old country: shabby love.

shabby love signI had this Ziggy tee shirt when I was a kid, and I probably wore it 360 days of the year for like three years. Well, maybe that’s an exaggeration, but it was one of those shirts that, as soon as Mom washed it, it was back on my body. Now, as a mom myself, I find myself taking certain garments out of rotation at laundry time because I’m so dang sick of seeing that Angry Birds shirt.

But we all have things like the Ziggy tee shirt. Things we cherish and can’t seem to let go of, even when they’re tattered and no longer even fit us. When that happened, Grandma got out the sewing kit and I ended up with a new Ziggy pillow. Shabby as it was, I loved that shirt. It was soft, and it was familiar, and it was Ziggy.

There are other shabby things we love. Brandy’s Dale Earnhardt coffee mug, which belonged to her grandmother. Also her sofa: somehow the torn fabric and stuffing sticking out all over has made it more comfortable and lovable. When your $4000 mattress gives you a backache, where do you end up? That’s right – on the shabby 1973 sofa you pilfered from your childhood home.

A child’s blankie gets pretty shabby. There’s usually one corner of it that spends more time in the kid’s mouth than the rest of it… that part’s extra faded and permanently wrinkly… but those (seemingly disgusting) details are what define the blankie as “MINE!” and no one else’s. Special. And pants. We all have a pair of shabby sweat pants, jeans, yoga pants, pajama bottoms… in fact in my house, it’s not uncommon to hear, “Man, I can’t wait to put on my shabby pants.” We love shabby.

Old people, too, get kinda shabby. Now, I don’t mean that in any derogatory way. I feel I’m allowed to talk about old people because I was raised by an old person. I can also speak freely about nerds and awkward people because I belong to those groups. But when you visit an important old person in your life, and you smell her White Shoulders perfume and you see her shabby easy chair, the dent of the cushion reflecting the shape of her backside perfectly and you see her Desert Rose dishes and the rabbit ears on her Magnavox, admit it: you are tranquilized by nostalgia and you don’t want to leave.

And when you yearn for old things in your not-so-old life, so you can enjoy a feeling of nostalgia before you’re old enough to actually experience it… or if you ARE old but you unfortunately got rid of all your cool nostalgic belongings already, you can capture that feeling… at Shabby Love.

shabby love Leah1 shabby love kitchen tableShabby Love specializes in reclaiming, upcycling, and refurbishing old, otherwise unwanted stuff. And I don’t know about you, but I think things that have been rescued — buildings, pets, furniture, books — have a special kind of beauty. I walked through the store — with its wooden table and blue chest and green china cabinet and red side table and cheese grater light fixture — and I just wanted to take all those beautiful orphans home. To add to the personality of the furniture, each piece that’s been painted has a name. I met “Edna,” “Stan,” and “Maggie,” and they all certainly spoke to me.

shabby love blue dresserWe saw an old typewriter and old suitcases made of wood. WOOD. Who would want to lug around a solid wood suitcase?? Practical or not, those things are gorgeous. And saw beautiful lockets and pendants, necklaces and brooches and bracelets, hanging there… waiting.

shabby love necklace shabby love necklacesIf you’re curious about the paint they use, it’s called Chalk Paint, and you can even attend a workshop at Shabby Love on April 12th. Just sign up and bring a (reasonably sized) piece of (preferably rescued) furniture. They’ll supply the rest! And your life can be a little shabbier. Turns out shabby’s not too shabby after all.

shabby love chalk paint shabby love library shabby love mirrorCopyright © 2012-14 · All Rights Reserved · ilovemyburg.com. Written content by Katie Mitchell. Photos by Brandy Somers. This material may not be copied, downloaded, reproduced, or printed without express written consent. Thank you for respecting our intellectual property.

a hop and a skip: factory antique mall, verona.

So, after two years, some soul searching, and a few beers, Brandy and I decided to OCCASIONALLY stretch our pens and lens beyond Harrisonburg and cover some events and places elsewhere. Mainly because there aren’t any vineyards within the city limits. Lol. And dang it, we wanna have more wine-related experiences. So I created a new category here called “A Hop and a Skip!” and that’s where I’ll file posts that are about places that are just down the road from the friendly city, places that no doubt Harrisonburgonians frequent and would appreciate.

factory antique mall signDown the road a piece, in Verona to be exact, is a magical, mystical fortress filled with ancient relics, the likes of which you’ve maybe never seen. They have several of these bizarre contraptions called “telephones.” After you gain your composure, you might dare to gaze upon the “metal lunch boxes” — like The Muppets, Dukes of Hazzard, and — eeeek! — Knight Rider!!!!

factory antique mall trains and phonesfactory antique mall lunchboxesAnd lastly, they have these things called Laserdiscs — the very rare prehistoric ancestor of the DVD. Actually they have some 8-track tapes, too. I had a massive sense memory when I touched on of them: My friend Shannon and I once wrapped the dining room table and chairs in 8-track tape (man, I was a stupid kid) — The Muppets Soundtrack, Bay City Rollers, and Crystal Gayle, if you wanna know — and Dad was less than pleased. Brandy seemed to float on nostalgia itself, clear to another world, when she wandered into the record section. She got tangled up in there a while.

factory antique mall records factory antique mall records2She also got hung up looking through these boxes full of old photos. Photos of people she didn’t know at all, and photos of familiar places, captured before her birth. She must have looked at 300 old, loose, curled-edge photographs. She selected like four of them to purchase.

Set up like a giant flea market, the Factory Antique Mall has hundreds of vendor “booths” — some large, some small — where collectibles of all ages and prices are sold. The only windows are at the front, and that, plus the long, intersecting walkways caused me to be pretty much lost beyond hope after the first left turn. Mind you — I was not born with an internal GPS. I can’t play Minecraft because I lose myself in my own creation. Heck, I can’t even point to the parking lot when I’m in the grocery store. So I’m not saying it’s the Factory Antique Mall’s fault if I get lost in there. It’s definitely mine. I’m just saying that if you’re directionally challenged, consider bringing a compass or harnessing yourself to your companion with one of those kid-leash things. After all, it’s the largest antique mall on the east coast at over 90,000 square feet.

factory antique mall corridorAnyway, I couldn’t possibly list all that’s in there, but they have weapons (guns, knives, swords), movies and music in all formats, tobacco pipes, old bottles and tins, masks, hats, and clothing.

burgIMG_8498They have TONS of furniture and books, and the toy section is crazy. Just crazy. On a previous trip I scored a 12″ Luke Skywalker for Bree, a 1968 Spirograph, a 1971 Battleship Game, and a pumpkin Beanie Baby for Cal. They also have Star Wars, Star Trek, and GI Joe figures, Transformers, comics, and even Beverly Hillbillies paraphernalia. Oh, and Alf.

factory antique mall alfAnd this wall of games. Of particular note — “Crow Shoot,” “Smurfs,” and “Mork and Mindy.”

factory antique mall gamesAnd don’t forget Barbies!

factory antique mall barbiesFor your more adult side, there’s all sorts of sports memorabilia (Stadium Suite used to be downtown but moved in here), jewelry, Americana, lamps, dishes, crystal, holiday decor, and lots of other household items.

factory antique mall furniture factory antique mall collectibles1factory antique mall americanaIf you decide to go, wear comfortable shoes. Allow plenty of time. There’s a little cafe for re-energizing snack breaks. Don’t forget your compass. Expect to say “Wow!!” about a thousand times, and prepare yourself for the onslaught of memories and emotions that will overtake you when you see the Six-Million Dollar Man on a clock. That place is a trip. And it’s only a hop and a skip!

Copyright © 2012-14 · All Rights Reserved · ilovemyburg.com. Written content by Katie Mitchell. Photos by Brandy Somers. This material may not be copied, downloaded, reproduced, or printed without express written consent. Thank you for respecting our intellectual property.