Knick Knack Paddy Whack: give the girl a room


STEP TWO:  So much stuff and so little space!  Luckily the small room I had earmarked for the “archive room” already had a bookcase covering one wall, so I started there.

connie ward girl with a past blog genealogy heirloom vintage memorabilia knick knack


I began with a whole shelf dedicated to each person, but quickly ran out of room and had to double up.  But I liked the effect.  Now each ancestor’s memorabilia was on display, much of which had previously been in storage.

It seemed right for the scrapbooks and the genealogy to be in this room too, so the scrapbooks went on the bottom shelves under the heirlooms.  The grandkids immediately began spending time in the room looking at scrapbooks on the floor, so my handy-dandy carpenter husband installed a long shelf on the adjoining wall and I covered it in white padded vinyl.  The grandkids could put the large scrapbooks on the shelf and have plenty of room to maneuver them.  We already had a wooden bench that fit perfectly under the shelf.

connie ward girl with a past genealogy blog scrapbooks organization


My 1966 Magnavox stereo console, which still worked like a charm, had been in my mom’s living room since the 70’s, so I reclaimed it and put it in the “archive room” with some vinyls from the 60’s.  The grandkids promptly asked, “What are these???”  It was fun showing them how a phonograph worked!  There was also room for my mom’s 1940’s rocking chair and the rocking chair I received for Christmas when I was two.

connie ward girl with a past genealogy blog 1940 vintage rocking chair heirloom


My husband had made a bookcase for another room, but it was perfect for the genealogy binders (you will recognize them from a previous post).  An unfinished lace tablecloth started by my great-grandmother topped the bookcase with a wooden candle box and a lamp inherited from my mother-in-law’s fireplace mantel.

connie ward girl with a past genealogy blog genealogy research binders organization heirloom


Watch for the THIRD INSTALLMENT of Knick Knack Paddy Whack to see my favorite finishing touches in the “archive room.”




Knick Knack Paddy Whack: give the girl a room

Every time I was asked to give a presentation on genealogy, I would go through my house and box up tons of items for display.  I realized I really did have a lot of heirlooms and memorabilia and knick knacks from ancestors.  But none of it was readily available or displayed for the family to see.  I decided to do something about that. Although my home is quite small by today’s standards, I managed to turn the smallest room into an “archive room” or as my granddaughters called it, “the museum.” In order to do that, I had to kick the grandkids out of their cute playroom.  I know, cruel Grandma, but it was time for them to move downstairs anyway where they would have more room for cartwheels and “Just Dance.”

"Go away, Grandma.  You can't have our playroom."

“Go away, Grandma. You can’t have our playroom.”

STEP ONE:  Gather up everything that belonged to an ancestor.  By my definition, this was anyone older than my generation, dead or alive! connie ward girlwithapast blog genealogy heirloom memorabilia knick knack vintage collectibles My collection ended up being everything from books to knick-knacks to collectibles to linens to tools to furniture.  These were not things of great monetary value, but were items of irreplaceable family value.  Each knick knack told a story.  And I was amazed at how much stuff I had!  I wasn’t sure that little room would hold it all, but I was determined.

connie ward girl with a past blog genealogy heirloom 1940 vintage memorabilia

My mom’s first typewriter, eggbeater from the 40’s, patterns she used to make my clothes in the 40’s, the set of books she kept for my grandfather’s business, plaques that hung on our kitchen wall in the 50’s, Belgian lace she made later in her life.

connie ward girl with a past genealogy blog heirloom memorabilia trophy

My grandfather’s glasses, hat, rodeo shirt, Shetland pony trophies, buggy whip, business documents.

connie ward girl with a past genealogy blog 1940 vintage lamp heirloom crochet recipe

Precious items from my two grandmothers – crocheted pot holders, hats, bags, lemon juicer, recipe file, kerosene lamp, button box, bottle opener,  bank book, ledger, book of fairy tales.

connie ward girl with a past genealogy blog 1940 vintage rocking chair trunk heirloom

Mom’s first rocking chair and end table, great-grandfather’s trunk, my little red rocking chair (I’m not my own ancestor, but I couldn’t resist having it recovered for display).

connie ward girl with a past genealogy blog cootie bingo vintage heirloom memorabilia toy sewing machine iron

Original Bingo and Cootie games, child’s sewing machine and iron, vintage electric line insulators.

Everything from soup to nuts!  I think you would be surprised at what you could find in your house that was handed down from grandparents. The next step was organizing all of the memorabilia and displaying it in my teeny tiny room.  Watch for Installment 2 to see if I was able to do it!!!