Lately I've been enamored by all things tarnished and character-laden.
When they introduced The Marketplace, FB actually did something right. At first, I was angry because I didn't know why, all of a sudden, I was seeing all these garage sale type posts. I am a member of a local hometown online garage sale page; however, I signed up for it--it was not foisted on me. Not so with the Marketplace. I asked where all these new posts were coming from and no one knew. The response was always one of two: "So-and-so signed me up." Or, "I don't know--they just started showing up on my phone." Well, I didn't know So-and-so. I began to wonder if FB was behind this, or if the 'droid had hijacked me. After a decade or so of iPhone use, I'm still trying to assimilate to the 'droids way of thinking and doing. Thus far, it has been neither a pretty nor an easy transition.
After I got over being angry at this intrusion, I started noticing the really great deals to be had. And how rapidly they could be lost if I hesitated on making an offer. But more than the deals, I was stunned at how quickly people are to discard perfectly usable stuff. Especially if it was a little bit tarnished.
This month, within 24 hours I scored an antique typwriter, copper singing tea kettle, tulip light, and silverplated chaffing stand--all for pennies on the dollar. Last month I scored dinning room chairs from the historic Stagecoach Inn, and bookshelves that were delivered to me. Each peice is dirty, tarnished, slightly mared, or missing something easily replaced.
Take the tulip lamp. It's missing a single bulb cover. The five present are presentable and functional--the color is an okay amber; however, when lit up, it is stunning. But because I would have to replace a cover (unless I kept it facing the wall where its absence went unnoticed), I stole this georgous lamp for a song. On looking for replacement bulb covers I found beautiful covers that I fell on love with for $20 each. I normally would never think of buying $120 worth of covers. But then I saw how it would transform my $35 lamp into something that replicated a stunning $560 lamp. I may talk myself into splurging and buying six covers after all.
The chafing stand is pretty useless without the dish that goes with it, but I wanted to try a chemistry experiment for removing tarnish from silver (or in this case silverplate) before I tried it on a tea and coffee service I have. For $5 I couldn't go wrong. The experiment was a success. Most of the tarnish was removed with a simple soak in a receptacle lined with tinfoil, filled with boiling water, to which I added baking soda. Plus, I had a nice cup of tea while the tarnish soaked away--maybe not all of the tarnish--a small amount remains in the cracks and crevices. If I felt so inclined I could easily buff out the remaining tarnish. But I like the look. I think it adds character and definition. So I'm leaving it. It's going to make a pretty display. I'm thinking a glass ball or flower pom-pom.
The typewriter is far from usable, but that's perfect since I'm a frustrated wannabe writer. I envision it displayed in all its patina-laden glory, sans the dust layer, on an antique desk with first pages of famous novels crumpled and strewn around it.
The initial cleaning of the copper tea kettle has proven slightly problematic. The lemon sliced in half, dipped in salt, and rubbed on the kettle, shined up the top beautifully--except for a dime-sized spot; however, the rest of the kettle is much more tarnished. I may have to move on to another tarnish removal method. Also, it no longer sings. This is less of a problem than you would think in the Age of YouTube. I found a video that describes how to adjust the kettle, so I'll see if that does the trick. Retail this singing copper tea kettle sells for $160. I paid $5. Even tarnished and mute, it makes a nice cup of tea.
As for the shelves, I noticed a couple of places that need to be touched up. Again, an easy fix. And the dinning room chairs? At first I wanted to stain them a darker color and reupholster the seats, but then I decided I will just freshen them up with a deep cleaning. Like the tarnish on the chaffing stand and copper tea kettle, I like their character as they are.
I'm not sure, but this new-found interest in patina-laden objects may be due to my own brush with personal patina. Or, perhaps character speaks to me because I am one.
Patina? Character? Moi?