Decorate with Meaning

I have talked about this a lot in the past. It is something I feel strongly about. I personally don’t think you should run out and buy all new decorations. I think you should have things in your home that hold deep personal meaning. Whether that means something that reminds you of your childhood, your early years of marriage, something that represents your heritage or something that is from a family vacation.

Today I am going to tell you about the things in my dining room that have meaning to me.

I already mentioned that the corner shelf was a gift from my mom and that is was the first piece of furniture my husband and I owned. But there are a few thing on the shelf that have meaning as well.

My dad was a milk man. He started doing his route to put himself through college. He went to school to be a councelor for troubled youth. But once he realized that the job offers were in big cities with high crime rates he had second thoughts about his carrer choice. He had grown up on a farm in Idaho and he didn’t want to raise us in a big city. So he chose to keep doing what he was doing, delivering milk. He was a milk man until the day he died. He passed away of cancer when I was 15 years old. He loved his job. He was a morning person and a people person. This job allowed him to intereact with a lot of people. He also was able to hire on young men who were struggling with life. He gave them a job and he was able to use his counceling skills to help these young men turn their lives around.

As kids we also got to go to work with my dad. In the summer we all took turns going and helping him wheel all the milk, ice cream, and other products in and take care of them. There was a lot of time spent driving since he delivered in a very rural area. It gave us a lot of time to talk. We all had a good relationshp with our dad because of those drives and working side by side.

I believe the Lord has a plan for all of us. I believe that it was meant to be that he was a milk man. He changed a lot of lives. He also spent a lot of time with us kids. His time on earth was limited and having all that time made such a difference.

So I bought a vintage milk bottle. It says Meadow Gold on it because that was the brand he delivered. This bottle is the same kind that he use to deliver when he first started out. And it makes me think of him evertime I see it :)

It has another meaning as well. My mom had some old clear glass vases growing up. Any time one of us (usually me) would bring her dandelions or other “flowers” we had picked for her she would put those weeds in one of those small vases on the table as if they were the most beautiful flowers on earth. So I have reserved this milk bottle as my “weed” vase for when my boys bring me flowers :)

My grandma and my mom collected tea cups. My mom had them displayed in our house growing up. So when I saw this little once I fell in love and brought it home. My mom also had a thing for old books whick I also have inheirited. I can’t but help picking some up when I am in thrift stores. I had a few green ones in my collection that were perfect.

This candle stick belonged to my mom. She collects and collects and collects and then she has to get rid of some of her things (Does that sound familliar all you DIYers???). And I am lucky enough to be on the recieveing end a lot of the time.  It was the perfet green and fit with the feel of this room.

What kind of items do you use to decorate your house that have meaning to you?


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  1. says

    All of our furniture and a lot of our decor is hand-me-down. I have the rocking chair my dad rocked all us kids in, I have paintings that my sister did, and I have the vanity chair that I used to watch my grandma sit in and do her hair and make up. One of my all time favorite pieces I just finished restoring. My husband found the bottom of an antique Singer on his grandpa’s farm and brought it home for me years ago and I finally got around to finishing it. I painted it and my dad built a tabletop for it. My decor may not be fancy or new, but it makes me smile.

    • says

      “My decor may not be fancy or new, but it makes me smile.” That’s the whole point, too, isn’t it :) Buying something new, which of course we’ve all done, just doesn’t have that warm feeling to it like saved things I think.

  2. says

    I love the milk delivery bottle and the meaning behind it is the sweetest story! So sorry cancer is relentless, though :( But so sweet to remember in not only your heart but in decorations, too! Your boys will probably argue over who gets the flower “vase” decades from now, so sweet!

    My grandmother painted, a lot, but all the older relatives got her “good” paintings and I was given the “learning phase” canvases painted and re-painted with layers of too much oil based paint.. Somehow I feel like i was the lucky one. Now my guests can see “awful” paintings, ask about them, and get some good stories to explain them! Like how she only learned to paint after diabetes left her unable to walk, and ended up with her pictures in hospital hallways, doctors offices, and random public display areas after she became apparently talented.

    I saved and use antique furniture from long gone relatives, re-purposing some, but managing to keep them in my home and out of storage. There’s a story behind the old sewing machine, the hand-crafted table from the 1960s build by Merchant Marines, etc. It’s tempting to buy new but the eccentric look adds character, doesn’t it? Nice to keep memories fresh, too!

  3. Jessica Sorensen says

    It’s fun too remember parts of those memories, too :) I remember the buggy rides and barnyard cats and your dad showing us a freshly-caught horned toad in a bucket. I can’t remember your mom’s house without the cozy sound of clocks, and for years I’ve collected tea-cup, too :)

  4. says

    I have a thing for old books too. Books in general actually. Your awesome corner bookshelf excepted (I’m so going to build one of those for my dining room) ) I think the most beautiful bookcases are those that are filled with books. We have our books stacked two deep in some places and stacked to fill every inch up to the top of the shelf!

  5. Jenni says

    I was at the store yesterday and they had lots of work art canvases for sale. I definitely agree with your sentiment because word art is so easy to make, and why would you buy something made in bulk when it can so easily be personalized to suit your “house rules” or favorite quote?that is how I decorate!

  6. Lynn Weber says

    What a great story about your dad. Things like that are so special. I have a china/curio cabinet that my grandmother kept her dolls in. I only got two of the dolls, but they are in there on the top shelf, and the rest is filled with the china horses I collect. It’s nice to have part of her collection in with mine (or vice versa).

  7. LyndaV says

    I agree with you that items in our home should be of a personal nature that tell the story of our life. My husband sells real estate in a very high priced area of Southern California. When we first started dated I was shocked when he told me that the people who bought these multi-million dollar homes very often bought all the furniture AND decorations that were in the home- lock, stock, & barrel. This is because often these items were designed and/or built to be just “perfect” for the particular house. I can’t imagine having someone else’s things decorating my home!! I look around the room I am in right now and see items we’ve collected on our travels, art my kids made, things made by hand by myself and others and I realize I don’t need one of those big mansions with the magazine perfect furnishings… our home is perfect just as it is because it is US! Well of course except for all the DIY projects I have on my dream list! Don’t you think that is one of the reasons that we love to DIY?? These projects are “stamped” with our signatures because of the personal effort put into them and become part of our life story : )

  8. Maureen says

    Thank you for sharing your heart and your home with us in this post. It is important to be reminded that these are the things that matter, especially since the message we get in society is “new is better” and “more is more”. You obviously had a wonderful Father and still have a wonderful Mom, and we can see the fruit of their labor in the lovely person they raised!

  9. Cassie says

    What a sweet post. I have always enjoyed looking/reading your awesome blog, but now that I know that we are both Idaho girls, it makes it all that much more enjoyable. :o) We moved pretty soon as we got married…18 years ago, gasp*** but when asked where I am from the first thing that comes to my mind is *Idaho*. Ü