Monday, February 4, 2013

Finding My Calling

Part of my
  Antiques By Joy
business is home styling.

I visit the home of a client and tweak the look they're going for.
Sometimes they have no idea about what they want, and I have free reign.
Often they say,
"I want it to feel like your shop."

My mother says I began my styling career at the age of 4,
 I can recall some of the projects I conned her into.

I dreamed up a bedroom that had purple and lavender
(1957 - and where did I get that idea at age 4?)
T.V. was still in black and white.
Not that we owned one.

She tried to dissuade me,

(apparently there was no purple she liked, 
 no purple in her fabric stash).

She compromised with curtains and dust ruffle
a delicate white cotton printed with tiny lavender rosebuds
(I insisted)
 vivid purple
 throw pillow.

Mind you she made these herself, because that's what our family did.

I recall regularly 
haunting the fabric store with her . . . 

a 40 minute walk from our house,
where we would browse for hours
dream of the possibilities!

When I was about 6, we walked to the store to purchase fabric for a new outfit 
for me.
I will never forget the excitement of entering that big old fashioned place,
breathing in the aroma 
taking in the colors

and hearing her incredible words,

"you may choose ANY fabric you want,

as long as it's not over thirty nine cents a yard"

... remembering an
 angel choir . . . .

By 12 years old I was living in a world that was changing.
(NOT in my little world, but in the bigger sense.)
The Hippie movement brought tie die and psychedelic and neon intensity to our color world.

Being the worldly, well read 12 year old that I was, 
my design sense was evolving, and I wanted

There was no decorating budget to prevail upon for my room
I had to improvise.

I plowed through my mother's extensive collection of bargain fabrics,
(friends often gifted her the remnants of their projects because she was "crafty"),
and came up with a hunter green burlap and some hot pint print and began to picture the contrast they would create beside one another.
It wasn't quite the psychedelic combo I needed,
when I unearthed the next component,
a chartreuse gem,
(Oh the 50's were a heyday for chartreuse!!!),
I knew I was on to something!

I rummaged about and found the ultimate fourth:
turquoise with a touch of chartreuse!


I patiently upholstered my hand me down dresser
and even trimmed it in chartreuse prairie points
 I cut from a school folder I found in that color, 
using recycled upholstery tacks I scrounged.
(Stop laughing!)

I pleaded for a gallon of intensely pink saturated-hue paint.
Now this was serious - we didn't paint much at our house, because paint was expensive, 
but after much pleading I got that paint with my babysitting money.
Fifty cents an hour was what I earned, and that included doing household chores while babysitting.

We dragged my little area rug out to the back yard and using our big zinc wash tub, dyed the rug hot pink with Rit Dye from the local Five and Dime.
Oh, I was on  a roll!

Ultimately, I conned my mother into letting me have the "pole lamp" from our living room.
It had filigree ball shades at three heights, and cast the most enchanting shadows.

That evening, breathing a sign of almost complete contentment, I had my final brainstorm.
My parents were out and I knew just what I wanted to accomplish.
I dug around in the utility closet where we stored the Christmas decorations and found
 three red light bulbs.
Installing the red bulbs and flipping the switch, I melted into my hot pink/chartreuse/turquoise
and simply revelled in the creation!

When I awoke in the morning, I discovered my dad had replaced the red bulbs with normal ones.
His reprimand was that he didn't want me using the Christmas ones.

(About 10 years later it dawned on me what that was all about.)

I don't believe I've ever had so much fun as I did with that decorating project.

And that was the day I
I had found my calling.

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