Monday 28 January 2013

Little things

In the early 1980's my Sister got a Printers tray for one of her birthdays. I think they became a popular thing to have then, maybe a little trend to collect teeny tiny things in the blocks of a wooden printers tray. Hers was new as far as I can remember, they were made specifically for this new trend and I have vague recollections of what she put into those wooden blocks back then.

Well, to say that I had some birthday gift envy is probably an understatement, although I would never have admitted it at the time, I was truly envious of this treasure trove of little things. A place to put them all and admire them from a distance on a wall somewhere. As time went by I don't know what happened to her printers tray and must ask her about it someday, I don't think she has it any more, which is sad given the fact that you go through phases in your life where you think you might not have any use for something from your early teen years but now, as we get older and dare I say it a little more sentimental, something like a printers tray might take on a different meaning.

Sometimes, life just boils down to the little things.

I guess you've guessed by now that I have just bought my first ever Printers tray. I bought it from a Vintage and Second hand shop in my town called Sweetpeas and Doris and I adore it to say the least. It's the smaller of the two seen in the first photo and the best bit for me is that it comes with a history from a Printers in the late 1800's in Eastbourne that printed Art Nouveau posters. The printer box seen above is also for sale and it houses the original art nouveau printing blocks. It's too beautiful for words and I do hope this goes to a special home one day. Unfortunately, at £120.00 its a luxury I have to do without.

I did spend a while touching and admiring it somewhat, dreaming of a bygone time and thinking how special it would be to have an original of one of their poster prints. 

My printers tray will slowly but surely grow as the years go by, filled with the little things and memories of my life. I hope I don't get tempted to fill it up too quickly, each block will have something significant added to it, something to reflect on in years to come.

Are you a collector oflittle things? or do you prefer more clean cut minimal detail living?

I hope to share some of my little things when my collection starts hopefully sometime soon


  1. Oh I had one too as a teenager - courtesy of my brother - he made one and for years and years it held all bits of katunda and stuff. Now my boys have it in their bedroom with each space filled with a little dinky car. I love the art nouveau print blocks - shame about the price!

  2. Gosh this post takes me back ... I had a printer's tray filled with special little things, just like your sister! Yours is perfect, a proper vintage treasure. I hope you'll post about what you put in it :)

    Thank you so much for the get well wishes Penelope, really appreciated :)

  3. Lucky you, I love those printers' trays but they're becoming quite covetable now and the price goes up and up. As for the box with all those blocks inside, oh my I think I may have sold one of the children for that :)

  4. Right, in the early 80ies. I had a tray my brother made for me (how nice). It's in my ex-husbands house. I've always wanted to have an original one. You are a lucky lady! Yours looks beautiful. Have a great week. Regula

  5. You are going to have so much fun filling your tray! I had one but while I was keen to find precious things to put in it people kept giving me things for birthdays etc to put in it and in the end it was just full of things other people had chosen, and not my own treasures. Eventually it went in the attic. I hope it's still there because now I have the studio I could put it in there and fill it with things I really love!
    P xxx

  6. Not really, I just collect the Printers trays!!! There is something lovely about them, I'm just completing a couple at the moment, I love turning them into something beautiful (although they would still look lovely unpainted!) enjoy filling your with little treasures! :) x

  7. You are definitely stronger than me if you walked away from that. Ohhh so tempting.
    Rosie x

  8. omg I have printer's block envy! Yours are perfect, I would love them for my kitchen wall once it gets painted... but that art nouveau set is something special (wistful sigh!) ... I remember once as a teen shopping for xmas presies with my mum, she suggested that she got a girl's world for my little sister, I wouldn't allow her to buy it as I was sooooo envious since I hadn't been allowed to have one myself when I was young!! What a meanie big sister I was!! ...needless to say my daughter was given a girl's world as soon as she was old enough, and of course I 'help' her play with it from time to time ...

  9. What a find. I can imagine the tray all spruced up displaying many treasures but at the same time it is so lovely as an object in itself - the patterns within the compartments are beautiful x

  10. How lovely to fulfil your wish after this time - there is something quite poignant about a printer's tray I think. Dom gave me a printer's tray nearly 30 years ago and I still have it (though redecorated now) and at the moment I keep little Japanese crochet figures in it! Sounds a bit odd now I think about it
    Best wishes

  11. I also craved one of those lovely trays for years, and we were never in the position to be able to splurge on one; now that we could do, the urge has gone. I do have collections - the largest of which is my fabric!, but also musical instruments, books, jugs, boxes and containers. I have decided to stop collecting now...apart from books fabric and possibly instruments - as I feel the need to de-clutter and simplify a bit.

    But enjoy filling up your printer's tray, and in years to come you will pick up each lovingly squirrelled item and remember its story. Have fun! Lx

  12. Wow, what a find! Vintage boxes and trays and cases are so much more fun than reproductions - the joints are different, and the hardware has much more character. This one is a beauty. And the box you left behind - swoon! (I am very fond of Art Nouveau.) Imagine the glorious posters those blocks once helped produce - all curly-cornered and stylized and gracefully ornamented.

    I'm not a collector of little things - I do like an uncluttered line of sight (and also hate to dust). But I love to look at other people's little things. Mr. M used to collect antique planes (of the woodworking variety) - they were beautiful and still functional.

    Enjoy your lovely tray.