WP_20140626_16_52_31_Pro20140904_174623Family memories aren’t all to be stored away, only to be taken out and enjoyed once in a while. Keep some in your home and live with them every day.

Did your mother or grandmother sew, knit, or crochet? Why not put her tools (scissors, thimble, crochet hook) in a collage, or attach them to a mat and frame them? Is there a place in your home where Grandpa’s fishing tackle would be the right touch, either in his tackle box or in a collage? I have two framed pieces of needlework on my walls. One was a small piece embroidered by my mother. The other is the end from a worn-out dresser scarf that belonged to my grandmother. I’ve attached notes to both telling whose they were.

My sister-in-law has a bucket of canes in a corner of her home. Members of her family used those canes years ago, and the display might come in handy if someone needs a cane today.

My dad kept his match box on the wall by the kitchen door. It is a little green metal box advertising a business in the small town where he grew up. After Dad’s death, my daughter asked for the box. It hangs near her kitchen sink, where she sees it daily as a reminder of her grandpa.

Our daughter-in-law’s grandfather worked jigsaw puzzles and hung the finished pieces on the walls in their stairwell. Now every time any of the family goes down the basement stairs they see his puzzles.

A cherished treasure in my living room is my mother’s old piano stool. I don’t have the piano, but my son-in-law refinished the broken stool.

My husband’s hobby was woodworking, and all our family have pieces of his fine craftsmanship in our homes. He no longer does the work, but his tools aren’t going on the auction block. Our children and grandchildren are taking them. We decided to start distributing the tools while my husband could still see where they were going. I made a list of the saws, sanders, and the other bigger pieces and wrote down what each of the kids said they would like. Most listed three or four choices, so we’ve been able to make sure everyone got something they wanted. Some don’t have use for the larger equipment but can still take smaller pieces (everybody needs a hammer or screwdriver sometimes).

One grandson has tools from both his grandfathers, and he has labeled them so he will remember which grandpa used each tool. Another grandson used scraps of wood, both from his dad’s shop and from my husband’s shop, and made a beautiful coffee table.

Even the workbenches from my husband’s shop are finding new homes with our family. The grandson who is labeling his tools had a place in his shop the exact size of one of the workbenches—it fit right in next to a cabinet from his other grandparents. He has also taken some of my husband’s unused lumber and made shelves.

One of our daughters wanted a workbench, too. Her original plan was to use it in her basement. Her plan changed, though, and after she has put a nice coat of finish on the bench it will go into her living room, with her dad’s vice still hanging on one end. A workbench wouldn’t be right in everyone’s living room, but hers has a rustic appearance and the bench will work.

What memory-makers do you have stored away in a closet, an old trunk, or in the garage waiting to be brought out into the open and enjoyed every day?

Next month: Our family’s memory boxes