little bits from ponder & purchase

by | May 23, 2021 | Antiques | 17 comments

The Kitchin Sketchbooks I bought from Julia of Ponder & Purchase have proven to be just the beginning.  Since the two of us first started talking about the sketchbooks, a friendship has been formed over our appreciation of history and a mutual love of antiques.  When Julia shipped out the box of sketchbooks to me, she said she included a few little bits and surprises for me.  As someone who loves mail and happy surprises, it made me even more excited to receive the package.

The sketchbooks were, no doubt, the star of the show in the box…

antique sketchbooks | miss mustard seed

…but I was delighted by all of the thoughtful little things she included. This small tin of goodies was my favorite to dig through…

antiques from England | ponder & purchase | miss mustard seed

She sent a lovely old pair of sewing scissors (pewter, I think), a bone and wood crochet hook, a small metal crochet hook, and a couple of lead holders.

antiques from England | ponder & purchase | miss mustard seed

The bone and wood crochet hook is such an interesting piece.  I’ve never seen one like it!

bone and wood crochet hook | ponder & purchase | miss mustard seed

And the lead holders, with lead included, are the perfect addition to my antique drafting box.  (Speaking of, she has a few beautiful drafting boxes and tools at great prices in her Etsy shop.)

vintage lead holders from England | ponder & purchase | miss mustard seed

The little booklet is a pocket-sized book of cross stitch monograms!

antique sewing scissors | ponder & purchase | miss mustard seed

antique sewing scissors | ponder & purchase | miss mustard seed

She also sent some paper labels for mixed media art (Julia carries a lot of ephemera in her Etsy shop.)

vintage English paper labels | ponder & purchase | miss mustard seed

She also included this amazing ceramic Reeves watercolor pan in the original box!  My Victorian watercolor box is made by Reeves, so she’s been looking for supplies that might have been in the box for me.

Reeves water colour gold ceramic pan | ponder & purchase | miss mustard seed

Sadly, the gold paint could not be rehydrated.  It was just a brick, so I soaked the ceramic pan and cleaned it, so I could fill it with paint that can be used.

Reeves water colour gold ceramic pan | ponder & purchase | miss mustard seed

It put the clean pan in the box along with some of the watercolors (in Reeves ceramic pans) that she sent me as well.

Reeves water colour gold ceramic pan | ponder & purchase | miss mustard seed

I also got this tourist’s book of London.  Opening the map and looking through it made me so thankful for apps like City Mapper that make it so easy to navigate a foreign city!  I can’t imagine how easy it was to get lost just using this book.

Antique London tourists guide and map | ponder & purchase | miss mustard seed

It is such a cool book with all sorts of tips on things to do and places to visit when in London and the surrounding “environs.”

Antique London tourists guide and map | ponder & purchase | miss mustard seed

And, I saved one of the best things for last…

1840's English Indenture | ponder & purchase | miss mustard seed

It’s a handwritten indenture on vellum paper from 1842!  This thing is massive, probably over two feet wide, and has multiple pages.  The calligraphy and handwriting on it are just magnificent!  There’s a little seal that reads “Fifteen Shillings” and it was stamped in Devon.

1840's English Indenture | ponder & purchase | miss mustard seed

I haven’t read through the whole thing, but it is a marriage settlement.  In the US, we tend to think of indentures as being related to an indentured servant, which was sort of the predecessor to slavery in the colonies.  Indentures, though, are legal agreements, contracts, or documents in general.  They can be related to marriage, real estate, business, etc.

Can you imagine writing all of that out by hand??  It made me think of Nemo the law writer in Dicken’s Bleak House.

1840's English Indenture | ponder & purchase | miss mustard seed

1840's English Indenture | ponder & purchase | miss mustard seed

The document folds up into a little bundle, almost a package.  When folded up, it reminded me of the circumlocution office in Little Dorrit…all of those stacks and stacks of folded documents.  Finding and making props for a series like that would be a blast.

1840's English Indenture | ponder & purchase | miss mustard seed

Anyway, you can find indentures on Etsy for as low as $12 and, of course, the prices can get higher depending on age, size, and the aesthetic beauty of the document.  I was surprised at how inexpensive they could be given how cool they are!

My friend Julia is also always adding new things to her Etsy shop, Ponder & Purchase, and is willing to keep an eye out for things you collect or are on your wish list. That’s been a bit dangerous for me since she seems to have the magic talent of finding just what someone wants!  I joked with her that I’m a flagship member of the Ponder & Purchase box-of-the-month club.  Before I left for my trip, I got another box from here and I’ll share those treasures with you soon.


  1. Elena M.

    Wait!! What about that tong with the chicken feet? There’s a KFC commercial with those, and I went crazy looking for it on Etsy and Ebay, but never found it. Did your friend have any information on it, is it an antique?? Oh, the stuff that grabs out attention is so varied, I saw the picture, and all my eyes saw was that silly tong!!

    • Madeline from South Africa

      Growing up, my parents had one. It was used as ice tongs.

    • Lenore

      I used to find them at yard sales/thrift stores often. There was one that sold better than others but forget the details at the moment. If you search Ebay for sugar cube or ice tongs and use the word “claw”, you will find many.

      • Laura K

        For the little tongs, one posting on ebay mentioned for olives also… I got sucked down the rabbit hole after reading your comments! They are adorable and so unique!!

    • Heidi

      I think I have a pair of those tongs somewhere

  2. Babs

    What treasures! I loved the small scissors with the beaded edge. Can you imagine putting that kind of detail and work into such a utilitarian object today?

  3. monique odman

    Think of the ugly plastic handle scissors of today, orange, not recyclable and all else that we use each day, these items work well for a while and they are discarded, never long lasting. Like you Marian, I marvel at antique small utilitarian objects with great nostalgia.
    But I do not buy them even when I am tempted to, just to possess and accumulate is not my thing. Enjoy them.

  4. Elizabeth Fox

    Yes, the tongs are sugar tongs, either silver or silver plate. Google sugar tongs claw feet and you will see a lot of them.

  5. Kathleen Crigler

    I have a bone crochet hook that belonged to my great grandmother. It is the best crochet hook ever!! I so enjoyed seeing your various objects, and that hand writing on the old documents!! Beautiful!!

  6. PC

    My great grandmother had a bone crochet hook like yours -I do not know who acquired it after she died. I love old documents and implements!!!

  7. Karen B.

    What a treasure. I love the tourist travel book of London. It is so interesting to see the intricacies of everyday items years ago.

  8. Emma Ward

    Are the journal pages empty Marian? I’d love to see what they look like inside. So beautiful!! Will you have the heart to use them for painting, or just for show? They are stunning.

  9. Jeana B

    I am getting to know Julia a bit, and she is a treat! I have bought several items from her and have been thrilled with them. She goes above and beyond on customer service (there was a minor box crunching incident on a beautiful Chestnut paint box) and just seems to be someone who’d make a great friend. Thank you for sharing your treasures. I enjoy seeing them.

  10. Julie | Home On The Hill

    What is the metallic looking bit under the blue paper on the indenture Marian? Is it a piece of something metallic stamped with a design or just looks that way in the photo?

    Lovely gifts, so nice to have a friend who knows you so well. 🙂

  11. Kim

    Does anyone know if metal scissors can be resharpened these days? Would you go to a knife sharpener?

    What a cool box of interesting treasures!

  12. Julia - Ponder & Purchase

    Thank you Marian, it’s been a pleasure picking out things in the hope that you will like them. Each and everyone of my Etsy sales is special to me. For me the pleasure is in the finding, seeing something out of context and hoping that someone will find it a home.

    I’ve mountains of stock to work through to list and sell and my store has a diverse selection. I remember at auction I picked up a tank periscope, my husband was perplexed as to why, I had it in my booth for a while and then I added a note saying it would be cool in a child’s den or treehouse, it sold the next week. You never know what you might find.

    I’m learning all the time, I need to style my photos more, but for the time being it seems to be working and I’m happy that my overseas customers are liking what I’m doing.


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Marian Parsons - Miss Mustard Seed

I’m Marian, aka Miss Mustard Seed, a wife, mother, paint enthusiast, lover of all things home and an entrepreneur, author, artist, designer, freelance writer & photographer.  READ MORE to learn more about me, my blog and my business…


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