Recovered Treasure

Recently, my son, Rob, came to visit and help me clean out my garage. It was a chore I’d been putting off for years, because every time I tried to get started on it, I became overwhelmed very quickly. As a result, things that needed to be returned to shelves weren’t getting returned, and since the garage was so congested, I could no longer get to said shelves. It became a snowballing problem. Yikes!!! Does that sound familiar?

Well, I guess Rob got tired of me complaining about not having any more room in the garage and when he visited, it became obvious I wasn’t exaggerating, so he found a week and convinced me we could tackle this job together. It did not take me long to be convinced. I had been praying for such an intervention all along.

The first day, we picked a spot to the left of the door from the kitchen into the garage and started a clockwise pattern of cleaning out, sorting, setting up a “throw away” pile and a “garage sale” pile scheduled for the end of the week. We put on soothing classical music and spent a delightful week laughing, encouraging each other, and generally bonding, despite our aching bodies.

Needless to say, the garage looks fantastic now, but I want to tell you about a discovery we made. When we lived in Germany back in the late 1960s, I found a wonderful art teacher and took as many art lessons as I could from him during our three years there. His inspiration has stayed with me since. Especially because our shopping on base was limited to everyday type items, not art supplies specifically. So, I was always looking for common or easy to get art supplies.

It was Christmas time, so I was interested in coming up with ideas to decorate my home for the holidays. And I was teaching a class to other wives interested in art and craft ideas. I learned about a technique using ordinary crayons to color a drawn design. This idea was fairly easy to do and could become as detailed as the person doing the project wanted, depending on their talent and time spent.

I drew a somewhat modern angel and after it was drawn, I colored it with crayons and then outlined it with a permanent marker. Then I cut out the design into smaller pieces and crumbled the waxy paper tightly in my hands and then spread out the designs and straightened them back out with my fingers and put them back together like a jigsaw puzzle and glued them in place with paper glue. At this point, the next step was to cover the design with black water color paint and immediately wipe away the paint. This technique insured that the cracks absorbed the paint, and the waxy parts rejected the paint. The overall effect gave the appearance of “stained glass”. Then I took the design and mounted it on an arched foil background and outlined the arched part with a designed border from the gift wrap department of the Base Exchange.

Angel 1969?

Three-panel Angel – 1969



Rob is holding the panels up so I could photograph them and they’ve been through a zillion moves since 1969, but you can get an idea what the finished project looked like. I also did a realistic stained glass window that has since been lost in the annals of time, but it looked even more like stained glass.

This was such a fun project and as I said, not difficult, so perhaps some of you readers might be inspired to give it a try for your own personalized decorations this holiday season. It’s quick, easy and inexpensive! Please let me know if you feel inspired. I’d love to hear all about it!



Coco Ihle is the author of SHE HAD TO KNOW, an atmospheric traditional mystery set mainly in Scotland. Join her here each 11th of the month.


Filed under Art, How To, musings

11 responses to “Recovered Treasure

  1. Pat Gordon

    An imaginative idea resulted in a beautiful picture. I hope you will display your artwork in your living room window; your neighbors will be able to enjoy your Special Holiday Angel.

    • Thank you, Pat for the compliment. My Christmas tree takes up the whole front window. It’s pretty neat, too. It has ornaments from all over the world and each has a memory attached to it. People will just have to stop by and come in. Thanks so much for your comment. 🙂

  2. Mary Lee

    Coco, always artistic!So pretty!

  3. Love the angel, and even more so that you were able to clean out your garage! I am so proud of you!

  4. Susan Coggins

    Congratulations on cleaning out your garage. I did the same thing yesterday – exhausting! But Christmas decor needs to come down from the attic and now I have room for all the crates. Love the angel. You are so talented.

    • Thanks, Susan. If you cleaned out your garage yesterday, it must not have been too badly cluttered! It took Rob and me a week!!!! However, I praise you for getting to a job you weren’t real excited about! Isn’t it fun to actually have room for stuff?! I don’t have anything in my attic, so my garage had all that stuff in it. Hope you have a Happy Thanksgiving. Gosh, where does the time go?!

  5. Renee Latty

    Love the story! Love the Angel! Love your talent! Love YOU!

  6. Lovely angel – perfect for your Christmas display. And a clean garage as well – that’s the Christmas present to go with it.

    • How right you are Sheila!!!! That angel has memories of beautiful Germany attached to it, and while I think my artwork is marginal, my memories of that home there is priceless. Yes, what a gift to have my son for the week, too. Actually, I think that’s the first time I’ve had that much fun cleaning! Haha!

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