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>Penny and the Wine Rack

April 28, 2010

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Thank you if you’re stopping by from Reluctant Entertainer’s Home Is….link up this week!

I actually wrote this post a few weeks ago. I can’t honestly say I’ve been garage-sale hunting in many a year, other than expeditions to find a new tricycle or kiddie pool and I didn’t think you wanted to read about that. But, I did inheirit this boring old wine rack (see above). It’s the same idea, I think – unwanted becomes wanted, lost becomes found. Renewed, restored, repurposed.

So, for all you Reluctant Entertainer fans, here’s the story of Penny and the Wine Rack –

My husband is a realtor and often, as clients are moving out of one home into another, they will end up with some type of albatross and he, being a Yankee, never turns down anything free. So I came home one day to this wine rack – a sort of sickly-green with two faded ceramic tiles on top. Sort of 1980’s Tuscan. Yawn. But I immediately saw the potential and started in on a makeover.

Penny will adorn the top of this wine rack when she is completed. She is being created on top of the two original ceramic tiles that formed the top of the rack. The wine rack will get a nice new paint job – probably cobalt blue. Here is her story.


I mentioned previously that I have been working on the same mosaic for over a year now. Here’s a little more on that topic.

My friend Chandra has a little studio off her garage. She has filled it with all the necessary tools for creativity, added a dash of charm, a sprinkle of good music, great lighting and she has thrown open the doors to people like me, who would never get the chance to create like this otherwise.

There are shelves from floor to ceiling filled with plates and cups and cracked dishes. Boldly painted pottery and delicate china. Tubs of bits and pieces and sea glass.

In the center is a large work table covered in canvas. A pitcher holds hand-tools, safety glasses, and spackling knives. There are always fresh flowers in a vase, and an unfinished canvas on an easel in the corner. Photos are pinned to a bulletin board – inspirations, happy memories, or projects that were gifted away. A handprint and a scrawled “I love you, Mom” on the wall.

The room is alive. It breathes.

Chandra’s daughter, as beautiful as she is talented, has left something unfinished in a corner over which we ooh and admire.

It is such a gift to simply show up and get to work (after a damp and boisterous greeting by Bucky and Abby and Benny, the dogs). It’s all there; nothing is wanted.

Camaraderie, creativity and a glass of wine.


My buddy Traci and I enjoyed many a happy evening there this past winter. She was working on a stepping-stone, her very first project.


I think it turned out rather nice, don’t you? Here it is, complete but for the final grouting.

And after. Such a work of art! It’s going to adorn a garden in Nashville. Bummer.


Chandra is always nearby, willing to lend a helping hand, a dose of joy, or simply a listening ear.


And then there’s me. It started with this – a swatch of fabric I fell in love with from the Pottery Barn catalog last spring. Stupidly, I didn’t buy anything, but Penny is my living memory of those pretty birdies in orange and salmon and cobalt.


From there, Penny was born. I’ve finished with her, finally, and have begun working on the surrounding border.


Truly a living project, Penny emerged from the bare tiles I started with – some nights I did nothing more than push pieces in circles, accomplishing nothing. Others, the broken plates and pottery would lay themselves, blinking up at me from the pile on the table before me, then turning just the right way, a perfect fit. On evenings that I came alone, I’d often find a stubborn corner magically solved, as if by benevolent fairy muse (or just Chandra wandering in and solving the dilemma on sight.)

The last step will be to fill in everything else – the hardest part. Pieces will need to be custom cut to fit the remaining space, but I hope it will come together. You can’t spend this much time on any creative exercise and not feel as if a part of you were poured out upon the final product. That’s me right there – in her sparkling eye, her jeweled tail.

And, it’s not spackle, it’s the laughter and blessing of that happy room that holds her chips and bits together.

And so, a boring 1980’s Tuscan wine rack in peach and green (yawn) slowly (very slowly) remade into 2010 Estruscan. (Ok, if you too were an Art History major you would have laughed. That was cute. Sorry. My inner geek is showing.)

The final question is – what to do with it? I have a nice wine rack in the house already. Someone suggested I use it in the garden for something to climb upon – sweet peas, perhaps. Or nasturtiums. It could store rolled towels for use in summer months, or….what do you think? What shall Penny and the Wine Rack become?

For more Garage Sale love stories, pop over to the Home Is… link up at www.ReluctantEntertainer.com!

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10 Comments leave one →
  1. April 28, 2010 5:12 pm

    >Wow- it looks great! Could you wedge flower pots or something like that in there?!

  2. April 28, 2010 5:57 pm

    >I am so impressed. You did a beautiful job…I {heart} Penny. It would be beautiful on the garden – I am on a garden/outdoors kick right now…maybe because we are having our two days of sun for the Spring and Summer. Anyway, love what you created and love the story about how you did it…what fun to have friends and wine and be creative.

  3. April 28, 2010 6:33 pm

    >WOW! That's awesome! If you planted something to grow, it might cover Penny and all your hard work. You could put it on your porch and put a variety of glass bottles in it, or put it inside and use it to hold towels…I don't know. I'm not the most creative

  4. April 28, 2010 8:44 pm

    >That is awesome!! I've always thought that I would do something like that in my kitchen if we are ever able to buy a place in OC… So when I'm like 75 years old!

  5. April 28, 2010 8:46 pm

    >Oh and the picture was taken in front of the Pilgrim at the Dana Point harbor's Ocean Institute. Kiddos love it. Expecially my lil' pirate!

  6. April 28, 2010 11:16 pm

    >Love it! Blue and orange just make me happy (thank you, Pepperdine) and they look so cozy and energetic together. Plus, peacocks are awesome! Love the idea of painting the wine rack cobalt.

  7. April 28, 2010 11:46 pm

    >Have I told you how good of a writer you are? Oh, that's right. I tell you almost every time! Love the story and pix of your friends, too.Mm, love Penny. But the wine rack is cool. I'd use out by my pool and roll beach towels in it. Spray it first. But you have some good suggestions here …Great post today! Thanks for linking up!

  8. April 29, 2010 12:06 am

    >Oh! Oh! Oh! I love Penny. And in my house, there is always enough wine to stock two wine racks…….

  9. April 29, 2010 3:18 am

    >That is so pretty! If you entertain outdoors much, I would use it on the deck or patio.

  10. April 29, 2010 3:52 pm

    >For some reason, after reading your post heading, I now have Benny and the Jets stuck in my head.

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