Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Thinking Outside the Box

For several years, I’ve collected Shaker boxes, handmade by Marty Travis of Fairbury, Illinois. Every now and then I add a new box to the stack. This time, it was a tiny red one, like the cherry on top of an ice-cream sundae. 

When the package arrived, I tore through the wrappings and pulled out a delicate oval box, rich in color and smooth to the touch, the kind thing that just feels good in your hand, like beach glass or a well-worn river rock.

My family doesn't always share my weakness for hand crafted items, and it didn’t take long for my son to ask,"What's the point of a box that's too small to hold anything?"

I explained that small Shaker boxes may originally have been used to hold pins, needles or buttons for sewing. They might have stored spices or garden seeds. They could be used at a desk for postage stamps, or on a dressing table for jewelry. Finally, in exasperation, I said, ”Use your imagination-- It's big enough to hold a dream!"

They are men, after all, and can’t help their lack of feminine sensibilities. I wrote them this little reminder to "think outside the box." 

Bright Shaker boxes
stacked in perfect symmetry
hold all of my dreams.


  1. How true - and you need boxes of all sizes because dreams do come big and small *s*

  2. And WHY does anything have to go in the boxes? They are such a neat artistic stack with such a calming effect to them. I also have several little boxes and tins and I'm sure the boys and men of the world would wonder about them too.

  3. I LOVE your boxes and I admire every little quilt you made!!!