Giving Instant Ancestors New Life

by 2ndhandroses on 2014/03/12

Somebody's Great-great Auntie Violet Somebody’s Great-great Auntie Violet



By now, if you’ve read any of my posts, you have probably come to the conclusion that I am pretty fascinated with old photographs.


Not any old photographs, mind you.


While I may enjoy an occasional shot of a vintage aircraft or anonymous road, what fascinates me most are people.


And the lives they led.


I call them Instant Ancestors.


I keep finding them and writing about them because for some reason they intrigue me and make me a little bit sad too.


I wonder what would motivate some family to throw out a photograph of their loved one.  I see these faces stacked in boxes in antique shops, ranging from daguerrotypes, to cabinet cards, to black and white shots from the 1950s to Polaroids to formal portraits.  Each one makes me stop for a second and consider the face peering out from within the confines of the image.


I wonder…what was that person (or people if it’s a group shot) like?


What was going on that day?


Why did they dress that way for their picture?


Why did they pick that particular moment to have that photograph taken?


And why did that memory ultimately become worthless?


In my travels down the Junktiquing Road, I have seen these photographs over and over and have always been struck by these and other questions.


Lately, I have taken to bringing a lot of these photographs home and framing them or displaying them in different ways around my house.  My poor husband will come home and see a new (to him) old photograph and ask, “who’s that?”


My response is usually, “I have no idea.”


But I felt that the person in that photograph needed a home again and needed to be displayed and given a new life, so to speak.


And so we come to the subject of showing these precious photographs off.  Now I am a wee bit crafty, but having been trolling Pinterest for the past year or so, I realize now that I am woefully lacking in the creative department when it comes to really shining new light on these old lives.


I’ve found some cool ideas I wanted to share with you, in case you wanted to show off your newest photograph of dear old great great great uncle Melvin.


So far, I’ve just been framing them in regular old frames.  I know, BORING.


How about this….


You could put them in privy dug bottles!  What a concept!  They look fabulous on a shelf as you can see below.


Instant Ancestors in a Bottle Instant Ancestors in a Bottle


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Carry My Heart

by 2ndhandroses on 2014/02/11

True Love's Greeting True Love’s Greeting


It’s a couple of days until Valentine’s Day.

Time to express our devotion to those most important to us in our lives.

It could be in the form of flowers (courtesy one of the many florists advertising on the radio), or perhaps a quiet dinner without the kids, or if you’re into these things, a 7-foot tall plush animal that will apparently bring out the wild side in your mate (hey the radio spot implied it, don’t blame me!).

One thing is for certain.

No matter what manner of love you see fit to show your sweetie, there remains one likely standard that will invariably end up in their hands…the ultimate token of our affection.

The Valentine card.

Call me old school, but I find it much more romantic to have a real-live piece of paper in my hand with authentic writing on it that required more than a couple of seconds’ visit to a quirky website and a brief text message or 140-character message.

I mean, who doesn’t like to get a nice Valentine?

And there are so many to choose from and for each age group.

There are the mass-produced (albeit dwindling) miniscule boxed cards strategically placed near the entrances of every retailer in the land, from big box stores to even the likes of rural farm equipment sellers. Each year, the kiddos from preschool to elementary level (with some older middle-school holdouts still continuing the tradition) gravely choose the perfect genre with which to convey their message.  These usually range from the usual cute fuzzy critters to the newest big animated movie tie-ins.  Then with the help of Mom (typically), it’s time to check out the (hopefully) preprinted class list to ensure that every last student receives their own special note.  Then the kids dutifully cart these cards to school for the breathlessly anticipated distribution, hopefully during a sugar-laden party tossed in for good measure.  I remember all too well bringing home my loot from my parties, dumping them on my bed, and pouring over the names over and over.  Oh the fun it was!



Pop Corn Love Popping the Question!



Unfortunately, the childish Valentine’s soon become uncool and then it’s a lag until young love prompts us yet again to the pink and red displays on Valentine’s week.

Those smitten youngsters usually fall into two categories.

The young ladies who prepare months in advance.  For whom selecting the perfect card takes a great deal of time and attention.  They know exactly what they are looking for and they will spend hours if not weeks in their quest to find just the perfect token of their affection for their Prince.

Then there are the Princes.

Or more likely the dudes.

The dudes who otherwise would never be caught dead in any row containing pink stuff.   The last-minute husbands and boyfriends crammed together on the fateful day vying for any reasonable card that at this point is not too dog-eared and doesn’t have dirt (at least not too much) on the front.

It’s actually kind of funny really.   I mean, why does the purchase of one $3.50 card seem to garner so much FEAR in the hearts of these fellows? Have they truly been reduced to slobbering fools in their frantic attempts to avoid the side eye?  I mean, isn’t love supposed to be for more than one particular day?

And what the heck is Valentine’s Day anyway?

According to, the exchanging of heartfelt sentiments has evolved over the years.  In ancient Rome, there apparently was a priest called Valentine, who, when learning that Emperor Claudius II decided to outlaw marriage, he

… defied Claudius and continued to perform marriages for young lovers in secret. When Valentine’s actions were discovered, Claudius ordered that he be put to death. Other stories suggest that Valentine may have been killed for attempting to help Christians escape harsh Roman prisons, where they were often beaten and tortured. According to one legend, an imprisoned Valentine actually sent the first ‘valentine” greeting himself after he fell in love with a young girl–possibly his jailor’s daughter–who visited him during his confinement. Before his death, it is alleged that he wrote her a letter signed “From your Valentine,” an expression that is still in use today.

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A Made in America Christmas

December 11, 2013

Every time you participate in this madness, thinking you are getting a super bargain on that toaster, you are contributing to someone else losing their job here in the States.

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November 1, 2013

How many of us actually stop to reflect on the lives we enjoy? Do we sit down and truly consider how fortunate we all are as a Western society to have the opportunity to gather friends and family in our warm homes, place settings for all, with our very best china set out to receive a momentous bounty of succulent treats? It’s a beautiful thing we have here and it behooves us to impart deeper meaning of the word “thanksgiving” to our children, in between bites of sautéed beans and pumpkin pie a la mode.

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Costumes Thrift Store Style

October 7, 2013

So next time you are in the market for some groovy Halloween gear, look no further than your local thrift shop. You’ll be amazed at how quickly and inexpensively you can transform yourself for that most creepy of nights!

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