I'm linking up with Jemma of At Home with Jemma and her new link party "Thoughts of Home on Thursday". Thank you Jemma for hosting this party :)
I'm still in the midst of decluttering my home. It's slow work. It's kind of boring. And I still have a long way to go. But it is working, and although I'm creating a mess in the living room as I go through piles of stuff, so much more is heading out the door each weekend.
Now that I'm whittling everything down to things that only bring me happiness and/or are useful, I'm trying to find a balance. A balance between possessions brought from my parents' home, and my own things. I want to keep some of my parents' things that will bring back the happy memories, but not so many that they become the proverbial millstone around my neck. Having just a few of their things on display will help keep my parents in my thoughts. Not all of the items I brought out of their home fit in with my style. Rather than keep these items, I've accepted that they can go to a better home now.
In the kitchen I have a small number of things on display that I think tie together fairly well. We decorated our kitchen in 2014, and I guess you would call it "country" style. I've placed Mom's old breadbox on one end of the counter. She always kept cookies and bars in here (Mmmm ... very happy memories!), I now use it for bread. A wooden tray my dad made sits on top holding a little tea station (also hides the worn metal). The old brown & white mug was my parents' too, and reminds me of my dad with a Yorkshire saying around it: "See all, hear all, say nowt. Eat all, drink all, pay nowt. And if ever tha does out for nowt, allus do it for thisen". I also like this mug because there's a picture of a dog that reminds me of our old dog Emily, a chocolate lab, lying on the hearth rug (just like Em would do).
I also have Mom's old maple cutting board in front of my small collection of rolling pins. It's leaning against a wooden tray that Dad made for me. I like these very few things on display. A bit of mine, a bit of theirs.
|A little measuring cup that sits on my microwave |
and gets used for measuring pasta & rice.
In my front entrance I've also found a good balance between my things and my parents'. We have our paddles hanging from a holder my husband made. This is the kind of stuff we really like. We use all these paddles, but while we're at home, it's nice to see them on display like this.
Also in my front entrance is this bench and a piece of driftwood hung above the door that my family thought looked like a deer head, both brought from my parents' home. The bench brings back good memories of family gatherings as it used to sit in my parents' front hall where everyone was coming or going and has been used by two generations of kids to get their stuff on in winter. Do you sometimes look at a piece of furniture and you can just hear the echoes of the past emminating from it? This is how I feel about this bench. I can hear the horse's bucket of warm oats & molasses clanking onto the flagstone floor after its careful preparation in the kitchen. I can hear the bells that hung on the front door jingling as we heave on the door to give it the final push closed against a cold winter night. It was an extra wide front door with a handle in the centre, so it always needed that extra push to close it. I can hear my mom "halloooing" from the kitchen on our arrival back home as she comes out from the kitchen to greet us. So, yeah, this bench will stay.
The driftwood deer head was also in my parents' front hall, so it all ties in together.
The biggest difficulty with bringing things home from my parents was to find a good place to put everything. My house is not large, and there aren't any little niches and spaces to set up display tables with vignettes etc. I was happy to discover that my dad's old "nail barrel" fit perfectly in this narrow corner between two doors in the basement hallway. I've put it to good use as an umbrella stand, and popped in a couple of paddles that our kids used when they were little. I think the whole thing looks kind of nice together. Dad used the barrel as a garbage pail in his workshop and it was always full of off-cuts of wood and broken bits and pieces. I think it looks much nicer as an umbrella stand (even though I only have one umbrella).
Our family room was starting to suffer as a dumping ground for items that weren't fitting elsewhere. I worked through this room a bit when purging my sewing supplies and our books. It still needs a little help, but it's looking much better. I've taken out lots of items and kept only a few of my parents' things on display in here as well. This fireplace used to be so ugly with bricks that are the same as on the exterior of our house (rough, dark brown bricks). A few years ago my husband removed those bricks and built it up from scratch, including the stone hearth and the wooden mantel shelf. Now the mantel has my grandmother's tin kettle that used to sit on her tiny "Quebec heater" (a very cute woodstove which my sister has). A Coleman lantern is another of their old things, and fits in with the rustic kind of decorating we like.
In a corner opposite I have the sign that used to hang from our bus shelter at the end of our drive. It's not the prettiest of signs, but it's what my parents called our place shortly after moving there with all the backbreaking work they did putting in two huge vegetable gardens ... "Back Acres".
|Our bus shelter where we would wait for the school bus early every morning.|
An old cast iron doorstop I bought for my parents years ago that just fits in this little space between the bathroom door and the linen closet. More happy memories there as he held open the door that opened onto Mom's greenhouse on the side of our house letting sunshine pour into that side hallway. I like the fact that he now holds all the old dog tags from my two childhood dogs ... so he can stay too :)
|The side door opened into the greenhouse on the left.|
|Our old dogs ... Skipper (daschund) and Emily (lab)|
It's taken longer to find a good spot for some things. This framed white fan of my grandmother's was sitting on top of my cedar chest in my bedroom, and always in the way. Last weekend, after clearing out some things from my bedroom, I saw the perfect spot for it above my nightable. The small lamp lights up this little corner and the fan quite nicely. The little "harp" chair was my paternal grandmother's from England. I had a tough time deciding whether to keep it or not. But I don't have very much from my dad's side of the family, so I decided it could stay. Both these pieces fit fairly well into this small corner of my bedroom now, and I'm happy that they work in the space.
|My grandmother posing with my mother's wedding gifts.|
You can see the framed white fan behind her.
|I was surprised to find this photo of my grandparents' bedroom with the tiny chair shown|
in the bottom right of the photo (green velvet on the seat then)
Furniture is proving to be a difficult thing for me to make a decision on. This old green chair belonged to my maternal grandmother, and I have always liked it. But it is not my husband's favourite piece, and he continuously suggests I get rid of it. But I just can't. I can't! I think it's the only furnishing from my grandmother that my dad left alone, and still looks pretty good. I have moved it to different areas of the living room, but it seems to look best in this corner between my antique buffet (also from Mom's family) and a revolving side table that holds old books from Mom's family. The seat on this chair is so low that it looks odd and quite diminutive beside our other seating. The colour fits in well with our furnishings, although you can see the tapestry fabric is wearing on the seat now.
I'm feeling much better about having less of my parents' things filling so many spaces in my house. The decluttering continues, however, so I still have lots of decisions to make with more of my parents' possessions.
Now would you like to see the reality of what it looks like in my home while I am decluttering, sorting, and piling up for tossing? Uncensored for your viewing pleasure (or abhorrence!). I'll get there, it's just taking some time.
|A nice cluttered mess!!! Thank goodness there is a method to this madness,|
and anything that isn't sent away will find a home in the end :)
Be sure to hop over to Jemma's to see what other's have to share!