Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Guest Post: Clever Ways to Display Family Heirlooms

Clever Ways to Display Family Heirlooms
By Jessica Phan
Balsamhill.com
Being a designer for a living and having the knack for arts and crafts, I adore old stuff, especially if it holds a certain amount of significance in my life. Heirlooms in my family are as important as a buried bone to a dog. Most of them are hidden in the darkest part of my parents' attic -- not to be totally neglected, just set aside until we find a better use for them.
However, as we continue with our daily lives and everyone grows old, we tend to forget these memorable things that we hold so dearly. From old high school photographs to grandma's rocking chair, or pricey sets of chinaware and fancy pieces of jewelry, we refuse to give them away, yet keep them "in the dark."
So, instead of hiding our family treasures and forgetting about them, I have decided to showcase them in variety ways.

Mix and Match
Nowadays, mixing and matching styles is a trend. This means that you can combine old with the new without clashing or overpowering one from the other. Check out these suggestions below and see if you can apply it to yours.
  • Furniture sets can be separated to individual pieces. Dining chairs can be juxtaposed with the other seats in the patio or veranda, while the dining table can be placed in your garden to serve as a breakfast nook. Sofa sets, especially those made of hard wood can also be divided and placed in the patio, gazebo, and bedroom.
  • Display china, glass, and silverware in a nice cabinet with glass doors to showcase their beauty.
  • Kitchen ware, especially pots and pans, can be displayed using a hanging rack on top of the island table. It's not just a great adornment; it also helps you to easily get the equipment that you need.
Re-purposing Items
Some items may no longer be useful. However, we still want to keep them for sentimental reasons. The best solution is to re-purpose these pieces -- whether as a display or used for another function.
  • Cut up old clothes and turn them into quilts, purses, lamp shades, and pillow cases.
  • Use old, sturdy trunks as benches or coffee tables.
  • If you're renovating, old doors and window frames can be transformed into tables and picture frames. Use large house beams for updating stairs and floors.
  • Break vases and ceramic or glass figurines into pieces and create a colorful mosaic for the walls or floor of your home.

Arts and Crafts
Hand-crafted memorabilia can be distributed to family members as gifts on special occasions or displayed at home.
  • Use family pictures for collages and frame them. The good thing about photos is that they can be duplicated if you wish to distribute them to your relatives or if you just simply don't want to cut the original copies.
  • Arrange medals, jewelry pieces, child's clothing, and other sentimental knickknacks in a shadow box.
  • Place memorable pictures and postcard under the glass sheet of your coffee table or office desk.
  • Purchase or create your own photo album. Organize old photographs by dates and by special occasions. Scan them to create a back-up copy. Place these photo albums in your living room or bookshelf for easy access during family reunions or if you wish to show them to your guests.
  • Personal journals and diaries, letters, and greeting cards may be placed in a box or basket. Older family members can share stories of wonderful memories to the young ones with these written documents.
Divide and Distribute
Don't be afraid to divide sets of family heirlooms and distribute them to your kin. You may not be able to keep precious collections forever. At some point, you will have to break them up to fit your current lifestyle and taste.
If you're still left with a bunch of stuff after choosing the ones you wish to keep and giving away the rest to relatives, maybe it's time to let them go. Organize a garage sale, put them up on eBay, and donate to charity or to a new home that would create new family heritage.
Jessica Phan is a designer for Balsamhill.com a purveyor of high-end artificial Christmas Trees. Living in the San Francisco Bay Area is perfect for her because she has a wide range of interests, including Art & Design, Fashion, Photography, Painting and Thrift Store Shopping.

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