Friday, December 24, 2021

Making New from Old

Tree from Aunt Tom's & Aunt Kay's Jewelry
Photo by Amy LV

Students - I have had my great aunts' old jewelry for a long time. When I was in high school, I used to wear some of it, and it has been around my life for decades. This fall, I saw some Christmas trees made from old costume jewelry, and I bought a wooden cone to make one. Yesterday I finally sat down and did it. I sat at the kitchen table for a few hours, just me, my Leatherman (like a Swiss Army knife) and my glue gun. Yes, I had lots of things to do, but taking this time to sit and make was a true gift.

My Great Aunt Tom (real name Edythe) was my mother's mother's sister, and my Great Aunt Kay (really Katharine, and I have her name as my middle name) was my father's mother's sister. As my parents were both only children and three of my grandparents had died before I was two years old, these were the family outside of our small family-of-four that I remember. Gluing their bracelets and earrings and necklace bits to this tree shape brought me a sense of togetherness from ages ago, and even though Aunt Kay died in 1983 and Aunt Tom died in 1998, I could still smell their perfumes.

This making was bittersweet; I felt both happy and sad at the same time. But more happy!

Anyway, I am very pleased with this heavy, sparkly little tree, and I will love pulling it out each year. I made a new thing from old things, and it brought me joy. Have you ever made something new from something old? If so, you might use that making as a start for a writing idea. If not, you might want to try it out. Just take some time, find something old that you are allowed to work with, and see what you can make. Then...write! I would love to hear about your findings and your makings. 

Here is a picture of the costume jewelry tree before I got too far. You can see the green jewelry box on the left that belonged to my Great Aunt Tom, and you can see the suitcase on the right which held much of my Great Aunt Kay's jewelry. As I worked, I thought about them, two such different and fascinating women, branches from my family tree.

Making the Tree
Photo by Amy LV

It is truly winter, and I would like to say thank you to Tabatha Yeatts, Mary Lee Hahn, and Laura Shovan for setting up a Winter Poetry Swap for all of us interested Poetry Friday folks. I was fortunate to be paired with Buffy Silverman, a poet I truly admire and host of today's Poetry Friday roundup. 

I treasure the poem and bouquet that Buffy shared with me, right on Solstice Eve, a time of year I cherish. If you close your eyes and ask someone to read her words to you, you will hear oaks and see reds and grays and browns, hear geese and feel that slate-blue sky and white-winter snow. I already ate the delicious toffee that she sent...and I cannot wait to use the creamy goat's milk soap. Thank you, Buffy, for this most lovely invitation into winter.

Buffy is indeed hosting today's Poetry Friday roundup at Buffy Silverman, and as we were Winter Poetry Swap partners...she is sharing my poem to her along with her wonderful poem, "A Tree's Secrets," simply perfect for this moment. Please know that all are welcome each Friday as folks share poems, poem books, poetry ideas, and friendship.

Happy last week of 2021! I will see you next Friday, my friends...on the last day of this year.


Please share a comment below if you wish. 


  1. A beautiful post. This reminds me of what I say to students too...we need historians more than ever. Preserving memories of your great-aunts in this way gives you joy and preserves a bit of them. It's not quite archeology. But, I think it's similar. I love to make new from old. It gives me immense satisfaction to create new journals from recycled paper. Thanks for sharing your process in the post and the poem. It's inspiring!

  2. "Making stuff out of stuff" YES!

    Your bejeweled Christmas tree makes me a little a good way. Such a perfect way to keep your Great Aunts close.

  3. Love the making-stuff poem and the making-stuff action. What a beautiful way to bring your great aunts to your celebration this year. Wishing your family a joyful Christmas.

  4. Love the new stuff from old, an excellent idea! And Buffy's poem is a treasure. Thanks for sharing, and Merry Christmas to you!

  5. It looks like many of us like "Making stuff out of stuff" and my artist daughter is another Queen user of the wonder glue gun. Lovely textury poem Amy I'm smiling from it as I type ^_^ And thanks for sharing Buffy's beautiful nature filled poem! Wishing you and your family a very Merry Christmas!

  6. What a wonderful use for all that jewelry that was probably sitting in a box somewhere but now can brighten your Christmases. Thanks for sharing Buffy's amazing poem.