remember these? i'm certain i have told their story before, but maybe you haven't already read it. how there was a time when my son was young that i had a collaborator and dear friend who happened to live in a rickety old three flat right next door to a giant scrap metal yard beside the chicago river. during our weekly visits, over the course of the few years she lived there, we came and went with our little boys and stooped in all weathers to pick up the odd bits and shapes of copper, tin and brass metal scraps that the wind blew out of the yard and the backs of the big dump trucks onto the street and sidewalk. if we walked in the other direction from her front door, turning down the wide alley, we would happen upon the scattered debris from the salvation army loading dock. here small plastic buttons, beads, clock parts, crushed charms and safety pins would collect in the potholes and settle among the loose gravel on the ground. we were suckers for free treasure and gathered all that we wanted. most of the fragments we found we transformed into jewelry and embellishments for the garments we made. what remained was a couple of formidable found object collections (that continue to expand). a portion of mine has been sorted, photographed and tucked into a cubby in my workroom. while i was busy with a multitude of other projects and ideas, a year passed. now i am finally getting around to listing them in the bricolagelife shop.
if there is a mini chandelier, shadow box, jewelry idea or altered art project in your future, you might want to pick up one or two of these instant collections for supplies!
this dainty little hand made creamer has been in my collection for so long i can't remember where or when i acquired it. i still love the soft pink glaze and pale celadon interior, all covered in crackle from age. the delicate flower and leaf, formed and painted by careful fingers many decades ago, make me curious about the artisan. but the porcelain bears no makers mark.
shooting it yesterday reminded me of all the stories in all the collections and treasures in every corner of my home. there are the stories i recall about the finding and the stories i only imagine of what came before the moment i made them mine. there is a story in the history of an object revealed during research or gleaned from a more knowledgeable someone. and on occasion i am treated to the story of where an item is going and why it is adored by it's new owner. i thought it might be fun to tell a few of these tales here in the coming months as more of my finds make their way into new homes and hearts via my etsy shops. in fact, i have been thinking of doing this for a long time. because i love stories. and maybe you do, too.
in september we returned to the antique mall by the lake where i had fallen in love a year ago with a small stack of old photos of bud and amelia. this time as i stood in a cramped booth digging thru another bowl of black and white images i was amazed to find a few more. it was startling, like running into an old friend unexpectedly. the icing on my treasure hunting cake was when i leaned over the counter to pay for my finds and met the woman who had attended the estate sale and helped empty the house where amelia had lived. stories were handed over along with my brown bag of snapshots. this is what i learned:
after confirming my assumption that amelia and bud were living together, unmarried, in an era when the arrangement would have been considered unseemly, she added that bud was also "dating" one of amelia's four sisters. (the news broke my heart a little, as i had developed my own happy romantic image of the couple.) and apparently these sisters, sharing careers in their local public school system, had very sticky fingers. as the house was cleared after their demise, cases and cases of purloined school supplies were discovered stockpiled in the basement. glue, scissors, paper, tape... (my eyes widened here) most had never been opened. when they all retired from teaching and principling, the women took jobs in the town's department store where they continued to bring home the merchandise they just couldn't resist. oddly, the antique shop proprietress commented, they had identical taste in shoplifting (as they'd apparently had in men). duplicates of every item pilfered from the store where uncovered in drawers and closets throughout the house, tags intact.
if every picture tells a story... the story i imagined, the story revealed, and all the secrets still withheld, in this case they could tell a whole book.
etsy has a wonderful option i have come to appreciate as both a buyer and a seller - it is called destash. it allows listings to be made for the things we keep stashed away on our shelves and in boxes and drawers. valuable items intended as supplies that we never got around to using, that someone else may be needing. its a terrific option and you will find an amazing wealth of goodies by searching thru etsy with the word destash.
as you know, i have been engaged in an exhaustive new years clear-out around the apartment the past week. in the process i have come across quite a quantity of vintage bits for the shop and rediscovered a destash or two of my own to list. this charming soft sculpture ark on a wooden base (with wheels!) was intended as a portable display for softies and dolls. i have kept it carefully stored away since my days as a toy store proprietress in the hopes of using it myself or finding it a loving home.
brilliantly designed, surprisingly lightweight and easily dismantled, it holds a big crew and represents many happy memories. but as you can imagine it seems more than a little wasted hidden in a box on my porch. time to sail away, beautiful ark, and make someone's craft fair table look lovely. bon voyage!
on his way to the park to hit a few golf balls last summer, w found this three foot tall santa head with working light discarded in a nearby alley. he carried it home and carefully scrubbed the years of grime from the face, hat and beard (his nose is scratched but i gave it a digital cover-up here) and presented this harbinger of the holidays to my bro at our family thanksgiving party. i don't know who would throw santa in the garbage but i'm really glad they did. this is now a fine addition to my bro's great growing collection of vintage santas on display at our annual xmas eve party. best freebie ever.
getting ready to stock the shop. it's one of my favorite jobs.
meanwhile... i'm lovin me some:
shinzi katoh anything.
have a happy weekend!
so while i was freshening up the place i thought it would be a good time to frame some of the artwork i received as xmas gifts and some i had long been contemplating framing. i dug into the sack of ikea frames in the back of the closet and got to work. now i'm so glad i did. this gorgeous letterpress print is from elan at monkey puzzle press. the colors and textures are so pleasing, i apologize for my lame attempt at capturing them in a photo (on a gloomy day, thru reflective glass).
this beautiful and delicate embroidery by cathy cullis is actually a pin to wear, but i have envisioned it in a shadow box frame mounted on this textured white paper since the moment i laid eyes on it. i love the way it looks exactly as i imagined it. a print of my quote in pumpkin orange makes a good contrast, i think.
the amazing and prolific vivienne strauss sent me this print of the exquisite collage she created called eyes wide open. she has a brilliant way of transforming vintage images into modern statements. i can't take my eyes off of it. the tiny winged figure in the black shadow box is a painting by cathy cullis called memory. the tender image is one of my favorite things and i'm happy to have it finally properly displayed. my photograph of the fifth of july collection (awaiting framing) leans against the wall with them.
somewhere along the way i picked up a few of those removable sticky mounting tabs and found a place to display my new yardstick collection.
all i need now is for spring to come...
it's friday so let's sit back and enjoy a found photo.
these two look more like siblings or cousins than they do a couple. i love the girl's dress and her direct gaze. but i grabbed this one mostly because of the boy. those gangly limbs, dangling big hands and that gawky stance really get me. captured somewhere between childhood and fully adult, the moment is a little funny and a little heartbreaking.