Career Advice - A Community Blog

Erik Larson writes about the job market, resume improvement, and career advice

Giving new life to family heirlooms

Written by Erik Larson, Community Blogger | Aug 2, 2017 8:05 PM

Family heirlooms come with associated memories and history. Due to the sentimental nature of these items, family members often hang on to them even when they are damaged or otherwise unusable. However, these imperfect heirlooms are rarely put in the spotlight or given the attention they deserve. Instead of hiding broken heirlooms in shame, put them in the forefront by taking an imperfect object and turning it into a new creation. Read on for some suggestions about ways to view and use heirlooms in new ways.

China dinnerware sets require special care, but improper storage situations and cleaning circumstances, as well as moves, can result in broken and splintered pieces. Fragmented and cracked china dishes can lovingly receive new life as jewelry pieces and mosaic craft tiles. There is also the option to give broken pieces to someone experienced in handiwork to have them solder and create a wearable piece of art for you.

Beautiful vintage clothing is often held onto with fond tenderness but rarely worn again by future generations. However, these pieces can gain relevance for young family members by using the fabric to create everything from christening gowns and communion outfits to Christmas tree skirts and teddy bears.For those who do not feel confident doing this type of sewing, there are many professionals available for the job.

Jewelry resizing and resetting is another great way to breathe new life into a family heirloom. Turn existing pieces into creations for your neck, wrist, ears, or fingers. Before taking action, thoroughly consider desires and needs for the existing piece as there are important modification aspects to consider. Also ask to see before and after photos of previous reset and redesigned pieces. Doing so may even spark an idea for your own piece, and will save the expense of purchasing new gems and diamonds.

Family recipes are also commonly passed on. If you already know your relative's main recipes by heart or if you have your own way of cooking, you may want to give a nod to the past by beautifully framing a favorite recipe written in their handwriting along with a favorite photograph of your loved one.

Sweet doilies and hand embroidered hankies from the past are items that took time and love to create but may not prove useful in modern life. Consider displaying these antique pieces in a similar manner to the handwritten recipes. Place them in frames or shadow boxes. They could also be positioned in a frame along with a photo or even turned into an outer covering for an existing pillow.

Consider sharing some of these new creations with other family members who may enjoy the chance to have such a meaningful object. It is a great way to preserve and cherish family history while also moving forward into the future.

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