A week or so ago, on my Friday Treasure Hunting rounds, I stopped by Orphaned Decor in the Gonzaga district. I made a quick swing through the shop and was on my way to the car when I stopped for one more look in the front window.
The heart of the display was a large metal crown-shaped centerpiece. Since exploring the American Southwest and the beautiful old cathedrals in Europe, I've had a thing for the ornamental crowns one might find on the figures of saints. The antiques, many centruries old, are expensive and rare, but there are plenty of reproductions and adaptations around. I'm often tempted but, as I always say when writing about my finds, whatever follows me home must have some practical use. I just don't have the room for (or any love of) clutter.
The thing that appealed to me about the crown-like object in the window was its size. The piece was big enough to make a nice display feature without getting lost on a tabletop. And, because it was essentially a round tray with an ornamental canopy, it could be used in any number of ways. So I put it right to work.
Guests were coming that evening so I pulled a pillar candle out of the closet and then poured the rest of the nuts from the holidays (my kids always like to have them around) around the candle and put it on the coffee table. The golden hues of the almonds and other nuts echo the neutral colors and textures I like so much, and they keep the candle from sliding as I move the container. A few days later I moved it to the dining table to replace the orchid that was no longer blooming. Right now it's on a ceramic Chinese garden stool in the master bathroom.
I can see the container filled with excelsior and my hens' brown eggs for easter. Or overflowing with the hundreds of agates I've brought home from the Oregon coast over the years.
So often, when chasing the next great find, we rush in the front door and forget to take a closer look at the window display. I guess the lesson is that everything is worth a second look. Sometimes that's how you bring home the crown.
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 email@example.com