Putting Heirlooms to Good Use — by Guest Mom Carrie Lundell

Family heirlooms wrapped in acid-free tissue paper and stored safely away from sticky fingers in a cedar chest will easily last for the next 100 years, but the joy and meaning that comes from pulling treasured items out of storage and repurposing them for greater use in our lives is sometimes worth the risk of a slightly shorter heirloom “shelf-life”. Hopefully none of you think my ideas are akin to the horrors of painting a piano (which I love, BTW).

-Turn a piece of Grandma’s old china into a dessert stand to use at family special occasions.

-Can’t bear to part with a concert T full of memories from your youth? Let it live on in all it’s glory as a newborn baby gown.

-Grandma’s sweet, old linens can be turned into beautiful Easter dresses.

-Think about splitting up Great Grandma’s unfinished quilt tops and turning them into numerous baby blankets, children’s clothes and even throw pillows.

-If you are lucky enough to have a hanky collector in your family, baby bonnets, curtains, and wall hangings are all great options for putting them to good use in a place besides your runny nose.

-Favorite childhood toys can become decor for your child’s room and stay protected when displayed in a shadow box.

-Avid crocheters will usually leave behind stacks of beautiful doilies that no one knows what to do with. Use them to accessorize clothing or integrate them into your home decor.

If you are not lucky enough to have these types of family heirlooms lying around (I have to supplement) but still have a hankering for a “family heirloom-esque” project, items from garage sales, estate sales and thrift stores can easily be substituted for any of the above. Not quite as meaningful, but fun nonetheless.

Find more of Carrie at This Momma Makes Stuff.

12 thoughts on “Putting Heirlooms to Good Use — by Guest Mom Carrie Lundell”

  1. Being the only girl (4 brothers) I inherited most of the family junk/treasures. Can't wait to try out all of these great ideas!! I was a teenage bride too!

  2. My husband thinks he is now totally cool because his hand is on Design Mom. I LOVE that bonnet. I do not keep much stuff (as you know….) but that bonnet is safe and sound and will remain in the family. Thanks for adding to our heirlooms!

  3. I loved your posts this week Carrie! I really like the idea of making family heirlooms usable instead of hiding them away someplace "safe." I have been wanting to do something with my wedding dress. It's been sitting in its preservation box under my bed for over 10 years. I'm short and even if my girls wanted to wear it in the future, they'd be too tall to fit into it. Some ideas I've seen are making your wedding dress into a baptismal gown or a quilt, but I'd love to hear if anyone else has any other ideas. It had a HUGE train, so there is plenty of material to work with.

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