Monday, May 18, 2009

Discovered Treasure!

I've been pretty taken with the whole flea market look that's been everywhere lately but have lacked some of the materials to play much with it. This weekend though I was treated to pretty much anything I wanted at a charity garage sale. Everything was amazingly cheap and because it was my birthday my dad (who was organizing it) let me fill up a couple of boxes and paid for them as his birthday gift to me. YAY! There were about 20 long tables full of donated items and some of it was complete junk, but much of it caught my artist's eye as full of possibilities.

First, my dad directed me to a craft table and someone had apparently decided to drop the stamping hobby because there were boxes of slightly used stamps, completely unopened findings, some Tim Holtz decoupage materials, some 7 gypsies chipboard and cloth stickers, and a TON of ink pads and embossing powder. Some of the ink hadn't been opened yet and came with a bottle of ink refill taped to them as well. There was also some of those big clunky punches in a couple of pretty scalloped squares. It was so much fun to go through it all! I love getting art supplies for a present!!!

Then I started to browse the rest of the sale. There were some really pretty old green metal trays in a pile by housewares and in the dishes section I found a beautiful chipped red glass compote. I can't wait to put lilacs in it and see them drape down. Lovely! Then I found some old books, some corkboards, and an old green filing cabinet for $2.

I loved the green of the cabinet but knew that talking my husband into letting me bring it into the house would be a daunting task. Try as I might to avoid it though, I really felt drawn to it. So right before I needed to be done and take Jasper home I just walked over and opened it. I pulled the top drawer back and looked inside and in the very back behind a metal partition I saw some old card boxes and a large size cottage cheese container along with some old letters. Idly I opened the card box and found inside 2 antique pocket watches. Excited I ran over to show my dad. Then I started to pull out the rest. The cottage cheese container was full of old gold jewelry, and watch chains. One of the chains has a beautiful old locket attached to it and when I opened it there was the most beautiful old portraits, trimmed on the top and bottom with tiny little bits of red velvet ribbon. Almost as if they'd been draped. Precious! By now there was a small crowd around me and they were making their own discoveries. A small leather change purse held old gold coins as well as a collection of memorial coins. One was big and German. The cottage cheese collection also produced a pair of wedding bands inscribed, AK to LA and vice versa. Very plain bands, very small fingers. So lots of family memento's, but there were also drawings done by kids, a title to a car, an old account book dated 1845, and some graduation announcements from the 70's. It was soo exciting to find it all!

I assumed right away that the owner had died and someone who didn't know had dropped off the old cabinet to get rid of it. I thought it would be an adventure tracking down the next of kin and surprising them with these family treasures. But my husband being the practical man he is looked first in the phone book. He found the owner's name, phone number, and local address immediately! He was living in a retirement home and although not home then, he was there when my dad stopped by the next day. Although he's REALLY old and didn't recognize much, he did know his father's (AK) pocket watches when he saw them! He couldn't believe that someone had found them and returned them to him. Good deed well done! I had planned on including photos of the items in this blog- but after we found out he was still alive it seemed like that might be an infringement. Still it is fun to tell about! I just think it's great that although sometimes the jobs God gives are hard, every once in a while he gives us a gift like this- a task that's just a complete joy!

I guess the wrap up to this is treasure lost and found. Someone donated their old art materials and it is a treasure trove of materials for me. Someone else lost a significant part of their past and was able through a donation to have it discovered and returned to them. Through the generosity of a lot of individuals who donated their junk, my father's garage sale made almost $3000. before expenses, for Habitat for Humanity. And I, because of my discovery of this hidden collection, had an experience I will treasure always! Plus lots and lots of good stuff!

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