Sunday, July 8, 2012

Shadow Box Your Family Heirlooms

When you have numerous little sentimental items that are family heirlooms it can often be a real headache to make a decision about how to utilize them. When I was faced with this dilemma, I decided to show them off in a couple of display boxes I purchased many years ago on fleaBay. They were currently just taking up space and were never seen by anyone.

So, I decided to display the many pieces with vintage sheet music backgrounds, appropriate to the pieces to be displayed. Now, they are truly lovely displays of our family's vintage past, courtesy of those family members who went before us.

I've had some family items missing their mates for some time, but I held on to them knowing I would one day figure out what I would do with them. Frankly, I just felt that (to me anyway) they were just way too cool to get rid of. Finally, I got the Big-Light-Bulb-Above-My-Head and almost slapped myself silly when I realized it had been staring me in the face for years.

I was in the middle of gluing the cut cut-to-size sheet music onto different pillar candles around the house when I realized what I needed to do. It hit me rather like a bolt of lightning. When we inherited hubby's Grandmother's piano, we'd also acquired all of her old sheet music as well. Needless to say, I've got mountains of it. Again, I believed I'd eventually sell it all, give it away, or use it in some hair-brained craft project. And, guess what? It's not in the least bit hair-brained. It's truly genius!!!

Approximately 10 or 15 years ago I bought 4 necklace display cases thinking I'd use them for something at some point but they had been consistently building up a thick crusty layer of dirt, tossed aside and forgotten about for the time being. They measure 18-1/2" in length, 12-1/2" in width, and approximately 1" deep. So when I had this great epiphany, it was like the heavens and earth were immediately aligned. Don't you just adore it when that happens? And hubby insists claims there is no such thing as multitasking. HA! I declined telling him that perhaps it doesn't exist in men, but we women are the ones who came up with the phrase. Am I right or what?

 This first one contains the following items:


The 1950's And 1960's:

#1 Taxco sterling silver bumble bee, made in Mexico. Belonged to hubby's maternal grandmother.

#2 Great cat's eye sunglasses. Belonged to hubby's paternal grandmother.

#3 Gold plated heart shaped perfume bottle. Belonged to my mother.

#4 A teensy tiny ivory die. Belonged to my Great-grandmother.



#5 Kid leather glove with teensy checked pattern. So Avant-Garde. Belonged to hubby's paternal Grandmother.

 The next one is more of a Victorian theme:

#5 My maternal Great-grandmother's old lace glove, Circa 1922.

#4 An ornate gold plated perfume that belonged to my maternal Great-grandmother.

#2 and #3 are a Cameo and a Cameo hatpin that belonged to hubby's maternal grandmother, whom he never knew.

 #1 An old solid cake perfume with painting of a woman which belonged to my maternal Great-grandmother as well. 

Anyway, on with my story. I gathered up everything I knew I wanted to display and the tools I'd need to do so and set to work. I knew I was only planning to use two of the display boxes for this project using single items that had once belonged to the women matriarchs of both our families, namely our grandmothers. 


First I went through a sheet music book of Johann Strauss until I found just the right music titles for the backgrounds. I didn't necessarily group the items according to specific grandmothers but I did match things to eras and patterns or decoration. I also played around with different combinations and placement until I was satisfied. I astounded even myself with the outcome. 

Now, tell me what you really think. Isn't this a brilliant way to display smalls? Besides, it's easy peasy, lemon squeezy while it protects your small, mate-less and orphaned family heirlooms.....