I had a “fun” post on our blog schedule for today, related to the planning/design of my dining room and how on earth I can incorporate storage of birdseed into my sophisticated plans. However, as I write this, Brad and I just returned from traveling for a funeral, and writing that post up right now feels irrelevant and disingenuous.
Of course I know what an important issue it is and will return to it eventually! But for now I am thinking a lot more about family and a lot less about birdseed. As it relates to my home/decor (and thus, by the associative property, this blog) what I am thinking about right now is how important it is to be surrounded by things with memory and meaning. Like this clock, which you all noticed and commented about so much in my bedroom decor reveal, which was a gift from my Grandfather and his wife, Kathryn, from a shop near their home:
The stories behind stuff are important. I find it underwhelming to see beautiful homes in magazines without knowing how much of their stuff is meaningful vs. how much was just brought to style the shot. That’s MY main attraction to home décor/DIY blogs as opposed to magazines: by following a family, I also learn about their story and the story of all their stuff!
So while I am looking around my house and feeling a bit sentimental, I thought it may be a good idea to share with you all the stories behind a few of the objects that you’ve probably seen a bunch of times on the blog.
First up, have you noticed the sign above the windows in my dining room? It reads “And they lived happily ever after…”
It is definitely sappier than our usual decor 🙂 However, it was given to us by my Aunt and Uncle, Nancy and Josh, shortly after we bought our home. They have the same sign up in their own kitchen, and is a symbol that a ceremony or other life “milestones” aren’t the point – you are there when you say that you are there. They wanted to reassure us of the same.
For a long while it was the only thing up in our house as we did work on it and then unpacked very slowly. Can you can spot it in the disorganized pictures below?
At the time it sort of seemed like a joke. But a very reassuring one. And it is nice that it has remained in the room as the order and “nice” decor grew in around it!
Another particularly meaningful piece is this print of Rosa Luxemburg, the Polish socialist. I’ve told the story behind it before, how it was purchased by my parents when they were community organizers in Chicago, passed on to me when I got my first apartment during college, and re-framed when I got this house.
Especially these days, it reminds me not to take for granted that I’ve got parents who are not only progressives who have lived their beliefs, but who also have always celebrated women as serious political thinkers.
There is also this statue, which is probably the most photographed object on the blog since I use it to style just about any photo that I can:
I got to know my Great Grandma Anna when I was a little girl. She was a carver, and many in our family have some of her pieces, which are filled with movement and expression.
I didn’t have any of her work until I went to visit my father’s cousin, Wendy. Knowing that I had a new home, Wendy gifted me with one of the pieces that she had. Even though she really, really liked it and probably wanted to keep it, she had several, and knew that it would be very special for me.
Not only does it mean a lot to have, but it is absolutely gorgeous!
But not all things need long legacies or grand family histories – some are just nice memories. Take this Dia de los Muertos style skull, which has appeared in a handful of photos over the years on this blog.
It is just a trinket that Brad and I bought together on Venice Beach in LA, when we went for his friend’s wedding. I try to pick up a souvenir from every vacation. It was a fun trip, and it always makes me smile!
I could go on and on – from where I sit writing this I can see the cup that was the party favor at my Uncle Blake’s wedding, the first piece of art that Brad and I bought together, the bookends that my dad used in college, a mask that I bought as a kid with my family in Mexico, a souvenir from my year abroad in college, a gift from a co-worker when I left my last job, a clay pot I bought with Brad’s mother in New Mexico, etc., etc.
Thanks for going with me down the sentimental rabbit hole, and I hope that you enjoyed hearing why some of these objects that you’ve seen a bunch of times in photos are in my house to begin with 🙂 Do you decorate similarly in your home, or do you pick things out for appearance, or both?