Sunday, May 1, 2011

Fill your home with meaningful things

To be honest, 2011 has been kind of a tough year. We started off the year with plumbing problems (see: new water heater). Then Rob and I were both sick on and off for much of the first two months of the year. Then my 16-year-old cat Milo became ill and had to be put to sleep. We had numerous car troubles, record amounts of snow (read: back aches from shoveling), and our dishwasher broke. And then just a week or two ago, we lost a very important member of my family. I decided this blog is not the right avenue to share the details, but I do appreciate all the thoughtful notes we received. Your kindness is appreciated.

So instead I choose to focus on more positive things. I'm thinking about my home as a personal sanctuary and continuing an ongoing mission to surround myself with meaningful things. While I was in North Dakota recently, I was able to visit with many different family members. And I managed to score some very cool items for our house. Like this:

This is a table cloth from my late great-grandma Lena. She passed away a few years ago at age 101. She was an amazing woman and stayed in her home until her last year of life, living independently and taking care of herself. She crocheted this table cloth for me when I was very young, and my mom saved it for me until now. She made one for my sister too, and my sister purchased an inexpensive shadowbox to hang it on the wall (with the hand written note). I totally copied her and did the same thing. The table cloth is far too cherished to actually use. I’d rather display it.

The note reads, "Dear Kristi. I made this for you when you were only 2 and 1/2 years old. I hope you get a lot of enjoyment out of it. All my love, Great Grandma Lena."

I found the shadowbox at Michael’s. It was only $15 (they had a 40% off sale going on last weekend). We also picked up a couple smaller ones that match. Not sure exactly what we’ll be putting in them just yet, but it will be nice to have some matching display boxes for other family keepsakes.

We acquired even more meaningful house things while in ND. We drove out to the small town of New Salem to visit my grandpa Art (short for Arthur).

He lives in a nice nursing home, and I was very surprised to learn that he’s recently found a new hobby he’s passionate about: Drawing! He’s drawing like crazy these days. His first drawings were pretty good, but they’re getting even better as he goes along. Maybe I’m a little biased, but I think it’s impressive that a shaky-handed 85-year-old guy in a wheelchair randomly picked up a pencil one day and started producing images like this:

What’s even cooler is that the nursing home has been very supportive of my grandpa’s new hobby. They have framed several pieces, and display them in the lobby and craft/activity areas.

The local newspaper got wind of “Art’s Art” and started publishing a drawing each week. Isn’t that sweet?

I asked if I could have one of the drawings, and my grandpa said I could take as many as I’d like. They’re all wildlife images, and I liked many but I think this prairie dog one is my favorite.

He did a great job with the shading and coloring. I put it in a coordinating (but not matching) frame to hang near the shadowbox with Lena’s table cloth. (Lena was Art’s mom.)

Finally, we recently bought some new pottery for our fireplace mantle. These were made by my brother-in-law's father:

I quite like them. They go nicely with the rustic decor tone we have going on in the living room right now.

I don’t want to have a lot of things. In fact, I tend to lean towards minimalist design. But I do want to surround myself with symbols and reminders and personal mementos. I'm on a mission to fill my home with meaningful things. I encourage you to do the same.


Alyce @ Blossom Heart May 1, 2011 at 10:56 PM  

I am a firm believer of meaningful art and ornaments and such! There certainly are places for things that we like for no other reason than the aesthetical value, but the pieces that have sentimental value are the most valuable :)

Vonda May 2, 2011 at 3:33 PM  

I am attempting that in our next house. That means keeping things stored that we don't love even if it looks a little bare. We talked about all the art we hang being things that mean soemthing to us or that we've done ourselves.
Glad to see your post - I've missed you!

Amanda- Hip House Girl May 3, 2011 at 10:22 AM  

Art's Art is so sweet! What a great facility to frame his works, and even better that the newspaper is publishing them.

I usually think that things are meant to be used and not just displayed, but if I had that tablecloth I would display it instead of using it too. What an awesome piece of work. I love all the treasures you came home with.

Mike May 9, 2011 at 1:37 PM  

It's great that you're filling your house with such meaningful things. What good is a home without the love of family?

Alexis L., The Studioist May 20, 2011 at 1:17 PM  

So sweet. I'm misty-eyed. I love it all, especially Art's Art. And I am right with you on displaying but not using treasured and fragile things. I used most of what my Granny gave me with great gusto during her life, but now that she's passed on, I keep them on display or tucked away.

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