on a hot summer’s day when the children were little and we were driving back from the beach, we spotted an old toy kitchen dumped by the side of the road. we slowed, stopped, reversed back up the street and hopped out of the car to inspect it. it wasn’t pretty. it was dirty, scratched and scribbled on, with tatty peeling old stickers… a perfect project!
we loaded it into the car, took it home and immediately began a clean up job with the hose and a brush. the children washed and scrubbed, full of excitement as they instinctively felt the potential in restoring it. we went to the local hardware store and bought a can of matt khaki paint (there wasn’t any choice - it was khaki or nothing) and sprayed it top-to-toe.
we made hooks and handles, painted branches on the walls, my mother found some little enamel cups in the back of her cupboard, then sewed some tiny tea towels out of rags, and slowly the grotty old kitchen was transformed into a chic children’s play kitchen.
i’ve always loved the patina of pre-loved and veered towards accidental finds. we love shopping in markets, car boot sales and charity shops, and rescuing and transforming discarded items. there’s something special about having toys and clothes passed on from older cousins and siblings. these items carry their own stories and memories, and this makes them meaningful in the way that new is not.
we have always shopped ‘vintage’. it’s good to see that this is increasingly becoming part of life today, with high street charity shops buzzing with activity as our young people enjoy reusing and recycling.
to me pre-loved things have a warmth and authenticity that you don’t get from mass-produced off the shelf items. vintage things are unique and different, and often one-offs.
hedgehog loves toys and products that are well-made by craftsmen, using good, honest materials. i like to think that these things will be treasured, handed down the generations and in turn become well-loved vintage possessions for our children’s children.
do visit the vintage section on our website, as we update it with recent finds all the time. amongst many things, there are books and furniture, a handsome collection of globes, christmas stockings and metres of my mother’s handmade bunting made from recycled vintage fabrics.