Last week, I found a huge galvanized tub at a local thrift store. This is the quintessential background prop for every great antique-y country magazine spread that I ever drooled over, and I was thrilled to find it. We were hosting my mom's birthday party that weekend, so I decided that Coca Cola and Moon Pies would be waiting for our guests when they arrived.
As we prepared for the party, my husband, who grew up in the country, was completely puzzled and wanted to know why a container that "probably held horse feed" at one time was suddenly the star of my party. He suggested that it might be better to put it on the floor, or better yet, outside, because it might leak.
I informed him that I had thoroughly scrubbed and bleached it, in case it used to hold, I don't know... body parts or some other farm-like thing that they never show in the magazines, and that it hadn't leaked at all. We compromised and put it on the side table.
When my family arrived, everyone was thrilled to see coca cola and moon pies on ice in a big galvanized tub! Hah! And my sisters and I had a nice long conversation about how great it was. I think my husband learned his lesson: Don't mess with your city-slicker wife and her faux country sensibilities.
On the main table (where the lowly galvanized tub did not belong) We had a centerpiece, cake and presents. My daughter Sylvan made this cool explosion box to hold birthday greetings. My neighbor Jill showed us a totally awesome explosion box that she'd made for her dad for Father's Day, and Sylvan and I had been wanting to try it. Sylvan put one of her handmade miniature cakes in the middle. I think it turned out great.
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What is real?
"Real isn't how you are made," said the Skin Horse. "It's a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real." "Does it hurt?" asked the rabbit. "Sometimes," said the Skin Horse, for he was always truthful. "When you are Real you don't mind being hurt." "Does it happen all at once, like being wound up," he asked, "or bit by bit?" "It doesn't happen all at once," said the Skin Horse. "You become. It takes a long time. That's why it doesn't happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in your joints and very shabby. But these things don't matter at all, because once you are Real you can't be ugly, except to people who don't understand." -By Margery Williams, from "The Velveteen Rabbit"
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I love hunting through thrift stores and salvage yards to find inspiration for my pieces. In most cases, I don’t know exactly what I’m looking for, but I know when I’ve found it because of the little jolt of excitement that I feel when I see it. It’s fun to find items that have been cast off because they are no longer beautiful or useful to their original owner, and give them a new identity. Once I sit down to start an altered piece, I feel like I am solving a puzzle as I try to fit parts together into a cohesive whole.
My finished pieces feel "real" to me in the Velveteen Rabbit sense of the word.