Hi, I’m Lisa and I blog at wisdomandpennies.com. The heart behind my blog is to help people to live well on a little, to be goodstewards over their money and to be wise in how they spend it.
Re-imagining the pre-loved
It really is true that one man’s junk is another man’s treasure. When I look around a charity shop, I imagine great possibilities for the pre-loved items before me. I see it as my mission to restore, revamp or repurpose whatever I can. In short, I reimagine the pre-loved.
Some of my favourite things to look for are vintage china. Unfortunately, I am not alone in my quest for vintage china so it is harder to come by these days but one of my local Barnardo’s stores has a good supply of pretty plates and cups and saucers. My advice is to look for the quality stuff and by that I mean British China like Country Roses, Duchess, Queen Anne, Royal Albert etc.; the good stuff. Check the underside of the sets. It has to be said that I have somewhat of a fetish for vintage tea sets but I also hire my sets out to a local caterer for weddings and other events. I think I’ve probably spent about £200 on china in the last few years but I now have a collection of about 200 cups and saucers as well as a good number of plates, cakestands, sugar bowls and milk jugs. I have definitely recouped the £200 spend and made a bit more besides. I like to use my collection for our own family events at times too. All in all, it’s been money well spent.
(The Alice in Wonderland-style Suits tablecloth was also a Barnardo’s buy at just £1.50)
Recently I’ve branched out and having sourced a number of stray vintage plates, cups and sugar bowls (those long separated from the rest of the set), I’ve started to make my own vintage cakestands. Armed with my drill and some inexpensive cake stand parts bought on Amazon I set to work. It costs but a few pounds to put these together and the results look anything but cheap.
My second favourite thing to look for in Barnardo’s stores is old Spear’s Scrabble Sets. You can usually pick them up for around £1.50/£2. A bit of UHU glue and an IKEA £3.50 Ribba Box Frame and voila, you have an original piece of art.
The Faith, Hope, Love frames were wedding gifts and the Dora the Explorer frame is a birthday present for my well-travelled niece, Dora. There is no better gift than a homemade gift!
Revamping, or ‘upcycling’ as we’re now calling it, is also a hobby of mine. I recently purchased this chair in my local Barnardo’s store for a mere £3. Despite the ugly green colour of the chair, I knew I could make it beautiful so I bundled it into the boot of my car and headed home. With a touch of Paris Grey Annie Sloan paint, we now have a very fine, shabby chic chair for our dining room.
Pinterest is full of ideas on how to upcycle or hack old furniture and how to give old objects anew purpose. My next project is to find a use for this bad boy:
Will I use it as an earring holder, or turn it into a mirror? The possibilities are endless!
Finally, check out the odds and ends box for random pieces of cutlery, usually priced at between 10/20p. Once again, my tip is to look for the quality stuff with the silver hallmark. Even if it is badly stained, it can usually be brought back to life with a bit of Silvo. Having mismatched cutlery is really in vogue at the minute. Another idea is to revamp the cutlery by personalising it with initials/names or quirky statements. I am still trying to master the art of imprinting cutlery but at 20p a time, my much needed practice won’t break the bank.
Why not join me in my quest to bring new life to discarded objects? I challenge you to get down to your local Barnardo’s store and re-imagine the pre-loved!