Grandmother was born premature–tiny enough to fit the palms of her daddy’s hands. Many in her family were sure she would not survive. But survive she did! Still, they treated her as a fragile thing to be protected even as she grew strong and thrived. Always the most petite of her seven siblings, she was given the kitchen and indoor chores on their busy farm instead of some of the heavier jobs farther afield. Perhaps this fostered her love for keeping and decorating her home. She was creating little tablescapes and miniature scenes in her decorating long before HGTV and DIY were trendy.
Every holiday was an opportunity to make or arrange a new tableau or an old one in a new way. There was usually a Nativity scene in every room at Christmas. There were tiny bunnies and chicks and candies among the Easter eggs and leprechauns in her shamrock plant. She kept all manner of tiny figures and goodies with which to create ornaments for any holiday. Somehow even ordinary days were made more special with all the little touches of decorating and scenery she set up all over the house. My dolls never wanted for places to explore. My creative needs were well filled with craft supplies and inspiration everywhere.
Her love for tiny things extended to all areas of our lives. Almost anywhere there was a full sized object, there was likely a miniature version nearby. She collected bells so there were also tiny ones with delicate fairy sounds. There was a display of miniature perfume bottles on the wall and on the backsplash in the guest bathroom. In the kitchen there were dozens of mini Tupperware gadgets and containers, hor d’hoevres utensils and tiny tea sets and cups, little salt and pepper shakers too. Displayed throughout the house you could find souvenir thimbles, spoons and statues from places visited like the St. Louis Arch (didn’t everyone have one of those at some point?)
If games were your thing there were little playing cards and itty bitty dice, complete with tiny pencils and notepads for keeping score. The tiny pencils were perfectly sized for drawing too. She absolutely loved tiny pencils. You could also find travel size chess and checker sets to keep you entertained for hours. (There was also a set of giant checkers with the board printed on a beach towel)-we had great fun with that as kids. We had plenty to do when we could not go play outside.
When spring flowers began to bloom each year, we’d help pick the first little wildflowers, yellow buttercups, purple and blue violets and even dandelions to bring inside to put in little bud vases and maple syrup bottles she’d saved from Cracker Barrel. We’d place them all over the house. Plants and flowers were also a vital part of her decorating. Upon closer examination you might find little houses, animals or other figures tucked in among the houseplants. She made her own fairy gardens before pinterest even existed. I also remember a terrarium in an egg shaped glass jar. I spent hours exploring it, imagining who might live there in that tiny world, complete with its own rain. I’m fairly certain this terrarium was one of many doors to Wonderland.
Little things Grandmother collected and created filled my life with magic. Little things she did and said filled my life with love. Little things lead to the biggest magic and love.