Some time ago I came across a pair of colorful vintage Easter baskets that took my fancy. For the last umpteen years my husband, Buzz, and I have been basket fanatics--ever since we lived in Charlottesville, Virginia, where Buzz was a professor of theatre. On the weekends we'd pack a lunch, get into the car with our daughter Keri, and head off to the Blue Ridge Mountains and the Shenandoah Valley, where we hit the "antique trail," back then an amazing treasure-trove of bargains (I don't know about now but I'm supposing it's still pretty great).
In those days country was just at the front end of becoming big, so we were able to find oak splint baskets of all shapes and sizes for prices in the $7-15 range--unbelievable really, knowing what those baskets go for now. We'd take them home, brush or wash them off gently, and hang them up in our kitchen, either from the rafters or from hooks we'd suspend from the ceiling. We've lived in a lot of different kitchens since then, but we've always hung up our baskets and scattered them around the house to store anything from magazines, mail, and DVDs to socks and diapers--whatever. Here are several pictures of our kitchen today in New Hampshire:
Now, the real reason we hung baskets right away in our New Hampshire house is that when we built it (starting out first as a one-room cottage summer retreat and then growing over the years, like a lot of 18th and 19th century New Hampshire house--though ours is new) we never finished the ceiling. And we still haven't finished it--by "wrapping" the beams and creating boxes for the light fixtures, etc.--because we've just gotten used to it looking this way!
There's a loft over the kitchen which we may take down sometime and expose a more vaulted ceiling above and several loft skylights, but for now we're happy with it the way it is. It works--the baskets can be reached if we head out to the garden or berry picking or whatever. And it makes us feel cozy. Some guests are amazed at the quantity of baskets here and all over the house (a young Indian woman recently walked around open-mouthed--she'd never seen such a thing: "Baskets, baskets, everywhere!"), but that's just one of our collections.
However, we do have a lot. So, little by little I'll be selling some of them in my Etsy shop. So far I've put up a wild grapevine basket and yesterday I put up this pair of that I mentioned:
By the way, the baskets are hanging on a mid-19th century chair we bought at an antiques shop in New Jersey, but behind that is one of our treasured early 19th century pie safes, found in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia.
Something that will NOT show up in the shop! There are some things I just can't part with...