins, blankets, lanterns, and fishing poles. The random items launched her on a mission to find similar treasures and build collections--a five-year process that she details in a book called Found, Free & Flea:
Anyone who reads my blog knows that when Doug and I bought our little beach cottage, there was virtually nothing worth saving--the bedding was moth-eaten, the rugs were filthy, and the kitchen cabinets were filled with more junk than dinnerware.
However, we did find one item amidst the potting soil and garden chemicals in the worst of the kitchen cabinets: a square refrigerator dish in the Amish pattern, complete with lid, in perfect condition. I took it home, ran it through the dishwasher, and brought it back to the cottage to house my stash of string cheese:
Now, it seems that this one dish has launched me on a Tereasa-Surratt-like hunt for more pieces in this pattern.
First, I found a casserole dish like this one at a Goodwill store for just $3:
Then Doug bought me this cute little refrigerator dish for Christmas. I think it would be perfect for butter:
Note that the farmer and his wife who appear on the larger dish are missing from this small version, which has only the rooster and the corn stalks.
This past weekend, we visited the Beebe Hospital Thrift Store in Lewes, Del., and found this set of three nesting bowls for just $7.50:
A few hours later, we spotted the same set with the fourth (and largest) bowl included for $79.50! I can be patient--the large bowl is waiting for me somewhere, all by itself and looking for its former mates.
I'm feeling a large collection coming on--it would look perfect displayed on our vintage Cosco cart at the beach cottage. The colors couldn't be more perfect:
In the epilogue to Found, Free & Flea, Tereasa Surratt recounts hearing an antique dealer say that she liked to walk into a room full of her favorite antiques and imagine being greeted by the good-kharma ghosts of the original owners of these items. I have to admit that we didn't feel too much good kharma when we walked into our beach cottage for the first time, but I'm glad we found something that not only was worth saving but also had the power to launch us on a new collecting mission.