Heirlooms Help Create a Personal and Meaningful Home Decor

Thursday, July 9, 2020
While places like home shopping networks and the Hallmark channel are focused on Christmas in July, my mind is focused on summery things, like the beach and sand.  I may not be able to physically enjoy the beach right now, but I've surrounded myself with all the things that transport me there....mentally.

This post is certainly a bit self-indulgent.  It is not promoting any of my favorite shops, or destinations, but consider it an escape, a summer house tour of sorts.  Aren't we all a little nosy when it comes to wishing we could see inside someone's house?  I can't be the only one.  It occurred to me as I prepared this post that my blog byline, "Collecting Moments Not Things" feels a little contradictory or hypocritical here, but I promise I have an explanation.  And I promise you'll agree when I explain my decorating theory later in this post.

My mom has always been one to decorate her front yard, even now when her apartment is oriented so that only two neighbors have the benefit of enjoying her hard work.  When I ask her why she does so much when no one can see and enjoy the view, her reply is always, "I do it for me.  I can see it".  Though I don't fuss with decorating my front yard like she does, I do make it neat and attractive, but it's the backyard, that only I can see that gets the bulk of my labor.  Neighbors would probably be surprised at what an oasis that is back there compared to the simple landscape they see as they pass.  This year, even though it's doubtful anyone except immediate family would be inside my home to notice whether or not my decor is reflecting the season, I am here, 24/7.  I savor each and every nook and cranny because in each corner is a collection of things I've collected or inherited or purchased over the years, many with sentimental value.  The older I get, the more I enjoy combining heirlooms with my new purchases....because let's face it, we old folks like to stick together, right?  So let's begin....
One of my only purchases this season was my Welcome Home planter made by the talented Jena's One of a Kind Creations.  The welcome plaque on my door was made by her last season.  Jen does beautiful work.  In my foyer, I threw a collection of greenery into a galvanized pitcher, a few vintage books I've been collecting and a current photo of my granddaughter who just happened to be wearing the right colors to match the vignette.  I also swapped out my regular 'llama eye' photo with one of my favorite sunset photos.  This tiny drop-leaf table belonged to my great aunt who died in 2012 at the age of 101.
In the living room, I wanted to keep my mantle in the red and blue theme I'd begun when I took down my Easter/Spring decorations, so I just added some small flags and a few more blue glass pieces I had. a cobalt blue paperweight, etc.
I got the metal medallion this year from a company called Freckles and Fireflies.  I love it, not too heavy and just the right size for above the mantle.  I've had the blue and white china pieces in a display case over my fridge (where I can't see them).  The round cobalt bowl under the medallion came from the Speckled Hen during their 'live shopping event'.

 Above is an antique Atlas canning jar purchased from Fort Plain Antiques to house John's childhood marbles he recently discovered as well as some old books and the personalized wooden stack of books (again by Jena's One of a Kind Creations).  John's copper-plated baby shoes (minus the framed photo of him) round out the right side of the mantle.
On the left end of the mantle are my dad's childhood banks, some vintage books, and an old Milk of Magnesia bottle.  The banks  must be 80+ years old and every time I look at the mantle, I'm reminded of my dad.

 My bay window has always been one of my favorite features in our house, since our very first walk through.  Aside from the view I have of our beautiful neighborhood, it gives me a large palette for decorating and the cats enjoy patrolling for birds and chippies as much as sprawling out for a morning sunbath.  On one side of the window seat is my granddaughter and grandson and a very old photo of great aunt and uncle (mentioned above) in the early 1900's.  On the left is my oldest granddaughter and another very old photo of my dad, his mom and dad (my grandparents) and aunts and uncles.  The light green hobnail dish also belonged to the same aunt, Antoinette.  When it comes to shells, I'm like a kid collecting stickers or hot wheels.  I have a huge collection, mostly purchased in shell shops over the years and their beauty and uniqueness fascinates me.

  My photo collage during the summer season features a collection of photos I've taken on our trips to Rockport, MA of Motif #1.  The center sketch was done for me by our church visitation minister, Paul McCue.

 I went through old photo albums and dug out these photos from previous vacations to the beach....John and Laura at Nubble Lighthouse in 1984 and Laura and Katie on Hampton Beach a few years later.  That gorgeous bouquet of geraniums came from the Speckled Hen and the wall sign was from the Garden Bug a couple years ago. Not necessarily decorated for summer, but always a hit when I share photos of my home is our family tree...
On to the family room....which is actually decorated in a beach theme year-round (except for during the holidays).  Recently I enlarged a photo of my granddaughter to poster size to put behind my window.  A couple years ago I discovered that you can purchase pillow covers from Amazon, so instead of buying new or seasonal pillows, you can just swap out covers for very little money.
 More photos from previous vacations on top of my bookcase, along with a stack of ocean/water themed books I dragged out and a blown glass, sand and shell filled sphere.  A glass bowl (purchased many years ago from Marshall's) holds more of my collection of shells and sitting beside it is a very old Boyd's bear, Rowan Yachtely.  I always loved the clever names Boyd's had for their bears!

 In the photo above is my great aunt Harriet and great Uncle George.  I've written about him here on the blog. https://www.lifeasiseeitphotography.net/2014/11/a-tribute-to-special-veteran.html  These photos were taken in the early 1900's, recently reprinted to be used here.  Below is a treasure trove of sentimental pieces.  The cabinet on the wall was a gift from my dad on one of his many trips to the outlets in Lake George.  It was originally dark green.  Inside it is my mom and grandmother's collection of crackle glass pieces that were popular in the 1960's.  I recently dragged them out of the attic and am so glad I did.  The needlework birds were a labor of love I embroidered as a gift for my mom and dad in the early 80's.  Mom gave it back when she downsized 8 years ago.

 The photo above is my dad on the beach in Hampton NH, probably in the 1930's.  Last year I scanned and edited to color tint it and found a frame which coincidentally matched perfectly.  The sand piper painting above was done by the very talented Shelly Broughton, mom of Nicolle who owns Bluebird Home Decor in Schenectady.    You'll see below that Motif #1 is a fav of mine, not just in the living room.
 Lastly, the dining room just has a small touch of summer:

 My mom's old dry sink has a little patriotic feel with some old Boyd's bears (one of mine and one that was a gift), some geraniums from the Speckled Hen in a vase from Bluebird Home Decor.  Below I 'juzzed up' (thanks Maureen Culver for that term) my metal tray with my candle from the Speckled Hen, some old candle rings and sea shells.
What I love about all this extravaganza is that nearly everything you see is stuff I had around the house, or in the attic.  Years ago there was a show on HGTV where a decorator redecorated people's homes using just things she found around their house or in their storage.  That way of decorating is perfect for this year of Covid when shopping isn't an option and we have to make do.  Clearly I did more than 'make-do'.  One would imagine I hit up the stores, big-time, and though over the years I have amassed a great collection of goodies, I am totally enamored with the idea of combining the old with the new to make a decor one that is pretty but more importantly personal and sentimental.  I by no means consider myself a decorator and don't try to imitate or replicate magazine spreads.  I just love my home and my collections.  They make me happy and that's all that matters.  I hope this inspires you to dig into your closets and drag out those things you couldn't part with but don't display and incorporate them into your decor.  Pull out those old family photos and enjoy them.  We may not be able to travel too far this season, but we can safely take a trip down memory lane right in our own living room.  Being able to display so many family heirlooms enables me to enjoy the 'moments those before me collected' and help bring these loved ones to life in my everyday space.
Thanks for visiting Life As I See It and letting me share my summer home with you.  I hope it inspires you and gives you a moment away from the daily grind and worries that are plaguing us and reminds us of life before Covid-19 and hopefully the life that might be again.  Stay cool, stay safe and come back soon.
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