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Showing posts with label hand me downs. Show all posts
Showing posts with label hand me downs. Show all posts

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Traveling Trunk





This traveling trunk came from my Teal grandparent's home, although when I first met it, the trunk had been passed down to their youngest daughter, Lela.  Almost 50 years ago, she saw some work I had done on a smaller trunk that had been given to me and asked me if I could "make hers pretty." The trunk was already travel worn and weary by then so that was a tall order for someone who knew little about working with the rusted metal corners.  Antiquing was in vogue then so she wanted me to antique the trunk with a base color of pink!  Cringing a bit at her color choice, I agreed to work on it.  Years passed, and Lela died.  Since her only son was stillborn and no one else wanted it, the trunk escaped being thrown away and came to me. That was early 1994.  Our family had just returned from living in Indonesia, moved to the Houston area, and started a business.  We had 3 grown sons and a very busy family life. The trunk sat for many years.

Now our sons are married, we have 5 granddaughters, and another grandbaby on the way. We are selling this house to move to one we have bought to share with our youngest son and his family. In the process of cleaning and clearing, we have passed on or given away many family things that have stories.  The trunk is big and in ill repair, and at first, no one wanted to take it home with them.  But this week, it will go to our oldest son who is a very talented artist and craftsman.  If anyone can make this old trunk look like the treasure it is, he can.  Because it is a treasure. There are so many stories it could tell.

 I can wish that I had paid enough attention years ago to ask the questions I now have. Questions such as "who was the original owner of the trunk?"  It could have belonged to either of my grandparents because of the times in which they lived.  Thomas Jefferson Teal was born in 1877.  Ida Mayfield Teal was 7 years older, born in 1870, making their young adult years the time when this barrel stave type trunk became popular for traveling. But it could also have belonged to their families.  I know very little about these ancestors. So it is too late to ask the questions.  I can only know that the trunk may look empty but that it carries a world of stories inside.

I can't wait to see what it looks like after my son imagines the stories.








Tuesday, September 29, 2015

200 Things to Throw Away


My kids don't believe me, but I really am working on this.  When I was growing up, I would hear the mantra "Use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without."   I come from a long line of savers.  Not hoarders, not junkies, not even collectors, but just good hard working folks who saved bits of string in a ball, scraps of fabric for quilts, and always leftovers from supper!  Mind you, this same mindset is now sometimes called repurposing, because many times, these saved things do get used.  But it also leads to too many kept things that take up too much room and are not useful again. Ever.  I am determined to simplify our home and what is in it.  One small box or drawer at a time. What of these things is hardest for you to donate or throw away? Comments? Anyone want to join me in this effort?


My next post will offer some of the ways I have shared or donated.  I truly do not like throwing away!

The following list comes from the blog linked here.  Many thanks!

http://tinyurl.com/200Things

1.  Old product boxes (Apple products, TV, etc.)
2.  Hangers from the dry cleaners
3.  Plastic hangers from the store
4.  Expired make up
5.  Half-finished projects…you know the one!
6.  Magazines
7.  Old emery boards (buy a nice glass one and be done with those scratchy things!)
8.  Old paint (Visit Earth911.com to find a place to dispose of it safely)
9.  Ugly undergarments you hate to wear (You have those “just in case” pairs too, right?)
10.  Bills, taxes, paperwork over 7 years old
11.  Socks with holes or without mates…also those lonely socks that have holes too. :)
12.  Extra cups and mugs – How many does your family use in a regular dishwasher load?  Add a few more for company and be done with the rest.
13.  Books you’ve never read or will never read again
14.  Old technology (8 tracks, floppy discs, VHS tapes w/o a player, etc.)
15.  Unloved toys
16.Cleaning rags – You only need a few before you’ll wash them again, right?
17.  Tea light candles – Use them or lose them.
18.  Take out menus you never look at
19.  Old greeting cards (Save the super sentimental ones and recycle the rest)
20.  Outdated over the counter drugs and vitamins
21.  Old sneakers (Recycle through Nike)
22.  Plastic cutlery
23.  Old spices – Spices don’t actually spoil but they lose their potency.  A good rule of thumb is 1-2 years for seasoning; 1-3 for herbs and ground spices; and up to 4 years for whole spices.
24.  Duplicate power cords (USB, etc.  We have 3 vTech ones for the kiddos’ toys but only need one)
25.  Bobby pins
26.  Games with missing pieces
27.  Dried up nail polish bottles
28. Video games you’ll never play again
29.  Recalled baby items (carseats, cribs, etc.)
30.  Jewelry you don’t wear
31.  Expired food in your freezer/pantry
32.  Rugs or home decor you haven’t used since you redecorated
33.  Unused perfumes and cologne
34.  Old towels that make you cringe when you look at them
35.  Extension cords (Am I the only one who has a bazillion of these?)
36.  Extra sets of bed linens – two per bed tops
37.  Unused plastic containers – especially those without a lid and those old plastic containers. Avoid containers with recycle codes 3 or 7 as they may contain BPA.
38.  Old bills (Switch to online banking and stop the clutter before it comes in your home)
39.  Paychecks older than 2 years
40.  Stretched out hair ties
41.  Matches you never use (Maybe save a few in case of a power outage)
42.  Old newspapers
43.  Expired Rx meds (Visit fda.gov for proper ways to dispose of them)
44.  Extra pillows
45.  Ticket stubs (Sentimental like myself?  Store in a scrapbook or fill a mug with old stubs)
46.  Make up you’ll try “one day”  If you’ve owned if for more than 2 weeks without trying it, toss it.
47.  Clothes that are more than 2 sizes too small.  Don’t give up on your weight loss dream but WHEN you do lose that weight go and buy new clothes to reward yourself.
48.  Things you’ve bought have haven’t returned yet (Return them, sell, or donate them)
49.  White-out bottles – You know you don’t need it!
50.  Unneeded notebooks
51.  Pens and pencils – Keep your favorites and let go of the rest
52.  Little shampoo bottles from a hotel you went to 5 years ago
53.  Knick knacks that don’t make you smile every time you see them
54.  Cords that don’t belong to anything you currently own
55.  Lose screws, nuts, bolts, etc. unless you happen to be a handy man who would actually reuse them one day
56.  Kid’s old art projects (I have an upcoming post with loads of ideas on this so for now just set them aside)
57.  Old party supplies
58.  Old wedding favors (Keep a few, toss the rest)
59.  Old Christmas cards of your family (Save a few, recycle the rest)
60.  Holiday decor you never remember to set out (Thanksgiving turkey Aunt Sue gave you)
61.  Holiday decor that you use once a year (ex. Easter deviled egg tray that collects dust 364 days of the year!  Buy a lovely one that you can use for other holidays too.)
62.  Cleaning supplies, laundry detergent, shampoo that you used once and didn’t like.  Donate to a local shelter.
63.  Flower pots.  Plant a flower or toss the pot.
64.  Watering cans if you don’t have flowers.
65.  Too small kid’s clothing.  Only save favorites if you’re saving for another child.  Sell the rest while they’re still in style.
66.  Extra buttons (If you don’t sew, toss them all.  Reduce your supply if you will use a button in the next few months)
67.  Old calendars
68.  Unidentified frozen objects (Label ya’ll!  Keep a Sharpie by the freezer for quick labeling)
69.  Movies you’ll probably never watch again
70.  Bags from the mall you might use one day (Keep only 1 if you must)
71.  Multiple pair of scissors (One or two tops, right?)
72.  More ear buds than you’ve got family members
73.  Curling irons, crimpers (ha! flash back), or straighteners you don’t use
74.  Highlighters unless you’ve used one in the past month, then save only that one
75.  Travel mugs that leak, or are ugly, or that you don’t use because you have to hand wash it
76.  Boxes – shoe boxes, diaper boxes, cereal boxes.  Recycle and be free.
77.  Samples of any kind – Use, donate, or trash.
78.  Games you haven’t played in the last year
79.  Tape measures – You know the rule, keep one and toss the rest.
80.  Old phone covers, styluses, screen protectors, etc.
81.  Misc. ribbons or string
82.  Expired coupons
83.  Organizers you bought to get organized that didn’t work
84.  Belts that no longer fit, are worn, or are out of style
85.  Duplicate kitchen utensils – Have you ever used three wisks at the same time before?  Me neither.
86. Cookie cutters unless you’ve used them in the past year and foresee using them again
87.  Rarely used cake pans – Our bakery supply store rents them for $2 a day.  I no longer need to keep any on hand for those rare occasions I bake.
88.  Old teeth whitening trays or strips.  Use ’em up or toss ’em out.
89.  Hard candy that you’re not sure where it came from or how long it’s been there
90.  Unloved stuffed animals
91.  Half used chap stick containers – Buy a new one! I LOVE my new EOS one with coconut milk.
92.  Duplicate measuring cups and spoons
93.  Old day planners (and current ones if you don’t use them!)
94.  Candles – If it’s not lovely to look at and you’ll never burn it, let it go.
95.  Mason jars (or baby food jars, spaghetti sauce jars, etc.) that you won’t use
96.  Expired sunscreen
97.  Staple remover – unless you can make a very compelling argument to keep yours.
98.  Travel alarm clock – We have phones now.
99.  Stress balls
100.  Plug in air fresheners without a refill
101.  Unloved dog toys
102.  Extra USB flash drives – How many does one family need?
103.  Promotional swag
104.  Key chains you don’t use
105.  Recipe books you don’t ever use
106.  Push pins in the junk drawer just waiting for unsuspecting fingers
107.  Keys that you don’t know what they go to
108.  Lanyards, name tags, bags, etc. from previous conferences
109.  Carabiners – Unless you rock climb, trust me, you won’t use them.
110.  Lotions, face washes, serums that you don’t use
111.  Random batteries you’re not sure where they came from
112.  Multiple book marks – Unless you’re a book worm…you know what to do, toss them.
113.  Combination locks – Chances are slim you’ll use one again but if you do, they’re cheap to replace.
114.  Paper weights
115.  Near empty bottles of bubbles or little numbs of side-walk chalk
116.  Completed coloring books
117.  Markers without lids and lids without markers
118.  Goodie bag toys from previous birthday party celebrations
119.  Empty bottles of anything
120.  Puzzles
121.  Old invitations
122.  Travel brochures
123.  Tissue paper/gift bags
124.  Unused sticky notes
125.  Extra shoe laces
126.  Sticker’s from a precious yard sale
127.  Hair products you don’t use
128.  Take out chopsticks – Buy a reusable pair if you use them a lot
129.  Old prescription glasses – Great donation for the Lions Club.
130.  Old sunglasses – The cat eye is coming back but definitely toss those purple hued ones.
131.  Worn out flip flops.
132.  Magnets – Unless they are lovely or useful, discard.
133.  Posters you’ll never display again
134.  Excess decks of cards
135.  Phone books
136.  Broken Christmas lights
137.  Notes/gifts from old romances
138.  Hats you don’t wear or that look like you shouldn’t
139.  Extra bubble wrap (or am I the only one who has a supply?)
140.  Twisty ties (another one that hits close to home!)
141.  Chip clips
142.  Craft supplies for a project that has already been completed
143.  Paper plates – Use them up!
144.  Loyalty cards – use the key ring version or enter your number for even less clutter
145.  Gift cards – go and enjoy them!
146.  Touristy knick knacks
147.  Business cards – Keep an electronic record
148.  Puzzle books you don’t use
149.  Old textbooks
150.  Unused vases
151.  Stockings with runs in them
152.  Fancy serving bowls you haven’t used in the last year – Use them or sell them.
153.  CDs unless you use them regularly
154.  Old boombox
155.  Piles of “scrap paper”
156.  Purses/dufflebags/old luggage you don’t use
157.  Catalogs
158.  Christmas ornaments that aren’t lovely or sentimental
159.  Instruments you’ve given up on mastering years ago
160.  Clothes that make you feel ugly
161.  Instruction manuals – Most are online now.
162.  Calculators – Phones have replaced these for most people.
163.  Remotes that have no purpose
164.  Emergency sewing kits – I own many and have never used one even once.
165.  Dry erase markers without a board and a board without markers (or both if you don’t use it!)
166.  Extra pencil sharpeners – Only one is needed
167.  Rusty tools you’ll never use again
168.  Lawn and garden pesticides, herbicides, and fertilizers you won’t use
169.  Fireworks that are unused (Am I the only one?) – They can be soaked in water overnight then disposed of in a plastic bag.
170.  Dried up super glue
171.  Old and ugly t-shirts
172.  Hair accessories you don’t use
173.  One orphan earring
174.  Dried flowers
175.  Extra photo prints
176.  Gifts you don’t love
177.  Scarves you never wear
178.  Damaged/stained clothing
179.  Plastic children’s plates/cups that they’ve outgrown
180.  Junk mail
181.  Address labels – Do you ever really use them?
182.  Extra folders, binders, labels, etc.
183.  Old cell phones – Recycle!
184.  Old fortune cookie fortunes (Someone else keeps the good ones too, don’t they?)
185.  Used ink cartridges – Recycle them for a little money back
186.  Use Unroll.me to rid yourself from pesky email subscriptions (It’s free but I would pay for this fabulous service!!)
187.  Outdated computer software
188.  Old wallets
189.  Dull or duplicate pocket knives
190.  Spare change lying around – Take it to the bank!
191.  Unused picture frames
192.  Old baby gear that you no longer need – Great donation item if you don’t want to sell it!
193.  Kitchen knives no one uses
194.  Old sports equipment from days gone by
195.  Broken clocks
196.  Coasters that go unused
197.  Plants – Yes, plants that don’t brighten your spirits.  Buy ones that do!
198.  Hole punch you never use
199.  Place mats, napkins, table cloths that never get displayed
200.  Ruled notebook paper – I hate to throw it away but I never use it.  Donate it!

Friday, January 9, 2015

Gifts Continued

As we packed away our home's Christmas dress, took ornaments off the trees, and reflected on all the comings and goings of our busy family during this season, I thought about the gifts we gave our children and grandchildren. We all know our best gifts are not topped with bows and found under the Christmas tree, but I want the gifts that are there to have meaning. Almost always there are gifts of music and books and games. Every year, I like to wrap up one thing for my "boys" - all of them, including their Dad, that will be fun and bring back memories of childhood Christmases. I enjoy giving them things that encourage their own home building and hospitality. But this year, there was a gift for each of our married sons and their wives (plus ones I mailed for my nieces) that took a little explanation. They all know my fondness for estate sales and might have thought on first look that I got carried away when I found a box of old silverplate.  But these gifts were nothing I shopped for, and cost me nothing other than a few minutes' time to assemble them.  

They each opened a tissue-wrapped, tarnished, mismatched knife, fork, and spoon.  Any questions about the odd set I hope were answered with the printed message I included explaining the origin of the old flatware.  

This worn, tarnished, mismatched knife, fork, and spoon belonged to Mary Clyde Curley Terrell, your great grandmother. I have had these for many years, and thought for a time to make something from them - a piece of jewelry, a windchime, or kitchenart perhaps.  Somehow, it never seemed right to alter them. Do with them as you wish, but I hope you will remember their story, her story.  Grandma Terrell likely never had a matched set of anything, that is part of  your knife, fork, and spoon story. She lived in the years that I remember her best in an old frame farmhouse on a hill not far from the cemetery in Bullard, Texas where she is buried. In the kitchen where she worked I remember a wood stove, a bucket and dipper which were for water drawn from the well by the back door, and a window at one end where food scraps were thrown out for her chickens.

She worked hard with her hands and loved fiercely with her heart. She had few material possessions, never drove a car, never had indoor plumbing util she was nearly 80. She cooked food that made my mouth water - peas and other fresh vegetables from her garden, biscuits, cornbread, and teacakes for a little girl who adored her ad watched everything she did never knowing she herself would someday have granddaughters. 







Friday, August 1, 2014

Two Girls, One Dress

        Nora 2014


                        Skye 2003

Among my favorite photos of my sons are three separate pictures when they were babies. They are lined up in a small frame that holds the images of each of the three dressed in the same navy blue suit, evidence of the way we passed down clothing from boy to boy. These two photos will join those as pictures that make me happier every single time I look at them.  Eleven years ago, our granddaughter Skye wore a sweet dress that I had given her, and smiled sunshine into my heart.  The dress has been passed down through 2 more granddaughters (I am still looking to see if we have any pictures where they wear the dress) - and now, Nora is wearing the same dress and gracing us with her own happy smiles.  She wore the dress recently on the day we celebrated Joe's 77th birthday.  Skye is now almost as tall as I am, and loves her baby cousin.  When I saw the two of them smiling at each other while the one who wore the dress first cradled the one it now fits while she fed her, there was a lump in my throat and a few happy tears.  Shared dresses don't tell the story, but they do help remind us of shared joy and love passed on and on. Family hand me downs!


Thursday, November 15, 2012

Gratitude for Hand Me Downs

                                     
        Thanksgiving memories: Quilt from Mary Clyde Curley Terrell and Opal Terrell Teal


I grew up in the 40's and 50's in a small town in East Texas. I remember ration stamps during the war, “butter” that we made out of white stuff that we mixed with coloring to make it yellow, tea towels made from flour sacks, and patchwork quilts made from the scraps of fabric leftover from clothes sewed by my grandmother and mother. “Use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without” was really practiced. Men's shirt collars were turned when they became worn, and socks were darned. Mending was an important word in our vocabulary.

I learned to do handwork like embroidery and crochet from Mother and Grandma, but I took a sewing course from the local Singer Sewing machine store when Mother got a new electric sewing machine to replace her treadle Singer. The course came free with the purchase and she already knew how to sew, so I took the lessons, made a dress and jacket, and modeled them in a fashion show for the last lesson. I remember working over the scalloped neckline and sleeves of a teal blue outfit and wearing it proudly. I was 8 years old. After that, Mother and I worked together on making my clothes. I learned from her to shop for fabric bargains, the reason I still have yards of fabric stored for the time when the right need appears. We always planned something pretty for the first day of school. When I was in high school, I would sketch a design for a prom or banquet gown and was never disappointed at the results. My outfits were always one of a kind!

Even so, I did a happy dance when the occasional box of hand me downs arrived in the mail from my cousin in South Texas. Marcia Lee was 6 years older than me, and all her clothes were store bought! She had a younger brother and no one to pass down to, so I was the glad recipient. I never grumbled about wearing second hand. I was aware, however, that not everyone felt special wearing not-new things. My younger sister had a lot of hand-me-downs!

Today, there is a revival of appreciation for used clothing and other worn items. We call it repurposing or recycling. I am reminded of the wisdom of my parents and grandparents. The root of the concept of passing something on is the word “give.” Making something we no longer can use or need available to someone else is a gift, both to ourselves and that one who receives it. As we donate, pass down, relinquish, and turn over things, or receive those which have been made available to us, we are acting out a physical image of a much larger passing down, the transmitting and endowment of a priceless legacy. 

My cousin passed down clothes.  Mother and Grandma handed me down so much more.  The quilt in the photo is a passed down treasure with its patches from dresses worn 70 years ago by all three of us.  Every patch and stitch reminds me of the gifts of themselves handed on to me that live beyond me in the lives of my sons and granddaughters. 

"And so our mothers and grandmothers have, more often than not anonymously,handed on the creative spark, the seed of the flower they themselves never hoped to see - or like a sealed letter they could not plainly read."  ~ Alice Walker, In Search of Our Mothers' Garden
 
"My work in the world is to catch fire, to bloom, and to unleash my own secret words."  ~ Christine Valters Paintner