The Magic Of Simple Stuff

Day 24 - #WorldWatercolorGroup The Magic Of Simple Stuff French Fries and Ketchup Watercolor Illustration

While the world keeps getting bigger and filled with more options and new and better things, it’s always the common things in life that capture my heart. Not the latest new gourmet food or the hottest trend in clothing, but those ridiculously ordinary things that have stood the test of time. They are the things that I knew as a child and the things that still give me comfort as an adult whenever I see them. Like french fries and ketchup. Or that favorite pair of sneakers. Or a comforting cup of tea. I also have to admit that I’ve frankly grown too old and exhausted to keep up with all the latest new trends. With clothes, for example, I simply buy what Target tells me to buy, or what Marshall’s tells me was all the rage last season. These days, I don’t have the time or interest to worry over fashion. Even back when I did, I was too often wrong or late to the party anyway. No, when it comes to the stuff of my life, I like to keep things as simple as possible. That’s the real magic.

When I was a little kid, I loved going to garage sales with my mom. This was back in the days before eBay where the only way to get rid of stuff you no longer wanted was to open a pop-up shop in your garage. It was amazing to look at all the little things that people once thought they wanted and now decided to discard. The old adage that “one man’s junk is another man’s treasure” played out as people from all over the neighborhood would come and buy things. I loved this little treasure hunt. There was always something interesting to find, including things I’d seen in ads that I wanted, but were too expensive. But even more than that, I loved finding interesting little trinkets that were rather unusual. They were completely devoid of value, and the original owners must have agreed by placing them on sale a nickel, but I thought they were amazing. Even if I didn’t talk my mom into purchasing that little piece of nothing, I would stand there admiring it, imagining a whole story for it to star in. Looking back, perhaps I just felt bad for the poor things, as nothing is sadder than when someone stops loving you.

Sure, today, I have too much stuff and I really should get rid of some of it. But each time I pick up an object my mind floods back to the memories that it contains. Silly, often inconsequential memories that shouldn’t really matter anymore, but somehow, manage to touch my heart. I do eventually say goodbye to these little things, as I’ve no intention of becoming a hoarder, but it’s a slow process. It’s difficult to decide if a memory is worth keeping. How will I know if I’ll really miss it until it’s already gone? So, for now, I just let my little trinkets surround me and know that one day, I’ll most likely bid them farewell. But today, there’s a special comfort to be found there. Those memory keepers are often the only physical reminder of where I’ve been. The digital remnants lost in my phone don’t share the same value. I may not be rich or famous, but I feel like a millionaire when I’m lost in those memories. Those quiet and bewitching moments, when I’m once again reminded to stop and appreciate the magic of simple stuff.

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Sennelier L’Aquarelle: Quinacridone Gold, Dioxazine Purple, Red Orange, Sennelier Red, Perylene Maroon, Phthalocyanine Blue, and Payne’s Grey. Lamy Safari Al Star pen with Platinum Carbon black ink in an A6 Hahnemühle Watercolor Book.
 Day 24 - #WorldWatercolorGroup The Magic Of Simple Stuff French Fries and Ketchup Watercolor Illustration
Profile photo of Charlie O'Shields
Creator of Doodlewash® and founder of World Watercolor Month™ (July) and World Watercolor Group™. Sharing daily watercolor illustrations and stories while proudly featuring talented artists from all over the world! If you’d like to be a guest artist on Doodlewash.com, contact me!
Published in By Charlie
25 Comments
  1. bellyhiphop 3 months ago

    Thank you for sharing… Good post.. Simple is definitely better.

  2. picklejuicesoda 3 months ago

    I got rid of a lot of stuff years ago but have a few boxes of trinkets, ticket stubs, letters etc… sometimes I go to the basement and look through them, sparking memories. What’s funny is I have like things that someone would wonder why in the world are you holding on to that. For me it’s an attachment to a specific memory. Loved this post, thanks for sharing! Oh and for me French fries from Wendy’s and dipping them in a chocolate frosty is the best!

    • Author

      Thanks so much! 😃💕 Yeah, it’s so much fun to go back through all of those memories. Tough to let them go. And yeah, Wendy’s fries and a frosty!! YAY! Lol I haven’t done that in years, but that was my favorite too!

  3. maryversion2017 3 months ago

    What a charming piece. You are a talented storyteller as well as an artist. I am glad I found your blog.

    • Author

      What a wonderful compliment! Thank you so much, Mary! 😃💕 I really appreciate it! I’m so happy you found my blog as well!!

  4. Cathy 3 months ago

    I agree, simple is better. Great story too!

  5. Jill Kuhn 3 months ago

    Hi Charlie! Great Doodlewash today! 😍 I find French fries simple and yet comforting too! I think that is why I have difficulty parting with some of life’s treasures is they provide comfort to me in a sentimental way. And it is true, one man’s junk is another person’s treasure! 👍💕

    • Author

      Thanks, Jill! 😃💕 Yeah, it’s sooooo tough to part with things no matter how small or simple. So many memories!!

  6. Jodi 3 months ago

    Awh. We are on the same wavelength today. 👍💛 joy in the ordinary.

  7. animallove2017 3 months ago

    I completly agree, we always coplain acout not have the latest Iphone or not having the coolest ride. All we do is coplain when people some in Africa, Hatti,and Peru have nothing. Every once and awhile we should sit back and enjoy the little stuff.

    • Author

      Yeah, even the smallest possessions can be so dear. It’s not the big stuff that matters, it’s what you have that matters most.

  8. Martha 3 months ago

    Love your Catsup and fries. They are one of my favorite things to eat! You make them look good enough to eat!

  9. Lois Westerfield 3 months ago

    Charlie,

    I consider it a blessing to be capable of finding joy in simple things –

    I am always amused by your ability to capture the essence of a thought or thing in your writing or your happy little ‘doodles’. Thanks once again for sharing.

    • Author

      Thanks so much, Lois! 😃💕 I’m so pleased you liked this… and well… all these little doodles and rambles! hehe I really appreciate it!!

  10. Sharon Bonin-Pratt 3 months ago

    A thoughtful post, Charlie, about remembering what is most valuable. The time you spent garage-saling with your mom has to be right up there. We do fill our lives with stuff, don’t we, when it’s the people in our lives who count the most.

    The French fries make an artful composition.

    • Author

      Thanks so much, Sharon! 😃💕 So happy you liked this one… weirdly it made me want to go to a garage sale again! Lol It’s been years since I’ve been to one!!

  11. Jacob 3 months ago

    Oh my, it’s been so long since I’ve had good old french fries! Those cravings are coming back. With my culinary ineptitude as it is, I’m definitely a fan of simplicity at dinner time!

    I used to love going to car boot sales on Sunday mornings. I don’t know if there are as many hosted these days what with all the online equivalents. It was such fun to rummage through all the stuff in the hope of uncovering a treasure, like a Sonic annual or ancient video game 😛

    • Author

      Oh wow! I’m just stopping for a moment to relish in the fact that you’ve actually eaten and enjoy something I’ve painted!! 😉💕 lol Ancient video games were the best find ever! Wait… when I found them… they weren’t agent yet. 😊

      • Jacob 3 months ago

        Hahaha, I know! 😛 It’s cause for celebration, I feel… well, as long as it doesn’t involve ice cream.

      • Author

        ugh… I still can’t get my head around that!! LOL

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