A Repurposed Cabinet of Curiosities in My Family

Apr 23, 2009 by

Please forgive my sporadic posting!  While I do have internet now, I have been spending time away from the computer….admiring my talented mother in law’s cabinet of curiosities and vintage vignettes!  She has graciously allowed me to photograph some of the vignettes in her home that I am excited to share with you.  I did not even have to “style” any of the photos — they were beautiful just as she had creatively displayed them!  Can you tell she previously worked as a shop window decorator and designer?

vintage cabinet of curiosity

An antique jelly jar becomes a beautiful cabinet of curiosities — if you are curious about vintage lanterns, artisan pottery pieces, and an array of bobbins from many eras.


This cabinet of curiosities holds an array of vintage treasures, including wood bobbins repurposed into candle holders, as well as a study of mining artifacts.


Bundles of candles are wrapped in antique music sheets, and as you gaze at the cabinet of curiosity at different angles, even more treasures reveal themselves — such as an antique miner’s candle snuffer.


Letterpress blocks adorn a vignette above a desk.  It’s wonderful how two simple card stock pieces can make a display really pop.


I really love how she has repurposed antique wooden bobbins of different shapes and sizes into candleholders.  Respinning the bobbins with different colors of yarn adds wonderful sprays of color in a room.


Touches of spring burst into bloom indoors amidst aged terra cotta pots and vintage seed jars.

Feel free to ask any questions about the items in the cabinet of curiosities — as well as leave a kind comment or two for my lovely mother in law!

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  1. what lovely spaces! my mom has lots of vintage bobbins around our house–so they always remind me of her! i love the pops of orange and red too! beautiful.

  2. So great! i love stuff like this.. esp that Seed Jar and the wood cabinet !!!!

  3. p.s. I wish my Mom had cool old stuff. She wont even go into thriftstores with me!!!!

  4. Definitely a very talented lady!

  5. she has the most wonderful collection and a very good eye. thanks to both of you for sharing and post when you can. we’ll be here.

  6. Jon

    Thank you for sharing these photos. I cant decide what I love most, however, the use of color is fantastic. She has a flair for taking a neutral canvas, such as brown hues, and accenting them with inspirational color!

  7. wow! what a sweet collection and tasty display of vintage treasures. it is such a visual treat! thank you for sharing. : )

  8. Grace

    On behalf of my mother-in-law and myself, thank you so much for your kindest words!

  9. The cupboard is over 100 years old and comes from a little antique shop in Harmony, Pennsylvania. You have an artist’s eye and everything you capture comes to life. Thank you for bringing your unique view of the world to all of us to share!!

  10. gorgeous spaces! I just love antique cabinets filled with goodies!

  11. Love the basket holding the candles wrapped in old music sheets.

  12. One word…Wow!

  13. Really fantastic. i want to go find some curiosities of my own…

  14. Oh wow… you can’t buy innate style like that can you?

  15. I just stumbled across your blog – it’s lovely!

    I love the old cupboard and interesting arrangement of vintage items, very soothing to look at :)

  16. @chels I know what you mean, its hard to find good help these days. People now days just don’t have the work ethic they used to have. I mean consider whoever wrote this post, they must have been working hard to write that good and it took a good bit of their time I am sure. I work with people who couldn’t write like this if they tried, and getting them to try is hard enough as it is.

  17. I wanted to thank you for this great read!! I definitely enjoying every little bit of it I have you bookmarked to check out new stuff you post.

  18. Thanks so much, finally a decent website with good information in it.

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    today 16Mn G and also 16Mn R plate for boiler ended up being renamed as Q345R. The “G” and also “R” is a first of all letter of Chinese Pinyin, which meanBoiled Steel Plate.

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  21. most wonderful collection and a very good eye. thanks to both of you for sharing and post when you can. we’ll be here

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