Seven Days of Positive – Day 81

In Family, junk shopping, Shopping, Vintage on December 8, 2014 at 11:58 pm


Today had a little bit of fairy dust sprinkled on it.

I sat at my computer this morning and went straight on to eBay to see if I could find some vintage decorations to put on the top of my first ever home-made Christmas cake.

Along with an increasing sense of outrage at the profiteering prices – £19 for one old plaster Santa – grew my sense of grief about the tin of cake decorations which my mum gave to a charity shop in a fit of empty nest fury, some years ago.

Me and my sister have never got over it.

The tin itself was a marvel. It had been my grandmother’s and I would date it from about 1910. It had the most lovely purple and gold designs on it and inside…. Oh, inside!

I think I could just about list everything that was in that tin. I used to get it down from my mother’s baking cupboard and play with it all, making little tableaux.

The plaster snowmen, santas and a little cottage-y thing. The wood and plastic fir trees, plastic children on a sledge and some skiers. That was just the Christmas cake area.

All our birthday cakes were there. Ballerinas. Cowboys on horseback and, I think, Snow White and the Seven Dwarves. Years of little plastic candle holders. Random candles, which gave the tin a very specific smell of wax and old cake.

What really kills me is that she gave it away before the whole home baking and decorating schtick had taken off and no one had yet been clever enough to invent the term ‘vintage’ for second hand.

I’m sure whoever unpacked my mum’s bag of donations had a look in that tin, saw a load of ‘dirty old’ cake decorations and threw the whole thing in the bin.

Thinking about that got my day off to a grumpy start and I was glad later to have the excuse of posting a letter to get out of the house.

On the way back from the post, I took a wander up Courthouse Street, the best junketeering spot in this junketeering town. I popped in to see my mate Mick, to see if he had a card table. We need one.

He didn’t, but he had a lot of other enticing delights. It felt snow cold today, so clever of Mick to have this Rosebud out.


It’s one of my ambitions to have a bar in my house one day. I just need to get a bigger house first.


Loving this desk.


Mick then suggested I went along to number 17 to see Ollie, at Betty B Vintage, as he thought she might have a card table. This is another shop I love and before I’d even got through the door I’d found the perfect chair for my daughter’s bedroom.


She didn’t have any card tables, but once inside I couldn’t resist having a mooch about. So many treasures.


And when I got round to the far side of the space, I found these…


£2 each. The start of my very own cake decoration tin.

I was so happy I went and bought a lottery ticket.

  1. Thank you, Maggie! I am now full of cheer again. I just took a long work in the bush to clear my cranky pants mood: unexpectedly no help whatsoever. But after reading this I feel a certain sense of equilibrium again.

    I found Mum’s old icing set earlier in the week: I know what you mean!

  2. So sad about your Mum’s cake decorations 😦

    On a happy note, when my mum passed and we were clearing out her home I grabbed the most gorgeous candle holders. Used on all the birthday cakes for all 6 of us kids. They are made of wood. Little painted china men. So exquisite and cute.

    OK I have only used them once. But I will never part with them!

    • What a lovely connection to you darling mum. Every time she picked those candle holders up she would have been thinking of you kids with all her mother love xxx

  3. I have my Mums old biscuit cutting set – still in its 50’s box. I also delighted in following your link to BettyB, and on her facebook page found the miniature Dior video treasure. Thank you – made my day

  4. that “you must be this tall to enjoy this ride” bear up the top is too gorgeous. I think he is a must for your future home bar. You just need to get a sign made up which reads “you must be this drunk to leave this bar”

  5. Lovely ending. You can now go forward and recreate your mum’s cake decoration tin with your gathering bits (and have great fun in the process). I wonder down the track will Peggy chuck yours!? Hope not as you have ‘educmacated’ her with the importance of vintage and family hand me down traditions.

    • I wonder if I will be able to stop myself giving them away when she leaves home…? To be fair to my mum, I think it just broke her heart to see that tin, once we were all grown up and gone. So many memories of little faces beaming at the lit candles… I can still remember my cake with the ballerinas on it.

  6. Great to read some happy thoughts each day. Just home from a work seminar so nice to unwind and smile at this. Love your vintage finds- I have a collection of vintage Christmas decorations, but really really hard to find more now.

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