Monday, April 06, 2009

Closed before it Opened

18 pairs of Vi's Earring Collection

My mother collected earrings. She never pierced her ears, so the earrings were all clip-on or screw-on. At one time she had over 250 pairs from all over the world. Whenever friends and family traveled, they brought back a pair of earrings for Vi.

My mother lived with me for six months before she died. This was after she broke her hip and had a stroke, then a heart attack. Her earring collection moved in with her in a large flat box she had always stored under her bed. The earrings she wore daily were kept in a dresser drawer in jewelry boxes along with necklaces, pins and bracelets.

After Vi died I made "Shadow Boxes" for her five granddaughters. Each box was different, made with items each girl had individually chosen. Earrings, necklaces, dried roses, perfume bottles, lacy hankies, gloves, photos, compacts, glasses--artistically displayed with a lace doily in the background.

The daughters and granddaughters also chose earrings and china pieces they wanted to keep.

This all happened twelve years ago after mother died. I boxed up the earrings and jewelry in a large RubberMaid container and kept it in the basement.

I toyed for a long time about whether or not to break up the collection of earrings. I found a fun web site where you can open your own shop to sell vintage items or personal creations. . . and Viola's Cupboard at was born. It was going to be my creative outlet for the year. Plus it was going to help make a little money, hopefully.

One of Vi's many necklaces

I rushed out to get appraisals at the jewelers, bought displays trays and photography backdrops. I was excited to get started.
After the displays were set-up, I photographed all of the items. There were seven trays with eighteen earrings in each, or one-hundred-twenty-six pairs of earrings.
My sister Gail (also deceased) owned a set of Nancy Ann Storybook dolls from the 1940s. While I was growing up, they were displayed in a built-in, corner cabinet with glass shelves in our basement family room. We knew the dolls were to look at ONLY, not for play, though I did sneak one or two out occasionally. They've been wrapped in tissue in a box for the last eighteen years ever since my childhood home was sold.

Nancy Ann Storybook Doll circa 1945

My online shop at Etsy was the perfect place to sell the twenty dolls. (Oh, what a great idea! What else can I find to sell?)

I've had my mother's china cabinet in my dining room for the past twelve years. It is filled with my grandmother's Haviland china (she had twenty-four 5 piece place settings circa 1903). My mother had as small tea cup and saucer collection of various patterns from different manufacturers. What to sell?

One of the Tea Cup and Saucer Collection
Instead of being cooped up on the bottom shelf of my 1960s china hutch, I thought the cups should belong to someone who would display them or use them. I thought the dolls should belong to someone who would love them and display them. Ditto for the earrings.

Well, I figured I'd better give family members one more chance to become owners of the vintage belongings BEFORE I put the photos on Etsy. Bad decision.

I e-mailed photographs to Vi's grand kids, my sister in Australia and my sister-in-law in New Mexico. I think you know the rest of the story. Yup, everyone wanted the things! My "Down-Under" sister was horrified that I would break up the sets, especially for financial gain. I didn't want to upset her during her mission, so I've boxed everything up again and it is all being moved to my niece's house until my sister gets home.

So much for my entrepreneurial efforts. The wind is out of my sails. The shop is closed for business before it ever opened.

Earring Display at Relief Society Fashion Show


SB said...

I laughed at your post, of course they wanted everything! My family would do the same! I am a nancy ann collector and would just out of curiousity, love to see your collection of 20, would you mind sharing pictures, I can even ID them for you :)

Travelin'Oma said...

When we divided up my mom's goods, everyone was appalled that I planned to sell my inheritance. I didn't need (or even want) her real pearls. I had a fake strand that worked just fine. Her rings were too little, with too ostentatious of stones for me to wear, plus we needed to fix our car. One sibling grabbed the pearls right out of my hands and said if I didn't care that they had "touched June's beautiful neck, she'd give them to HER daughters who would cherish the connection." I was considered the insensitive daughter. I was actually just the poor one.

Sheri said...

SB, Send me an e-mail and I'll e-mail you photos of the dolls. I couldn't get onto your blog or e-mail.

Marty, Amen, sister. I'm the poor one of the family, also. I also have the things I want of my mother's belonging. I'm the one with the photo albums and the one who writes the histories, etc. Things are just things and you can't take them with you! And they just gather dust in this life.

PI said...

Families! Don't get me started. I still have plants my mother gave me and her wedding ring that became too small and I've worn ever since
and the rest - is history as they say.
I feel for you. Such an entrepeneural spirit and thwarted. Bad luck!

SB said...

Hi Sheri,
I could not locate your email either but please send to :) Look forward to hearing from you!