In memory of a loved one

Last summer Andrew’s grandmother passed away. While we were at his grandparents’ house after the funeral, he showed me around and told me stories about when he was younger. His grandmother loved to dry flowers and would always make his grandfather stop on the side of the road so she could pick wildflowers.

In the basement of their house we found tons of dried bouquets hanging from the ceiling. She and Andrew were very close and Andrew had fond memories of her gardening and drying flowers,  so we decided to keep one small bunch for ourselves as a remembrance of her.

We’ve stored them carefully for the past year, and yesterday I finally got around to putting the flowers in a shadow box that we bought at Goodwill for a few bucks. Here’s the frame as it looked before.

And here’s the after once the box and frame were painted and the flowers were glued inside.

 We opened it up and tried to take the pot out, but it was stuck with tons of glue. Andrew finally got it out, but lots of glue was left over. We soaked it in water and Goo Gone, but those were definitely not doing anything, so we pulled out the big guns: paint stripper. That did the job but also made a nasty mess!!

We cleaned out the goop and then Andrew sanded the inside since it was quite scrappy from the paint stripper and scraping action. I painted the outside of the box and the frame with an antique white semi-gloss that we had on hand.

The inside of the box I painted with Valspar Ocean Grey. It was a sample that I got free in the mail. Yay for free stuff! I chose grey to make the pale flowers pop. I think they would’ve faded into the background if we’d gone with a lighter color.

Then I had to muster the courage to glue the flowers in place. I was really nervous because these are irreplaceable flowers!! Andrew said he wouldn’t be mad if I ruined them since he knows there were a lot in their basement, but I certainly would have been mad at myself. I wavered back and forth between buying a special floral glue or just using hot glue. After reading about using hot glue on dried flowers, I decided to go for it. And really it seemed to work pretty well.

I arranged them all first and then took several pictures so I could look back and see where I wanted them. I also made small black dots where each flower should go. Then I lined them up in the order I needed to glue them and then glued them down one at a time.

And there you have it! Andrew and I were really excited about this little project. Not only do the style of flowers fit our personal style, but they’re a great way  for us to remember Andrew’s grandmother. We want our decor to be personal to us and reflect what’s important to us, and family definitely tops our “important things” list.

We’re not sure where the box will go yet, but you don’t want to display dried flowers in direct sunlight (as they could fade) or in a room subject to high moisture levels. Our living room and kitchen are fairly bright, so they might end up in a collection of frames in the guest room or master bedroom. I’d love to put them in the hallway where we would walk past them everyday, but it’s narrow and I don’t want them to get bumped. For now we’ll just keep moving them around (gently) until we can find them a permanent home.

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