Lately I've become absolutely enamoured with vintage salt and pepper shakers, and other misc. spice and sugar containers. For some reason, they have come to epitomize quintessential vintage housewivery to me.
A few months ago, I found this lovely art deco pepper shaker at an antique mall:
Along with these little cuties:
(you can just barely make out the raised lettering of "salt and pepper" on them, the camera didn't pick that up very well)
I'd become obsessed with trying to find the mate to the green pepper shaker above, which led me to scour ebay, etsy, and do various internet searches on every variation of "milk glass shakers" that I could think of.
Finally, one small tidbit of information led to another tidbit, and I discovered the green one had originally been made by a company called McKee, who made all sorts of glasswear in the 1920's - 50's. Then, paydirt! I found this posting yesterday on ebay:
I'd found not just the mate, but the whole set! I was just ecstatic! Perfect condition with original bakelite tops. Squee!!
I just HAD to have them. HAD. TO. Then, the mental battle started.
$34.95 for.....shakers? Plus shipping? Am I nuts? With as tight as our finances are right now, am I actually considering this? Over the last few months we've had some major expenses occur as everything with our home and cars decided to start breaking at the same time, not to mention the new furnace we had to buy last fall. $34.95 is more than half my weekly grocery budget.
But....but....look at them! Look at how pristine the colors are! Look at the arches on the sides and the font of the lettering and how it just screams art deco! Imagine yourself using them as you cook, and how much like a vintage housewife you'll feel while doing so!
Ahh....now we get to the roots of it all.
I got to thinking about all of this and how severe my reaction over wanting to purchase these was.
Now, I've been in love with the "golden era" for years, but I realized that I was focusing more on the aesthetics of it all, how beautiful the decor and clothing were, how classy the people always looked (even 'real life' folk, not just the glammed up stars), and the feelings of sentimental nostalgia evoked when listening to old music and watching old movies. All of that is fine and dandy, but I was forgetting one essential piece to the puzzle.
In trying to incorporate more "vintage" into my life, I thought the only way to do that was to surround myself with material things. That if I filled my home with vintage decor and wore red lipstick, that would give me a bonafide vintage "lifestyle" to which I aspire.
But....what does a vintage lifestyle really mean? It probably means something different to everyone who lives it....is it just the material things? What about something deeper? Values....vintage values....that's the piece I realized I was missing.
If I were truly a 30's housewife and we were in the kind of financial straits we are now, the thought of spending that kind of money on something so frivolous wouldn't have even entered my mind. I would be "making do and mending" and focusing all my efforts on how not to spend money.
Now, all of this may seem silly but when it clicked in my head, it really did make an impact on me. Over the last few months I've been going through a lot of changes.....sort of a new self-awareness, if you will....and this was just one more light bulb going off. One more, "I get it!" moment.
When I realized that I, under no circumstances, could dare purchase these, it was actually a little heartwrenching.....but I walked away. Silly me, getting so worked up over not being able to purchase salt and pepper shakers, of all things! Like I was making some huge, noble sacrifice or something. But hey, baby steps. The important thing is, it's a start!
I'll never stop loving the aesthetics part of it all, and I'll continue on my quest to surround myself with vintage things as I can afford it. Truly afford it. But in the meantime I'll keep digging deeper into the bigger picture and work on my priorities.