Posts Tagged With: treasures


I’m an admitted collectiholic, but there is no 12 step program for one such as me. It may be from having depression era parents who were savers and never threw anything out that had a hint of future usefulness. It is a philosophy that suits me, and spills over into everything I do.

If I have two of something, it begins to look like a collection and I end up with 15 t-pots, or 5,000 magazines. (You think I’m kidding.)

DSC04174 (Copy)The problem comes when you run out of room. I have a wall of shelves in by office. Every picture album, every vacation scrapbook, albums of the features I had published, souvenirs, nick-knacks. Then over the albums, I place wall hangings because there is no room left on the walls to hang anything. I have 15 pieces, paintings and artifacts of some type hanging on the wall of my office.

DSC04175 (Copy)No matter how narrow a wall might be, it has something on it, like these beaded rings from my trip to Africa.

DSC04192 (Copy)If there is a wall, it is filled from floor to ceiling. And, I love and enjoy my treasures. And for many years, with growing children, I resorted to easier to store items made of paper. Just yesterday, while assembling  several different stamp collections to go to the thrift store, I found  notes that made me laugh:

HANZOFF!  Or I’ll sic my dirty P.E. clothes on you-they walk under their own power.

and:  Mary kenny hitted me   sally and kris wont play with me.

Silly stuff.

And, I’ve kept my mother’s name collection. She would sit with her cup of coffee in the morning and read the paper. Her rule was to only collect names of people whose last name was an adjective, verb or noun. Like Earl Silver, Rita House, Cathleen Clinker, Susanne Doubled. It had to be spelled correctly.  Then she expanded it to humorous name juxtapositions like: Mrs. Rum divorced her husband and assumed her maiden name, of Selma Sober. Warren Nipple married Carla Breast. Jean Sucker married Roscoe Candybar.  Dr. Michael Fox is an animal psychologist. I put it out for the thrift store, but took it back. Who would want something like that? She has a couple thousand names in her book. I finally decided nobody would want it and I loved her beautiful writing and took it back. See?  Downsizing is tough for some of us.

DSC04194 (Copy) (Copy)My entire brick wall has pictures of birds on it.

DSC04179 (Copy)My son Doug built me five floor to ceiling cases to hold my magazine collection. I had to take a pick-up load of magazines to the dump. I’ve had guests who remove and examine every magazine.

I have plenty offers of help. People who say, I’ll help you. If you haven’t used it in a year, its time to get rid of it. OMIGOD. I shudder and quake at the thought. But, I know it is freeing and that my kids have warned me, “we are just gonna toss this stuff.”

It is painful and conversely freeing to get rid of  “stuff”. Jim estimates 5 years. I’m hoping for two.

It is something I have to do and can enjoy my stuff one last time before it gets tossed



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The minute we drove up to VIVIAN ALEXANDER,  a museum  and work shop of Fabrage’ eggs, I knew it was someplace special. Two rescued statues flank the door of the museum, and a rusted punched tin panel topped the doorway. Anyone who reads my blog knows I love rusty stuff and rescued anything.99% silver

Alex Caldwell, the Alexander half of Vivian Alexander, showed us into his workshop. Above you see an egg of 99% silver being decorated with whatever he decides to put on it. The silver is a powdered silver called filings. Alex is an engineer/artist. A great deal of planning and work go into transforming a bird egg into a work of art that is strong and useable such as a purse or clutch.emu, reha, and goose eggs

These are the eggs he uses, a reha, emu and goose eggs.

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Alex discovered a process of enameling over the silver and you will see how that beautiful silver pattern he calls guiluche shows through the enamel.

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Then we entered his showroom of items currently for sale. Their beauty takes your breath away.

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Alex makes a series of  affordable goose egg ornaments for Christmas  and Mardi Gras , and Easter that people like to collect.

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Since this is Louisiana, Alex put alligator skin on this purse, a little salute to his home state.

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And this one.

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There was so much beauty on the table. I picked the one I liked best and… gulp, bought it. It reminded me of Goudi’s work. And, in a fever I bought three other pieces as well.

Liza Caldwell

When I went to pay for it, I learned that this piece was made by Liza Caldwell. And, she hugged it and kissed it and we cried together. “It is my favorite piece. I don’t know if I can part with it. I worked so darned hard on this piece, two years.”  It is now my treasure to share. Alex told me, “Don’t let it sit on a shelf. Use it. Set it on the table and people will want to see it.”  And, I will.

I took many more pictures and if you want to see an album of my photos, you can click this link:

Now, I’ve saved dessert for last.

my favorite

Alex showed us  into the museum. Here is the most beautiful piece of the collection, bar none. I’m grateful to have a picture of it to enjoy. The lighting, mirrors and  bright brass made photography difficult, but he gave us every advantage with great patience and told us some great stories of these pieces as well. Several of the pieces in the museum are  Carl Fabrage’ designs. Alex learned from Fabrage’ and has become world-famous as a teacher, lecturer and expert on Fabrage’. I thought like Tiffany, someone was still making Fabrage’. It is Alex.

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Alex holds a beautiful piece from the museum collection for us to photograph.

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Alex was summoned by Hollywood to make a replica of the most famous Fabrage’ egg which was featured in the movie, Oceans 12. The egg was made for the Russian Czarina’s coronation and is called the Imperial Coronation Egg. It opened to reveal a horse drawn carriage. Forbes owned the largest collection of Fabrage’ eggs and sold off  his collection for 120 million dollars. Alex estimates this piece from his collection brought 28 million dollars in 2004. It now belongs to Consuela Vanderbilt, the Duchess of Marlboro. He values his replica at $9000.

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This piece is encrusted with real diamonds and rubies.

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Notice the rooster popping out of the top of this treasure.

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In this watch, the head of the snake marks the hour as the numbers rotate around the circumference of the egg. Amazing pieces and amazing stories of his world renowned talent. An egg returned to him for the museum by a local buyer because it endured a flood during Ike. The Smirnoff egg, commissioned to have a bottle of Smirnoff popping out of it. And much more. When you visit Southern Louisiana, make sure to stop in to see the work of this amazing master craftsman, Alexaner Caldwell of Maurice, Louisiana. You can check his website, which I haven’t done yet.

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Life is short. Art is forever.

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Normally, I blog every day.  However, I flew home for a family reunion that I host every year.  After a great deal of preparation to entertain, feed and coordinate a three-day event that peaked at 58 people on Saturday July 7th, I can truthfully say I meant to blog . Instead,  I  enjoyed the whole chaotic experience; the  bedlam, cooking, eating, visiting, drinking, snacking, games. The skinned knees, overtired kids, frisbees knocking over your beer, getting squirted by the errant squirt gun. We laughed at  the child who fell asleep while eating and the treasures placed on the totem.   There were swim suits and towels drying on every railing and chair; errant socks and shirts in every room and on the ground.  Whose shoes are these?  Tiptoeing around rooms full of sleeping people on the floor, in the closet  and on makeshift beds;   Listening to the  clanging of horseshoes;  the late night laughter during card games;  watching the  breakneck dancing by lantern  light; thinking I might get some sleep tonight. Blogging was out of the question. In fact, I couldn’t even  concentrate on taking pictures, I handed the camera off and asked others to do it for me.  Here are a few photos they took:

Prep time comes first.



Then a bit of kickback time.


That first night, the guys played horseshoes until they couldn’t see them anymore.

The kids danced by lantern light and raced around playing hide-and-go-seek until the first tumble in the dark brought the game to an end. (No serious injuries.)

The next day, some serious work on the totem commenced.

The small fry squared off for the squirt gun wars.

There is never a winner or loser. Everyone just stays wet and cool in the heat.

An impromptu opera in the kitchen.

A card game before heading for the flume.

The flume water was the lowest I’ve seen it in 35 years.  So low some of the kids needed help getting in instead of out of the flume.

But, everyone got to ride and get cool even if they did scrape the bottom in places.

First timers need a little coaxing.

Someone was expecting to get “tossed” but the water was too low.

Tandem helps keep your butt off the bottom in low spots.

There is nothing quite like tubing the flume for all ages.

All that fluming takes energy and a few snacks afterward are standard.

After the flume, everyone got seriously into decorating the totem.

The ladder reaches to the very top.

Some people  like to decorate and let someone else attach their treasures.

And some like to be up on the ladder as much as possible.

A budding artist turned a piece of wire wrapped in yarn into a rattlesnake.

By the end of the day, there was little room on the totem.

No one took a picture of the cooks nor the over laden table. Everyone brought a dish to share and we shared a sumptuous feast. But, part of the clean-up crew enjoyed a bit of laughter as they washed up a mountain of dishes.

The rest of the day was the same. Kids just all out running, jumping and having a good time. The rest of us wishing we had half their energy, enjoying the food, and watching the action.

And, after the s’mores, a few sparklers lit up the night.


I think I had a bed that night and slept until the coffee crowd came in for their cuppa wake me up in the morning.



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As I get ready to leave home, I look about at some of my favorite things.  I know I’m going to miss my Covered Wagon wall hanging. Let me explain. The Hal Humber, Resnich, Kessner families came West over the mountains in a covered wagon. A slew of crazy quilt blocks came with them. My friend, Mary Lou Humber, restored many of the blocks and made a full sized quilt with them. Four blocks were left over and she gave them to me.
The four blocks were in rough shape, uneven, frayed. A couple pieces shredded while working on them and had to be replaced by modern materials that fit with old materials. Material from my husband’s old ties matched quite well. Now, the wall hanging has become even more personal.
One block had to be augmented on one side to make it fit with the other three. Pieces of lace cover frayed areas and help hold the piece together. I rescued little bits of lace from an old slip and a pajama top to sew onto the blocks.
Crazy quilts are known for their creative stitching and odd shaped materials. The philosophy, so I’m told, was why cut off even a precious point of this beautiful material when you can save it all? Years ago, people even re-used thread when taking apart a garment. Thread was tougher stuff then.
So, yes, I’ll miss my wall hanging, but know I have it to come back to. It represents, friendship, (Mary Lou), family, (my husband’s ties) and my own work. A labor of love; a treasure.
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