There are certain places in our past that leave such an impression it’s like a picture book in your mind. my grandparent’s house was such a place for me; rickety back porch, the spare key kidding place, and the sound the back door made when it closed. All these and so much more are the things I remember with a smile. Within their home were so many treasures and we would hear the story of where it came from and how long it had been theirs. I wish I could remember all of their stories.
My grandparent’s had a large dining room in the center of their house. One piece of furniture in the room was a handmade meal-flour bin. It was made for my great-great-grandfather by his neighbor.
Every year at Thanksgiving it held our precious pecan pie that my grandmother made. I always thought it was so unusual and had never seen anything like it. Several years before my grandmother passed away she built a new house and it was one of the pieces she chose not to move back in. When settling her estate I was fortunate to be able to get the meal-flour bin from the barn where it had been stored several years. I was so excited to bring this piece home and give it new life.
If you haven’t heard me say this before, I’m not a purist on wood. I like painted wood and I like stained wood. But, this piece… there was no way I was painting it. I mean who knows maybe one day I’ll change my mind, or one of my children may decide to later on. But, for now, I was perfectly content with restoring as much of it as I could.
This is after I had removed the old finish.
It had been varnished at some point, but it was bubbly, hard and cracking. A regular sanding was not budging this stuff. All you carpenters and true woodworkers cover your eyes for this next part. My husband brought me his grinder and I was able to get the build-up of probably 100 years off of it. After being so invasive on the wood, I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do next. After talking with my great Aunt Trudy (my grandmother’s sister) she suggested I just use a mix of olive oil and vinegar on it. Genius! The turned feet weren’t in as bad of shape and I liked the contrast of the color so I left them. And let’s be for real I did not want to sand all those round edges!
You can see here I’m almost done applying the oil & vinegar mix when I remember to snap a picture!
I have it in my breakfast room and although it’s small, at family gatherings we place as many pies as it will hold on top of it. I am all for taking a family heirloom and totally transforming it into something useful for your home, but in this case and in this century I think she’s just made to hold pies.
What are your family heirlooms? Have you brought new life and purpose to them or are you stumped as to what to do? Maybe I can help.
From my heart to your home,