January 8, 2012

Great Grandma's Suitcase.

So, I remember being small and going to visit my Great Grandma...Her name was Anastasia but when she immigrated to Canada, she changed it to Nancy...She spoke better Ukrainian than English so I didnt understand her very well..but I knew she loved us all deeply by the way she smiled at us. I colored a picture of some elves from a Christmas coloring book when I was 4..she hung it on the wall and there it stayed in that exact spot, until she passed away when I was 21. When we would go over, her and my mom would visit while I looked at the hundreds of family pictures and cards she kept all over the house but mainly in her kitchen....she tucked them between tiles, on her fridge, taped on cupboard doors, jammed in the chair rail, on the window siles and anywhere else she could get the photo's, cards and other drawings from my siblings and cousins to stick. I knew almost everyone in those pictures...and the ones I didnt, I took comfort in knowing that my mom or my Grandpa did and that made them family to me somehow. She didnt rotate the pictures out with newer ones she recieved in the mail. She would just tuck them infront of the old, making the stack thicker and thicker with every passing year. Everytime we would visit, she would show off her newest bit of mail and tell us stories about the person she recieved it from..

My mom came up to visit me a while ago and brought a suitcase...I thought she had found it at a garage sale or thrift store...When I opened it weeks later..It was filled with all of my Great Grandma's treasured photo's and cards...I spent hours looking at them..would it be weird to say they smelled just like her?  I remembered most of them..even the places where they had been tucked up in her kitchen. It was a really wonderful afternoon I spent with her. Some of those photo's are now my treasures and proudly displayed throughout my house. I put the rest in better storage and my Grandma's suitcase went to the basement..until recently.

I wanted it *use* it somehow. I also just happened to *need* a sidetable about this width, about this length, with storage for my living room....wheels started turning...

I cut 2 pieces of scrap plywood I had from another project and glued them in place..I wasnt too concerned with the "glue" part as I knew Id be securing them a whole lot better later...I painted it..and distressed it with steel wool..I wanted it to keep its vintage suitcase glory, but I didnt want it to stand out as an old painted suitcase...I know ~ complicated...but I knew what I was talking about and thats what kinda mattered.. After the paint was dry, I used dark wax to not only seal and protect it, but also to give it some "dirt" and age...I kept some of the hardware in its original metal form, others I painted out..all part of the master plan. In anycase, I cut out another sheet of wood..covered it in fabric. I stained some legs in dark walnut. Going back to that glued on plywood, I drilled the legs into the base of the suitcase and thru the 2 layers of plywood..making it all forever secure...Flipped the whole thing over and Viola!

Guess where all those Wii remotes/light sabers/mario kart steering wheels are now? Much different cargo than it used to hold when it was used. I left the rest of the inside intact with the original lined paper and tie downs..

I love it! I LOVE it! Everytime I look at it, Im in my Great Granda's kitchen again..eating Dad's chocolate chip oatmeal cookies, listening to her tell my mom stories in Ukrainian-English and showing off her new pictures.

Linking up to:
the girl creative
boogie board cottage
Sugar and Spice


  1. Wow, you have quite the talent! So unique! I feel like I might find this in a high end specialty furniture store! I would love for you to consider linking this up at my "Drab to Fab" party every friday over at my blog Sugar and Spice. You can read all about the link party here:

    Really hope to see you on Friday!

  2. So unique, Christie! I love it!

  3. awesome!!!! i love the color, love the inside, love it all!

  4. oh man, that's perfect! what a great way to use such a special piece.

  5. Oh my goodness! I LOVE it! I have been trying to find something to do with all my vintage suitcases! I am redoing my sons room all in vintage transportation, and this is perfect! Thank you so much for the idea!

  6. Thank you so much for the love..I LOVE it and have been offered a few times to sell it..and Ill sell any of my pieces around here knowing I can eaisly replace then....except this one...Ive had to decline each time...Besides, where would the Wii remotes and 43 other attachements go?

  7. How awesome! Love the color now too.

  8. Thank you Christie for linking this up at D2F today! I'm sure you've inspired even more of us out there now. This is so memorable.

  9. This is Adorable! Great use, love the yellow! Very very clever, and perfect in every way!

  10. I featured this today on D2f1


    I'd love for my readers to see some of your other stuff! Today's D2F party is live, so come on over if you have a chance and link up something else ya got (old or new)

  11. Omg, what a beautiful idea! It's both functional and artistic and such a cool way to remember your Grandma! Love it! Jenn


  12. Thank you so much everyone!! Im on a mad hunt for more hard shelled suitcases...I want one in everyroom...I just LOVE it too..Thank you for the feature Amy!! That totally excites me!!Ill definitly come over and link up another piece. Thank you all for you inspiring comments and compliments!!

  13. Christie- what kind of paint did you use?


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