Collecting (Things of Little or No Value): Colored Glass

I’ve been collecting colored glass for years. I started out with small bottles and toothpick holders that I picked up cheaply at garage sales. I put them on the top of my sash window above the kitchen sink in the winter to enjoy their jewel colors when there weren’t any flowers to look at outside. Soon I filled the window.

I picked up the nucleus of my collection of larger pieces of colored glass at an estate sale outside of Osseo, Wisconsin, on an old farm. On the creaking enclosed back porch, I found a box of vintage jars that once held baked beans and other foods back when a product was known by the color and shape of the glass container in which it was packed. They were reasonably priced because nobody wanted them—nobody but me, of course. I held them up to the sun and enjoyed their colors and just had to take them home.

I’ve found a lot of glass at garage sales. Not the kind of glass, like carnival, cranberry, or cobalt, that people seek out and pay real money to acquire, but dime store footed candy dishes and gaudy bowls in olive green and turquoise. I laid down white Christmas minilights in part of the built-in hutch in my dining room and crowded it with all the colors of the rainbow. On rainy days or cold autumn evenings, I like to plug in the lights and enjoy the riot of hues.  But this Aladdin’s cave of color is not enough.

I like to mix milk glass (more Things of Little or No Value that I collect) and colored glass in my living room on end tables and hearth. I burn tea lights in them and enjoy the glow while relaxing in the evening or entertaining.

I also add colored glass to my Christmas trees. I like the ornaments that look like multicolored wrapped hard candies. After years of picking them up at garage sales for a dime here or a quarter there, I can now decorate a small tree with them.  Some years, I simply pile them in a glass dish and display them on a kitchen counter or sideboard!

The next time you are at a garage sale or in the basement of an estate sale, the bargain area of an antique mall, or the housewares aisle of your favorite thrift store and see one of these miracles of color, buy it and carry it home to brighten and lighten your spirits. Begonia

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