Saturday, July 15, 2017

Sally, My Muse

It was Love at First Sight

My teardrop trailer Sally has inspired me since I first laid eyes on her. 

Teardrop trailer painting by Denise Cerro

A lot of my creative work since then has either been because of, or about this cute little camper. 

But before the teardrop trailer, came my obsession with vintage hankies. 
I had a collection from my grandmother, of about 10-12 handkerchiefs that were hers.

Assortment of vintage hankies Assortment of vintage hankies

Rather than keep them hidden away in a box, I wanted a way to have them out to be seen and enjoyed. I framed a few of them, which is one good solution.

But then I saw a pillow made out of a vintage Vera dishtowel in a boutique in Solana beach. And it occurred to me that not only are pillows one of the best ways to decorate your home (easy to switch out to create fresh looks or accent colors) but they would also be a perfect way to showcase my vintage hankies!

I dove in and began to amass quite a collection, including many collectible hankies from well-known textile designers of the day.

Collection of Teardrop Hanky pillows

Collection of Teardrop Hanky pillows

Collection of Teardrop Hanky pillows

During those days when I started putting together small collections of coordinating pillow covers, I had hankies on the brain. 

They are so special to me, but I wanted a way to convey that vintage hankies are not just something to blow your nose on and crumple up. 

They are about having this lovely way to wipe your tears: 
tears of happiness and tears of joy

The next time I drove past the little red teardrop trailer at the bottom of my hill, it all came together. 

Teardrop Trailer = tears of happiness! 

And the lightbulb went on. I immediately had visions of filling that little trailer up with hankies and hanky pillows, and driving them out to vintage fairs.

That’s how my business, TeardropHankys, got its name and its logo. 
TeardropHankys logo

As you know, I bought that little red trailer and named her Sally. 
Her story was the subject of last week’s blog post. If you missed it, you can read it here.

As I was renovating the trailer, I participated in a 30-day Painting a Day challenge. 
For my subject, I chose my new muse, Sally. 
Collage of teardrop trailer paintings by Denise Cerro
It was challenging too figure out how to work her into the pictures, so I tried to make it fun. Most of them were small, 8x8 or 4x4. Some of them hang in Sally’s galley to this day, but 18 of them are for sale in my Etsy shop

I worked on Sally, I painted pictures of her, and in my free time I sewed vintage hankies into pillows. As the pillows started piling up, I began selling them on Etsy, I got a little retail space at Leaping Lotus, and I sold them online on One King’s Lane. 

Only about 10 of these one-of-a-kind vintage hanky pillows remain from those days. The last of them will be on sale (clearance prices!) in my stall at the flea market coming up soon in Encinitas. Check my Facebook and Instagram in the next few days for more info on that.

My retail space was just pillows at first. As it grew, I added some painted furniture to hold the pillows, and soon the furniture was selling too! That’s how I transitioned to vintage furniture. By the time Sally was ready to hit the road, I was busily selling vintage hankies, hanky pillows, camper paintings, furniture, and vintage housewares too! 

My first flea markets with Sally were quite a production. 

Denise with Sally at the vintage flea market
I often shared a stall with my vintage friend Amanda Ingalls, also known as Shabby Mandy

Denise with Amanda Ingalls

The little camper motif continues to resurface in many forms. 
I even found a pattern in a magazine to make these adorable trailer pincushions!

trailer pincushion

trailer pincushion

I know there's more in store for me and Sally. 

As we roll on down the road ahead, I'll continue to chronicle our adventures right here! 
I have a few ideas for traveling and art that I'll talk about more in next weeks post.

Teardrop trailer painting by Denise Cerro

Stay tuned...

Denise Cerro signature photo


  1. I love the life you are living. The way you are aware and integrate the desires of your heart is so inspiring. Your empire is within the nucleus of your own teardrops of happiness. Thank you for sharing your abundance of creativity again and again. (-:

    1. I am blushing Carole...thank you always for your kindest words and inspirations...I'm honored.❣️

  2. ..... and it has been so inspiring to watch you on your journey!

    1. Thank you glad I decided to keep her. It's also inspired me to be a little more adventurous and maybe get a group of women artists together and take a few little camping/art excursions to get outside and play with art. If you might be interested or have any ideas on let me know...I welcome them.🌷


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