Shipping my Shiny Objects

Isn't it pretty?

When items are purchased from my eBay store, I must ship them. I’ve been ‘busy as a bee’ all morning packing up sold items. Which was quick and painless…

Until I got to one of my favorite items.  An 11” tall and truly gorgeous vase in a rich cobalt blue color, with a swirl pattern. Vintage–which means it can’t be replaced. (At least not easily) And very delicate.

Anybody who has read this blog knows that I am NOT delicate. Not one bit.

As I handled the vase to wipe it down with a Windex Wipe, I held my breath.

The inner dialogue…”Don’t bump it into a shelf, the desk…don’t drop it, set it gently down to get the packaging supplies gathered…” The last time I ‘bumped’ something; I shattered the back window glass on the pickup truck of one of my favorite people. Snow blew around inside of its extended cab this winter.

As I carefully packed up the vase, I soon realized that my profit margin was going into packing peanuts, a ton of bubble wrap, two boxes (need to double box the breakables) and almost an entire roll of clear tape.

Pray God this treasure gets from Ohio to Florida without incident–I certainly did my part! And I did slap ‘fragile’ stickers all over the box. I’m sure that whoever handles it will not toss it around…

At least it wasn’t a mirror. I am a sucker for mirrors, but I can’t help but wonder…if the mirror breaks en route to the destination, do I still get 7 years of bad luck? When I shipped a 1960s vintage Ethan Allen mirror several weeks back, I wanted to tell the buyer NOT to tell me if it arrived broken—to just request a refund. I admit to being a wreck until I knew that it got to its destination in one piece.

I have a (very smart) friend who sells custom ‘little girls’ hair accessories online. She packs them in mailers or cute tiny boxes–And they ALL arrive in Perfect condition with little fuss or expense. Really, what am I thinking??

Fingers crossed...

As I packed the pretty blue vase, my brain was making a mental list of items to put in my eBay store that are easily—and safely—packed. Trust me, I had plenty of time to think, because packing that vase took a long time!

You would think I would learn a lesson. But, no. It’s kind of like childbirth. I’ll soon attend an auction or an estate sale and the very first Shiny Object will have me forgetting this morning. I’ll be attracted to the most delicate, frivolous (and breakable) vintage item I see–like bees to honey.

I can’t seem to help myself.

Me and My Shiny Objects

While majoring in finance at a liberal arts college, I was required to take a Fine Arts course. Which to me felt like disaster waiting to happen. Honestly, stick figures stretch my artistic abilities. Ceramics seemed the best option, though I couldn’t imagine producing anything that resembled ‘Fine Art.’ With little choice and no idea what lie ahead, I pressed forward determined NOT to allow a failure in Art to ding my GPA.

As it turned out, I LOVED Ceramics. Loved molding the clay with my hands and using the potter’s wheel to guide hunks of sludge into lovely shapes. And I got to slather glaze onto gray clay, turning my projects into Shiny Objects! Even better, glazing was an imperfect science back then. The final result of each masterpiece was a surprise. Pulling them out of the kiln was like opening a gift.

At the end of the term, I headed home eager to share my rather mediocre–but respectable enough for an A–creations with my family. I rushed through the back door with my box of projects cradled in my arms. And stumbled into the kitchen, sending all of my hard work into the air. In a split second, my almost Fine Art was a mess of colored clay chunks, scattered across the kitchen floor.

It is true that I am a disaster with delicate items such as pottery, china and glass—and yet they have always fascinated me.

The Family Silver: I remember asking my mother if I could ‘pretty please’ polish the dull silver. Seeing her chance to avoid a task NOBODY enjoys, she quickly gathered a heaping tower of silver, the jar of goopy cleaner and plenty of rags for me. My mom was just helping me out, sort of like giving me Play Dough or a toy.

A delicate & beautiful Johnson Brothers china plate. Recently found at an antiques store. Currently unbroken...

The China Cabinet: We never used our Lenox China. NEVER. As a young child, I was forever dragging out teacups, plates, and saucers to run my fingers along the patterns and to enjoy their cool smoothness against my fingertips. I occasionally insisted on using several place settings for a meal, knowing that I would be hand washing them. Looking back, I cannot fathom that I never damaged any of it.

My Mother’s Engagement Ring: My mother used to smile indulgently as I slid her Shiny Sparkler onto my finger. When it wasn’t on her finger, she kept it in a little box on her dresser. I must have been about 4 years old when I took the ring outside to play. And LOST it! Though we never found the ring, she never got angry or made me feel badly. Thankfully, I have managed to hang onto its replacement.

My Grandfather’s (rather extensive) Carnival Glass Collection: Nobody spared it a glance. Except for me. I studied it, appreciating the rich colors, textures and intricate designs. After he passed away, I inherited several pieces—but only because nobody else wanted “that ugly crap.”  I still display his glass treasures in my home.

Lastly–The Glitter Obsession: My daughter was exasperated by my affinity for glitter. I felt the need to add a dash of sparkle to each and EVERY elementary school project she completed. I won’t lie. I sometimes unloaded entire bottles and tubes of glitter. “Just a touch of shimmer. A little something extra…” I remember saying. This went on for years until she finally put a stop to it. She still cannot stand glitter.

With my lifelong passion for Shiny Objects, carving out a career in glass, china and antique collectibles makes Perfect sense. I am cautiously optimistic as I continue to move forward each day—and backwards on the rough days. Unsure of my destination, but knowing in my gut that it feels right. Just like the clay in my hands many years ago and the feeling that flares up with the discovery of each new ‘Shiny’ treasure.