Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Hidden treasure

I've been busy since I last posted, but not with anything new I can post about.  I submitted classes for next year's Bead&Button Show - the six designs I submitted last year plus two new ones using twin beads.  The other thing I have been working on was relabeling my finished pieces for sale.  It was a lot of work, but I'm happy with the results.  I think my consistent branding will look good at the Donna Lexa Memorial Art Fair I'm in next Saturday (August 18th).  Something else occurred this weekend that I'll tell you about at the end of this post.

A number of my Loose Bead Society friends sell their work.  We frequently talk about how to price, what to do with older items that haven't sold yet (keep plugging on with them or take them apart and try something different?), how to balance making the time-consuming yet gorgeous pieces with items that will more quickly sell, and how to set up our displays.

One person I always look to for neat displays is Brenda Schweder. Here's her business's Facebook page and her Etsy page for steel wire and her new "Now That's a Jig" wire jig.  She's written three books, too: Junk to Jewelry, Vintage Redux, and Steel Wire Jewelry (every time I see her books at Barnes & Noble, I take them off of the shelf and put them facing front in the "special books" section).  Whew!  After all this I'd better get a commission!

Anyway.  Brenda.  I've posted about her and her studio before and the little bit I did to help her organize (you can read it here if you missed it).  What she's very good at is getting cool vintage displays.  She takes anything and makes a display out of it - old suitcases, old boxes, metal display shelves from some old store, and tons of things.  A friend and I found wooden crates for her at a garage sale (originally for pears, I think), and they were perfect for her to put books in!  We also found her a neat wooden tool case.

Since I haven't quite found my "niche" yet, I'm always on the lookout for functional but cool-looking displays.  I've started using paper-covered boxes that I've found at Michael's, and Steve is making me wooden earring racks (which we'll be posting about soon).  I have decent bracelet displays and a few standing necklace displays, but I have these horrid white spinner racks for the bulk of my necklaces.  They're horrid because they easily tip over, and they don't nest very well, so I don't know how to store them.

Coming home from the grocery store today I was thinking about what I'm going to work on next - mini key earrings to match a black and purple necklace.  Could I make a bracelet to match?  Hmm... probably!  How am I going to display these pieces so customers will know what all is available?

I pull into the garage, open the trunk, and for some reason look across the garage:

(I opened the other door so there will be more light over there.)

Do you see it?  No?

Behind the ax is... I don't know what it is besides cool!  And vintage!  And free!

Anyone who has bought an old house knows there are hidden treasures everywhere.  In my last house, there was a picture on some sort of metal with a cow.  When I sell that house, that cow picture is coming home here, unless my renters have tossed it.  In this house I've posted about the shelved closets and built-in desk in my studio (click here for the final studio-organization post - you can click through to the others from there).  There have been many times where we thought, "Hey, it would be cool if we could..." just to find that there was a hook right there or a shelf or something.  There's a laundry chute, a milk door, and two built-in china cabinets.  And closets and shelves everywhere.  The previous owner was an architect, and he designed this house.

Apart from neat built-ins, we have found a few other hidden treasures: old suitcases (I take one of the smaller ones with me to all-day bead events so I can put my feet up after I've emptied all the goodies out), records, and now this.... box?

I carefully extracted it and took it outside:

It's about 19" long, 5 1/2 " wide, and almost 3" deep.  It was covered in cobwebs, scary-looking white nest thingies, and general been-in-the-garage-for-God-knows-how-long ickiness.  My first thought was, "I'll ask Steve to clean it up for me!"  My second thought was, "He'll roll his eyes at me."  My third thought was, "I want to post about it, so I'd better do it myself!"

I got a few wet paper towels and carefully cleaned all the gross stuff out (and off of the back!).  Outside.  I even threw the paper towels away outside.  Just in case there was anything still incubating in the scary white nest thingies.  I brought it inside and washed my hands.  I then went over it with a disinfectant wipe and washed my hands again.  Because of my allergies, of course.  Not because I was afraid of it or anything.

It's all nice and clean now:

Here's a view of the slightly beat-up side (which is what you want in a vintage piece, I think):

Now, what do I do with it?  I could hang it on the wall and put stuff in it, but I think not.  It won't be good for my original quandary about displaying sets, but... wait... KITS!  This will be perfect for displaying kits at the Milwaukee Bead Show, and I bet I can come up with something to put in it at other shows, too.

I don't know why I didn't see it before, but I'm glad I did.  I'll have to take another look at what's in the attic!  What do you have in your house?  If you find anything cool, send me a picture at, and I'll post it here.


Now, on to what happened this weekend.  I've gone back and forth on if I should post about it or not.  Many of my regular readers already know.  Steve and I decided not to publicly post about it on Facebook, but should I post here?  Yes, I think so.  This blog is not only about what I do but also about how I do it, where I do it, and who I do it with.  Thorns along with the roses.

Simoon passed away Saturday night.  She had a large mass in and around her intestines that would have been more than difficult to remove, plus her spleen looked odd.  We decided to not put her through that, and we held her when she went to sleep.

She was my companion for over 14 years, and she loved to be right in the middle of what I was doing.  You've seen that in my chainmaille post as well as my studio posts.  I looked through all of my pictures of her so I could post one you haven't seen.  There were many where she was just hanging out or grooming, of course, but there were quite a number of pictures where she was on top of my supplies.

These pictures are "quintessential" Simoon:

Big, cat-sized open space on the desk, but she has to sit on the messy side!

Needless to say, I had to move on to something else.  (This project was the altered book I made for Mom a few years ago.  See the posts here:  part 1, part 2, part 3, and part 4).

She had a ready, loud purr that made me content while I worked (when I eked out a space where I could work).

There is a more-than-cat-sized hole in my studio and in my heart.  Pixel is doing his best to comfort me by sitting on my lap and jumping on my desk, but Simoon will be missed.

I have a blank book that I put quotes and poems in.  I'll post about that soon.  One of the things I love about it is a quote on the spine:  "The soul would have no rainbow if the eyes had no tears."

On to happier things tomorrow.

1 comment:

  1. I love your cool vintage find. I also love that you shared your personal story... the loss of a family member R.I.P. Simoon