Wednesday, May 23, 2012

What Would Helen Do?

A couple of weekends back, I went to a great estate sale in a charming little rambler of a ranch house. The sale was super heavy on handmade crafts which of course, tickled me to no end. The lady that had lived in the house was named Helen and she was a serious crafter.  Popsicle sticks and felt. Styrofoam and sequins. Crochet and pom-poms. The whole nine yards. Yep, I was in Heaven.

Here are some of Helen's crafts that I brought home with me:

The Can Man

You guessed it! He's made out of an old pop-top beer can and might I say, a wonderful application of felt. He might have been intended to be a bank as Helen was careful to felt around the can opening. His face is creepy in a way that I can appreciate greatly.

Sequined Sun

Super cheerful refrigerator magnet. I like his little half-cocked smile as if to say, "I'd never tell anyone that you're snacking again. Have pudding and a grilled cheese!" 
I love you, Sequined Sun. Thank you for not judging me. 

Caterpillar Carl

This guy is a refrigerator magnet and note clip. 
I can not get over his tiny top hat! He's puttin' on the ritz! 
I imagine him speaking French, don't you?

Fancy Turtle

Made from an old egg carton with sequins and glitter. Razzle Dazzle!
I especially appreciate the delicate glitter application on the feet.

Bunny Basket

Little handmade basket with wire hanger handles and will you look at those eyelashes!
She's missing some of her aqua sequined toenails but she's still perfect to me. 

Bunny in a Cup

I can not reason why this bunny is shoved in this cup like it is but I'm not one to question Helen's vision. Once again, the eyelashes! Sweet pom-pom nose and those perfectly crafted ears.

Easter Bunny in Easter Bonnet

This one has seen better days but I think that it's still so lovely with it's little netted flower hat and chenille whiskers.  (Mr. Kitten Pants thinks so too.)

Glitter!! Kapow!!

If there is anything that I love as much as finding vintage handmade kitsch crafts, it's finding the original supplies used to make them. I like to think that I'm channeling wonderful ladies like Helen when I use their very own supplies for my own crafts. And I can't resist glitter. I've tried.

The thing about glitter is, if you get it on you, be prepared to have it on you forever 'cause glitter is the herpes of craft supplies. - Dimitri Martin

 Tuxedo Cat Painting

All over the house were paintings that Helen had done. The person running the sale gave me her scoop on the paintings saying that Helen's brother was actually the "true artist" and that Helen's paintings weren't "quite as good". I'd have to disagree. I loved every one that I saw. Sure, they're not the stuff of prestigious art museums but they're the kind of thing that I really love and I can picture Helen just painting away on this one. It was unfinished and only had black spots for eyes so in a move that I'm pretty sure that Helen would approve of, I added some old faded googly eyes.

I hope that you've enjoyed this little tour of Helen's creations. I think that she did herself proud. I wish that I could have met her before she passed but in owning her handiwork, I feel like I know what was in her heart - joy and creativity.  And those two traits tell you an awful lot about a person. I always research the people whose estate sales that I go to and Helen's obituary said, "She was kind, gentle and warmhearted". I have no doubt that she was.

Until next time,
x's and o's,


chutti said...

Holy Cow- did you hit the jackpot!

I just love this kind of stuff. When my very creative uncle died, all I wanted from his great stuff was some of his work and materials to make tribute pieces.

It makes me really sad when family members aren't interested in handmade loved stuff or photos. I, too have a house full of things that should have been precious to someone else's family.

I love that you are honoring and enjoying the life in that estate. I got two skippy jars full of hand mixed old beads at one last week. I just KNOW I would have loved hanging out with that lady. Crafts, a great old bar with a player piano and camping gear. Her family confirmed that she was indeed a blast to be with.

Poppy said...

I can find no word for the amount of awesome you just posted!

Tami Von Zalez said...

The refrigerator sun is a cutie!

The addition of the googly eyes on the cat just pushed it right over into kitsch.

Barbara said...

PLEASE go back and buy me a painting!!!

Little Rosy Runabout said...

Oh, my gosh, this is so wonderful! I ESPECIALLY love that you found a tuxedo cat painting just ripe for a pair of googly eyes! Perhaps Helen is one of your long-lost relatives?

Rae - Say It Aint So said...

::dreamy sigh:: i love all of those, i totally would have scooped them up too. i loved helen's house. it felt really warm to me, and i could imagine if helen was your grandma and how much you would love to visit her! i LOVE your kitty painting, and i definitely think she would approve of the googley eyes. i was going to pick up one of her paintings, but ended up forgetting to go back for it. i'm glad you got one!

Sara In AZ said...

I have to say, it looks like Helen was a crafting whiz! I LOVE each and every thing that you bought and I think the addition of the googly eyes on the awesome kitty painting was perfect! I think you know my favorites though, yes - the bunnies! :D

And may we all have a sequined sun in our lives!

DearHelenHartman said...

Awwww I love your Helen. What precious finds.

Mr. Tiny said...

Well done! Even Mr. Tiny would probably have overlooked these items at a thrift store or estate sale. You have such a keen eye for marvelous items with my favorite being the Easter Bunny in Bonnet!!

Anonymous said...

Eartha, you are fantastic!! So glad you were there to
scoop up some of Helen's treasures! I'm of big fan of
crafting with sequins..... I have been inspired by
Helen's creativity and plan to make my own sparkling
sun kitchen magnet!!! Love it!!!...Love your blog!!!

Dina@VintageAdvantage said...

What fantastic little treasures! I don't know how you could possible see that cute little sun with his half-smile and not smile yourself. I hope the estate sale lady is looking down on you and beaming with happiness that her creations are being loved so!
I think you've touched on one of the reasons I'm so fond of estate sales...

What Remains Now said...

What a beautiful post. I think Helen would be so happy that her lovely crafts found their way to an appreciative home. I think you would have been good friends.

I love the Dimitri Martin quote. I'm going to use it on my Monday post.

Thank you for sharing the lovely "finds" and your kind and generous thoughts.

Rachele said...

Wow! Such sweet and wonderful things that she made. I love your banner, btw!

Miss Simmonds Says said...

We don't have estate sales over here and I think we're missing out. I'm not sure who's my favourite, Mr Non Judgemental Sun or the French Catepillar. I love the cat painting too x

Karen/Small Earth Vintage said...

I love the cat painting and the French caterpillar! But most especially the bunny in the little hat--it's so detailed. Whenever I pick up someone's old sewing thread and supplies at a sale, I like to think (hope) a little of the original seamstress' skill will magically be imparted to me.

Adrienne said...

Awww Helen's crafts are adorable! I really love the sun magnet, and the bunny in a cup. Who could resist a bunny in a cup?

What Lola Wants

Anonymous said...

what a lovely post :)

SUZY8-TRACK said...

You can tell that Helen made her crafts with love and care. That tuxedo cat painting is adorable. It has a lovely folk art quality that I love.

Anonymous said...

"What's the Matter with Helen"? lol
Nothing! how fun.

Rita said...

All of these remind me of my Grandma. She was forever making things. Sequins and sparkly things were staples. She was a crocheter, too. Glad Helen's things found someone to love them (espeically the cat painting!).

cheshirecat666 said...

XMAS CAN MAN!!! Love :)

Lisa said...

I wonder if the can man is single. ALSO, ARE THOSE GOOGLY EYES ON THE TUXEDO CAT? I can't believe your find, ma'am; these doohickeys are just perfect.

Tasha said...

OMG I'm so glad you rescued those, I know most people would just think they were awful and toss them aside. I love them! Yay for Helen's crafts.

(And the tuxedoed caterpillar totally speaks French.)

Lakota [Faith Hope and Charity Shopping] said...

I am definitely making a note of the glitter/herpes quote - so true! And me and my boys are going to be making egg box turtles some time soon x

Jen said...

That egg carton turtle is just SO cool. I predict an army of them soon erupts across the land because of this post, spreading joy and glitter throughout the nation.

And that painting is WONDERFUL. So cool!

BTW, saw what I thought was an awesome squirrel pin today at the Boomerang Room, but, alas, it was a skunk. Sigh. Otherwise you'd have gotten a rhinestone and fake-sapphire squirrel in the mail.

BEESTLYproducts said...

i'm such a sucker for those sorts of things! dave just rolls his eyes, but i almost feel bad to leave anything handmade behind. such great finds!!!!

PJ Hornberger said...

I do love that painting. She had her own style, didn't she? So glad I found your blog. A friend sent me your video with the cat on your head. Almost wet my pants. xo

Andria Crowjoy said...

This post made me so happy and sad, but in a good way. I hope it's someone just like you cleaning out my basement when I go.

Kitsch and Curious said...

The sun and the can man are the best! I also love the cat painting. I bet Helen had fun with her craft. It's so sweet that you research the previous owners of your finds - not something I think about much, as we don't have estate sales here.
(Sorry I'm a bit late catching up with blogs at the mo')

Anonymous said...

love them! the caterpillar clothespin is my fave.