Not long ago my husband, George, and I were in downtown Tucson for the annual Folk Music Festival. As we were leaving one venue and heading to another I noticed a storefront in Old Town Artisans that read, "Vintage Treasures and Folk Art." Anything that says Folk Art will always grab my attention! I was going to check out the shop but convinced myself to bypass it. However, by the time I was at the corner I decided to turn around and go back. I assured George that I would meet up with him in 20 minutes; I was only going to take a "quick look"!!
When I entered the shop my eyes were drawn every which way because the shop was full of stuff, good VINTAGE stuff! I methodically started to browse the perimeter, and after a minute or two my eyes landed on a wooden shadow box about 7" X 15". Then I did a double take as it sunk in that the shadow box was "one of ours"! It was a box that George and I had made in the first few months of our marriage 42 years before! I was dumbstruck at first, and then I got such a feeling of excitement to find a piece of our past, our beginning. The box was in great condition and had been well cared for.
Well, of course I HAD to buy it and became almost giddy when I took that box up to the counter to pay for it. The shop owner asked what treasure I had found, and I responded that she wouldn't believe that my husband and I had made that box 42 years earlier. Luckily I had signed the back of it in 1974 with our names and the date. Well, it turned out that SHE was the owner of the box and had it all through the years. After downsizing she realized she would have to part with some of her treasures, but she assured me that she had always enjoyed it. I could tell because everything was intact and nothing inside was dusty. It was as good as the day she bought it.
When George and I married in 1974 wooden shadow boxes were somewhat popular. I convinced George that if he built the boxes and I filled them we could make some extra money. I liked to search for Mexican miniatures, little porcelain animals, or Native american miniatures to fill each compartment where I would set a little vignette. Each box had a theme. Selling them was our challenge with our school and work schedules. We probably made a couple dozen before we moved on.
When I left that vintage shop I was so excited to show it to George. It took me back to our new marriage, a joint effort to create something together, and the excitement of the possibilities that were before us. I brought that box home and hung it up and soon as I could. So how do I describe my feelings of finding that box? It's not like finding an old friend but of finding a piece of ourselves that we had pretty much forgotten about. It was a happy reunion!
I hope when you are clearing out, decluttering, or downsizing that you will enjoy finding those VINTAGE treasures and pieces of your past. Even if you have to pass them on, just know they will bring enjoyment to someone else and remember that WE are all treasured by someone else as well.
Let us all become Vintage gracefully and gratefully.
When you go in to Tuesday Morning you never know what you will find! Not so long ago I saw a $10 step stool that looked to be sturdy and well made. I thought of my grand kids needing such a little stool to reach the sink to brush teeth, so this find definitely spurred me on. My daughter in law had already picked out a really cute shower curtain for their bathroom that has foxes, bears, tee pees, etc. That was the perfect starting place for this stool Rudy loves squirrels, so I had to add them too!
When the boys are older they will get a kick out of the corny jokes about bears and squirrels that I painted on the secret underside. There is also a love note from me that will help them know how much I loved painting this stool for them. For now the secret jokes and message are hidden. I hope they get lots of use out of that stool and that it becomes a memory from their childhood.
When my husband and I built our house in 1994 it opened up an entire new world to me. I have always loved color, but this time we took a bold step and had all of our cabinets stained a beautiful Hawaiian turquoise green. I never tired of them in the 22 years we had them, but when it came time to do a little updating to the kitchen a friend suggested that we should change the color of the cabinets to red. I had thought about it in the back of my mind, but when she suggested that a totally new color would make it feel like we had a new kitchen I had to agree.
She was right! At first it was shocking and I was surprised how much I had felt connected to the turquoise green cabinets. Now that the kitchen is complete we are enjoying the new look, but it is BRIGHT!
I wonder what color we will choose the next time around?!
This summer we installed a Little Free Library in front of our house. Our friend Dave Burnett built the box and rigged up the mounting for the post we had to put in the ground. As I was preparing to paint it my husband George suggested that I paint cactus on it instead of flowers as I had planned. That evening the light bulb went off in my head! The sides of the library were the perfect place to paint the saguaro quilt design I had just done for my friend Lynda who owns The Quilter's Market.
There is an annual event for quilters called Piece by Piece. Shops from all over the United States design squares for quilts. This year's theme is Home Sweet Home, and Lynda asked me to design something with a saguaro. Quilters from all over buy the quilt squares that they like and piece together a quilt, but the catch is this; they have to buy the squares in person. It is like a scavenger hunt, and for quilters who travel it is a quite a quest.
So, here I had this wooden cabinet to paint, and the saguaro would fit perfectly! The little library was a labor of love for our neighborhood that George and I enjoy so much (except for the constant yard work!) I spent about 20 hours working on it, and once is was installed we had a grand opening with balloons, refreshments, and giveaways. Our library became official when we registered it with LittleFreeLibrary.org and were given the number 42,847! Talk about a simple idea that spread across the world. Like they say, "If you build it, they will come". Our little library began to fill up even before we could put books in it ourselves! I try to keep the library dusted out, and regularly put in a treat for the kids. Dum Dum suckers that say, "Don't be a dum-dum, READ!"
I hope that our little library can be a pleasure for adults and kids, and it is my plan to have events during the year to promote reading and community. I am told that some people like to check out libraries in other towns or even locally. So next time you need an outing for your kids or grandkids, consider doing a library hop. It will lead you all over town. You can check out a map with other library locations at LittleFreeLibrary.org.
Happy Reading, Everybody!
Sometimes it is a good thing for me to put the ceramic paints aside and do something different. In my years as an artist I have painted walls (Happy Walls), furniture (CKB), clothing (DB Arts), but it was my unexpected turn to ceramics that really stuck and resonated with me. Here is where I found my true voice, and it was and continues to be a profound recognition of the places on life's checkerboard that God places us.
When our first grandson Rudy was born I painted a canvas to go over his crib, my purple javelina with Sweet Dreams Rudy. When his brother Auggie arrived I wasn't quite on the ball, so it was just recently that I did a painting for him. I enjoyed painting both of those canvases and watching the layering of colors develop. Auggie's fox has a light brown base with layers of darker red brown, purple, magenta, and copper. Once I sealed the canvas the colors brightened, but it isn't until you look closely that you see the various colors. On first glance they blend together for fox fur beautifully.
I am so excited to deliver that painting in person in the near future. It is a joy to paint a piece and think of who will be receiving it during the process. My heart felt so full.