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Treasure Hunting

Archive for March 2012

Parlez-vous Junque?

When you walk into Roost, the new vintage emporium on Main Avenue and Division, the first thing you'll see is a trunk filled with letters and papers. But what makes the papers so interesting is that they are a lifetime of correspondence, keepsakes and photographs of a woman who moved from France to Spokane after World War II.

Never have I wished I could speak, and especially read, French as when I was pulling out yellowed pieces of onionskin paper and AirMail envelopes covered with small, neat, lines of handwriting.

Owner, Dena Kieffer, told me the contents of the trunk were all from one estate and I spent at least half an hour rummaging through the ephemera.

Finally, when I'd run out of time, I committed to a folded sheet of stationary ($2) and a souvenir postcard book of photographs of the S.S. Normandie. ($12)

I chose the letter because it is the perfect size to scan and save. I'm going to use it for several decorating projects I have in mind.  The postcard book is a miniature history lesson. The elegant French ocean liner was built in 1935 and made 139 crossings to the Untied States before she was seized by the U.S.in 1942 and put into service as the USS Lafayette only to burn and sink in 1942.

The Normandie was one of the last of an era, and as a frequent traveler I love anything to do with the elegant age of transportation.

I brought home my French souvenirs and spent a happy hour or so examining them. The last time I was in Roost, the big box of French memorabelia was still there. I'm tempted to go back and lose myself again in the photos and bits of paper history.

Parlez-vous Junque?

 


Cheryl-Anne Millsap is a freelance writer based in Spokane, Washington. In addition to her Home Planet , Treasure Hunting and  CAMera: Travel and Photo blogs, her essays can be heard on Spokane Public Radio and on public radio stations across the country. She is the author of “Home Planet: A Life in Four Seasons” and can be reached at catmillsap@gmail.com
  

 

 

 

Vintage Masquerade

(Photo by Cheryl-Anne Millsap)

 

If you were anywhere near the Fox Theater in downtown Spokane Saturday night, you might have noticed men and women in evening wear, wearing elaborate masks as they hurried into the beautiful Art Deco building. It was the Spokane Symphony's first Masquerade Ball and I was there with the rest of the partygoers. It was fun to see the men and women in costume and it was amazing the difference the masks made. Even old friends didn't immediately recognize one another.

Like everyone else I had wanted my mask to stand out, to say something about its wearer. So, after thinking about it for a few days, I went to an unexpect source.

Becky Ellis and Holly Baublitz, of Spokane's All That Glitter, are now located in Pink, the vintage and salvage mecca located just a few blocks from the Fox Theater. Becky's elaborate creations—crowns, wreaths and other exquisite displays crafted of ephemera and found objects—are beautiful one-of-a-kind collages. I've long admired her work and it occurred to me she was the perfect person to make a custom, vintage inspired, mask for the ball.

I stopped into Pink one afternoon and talked to Holly. She asked a few questions about whether I wanted a mask to wear all night or one on a stick that could be worn or carried. I chose the former. I reminded her that I'm not a particularly “blingy” woman, prefering my pearls to over-the-top sparkles. After that, I left everything else to Becky and just waited for the call.

When Holly opened the pink (naturally) box and showed me the mask, I was thrilled. The sepia tones of old Spokesman-Review newspaper pages, clipped and decopaged onto the mask form, accented by ostrich feathers and vintage faux pearls and rhinestones, glowed. A dusting of German glass glitter finished the effect. Just enough sparkle for a ball, but not too much. Rather than an elastic band, Becky had crafted a clever headband to hold it on comfortably.

It was perfect.

On Saturday night I slipped on the mask and joined the party. After the ball, it became a unique piece of handmade art for my home office. Now, every time it catches my eye I smile, celebrating the creative talent of a local artist. And I remember a wonderful night spent benefitting a great cause.

 


Cheryl-Anne Millsap is a freelance writer based in Spokane, Washington. In addition to her Home Planet , Treasure Hunting and  CAMera: Travel and Photo blogs, her essays can be heard on Spokane Public Radio and on public radio stations across the country. She is the author of “Home Planet: A Life in Four Seasons” and can be reached at catmillsap@gmail.com

 

 

My Friday Find

Once a month I spend a half an hour or so at Spokane Public Radio recording several Home Planet columns for my weekly Sunday Morning Essay program. ( Listen to the Podcast here.)

I always try to make sure I have enough time to record three or four essays and then prowl around the The Vintage Rabbit Antique Mall on the street level of the building, before I have to make the after-school pickup. This was my week to record, and as it happened, it was also my week to discover a great find.

For years I've been picking up old wicker-covered bottles. Long before Pottery Barn decided it was the perfect accessory, I was adding to my collection one old bottle at a time. Today, thanks to a dealer at The Vintage Rabbit, I brought home one more.

It's in great shape, showing the expected wear and age but the wicker is still intact and the exposed lip of the bottle isn't chipped or broken. And the bonus? I paid only $5.50.

Friday is usually a good day. But a sunny Friday with all deadlines met, a great find and a fun weekend ahead is a very good day.

 

Cheryl-Anne Millsap is the author of Home Planet: A Life in Four Seasons.  She also blogs at Home Planet and CAMera: A Photo Blog of People and Places. CAM can be reached at catmillsap@gmail.com

Cradling a new generation in a treasured family heirloom

(Photo by Cheryl-Anne Millsap)  

 

 

   So often when we bring home an antique or a vintage find, we’re left to imagine the history it might have. That’s part of the fun after all, speculating where and when an object might have been used, and in whose hands it might have been. But occasionally, if we’re fortunate, we are gifted with an heirloom with a story that is our own.

   In 2007 I wrote a Mother’s Day Treasure Hunting column for the Spokesman-Review HOME section about an antique wooden crib hanging in my garage. It was, I wrote, the symbol of motherhood for me.

   I’d found the little bed in pieces in my mother-in-law’s basement when I was pregnant with my first child. It had been my husband’s grandmother’s crib when she was born in 1898 and at some time, when households were sold and moved, it had ended up in my mother-in-law’s basement as a family heirloom with no real expectation of ever being used again. But I had to have it and we were fortunate enough to have a family member who was an expert woodworker. He made repairs and reinforced it, adding slats to replace the wire mattress holder, and I can still hear the excitement in his voice when he called to tell me he’d found 1895 written in pencil on one of the pieces. In March of 1985, exactly 100 years after it was signed and dated, we gently placed our newborn daughter in it on the night we brought her home from the hospital.

   That crib served us well for many years. My son and two younger daughters spent their first months in it as well, and when there were no more babies it sat in the youngest daughter’s room for years as a place to hold her stuffed animals and baby dolls. And then, finally, it was put away.

   A lot of splendid finds have come through my house, some to stay and others to be sold or given away when they were no longer useful or necessary. Or, when the big house was sold, when they no longer fit our downsized lives.

   But the little bed was too precious to let slip away, so it was put away until until another generation arrived to claimed it. Which is exactly what has happened.

   My husband climbed the ladder in the garage and lifted it off the hooks on which it had been resting. He brought it into the house and we cleaned and polished the wood and slipped the sheets over the mattress. And last night when my daughter brought our month-old granddaughter over for a visit, as we watched her sleeping in the place her mother had been only a heartbeat ago, it was as if the years were a length of ribbon, tying one generation to another.


Cheryl-Anne Millsap is a freelance writer based in Spokane, Washington. In addition to her Home Planet , Treasure Hunting and  CAMera: Travel and Photo blogs, her essays can be heard on Spokane Public Radio and on public radio stations across the country. She is the author of “Home Planet: A Life in Four Seasons” and can be reached at catmillsap@gmail.com

This find means the world to me

(Photo by Cheryl-Anne Millsap)  

 

   I’m in good company, I know, but I have this tendency to put my head on my pillow, completely exhausted by the events of the day, and then find myself wide awake, unable to sleep. The words I couldn’t come up with earlier suddenly pop into my head without warning, or one of my children crosses my mind or I am so excited about a trip or a project my brain is buzzing with ideas. I’ve learned over the years to not fight it. Instead I get up, make a cup of Chamomile tea and sit down in the dark living room, relishing the quiet.

   More often than not, if I am wandering through dark rooms when I should be in bed, I am guided by a small lighted globe that sits on my desk. A thrift store find, it is used as a night light as much as a travel reference.  

   Tonight, as I walked by, I looked down at the globe and noticed the story that could be told with the other items around it.

   The globe is surrounded by a souvenir model of the Eiffel Tower  I brought home from Paris, a clay dish made by one of my children which holds a handful of Euro coins, and a purse-sized pocket atlas, a gift from my daughter last Christmas.

   When I look at the globe at night, shining in a dark corner of the room, I remember the maps and globes of my geography class when I was a girl, the way they intrigued me and opened a world  of possibility, inviting me to explore and dream and go.

   Sleepy at last, the tea finished and the cup rinsed, I headed back to bed. On an impulse, I grabbed the camera that is always sitting on the desk and took a photo. I think I'll put it on my computer to light my hotel room when I travel.

   It’s funny. I’ve brought home so many things over the years. But this little globe means the world to me.



Cheryl-Anne Millsap is a freelance writer based in Spokane, Washington. In addition to her Home Planet , Treasure Hunting and  CAMera: Travel and Photo blogs, her essays can be heard on Spokane Public Radio and on public radio stations across the country. She is the author of “Home Planet: A Life in Four Seasons” and can be reached at catmillsap@gmail.com
  

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About this blog

Cheryl-Anne Millsap writes about antiques and collectibles and the love of all things vintage. Millsap's Home Planet column appears each week in the Wednesday "Pinch" supplement, and she is The Spokesman-Review's female automobile reviewer. She is a regular contributor to Spokane Public Radio and her essays can be heard on Public Radio stations across the country. Cheryl-Anne is the author of "Home Planet: A Life in Four Seasons."

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