Wednesday, June 16, 2010

The Weekly Op Shop Run

Once a week I love to visit my local thrift shops. In Australia they're called Op Shops or Opportunity Shops. You know the ones. Sometimes they're so overstuffed with second hand items you need to sift through small mountains of junk to find what you're looking for. Other days you just dash past the front window and there, on a trestle by the open door, you may find an unexpected treasure.

My writing shawl came from a thrift store. At the time I needed it for a costume, and now it fights me every time I think to fold it into the dress up box. I've unearthed fiction and reference books I never imagined existed. Pitchers, plates and even one very special painting have all followed me home.

For ages I've longed for and looked out for Carter's Price Guide to Antiques in Australasia. This glossy 5 kilo encyclopedia of all things yesteryear, is the best place for a writer to examine objects, clothing and furniture, dating back to the early 1700s. How else is a girl meant to know what a set of Victorian silver plated berry servers looks like, or an enameled mourning brooch from 1864? And what about that essential item for every lady in the 1870s, the rose-gold folding glove hook? Try saying that in a hurry.

Well, sometimes God indulges us in the most whimsical of fancies and I recently limped home with this very monster of a book. All 736 pages, as new and a third of the retail price from an op shop near my son's school. What a find!

So now I have pictures and details for a 19th century German ice-cream maker. I also have a very good feel for copper pint measures used in the 1840s, and I could give you an accurate description of a French tin bath with wooden frame dated 1890. Will I need to know how these items functioned and what they looked like for my novels?  Absolutely.
Ok, I hope so, because they're really fascinating and worthy of a mention.

Want to know who else is worthy? God is. He has allowed so many interesting resources to be in the thrift store on the same day as my visits. This story would be incomplete without His provision. For the coins in my purse and the goodies in my basket, I am thankful. As I am for all His his treasures and opportunities.

Have you found any treasures lately? I would love to hear about them?