I especially love finding them in thrift stores, like these large silver earrings from the Out of the Closet thrift store in Los Angeles. They were in a basket on the counter with some scrunchies, a couple of plastic bangles and a broken headband. True, they're not really my style, and they were very tarnished, but I picked them for silver and could see they were made by hand, probably from a sheet of silver rather than moulded. I gave them a good polish this morning and rather liked their emphatic celestial statement. Not one I'd make every day, to be sure, but one I enjoyed on a hot bright Sunday.
Nearby on the same counter, there was a plastic dish filled with cheap jewellery. I found this brooch in amongst the clatter.
I thought it was excellent value for a dollar and am fairly certain it will find itself pinned against white or navy blue clothes in the near future.
The best op shops always have a box or bowl of those little touches that you'll wear for years. A couple days later in the Goodwill store in Culver Hill (maybe?) I spotted this old gem under the counter, biding its time amongst a range of pendants and necklaces.
Yes, the enamel is chipped and the brass is dull, but the design is beautiful and the wear she's endured makes her all the more lovely to me. Eight dollars was a lot (well, based on her intrinsic value) but I know I'll never see another like her. I wasn't sure how I wear her but I knew I couldn't leave without her. She would, I was certain, add a touch of history and romance on something I own sooner or later.
I love the little touches. Everyone has their own little touch in some area of their life - adding garlic salt to their minestrone, finishing their grooming with a swipe of creamy beige lipstick, wrapping a present with two different coloured ribbons. In all the blogs I read, it is the little touches that intrigue and inform me most.
Another thing I've learnt about on the US blogs is Target. We have Target here but not as our American cousins know it. Our Target is safe and reliable and its range is limited. Last year I enjoyed the Target Liberty pop up store in Times Square but this year I found giant Targets on a our little road trip and did some serious Target trawling. I was mesmerised by the quality and range US Target offers. I found lots of little touches there, including this :
It's the perfect spotty Saturday bag for keeping safe sunglasses and purses while you haul a huge bag around for groceries and vegetables. Better still, it was very receptive to a little touch of its own.
Brooch + spotty bag = nice touch.
The American thrift stores were good to me. In St Matthews Thrift store in Santa Monica (well worth a visit: great range, extremely well priced) I found three silk scarves that cost me a total of $2.50.
The drug stores were just as helpful. Walgreens offered me touches of two of my favourite cheap cosmetics.
I love both these products - they render my skin and hair quite pleasant to the touch.
While the holiday is still fresh for me, I have to say - home is good. It's been nice, unpacking everything, allocating the space in the wardrobe, sleeping in my own bed, making my own breakfast with my own special touches.
I miss the side order of toast with grape jelly, and I really miss sweet potato fries, but my sister-in-law (an accomplished artist and fabulous cook) made sweet potato salad today that more than satisfied that craving.
There's beetroot, carrot and beans in there too. The recipe is from Neil Perry's book, but the almonds are her idea. I thought they were a lovely touch.