I love my six china sets from four different grandmothers. I adore my handkerchief collection that the women in my family stitched by hand. Most of us would agree that we cherish those lovely knick-knacks and pieces of history passed down to us but they’re not showing off to anyone but the dust bunnies. Below are a few of my favorite ways to bring these beloved belongings out to center stage again without making my home feel like a stuffy Victorian museum.
1) Handkerchiefs. Try hanging up a clothesline made of twine or satin ribbon in your laundry room (I’ve even done this in a guest room). Use clothes pins to hang up your favorites, just make sure they don’t get too much direct sunlight. If you love to entertain, set a hankie underneath each glass or mini floral arrangement. Its okay if they don’t match! It adds to the charm and you may find that each one has its own story to tell (for example I have one that my newlywed grandmother made for my grandfather while he was in the war).
2) Pieces of china. I still love to use china dishes for certain dinners but using the entire collection at once feels stiff and far too formal for many peoples’ tastes these days. To lighten it up try mixing and matching your dishes or dine on plain white plates but use the tea cups to hold cut flowers (I love one peony in each teacup along the length of the table).
3) Recipe cards. Some of you are lucky enough to have inherited someone’s “famous” recipe book. If you couldn’t get enough of mom’s chocolate chip cookies as a child, why not bring those happy thoughts to your own kitchen today? Frame her recipe card in a special frame that reflects the kind of person she was. Place in a corner of your kitchen countertops for a little tug at your heart strings every time you pass by.
4) Retro holiday decorations. The Christmas tree decor of the 50′s is making a major come back but I don’t intend to wait until December to show off my favorite inherited items! This glitter and pearl star hangs up year-round and while it isn’t a hand-me-down, it sure looks like one. It currently hangs beneath a ledge shelf in our living room to add just a hint of whimsy and romance to an otherwise neutral space. Get creative!