Monday, September 10, 2007

Great Weekend, and My Grandmother's Box

I had a great weekend! I accomplished a lot, and I like that feeling.

Saturday morning and early afternoon I pulled a trash can full of weeds. I didn't get to the front garden (B started to mow, and I'm allergic to freshly cut grass), but I did all the rest, and even pulled a few weeds in the lawn and driveway before B got to the back yard. (Heh... I initially spelled "yard" as "yarnd"... think I have yarn on the brain?) Afterwards I relaxed, then knit some squares on the blanket while watching some painting videos with mom.

Sunday I hung my grandmother's embroidery floss, plus some embroidery wool, in the sun to air out.
Airing Embroidery Floss, etc
They're still a wee bit musty smelling. I'm not sure if I'll try hanging them in the shade some more (I don't want them to fade) or if I'll try washing them (I'd have to take all the labels off, and hopefully not tangle them!) Then I started working on a box that my mom found in my grandma's stuff (it contained the embroidery floss):
Grandmother's Box
When mom gave the box to me, it was musty, and had a green velvety lining that was long past it's "better days". I pulled out the lining (the fabric was wrapped around cardboard which was glued in) to find even rattier red paper. I spent several hours Sunday morning and early afternoon scraping off the red paper. (It was very brittle, but stubborn.) Then I left the box in the sun to air and had lunch.

Dad called near the end of lunch, so I finished up and went over to help him put up siding. The office he had added to the house 25 years ago only had painted particle board, and now desperately needed siding. I manned the miter saw and passed the boards up to him (the office is above the kitchen). We did one wall up to the window, and then one side of the window to the roof. Once we had done that much, dad needed to go get cleaned up for a date. He gave me $20 for my help. Woohoo! (Yes, I'm long past the age when $20 should be exciting, but I'm not there yet. I need to graduate and get a job first.)

Then I went back home and painted the inside of my grandmother's box:
Painted Inside
One coat of gesso primer, one coat of yellow acrylic, and two coats of "gold" acrylic paint. I *love* how it just *glows* inside the dark box!

Finally I watched some TV with the folks, and knit more squares on the blanket.

More on my grandma's box: Mom suspects it's from before 1940. Grandma got married in 1939, and mom says she probably never got anything so frivolous as a jewelry box after she got married. Grandma also got married in an emerald green velvet dress... so the ratty velvet lining *could* have been made from leftovers of her dress, which she would have made herself. (Mom hadn't mentioned that back when I threw out the lining.) However, the velvet in the box really didn't look anywhere close to emerald green, it was more of a dark, dingy green. So unless it faded, or something degraded in the dye?...

More speculation: Grandma's father had given up farming and was a carpenter. Could he have made the box? Mom doesn't think so, because she doubts he would have done the "shell" inlay. However, last night (when I couldn't sleep), it occurred to me that the odd inlay looks like it could have been made from a button. The box definitely has a handmade feel to it... it seems like it was made by someone who knew woodworking (there's a veneer over the cheaper wood, plus that inlay), but perhaps wasn't accustomed to doing fancy woodworking (no dovetailing, just nails at the joins, and the spot for the lock mechanism is really rough hewn).

The hinges are rather wobbly, but I can't do the toothpick & glue method of repairing the wood because the screws (at least, the one I managed to get out) aren't pointed. They have flat ends. (Repurposed screws?) I'd have to replace the screws with proper wood screws. Well, I think they'll hold, so I'll leave them for now.

I haven't put the lock mechanism back in because we don't have the key. It's stiff enough that I don't think anything I could fashion out of bent wire would be stiff enough to turn the lock.

Yes, it's entirely possible I could have "destroyed the value" of the box as an antique, but both mom and I suspect that it didn't have any to begin with. I'm quite happy with the changes I made, and now it will be both useable and a cherished heirloom from my grandma.

PS: Nicky couldn't figure out why I was playing with wood instead of taking him for a walk. ;)


Lucy said...

Ohhhh...I'm jealous...that box is beautiful!!!!

Vik said...

I loved reading about your Grandma! What a special box!

Marvie said...

Gorgeous box! I agree, the color you chose really brightens the inside up. Pretty =) How wonderful to have a piece of your history! Lucky =)

Oh, and I almost always type yarn when I mean to type yard lol.

noricum said...