Originating in a by-gone era, their aesthetic admired anew.

Faded linens and cottons: the colour of white, ecru, sky blue, and rose-pink. And cushion covers made of delicate hand-made lace.

Antique costume jewellery: ornate hat pins decorated with silver filigree and faux pearls,  Bakelite necklaces and bangles. And brooches and rings: sparkly things adorned with imitation diamonds, sapphires, rubies, and emeralds.

Pre-loved furniture: a writing desk – the many layers of thick, glossy paint sand-papered to show the tell-tale grain of oak, a wrought-iron bed, a 1920s wardrobe with ornate timber inlay, and other once discarded items are lovingly restored to fill a workman’s cottage built circa 1880s.

But for other pieces, reinvention gives new life and fresh purpose.

Above the long, elongated kitchen bench an old timber ladder hangs horizontally from the ceiling.  And from its rungs hang copper pots and pans from yesteryear.

On a Victorian occasional table, in the main bedroom, lies a vintage velvet evening bag with silk lining.  It now encases a pair of sunglasses. And a single stem rose sits in what was originally intended to be a decanter.

Even a tree that used to stand proud and tall in front of a single-storey 1920s Queenslander continues to serve.

Felled by flooding rains and fierce winds over ten years ago, the remnants of the Golden Cypress was saved by a wood-turner.  Patiently he worked with the timber to create practical items of beauty.

Such as the bowl now before me. The colour of honey, it invites touch. Smooth, soft, and light: it smells of freshly hewn timber. The grain swirls and whirls and its rings show signs of both rapid and slow growth.  Beautiful.

As it is with people, quality endures.

Whether a person is retrenched, grieves the passing of their youth, or is in the doldrums unsure of what to do; there’s nothing quite like a little self-reinvention to staying vital.

Copyright Jo 2013

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