Antique Bookcase

Antique Bookcase with desk. Solid oak, decorated (over-decorated?) with applied flourishes, carved front, brass studs and fittings. Beveled mirror.

I really don’t know what to call this. The center door opens to reveal a desk. If any of my readers can identify the style, I’d be grateful.

My parents bought this in the early 60’s and I loved it. However, at some point it was given to my sister. I was sad about that, but heck, she liked it too. Then one year for my birthday, she shipped it across the country to me. Must have cost a fortune. Was that nice, or what?! The brass is the pits to clean. No wonder modern furniture is so featureless; who has time to polish? Nevertheless, I treasure it. Take a gander at some of the detail below.

Sentimental “Old Master” Painting

“Old Master” portrait, girl with a pink ribbon in her hair, in the line of the famous Pinkie. The back of the frame is old wood; the visible gold trim appears to be gesso, but it’s some sort of very early plastic I’m guessing. The pink inset trim is velvet.

This masterpiece was found by my grandmother in the junkyard in Salina, Kansas. She was an eccentric, my grandmother. As a child I didn’t like to go to her house because she never had anything entertaining for kids. The best thing was the window to the front door, which was round, suggesting a ship.

But when I became a teenager, she taught me how to bake cinnamon rolls from scratch. I’ve kept the recipe through the years; written on the back of an envelope, it was my talisman for success. I still can bake killer rolls. Her advice included: “Keep the dough loose, loose when you knead” and “Always rinse the measuring cup and add to the dough so as not to waste a drop.” (Sounds like a woman who would haunt a junk yard, rescuing treasures, don’t you think?)

Black Cat Canister

Black Cat Decanter or Cruet. Research shows it might be Shafford redware, although the Shafford cats have green open eyes, and this one has little “v” slits. About 10″ tall, red paint intact. The red bow has streamers down the back.

This belonged to my husband’s grandmother (whose ring I was given for our engagement). Odd the things you want to save. Of all the things in her house, this was what my husband wanted.

He was close to her. She took him bowling and then to a coffee shop, Ships, in Los Angeles. He remembers that his sister saw Robert Wagner there. He never saw a movie star, but the times spent with his grandmother were special.

Turkish Box

Turkish Box w/ painted feast
Small treasure box. Camel bone, hand painted with a feast in a tent. 2 ¾ by 1½ inches. Bought in the Istanbul Grand Bazaar.

This particular box belonged to my mother and came to me when she died. We had toured Turkey together and in Istanbul, we each bought one on these tiny treasures. Mine, however, had been ruined.

You see, the boxes are carved of camel bone and my dog didn’t differentiate between her bone and a souvenir. The little box was well chewed when I discovered it.

The same dog once destroyed a small painting by my next door neighbor, Stephen, a well-known Colorado artist. My husband called me at work to say the dog had eaten the painting. Not the entire paper, mind you. Just the area that was painted. Huh?

Turns out the dog wasn’t an art critic; Stephen had used egg tempura. Just the thing for a doggy snack.

Why this particular blog?

Writers need blogs, or so I have read. I’m a writer, why not blog about writing? Because there are hundreds of sites by writers with more information and experience.

I was a ballet dancer, why not blog about dance? Ah, for me, that’s in the sweet past.

While pondering a topic, I wrote a novel based on a stack of family papers: A letter from a lawyer and a paragraph intended to be read in court. A certificate of Guardianship. Tiny photos. They told the unknown story of my grandparent’s lives; if Mother hadn’t given them to me, the story would have been lost.

I began thinking about the many objects in my house. I love the antiques handed down through the family, the travel mementos, the colors and materials and shapes, the home they build around me. But it’s the underlying stories that make me smile or sigh.

I realized I had found my blog’s focus. I hope it will flourish.

Update: I’ve been writing this blog for a couple years now and it has mutated into travel, another of my loves. I hope my words and pictures will offer the reader unusual insights into oft-covered countries. If you want to jump right in, click on Travel.