It's part art project, part anthropological experiment -- and it has all the random, unedited charm of a second grader's colorful imagination.
More than a decade ago, Lisa Bauso and her husband, Joe, spent a year saving the items their daughter brought home in her pockets -- carefully preserving each day's haul in a dated Ziploc bag in the laundry room -- before Bauso ultimately photographed it all, batch by batch.
The resulting book, "Bella's Pockets," is a whimsical catalogue of "found" items curated by a 7-year-old for whom everything, even a lunch money reminder, was a souvenir. Many of the photos are accompanied by explanatory captions provided by Bella herself when she was 12 (she is now 18).
"As a toddler [Bella] always had something clenched in her fist," Bauso told HuffPost over email. "Later, her pockets were her mini museums. She was always crouching down to pick something up on the street, bringing it to her eyes to examine it, like a diamond broker searching for flaws and color, then shoving it in a pocket."
Naturally, along with the regular detritus of a second grader's daily life -- pennies, erasers, candy wrappers, a fortune teller -- there are treasures of a less predictable sort: a cocktail sword, figures from a nativity set, and a quarter pound of roofing nails (Bauso says that particular batch surprised her the most).
The book has 76 images of the items found in Bella's pockets -- and only two photos of Bella herself -- but somehow comes across like nothing more than a high-resolution portrait.
LOOK: What Lisa Bauso found in her daughter's pockets (with captions courtesy of Bella)
Vitamin C tablets, Crumpled up receipt, Watch battery, White bead, Flouride tablet
"Sierra, my friend, had Vitamin C in her house. They tasted so good we'd sneak five or six a day."
"The prettiest horse I owned. I don't actually remember how it broke its leg. I still liked it after that. I kind of feel sorry for it."
Alien charm, Coins, Paper key covered in tape
"That was a secret key. I covered it in scotch tape, like lamination, so it wouldn't get destroyed."
Cocktail sword, Rubber bands, Eraser, Lunch money reminder, Miniature plastic baby toy
Miniature toothpaste tube, Whittled stick, Plastic rabbit
"I whittled that with a pocket knife. And the tiniest little toothpaste -- it was really cute."
Joseph figurine, Mary figurine, Wise man figurine, Screw, Brass arrow
"These came from a nativity set. I took them to play with. But I don't remember ever having anyone important like baby Jesus."
Accordion folded paper note reading "I Love Fairies," Yarn, Marble, Copper piece
Fortune from fortune cookie, Plastic reptiles, Safety pin, Tiny drawing
Crushed cookie, Metal
Envelope containing lost tooth, Triangular paper
"I was playing with my tooth constantly and eventually it just popped out in school. I was bleeding so I told the teacher. She put my tooth in an envelope to take home."
Miniature boxer shorts, Flouride tablet, Pipe cleaner, Note, Fish shaped green eraser, Torn paper
"The little orange pill is flouride they'd force us to take at school. It made me want to throw up every time. So I'd put it in my pocket and pretend to swish it around in my mouth. You'll see a lot of these in my pockets."
"I'd use pencils until they got to this size. These I thought were the cutest things ever. The only downside was there'd be no eraser, so I'd try to conserve my erasing."
Tiny note reading "open me," Blue clay, Clay turtle with seashell shell
"I wrote open me on all my notes. I really liked miniature things. I don't know why."
Army man, Lip balm, Handwritten torn note, Yarn, Giraffe card, Penny
"Army men were all over the place. I never really played with them. They were just small, little people that I thought I should adopt."
Teacher's note, Playing card, Note from Mama, Safety pin
"Somebody told me to look up Joseph Cornell because he made art out of found objects. I liked to do that too."
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