mwFrankie and I recently took the opportunity to visit the old neighborhood and hung out at a friend’s garage sale. If you live at the beach or have ever cycled down First Street, I’m sure you know the house. I knew the house long before I ever knew the owner. It’s the one with all the “art” outside.

Meet my friend Michele. She’s the one in the photo and, believe it or not, most of the items in the picture were not for sale. And yes, that’s a stack of bricks behind her. Someone was getting rid of them and she thought she might use them as pavers around her pond. Sure, they’ve been sitting there ever since I can remember, but that’s not the point. Someone was getting rid of them. She saved them. She and my chair-hoarding mother (See House of Chairs post) have lots in common.

It’s that way with many of the items — excuse me, finds — in and around her home. Her bedroom floor is a beautiful, eclectic mix of mismatched tiles and found sea glass and one whole wall of her kitchen is made up of wine bottle corks. She remodeled her bathroom with a 150-pound claw foot tub she and her son hauled home off the side of the road and had refinished. Outside, wind chimes made from old forks and spoons tinkle in the breeze while palm fronds painted to look like cats or fish reside on the patio. There’s a sink outside (not in a Honey Boo Boo way, I swear) filled with shells and driftwood she makes into jewelry or soap dishes and she received no less than five compliments on her wine bottle tree during the sale.

It’s a feast for the eyes. The home of a true creative type. When I’m there I feel too neat and minimalistic to call myself a writer. My place is empty and boring in comparison. Hers, with its recycled yard sale or trash pile finds and half-finished projects, just screams artist’s abode.

And yet, I have owned my artistic calling more fully. Having recently sold her restaurant, she’s unsure of what to do next. Like most people I know, she’s still figuring out what she wants to be when she grows up and worried about paying the bills. It’s too bad people have to make a certain amount of money. I think the world loses a lot of it’s artists that way. Loses them to accounting or marketing or finance — i.e. paying jobs. The only reason I’m able to focus on writing is because I’m on disability. I had to become handicapped to follow my passion. Sad.

They say do what you love and the money will follow. I don’t know who they are. I’m more familar with the folks who coined the term “starving artist.”

In a perfect world, if money weren’t an object, I thinkphoto Michele would open up a store filled with her creations. The latest being these hand-painted signs for the garden made from cedar roofing shingles someone was throwing away. (By the way, she sold half of the bricks for sixty bucks.) Until then, feel free to stop by and look around. You’ll know the house. You can’t miss it.

Me, Frankie and friend Jamie supervise the sale.