Saturday, February 25, 2012


Some of my favorite things..............

Torquoise, African trade beads, 
Victorian mourning hair watch fob piece,
Old fishing gear.

And this wonderful  ceramic amulet that Steph
made and sent me .
I kept everything simple and let the amulet
have the attention it deserves.


Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Thanks For All The Inspiration!!

OK, is this a bit better??.................

Still grey, but a dark charcoal,
sanded it a bit.........
put some wax on the top.
Maybe needs darker knobs?

A work in progress................
I need to find something to hang under the turtle shell
for better balance.
It will be fun to fill this out over time.

Thanks for all your suggestions!
It really helped to motivate me.


Tuesday, February 14, 2012

#1 Auction Rule..........


OK Jan, here's the story:
(at risk of a little personal embarrassment)

I wasn't planning on going to the little auction that I sometimes go to,
and at the last minute thought....housework or auction??
I am so out of here!!!
So against my better judgement, and going against my number one rule...
I didn't preview anything, and yes, still got a bidders card.
A bit into the auction all of the sudden I hear the auctioneer say
"pie safe"!!! What???
Something I have always wanted.
From where I was sitting it looked pretty good,
punched tin sides, screen doors on the front.....yum!!
When he asked for $50 I shot up my card.
$50 for an antique pie safe...are you kidding??
Happy dance!!!
The fact that no one else seemed to be bidding should have been a clue to me.

I only live ten minutes from the auction, so I went and paid for it
and told them I would be back tomorrow with my truck to 
pick it up.  
The next day I go back to help the guy load it up and got my
first good look at my "treasure".
First of all it pretty much had only three legs.
One of the legs was all but gone from rot, and the other three
weren't all that much better.
Trying to act like I knew that all along, no big deal......
I proceeded to help load it into the truck.
When we attempted to lay it on its back, the back
 totally fell apart.
It was one of those pieces of furniture where the back sort of all fits together?
 I am sure there's a name
for that type of construction, but I don't know what it is.
And I am sure it works good, before termites have had their way
with pretty much the whole piece.
I thanked the guy for helping me, couldn't even look at him,
 and got the heck out of there.


So, I'm driving home, and in my mind i'm  going........
well, I can probably get something for the punched tin,
(this was when I still rented space at antique store) 
I can take the doors off and sell them, the knobs were cute,
get the picture?
But the first order of business was to get it into the garage
and well hidden under a blanket with something piled
on top of it so my husband wouldn't see it.

The first chance I had I gave it a good cleaning.
I decided it was pretty far gone but maybe I could use it for storage?
IF I could get it put back together that is.
So.......first I cut the legs almost totally off.
Not that I had a choice......
Then I got out the nail gun and piece by piece nailed it back together.
But there was a lot of rot and termite damage. A lot!!!
Ok..... I can do this, right?
Off to Lowes for some wood rot filler junk.
I had never worked with this before and I really don't want to again.
I got the areas filled in, let it dry and tried to sand it.
Yeah, right.
Sort of lumpy and bumpy and yuck!! And hard!
Deciding that this was just going into the garage to hold supplies, I decided to throw a coat of
paint on it . I mixed up some mistints I had bought cheap
at Lowes, and started painting it.
Somewhere in the middle of painting it......(fumes??)
I decided that if it was going to hold my supplies
for making memory jugs, maybe it should look like one as well?

So all the places where the lumpy filler was,
I just covered with stuff I had been saving for art projects.

And actually, I don't think it turned out too bad.
It has sort of grown on me.
And by the way.....that pie safe is now rock solid!
I need to repaint it this summer, I never expected it to end up in the house so
it still has the paint I made from mixing several colors together. 
What color would you paint it?
A darker gray? Black?

I tell myself it's a piece of folk art, but then I say that
about my rubber band ball

So there you go Jan, that's the story .
(I put a link to Jans blog , Gracies' Cottage, up above.
Jan's an antique
dealer that probably always previews........
and has the best "stuff")


Thursday, February 9, 2012

A Crants For Ida Estelle

Since this is not a traditional crants, in that I made it in 
memory of a much younger girl, I took a few liberties. 
I attatched a small frozen charlette doll to one of the gloves.

Down through the center I hung two white leather gloves,
and a vintage handkerchief.
One glove has the doll and Idas name....
as well as her date of birth and date of death.
The other glove has a sweet poem .

Be always ready no time to delay
I in my youth was called away
Great grief to those that's left behind
But I hope that I'm great joy to find

(I copied this from a crants from the 1700's)

Wax flowers from an antique bridal headpiece
 in the center of the rosettes.

I attatched a small religious medal  and a button
from a childs high button shoe.
(like Ida wore)

OK, let's meet Ida Estelle Walster:

Ida, with her Father , Charles Lloyd Walster
(my grandfather)

Ida, with her little brother Harry,(my Dad)
I'm disapointed..... in this picture they have on the sweetest high button shoes
but they don't show.
(there was one more sister and five more brothers to follow)

I don't know a lot about Ida. She was the first born child
of Charles Lloyd and Edith Carolina Walster, my paternal grandparents.
She was named after both of her grandmothers.
She died when she was five years old. I have heard a couple of different
accounts but think it's safe to say she had a brain tumor. She was taken to 
a hospital in Seattle, a distance of over 30 miles. I am not sure how they traveled,
but at that time there was a train depot in Maltby and they may have traveled by train.
It had to have been an ordeal.
Ida did undergo brain surgery (remember this was in 1927) 
She survived the surgery, but briefly. 
I do know she liked to draw and apparently was fairly gifted for
a child of her age.
She lived her short life on a dairy farm,
and I think was happy and very much loved
with extended family also living nearby.

Lets take Ida her crants.

This is Bear Creek Cemetary
in Snohomish County,Washington State.
This cemetary dates back to the late 1899
or early 1900's. It is still in use today.

A view of the simple country cemetary.

This has been an interesting study for me,
I don't think I am quite done with crants.

(You can see my previous post for a brief history of crantses.)
(crants is the singular, crantses is the plural)

Some pictures for my family:

Maltby Community Church, as it is today.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Maiden Garlands.....

Also known as Crants (from the German kranz- which means wreath or garland)

Defination: A garland carried before the bier of a maiden and hung over her grave.

Made as a funerary memento, as a token and symbol of
"triumphant victory over the lusts of the flesh."
These were carried in the funeral procession or placed on the coffin.
Afterwards they were hung inside the church,
sometimes over the pew where the maiden might have
usually sat.
Although usually made for a young woman that had died a tragic
death and still remained a virgin, in some places they were also
made for young men.
I also found a reference of a crants being made for a younger child.
The earliest garland known to exist (1680)
can be found at St. Marys' Church, Beverley, Yorkshire, England.
The most recent was made in 1973,
and is found amongst the 43 Virgin Crowns at Abbotts Ann.

The garlands were usually constructed from two hoops
of lightweight wood, with bands crossing and attatched
at right angles, forming a sort of "crown"
These were then wrapped with paper or sometimes cloth.
At the "joins" there were sometimes fastened very intricate rosettes made from paper. 

Hanging from the center of the crown you could often find a handkerchief, or a pair of gloves,
either real or made of paper.
The name of the person being remembered was often written on the glove or handkerchief.......
sometimes the date of death was included, or perhaps some bible verses.
The glove is evidently a survival of the custom to throw down the gauntlet
 as a challenge to anyone who might dispute the charactor of the deceased.

A couple of literary mentions of crants:

Re: Ophelias' burial...................
"Yet here she is allowed her virgin crants,
her maiden strewments".

Shakespeare-Hamlet (act 5, scene 1


"Well, here I am to-night, hoping for sleep,
and lying like Ophelia in the play,
with "virgin crants and maiden strewments".
Dracula.....(Bram Stoker)

And also..................

"A chaplet of white flowers is borne before the corpse
by a young girl nearest in age, size and resemblance ,
and is afterward hung up in the church
over the accustomed seat of the deceased.
These chaplets are sometimes made of white paper, in imitation
of flowers, and inside them is generally a pair of white gloves.
They are intended as emblems of the purity
of the deceased and the crown of glory which she
has received in heaven.          
.....................Washington Irving

Abbots Ann Crowns

Although widespread in England and Wales
the custom of Maidens garlands (crants)
was also practiced in parts of Europe,
for example France and Germany.

An example of what one might have looked
like when it was made.

I had never heard of this custom before,
and found it very interesting.
Some of these are in a state of decay, being very old,
and some are in the process of being gently restored.
Some of them apparently had some color on them when made but time and dust has
made them it's own color.

Have you ever heard of a crants?

I am taking the liberty of creating a crants of my own
partly as an art/history exploration project,
 but mostly in memory of a member of our family. 

Stay tuned................

Some links to explore: