Monday, October 19, 2009

The Object of My Desire: Curiosity Corner

For whatever reason --whether it's the moon and the stars aligning in a specific combination or the fact that time continues to creep up on me and all the that I seek to do in life -- I get a little sentimental and homesick for my far-away friends and family as my birthday hovers. And while objects are just objects -- stuff printed on paper, plastic formations, shaped glass or worn fabrics -- the memories they evoke are as vivid as yesteryears, sometimes heartwarming or bittersweet, and quite often spirit-lifting and inspirational.

Here's the corner of my desk (on a neat day) where I keep that inspiration at my fingertips. On top of the pile, of course, is my labor of love, The Find: The Housing Works Book of Decorating With Thrift Shop Treasures, Flea Market Objects, and Vintage Details. Every time I leaf through the pages of this well-used book, I'm encouraged that I am capable of almost anything I set my heart on. I had never written a book before this one, am not a decorator and am a complete unknown in the world of home interiors. Sometimes I have to remind myself that I wrote a book! And it was published! And it is still selling!

Just underneath The Find is a "Hints from Heloise" day calendar that I scavenged out of a junk box at a garage sale with my cousins in Independence, Missouri, and then the retro-interiors -packed Barbara D'Arcy Bloomingdale's Book of Home Decorating that my beloved Jonamor Decor pals Senor and Jonona Amor offered a couple of years ago. Next comes an issue of House Beautiful featuring David Jimenez's Kansas City home, the same one featured in The Find; an issue of Domino (RIP), and a copy of Real Simple that showcases Housing Works' Design on a Dime yearly fundraiser.
On the bottom of this stack rests two of my most adored examples of ephemera. First is a concert album from Dolly Parton's 1977 "Here Your Come Again" tour that Senor found at a thrift store in Texas. The year of the concert is significant for it was the first time I saw with my family Dolly perform live at American Royal Horse Show in Kansas City's Kemper Arena. I still have a freebie program from that show, but this is the deluxe edition that we could not afford to purchase at the time. Below it is the souvenir album from her "Backwoods Barbie" tour, the last time I saw Dolly in concert just about two years ago.

Let your eye linger over to the desk corner where I've taken an oblong vase and turned it into an inspiration box. Among its contents are a photo of a friend's twins; a 1986, 45rpm by my favorite French pop singer, Arnold Turboust, which I bought when I was a student in Bordeaux, France; and a catalog from the fabulous exhibition of New York artist, Kehinde Wiley' at the Studio Museum of Harlem.

Next to the glass box is a plastic mug from Dollywood, the amusement park created by Dolly Parton herself. I've said many times how much Dolly inspires me with her rags-to-riches story, one filled with kindness to others and a persistence of following dreams. It was in the late 1980s when I flew to Nashville to meet my parents for a family vacation, unfortunately minus my sister, and then from there, we headed off to Pigeon Forge to visit Dollywood. I probably bought a big iced tea in this mug, and have saved it to this day, along with shopping bags, brochures, notepads and other memorabilia that I treasure from the last family trip we made together so long ago.

When I glance at these items, rifle through their pages or take a pencil from the plastic mug, I'm reminded of where I am from and what makes me happy, and comforted in knowing that even as I get older, the memories collected along the way never fade or wither, and are as crisp and bright as the day they were made.

Always Frugal, Always Fabulous!

The Elegant Thrifter


  1. What a beautiful tour through some things you find memorable. Objects, just objects, as you say, really can attach themselves to our hearts, and this begins at such an early age; eg the favorite blanket, or teddy bear from childhood. Indeed. Maybe that's why I can have such a time letting go! You made my day today visiting my blog, thanks.

  2. I have tingles from reading this post Stan! And am a bit choked up as well!
    It's hard to be away from family on Birthdays...but what wonderful memories right at your fingertips!

  3. My birthday is looming large too, I am glad I am alive and kicking.
    There is no one like Dolly, a one of a kind giggle.
    You are an inspiration and I am sure your book will be selling for years to come...

  4. Soooo...what would the odds be of getting my already purchased, well thumbed through copy of "The Find" autographed as a belated b-day present? I'll have it in the mail to ya this week if you give me the green light!
    All the best,

  5. I love how much you treasure all the special things you have collected over the years, especially all your Dolly Dolly! Is there anybody sweeter? I can remember watching her in 9 to 5 as a little girl and thinking just how beautiful she was.

    Oh, and is Anne the only one to get special treatment? Can I send my book, too since I didn't have it when we met in Texas! :)

    Have a great night!

  6. Hi Stan! What a pleasure to find your blog and your wonderful book! Congrats on that! Thanks for visiting me so I had the opportunity to meet you,The Elegant Thrifter. Have a happy Birthday!

  7. It was wonderful to read how all these objects hold special memories for you! I've loved Dolly Parton since seeing her in 9 to 5!!!

    Thank you for stopping by my blog! I hope you'll be back again soon! And yes, the spiders were made out of egg cartons!

  8. Hello all,

    As I told Anne, and have posted on my blog in the sidebar on the right, if you send me your address and how you'd like your book signed, I have just received special plates that I will sign and send.



Blog Widget by LinkWithin