Monday, August 6, 2012

Beauty In Times Of Drought?

We are in the worse drought in nearly 25 years here in mid-Missouri. We have not had any measurable rain at our house for nearly 3 months. Add to that several weeks of 90 plus degree temperatures and at least two weeks of 100 plus degrees and it paints a pretty grim picture. Things are not good for us, the crops, and the wildlife. I don't remember the drought of 1988 - it's not that I wasn't old enough to remember but I think living in the city and not doing any real gardening at that time in my life made it less of an event - the 2012 drought is, however, significantly different for me.

Since we are on well water and do not know much about where the water levels are at, we are re-thinking our usage and doing some things to conserve and reuse. We have been taking Navy showers, flushing the toilet less often (I know, TMI), and doing laundry and running the dishwasher only when we have a full load. We are also foregoing watering anything that is not necessary. That means our lawn is pretty much a waste land and the only "pretty" plants that are getting any moisture are the ones I am watering from the buckets we are using to capture the runoff in our sinks and tub.  We have watered our tomato plants some so that we can have fresh produce and the wildlife have some vegetation to munch on plus the birds love flying through the sprinkler. At least, I planted some succulents this year which are thriving in these conditions. It is bad.

One of my recent thrift store finds reminds me that beauty can come from reuse and recycling. I picked up this tramp or folk art for $3 and I just can't believe someone would have given it away. It has such detail and whoever created it put a lot of love and time into its design. I mean, really, look at the all the pieces...

I think nearly everything in this art piece is vintage jewelry parts, except for possibly the sea horse. There are ear rings, pop beads, chain, and even the sea shells around the edge were most likely a necklace at some point. There were a couple of spots on it where the original treasures were gone so I filled them in with some of my own vintage jewelry parts I had on hand. Can you tell where those places are at? I am hoping I blended them in so you can't. Honestly, I almost don't remember where I added things.

Looking at this piece makes me wonder if the parts had any meaning to the artist. Was the sea horse from a vacation to the coast? Was the sea shell necklace part of a lei from Hawaii? Or were all the treasures handed down from a grandmother or mother? Even the crushed velvet for the background looks to be recycled from something - maybe an old throw pillow or possibly, an article of clothing. And look at the back...

Even the back is a piece of old wood paneling. And it looks like the artist even "signed" her work as it reads "Jane Legat" or maybe, a child scratched their name into their bedroom wall. I bet even the frame was reused from something else. I love this piece.

As thrifters, we live a life of repurposing, recycling, and reusing - it seems to be in our nature. When times become harder than normal, it is easier for us to adjust because of it. Just like this tree art, I think we can find beauty in knowing that we are helping to save our environment through our actions. What have you found lately that inspires you? Are you taking measures to preserve your surroundings? Even in times of drought, there is something good to be found. 


  1. I love tramp art. Neat find.

    We don't water our lawn either........and it's one crispy critter.

  2. Your last paragraph is so true. It is much easier to adjust to hard times because we live frugally/thrifting all the time. I'm sorry to hear about your drought, I see why you too are ready for fall. Sending rain thoughts your way. The art piece you found is incredible!

  3. I often think the same thing. People keep talking about how bad the economy is, how scarce resources are and how it's only going to get worse. As thrifters we're already prepared to weather the storm, we're resourceful and ready for the challenge.

  4. This is a really spectacular find. I hope things turn around out there.

  5. I'm like you I'm always amazed to find beautiful handmade items at the thrift store. I wonder why a family member or friend wouldn't want some of the items I find. I actually enjoy repairing, cleaning and giving these items a new purpose. So much work and love goes into a piece like this it feels good to save it. Lately I've been finding a lot of afghans. I like unusual patterns and colors. I launder them and they sell pretty well in my antique booth.