Plates, books, and the joys of thrifting

A fun day for me might include rummaging around in one of our local thrift stores, perhaps an antique store or two, and if I’m joined by a couple of girlfriends, all’s the better! I’m not a collector so much, nor even a true antique-r, though I would like to be. No collections around here, I sometimes say, except for books and children!

I am inspired by the stories I read via blogs and magazines, stories of beautiful pieces found, restored, re-purposed, or repainted. Ten dollar French chairs or the solid wood chest of drawers for a steal or a fantastic lamp needing only a burst of spray paint and a trendy shade, these trash-to-treasure tales appeal to my inner decorator, such as it is. Those home bloggers who can write daily posts on their various decorating projects amaze me. Me, I’m more of a dabbler, a rummager as I said before. I do like looking for my own treasures in the rough; I bought a coffee table once and painted it. Among my favorite thrift store finds are four small needlepoints currently hanging in my half bath. I don’t know if they’re tacky, I just know I like them! A lot! Since I’m more of a dabbler and less of a decorator, I have no firm ideas of what I’m looking for, I’m just hoping I’ll know it when I see it!

My main thrifting indulgences, however, are plates and books. I cannot resist either, particularly a white plate, most particularly platters, nor the old book, especially one with a name scribbled in the flyleaf. I think my thrift store plate obsession began when looking for some plates, white preferably, to hang in some sort of artistic expression over my bed. That project is done and now I can’t stop. I have beautiful plates hanging in several rooms in my home. Some of the plates are thrift store acquisitions, some I’ve had many years, some my mom gave me (she has a thing about plates and china as well), some belonged to my husband’s grandmother. Is this poor taste in decorating? I don’t really mind even if it is. It’s what I like.

I like books too, old books, and I am unable to pass up, say, a two dollar 1920s era Chemistry textbook with beautifully aged red binding. Books I remember from my childhood, or even books that I don’t, the aforementioned textbooks, an Emily Post book on etiquette, a book on southern gardening, all these–and more–have found their way to my shelves, to my mantle, to a stack on my coffee table… I like their beauty, I like wondering who they belonged to, I just like books. And yes, they are everywhere. Again, is this poor taste in decorating? Again I don’t really mind even if it is. It’s what I like.

So, there’s my decorating theme in a nutshell: plates and books. I love them both and I’m glad for the occasional rummage among the thrift store shelves and for the blessing of being able to surround myself with such pleasures, even if they are transitory and fleeting. I like decorating my home with things I love, things others once loved; I also like remembering that my life does not consist in the abundance of either books or plates. After all, someday someone else may know the thrill of spending $2 on a book that once graced my shelves!

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Author: Lisa Spence

Wife, mother, Bible teacher, bibliophile, occasional blogger

7 thoughts on “Plates, books, and the joys of thrifting”

  1. Definitely with you on the books! I'm also hopeless when it comes to coffee mugs. Not cheezy "souvenir mugs" so much — but big mugs, sturdy mugs, colorful mugs. Our cupboards have far more mugs than we could ever use, but that's okay with us. πŸ™‚

  2. I LOVE old books as well. I have all sorts of etiquette books and old homemaking manuals that I found here or there and just HAD to have. Not that I really look at them much–but when I do, I always enjoy them.

  3. Good books will bear re-reading and it is often a very rich experience.books are often their favorites to pick for reading even when we aren't studying them officially.I find it a really good sources of ideas.hat books sound great!Looks like a good book too…

  4. I LOVE old books as well. I have all sorts of etiquette books and old homemaking manuals that I found here or there and just HAD to have. Not that I really look at them much–but when I do, I always enjoy them.

  5. Definitely with you on the books! I'm also hopeless when it comes to coffee mugs. Not cheezy "souvenir mugs" so much — but big mugs, sturdy mugs, colorful mugs. Our cupboards have far more mugs than we could ever use, but that's okay with us. πŸ™‚

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