(OR WHAT I LIKE TO THINK OF AS THE MOST EXCITING PART!)
A little back story: I stumbled upon my first glass beaded trivet back in 2017 whilst thrifting at 'Naschmarkt', Vienna's most famous flea market and it was love at first sight! I snapped it up with the intention of repurposing the beads but I just couldn't bring myself to take it apart. I did however start to keep my eye out for more & have built up quite the little collection over the last 4+ years. I can't tell you how excited I get when I discover a new one!
So I did a little initial internet digging back in 2017 and concluded that they dated back to the 1950's/60's but it turns out that some are even older than that and date back to at least the 1930's! The beads originate from East Germany in an area that is now recognised as being part of the Czech Republic. They were marketed as a hobby craft to women and children and came in little kits with designs and patterns to follow (see above, right pic). The English & American market soon caught on & created their own kits too, though they imported the beads from Europe.
The glass beads were eventually discontinued in the 70's & 80's and replaced by a plastic version which was much easier & cheaper to produce. They continued to be woven together though before being replaced by the modern version that we all loved as kids and know today as 'Bügelperlen' or 'Pearler / Hama Beads'! Yep, those colourful plastic beads that you iron and melt together. Pretty cool right?!
In 2020 I was lucky enough to happen upon what I like to refer to on Insta as 'The Mega Bead Stash' aka the most exciting bead find to date. It was an old shoe box filled with lot's of different old paper bags and 1 very beat up trivet. Each bag was hand labeled with quill & ink & some contained colours and bead finishes that I've never seen before! The two Rose colours and the Pearlescent Petrol for example, came from this stash. There was also an old match box & cheese box that date back to approx the 1930's. This collection must have been insanely expensive back then and I just love to sit and imagine who the owner was!
HI, I'm Amber, the gal behind The Flower & The Flea :)
I'm a serial thriftaholic who's absolutely obsessed with flea markets and and totally lives for 'The Thrill of the Rummage'! There's nothing more exciting to me than finding flowers amongst the fleas so to speak ;) Shopping second hand & repurposing items is where it's at guys!
Other things that you might like to know:
-I'm a 31 year old Brit but I've lived in Vienna for the last 5+ years with my BF.
-I spend the majority of my time co-wrangling my 1 year old bubba. She's my biggest motivation & inspiration in life!
-I've always been really creative (in part thanks to my Mama) & launching TF&TF has been an absolute dream come true!
-It's crazy to me to think that someone might actually be reading this!
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