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Analog Audio

20 september 2017


We have loads of LP records in our house. Some of them we bought ourselves, some were inherited or given to us.

To be fair, we don’t listen to them as often as we’d like. The radio is more convenient, as is the iTunes playlist or even the CD player, which can hold and randomly play 50 CDs (we don’t use a streaming service though, so it’s all still very 90s…).

However, we still like to listen to vinyl every now and then! Especially now that the little lady is getting bigger and we listen together to all my own children’s LPs from the 1980s – audio books, fairy tales and of course good, old Bert & Ernie, it really is timeless.

 

Because of this, we also really enjoyed restoring and then selling record players in the Etsy shop, but sadly, we decided not to do this anymore – they’re just too fragile to ship halfway around the world.

 

There is, however, so much left! Of course there’s the good old cassette tape…

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… radios, lots of radios…

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… and of course all kinds of cool accessories!

 

We’ve recently been shifting through the record collection and have made quite a rigorous selection – space was really becoming an issue… So everything we have two or more versions of (quite a lot…) or we don’t really like has got to go. Some of it has found its way to the shop, for which I’ve made surprise gift sets. So if you need a present for a vinyl enthusiast, take a look!

On kitchen scissors (and how they’re saving the world)

4 juni 2017

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Look at my humble kitchen scissors. They’re nothing special really, and they certainly aren’t pretty.

However.

They were bought before I was born (1980) and came to me when my father passed away in 2010.

So now I use them to cut herbs, cartons, paper, flowers, band-aids and what-not, to punch holes for craft projects, and to slice open stupid packaging that really doesn’t want to be opened. Again, nothing special.

However.

For me, they encompass everything I like about living with vintage. Because really, ‘vintage’ is just a fancy name for ‘useful old stuff’.

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It makes life cheaper, because they’re sturdy and last forever – I won’t have to buy new scissors any time soon. Just a little sharpening every now and then and they’re as good as new! Still not pretty of course, but beauty is overrated anyway… ๐Ÿ˜‰

By using vintage, you’re doing your bit to save the planet as well; less new stuff has to be made. This may seem small and insignificant, but really, every little bit helps – my red scissors are saving the North Pole as we speak!

And last but not least: every time I use them, the scissors remind me of my dad, of my youth, of our old house and the old kitchen. Using vintage objects makes you literally touch history, as well as giving the reassuring feeling that life always goes on, whatever happens. My dad never knew my daughter, but she’s using the same objects as he did, and in that way, they’re touching each other.

So yes, it’s lovely to own priceless antiques, treasured family heirlooms and endless walls of photo albums – but don’t forget the simple household appliances. Sometimes these humble objects will mean the most.

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Bonus: my mum in her brand new, state of the art kitchen, 1971. The scissors lived here for many years ๐Ÿ™‚

A bright light

26 april 2017

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For the past few months, we’ve been developing a small obsession with vintage lighting here at Maggie Again. We love how lamps come in so many different shapes and sizes, and of course that they’re still so very practical and adaptable to modern-day life. It also helps that they’re still relatively easy to come by.

I think our most popular lamps in the shop are desk lamps, and it’s easy to see why. Most of them have great appeal because of their timelessness – shapes like these are still made today. Also, they make a great gift for men (who are always hard to buy for…)!

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Of course, they don’t always come to us in a sellable state… Mr Maggie always rewires them, and sometimes he needs to do some other repairs as well. Yesterday he took these Before and After pictures of a wonderful, ceramic fat lava lamp that had been hanging in an Amsterdam kitchen for a good part of 40 years:

But after some good cleaning the ceramics always look brilliant…!

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I also learned a new English word: sconce. Not something I’ll use every day, but still worth knowing ๐Ÿ™‚

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And then there are these rare gems: crazy shades. It doesn’t get more 70s than this! We even liked this top one so much that we kept it ourselves; it now graces my writing desk.
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6. Forget perfection

22 februari 2017

This is number 6 in a series about how to live an easy, practical, #daytodayvintage life! You can find the other posts in this series here.

To be fair, if you like symmetry, straight lines, perfect fits and overall everything being just so… then maybe vintage living is not for you. Because really, there’s always something.

The little plastic pots that come with plants never seem to fit my vintage planters – I know I shouldn’t leave the plants in plastic anyway, but I really can’t be bothered to remove them…

 

You were looking for three matching items, but only found two, found the perfect table, but it’s 10 cm too long to fit your room, or finally located your dream sofa – but it’s a very distinctive shade of violent yellow.

We use this old printer’s cabinet as a changing table for the little one – even though it’s slightly too high and therefore not very comfortable to use

 

So vintage living always comes with questions of balance and consideration: is it worth changing our plans, our ideas, our home? Can we use two instead of one? Do we need to change the layout? Should we look further until we find something more suitable? Do we actually love this item or do we just like that it’ll just fit seamlessly for once?

The black chair in which I am sitting this very moment, typing this post. In the background its white twin, for which we don’t really have use or room, so it just… stands there.

 

So all in all, it never, ever turns out the way you had planned; it’s what I love about building a home with vintage and second hand items. But then I would, because I’m that very rare breed: a non-perfectionist ๐Ÿ˜‰

Vintage photos always seem to be too small…

 

… or too large to fit modern frames

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Coffee nostalgia

6 februari 2017

A few years ago, my mum-in-law gave me a big stack of ‘Ariadne’, textile craft magazines from the 60s, 70s and 80s (I wrote about them earlier). As I was leafing through them yesterday (looking for crochet patterns, if you really want to know), I suddenly noticed the advertisements. They provide such a wonderful picture of daily life at the time!

Here’s some vintage technology back when it was brand new:

It’s better to buy a dishwasher then to let your husband do the dishes…

 

Of course, there were also a few that would cause offence nowadays…

When smoking was still en vogue – and you gotta love that hair!

I still think there’s nothing wrong with this, but some people obviously see it differently…


Some lovely bathroom design…:


 

And a special shout-out to all the coffee adverts from the late 70s and early 80s – their purpose is to give you a cosy, homely feeling, and they’re still succeeding…!





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A good memory

16 januari 2017

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A bit of a weird side business in a shop that mostly sells telephones, radios and the like, are memory games. I once found a nice vintage one and put it in the shop, just for fun, and was amazed to find that it sold almost immediately. Now I actually look out for them when I’m buying new stock.

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Of course I take care to find games with great retro pictures! While playing memory never gets old (children today love it as much as they did 40 years ago), the cards can also very well be used for crafts, like scrapbooking. But a few months ago a lady from Switzerland bought one of our games because she remembered it from her youth, and now she was planning to play it again with her grandson – one of the times that the story behind a sale was worth so much more than the sale itself…!

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My personal favorite: a German memory game to learn about traffic situations – still available in the shop!

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American adventures

16 augustus 2016

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Sometimes things just work out very well…

Mr Maggie was set to undertake a crazy-but-fun American roadtrip with one of his best friends, starting in Austin, TX and ending in San Jose, CA six days later. A few days before he was about to leave, we received an order for a typewriter – from Austin, TX.

“Haha, you can almost deliver it yourself!” I laughed.

But then we started thinking, and realized that he might indeed deliver it himself. It would be fun of course, but also quicker and even cheaper than sending it through the mail. So I contacted the buyer, Erin, and explained this weird coincidence. We got an enthousiastic and heartwarming response, so a few days later I dropped Mr Maggie and the yellow typewriter on Amsterdam Airport, bound for Texas.

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The typewriter was a big hit on the plane; the stewardesses even took pictures with it and placed them on the KLM facebook page!

 

Waiting for the rest of the luggage at Houston Airport…

 

And then finally meeting Erin at her job in an Austin pet store! Of course, they immediately exchanged photos of the dogs in their lives…

Erin is a poet and is already using the typewriter for her work – I love it when a vintage item is used on a day to day basis.

It’s great to meet new people and experience friendship in faraway places – and that, people, is what Etsy and the whole internet actually should be about. So spread the vintage love!

5. Spread the word

20 juli 2016

One of the two Danish design chairs that were given to us by friends of my parents

If you like vintage: let people know! When it’s widely known that you have a thing for ‘old stuff’, everyone will think of you when they come accross something that might be interesting.

This way, we have acquired many things that are stylishly vintage or just very usefully second hand: a pair of 60s Scandinavian design chairs, a Pastoe drinks trolley, a washing machine and endless amounts of knitting wool, for example.

Mr Maggie was given a set of eight 1950s cups and saucers by a neighbour when he left home to go to university

On the other hand, you may get things that you don’t really want.

“I know you like old books, so I brought you this 70s encyclopedia.”

“I know you like to fiddle with old electronics, so I brought you this broken CD player.”

“I know you like vintage, so I brought you this shiny little figurine of a shepherdess with just one tiny chip missing.”

So, by all means, spread the word! But be prepared for the consequences…

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When our little girl was born in 2014, she spent quite some hours in this 1960s pram, which we borrowed from family friends

When one of my best friends saw that het neighbour was cleaning out the attic a few weeks ago, she secured this -huge!- typewriter for us

My parents bought a second home in Germany six years ago, and found this Thonet chair in the attic. It was red originally, before we had it re-upholstered in this lovely teal colored skai leather

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4. Get handy (or marry someone who is)

13 juli 2016
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Yes, this one needed work as well…

To be fair, my first and foremost tip for buying vintage would be this: never buy anything that ‘needs work’.

If a vintage item needs work, that means that it’s extremely dirty, or broken, or faded, or has the wrong color/size/finish/whatever. In other words, it’s just not for you.

Now I do realize that this is the lazy person’s (i.e. me) approach to vintage living. Most vintage lovers adore the whole process of sanding, painting and upholstering; they see treasure in other people’s trash and spend all their free time lovingly restoring something awful into something amazing and then proudly post their before-and-after pictures on their blog.

Good for them!

But I just can’t be bothered.

I hate DIY’ing, I hate cleaning beyond the absolutely necessary and I also hated, for example, the ‘traditional’ state our house was in when we bought it (which is why we could afford it in the first place). Spending your evening, after a hard day’s work, sanding down the windowsills of your new home, until, at eleven o’clock, your fingers hurt and you have to go back to your old house to get a short night’s sleep, after which you go to work again before spending another night sanding down the next thing…

I really, really hate DIY.

Enter Mr Maggie.

Mr Maggie can make anything. Whether it’s building or electronics, whether it needs a complete overhaul or a subtle clean, he can do it and -and this is the thing- he enjoys it.

Sometimes this drives me crazy, because our house is filled with unfinished projects.

 

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The garage – full of… stuff

On the other hand, it means that we have all kinds of wonderful things in our home that otherwise wouldn’t have made it because they ‘needed work’ and I wouldn’t have bothered…

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This 60s cabinet was missing its feet, so we gave it a set of recycled ones that came off some old IKEA furniture many years ago

So, here’s this week’s #daytodayvintage advice:

Don’t buy anything that needs work, unless you have someone else tot do it for you… ๐Ÿ˜‰

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This parting wall between the guest room and the study was made with the cabinets out of the old kitchen

 

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Mr Maggie is also the tech wiz behind all the electronics in the Maggie Again shop – he makes sure that everything works like a dream!

 

Day to day vintage 3: Be prepared to wait

1 juli 2016
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A collection doesn’t grow overnight…

I want it all… and I want it NOW!

But when you want something old, something with a story, and something that’s just right, then you might need to practice a little patience. It takes time, effort and luck to find that certain item that’s perfect – and in the meantime, you’ll just have to make do and mend.

In these difficult times, when you know what you want but still have to wait until you find it, Ikea and the like can be the best thing ever to suit your immediate needs (more on the Swedish blessing and why not to be snobbish about it later in this series).

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When we came to live here, about six years ago, we had a tiny little green dining table, which was already purchased second hand when my mother-in-law was a student in the 1960s. Due to our computer being stolen a few years ago, no digital images survive, but suffice to say that it was huge in our 1930s Amsterdam flat, but got completely lost in our new 1960s living room (which was in itself almost as big as the whole flat).

So we started looking, and bought a big, chunky wooden table, almost three meters long and originally used on a French grape farm (or so they said… I’m still not sure about this story).

It was alright… but not perfect, we soon found. It felt too sturdy next to our other furniture, it was a little high and the surface a bit rough. So we started looking for something else…

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… which we found four years later. Four years! But it was worth the wait.

This 1960s conference table is perfect, with its chrome designer legs and smooth serface – which was made for daily use in an office, so very durable. We sold on the other table, of course, with a wonderful story about it coming from a French farm…

I still don’t believe that.