Thursday, June 20, 2013

DIY Framed Vintage Ice Pick

My parents gave me such a fun birthday gift this year. Since downsizing from a large old Victorian to a cozy little houseboat they have had to do quite a bit of paring down of their possessions. I've been the lucky recipient of a lot of their beautiful furniture, artwork, and family heirlooms, which has really worked out wonderfully for everyone. We haven't had to purchase too many new things (thanks Mom and Dad!) and the beautiful pieces my parents have collected over the years will stay in the family. 

The weekend before my birthday, my parents were in Upstate New York going through some of the last things in my childhood home and they found some treasures they knew I would love. They put together a "grab bag" of items, some old and some new, and I had so much fun opening each little gift!

One of the last items in the box was this old ice pick, a vintage family heirloom, and I called my Dad to get the full story on its history. In ancient faded lettering the pick is printed with the words, "People's Ice Co." This was my great-great-grandfather's ice company, my Dad's great-grandfather, and the lake they cut ice on generations ago was the same one I grew up on, our home just a few blocks away. In the wintertime, hard-working men cut blocks of ice, 3 feet by 2 feet by 4 feet, and stored them in sawdust stacked in a barn where they stayed frozen all summer. During the warmer months, using horses and buggies, my great-great-grandfather and his hired workers delivered the ice door to door. Pre-refrigeration, these blocks of ice were an essential part of life.

For a day or two I wondered what to do with the ice pick. It doesn't really have a use today but I thought it was too special to tuck away in a drawer. I'd recently read an article on framing objects and I decided this was exactly what I wanted to do with my vintage ice pick. 

The project was surprisingly easy and came together quickly. The frame was 50% off at Michaels, and the only other supplies I had to buy were burlap (also 50% off because of a military discount) and some sturdy, clear hanging wire. I already had the piece of cork that I used behind the burlap. First, I cut the burlap and the cork to size and glued them together with rubber cement. Using a needle, I threaded the clear wire through both layers, wrapped it around the ice pick, and tied a knot in the back. I love that it's almost totally invisible, and really strong! My husband noticed that the ice pick was slowly tilting right, because it's heavier on that side, so he carefully tucked just the tip of the pick into a weave of the burlap, and that solved the problem.

I reassembled the frame and that was it. And I just love it. It's a reminder to me of our first Cazenovia relatives, the town where I grew up and spent my wedding night and wrote a book with my father and little brother. It's a reminder of how hard life used to be (can you imagine having to pick off a chip of ice from a huge block whenever you needed ice?) and how easy our modern lives are in comparison. It rests on a bookshelf near our kitchen, reminding me of family and reminding me to be grateful.

Here are some shots by my brother of the gorgeous lake that has stood by our family's side for generations.


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