October 30, 2010

These are a few of my favorite things...

My carpenter-by-trade grandfather's drawing compass
sits by his picture
A needlepoint my mom stitched
when I was little...
I visited that town in my imagination

My mother has taught me many things over the course of my life, much of it far more important than the sage advice I will share here, but that does not diminish the gratitude I have to her for teaching me this little tidbit: surround yourself with what you love, and it will look nice, even if just to you.  I grew up in a home with odds and ends of family heirlooms, some valuable, but most only sentimentally, and of personal items that she held dear.  My "Fine art" post told you of my little painter, and that appreciation for the value of my children’s efforts comes directly from my mother.  Having had the same kindergarten teacher as my older brother did two years before me, I created the same projects as he, so my mother proudly displayed things like two clay ladybugs, sloppily painted red and black, with circular paper reinforcement stickers for eyes.  She has them out to this day, even though if I were still in school I’d be in 34th grade.

A silhouette done of me as a child looks at
one of my grandmother created
when she was a young lady

Around my childhood home you would have seen an odd little porcelain shoe from generations ago perched on a teeny shelf, and nearby on a decorative wicker chair a bedraggled leather stuffed koala bear that was my mom’s buddy as a girl, which she passed along to my brother who wore its fur off with affection.  These sorts of items were found here and there throughout the house against a backdrop of beautifully coordinated wall colors in rooms filled with antique and not-so-antique furniture, perfectly blended to create a warm, lovely atmosphere that said I was home.

A souvenir of sorts from
the shipyard where my father-in-law worked
I have carried on the tradition in my own home that I share with my husband and four children.  Some of the items are the same, thanks to my mom’s generosity and selflessness, and some are all our own with their own meaning.  But all are art, and all weave together to create that same warm feeling of home for my children, whether they know it yet or not.  Decorating is not about copying an image in a magazine, sterile, uninviting, and decidedly impersonal.  I want our home and its look to speak loudly to my family that this is their place, filled with their heritage.  So you may never see a six-inch nut and bolt on the cover of Architectural Digest or Better Homes and Gardens, but you’ll find one here.  We love our things, and they look nice, even if just to us.


Paintings done by husband's
father and grandfather

A framed menu from our favorite
pizza shop in our old New York town

A hand-crafted multi-tiered sewing box
my grandfather made as a wedding gift for my grandmother

A Scripture print that
belonged to my great-grandmother

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