Thursday, August 5, 2010

The Family Jewels

Some of my best childhood memories were spent visiting my grandmother's cozy home.  Nana, as we always called her, was an artist whose home was full of  her charming oil paintings and antiques.  Long before I was born, she and her brother owned an antique store in Palo Alto, Ca. and over the years she continued to collect.  When she passed away in 1975, we split up her belongings between family members.  I still use her bedroom furniture that she bought when she was married in 1920.

This 1964 painting of her house in Palo Alto is my favorite.  I used to spend weekends there baking, working on craft projects, shopping, and making a few pathetic attempts at oil painting.  Although I didn't inherit her talent as a painter, I truly believe that she gave me my love and appreciation for treasures of the past.

The house is still there, but the cottage charm disappeared after a new
owner remodeled.  Bigger isn't always better.

This is me in my little hoodie standing on her front porch.
I keep this in a frame just below where the painting hangs. 

OK, so I had this idea recently.  Why not check out that little box of extra matching drawer pulls from Nana's bedroom set?  Why not repurpose a few of them into something that I'd actually use?

She wrapped these up long ago and they've been stored away
in a little box for over 35 years; doing nothing; until.......

I had to pry off the ring part of the drawer pull and then I added
vintage glass rosary beads and 2 antique buttons.  I kept it
about 16" long because it hangs better that way.

Then I went digging through a box of jewelry that belonged to my aunt.
These screw on amethyst earrings were just too uncomfortable to wear
and the broken brooch was calling out for a remodel.

I don't know who the mystery woman is.  I don't think she's a long lost relative, but I'll let her stay until I find another picture.  I attached the brooch to an old filigree and then glued the earring in an antiqued brass setting.  Now I can wear my family jewels:-)  I'm still not sure what I'll do with the other earring.....maybe a brooch or a ring.


  1. Nothing like having such fond memories and treasured treasures from your past! I loved this share.

    My Show n tell is "Troll Talk" if you'd like to click on the link and visit with me today

  2. I have to disagree. You might not be a painter, but you are still an artist. These pieces are so beautiful. I love how you've taken them apart and put them back together again. I love what you've done.

  3. That is so wonderful to have such treasured keepsakes from your beloved Nana!

    Your creations are just lovely!

    Have a wonderful weekend!

  4. Your jewelry from your Nana is so beautiful!

  5. You have such an incredible gift for seeing the potential in old objects, to envision such a beautiful necklace from vintage hardware is beyond me. So glad I can come visit your site when I want to see creativity at it's best!

  6. I love items with a history. How wonderful that you have things with such beautiful memories attached. And the reuse of the hardware from your grandmother's furniture is just stunning, Betsy.

    Liz @ the Brambleberry Cottage


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