Sunday, May 31, 2009

Bulletin Board of Dreams

There's a huge bulletin board above my head when I sit at my desk. It's not for posting "to-do" lists or phone numbers or anything mundane like that. It's for woolgathering, daydreaming, and getting my creative juices flowing. It's covered with snips of ribbon, pages cut from magazines, bits of china, dried flowers, and even a vintage baby's dress. Anything I love that can inspire me to write, dream, or smile-- pretty much anything that can be pinned to corkboard with a push pin--goes on my bulletin board.

The board is also a really good way to corrall all the stuff I refuse to part with!

Getting the board took some doing. I wanted a beautiful and big one, like this message board from Ballard Designs. But I couldn't afford their prices, let alone the cost of shipping! So I went to my local frame shop and asked about their leftover bits of frame. Every framing place has these in the back of the store; odds and ends left over from prior jobs. I found a couple lengths of framing with the right heft and gilt-covered design, and I bought them for a very reasonable price per foot--maybe half of what they'd sell for, usually.
I bought a roll of 1/4-inch-thick cork from my local home-improvement store. Then I gave the lengths of frame and the cork and a picture of the pricey message board to my handyman. He is a demi-god. He can fix anything, make anything, and usually at half the rate of anyone else. Plus, he's married to my cleaning lady, and I love him. My pugs love him. My family loves him. 'Nuff said.

Using an inexpensive particle board for the back, he fashioned for me a huge bulletin board, 3 feet tall and 4 feet wide. He hung it with a big wall hook, the kind that can take 75 pounds of weight. It's centered on a large wall in our family room, and it's usually the first thing people notice when they walk in. Because it's messy. Because it's big. Because it's festooned with crazy stuff, several layers thick.

If you look at it for a few minutes, you can tell a lot about what I like, including:

Pugs. The amazing blue of Himalayan poppies and Morpho butterflies. Satin ribbons. Blue-and-white anything.

Vintage fabrics. Velvet ribbons. Quotable quotes.

Seashells, roses, hydrangeas. Wrinkles. Sand-and-sea colors.

Etageres, tuteurs, vintage greeting cards, really good-quality stationery, and sterling.

Wilkin & Sons "Tiptree" Raspberry jelly with seeds, cute dogs, tulips, anything blue, well-designed graphic labels.

Here are some closeups:
Rosebuds from a corsage given to me by one of my daughters at a high school mom-daughter event.
The remnant of a teacup and saucer that I fell in love with at a little restaurant in a Swiss train station. It was their everyday china and not for sale, but I couldn't leave without it. I asked our waiter to ask the manager what he'd charge me for it. They were both bemused, but we agreed on a modest price. Until it broke, it was my favorite cup for morning coffee. I couldn't bear to part with it altogether, so I hung this remnant on a satin ribbon so I could still enjoy it every day.

Oh, I love this cheese! Cowgirl Creamery's "Red Hawk" cheese is like Brie on sterioids. A few years back, it was so hard to find here in Southern California. I kept this label to show to grocery-store managers, pleading with them to stock it. It's easier to find now, but I still keep the label. Why? Uhhh,'s cheese!

The dried sprig of Bachelor's Button, a.k.a. Cornflower. This one was growing wild at the edge of a field in the Czech Republic. I was on a weeklong hiking vacation in the Czech countryside. Every day I tucked a different wildflower into my hat band. On Bachelor's Button Day, we walked down wooded paths lined with raspberry bushes. The bushes were bejeweled with hundreds, thousands, of tiny, sweet, intensely flavored berries. We did more eating and moaning than hiking that day!

These are teeny buttons made of mother-of-pearl. They were in my Nana's button box, and were probably originally on her baby clothes. She was born in 1891.

Uh oh! Stuff is starting to slither off my bulletin board and onto my desktop. Time to clean up! Goodbye for now....

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