Sorry, it was the first thing that popped in my head when I read Willette Designs' Joy of Luck assignment for Day 4 of her online photography series. Today I am photographing seven favorite things. "We are all so fortunate for what we have materially. We’re lucky to have these material objects. Let’s focus on our luck and blessings today – capture your favorite seven objects!"
So using the macro lens setting on my camera, as suggested by our lesson, I tried to capture some of my favorite items, those that tell a story about my life.
The Buddha incense burner was a birthday gift from my husband just before we were married. What I love is how he presented the gift to me. At the time, we were just about to get married and also knew that we would be moving from Michigan, where literally all of our immediate and extended family lived to Pittsburgh. He bought the little Buddha from a store just blocks from our first apartment together, a studio in an old house in Kalamazoo. You need to light a charcol tablet and sprinkle powdered incense onto the ember in order to watch the incense send smoke waves from the base of the Buddha. But so the burner does not get too hot, the charcol tablet rests in some sand inside the burner. My husband collected a small jar of sand from the beaches in northern Michigan that I grew up swimming in, knowing how hard it was for me to move away from the lakes and the land I love. It seems so silly, but it was so incredibly thoughtful for him to think of collecting this sand just before we moved away, a sort of physical reminder of home every time we lit some incense.
The hair dryer is just cool. I like to collect vintage items. I have a 1940s typewriter, the same model Hemingway used, a Royal. And another Royal from the 60s. And this hair dryer, from the 1950s, I found for $14 in a thrift store. And, it actually works, not that I would recommend it.
The quilt is one that I have used as a play mat with both my boys. It was my quilt when I was an infant. You can tell it's from the 70's with all the polyester material, and I adore it. My mom made it for me, and she passed it on to her grandchildren. It is not some family heirloom to be packed away and never seen. The way we love this item is to use it every day. And we do.
Another treasured item, okay this is a picture of two treasured items in one shot, one old and one new, is the photo in the upper left corner. The little dog was a Christmas gift from my mom to my eldest son. She stitched him with care, bought an actual dog collar for him, and one day while in a dollar store my, dad found a keychain with my son's name on it that my mom turned into the puppy's name tag. My son does not have the most common name, named after his great-grandfather, my dad's dad. The same great-grandfather that bought my father the chair that the puppy sits in. It was my father's childhood rocking chair, then mine, and now my son's. The puppy sits in his rocking chair in our living room, family treasures, old and new.
So are the rings - old and new. The peridot ring is from the 1940s. My husband secretly started his own Etsy account and found this vintage ring for me as a Valentine's gift, the peridot being the birthstone of my youngest son. The other ring did not always have a sapphire at its center. My husband had this little ring, that I've worn every day since he got it for me over 16 years ago, reset following the birth of our first son in September a couple of years ago. And you can tell from this picture that it is a well-worn ring. My husband gave me this ring, originally set with an opal, as a gift our first Christmas together. We were both 18 and in our first year of college. I have worn it every day since.
The spools of thread sit in an antique sewing chest my mother-in-law refinished for us. I love to sew. This was not always true. My mom first taught me to sew at 8 when she volunteered to help out with a local 4-H sewing group. At first, I loved it. But as I became a teenager, I wasn't as fond of sitting down to sew my own homecoming dresses. But looking back, I'm so glad this is something my mom taught me. I can create, I can craft with a needle and thread. My mom sewed my wedding dress. She has made my children clothes and toys. There is joy in making something, in sewing something that people will always remember and treasure. I made the quilt on my son's bed. And a blanket for my youngest son. I look forward to stitching together outfits and toys for my boys, that is, if their grandma doesn't beat me to it!
And the last picture, the elephant candle holder doesn't have an elaborate family connection like the other pieces. I bought this on a whim for myself. I love this piece, mother and child. Beautifully carved, they look comfortable, connected. The mother elephant seems content in herself. I look at this piece to remind me that it is our connections with others that make us beautiful. She reminds me to be thankful for my connections with my children and my connections with my loved ones.
So there you have it - seven material objects which I am thankful for.