Day 188: Summer Vignette in Pop’s Army Trunk

Pops army trunk e

I love doing vignettes. It’s like working a puzzle. All the pieces are there but I’m never quite sure what the final picture is going to look like. That’s the fun part, trying different pieces together until they all fit, and I’m satisfied with the look. For my first today, I created a fresh summery vignette in my grandfather’s metal army trunk.

I uncovered the old trunk late last fall. My grandfather, affectionately called Pop by the family, passed away in 2007. My mom stored his army trunk here at my house and now has let me use it in my decorating schemes. I spent time sorting through the papers, notebooks, scraps and bits that had occupied the rusty trunk for many years, storing them away in a plastic bin. I enjoyed fixing the trunk up for the holidays, which was actually the first such vignette I had ever done with a vintage piece. That fun experience led to other first vignettes. Although I created a holiday scene in the trunk last year, this is the first time I’ve used the trunk for any other decorating.

The vignette that I created last Christmas focused on pieces that connected to my grandfather and his life. I included stars, trees, and a vintage gas can. I loved the treasure hunt I was led on to find the right pieces and the finished look. I hope Pop will forgive me for giving his army trunk a very feminine look this time around! The sticks of willow and the living green plant tucked inside the bird cage remind me of Pop though, who had a knack for growing flowers and vegetables of all kinds. Some of my fondest memories of him are of watching Pop work in his garden. He would allow me to tag along and ask questions and as I grew older, help out in the garden. I’m sure that my love of gardening and getting my hands dirty can  be traced back to those days spent trailing after my grandfather as he coaxed green plants to grow and produce.

Pop in uniform e

Pop was a very special man. He served his country bravely during WWII, coming home with a bronze star. When Pop met my grandmother, she was a widow with three young children. My mom remembers seeing Pop in his uniform and thinking he was so handsome. She prayed that this kind man with dark hair and eyes would be her new daddy. Her prayer was answered. He not only raised three children as his own, he was also a wonderful grandfather to the grandchildren that arrived later. He very rarely talked about his time spent in the army. It used to bother me to see tears run down his cheeks when he shared stories from that challenging time.

I will enjoy walking by the trunk multiple times during the day and thinking of Pop as I glance at it. Rather than storing this piece in a closet, out of sight, I’d rather have it serve a purpose here in the open. The trunk is an object of quiet strength, endurance and rugged beauty, offering to serve simply, creatively and completely, without a fuss. Those traits sum up Pop very well too.

Pop and Dayan e

Day 146: Summer Vignette in Vintage Suitcase


It may have been raining outside, but inside, I was creating a bit of summer for my first! I have a lovely, slightly battered vintage suitcase. It most likely was an inexpensive purchase. The exterior has heavy cardboard covered with thick, textured paper and metal edging. That paper covering is scratched and rubbed off in several places. The interior is covered in a thin beige and silvery blue paper that has faded to a delicate hue.

I love this suitcase. I like to imagine the journeys it has taken in its many years. It came to me by way of Greg’s family and someday I’ll pass it on to one of our children or grandchildren. For years it has sat in a closet, a container for old family photographs of the Moore Family. Recently I withdrew the suitcase from its hiding place, sorted through the photos and stored them in a plastic bin. I wanted to display the suitcase.

Today, perched atop my dresser in the bedroom, the open suitcase became the backdrop for a summer vignette. I love creating these little slices of life. A table top, a shelf, and now this suitcase, all become blank canvases that welcome my creativity. I get an image in my mind of what I want the completed vignette to look like and then I search for the right items to create that look.

I had purchased summery looking pitchers and containers recently at Michael’s, all on sale. I gathered those, a pile of vintage linens, and an assortment of greenery, a candle wreath, a candle and speckled eggs and laid them all out on the bed. I also had an adorable paper garland that I had purchased at The Fancy Flamingo Flea Market. It is made of old pages from a hymnal. Already, a theme was growing in my mind.

The vignette came together quickly. I love summer whites, so allowing the black suitcase with its faded interior paper to provide most of the color, I selected mostly white pieces and linens. The speckled eggs in the mesh container added additional color along with the greens and yellows of the candle ring. Stepping back, I liked where I was headed….but I needed something else. Then the perfect piece came to mind. I had the painting Greg had bought me at Cooper’s with the wonderful Rumi quote: “Let the beauty of what you love be what you do.” The muted greens, golds and hint of rust worked well with my other items. And the quote seemed so fitting.

Lastly, I dug through the box of old photos, looking for one that I remembered seeing, of Greg’s parents, Bob and Leta Moore, at the beach. Looking oh so young and happy, frolicking in the surf at the beach, this was such a perfect picture to complete the scene. This suitcase came to me through them. The garland with its folded hymnal banners made me think of Leta, who played the piano beautifully every Sunday at church.

Just as the vignette captures a bit of “summer”, so this snapshot captured a moment in the early summer of their lives.  Their fall and winter years must have seemed so far away at that time. I like looking at that picture and seeing their bright, shining faces. Leta journeyed through her fall years and left us far too soon. Bob, at 93, is very much in the winter of his life. He still has that mischievous smile even though he is so weary.  I look forward to showing him a picture of the decorated suitcase. I can already hear him snort as he laughs and mutters something about those young whippersnappers who didn’t know what they were doing. Ah, but they did so many things right, that young couple, not the least of which was to live and love well, and pass on that legacy to their children and grandchildren.