Delphine Tinker’s Vintage Shop

Delphine Tinker’s Paris Flea Market is the most popular shop in the tiny town of Mirth, which is saying quite a lot really, because the town’s two other stores, Marsh’s Mercantile and Mirth Lumber & Supply, are very lovely, too. Delphine’s sister, Clara Plum, runs her bakery from home, so the bakery really doesn’t count.

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The shop is informally known as Paris, as folks in Mirth get such a kick out of saying “I’m running to Paris,” whenever they take a trip into town.

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One might wonder how Delphine acquired the treasure trove of knick-knacks and what-nots that line the shelves and table-tops of her shop, given that Mirth is surrounded for miles by nothing but pine forests, mountains, rivers and lakes. As you can imagine, sales were not brisk at the shop, but money really isn’t an issue for Delphine or Clara. Their needs are few.

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The twin girls, orphaned shortly after they were born, were raised at Winterberry Cottage, by their Great Aunt Aggie. Aunt Aggie, the cottage, Loon Lake, its surrounding woods, flora and fauna were all the girls needed to be happy.

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Still, Delphine decided to see the world, and Aunt Aggie and Clara encouraged her to follow her heart. They gave her a rousing send-off. So Delphine went off to a big city college, far, far away.

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She learned more about her beloved plants, animals and trees. Then she spent years, floating like a dandelion puff, borne on a breeze from one continent to another, collecting adventures and admirers everywhere she went.

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Clara eagerly awaited the richly detailed letters and giant wood crates Delphine sent home. She’d collect them at the train station and then stow them away in the big red barn at Hooper’s farm.

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After a childhood spent gamboling through the woods, it was only natural that Delphine found fame writing about botany. Her books and lectures gained her a devout following, including the dashing young doctor, Hamilton Tinker, who would become her husband.

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When her beloved Hammy passed away, Delphine finally returned home to Mirth, Winterberry cottage, and her darling Clara, to stay.

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She unpacked the crates that Clara had stowed away, and Delphine Tinker’s Paris Flea Market was born.

That is how their story begins…


Hi everyone, 

I hope this finds you warm and cozy.

Here in Mound, Minnesota, you’ll find us weirdos remarking what a warm day it is with the sun shining, when the temperature is a mere 12 degrees. I don’t mind the cold myself, as it gives me an excuse to stay inside and play with my minis, work on Valentine cards or stock my Etsy store with more vintage goodies. 

Vintage shops have been on my mind a lot lately. Even though I started doing flea markets and selling online last year because I had so many of my mother’s amassed “treasures” to sell, it seems I’ve been bitten by the family bug, too. I was seduced by the thrill of the thrift store discovery and my proclivity for falling in love with the strangest things, like Kewpie dolls or Tammis Keefe handkerchiefs. Lots of my discoveries find their way to Fiddle Dee Doo Dah! Please visit and take a peek! I’m running a Sweetheart Sale through February 15th. 

Here are some of the artists whose miniatures appear in Delphine Tinker’s Paris Flea Market.

L Delaney

Kim’s Miniatures

Lugart Petit

Mundorosa 

Weston Miniature

 

 

 

Ghosts of Christmases Past

Christmas brings out the sentimental optimist in me. It’s the time of year when I see the world the way I wish it was, or the way it could be. I put on my rose-colored Christmas glasses and suddenly I live inside the pages of The Saturday Evening Post.

This year has been an especially bittersweet one, as I’ve spent the past 10 months sifting through my mother’s things, learning a lot about vintage collectibles through hours upon hours of research.  I know more about 1940s and 50s ceramics from Lefton, Napco, Holt Howard, Commodore and Relco than I ever imagined there was to know.

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I started selling vintage, too, at flea markets, estate sales, to antiques dealers and on eBay (my mother had A LOT of stuff.) Then, this will come as no surprise to anyone who knows me, I fell in love with vintage things and started buying them.

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A Very Vintage Christmas

That’s how my new Etsy shop, Fiddle Dee Doo Dah, an homage to vintage from the 30s through the 60s, was born.

While I’m still in the process of cleaning out my mother’s house, my own house is now filling up! I never thought I’d hear myself utter these words, but I actually told Ezra, my husband, “I don’t think I’ll put up a tree this year.”

The thought of packing and unpacking (which is virtually all I’ve done since June) seems overwhelming. But we’ll see how long I can hold out. The front porch has been decorated for weeks already.

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Follow me on Instagram for more Christmas fun.

However, that hasn’t stopped me from enjoying all my new vintage treasures. No one need send me any Holiday cards this year (you’d better…I don’t want to be like Charlie Brown!) because I’ve been ordering bundles of used Christmas cards from the 1920s through the late 1940s from eBay. If you’re a graphic designer, then I hope you won’t miffed with me when I say, “they just don’t make fonts like they used to.” Ohhhhh, I could rhapsodize about the amazing forties’ fonts for days.

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Or the postmarks! Don’t get me started on the postmarks. When I hold a card in my hands that’s time and date stamped December 23, 1920, 3:10 p.m., I feel transported to that time and place. It’s magical. I can’t imagine a time when you could simply write a family’s name, city and state on an envelope and it would find them. But there was one. And imagine the outrage in the mid-thirties when the cost of a stamp went up from one cent to a cent and half!!! The nerve! How does one pay a half-cent? Something I’ve been pondering for weeks.

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During the month of December, I’ll feature some of my favorite vintage Christmas cards on Instagram. I’ve been repurposing a couple of them, that were falling apart, but that feels kind of wrong to me. I’m holding someone’s life in my hands. Yet, I’m giving those treasured memories new life, too.

This Christmas season will be different for me in many ways. Yet through all of these tangible remembrances of Christmases past, that still contain some of the love and good cheer their original owners felt so many decades ago, I feel inspired. There are many new Christmas memories to be made. And maybe, if I’m lucky, someone will hold one of my cards in her hands some day, and wonder about the person I was, and the Christmases I had, long, long ago.

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