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family week: telling the story of family heirlooms

Amy of Lemon and Raspberry recently released an eBook called Tell Its Story. I've asked her to share with us a little about family treasures and how important it is to tell the stories of these objects and the people they belonged to. Please welcome her!

A few years ago, at least once a month, my husband Andrew and I would drive the 20+ miles down to Burbank, California and spend the morning just visiting with his great-grandfather.

We always sat in the kitchen – where the acoustics were best for him to actually hear us – and we always took the time to chat about what was new in his life.

And, frankly, his outings and appointments were the only things new. His house, purchased in the early 1960s, had been furnished and filled upon move-in and virtually untouched since then.

But beyond just the dishes and furniture leftover from the 60s, this sweet man kept some of his most prized possessions in a little shelving nook just outside the kitchen. Those items and objects that were gifted to him, or that remind him most of his late wife, or call to mind the family and descendants he has scattered all over the country – these objects are the ones he kept close-at-hand.

When Andrew’s great-grandfather passed away, we were gifted with some of his belongings to help us remember him. (I am currently in the middle of recording these family treasures like the vintage luggage pictured here in a blog series on Our Inheritance over at Those Crazy Schuberts).

There is more of this story to tell.

These are the objects that connect us to Andrew's great-grandfather, and the rest of the family by extension. These are the objects that help keep his story alive.

The pipes that this man collected, or the furniture that will always remind us of the 1960s, or the amazing vintage luggage that has clearly been loved.

Recording and sharing the stories of your family's belongings is such an ideal way to share these stories of your object, or your collection of objects, with other people who are as interested or invested as you.

My vintage-loving friends are getting a kick out of our new treasures.

My husband's family is loving getting to see all these pieces that once belonged to their father or grandfather (or great-grandfather).

But most importantly, these are family treasures that all have a story – both connected to their original owner and connected to their new owner.

These are objects that need to have their story told.

My recent eBook - Tell Its Story: Journaling the Story of your Stuff - walks through the ideas behind material culture and the value of physical objects in our lives. We discuss real life examples (like music or your childhood homes) … and then go on to discuss specific techniques to record the stories of your objects.

The final chapter looks at 4 or 5 different projects you can make to help record the stories of your things – your heirlooms, your souvenirs, your every day objects. Make sure you look for the project involving the fabric pieces pictured here!

I believe in things.

I believe that your belongings DO have meaning beyond just their physical makeup.

And I believe those things deserve to be recorded.

Amy has a copy of her eBook for one lucky Wild Olive reader! Just leave a comment telling about your favorite family heirloom (no matter how old it is!), along with a way for us to contact you. Friday afternoon, I'll announce a winner.

But that's not all! She is also offering all of you wonderful folks a 25% discount on Tell Its Story. (That makes it $9 instead of $12!) Just enter code WILDOLIVE at checkout.

Thank you so much Amy! I have a hard time letting go of "stuff" and it's almost always because of the story that it holds. I'm ready to make sure that others can experience the stories that are so dear!


  1. I don't know if I could choose a favourite family heirloom but I do really like the set of Shakespeare volumes that were given to me from my Grandad's house after he passed away.

  2. Oh gosh is this great and I adore the photo!

  3. Beautiful, just beautiful. In times where everything is digital, ethereal, disposable and forgettable it is nice to remember the things that endure and connect us physically and emotionally to our past and ourselves. Loved it.

  4. My favorite family heirloom is my mother's rocking chair.

    For countless hours she has rocked myself, my brother, and sister, and my niece in that chair. We have all sat in it at one time or another and rocked ourselves.

    When I got married, I tried to convince her to give it to the parent of the first grandchild. :) Thinking that would be me. But, God had other plans for my husband and I. So, I am glad that my mom has kept her rocking chair for us all to enjoy.

    When I first started to comment, my initial heirloom I was going to comment about was my grandmother's crochet hooks. However, after thinking about it, I realized that a stronger memory - and much more connected to family - was my mom's rocking chair.

    Thanks for the opportunity to win, ladies!


    shonijunk (at) yahoo (dot) com


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