Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Take a look at my Mantel

If you have peeked at my blog before, you know that I love family heirlooms and antiques.  I blogged about how I decorated my Christmas tree with old family letters and photos, here.  Also, I recently share with you pictures of my 170 year old church pews and the pre-Civil war mirror in my entry way, here.

Well today I am linking up with linking up with The Stories of A2Z's Winter Mantel Party. 




This is what my mantel looks like right now.  I really like the pieces that I have on the mantel, but one of the things on my "To Do" list this year is to paint the brick and install a new mantel.  So let's just ignore the things I don't like about my mantel right now and let's focus on the things I do love about it....



If you feel like you are experiencing deja vu with that bird cage, you're right!  I have the same cage and same bird in my kitchen on top of my cabinets.  Hey!  When you find a good thing, more is better, right?!  Anyways, I have many pieces of family history in my house and I love displaying them.  The framed letter behind the bird cage is one of my great-great-great-grandfather's discharge paper from the Civil War.



Next I have a generic response card from the White House thanking Americans for supporting Richard Nixon after the Watergate situation.  I find this one very ironic.  I actually have a copy of the original letter that my great-grandfather wrote to Nixon voicing his support of him at the time. 


The large, framed document is the original land grant deed given to my family in 1833.  It is signed by Andrew Jackson, but unfortunately someone has removed the Presidential seal from the lower left hand corner.  The deer antler is from our backyard.  My oldest son, Garrett, and I found it last spring while playing catch.  I love mixing natural items in with old stuff.  By the way, after we found the antler, an one antlered deer kept showing up in our backyard.  It was pretty funny.



This letter on the right is really cool.  It was written in 1884 by a minister in Chautauqua, New York to my great-great-great-grandfather. (different than the one with Civil War discharge paper)  My grandfather was not a Christian and had been struggling with his health.  I appreciate the way this minister loving challenged my grandfather to give his life to the Lord.  Here's what it says:

"My dear Mr. Smith,
    It is a week this afternoon since I saw you.  I take comfort in the thought that you are probably about recovered today.  I confess to you it is a hard thing for a pastor to speak to a man who is very, very sick about his soul, lest in so doing some harm be done in exciting useless fears.  But no such danger is in the way now that you are so nearly yourself again.  I suggest my friend that now is a most proper time for you to give your heart to God as a Thankoffering.  'It is a good thing to give Thanks.' Ask yourself the question, 'What shall I render unto the Lord for all his benefits toward "me"'.  Now is the time.  Will you make that offering now?"

He makes a compelling argument.  I think about that letter often as it challenges me to share Christ with others because we do not know when it will be our last opportunity to do so. 




Finally, these guys are not technically on the mantel, but I still love them.  I bought them a few years ago for under $5 each.  They're not old, but they look like they are.

Thanks for visiting my mantel.  I hope you enjoyed it!

~Katie

14 comments:

Kelli said...

Ooh, I'm the first comment! I love your love for all things history and I think it's wonderful that you have so many things from your heritage. Beautiful! My mantel is bare right now...I'm about as lost as to what to do with it as I am with what to do on top of my cabinets. I need to use you for inspiration :)

LeAnna said...

I absolutely LOVE the history behind all of your letters, and the one that the minister wrote to your Grandfather is just incredible. Oh, that we would be as bold in our faith to others. Gorgeous mantel, it makes me want to re-do mine!

Kim3278 said...

I do love all the old letters. How wonderful that you have all those. I too want to redo my mantel...I hate the wood around it but more than that...I despise the BRASS of the fireplace itself. Every summer I say I am going to paint it and I never do. This just might have to be the year. I am just afraid I wont be able to put it back together.

The enchanted home said...

I love a story behind anything and your stories are enchanting! That grant deed for your families property...amazing. Hope you have copies and a special non fading glass on the frame, those unique "heirloom" type of thing is so wonderful to later pass down to your own kids. My grandmother had a family book done on the lineage of our family and I can tell you its one of my most cherish items along with many old pictures and letters and I cannot wait to share them with my boys.
Thanks! Have a beautiful day.

Rene said...

What an amazing collection you have on your mantle. I like to see interesting things that have meaning displayed this way. Wishing for antlers.

-Rene

Heather said...

Love the mantel! I am needing to redecorate mine, so you've given me some great ideas. I love antique items too, and what a priceless item that letter is! How amazing. :)

Grace said...

How cool that you have so many antiques...we do as well and I love them. Every single one. I think it adds so much character to a home to have those truly old items.

Beth@The Stories of A2Z said...

It's gorgeous! And what a fun way to display so many special items. Thanks for linking up!

mary kathryn said...

okay- everything on your mantle is pure fabulousness, but I'm loving the huge 'B'. Did you talk about it in another post and I missed it? Where did you get it??

My Not So Simple, Domestic Life said...

Hi Mary Kathryn. I bought the "B" from JoAnn's. Back in their craft/paint area they sell giant letters made out of cardboard. I think they cost less than $10. I just grabbed some gold paint and voila!
~Katie

Linda@Coastal Charm said...

What a wonderful way to display your treasures...looks GREAT!

Blessings,
Linda

ohio12 said...

You have SUCH a great eye for putting things together. When I try to decorate like that, it looks like I am having a garage sale on my mantle.

When John Kasich was in college, he wrote a letter to Nixon and he got invited to the White House to meet him...probably because he was the only college kid in America to support him! This is a link to a picture of it. If it doesn't work you can google "kasich and nixon." It is funny too because John looks (is) so young!

http://www.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3316/3267201074_4b91445e3f.jpg&imgrefurl=http://www.flickr.com/photos/westerville_public_library/3267201074/&usg=__yT1Mqd4Zbtxqd8gMX1CF5mkaYIs=&h=361&w=500&sz=80&hl=en&start=3&zoom=1&itbs=1&tbnid=rPhK31iSC6y0GM:&tbnh=94&tbnw=130&prev=/images%3Fq%3Dkasich%2Band%2Bnixon%26hl%3Den%26gbv%3D2%26tbs%3Disch:1&ei=8b4xTeuCEcH-8AaE7LnLCA

Molly said...

I found myself gasping over your mantle. I love, love, love it. Aside from the fact that it is layered (which I love) and that it has awesome finials (which I also love) I love the heritage on it!!!! How wonderful to have such awesome heirlooms! There are so many things you said that I want to comment on, but I just can't find the words. I am particularly struck by the note from the pastor. How true and how simple was the charge he gave your grandfather. It wasn't pushy and it wasn't judgemental, it was all about the man he was writing the note to, wonderfully worded. I so hope I can remember that. I'm going to be following you now, I can't wait to see what you show next!

Zane Wooder said...

That discharge power that's your grandfathers most hold a lot of sentimental value to you.

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