A couple of weeks ago on my birthday I took the day off work and went to the IACF antique fair; a huge, sprawling open-air display of antiques, treasures, artefacts from old houses, junk and collectors pieces.  A little slice of heaven for me, albeit a frosty cold and bone-chillingly windy one.  Here, for those who have a similar unrequited love affair with all things old and lost, are some of my best finds, bartered for and dragged home with the help of my wonderful and long-suffering better-half…

Firstly; these old wooden tongs, originally used for lifting and turning laundry in the years when it was done by hand.  I’m going to use them to load kindling onto the kitchen fire (splinters begone!).

Vintage French laundry tongs used with kindling

Then this old French champagne crate; a snip at £12.  Maybe one day I will fill it with vintage champagne upon winning the lottery, but till then it’s a great store for giftwrap and art papers…

Champagne crate used to store giftwrap

And then this; do you know what it is?

Vintage sieve

…An old garden sieve, apparently.  I’m going to find a way of suspending it from the ceiling this Christmas like a wreath, so I can twist branches around it and hang tiny silvered decorations from the metalwork grid

Vintage soil sieve

….like this! (photo below via thewhitecompany.com)

Styling idea from The White Company

And then an old grain sack.  Because it was practically being given away, and because I can imagine it sitting under the Christmas tree filled with gifts, looking stylish and French and smelling only very slightly of damp.  Honest.  But oh, look at the darning! How could I not buy this?

Old French grain sack

One now one of my favourite, heaviest finds; an old French crate, which we’ll use to  store logs in the hallway.  It’s HUGE.  But then we do have a lot of logs to store.

Old chateau crate

Old chateau crate used as a log store

At this point, we were fast running out of money and strength.  So then these; beautiful vintage embroidery silks at £2 per bobbin.  I’ll use this to hang the decorations from my sieve perhaps, or maybe just have them sit on my desk and roll them around occasionally, for the feel of the smooth wood and the silk.

Old tapestry threads

Old silk threads found at a vintage fair

Then my most mysterious find (and also the cheapest at £1 each); these oversized books are store ledgers from what looks like a haberdashery or furnishings store; over 80years old, the yellowing pages contain hundreds of samples of old denim fabric and careful annotations about orders.  I have no idea what I’ll do with them. Never mind.  They’re wonderful.

Old merchants ledgers of supplies

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Old haberdashery shops ledgers

And finally, finally, saving the best – and heaviest – ’till last; a pair of old windows which have been restored as mirrors.  At the moment they’re in our bedroom, leaning against the wall and bouncing the light around (also, I confess; startling me everso slightly when I wake up and catch a glimpse of myself).  We’ll hang them in due course, when muscle strength eventually returns…

Old French windows turned into a mirror

Penniless and happy, my wintery haul still makes me smile.  To many, a musty and unfathomably old and grubby collection.  To me; absolute treasure.

Have a wonderful week, wherever you are and whatever you’re doing!

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