The art of heirlooms

In the midst of cleaning my cellar, I found another project to do….. I came across a bag of handkerchiefs crocheted by my Great Grandmother Antonia. This would be the same Grandma you hear me refer to when I mention the silver I use at all family gatherings. She loved to crochet, and crocheted many, many handkerchiefs that she gave to family, or sold for a small fee. She even sent one to the White House!!! Yes, you read that correctly. She thought Mamie Eisenhower would enjoy one for her inaugural ball, so she sent her one, with a note. Mamie sent a nice note back, and it actually has her signature. Being pack rats, we actually have the original letter, and an article written in the paper about the handkerchiefs going to the White House.

whitehouse letter

 

But back to my project….. the handkerchiefs were always bright colors, and very dainty. Seeing them today made me think of her, and also to think of what to do with them. Carrying handkerchiefs is not as popular as it was in the past, and even so, I have so many! So I visited Pinterest for inspiration, and decided I will make them into a table runner.  I took the handkerchiefs and arranged them various ways till I was happy with a layout.  Then I measured how long the design was, and cut a fabric I had gotten at a local store to the length needed.  I ironed the edges to make a nice straight line for easier sewing.

Once the background runner was done, I pinned the handkerchiefs the way I wanted them sewed.  I carefully stitched them along the lace, but not through it.  This way if someone decides to take it apart in the future, it will be easier to keep them intact.

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The final runner is a mixture of the handkerchiefs my Grandma made, on a pretty fabric background.  I also saved a few handkerchiefs for future generations to use at weddings.  I think my Grandmother would be pleased with the final product and happy that I am using them.  And remembering her.  Thanks Grandma!

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Below is Great Grandma and her husband Charles, at their 50th Wedding Anniversary.

greatgrandscreynolds

 

 

Heirlooms and long gone relatives

an heirloom reminds me of family long gone

Most people, including my own husband, know their grandparents, and maybe their great grandparents, and that is it.  I am proud to say I know a few generations more than that, and even have heirlooms from them.

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I started thinking about this today, when I “inherited” this antique ornament from my Dad. My son and his girlfriend have two kittens and we are worried that this will get broken if we hang it on the tree this year, at my Dad’s.  So I offered to give it a home.

This ornament is most likely a hundred years old. It was my father’s grandmothers, dating possibly to the 1920’s. It’s a heavy ornament, and still a pretty color. I placed it on my counter, and put a pretty bow on it. There was a string attached to it, and I left it on, as who knows who placed it there? I like to let my mind wander with items like these…… I imagine my Great grandmother decorating her tree with it.  I imagine my Grandmother Nellie enjoying the Christmas tree with many of these ornaments decorating it.  I am actually lucky enough to even have a pic of the Grandparents that owned this ornament, and who knows, maybe they inherited it also.

 

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My Great Grandparents the Lapointe’s, with my Grandmother, Nellie May

 

I am lucky to have parents that saved items from their family, and even luckier that their parents did the same.  I have antique shot glasses, formal silverware, hand painted plates, a wooden horse plaque, made by the man in the balloon, and now this ornament.  As I get older, I realize the importance of  family history.  And I am always telling my children where these items came from.  Who these people were to them, so the memory of them lives on.  It’s my way of honoring my grandparents, and our history together.

Honoring my grandmothers

organizing a new hutch brings back memories of loved ones

I was just very lucky to talk my hubby into updating our dining room furniture.  We had purchased our dining room set over 20 years ago, and my style has changed since then.  A lot.  My hubby often jokes that I have changed everything in the house and he is lucky he is still here.  I don’t think he has to worry, he is a keeper.  But back to my new dining room.  It was no fun selling the old set.  I am sentimental and wanted it to go to a home.  After a ton of scammers, a wonderful pregnant lady expecting her first child decided to purchase it.  So I was free to get a new set that my hubby and I had already picked out.

I was going for farmhouse style,  and we picked out a dark wood dining table, with matching chairs.  But the piece de la resistance, was the hutch.  I wanted one with glass, as I do not want to spend my time dusting.  Plus in the words of the late George Carlin, I have a lot of “stuff”.

My set arrived today and I spent about two hours washing and arranging my “Stuff” in my new hutch.  And while I did this it brought back memories and made me think of loved ones.  My meme, Aurore Rainville, was a classy lady and has left me so many dainty items.  Noritake plates with bright flowers, teacups with plastic flowers, a pretty serving dishes with roses and hand painted roses on dessert plates.  I found a wine glass from my best friends wedding, a wine bottle favor from my other best friends wedding, and my champagne flutes from my own wedding.

My other Grandmother, Nellie May Reynolds, was more rustic, and I do not have a lot from her, sadly. But my Great Grandmother Antonia Reynolds, left me her silver.  One of my most treasured things.  We use the silverware on holidays and other special occasions.  I feel so lucky to have it and wish I could tell her how thankful I am that she gave it to me.  One day my Dad was visiting and she simply gave it to him to hold for me. Little did I know what a treasure it truly is, and I plan on passing it down as a heirloom, as she did.

One holiday we were cleaning up and while I was drying the serving spoons I noticed the coolest thing….. my Grandma had written her initials on a little piece of tape for when she brought her silver to church suppers.  What a wonderful thing to find!   I have taken care to keep that tape on, but sadly some of it is wearing off.  I would guess this silver to be over 75 years old, and to me it is priceless and irreplaceable.

 

Photo Oct 24, 9 18 52 AM
A.B.R.  Antonia Beatrice Reynolds

So I organized my china, remembering how proud my Aunt Cil was to give me a place setting, and walked down memory lane thinking of those that I love. And when my daughter came home, I told her who each piece belonged to, hoping she will continue the tradition with these beautiful items that we are lucky to have.

Below is the finished hutch, which I was trying to make look like a Grandma’s hutch.  I think and hope I succeeded.  Because I did not tell you the whole story…. the other reason behind getting a new set is that I am going to be a Grandma myself, or a Mimi.   Our family is growing and we wanted to get a bigger table to fit everyone comfortably.  So my hutch will soon be my own Grandma’s hutch, and that’s a wonderful thing.

Photo Oct 24, 6 30 52 PM