Monday, October 1, 2012

Heirlooms: Why I Do What I Do

It's something very special when the people we love give us a gift. I have this cedar chest, probably 30 years old now, that used to be my mom's favorite piece of furniture. It's not the most comfortable to sit on, and it's probably not the prettiest piece in our living room. But it shines more brightly to me than almost anything else in the entire house. My dad and mom got this for each other as a gift for their wedding (at least, that's what I remember). It sat in our living room in a corner, not very noticeable and hardly ever used. But when we needed a good warm blanket we knew where to find one. There was a secret way to get it to open, and a wonderful cedar smell accompanied the afghans inside. Even when I sat wrapped in one of those blankets I can remember looking at the crochet patterns and asking my mom who made them, why, and how long ago. When my mom died 6 years ago I was so thrilled to get this cedar chest. It was more than a piece of furniture to me; it was a chest full of wonderful memories.

 It should hardly be surprising that I have a thing for cedar chests now. Not only was it someone's treasured furniture--a gift from a spouse, a hope chest, a prized possession--but it could hold other treasures, memories and heirlooms. I started collecting handmade items that were important to me and putting them inside.

 This is a cedar chest from the 1950's, full of several tatted and crocheted items I've made. Even better, full of tatted items that my grandmother has made, that a friend's great-aunt has made... it goes on. I like to think that they tell each other stories about their past when I close the lid. That somehow, all the hours these wonderful women spent making something for those they love will be transferred into hours of appreciation enjoyed around these precious gifts.

 I have a precious gift. Well, I have many. But the one I am particularly thinking of is Miles, since he will be our heritage on this earth. There is a reason we make things for those we love. Those hours spent making him this sweater, making him socks, hats, mittens and anything else; those will be the ways that he can remember he is loved. It's not particularly the sweater he will remember, but the laughter and the joy. But that sweater is a part of that joy, as it was joy and love that inspired and drove me to make it for him, to see him become a part of our family tradition, part of something bigger than himself. And if that doesn't resonate with you, well, he's still pretty stinkin' cute.

So that, in a nutshell, is why I do what I do. That is the reason I will be exhausted and happy. That is the reason I will be patient, kind and helpful to anyone who is interested in learning. Because we impart so much of ourselves into our gifts, and I desire to pass on my best traits.

I would love to hear why you do it!
As always, check out our website at We will be so happy you stopped by! You can also check us out on facebook at

Happy Heirlooming!


  1. Thanks for the memory! Made me think of the cedar chest that my parents had and it also contained treasures that were handmade as well as the wool blankets. I can still smell the cedar smell when it was opened. I like to knit or crochet as a pastime when watching TV and enjoy the creativity involved in it. If I have a chance I may look for something in Budapest. I remember seeing some craft shops.

  2. Knitting or crocheting not only helps me to stay in the present and grounded and to create something beautiful, it is a way for me to pray for the people I make things for. Each stitch becomes a prayer. That's how it feels sometimes.