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Most of my miniature quilt collages have some type of paper in them. I love the character of aged books and sheet music, the funny way people used to write, different words and usage. Also the graphics in old dictionaries, encyclopedias and especially the title pages of sheet music.  So I’ve collected a fair amount of these treasures.

My collection has come about slowly as I don’t live in a huge metropolitan area with  estate sales around every corner and a million thrift stores. I frequent our few secondhand stores on a semi-regular basis, tell friends about my collages and make an effort to seek out thrift stores when I go out of town.

Now with the secondhand stores ya never know. I find that senior thrift stores have the best junk overall compared to other secondhand stores. Look down low and up high, in boxes and below piles, treasures do hide. In large cities it’s been either feast or famine. The prices are way too high or I can’t collect everything fast enough before everyone else in the store realizes what terrific junk this is.

I avoid antique stores because of the prices but for every rule there is an exception. Mine is Apple Annie’s in Cashmere, WA. Oh my. I hadn’t been there since they moved into their 70,000 sq. ft. place and it’s probably a good thing I only had an hour. I don’t think I made it more than 15 feet inside. There were hundreds of postcards at reasonable prices (.50- $1) and another collection of vintage optometrist lenses that I just had to have. There’s a restaurant in the building so you could stay there all day long. And I will, later this year on a road trip with friends.

Speaking of friends, that’s another way to accumulate treasure. Several people have given me stuff they think I can use, sometimes people who barely know me. A huge pile of old sheet music, I kept asking “Are you sure? This is great stuff…are you sure?”, lots of frames and even some skeleton keys once. My mother-in-law gave me a large envelope full of old greeting cards of her mothers, I was the only one she could think of that could make use of them. I understand the feeling, if I can’t use something I’m thrilled to give it to someone who can.

So, be diligent, keep your eyes peeled and get your hands dirty, there’s treasure everywhere.

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