Have you ever opened a blanket chest and smelled the cedar inside? I think cedar smells like hopes and dreams, and when the lid of the box is closed, there is a lock to keep those dreams safely protected while they become reality.
For a long time I dreamed about getting married again. Single life sucks. But not too long ago I married JB and life is pretty darn spanking good! Yet, when I tell people I am again creating a hope chest at the age of 50, some might say that’s kind of silly. After all, I have been on my own since 1983, and lived in five houses and raised four children who are now grown up and gone. Creating a hope chest all over again has to do with my long held hopes and dreams for my new and improved version of life.
…segue to nostalgic story…
When I was a young woman, my grandmother gave me a decorative pillow for my hope chest. She had stenciled a circle of flowers and then embroidered the centers with french knots. The fabric trim was perfect for the decor of my first living room, and I can still see that 70s rust colored plaid in my mind. After a year or so of living on our couch, the french knots began to wear away.
fanciful flowers formed from french knots
I told my grandmother about my dismay that her gift to me was looking worn. Perhaps I should have treasured it more and put it in my hope chest for safe keeping. Her response taught me something important. She said, “I’m glad that you have liked it so much because I wanted you to use and enjoy it. When it’s no longer pretty, I will make you another one.”
But she never did… Maybe she figured I could make one myself by then. The pillow was never not pretty, it just didn’t have french knots any more. Naughty knots! She gave me lots of other awesome handmade things so I always felt super loved by Grandma.
We all have things that are “for best” and used only on special occasions. I want to have lovely stuff in my home that look like they are for best but are used every day, because life is too short to use stained linens and chipped plates. Unless you have toddlers. Then there are always chipped plates, unless you stoop to using plastic. And don’t we all know what Emily Post might have thought about plastic dishes?
There are dozens of projects on my Creating A Hope Chest List, yet I know there will never be enough time to do them all. Partly because it takes reading glasses for me to see to stitch, and the toddlers got hold of my reading glasses and made origami out of them. They do stuff like unravel my crocheting when I’m not looking, so sometimes I stitch pretty slowly.
I plan to keep busy, but also to watch thrift stores and outlet shops for the handmade look that I have in mind. I would like to use my skills, not only for my home, but for gifts to others. Perhaps there will be a few things that get tucked away into my hope chest, to be pulled out and looked at from time to time, and get high on the faint aroma of cedar, which is the world’s best smell when it is clinging to vintage linens.
This is part of the dream I have for the home I share with my husband; that it is a home full of love and beauty. And embroidered tea towels. Amen.