Thursday, February 16, 2012

The Thrill of What You Already Have - February

Finally! I managed to post our inspiration picture early this month, but it took me ages to get some bits and pieces together, and then even longer to put them into a blog post for you!You'll see the inspiration picture - a vintage railway poster advertising Edinburgh as a destination - to your left in my sidebar. Last time I just used the colours and shapes in the Dunfermline poster to inspire a collection of nicely-toned bits and bobs (geegaws, as Ben would put it...).This time, influenced by the destination and by the January posts of other bloggers taking part, I've collected things which actually do have an Edinburgh connection. It's probably the only time I'll do that, but Edinburgh is my Scottish base and always has been, I suppose, so it's no surprise.
I found this tin, with a scene of the Scott Monument very reminiscent of the poster itself, in my dad's larder when we were visiting at Christmas. The vintage tin is lined with blue velvet - it's really very plush and unworn. But I have no idea where and when it arrived in my dad's house - I'd never seen it before! Evidently my mum or my grandma found it in a charity shop years ago, and it's been tucked in the larder (which is nowadays a general store room) waiting for me to find it! I asked my dad if he'd like it out on display and he shuddered slightly and told me he was trying to get rid of things, not display more - so it came back to France with us! Maybe it's the first time the tin has ever left Edinburgh, but now it's in good company.Just below the tin is a little vintage enameled sewing case - just room for a thimble, pins, needle and thread. I think I found that in my Christmas stocking one year in the 1980s...


The little basket you see in several of the pictures popped in due to its colours as much as its Edinburgh connections. But as my mother gave it to me, with a real story behind it, I thought it was appropriate, as Edinburgh is so connected in my mind with my mum. The story is that when my mother's family lived in Canada for a number of years in the 1950s, my mum spotted this little hand-made basket, woven by a Canadian Indian lady who lived near their holiday home. (I've looked up the modern terms for Canadian Indian but am confused. 'First Nations lady' sounds strange, but Canadian friends, what is correct?) My mum was desperate to spend her pocket money on the basket but my grandmother told her it was a complete waste of money and not to be so silly. This caused the usual kind of rift that you get over spending on family holidays, but somehow or other my mum ended up, triumphant, with the basket. And I can't really think of anything else she could have afforded which would have stood the test of time so well, can you?After that triumph, I don't think any of my other finds seem quite so impressive! The books have some Edinburgh connections - my mum talked me into buying the three enormous leather-bound Bible commentaries in the Bethany Shop, Stockbridge, Edinburgh. I bought the Poems and Songs of Burns from my dad's church book stall more recently - isn't it a wonderful binding? The cannon balls could recall Edinburgh's military history and even the Cannonmills area of the city, if you like, but actually they came from an English battlefield and are really there to hold the books up!This is my other recent Edinburgh find - and I got it at the English Christmas Market in Toulouse! The title was vaguely familiar and it turns out that this is a reprint of books by an author which my grandma collected in the 1940s. The Silent Traveller is the pen name of a Chinese artist and writer who arrived in the west in the 1930s, and wrote charming and insightful books about what he found, illustrated with his own Chinese-style drawings. If you can find one of his books about a city or area you know, I think you would be really charmed by it!Here's the whole set-up - I always put them in a dark area, which is bad for photography but just right for seeing when you enter the house! You win some, you loose some...
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I'm really enjoying the other 'Thrill' posts that are coming up. The diversity is what's impressive. If you look in my sidebar you'll see that some people are using the theme to think in terms of colour, others are looking at geography/travel, some are using at as an exercise in story-telling/nostalgia (as I've done this time, I realise) and others have done something different! I think that's great. I wonder if it has to be about household items anyway? What about an outfit based on the colours or themes? That might be fun! Please feel free to go wild with the theme and do what you like...

2 comments:

Jane and Chris said...

It's First Nations (within which there are many tribes).
With Chris' help my Thrills should be up at the weekend. Fancy buying you Edinburgh traveller in Toulouse!
Jane x

Mommy en France said...

The Silent Traveller book looks lovely! I hadn't heard of him, I will have to look him up. I have finally put together my February tableau and hope to have a post up on it soon.