Sometimes I think I should have majored in History.
Yes, I adore the lyrical quality of words and devour books like cookies, so my bachelor’s degree in English Literature was a good fit for me. But as I’ve gotten older, I realize I’m intrigued by life’s stories: where things came from, how people lived in other eras. I’m mesmerized by old photographs and dusty artifacts from days gone by. I’m constantly amazed that while the details of daily life may have been vastly different a hundred years ago, people are people. They wanted the same things: love, family, success, comfort. They sat around tables filled with food and family on holidays. They went fishing or hiking for leisure, often with a wagging canine companion trotting alongside. They camped under the stars. They wrote in journals. They marveled at sunsets and sipped wine danced to music and held hands. I find joy in making those connections with past generations.
My favorite place to immerse myself in the interesting beauty of the past is a cute little vintage shop in Salt Lake City called Emilie Jayne. Every time I visit, it’s chock full of new-old items. I poke around the shelves, which are displayed enchantingly by color. It’s a rainbow of history in there, with the faint, nostalgic aroma of old library books and dusty attics. There’s a back room filled with children’s things- storybooks, lunch pails, dolls. There’s an entire wall of clear glass- cake stands, Bell jars, crystal vases. You might find an antique silver tea set or kitschy kitchen items from the 70s. In places like this, I have an irrational fear of a fire. It’s like a museum, filled with the tales of every decade. Sure, everything has a price tag on it for treasure hunters like myself, but truly, they’re priceless.
I know now, after a few visits, to expect to leave Emilie Jayne with a handful of gems. The kind women who work at the shop wrap them up lovingly and pass a colorful bag over the counter that looks like a gift– one I can’t wait to unwrap when I get home.
When our brand-new house was finished, we had the intimidating task of filling its empty rooms. We took what we could from both of our single-folks houses and purchased a lot of new furniture, too. The challenge was to warm up the new-ness in our modern/industrial home, to add a level of lived-in comfort. Emilie Jayne has helped in that: each room holds a treasure or two.
The kitchen is home to my cute little cookie jar, sitting next to an antique scale and a 70s ceramic pitcher. I store homemade lemonade in my favorite juice carafe, and there’s a retro cream-and-sugar station by the coffee maker. I use an old cantaloupe crate for glass recycling.
Throughout the house, there are colorful vintage vases and jars and bottles. I’ve also started collecting vintage globes and children’s books. They fascinate me!
It’s hard not to scoop up every tiny vintage box or dish, but I’ve allowed myself a few. I couldn’t resist the antique snowshoes, and there are a couple of cute little ceramic flower vases tucked here and there. They make me happy.
I just love this old blue cosmetic bag, and I use the small blue luggage box to hold albums in the music nook in our bedroom. This red typewriter table works perfectly as a home for my record player!
I believe the key to a comfortable home is filling it with items that you love– things that reflect you in some way, things that make you smile. I like a mixture of old and new, to have bits of history around us as John and I create our own story together.
Who knows? Someday, our new things might be the vintage pieces that someone discovers, carefully finding just the right spot for them in their home, wondering about the story behind them- giving them new life with their love.