Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Much love to Grandma

My dear grandmother passed away a little over a year ago. And while I wish I could go over to her house, pick rasberries with her, play yatzee, and hear all the family news, I'm happy for her. Happy that she's back with my grandpa. Happy that she's free from her ailing body. And happy that she lived a long and healthy life.

As I reflected on my grandmother's life I was so inspired by her style of living.

She did not have the fanciest house on the block, the nicest car, or a million stamps in her passport.

She did have enough to live comfortably and share with others. She was always working for and giving to others. I probably ate more than my fair share of cookies, fruit leather, swedish pancakes and raspberry jam. Even with well over 50 grandchildren to buy presents for, I could always count on getting a snickers bar and McDonalds gift certificates for Christmas and often a $2 bill in a card on my birthday. She sent out those birthday cards diligently. :)

She lived a frugal but full life. And when she passed away she left no debt for her children, a house that was completely paid off, and savings that covered all her medical bills & assisted living. I really was so inspired how my grandmother really was able to take care of herself and others on the salary my grandfather brought home, which I know was not a large one.

After grandma passed away my aunt held an open house at her home and invited everyone over to see what, out of grandma's posessions, they might need or want.

And Joe and I were so so lucky that in addition to some nick nacks, some books, and othe small things, we inherited her china hutch, dining table, and chairs. I have lots of memories sitting at that table:Thanksgiving or Christmas meals talking to my cousins, doing puzzles with grandma when she was babysitting me, water coloring on some long ago afternoon. And I remember hunting for candy in that china hutch drawer.

And so I was delighted to have some furniture from my grandma that I was both sentimental about and genuinely like.

Are you wondering what it looks like?

This is the china hutch--it has nice lines right? Don't mind the primer and paint...it's under rennovation (we're painting it black).

And the chairs...I had a before picture but I think it was on Joe's iphone and got deleted. So just know they were the same color as the hutch...brown. And they had this lovely patterned olive green vinyl....which makes me think of grandma but is not my fave.

So we reupholstered the seats in this fabric I found at Joann's. It's actually made for outdoor furniture, so I think it'll clean up pretty well.

And the chairs. Oh these chairs. They were a LOT of work. Originally we were going to stain them. So we went through all the work of stripping the varnish & stain and then sanding...lots of sanding. And after so much work when we tried to stain them the wood would not absorb the stain evenly. So tragic. I will never attempt staining again...well maybe not never, but not anytime soon.

So then we primed them. And painted them black. And put 2 layers of polyurethane on them so they'd wipe clean nicely (because children with grimey fingers sitting in these chairs means we will mostly likely be wiping them down A LOT).

And so here's the finished product after many many hours of work.

The hutch, is still a work in progress and will not be completed until spring because it's now too cold to paint. And the table will be done then too.

It's all for the best that I can't work on them til spring since really since I need to finish up the quiet book pages I owe my good friends Healther & Kaela--I'm aiming for Christmas...let's all cross our fingers.
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8 little remarks:

Charayne said...

I just love what you said about your grandma. How touching. You took the words right out of my mouth...I could say the exact same thing about my mom. Isn't it nice that we can have fond memories of the ones we love. I bet it will be fab to see them again. Love the chairs and can't wait to see everything else finished. Let's get together again soon...I miss you!

Marcia said...

So happy to read your comments about Grandma Sanders and what you gleaned from her amazing life. She did sooo much with what she had (which wasn't terribly much). And she cared more to be found doing what is right and charitable than in being fashionable. But I think she is probably tickled pink with what you've done to the chairs. What nice memories to live with on a regular basis. Also, did you remember that November 15th was her birthday? Such a great woman.

Marcia said...

It is lovely to read the thoughts and inspiration that you have from Grandma Sanders. You have some of her best qualities; serving others, tenacity, doing well with what you have control over, and of course, loving her family. She was always proud of you and I am sure she is smiling down on those chairs and the new life you've given them.

Brooke said...

You always do such a fabulous job on your projects! And that you can refinish something your grandma owned makes it even better. You're pretty much amazing.

Tara said...

Love the chairs. I really really do.

Diane said...

Anna, You will always cherish the things from your grandma! I love the way to describe her life. Life isn't always better with "more" simple and frugal is a wonderful thing! Beautiful job refinishing!

Scarehaircare said...

I inherited one of the pickle crocks, craystal pickle dish, and Grandma's Aebelskiver pan. I love looking at them and feel like she is near when I use them. The only other thing I asked for is the white sweater Grandma wore around the house. Now I put it one when I need a Grandma hug (it doesn't fit me at all, she was so short!)

I've been missing her, too. I make Swedish Cruellers every Christmas b/c of her.

*Liese said...

The chairs look awesome! I love the fabric you chose.

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