Miss 4's kindergarten is closely situated to a small shopping precinct and I am constantly there for extra groceries when I pick her up from kinder. There are also two op shops in this area, both of which I love to visit. On my most recent kindergarten pick up, I spotted this amazing encyclopaedia in one of the shops.
I browsed through the pages and fell in love! I bought it, of course, and took it home for further inspection. It was published in early 1939 and is entitled The Modern Reference Encyclopaedia: Illustrated (the "modern" bit gave my husband and I a little laugh).
It has over 1000 pages of information, fantastic illustrations on almost every page and 51 sepia-coloured photos of prominent people and places at the time (sorry, I forgot to get a scan of one of these). It even has a short dictionary of Aboriginal words and their meanings and areas of use, a printed world clock telling one the time around the world when it is midday in Melbourne and Sydney, information on world currencies and monetary conversion rates and a short survey of Australia's population numbers (just under 6.9 million at the time of printing; it's now just over 22 million, yikes). Oh, and for all the cricket fans out there, let's not forget the three pages chronicling the results of Australia vs. England in Test match cricket between 1876 and 1938!
One of the many beautiful illustrations in the encyclopaedia.
So why do I purchase vintage books (besides the fact that they are beautiful and fun to look through)? Firstly, I have found them to be very handy photography props for my product photos on Etsy, although I probably don't utilise them enough for this purpose. I have also found them to be great for upcycling in my craft work, but I do double check that I am not cutting up a world heritage tome of renown first! One of the things I love to create with pages from vintage books is vintage-look wall art inspired by blogger Mrs Limestone. My somewhat boring main toilet is now a little more interesting after the addition of two such works to the walls (I used vintage illustrations of seashells for these). I also recently made one to give to my husband's great aunt as part of her 90th birthday present (see below). Edit: I gave in to all your positive comments and have started selling my vintage wall art creations in my Etsy store too!
Vintage illustration of tulips printed on a dictionary page defining the word "tulip".
Recent customers to my store will also notice that I am now using pages of vintage books as part of my packaging. I use pages to make small envelopes for the jewellery pieces I sell and I like to stamp or print vintage or vintage-style illustrations onto them as well. And finally, I find that shapes cut from vintage pages add great interest to my paper craft creations when teamed with plain or handmade coloured paper.
I hope my rather long and rambling post hasn't bored you to tears, but hopefully this will help my readers to see just why I love finding old and vintage books so much. Do you love vintage books too? If you do, I would love to hear about how you use them in your craft, or if you simply admire them and use them to beautify your bookshelf.