Wide eyes drew me in. Eyes the colour of sea glass and molten gold set down by a painter’s touch. I coveted her story, listened within silence.
I studied her eyes, eyes that appeared to see beyond the realm of ordinary, sensed her bewilderment. A glance as if asking: why is it that others can’t see how light casts shadow, how waves kiss the shore, how a smile deceives?
Lips, slightly pursed, held tangled secrets, if only she dared speak. Her side swept hair, a mix of caramel and honey, suggested an elegant yet strong ancestral line. Scandinavian vigour lingered like a shield to cover fine bones.
Eleanor. Salvaged from a Vancouver vintage shop. This is her given name, penciled to the back of a plywood board. Painted in oil, she remains bespoke for all time.
I brought her home.
“I am intrigued by the smile upon your face, and the sadness within your eyes”
― Jeremy Aldana
Four objects. My grandmother’s side table, a tarnished silver jug, always- a bouquet of flowers, my mother’s oil painting. Simple luxuries.
“I live in a world of yesterdays,” she said.
He smiled, “So do I.”
“Obsessed by a fairy tale, we spend our lives searching for a magic door and a lost kingdom of peace.”~ Eugene O’Neil
Salvaged from a shed, the door is a simple piece of architecture. That’s probably the reason it caught my fancy, once upon a time. Years later, I’m still bewitched by the simple lines and the Art Deco glass. Even the cracked ceramic “push” plates lend charm and whimsy to the vintage door.
Neglected, it weathered. Watermarks left discolouration on the grain that sanding couldn’t remove. I painted it. Lightly. Forgive me.
Two thin slips of Annie Sloan chalk paint in Pure White took the door from dull to bright. A light touch from the sanding block, distressed and smoothed the surface. After a coat of Annie Sloan clear wax, the polishing cloth skated over the grain.
The broken panes of glass were removed using needle nose pliers (Safety Tip- wear gloves). One cracked pane remains. This glass is known as “leadlight” and is associated with architecture that is geometric in detail. Small sections of glass are supported in lead cames. Unfortunately, leadlight glass is expensive to replace and today, there are few people trained in the art of repair.
I stand before the door and close both eyes. My hand pushes upon the ceramic plate. The door leaning against the wall opens to show a wooded path. In the distance is a cottage. Rays of sunlight sparkle between the evergreen boughs. I remember.
Water tumbles beyond the cottage grounds. Hummingbirds whir. Closer still, I see wild roses in bloom and ivy inching up the crumbling brick chimney. And there you are. Seated beside the window, warmed by the stove, you lift a cup of tea to your lips. Our eyes meet. Do you remember?
I stand upon the threshold and wait for what seems an eternity. You smile and beckon me to enter. “I’ve been waiting,” you say. “Sit down and talk awhile.”
“The man who comes back through the Door in the Wall will never be quite the same as the man who went out. He will be wiser but less sure, happier but less self-satisfied, humbler in acknowledging his ignorance yet better equipped to understand the relationship of words to things, of systematic reasoning to the unfathomable mystery which it tries, forever vainly, to comprehend.”
― Aldous Huxley, The Doors of Perception
Years ago I discovered this door at an auction. The auction site was far from the city and “Junking” wasn’t the swishy chic business that it is today. I can not explain the allure to vintage. It is a portal to the past. Perhaps “old”appears truer, faithful, stronger. Or do certain pieces conjure an emotional response? Mirrored moments of love lost, coveted memories, and poignant sorrow from regret. That which we toss or lose, from people to things.
All of the above musings ring true. I also appreciate the dedication to craft, whether it be writing, painting, music or woodworking. The rewrites, brushstrokes, the sound bites, the turn of a leg or the dove tailed edges of a drawer, all suggest old world quality and showcase the artisan’s passion. Maybe it’s the passion piece that grabs, an ageless love that forever shines.
Yet what is it about a door? Throw open the door to reunion. Boot through the door in the heat of crime. Lock the door. Unlock it. Shut the door.
There is an old soul that lives in me. She flows through my eyes to show the house where the door once stood. “Open the door,” she whispers and my hand reaches forth to push upon the cracked ceramic plate. We stand in the kitchen, voyeurs of a life. She gestures to the heart of the room. A wooden table graces the centre. Flour is scattered on top, a rolling-pin waits. We’ve come home.
I recall that day in the valley. The auction house was empty of people. Cast off pieces from lives lived dumped along hallways and atop sideboards. Did anyone care? The door leaned against a wall. Solid oak, it waited. Tall amidst a short pile of old metal watering cans, wooden handled rakes and a box of battered licence plates, it stood out-of-place. There was something bespoke about its simple yet majestic presence. Was it the art deco glass that elevated the door from humble to proud?
I paused, fell in love, tossed in a bid and left with a door.
Sadly, I left the door in an aging shed. For thirty years it lay on a wooden floor. Forgotten, it languished in darkness, gathering dust. Spider egg sacs clung to the edges and nestled in the crooks and crannies. Moisture weathered the finish. It waited for someone to remember.
Until yesterday. Yesterday I wrestled it into the light. Gently, I cleaned and polished the glass, dusted off the egg sacs and sanded the oak.
Magic flowed and imagination sparked. We entered into a dance of sorts. My hands held the sandpaper block as fingers pressed and moved in step with the oak grain. I stepped away and judged. Far too lovely to lay dismissed in a shed.
An architectural piece, it will serve as a symbol of hope, “One door closes, another opens.” Its quiet presence states, grace others that stand on the threshold.
What is this door’s story?
I envision a rambling estate in the English countryside. Laughter rings from the cutting garden. Wee children flit as fairies do amongst the hollyhocks and sunflowers. A man walks the long gravel path to the once well appointed home. He lifts his hat and knocks upon the door. It opens…
I’ve spent the better part of a hell hot summer, wander lusting from vintage re dos to pennant banners. These creative pursuits steal time away from serious wordsmithing. Perhaps this is a wise decision; a necessary rest from deep thought and aching introspection. The “story” writings remain tucked away until autumn returns. Her first kiss, a delightful, wakening chill, will be just enough to spur me forward and back to the keyboard.
In the meantime, I revisit and refurbish my living and personal spaces into what can aptly be described as an elegant mess. This is fine by me.
Hope you wander out this evening, sit beneath the stars, and wonder at the Blue Moon.
I’ll let wikipedia explain the phenom named, Blue Moon,
You saw me standing alone
Without a dream in my heart”
Posh Paper Pennants
Ever wondered what to do with leftover card stock pieces from an unfinished scrapbook project? If you whirl like me, you have the best intentions, gather the supplies, only to start and leave the project for another date. And another. And another.
A talented lady invited me for coffee one morning and showed off some of her recent pennant styles. You may recall this same talented woman is the mind behind the vintage cloth pennants I posted on an earlier post. It is the found and repurposed fabrics, the details, and her design flair that make these pennants so bespoke.
Pennants and templates are trending on Pinterest. Here is a link to several boards,
Paper Pennants are a clever way to reuse and repurpose some of your leftover paper supplies. I purchased the cardstock for both pennants from a local Dollar Store and selected trending shades and colours that I am fond of: pinks, turquoise, and shades of grey. Of course you could make these pennants from fabric scraps, worn jeans, beautiful cards, black and white photocopied photographs… Let your imagination loose.
If you choose to create pennants from fabric, consider placing Wonder Under between the diamond pennants to stiffen and seal the fabric. Here is a link to Walmart,
The purchased fabric was from, Hobby Lobby and Fabricana.
At home I put the generations to work tracing diamond pennant templates onto cardstock. We chose seven small pennants per string. Sharp scissors keep the diamonds “perfect.” Fold your diamonds in half and make a sharp crease. Using a small hole punch from Michaels’ Crafts, I punched two openings into the top ends of the folded diamond.
Gather your twine. Lay your pennants onto a table. Pattern, number, and space as you wish. Cut a length of twine, five times the length of your pennant. I do this purposely; I would rather have a string too long than too short. Tie off one of the ends of twine. I make a knotted loop to attach to a small nail or push pin.
Thread your pennants onto the twine and space them as desired. A voice niggled in my mind, “Posh it up.” A bag of fabric provided the style oomph. I tore some bits of coordinating fabric and knotted the scrapped ties in between the spaced pennants, adding two fabric ties to complete each end of the pattern. Decide on the desired length. Tie off the opposite end of twine and hang your pennant.
These card stock pennants are the perfect addition to a baby gift, celebration, or event. Pure whimsy and shabby vintage enhance and warm any space. Pennants created by loving hands add homemade glamour, a sense of nostalgia to any space, and silently whisper their stories forth.
A Pretty Little Thing.
“There was no where to go but everywhere,
so just keep on rolling under the stars.”
~ Jack Kerouac, On the Road
Found at a local flea market~ this lovely “madmen” style Samsonite suitcase. I should have walked away, instead I lingered. It stood on the grass, bumped up beside a stack of empty gilded frames and a chippy press back chair.
“May I open it?”
The vendor smiled and nodded. The lining of the case was in excellent condition; someone had second thoughts, ideas of salvage, and replaced the original satin liner. My gaze drifted to the outer shell of the case, unmarked, just tired and worn. A tea stained shade of off white. I eyed the tag that hung from the handle. It read, stamped in ink, eight dollars. The price was right.
How to fashion it yet preserve the story?
What pulls me in? Do I wish to wander? Whose delicate fingers gripped the handle? I imagine a lady owned the suitcase. A secretary. Now, we’d say, Administrative Assistant. Was it packed with just enough for a racy weekend rendezvous? Or was the handle gripped tightly by the fingers of a daughter estranged from family? There was an urgency or a wish for convenience; the owner flew.
Once home, I place the suitcase on a wooden table. From the cupboard I lift a familiar can half filled with annie sloan chalk paint (Pure White). The rich and creamy chalk paint covers the case in two coats. Warmth from the summer sun hastens the dry. I dabble grey paint overtop a royal stencil motif, only to discover the motif is upside down when the case stands right side up. It’s one of those days when simple becomes complex. Two more coats of chalk paint cover the “mistake.” Light wax, rubbed and polished into the surface of the case forms a protective cover. The coveted stories, safe.
Where to put this little gem and what to tuck inside? There are two luggage tickets secreted inside the case, left by an unknown hand. The worn tags read, PACIFIC WESTERN,” YKA, KAMLOOPS, BC.
My imagination’s muse senses a “story” coming on…