Is it nuts or perfectly beautiful?

October 4, 2019

I suppose there was a time when we had more time on our hands than we knew what to do with. My Grandmother, who we visited a few times each year in Florida, belonged to a very active Methodist church. I looked forward to the projects she would rope me into when we arrived. One year she was making Christmas trees using tall Styrofoam cones that would eventually be covered with saved bottle caps that the glued cork inserts had to be removed from. Sounds complicated and a bit ridiculous. But I couldn’t wait to scrape the cork out of those hundreds of bottle caps she had saved, and then pass the next step to my brother whose job it was to poke a hole in the center of each bottle cap so we could attach the bottle caps to the styrofoam form with a small tack. JEEZ…. When is it time to watch Lawrence Welk? Wait who wants to do that? Once all the bottle caps were attached the entire tree was sprayed gold, after which the fantastic job of gluing sequins to the center of each golden bottle cap began. That was my job too. It looked so beautiful and I was so proud to have helped make it.  We got to take one home that year. Every year we brought it out for Christmas and I remembered everything about how we had made it in Nana’s Florida room.

 The picture you are looking at is a notepad holder made by someone who most certainly loved his wife. It was made by painstakingly cutting hundreds of black walnut shells then gluing them together to form this gorgeous and curious form to hold an ordinary notepad. Notice the clever pencil holder of a shell with a hole just big enough to fit a pencil with half a nut at the bottom to hold it in place. On the other side is that miracle of inventions the clothes pin attached to hold special coupons or receipts still attached perfectly after decades of use. That’s craftsmanship.


 I bought it at a flea market and so admired this person’s artistry. He was making something so practical, yet so beautiful. It took a long time to cut all those black walnut shell the right thickness. When you look closely you can’t see any glue oozing out from any joint either. In today’s world it would almost seem ridiculous to spend all that time making a notepad holder out of walnut shells. But then there’s the joy of using our hands and our heads… for beauty, for pleasure for someone we care about.


  I guess at a time when we can buy just about anything and have it arrive the same day, what’s the point? That’s why I think so many people watch so many shows about cooking. For the average person it remains one of the last activities that we use our hands and head to create for ourselves or for someone we care about. At BonBonerie, that’s why we let everyone watch as our staff bake and decorate for you each day too. It’s great fun to see someone making something by hand.