Five-Minute Shadow Box

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Our new house was built in 1920 and is the oldest house I’ve ever owned. I feel like I should turn in my Yankee credentials to admit that fact, but there it is. My childhood homes near Hartford, CT were built in the 1940s and 1980s, respectively. When my husband and I bought our first place, we chose a 1982 townhouse with great light and bad light fixtures. And now here we are in a house that’s nearly 100 years old! It’s exciting stuff.

To make this new house habitable, we had to do a fair amount of work: replacing the original knob-and-tube wiring, adding a small addition off the back, replacing the kitchen and the second bathroom. In the course of all that demolition and digging, our construction crew found an old ash bucket with a lot of broken glass in it. Closer inspection revealed the remains of beautiful 1920’s-era jars and bottles, most of them olive jars.

There was also this Lea & Perrins relic.

But what to do with what seemed, to me, little treasures?

First, I rinsed them in water, brushed them in oil, and let them sit for a couple of weeks to loosen the dirt. Then I gently washed them with dish soap. I figured I’d mount these pieces in a shadow box, but on an impulse stop at HomeGoods, I found a jewelry case with a hinged door and padded linen background.

A few pearl-head straight pins later and I had a cute display that took all of five minutes to pull together.

It now hangs in our living room, where it makes me feel a little more connected to the owners who came before us.


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