A Very Crafty Christmas, Part II: Transformations

I suppose a New Year is all about transformation. Old becomes new again. The Future becomes The Present. Blah, blah. You get the idea.

I’ve been doing my share of creating lately, only some of which has been posted. Pictures of “The Castle” are still outstanding (mainly because “The Castle” is still under construction…) but that’s not the only thing I’ve been working on.

For example:

Merry Christmas canvas

My only regret is that I didn’t go with green to match the new stockings and tree skirt. Next time.

In addition to making new, I’ve been making over. Which means I’ve become one of “those people” trolling the thrift stores. But let’s back up a few decades.

I can’t tell you the number of hours my siblings and I spent as children, lurking in musty flea markets and thrift stores, enduring many a glare — and sometimes a scolding if we breathed wrong — from a watchful merchant as we waited…and waited…and waited for my mother to stop staring at JUNK and take us home already!

To be fair, my mother was not really an enthusiastic shopper but she had an insatiable lust for books and nary the means to satisfy. Keep in mind that these excursions predated Amazon by about 20 years and our public library was a pretty small affair. With limited resources, used books were the way to go. Any thrift store or flea market with a passable supply of dusty old books read like a tragedy to us: we knew the wait would be interminable.

Occasionally, the boredom would abate when we found something interesting to look at or do. All it really took was an inattentive shopkeeper and we managed a little DIY respite from boredom. Or some level of gothic horror.

I have a vivid memory of a certain flea market in a dilapidated building in downtown Rogers.  Time has obscured the particulars into little more than the impression of the maze of oddly-shaped rooms, sloping board floors, and creaky staircases, but I remember my sister and I finding a certain painting, or perhaps a poster, that terrified us. I don’t have a very clear recollection of the image itself: it was a woman’s face, half-covered — or maybe buried — by something. It seemed she was drowning or smothering.

To understand the enormity, you should know my greatest fear at that age was — wait for it — quicksand. I’m not sure what TV show I might have seen (Gilligan’s Island, maybe?) that featured this rare doom but it was a source of unspeakable dread and many nightmares for a good bit of my childhood. Anyway, something in that painting seemed to indicate quicksand and that was it for me. F-r-e-a-k-O-u-t-C-i-t-y. We never wanted to go back to that place.

In retrospect, we kids reveled in the fruits of Mother’s labor via an ample supply of books of all kinds. It was enough to infect at least my sister and I with an equally serious case of bibliophilia. Thank you, Mom!

And I eventually got over that quicksand thing.

Eeek. How’s that for a rabbit trail?

Back to transformations, not only has the New Year come upon us, I have become my mother. I’m not ashamed. I love dragging my kids to thrift stores.

Actually, I hate dragging my kids to thrift stores. (Yes, Mom, we thought you did it to annoy us on purpose. I had to become a mom to learn the truth…) But I love going to thrift stores and I usually have to bring my kids. I suppose this is the equivalent of hazing in the Greek system. “I was hazed and now it’s your turn, dirtbag…”

[Confession: Though I did go Greek, I never was actually hazed. I never went to prom either.]

Anyway, my kids usually hate going to thrift stores. And yet it feeds some nascent urge in me to save money and rescue beautiful (or soon to beautiful) things from the company of kitten figurines and tacky dishes. And when it comes down to what my kids want and what I want…well, we know who wins. Sorry, boys.

Primed with Christmas money and the critical mass of ten weeks’ stifled shopping urges, I’ve been thrifting like a lunatic lately. I have bought lots of kids’ books but I’ve also found a number of useful household items, not to mention a plethora of fodder for my creative wheels. Example follows.


Mirro Canister Set - BeforeThis is a great Mirro canister set I found at Salvation Army. It’s actually copper-finished aluminum but the copper has aged to a lovely pale pink finish which allowed me to look past the hideous wooden knobs. A little cleaning and some new knobs, and voila!


Mirro Canister Set - After

And I’ve by no means done. I’ve laid in a whole supply of “canvases” with which to fool, projects that will likely carry me into the next decade.  Some of my favorites:

Love it. And I had to snap the other side the sake of posterity:

Oh, yes. That would be 99 cents. The Chatelaine loves a bargain.

A great lidded glass jar. Another 99 center.

This canister set was more than 99 cents. But not much.

What’s better than one ceramic boat? Two ceramic boats.

I love these Bormioli Rocco jars. I would never deign to use them for anything so commonplace as canning.

Recycled glass soap dispenser. I feel a monogram coming on…

I’m obsessed with vintage grain sacks but they are incredibly hard to find (and priced to match), so I was thrilled to find this cotton tablecloth with a similar woven stripe.

Yes, this one’s a dog. But it cost less than a latte and paint works wonders. Wait and see…

Let the transformations commence. See you in 2020.

About The Chatelaine

The Dragonslayer's Wife. Mother of two Knights of The Realm. Keeper of the castle. Dame of The Order of Goldfish. Empress of Errands. Mistress of Leftovers. Writer betimes. Luckiest woman in the world.
This entry was posted in Crafting, Decorating, Egocentrism. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to A Very Crafty Christmas, Part II: Transformations

  1. Renee Oelschlaeger says:

    Okay, here comes the mea culpa, but my regrets are few now that I see what a creative (and visionary) person you’ve become.

    The dilapidated building with its “maze of oddly-shaped rooms, sloping board floors, and creaky staircases” was, in fact, the Rogers Little Theater building … hence, the sloping floors and oddly-shaped rooms. I seem to recall the theater seats were still in place and they’d built flea market booths around the perimeter.

    Your memories of its dreadful state are totally accurate (perhaps even understated). For a look at its rebirth, wander off to this link: http://rogerslittletheater.org/

    And who knows? That scary picture of a woman to which you refer might have been an original fixture from the theater’s art deco days when it was called The Victory Theater.

  2. Pingback: Bargain of the Week: Books | Raising Camelot

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