11 May 2011

btw - grandparents

'nobody can do for little children what grandparents do.
grandparents sort of sprinkle stardust
over the lives of little children.'
~ alex haley

and that dusting lasts a lifetime... 

this btw is not about what is on a table, but rather my getting a 'new' old table... 

there is much, ever so much change afoot in our lives right now... change that keeps me up at night, change that infuses me with both fear and excitement... 

change that will give me the chance to work here, at my grandfather's workbench... but this time, as an adult... this time, with my own projects... 

i adored my grandparents and think of them every day... i also miss them painfully... they lived 3 blocks from me - i was lucky... and their house was my house too... 

the basement was a wonderland that was rivaled only by the kitchen... 

there my grandfather had his workbench, replete with all kinds of tools, gadgets, and things he had made himself... an incredibly self-sufficient, 'can do' type of person... an MIT grad who was an engineer that served his country as a civilian and helped to develop radar... a man who always found a way to let me help and taught me something along the way... 

this space will become my own to dream in... to experiment... to hopefully facilitate my accomplishing what i hope to... and it will be so meaningful to do it here... to have them with me... 

i didn't take a picture of it, but the other side of the basement has my grandmother's sewing table... i spent time going back and forth... she taught me how to thread a bobbin, read a pattern... and helped me to make a prom dress and a prairie skirt... he taught me about soldering... 

and that sewing table will be where i hope to work on finished jewelry... we will see... there is much to be done... 

but i cannot thank my family enough for giving me the opportunity to work here - where two of my most favorite people in the universe expressed themselves in their own special ways....


  1. WOW Maire, that is completely and totally awesome!! You will be in heaven!! Have fun!

  2. What a wonderful opportunity. I grew up around so many workshops and well used work tables so I understand the meaning and your excitement. When I walk into the workshop that was my grandfather's and father's (and now belongs to my uncle), I am transported back 20 years to when my dad helped me with my first woodshop projects....where I helped sweep up the sawdust and saw projects in all stages of completion.

    And I remember a different workshop that was my great grandfather's....At one time, when my mom was a girl, she dug out a braided silver bangle out of a box in his shop...it made it's way into her own jewelry box...where it was siphoned out by my sister...and whose jewelry box i siphoned it out of....and i wear it to this day. It is one of my favorite pieces. My mom didn't even know I had it and when she saw me wearing it...she told me the story....lots of good memories to be made in workshops :)

  3. It is truly wonderful to see your new work space. It's a perfect place to transition into new things, new ways. How comforting it must feel for you to make changes in your life feeling that connection to your grandparents. It's like having them there with you, looking over you. Happiness and hugs!

  4. Maire, my good friend Anne who I've told you about before bought the house that her grandparents owned. She loves it and all throughout are pieces from them combined with what she has done to make it hers. She just recently showed me an old picture of her grandparents which included in it a stool that Anne had for years. She was really excited to show me the exact spot that the stool sat in. The house has so much meaning to her and I'm sure your experience will be the same :O)

  5. What a fantastic opportunity! And, your post reminded me of my own grandparents. Both of my grandmothers taught me everything I know about cooking - thanks to them I can make my own pie crust, I have an awesome enchilada recipe and I also know how to make a killer version of chicken and dumplings ;-) Grandpa taught me how to fish (including baiting my own hook) and how to catch horny toads (hey, you never know when you might need that skill!)

  6. Oh my - this has got to be the best news! Having that connection through the work bench - it is more than perfect. As if they are there working with you... you are so lucky to have that!

  7. It's true that their spirits watch us, guide us and envelope us in love from their world. A safe place full of love and positive energy. Lay your head for a moment. Feel the love and re-energize. Your best work ever is yet to come.
    Much love

  8. Oh MJ...this post touched my heart in SO many ways. I could visualize you at your grandfather's side...watching him when he didn't even know you were watching. I can see your grandmother patiently showing you how to sew. I love, love, love how you told this story of your grandparents and their home....the place you will always feel loved. I pray it all works out for you, whatever it may be. xo

  9. Mary Jane.. this sounds so perfect.. what a great way to start anew...a heartfelt story with memories that you will carry with you each day you are in your loved in home. i think you are on the path to something very special....xo

  10. I am SO happy for you because I know how you've been limited in your space and such ... Even though change is scary, sometimes to "not change" is even scarier. But, what a perfect place to experience your "becoming."

  11. This is wonderful news, and how beautiful that you can create where your grandfather did. My grandparents had a similar setup in their basement, with my grandma's sewing table not too far from his bench. She sewed for me too... I can't wait to see how you make this place your own.

  12. awww... i do miss my grandma a lot and dream of her quite often. i use to watch her sew on her sewing machine and that's how i learnt how to use the machine too :) maybe it was her that unconsciously encouraged the creative part of me. i remember that i had not finished a table cloth for a school project which i had to hand in the next day. we both sat down and sew till late that night. i slept in the course of that endevour but when i woke up the next morning, it was perfect. grandma stayed up the whole night to finish it for me. i still keep that table cloth and her sewing machine. i even kept the sewing tin (which is a Danish cookie tin) as it was with all that's left in there, as is ...

    i am so happy that you manage to keep so many things from your grandparents. whenever i sew costumes on her sewing machine i feel that she's standing there and gently guiding me ... i'm sure you'll feel the same love when you work in that special space. i am actually moved to tears right now. just reading what you wrote brought back grandma to me ...

  13. Hi Maire, what a lovely post, i miss my Baba so much my mom left us when i was only 4 to be raised by my father my Baba (gradma in Croatian)had a big influence in my life and i am one heck of a cook thanks to her but i sure miss the smell of her kitchen and her big hugs. i was wondering if you could tell me if i wanted to use brass wire that i could patina after what kind would i use i have seen red brass & yellow brass but i am confused thanks Lana p.s. Jack made out great on Tues. and we are at home recouperating now (both of us)i am exausted lol:)

  14. May your expressions grow big and deep while working in this magical place.

  15. MJ- how wonderful that you have your beloved Grandfather's workbench now to use for your own projects. I had a similar experience with my grandparents. Their house was like my home also- so many wonderful memories were made there. I want to be that kind of grandparent to my grandchildren too--

  16. This post gave me lovely shivers, warm and wonderful. I want to give that kind of memory to my grandchildren one day!


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