Tuesday, May 20, 2014

"Meaningful Decorating"

Not long after we got married, I warned my husband that I wasn't a very confident (or skillful) interior decorator. I hadn't taken any art or design classes in college, and although I grew up in a home that contained many lovely things that my parents had collected as they traveled, their decorating style was eclectic at best. Fortunately, my husband grew up in a similar home, and his response was reassuring. He said, "Let's just decorate with things that are meaningful to us."

Soooo, welcome to "Meaningful Decorating: Part One." Laurel calls it--and truly without any disrespect intended--"Decorating with Dead People."

So much that is meaningful to us centers on our families, and that includes parents, grandparents and other ancestors that are no longer with us. We grew up seeing their pictures, hearing their stories, and learning from their lives. Here are a few ways that we love remembering them:

Of course there are photos, and they can be used in all kinds of ways--individually and in groupings:

This grouping includes my parents' wedding picture in the center with wedding day photographs of their parents on either side. I love the metal flowers and sign above them because all three of these couples were men and women of great faith. (The wooden headboard belonged to my parents, but it is an odd size and doesn't fit standard bed frames. I wanted to be able to use it, so I simply attached it to the wall with Command Velcro strips and pushed the frame and mattress up against it.)

In this collage, Elin found a beautiful way to combine photos with other special reminders of her paternal grandfather. Along with the pictures, she included a paragraph from a letter he wrote while serving as a soldier in WWII as well as a statement of his personal testimony in his own handwriting that we found
 in his scriptures after he died.

My grandparents on both side have large posterities, so I feel very lucky to have anything that belonged to them. Here are a couple of items from my paternal grandmother and grandfather:

This sewing box was awarded to my grandmother when she was a child 
over a 100 years ago. 
It hangs on the wall in my sewing room.

My grandfather served as a missionary in Samoa and brought home 
a box full of beautiful shells. 
I found this lamp at Hobby Lobby--a perfect way to display the small ones.

This collection includes a sea urchin collected by my grandfather, a Japanese fishing float that my parents found decades ago in Hawaii, and a wooden, crab-shaped box that they brought home from the Philippines.

Dried leaves collected, pressed, and framed  by my niece, Kristin, from the yard that my father landscaped and nurtured so carefully are a simple but lovely reminder of him.

Elin made this family tree from a kit she purchased on-line. I love it!

Laurel grouped one of Elin's collages with prints of two portraits that have been painted of ancestors from our family and from her husband's. The top one is a portrait of Drusilla Hendricks painted by Elspeth Young. (Elder Jeffrey R. Holland shared a little of her story in this General Conference talk.
On the bottom is a portrait by Julie Rogers of one of our pioneer ancestors, Ann Malin. 
(You can read more about her life here.)

familysearch.org is an amazing resource if you want to find pictures,
 read stories and histories, and learn more about your own family.

None of these projects was expensive, but they are treasures to us because of whom and what they represent to our family. 

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