Grandma’s treasures.


One day while out visiting my aunt, she surprised me by pulling out an old jewelry box.


“This belonged to your grandma many years ago” and then she opened it up to show me the many treasures hidden inside. It was like a mini time capsule.


My grandma kept everything.


She was a bit of  pack rat or as I like to say…clutter bug. It sounds so much better.


My grandma had jewelry from her mom and jewelry from her kids.

There were a lot of pieces from the 50’s and 60’s. Costume jewelry was very popular back then.DSC_8065.JPG

I also came across a lot of pieces from the 70’s when my grandma was into Native American jewelry and turquoise.

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There were even a couple pieces from the 80’s which reminded me of the Madonna craze back then with her chunky fake gems stones and bangles she used to wear. Wonder what grandma did with these pieces.



A birth stone tree with two sets of the same stones for the two sets of twins my grandma had. One of those sets was my dad.


Looking through all this jewelry I wondered when grandma ever wore them. Grandma to me was always a little bit of a tomboy. She loved camping with her boys and girls or hunting. I just figured she wasn’t into jewelry. In fact a lot of the girls on my dad’s side were a bit of tomboys. We loved fishing and spending time outdoors. Grandma probably did what I did; just put her jewelry away for those special occasions like family events and holidays. Nothing too fancy or over the top in prices, her pieces like my pieces were for enjoyment only.


Grandma had so many interesting and pretty pieces.


Birds and bees and flowers and trees. I’m Getting a little poetic now.

Then my Aunt surprised me one mother’s day with a special gift from Grandma’s treasure box, a little floral brooch with little dots. “It reminds me of you and all the whimsical flowers you paint on everything,” She said.


It belonged to my great grandma.


When I got home I pulled out some of my own little treasures of costume jewelry from the years. I don’t really wear them anymore because I am usually painting something and it would just get ruined so they are tucked away for my daughter to go through some day. I can imagine her saying “ My mom is a bit of a pack rack…or clutter bug as we like to say.”

There is a guitar from Venice Italy, one of my souvenirs I remembered to buy for myself.


I picked up these Russian dolls at a world fest here in Phoenix many years ago. Notice the theme here…color, lots of color.


Then there is my obsession with flowers.




Hearts always cheer me up.

This selection came from a thrift store grab bag. I thought they would look nice as ornaments. I need to make little Christmas pillows to pin them to, then hang them from my tree.DSC_1539.JPG



A friend bought me a fetish necklace one year. In Arizona we have so many great Native American artists that carve out these beautiful little desert animals from stones. I didn’t know this when my friend gave it to me one birthday but each little hand carved animal represents something (


Like this rabbit which represents a safe birth for mothers and a long life for children.


Turtles represent mother earth and longevity in Native American cultures.


A roadrunner from my mother-in-law, this is another item from the 70’s.


Every year the Catholic Church has a giant sale and this brooch was too pretty to leave behind. Those are tiny little dried flowers under the glass.


Then there was this spider for .25 cents. I am afraid of spiders but this little guy was crazy colorful and added bonus points, it’s isn’t alive. Not sure what I am going to do with him. Maybe frame him, and then design a beautiful beaded web. That would be so pretty under a shadow box frame.


These are just a few of my favorite pieces. Sometimes when I am out in the world at junk shops and yard sales and I see a box of little trinkets, I can’t help myself and have so much fun looking at all those unique pieces out there.

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As for that tiny little flower brooch my aunt gave me, well it was just too special and pretty to tuck away in a box, so I framed it. Now I have a little flower to greet me everyday. I wonder what my great granny would have thought of that when she got this little pin. Someday it will be up on a wall in her great granddaughters home. I never met her but it looks like we both liked the same things.


Hope you all enjoyed a little trip back in time with my families treasure chest full of memories. All my grandmas collected some pretty pieces and it looks like we all had similar taste.


Have fun hunting for your own little trinkets to add to your treasure chest at home. There are tons of gems out there to collect and make into art. As always, the hunt is the funniest part to me.


For more information on pins, check out Madeleine Albright’s pin collection on Youtube. I had a chance to see her exhibit at our art museum here in Phoenix. It was a date my husband and I took…we still try to do date days, even with grown kids. This was a great exhibit. There was a lot of history that went with all her jewelry. Her favorite piece is a little heart her daughter made her when she was five years old. Youtube has a clip of her exhibits in the simonsian museum, which was the same exhibit I saw here in Phooenix. It’s a great little video that is only about 5 minutes but gives you just a touch of the beautiful pins that were on display. She even has a book available. Hope you get a chance to watch it. If this exhibit ever comes to your part of the world, don’t miss it, it is quite the collection.

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