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Family Treasures – New Uses For Grandma’s Collections

Updated on June 28, 2012

Stepping through my grandmother’s house makes me feel like she should be coming in from the garden, humming a little tune, at any moment. Although she has been gone for almost three years, I still miss her every day. Having things that remind me of her, help keep her memory alive. I’ve tried to find new and creative ways to incorporate her things into my home. Sometimes that means repurposing things into something more modern, sometimes it means finding a way to bring pink and floral into a boys room, sometime it means mixing modern and traditional into a new look. Here are some of the things I’ve done to bring my grandmother’s memory into my home.

In the Garden

Tending the garden was one of my grandmothers favorite pastimes. She had such a green thumb that she would have roses sprouting from the cracks in her driveway, where most people are constantly fighting weeds. How she did it, I still don’t know. But as I grow, I appreciate more and more the way a garden makes a house a home. I’ve dug up flowers and made cuttings from some of my grandmother’s favorite plants. I still don’t have the green thumb she did, but I am getting there. And, doing it with her plants makes me feel a little closer to her each time I cut a rose from, my garden. I’ve been reading her gardening books, with notes scribbled in the margins, as I start my own garden.

Most recently, I found an old bird feeder in her backyard that, with a new pane of glass and a few repairs, will look great hanging in my backyard. I know that once it’s up, I will think of her every time I watch a cardinal settled on the perch. I also found a great brass plant stand. While brass isn’t exactly my style, I’m going to make it my own with some blue spray paint. I love the idea of mixing her collection with my mine for a look that blends us both.

In the Kids Room

My grandmothers love for roses didn’t stop in the garden. If fact, her love of roses came through in every room of her house. That works well for my daughter’s room, where I have continued my grandmother’s rose-theme. I’ve been able to bring in little touches, such as a porcelain rose basket and rose candles. I’ve also been able to make her things a little more childlike. For example, when my daughter has a tea party, her placemats are small pink doilies and her tablecloth is an ivory, rosy doily. I love seeing my grandmothers things get loved by a new generation.

My grandmother kept a lot of things over the years, including a collection of purses from every decade. My little girl now has a great collection of fun, frilly purses for dress-up days. We’ve even been able to repurpose some of my grandmothers costume jewelry into fun pieces for dress-up – my daughter loves strutting around in beads and a pink purse and I love seeing a little of my grandmother in her.

The favorite item that my daughter now has is an adorable doll lamp. The dress is made of a sparkly pink material and the skirt itself forms the lampshade. The lamp is all girl and reminds me of staying at my grandmothers house as a child.

I also have a little boy and I’ve had a harder time finding ways to bring my grandmothers things into his room. Luckily, I was able to find a red crocheted blanket that goes well with his cowboy theme. I’ve also found some old baby items, such as a teddy bear quilt and some ABC sheets that work great for a baby boy. Among the things my grandmother kept where toys I had as a kid. My kids now push my 1982 General Lee (Dukes of Hazard!) car around the carpet. It’s really fun to think about how the toys that brought me so much happiness are now brining happiness to my kids!

The Story Continues

I’m still bringing home boxes of new treasures from my grandmother’s house and trying to find ways to incorporate it into my home. Some things will be a little harder to place, but every little piece brings a smile to my face and I know I will continue to look for new ways to make her treasures my own and keep her memory alive.


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