Favourite things...

Manufactum – es gibt sie noch die schöne Dinge…

Things I love… No. 5 

Manufactum.ch is a wonderful pot-pourri of beautiful things…

I enjoy the act of looking at the Manufactum catalogue – I don’t need to have all theexpensive things. Some things inspire me, just knowing they are there.

However, I love tiny things; small inexpensive objects… some of my favourite things have cost nothing whatsoever… shells, drift-wood, old keys, buttons… discarded papers…


And most of my treasured items have been gifts;

My grandmother’s thimble – which she gave me when she was teaching me to ‘dolly’ linen sheets.

Historically, a vessel for artists!  The colour red was very precious and when painting with it, the artist filled the colour into a thimble…

In the house of Carnal Murals

The painter used it to hold a special red

He touched the lips and freshest bite marks with.

(‘The Thimble’ Seamus Heaney)

The Tilley Lamp; a visitor once brought me this prized object when we were staying in a cottage in Ireland, not realizing that I had always wanted one. The tiny oval shaped mantle is a delicate ivory coloured globe of shining silken weave… and like butterfly wings, shouldn’t be touched… Old fashioned oil lamps hold the brittle memories of my childhood – evoke the atmosphere of story-filled evenings at the generously logged, big open fire in my grandparent’s house in the mountains. They also remind me of a childhood where electricity breakdowns were often and pro-longed and the romance of toasting bread over the fire and cooking on a gas stove… I always loved electricity cuts.

My grandfather’s pocket mirror with built-in moustache comb – I loved him dearly. He taught me nature, imparted wisdom via osmosis.  Although humble, this was a very treasured gift.


A simple kaleidoscope which sits on my writing desk – all glass and mirrors, inside a basic silver-coloured case. Brewster invented the kaleidoscope in 1816 almost accidentally, while doing experiments on light polarization. It was intended to be a scientific tool but he made a capital mistake in the wording when patenting and his invention ended up being copied and sold as a toy. Like a lot of old toys, I find kaleidoscopes fascinating.  I bought this particular one as a present for someone else and realized when I got it home; I was of course buying it for myself. So I kept it.

Buttons especially white or mother of pearl buttons – they’re for opening things.


Fans… I don’t actually own one. But I have the memory of a very special intricately designed IMG_7291_bearbeitet-1example…

A journalist friend, an elderly gentleman, when I was leaving Florence, placed a most beautiful fan which was a family heir-loom on the table for me, with a note that he wanted me to have it. There were no women in his life and he felt that I was the one person who could appreciate it, adding; it suited my dress. I had used it during my stay when we went to a Barock concert in the courtyard of an old monastery in Florence on a warm summer evening. I couldn’t accept it. (I was 24 years old at the time) –  I regret it to this day! One should never refuse a gift that comes from the heart. And one should never think when being offered a gift, whether one deserves it or not. It is to be received with grateful thanks and a warm smile.


Flowers leave some of the scent on the hand that bestows them…


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  • Thank you:-)

  • Beautiful words on the nature of gifts. Something to remember, whether offering something from the heart, or being the beneficiary. Lovely.

  • Oh thank you, dear Helen – we live and learn, don’t we…
    Give Sophie, the beautiful brown hound:-) a big cuddle for me.
    And I haven’t forgotten about that painting trip to Italy…

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