Reading one of my favorite blogs
today, I thought it would be interesting to wander around my house and take a good look at some of the very things that clutter my life in a good way: sugar bowls and vases, artwork and favorite bowls, all the things that make the layers of life a little more interesting. Things that have some memory attached to them.
Glancing over the top of my computer screen, two old prints from my Great-grandfather's brewery pub in Waterloo, Liverpool (England) immediately catch my eye. They're advertising prints, hand-colored and show some guys playing cards, one of them cheating. I have no idea what they're advertising and when I google the signatures, I come up empty, although one of them looks like the Pears soap signature. Not sure, though. They need reframing and are going to be hung in the basement when my husband gets his wine cellar up and running. Right now it’s just crates and odd bottles of wine, but we’re getting closer…walls have been finished, floor has been tiled, great lighting is in and soon the shelving will go up. And then we’ll hang the prints. As long as I can remember, these prints were in my parent’s home. Then, a good few years after my Dad died, my mother decided to sell her Washington, DC home and move back to England, permanently. We were still living in Wisconsin, so I made the 15-hour drive shortly before she jumped continents and brought these prints back north with me. Now they're in California and almost six years after moving here, they're still waiting to be hung. My great-grandfather succumbed to the solitary lure of the bottle and died young. These prints were in a closet in one of my great-aunt's homes until moving to D.C. in the 1950s.
And while I was training my camera on the prints above, I noticed the copper tub by the fireplace. This is used as a woodstore now but it originally saw use as a copper boiler (I think). After that it served as storage for recycling newspapers and bits of kindling for our dear friends (The Malones) who now live near Asheville, NC and no doubt wish they had it again. They gave it to us when they were moving to Florida and thought, I'm sure, that they'd never have use for any fireplace storage again.
And then there's this dear little (maybe 5" high) bud vase...one of a long-ago broken pair, this one just surviving, but irreparably damaged anyway. Still, I keep it because when I close my eyes I can see them sitting on my mother's dressing table in her bedroom. I always put one flower in this vase and a leaf from any random plant that just drapes over the edge, covering its imperfection.
And then that first autumn in Milwaukee when we drove down to Alpine Valley where there was some random Oktoberfest/antique's fair. Roger fell in love with the silver, filigree over cut glass vase. It was affordable because of a hairline crack and was originally part of the Ringling Bros. estate in Baraboo, Wisconsin
. Or so we were told. I used to keep it polished when the formality of our old house demanded such a thing. Now I just bung it up on the shelf with other vases and polish it when the mood strikes. You can see that rarely happens. To its left is a 60s retro(ie) bud vase that my son gave me. To the right is Japanese teapot that I've used once, though its shape charms me. This picture tells me one thing. That shelf is a mess and needs a more artistic touch. Tomorrow...
And used everyday is my daughter's effort from a woodworking class she was forced to do at age 12. Emblazoned with her initials, but given to us as a present, it has been used faithfully for the last 25 years. I love this.
And then this portrait of an ancient Asian man, done by our son as a Christmas present to my husband six or seven years ago. It sits on our bookcase in the living room and is well loved.
And here's my Great Auntie Irene's sewing table. Intrically carved, the top is damaged in a way that looks intentional...almost saw cut. Its style is pretty much the antithesis of ours, but there is an alcove in our hallway into which this table fits quite perfectly.
And here's an art-deco sugar bowl given me by my long-dear friend in D.C., Kathy. It is used faithfully and reminds me daily of our friendship.
And there's so much more. But it's an interesting exercise. Looking, really looking at one's things and then taking the time to remember.