Display Your Treasured Family Heirlooms!

April 1, 2015|Posted in: Hearth and Home

Display Your Treasured Family Heirlooms!

IMG_4438 (1)Where are your family heirlooms?  Is your grandmother’s cookie jar stashed away in the cedar chest?  Is the end table your Uncle Fred built gathering dust in the garage?  Displaying treasured family heirlooms can add beauty and character to your home décor.  Items that were made by, or that once belonged to your parents, grandparents or other family members hold sentimental value as well. 

Pull them out!  Dust them off!  Display them in your home!  Ideal places for these kinds of things are in your entryway or on an entryway table, in the hallway or a display case or in a shadow box on the wall.  When your guests see them you’re sure to get compliments!

 In the foyer of my parent’s home was an “umbrella stand” or large brass vase full of beautiful hand crafted canes made by my dad.  Making canes was a hobby of his for many years.  Dad and Mom lived on the benches of the beautiful Wasatch Mountains.  Those mountains were just the place to find wood to make the canes.  My parents would take a drive up into the mountains to find cane stock, making a day of it and enjoying a nice outing.

Dad would cut pieces of old wood right where they met the ground and the roots started, where they had a natural bend for a handle.  He searched high and low to find just the right specimen.  Different types of wood had different patterns and would absorb stains differently.  He found pieces with interesting twists and turns and knots and blemishes, all of which made each cane more interesting and unique.

His hands were twisted with arthritis and in some ways resembled his twisted pieces of wood.  But that didn’t stop him from working on his canes.  He was a perfectionist and meticulous in his work.  Once he got his cane stock home he would strip the bark off of each piece.  Then he would sand them for hours until they were as smooth as silk.    The next step was to stain the wood pieces beautiful colors.  There are canes of every color, natural, caramels, tans, browns, redwood and cherry, and dark walnut colors, some that are nearly black.  Dad even stained a few canes with berries that produced beautiful berry red and blue canes!  He would then paint each one with a thick coat of shiny shellac and finally put a rubber cane tip on the end of each one.

Dad’s canes are absolutely beautiful and anyone who sees them says so.  I guesstimate that there are close to two hundred of them.  People always told Dad he should sell them, assuring him that he could get a nice price for each one.  Curiously, Dad didn’t want to sell his canes.  He occasionally gave one away to a close friend who needed a cane.  He only ever sold a handful of them.

Dad with CanesWhen he passed away three years ago, my three older sisters and I divided up all of those canes,
taking great care to make sure we each got a sampling of all of the different colors and styles.  First we divided the canes from Mom and Dad’s foyer, Dad’s favorites, and then we divided up the dozens and dozens of canes he had stored away in his basement.  We took our canes and gave one to each of Dad’s many grandkids and great-grandkids.  Then we each took a few of our favorites and added them to Dad’s favorites, and placed them in some kind of pretty container (some sisters made two or three!).  Then, all four sisters found a prominent place in our homes to display our beautiful hand crafted canes made with love by our Dad!


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1 Comment

  1. Anne Campbell
    April 2, 2015

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    This is such a sweet reminder. I treasure many of my grandparents’ things and love to have them where my boys can touch and see them. Some of the most simple things bring back so many wonderful memories. I have some of my granddaddy’s canes in my foyer, and they are a joy to look at. I’m sure your dad’s handcrafted canes are a treasure.

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