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Old Things I Suggest – from Made from Scratch

Submitted by on Tuesday, 20 April 2010No Comment

MFSPB-cover-FINAL-bumpedup.inddAdapted from the totally charming book,Made from Scratch, by (Storey Books, 2010).

If you’re new to this concept, here are some recommendations on what to look for when you first venture out into the antiques malls. If you’re not familiar with the things listed below, you can look through collector’s guides at the library or do a simple Internet search for visual aids, but chances are, you’ve seen these guys around.

The basic rule to follow is, when you need something, consider buying old first. Before you know it, you’ll be calling your local dealers when you need a metal cheese grater mid-recipe.

Glass dishware. This here is the real deal, folks. It’s chunky, heavy, and it was microwavable before there even were microwaves. Fire-King is my favorite kind of glass dishware–it’s top shelf. Although these dishes have become collector’s items, you can still find boxfuls at garage sales and auctions. Another perk is that these mugs and bowls come in so many patterns and colors.

Pyrex bowls and baking dishes are the heft ones your grandmother and mom had around the house. I’ve started collecting a blue set that’s decorated with Amish couples and chickens. I use them every day and wouldn’t know what to do in the kitchen without them.

Hand-powered kitchen appliances. If you’ve got the upper-body strength, hand power is the way to go. You’ll save energy, be able to grind fresh coffee beans in a blackout, and get to burn a few extra calories in the process. Start with mixers, grinders, churns, and food choppers.

Westinghouse Fans. For fresh air on hot nights, my Westinghouse does the trick. It’s more than fifty years old and works like the day it was ordered from the pages of the Sears, Rhoebuck catalog.

Old Suitcases. For storage and stacking, I love old boxy suitcases. I’ve made bookcases, coffee tables, and filing cabinets out of them. I also use them as luggage (how novel). They are great for organizing everything from first-aid supplies to magazines.

Record players and records. For the best outdoor entertainment since the Slip ‘n Slide, put a 1970s record player out on the deck at your next barbecue and prepare to be swarmed. Those old turntables at the junk store still work, and everyone’s got a stash of great records at home.

Metal canisters. For kitchen storage, Lincoln Beautyware is hands down the most charming and well made of the lot. Depending on your own aesthetics, you can find these looking like they just came out of the box or beat all to hell. I like my old stuff a little banged up. It reminds me that it has a history bigger than my own.

Old radios. It’s not hard to come across old radios that are still in fine working order. For some reason, people toss their old radios long before they’re ready to meet their maker.

Read Jenna Woginrich’s Cold Antler Farm blog, about her homesteading experiences.

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