Monday, 23 May 2011

Wild abandon


Occasionally, I can be one of Those People: a person who saves things because they seem too lovely to actually use. A prime example would be this treasured teacup and saucer that has sat on a shelf in my kitchen for the past two years, being looked at, but never used. I had seen it and wanted it so badly that it actually made me ache a little to leave the shop without buying it...but then several months later my father gave me some money at Christmas time and it seemed the perfect self-indulgent thing to spend it it.

The set is made by Wedgwood for the Harlequin range, which borrowed its designs from the archives at the Wedgwood Museum Trust. Everything about this little teacup delights me - its beautiful colours against the flecks of gold; that the Harlequin range is an eclectic bunch of mismatched cup and saucer sets, rather than a tasteful range designed in harmonising colours; that it came cocooned in a beautiful turquoise and gold hatbox for protection.


And then last week, without really thinking about it, I found myself getting up from my computer, taking the teacup from the shelf and making myself a pot of herb tea (Pukka's aniseed, fennel and cardamom). I'm unsure what caused this, but the tea tasted wonderful and every time I saw the lovely teacup and the beautiful roses (they were my mother's, given to me so that didn't go unlooked-at in an empty house while she was away for the weekend) on the table while I typed away I felt very happy indeed.


And so it seems that using lovely things feels even better than just looking at them...so I think the future may hold half-empty jars of Laura Mercier Creme Brulee Honey Bath, a bar of Vetiver & Rose soap that has had the scent thoroughly sniffed away, White Company Winter-scented candles burnt with abandon and Anna Maria Horner voile fabrics made into garments, rather than being hoarded for the elusive perfect pattern.

Do you have things that you can't bring yourself to use?

Florence x

22 comments:

  1. Oh yes indeed. I am a devil for not using fabric, which is daft, because what else am I to do with it. I have vintage china I do not use but that is probably more to do with the fact I am a greedy tea addict and like a mug full. I have stopped hoarding clothes for best and wear em all now. Think I might make a pot of tea now and wash up one of those beautiful cups. I can have 2 after all cant I?

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  2. I am absolutely terrible about this! You should see the amazing stash of vintage sewing trims that I've built up. I know I won't be able to buy more the same, so I can't bring myself to use them. But these days I'm trying to force myself to use things (and even worse - use things UP) and you're right, it does always feel better. Gorgeous teacup, by the way.

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  3. I used to be that way but now I'm trying really hard to use the things I love. You can't take it with you so you may as well enjoy it while you're here.
    And I love the squarish saucer with that teacup!

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  4. Not any more. I had an epiphany like yours a little while ago, and have taken to wearing my nice things at any halfway suitable event, using the nice china more often, and generally celebrating the beauties of life!

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  5. Yes, I've always been a dreadful one for not being able to bear to use things. I've hoards of fabric, art materials and clothes kept for the right occasion that never quite comes! I have been trying to reform lately - it may take me the rest of my life to use it all, but I suddenly realised that some things might become unusable and I might not fit into the clothes. I think it stems from childhood when certain things were hard to find and hard to afford.

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  6. I used to be REALLY bad about not using things: soap, anything in a pretty package, lotion, I was REALLY bad. Then I started down-sizing my life, and realized how silly it was to keep holding onto things, it was like wasting money. So I started using everything! Needless to say, I haven't had to buy soap for about a year! I've even started dipping into my fabric stash instead of just adding to it!

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  7. Beautiful tea cup! I'm not tooooo bad for hoarding things, but fabric is a weak spot. I am APPALLING at cutting into my (sizeable) Liberty stash (one dress, ever, and the remnants went towards a bag), and a fat quarter stack of Heather Ross prints and some Munki Munki pyjamas.

    Maybe it's time to stop searching for the perfect project and just sew them...

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  8. I've always been a fan of using things, but recently after the earthquake, we've become much more so, also if we are not going to use it, we've been giving it away so someone else can! Shame it took a massive disaster to make us really get sorted :)

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  9. Oh yes indeed. I'm a shocker. I think it stems back to keeping notebooks absolutely pristine for as long as possible so I didn't mess them up. As I was reading your post I recalled my bar of Laura Ashley soap, a Liberty hanky and a cupboard full of gorgeous fabric! You've made me smile at my own idiosyncrasies. Thank you.

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  10. Congratulations! I have even been known to take waterford crystal to the beach...no sense in not using things; why have them otherwise?
    Congratulations indeed.

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  11. It generally takes me so long to actually buy anything after humming and hawing that it always gets used.
    I love the cup and saucer by the way.

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  12. Funnily enough an entire teaset!

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  13. I was exactly like that and in some ways still am - perfume; it used to sit there for a special event, i wear it daily now. I have found though that due to the economy i am actually trying to use my stash of wool and fabric. It doesn't always work but im getting better. I think i just like it there so i can see it and touch it whenever i want and dream of what i would do with it!

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  14. I have fabric that I am sure that I would ruin if I used, and a mixed set of very dainty vintage teacups and saucers on a shelf that I only dust about twice a year in case I break them, let alone actually using them.

    I am a sad case of perfectionist control freakism which often ends up in paralysis! Better to think about something than make something less than perfect ...

    Pomona x

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  15. I am so bad - keeping everything from fabrics (far too much) to dainty china and even pretty wrapping paper! An aunt recently died and I had to sort through all her things - lots of things brand new which she never got to use and I found that very sad. I have made a pledge to myself to use up my stash, enjoy tea in a pretty cup while soaking in a luxury bath of scented loveliness - and use all my best saved papers to gift wrap presents!

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  16. I'm awful for this, books I don't read, a teapot I won't use, shoes too nice to wear. ridiculous really. And that, by the way, is one very gorgeous cup and saucer.

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  18. I'm just the same I have some lovely joules tea towels far too good to actually use!!

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  19. I am a great believer in using everything and wearing everything - love the teacup and saucer - it must make everything taste even nicer. Enjoy. x

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  21. Me again. On the subject of daring to use special things, I've just made one of your Slouchy Make-Up Bags with some terrifyingly precious fabric. http://toftsnummulite.blogspot.com/2011/05/sewing-gift.html
    I've spent the past week with my grandparents and we sorted through some more family heirlooms which have been stored away, unseen, for decades. Time for them to come out and be enjoyed, I think...

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Florence x