If You Love Something, Give It A Story: DIY Bird Cage - ReclaimedWritten by Carol Rice
“Tell me, you are not throwing that out.” I should just record myself saying that and play it as I go through my friends' and sisters' homes. Or at this point, I probably don't even need to say it out loud anymore. I'm pretty sure they know my love for old wood, formerly-loved boxes and tins and all buttons and broken jewelry.
So it came as no surprise to either my sister or I as walked out her garage door, spotted the old bird cage on top of her freezer and said, “Tell me, you are not throwing that out.” She was. And the old bird cage and I, already in love, went home together.
For a few days I left it in its original state as I moved it around the house. I placed it several different places just to see how it felt. Once I decided its final resting spot would be my front room, I let it sit there, empty and forlorn while I created its story in my mind's eye.
I read a book last summer, and a passage from it gave voice to the way I feel about reclaiming old things. A woman who lived in breathtaking poverty kept a broken clock hanging on her wall. When asked about it she said, “Sometimes broken things deserve to be repaired.” It's more than just “things” isn't it. Those of us who “reclaim” know there's something deeper that drives our passion.
If you love something, like an old bird cage sitting in your sister's garage, take it home and give it a story.
After sitting empty, and forlorn for a few weeks on my front room coffee table, it was time to get the story started.
The characters: First I gathered all of the pieces that will bring the birdcage to life. Spray paint. A beautiful bird made by a friend of mine. And a small stack of darling books I bought at a library sale. I love them; their colors and fonts! I also grabbed some pretty muslin and ribbon.
The colors: I decided on a lovely, peaceful green/blue color. I described the color like the green that copper turns when it gets old. It took the entire can for this one bird cage because of all the individual pieces. I sprayed it carefully from every angle.
The plot thickens: I aged it with a solution of watered down brown acrylic paint on a sponge brush and rag. Once it dried, I sanded down a few spots and then re-applied some of the brown wash. I loved the dimension this step gave to the color and features of the bird cage.
Wrapping it up: I loved filling the bird cage with the "pretties" I had picked out, and placing them just so.
Coming Home: And finally giving my re-claimed birdcage a place of honor on my coffee table so I could enjoy it every day. It makes me smile every time I sit in the room!
What are some lessons you have learned saving something? Have you ever felt you had a chance, or have given someone a chance at a new story? Have you shared the story of those experiences with someone you love?
I grew up in a home rich with family heritage. My mom loved genealogy and knew how to breathe life into dusty documents and color to faded black and white photos - my mom told me stories.
As a grown woman with five children of my own, I've tried to do the same. For years I did it through scrapbooking. But it didn't take long to realize that it wasn't my artistic skills my children really cared about. They never stopped on a page and said, "Mom, you matched that paper to my shirt - perfectly!" Nope. What they did say as they leaned across my lap, pointing at photos is, "Tell me the story!" "Tell me mom about the day I was born... Tell me mom about the day I cried when everyone sang me happy birthday... Tell me mom about my grandma and her garden..."
Don't worry if you haven't done it forever, just start today. The consistency and cumulative effect of one good question - just sharing one story a day, adds up.
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