Thursday, May 31, 2007

Creating heirloom memories

I am still recovering from our funeral trip. My kitchen counters are covered with items from the great-grandmother's apartment. She didn't have much of great value, but I hated to see her everyday items go to Goodwill. Now, what to do with all this stuff?

Here are a few ideas for creating memories for her great-grandchildren:
  • We brought back a set of china, which wasn't to anyone else's taste. Each year, we'll serve Elise's birthday dinner on her namesake's china. Her great-grandmother was an incredible hostess.
  • I plan to copy the pale blue "E" from her great-grandmother's handkerchief as the decoration on her first birthday cake. Won't that be pretty?
  • I brought back all the unwanted costume jewelry, scarves, makeup mirrors and brushes. I want to make a Great-Grandmother's Dress Up Box, covered in fabric, with one of her sparkly pins on top. Perhaps I can mount a photo of her inside the lid, as one of my readers suggested doing with a hinged jewelry box-turned-frame.
  • Andrew's first real jewelry purchase was a sterling silver angel pin for his G.G. I attached it to a satin ribbon for our Christmas tree.

18 comments:

Anonymous said...

What nice items to remember the grandmother by. I especially love the handkerchief being that I share the names of both the elder and baby Elise. The cake will be beautiful I'm sure. Please post pics of it. Glad you had a safe trip. Elise

Ewokgirl said...

What sweet ideas! Elise will come to cherish all that when she's old enough to understand. Will that china be a wedding gift to her someday, too?

I have my grandmother's linen placemats. They're beautiful, but they're all embroidered with an O, which was her first initial. No one in our family has an O in a first or last name. I'm hanging on to them, though, in hopes that one of my nieces will someday marry a man with an O for a last name. Or have a baby with a first name beginning with O.

laurel sauls said...

Meredith, you are so creative. I love your ideas...especially recreating the E on the birthday cake. That will be beautiful. Also, the pin on the ribbon for the Christmas tree is such a great idea. Really inspiring to think of new ways to use old things. Kuddos to you!

Lu said...

So sweet. Love the hankerchief!

Anonymous said...

Your little girl is so lucky to have you for a mother. To think to make such a 'treasure' box for her. I would give anything to have some of my grandmother's treasures. Sadly my mother never, I mean NEVER hung on to anything like that. To her it was "clutter" and she gave it to Goodwill or worse put it into the trash when she cleaned out my grandmother's house. I was not there, my husband was military and we were not able to be there when the house was cleaned. I do have a special bed room set that was hers. I treasure it, and keep it nice for guests. It is just a 3/4 bed (not a full double) and my husband is 6'4" and over 250 pounds...We would not fit on this bed. I do use the dresser and the wardrobe.
Take care. Your blog is wonderful. I am sure the birthday cake will be beautiful. Roxie

Shannon@Idylwild said...

Meredith -
These are beautiful ideas. I know Elise will treasure them when she looks back on her birthday pictures:)gsych

Gem said...

The handkerchief would look lovely hanging in an embroidery hoop on her wall -- if it would match her decor at all (and if it isn't stained). If it is, perhaps you could trim out the E and some of the prettier bits of embroidery and piece them into a quilted pillowtop or something like that.

Amy W said...

My children eat their birthday dinner and birthday cake from a special plate that my husband and his brothers used for their special birthday dinners when growing up.
The plate is around 50 years old and we treasure it as if it were the finest most expensive china.
I love your idea for recreating the "E" for your daughter's cake. It will be lovely.
My daugthers are 7 and 10 yo and have already begun putting family heirlooms away for their hope chests. Sounds like you have a great start for one too!
Thanks for sharing such loveliness.

Anonymous said...

The hankerchief would be lovely displayed in a shadow box in Elise's room and it would be preserved. I wore my husband's grandmother's lace hankerchief in my garter on my wedding day. It was my "something old". She had worn it at her wedding too. She gave it to me for my daughters the last Christmas she was with us. -Melissa

Cheryl (Copper's Wife) said...

Oh, Meredith!! Your ideas are wonderful!! Won't it be wonderful if your Elise grows up to absolutely love the china?? She'll love you for saving it for her in any event. I especially like what you've done for Andrew with the pin he bought for his Great Grandma. Lovely!

nancyr said...

Maybe you could use the china on Great Grandma's birthday, too. My girls were thrilled to receive their grandmother's china and silver. One got the china the other got the sliverware. It is very special to them. I have my grandmother's cut glass and a few nice pieces of hand painted china, and my great grandmother's chocolate set. These things are so special! I think it is a shame thatso many young women, now, don't want to bother with nice china and silver. You are doing your part to preserve the tradition. The china looks similar to a set of Wedgewood I have. I can't imagine that family would want to take family heirlooms to Goodwill. Sad.

Honey said...

I love what you are doing! Before I read your list, I was going to suggest you put the china and "E" handkerchief in a "hope chest" for Elise to have. You could still store them there (along with pics of each birthday!), and when they are hers, she will remember growing up with them as birthday dishes. Extra special!

Honey said...

P.S. If you have a hope chest or treasure chest for your children, I would love to hear about ways to store them or the stuff. Right now, I just have a medium sized box in the top of a closet for each boy. It contains only a few things right now-a favorite toy, baby rattle etc. When (if) my 2 yr old gives up blankie someday, I might put the remnants in there. I am grappling with the whole clutter/vs.memories thing, but I want to keep a few special things for them AND store up some things they will need when they are young men. We have some duplicates of various tools; so I could put things like that away for them, but I haven't found a spot yet.

Amy said...

Those are such wonderful ideas for keeping her memory alive. I love the idea of her eating off of her namesake's china- that is so wonderful.

My great-grandmother passed away last year and I asked to keep her biscuit cutter. I have memories as a little girl watching her cut biscuits for us each morning and I wanted to always remember that. I just tied a small bow around it and it sits in my window. It is such a great reminder of how much I love and miss her!

thehomespunheart said...

Great ideas! I love the "E" and your idea to duplicate it on her cake!! Make sure to take a photo!

Anonymous said...

My cherished family possessions include my grandmother's pig salt and pepper shakers, my husband's great-grandmother's cast iron skillets, my great-grandmother's china and china cabinet, and a motley collection of silver from both sides of our family that I use as one set. I love using these family possessions in everyday life. I also collect old family photos. I hope to gather my collection into a memory wall someday. I enjoy teaching my children about our family as we use these hand-me-downs in our everyday life. Miss Kris

Stephanie said...

What sweet ideas! A great way to remember her!

A Ten O'Clock Scholar said...

Not sure if other commenters mentioned this or not, but don't discount that costume jewelry as worthless! My mom has made quite a good amount of money at selling antique costume jewelry. Some of the "fake" stones and old plastic pieces are worth hundreds of dollars. And some of them aren't really even pretty. :)