Steele: Decorate your home with your collectibles and antiques

I am able to store some small things on this shelf I found that now sits above my stove.

I am sure this is not a “new” topic for my Trash & Treasures article, but it is just a reminder how our favorite items can be used as decor and keepsakes or treasures in their own role. It doesn’t take much actually to make a statement — whether it be a small or a large statement — when we have antiques sitting around. Just a few here and there can make a point to those who visit your home. They will get the idea very quickly if you have a lot of antiques, or even if you have just a few. It will tell them that you are a collector of small items or a collector of anything, small or big. To me, that is fun to know just how interested a person might be in their family history or staying true to form for the changing styles of home decorating from year to year.

You probably already know that I am one of those who when I see a particularly unusual antique item, I would love to display it for others to enjoy with me. At the moment, however, I may be overdoing it just a bit because I have a smaller home. I still keep my favorites sitting around on my antique furniture and even on the floor if it is big enough to survive the vacuum cleaner. My unusual lifestyle decorating with my antiques and collectibles probably does make some people wonder how I handle my cleaning efforts. Well, I don’t have any pets and I seem to manage OK I guess. It’s just me, so if I like it, I guess that is the only one I have to please.

Years ago I found this cute little shelf (in my photo this week) in a shop and thought it would be cute sitting over the stove and below the stove vent. When I got it home, I had enough little items to complete my decorating scheme. The small rose bud Franciscan pottery salt and pepper set were appropriately placed on one of the shelves along with my antique rolling pin (I believe it to be maple wood). My little teddy bear baking timer sits quite regally on the stove top as well as a vintage set of salt and pepper shakers along with another darling set of S&P shakers from Magnolia Farms and a matching coffee mug that were given to me by my daughter-in-law when they traveled down through Texas and visited the whole town and collectibles and antiques shops in Waco a few years ago. Then I added some cute spring-like pictures painted on glass of different herbs — rosemary, sage and thyme — to complete my collection. Just a few simple things like the above idea seems to be a good reminder of spring coming around the corner and what I can do to change it every so often when I get tired of the same arrangement.

We do not have to collect large antique items to make our homes feel a bit more quaint. You don’t have to have big pieces of furniture. All it takes is a few special items that mean a lot to you to make a display worth your enjoyment every time you walk by them. Some people like antique or vintage lanterns — others love colored enamel ware. Or maybe baking or cooking utensils hung nearby so they can be used as necessary. Or even pots and pans from yesteryear hanging on the wall by the stove so you can still use them. Just imagine a vintage set of copperware pans being easily accessible instead of having to dig them out of a drawer. Just hang them on the wall. Those coffeepots that you love to display and occasionally use — maybe set them atop a pie safe or hutch which makes them easier to access. And, please do not forget all the baking utensils available. Antique styles definitely decorate a small wall, whether it be tools or molds for making candies and or cookies of yesteryear styles.

Another fun collection would be the vintage wooden butter molds as well as graters for cheese — maybe even several different styles of fancy spatulas would look pretty sharp hanging near the stove. Then you could add a wire whip or can opener to the display. The ideas can be endless and can be easily moved with bits of clay or teeny tiny nails in your wall with a bit of coverup paint handy when necessary. I love to add to my walls throughout the apartment. I run across something new or old and have to add to my collections quite frequently. By running across something different, I mean by just opening a box or two of my items in storage and out springs another piece I haven’t seen for a few years and I want to hang it up for display and my enjoyment.

I guess my “type” would be vintage or antique decorating whereas some might be a bit too much. But just a touch here and there makes it more personal for you and your family, especially if you have a story behind it. A fun thing is to remind your family where each item came from. Maybe it comes from someone special in the family and how they may have used it in the earlier years or the good old days — or maybe there is a photo album close buy with the story written along with the photos relating to the items on your wall. How fun would that be, even for the decorator of the home?

In every antique class I have given these past 28 years, it seems the stories about items people bring are so heartwarming and should be shared so others can be involved with it later down the road. I do realize that some of our younger generations are not decorating like I do, but just a piece of antique art given occasionally as a gift along with the story of where it came from just might make a big difference to get someone started. I gave a vintage silver sugar shaker to my newly married grandson and wife, and my granddaughter loved it, too. So, now I am on the hunt to find another one — how fun for their sugar and cinnamon toast in the mornings with their coffee or cocoa. It was just a small gift, but a fun one to talk about later and give them the history (which this one was not actually a family item — but it will be from now on.)

Spring is on the way so start looking for antiquities for putting outside to decorate your garden or yard — from old milk cans to old wagon wheels (with all their spokes or just a few) make lovely additions to anyone’s yard. Add a few flowers, whether they are silk so you do not have to water them or plant the real flowers give color to the outdoors and will tie into the rest of the yard through the summer and fall. As I walked through the Bushel & A Peck Antique Boutique yesterday, 510 E. Sixth St., I was amazed at all of the springy and summery items being brought in for household decor or outside decoration as well. It really gets you in the mood to maybe do something a bit different this year or start getting out the usual stuff but add something a bit different from the antique shop. It may give you the incentive to rearrange last year’s items as well as give it new color with an old style.

And just a quick reminder: My antique classes, “What’s It Worth,” are still going strong at Wild Bill’s on Tuesday evenings. There are so many beautiful and extraordinary items being brought in. Some items definitely make this old gal research a bit more than usual, but it’s so fun when I can bring more information in for the class next week. Any questions, please call me at 308-530-4572. I’d love to see you join us.

And, please remember, watch the yard sales and jump on the chance of finding something totally different and unusual to bring your yard or garden a special pop that you are wanting. And do not forget your antique shops in your area as they are beginning to bring in different inventory as well. Also, just a quick note, I will have a new order of my Howard Oil products delivered and in my booth shortly! There are a few new products being brought in to my booth that I am sure you will really enjoy using. Have a great week and hope to see you at my classes or possibly run into you at one of the shops here in North Platte and surrounding areas.

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