Grandma Framed!

An ongoing battle at my house is dealing with clutter. My greatest fantasy in life is to not only win the battle, but the entire war. I have a zillion reasons to want this, but perhaps the biggest of all is that it’s hanging around my neck like a ball and chain, and is very much in the way of my creativity.

I’ve been working on this fairly seriously since my younger daughter got married and moved out, though it’s been mostly isolated skirmishes – isolated because I’ve traveled so much over the past two years. Right now, the battle is back on. I’ve been home long enough to have my focus brought back to reality, and the longing has become strong enough to propel me back into serious action. Having come to the conclusion that there is no one place that I can conquer at this point, I’m practicing some guerrilla type tactics, mostly ambushes and sniping. After a week or so of this, I’m seeing some happy progress, especially in my sewing room, which is currently drawing me for longer stints than most of the other spaces. I’ve taken “before” pix, but don’t have the nerve to post them. It’s obviously a sewing room in name only, and until some other areas give up ground, the best I can do there is to drive back the enemy a bit, but not secure the territory.

Anyway, the point of this is that there are lots of interesting little side trips along the road, and I needed to take one of them this week. It comes with a bit of a story I’d like to share. Some time ago, my mother offered me a portrait of my grandmother, done when she was in her teens. With my love of old pictures and family history, there was no way I was turning down that gift, but it came with a bit of a challenge. The piece was large, unframed, and cathedral shaped – and I’m me, through and through. I ignored all suggestions to get it trimmed to fit into a reproduction frame, and fantasized about finding the perfect antique version. Problem is, I just didn’t have time to search for the illusive perfect fit. I suggested to my sister that if she ever happened to see something that looked promising, please let me know. This led to a sporadic parade of possibilities that showed up on ebay, but none were even close to the right dimensions. But shortly before Christmas, she became my hero when she sent me an auction for what was indisputably the prettiest cathedral frame I’d seen. There were no measurements in the listing, but I had this odd little sense of excitement course through my body, telling me this was the one. I dutifully wrote to the seller, then waited impatiently for measurements. They were dead on – and my heart did a flipflop. Even better, they lived only 90 minutes from here and were willing for an in person pick up, thus avoiding shipping and the fear of breakage. Was it even remotely possible I could win this beauty? It was an exceedingly long week to wait for it to close, and I checked that auction multiple times each day. I held the only bid for the entire time, but I know ebay well enough not to trust that, so I paced mentally the entire time, the amount of my planned snipe increasing almost hourly during the last day. When I finally typed in the number, I was praying desperately that it wouldn’t come anywhere near the ghastly figure I was putting in that box. I wasn’t going to be home to see the end, so I was on pins and needles. Long story short, I amazingly had only one competitor – who obviously didn’t want that frame nearly so much as I did, and I got it for less than $80. My daughter and son-in-law picked it up on their way home from PA for the family Christmas party – then it sat. I was in a whirlwind getting ready for my trip to Honduras, and there wasn’t time for something so trivial. To protect the frame, it was placed behind one of the few doors in the house – in my sewing room.

Back full circle to de-cluttering. :o) This past week, the first thing I found in the sewing room (because it was one of the last to go in?) was that frame – and now I had the time and excuse to do something about it. I took it apart and cleaned everything, wiped Grandma’s face clean from the accumulation of dust and who knows what else, and put her safely behind glass. As I was mounting the picture, I saw something I’ve never seen before. Along the bottom edge of the glass, hidden by the edge of the frame, there is a patent date of 1924. My grandmother would have been in her teens that year, and I have to think would have wanted the newest, most fashionable frame available. Even better, when I hung the finished project on the wall of my entryway, I realized that the colors of the frame complimented those added to her dress. In short, I could pretty easily be convinced that this frame had only temporarily been separated from the picture. I’m content – and I’m sure Grandma would be smiling.

Grandma Framed

(Please pardon the odd angle and the appearance of Grandma having a brilliant thought. Bubble glass is the pits to photograph!)

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Published in: on March 3, 2008 at 8:24 am  Leave a Comment  
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