Fifteen Reasons To Buy Vintage (Humor)

(Do you think these cups found in Germany from centuries ago would be termed as vintage?) Berlin, Museuminsel

Vintage VS (todays mass) Volume

Open up any Anthropologie magazine, even go to the home décor section in Target. Practically everything you see is vintage inspired. Not just a classic, standard look, like a grandfather clock, but actively attempting to look like it was on your great great great grandmothers first Thanksgiving Day. Vintage is popular- but why not make it authentic? 15 reasons to purchase vintage wares listed below. Disclaimer: our post is all in good fun.

  1. Save money. Vintage formal silverware set from Etsy for $20, plus dinner and a movie, or similar set from (insert home décor store here) for $180? Take the popcorn.
  2. Love Leo. Make Leonardo DiCaprio happier then he was after receiving his Oscar by aiding to making the world a better place and re-using old items. Environmentally friendly!
  3. Receive a quality product. Somehow, despite not having the technologies we do today, older products often are more sturdy and long lasting. I think this is one of the 8th world wonders, forget those hanging gardens of Babylon.
  4. Sense of history, a story comes with each product. Even if you don’t know who owned that vintage silver comb, you can just pretend John Wentworth the Fourth was your wealthy cousin who you inherited your aristocratic nose from.
  5. A truly unique look. No one is going to give you home of the year or include you on the annual house tour if you look like a Pottery Barn magazine (no matter how white your towels are.) People want imagination!
  6. Eliminate massive landfills. We can see amber waves of grain, not big dirt mounds with a forgotten dolly’s arm poking through like a scary movie
  7. Combat pollution and labor issues. Lower the toxic levels of pollution by having less factories churn out endless supplies of generic glass tumblers. We love our world.
  8. Limit family feuds. Take the relief off someone having to have a fight with their mother before she goes to the nursing home and buy those porcelain plates.
  9. Create your own heirlooms. Possibly could create your own heirloom- even if it only cost $5, nostalgia is everything these days.
  10. Support small business. Does the Walton family need to move from 10 to 1 on the billionaires list? (not that we don’t love buying cases of Charmin for $15, but it’s nice to help out and thrift shops that donate to stopping breast cancer and such)
  11. Support worthy causes. Buying vintage from Thrift stores can help noble causes like breast cancer and animal shelters, not just the CEOS Hamptons vacation house he uses twice a summer.
  12. Stand out! Not have your house look like every other suburban 3.5BDR on the block (isn’t the identical façade confusing enough? You don’t want to confuse your teenage kids as they sneak in late one night).
  13. Feel the praise. Guests will heap praise and wonder abut your mysterious ways to procure such interesting products (yard sale last Sunday on Utica and Bainbridge, $3 bucks, but no one need know) Restoration Hardware, right? 😉
  14. De-stress. Mismatched plates are so stress free- no more arguing at the dinner table. If little Johnny go so enthused at re-enacting his all star home run, it doesn’t matter if he swept last nights’ chicken dinner to the floor. Just go and scoop up more plates- matching is so 1950’s housewife.
  15. Play the part. Forget just impersonating the persona of Greta Garbo- I think that mink stole you just picked up looks old enough to have belonged to her. Really look the part

 

See? Don’t you feel better already? Shop Japonicanyc on Etsy for vintage porcelain treasures and dinnerware.

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The Trip-Ups (literally) Of Living Urban, With Pinterest Dreams

(just hit my elbow on that antique rocking horse again, ugh!)

Since discovering the floral-filled world of Etsy and Pinterest for my shop, I have been blown away buy the variety of merchandise for sale. There is a never ending supply of things that you could outfit your house with that even Martha Steward would raise an eyebrow at. Retro ice cream maker! Antique library stamp (to stamp my kindle?) The inner mom in me found me with a super modern tee-pee in my shopping cart- meant as a kids toy. At 5’7” it’s half my height. For where? The fire escape?

While some of these items seem blatantly unnecessary (I can just squeeze the lemons myself, really, I need to keep up these arm muscles), I’ll have to admit, I stare in wonder and think about going and unfreezing my credit card from that 20 pound block of ice to go on some wine fueled shopping spree. I would definitely be the hostess-with-the-mostess (forgetting that the friends I do have always adamantly refuse to come to Brooklyn, despite it being the place du jour. Thanks Lena Dunham!).

Then I remember, that I DO live in Brooklyn, and although my apartment is more spacious then a studio on York and 75th,  it is still not quite conductive to creating the amazing spreads that feature a different cloth napkin for every type of holiday imaginable that I see all over Pinterest. “I want this!” I cried ecstatically, only to meet the furious glare of my sister. “We downgraded my bed to a twin kid sized bed, and you want an antique television BAR?!” There goes the dream of literally watching bottles like the dancing wineglasses in Beauty and the Beast.

What should I do? Move to the country, or some suburbs where rent is affordable (certainly not Long Island, where the prices are mostly on par with Manhattan) so that I can make my Pinterest Dream Home? Am I missing out, while women my age in Wisconsin have their own craft rooms where they create hand knit owls for their kids playmates? I tried to make my bedroom my own art studio, and the one cat decided that the boxes of supplies were her new bed, and the other one decided the recycled metrocards looked better flying around the room. Dreams of a studio vanished.

Should I trade in my shoebox? When I could be living a Pinterest Paradise elsewhere, not tripping over your bed or your coffee table or shoeboxes (since the shoes cost as much as your rent and you insist on keeping them pristine, even though technically you wore them out in that blizzard the other night). Sometimes I wonder. I look wistfully at those accounts, those large homes with dining rooms! Living rooms! Dressing rooms! Basic, hallways and coat rooms and closets! But where would I buy batteries (don’t ask) at 2am, and find every cuisine in the world?

In life there are certain trade-offs, you get this, but you don’t get this. I guess you just have to decide which means more to you personally, at that moment. The motto now is, acquire what you need, survival way, not what you want. I will have to quell my desire for vintage porcelain cats after all, and maybe just squeeze the living, breathing ones I have.

Not quite ready to (ever) leave New York, so  I guess I’ll just have to stick with my tiny collectibles and admire the holiday spreads and handmade feathered wind chimes from afar, and just sell them on http://www.etsy.com/shops/japonicanyc

Apocalypse- Or Divine Paradise? Begone, Gift Giving!

  1. Work would actually get done because you’re not surreptitiously checking out tickets to Metallica on StubHub for your husband instead of writing that recommendation on why John needs that Liver transplant.
  2. Little Ruby wouldn’t need that nose job after all, since she wouldn’t be slugged for taunting Little Miriam for being too poor to receive brand new clothes for her birthday.
  3. You wouldn’t have that avalanche of a closet (stocked with old Cabbage Patch Dolls and ceramic picture frames from your Aunt Fifi )that causes a 3rd-world catastrophe just as referenced Aunt Fifi goes snooping for an extra bow for this years china rooster (cock-a-doodle doo!)
  4. Santa Claus would lose all of that weight from being left the vegetables you hid in your napkin from dinner, not Tate’s Bakeshop cookies. Didn’t he know gluten free is the way to be anyway?
  5. The Chinese wouldn’t have to buy bottled fresh air from some enterprising but Canadians, having no need to pollute the air with waste from  plastic Easter baskets, Mets Monopoly Games or ginormous Valentines Day stuffed animals that scream I WAS CHEATING from the roof of your old beat up Honda.
  6. We’d be forced to go run around outside, maybe lose the holiday poundage from your mom’s famous flan, or eek, converse with each other and find out you have absolutely nothing in common, as television would cease to exist during the holidays for a lack of gift advertising. Following with divorce, splitting the boat no one ever used in two just for spite, lighting your wedding dress on fire, etc. etc.
  7. The world would flourish with trees like your unmarried Aunt Margie’s garden, where she toiled away her sexual energy with her greenest thumb ever. Why? No more wrapping paper to be used and discarded. It would be like living in the Brooklyn Botanical Garden.
  8. Rivers would be plain old blue or worse, run clear, instead of all of those uber cool, pretty rainbow shades from all of the toxic waste. So dull.  I personally prefer a bright orange, didn’t they know it’s the new black?
  9. The vets would require less Xanax to deal with the hysterical owners who come in because little Fluffy or Spot once again consumed too much bubble wrap and can’t go number two.
  10. Christmas, Hannukah and Easter would actually be religious again. Oh yeah, that guy Jesus. Wait, what are the three Wise Men bringing then if not gifts?! Food? Good cheer? Pfft.
  11. People would walk through the malls on Black Friday like they were some mute version of the Walking Dead, sluggishly pattering along, no baggage except, you know their brains.
  12. There would be no entertaining of (insert weird spelled name here) proclaiming he only stole the bling for his baby mama’s birthday. We’d have to read mundane stuff about World events.
  13. People would realize their houses were too organized, so they would try to create some chaos, so they’d go to the mall……

And it would start all over again.

Buy gifts! Gifts are good- we don’t want boring rivers, we want rainbows……

 

 

 

 

Tchochke Nation

Forget about Fast Food Nation. As Americans, we are a consumer nation. A hoarding nation, in less delicate terms. What’s with all the teacups? Yes, perhaps due to our (well, once) growing economy, we have over the years amassed a staggering amount of tchotchkes. I recently opened an Etsy shop, (closeted avid porcelain tableware collector) and realized just how far down the rabbit hole we have gone in terms of acquiring “stuff”. Is it called hoarding if each piece is not take-out containers and old balls of string? Hey, that….mug from MSG has a story I swear! I’ll go ahead and call it organized hoarding, to take some pressure off of myself and my treasure trove.

The term tchotchke is derived from a Yiddish word, which means a pretty, useless woman; in blunt terms: a trophy wife. Which is vaguely disturbing, but we Americans obviously shanghaied it and used it pretty much for the same purpose (useless decorative trinket), only in softer, less offensive terms, as we refer to inanimate, porcelain cats as tchotchkes, not living breathing humans. So have you. I’ve always been fond of the term, not sure what that means about me.

Maybe we should start with the history of human life and possessions. As nomads, cave people, for years, we moved from place to place. If you couldn’t carry it, it was not coming with you. Point blank. Also, being a primitive ‘society’, very few items were made. It was only when humans transitioned, staying put to plant and harvest crops, that we could begin to acquire more then we needed. However, during those times, humans did create the cave art that has been found, the little carved statues.

Tchotchkes are perhaps popular because originally they were a sign of wealth. As a person, you had the items you needed- pots, knives, dresses, hammers. Not even that. Immigrant families often shared silverware and such, just like in Bread Givers, a novel about Jewish immigrants in 1920’s New York. People on the Oregon Trail eventually abandoned their mementos, their heirloom grandfather clocks, as the oxen gave way, leaving behind an American Pickers wildest dreams, a trail of stuff. They survived with the bare minimum, because they had to.

If you had a porcelain doll, such as the popular Dresden dolls (from Dresden Germany- I couldn’t resist the lure and bought one when I visited), it meant that could afford items that were unnecessary, it was a sign of stability, a sign of at least minimum wealth (wealth being used as money, not as we use it generally). Then factories and technology to mass produce came along, and, at least in Europe and the United States, economies grew and people had more discretionary income to spend on whatever suited their fancy. That Virgin Mary statue? Sure go right ahead- add it to your collection of 50 others. Guinness!

Tchochkes often hold memories. A trip to Bosnia, I purchased a brass cat, which I eyeball on a daily basis, looking into those green eyes and thinking about how I was sweating in the 100-degree dry summer, touring mosques. Other tchotchkes are family heirlooms from a beloved grandmother, or perhaps a gift from a close friend. They can be useful- such as elaborate photo frames, clocks or pencil holders, salt and pepper shakers, even awards. But mostly, a true tchotchke has no purpose; it is just “a thing“ that we place high importance of.

They say that “home doo-dads” and Etsy stuff, are the things that women buy when they no longer care about impressing a beer belly husband, or their appearance. When they’ve given up on little dresses, either for themselves or for their children. Or when they’re single, and have nothing else in their lives to hold onto, lest that Tinder date, they fill up their homes with little porcelain angels, crosstitsch pillows and enough “Live Laugh Love” handcrafted signs,o army a gang of teenage girls (who also, interestingly, seem drawn to those inspirational signs). Quotes that they don’t even live by, but stare at wistfully.

Why not men? Men don’t seek out home décor, at least not in the same way that females do. Sure, I’ve met men who love antiques and vintage items, maybe an old tin firetruck, but they’re not out there purchasing potpourri containers and Sea World Memory Plates.

They decorate our homes, add a bit of colour to our office cubicles. They are the solution to what to give Aunt Birdie as a Christmas Gift. They make us smile, they are there if we need to throw something, and there when it’s moving day and you’re suffering a broken ankle. They’re art, they can even make us think. Just because things don’t have a crucial purpose, maybe that’s why we like them. We need something that just relaxes, that reminds us that the world is not so go-go-go all of the time. Maybe we hoard them because we don’t have to, that’s the beauty of something you don’t need. A frivolous want we can indulge in for 99 cents on eBay.

On that note, I’ll keep collecting my vintage plateware, I’ll not ship my heirloom antique makeup containers to Staten Island (dump), and I’ll keep smiling nostalgically at my paintings from Spain. Vive le tchotchke! Visit JaponicaNYC shop on Etsy to see my obsession.