Category: Memorial Furniture

Beyond The Rainbow 2020/21

As we emerge from a year like no other, I was reminded of a few things. Of how every sector of life has been affected. We’ve clapped for the NHS , which has been amazing but what of the supermarket staff, care workers and Funeral Directors to mention but a few, all putting their lives at risk to be there for others.

NHS Rainbow

I was chatting to a friend whose Dad sadly passed away 2 years ago in Ireland. Estates & wills , house sales etc are always lengthy processes at the best of times but then a Global pandemic comes along & everything grinds to a halt. Unable to travel let alone tie up his affairs, her grieving journey is in limbo.

Will

I feel very lucky that I haven’t lost anyone to Covid but sadly so many have.I recently held our beloved family cat as he slipped away which was heartbreaking, but I felt so relieved that i was able to do that. It is absolutely unimaginable how poor families that have not been allowed to be by their loved ones side must be feeling. Then this arrived in the post. A beautiful, touching memento of our furry friend. Even though adding fingerprints to memory furniture is a service we offer, in that moment, as Bert slipped away it never occurred to me to take his paw print. But now when we come to say goodbye to another pet it is something I will consider.

I wonder how many families have lost loved ones in care homes and not even being able to access their belongings, go through their personal possessions and clear out their rooms even.

My Mum passed away just 3 years after my Dad 3 years before her. Unbeknown to me and my Sister, Mum Had spent that time getting her affairs in order. There was still a great deal to organize and I remember the feelings of guilt. As if we were giving her life away. When we donated clothes & other items to charity shops etc. it was like a betrayal. But the fact is, you simply can’t keep hold of everything that belonged to them. Her house sold very quickly and it was a bit of a blur.

Sold sign

So often I hear from clients that they feel guilty for not wanting to keep items of furniture in their homes that had belonged to their Parents or Grandparents for example. It may have been their pride and joy but It is not necessarily to your taste. They may love it but you don’t like it, or at least not in its original state. It is not disrespectful to deal with things as you see fit. This is how FMN memory furniture was created.
I kept one item in particular belonging to my late parents. It was a reproduction mahogany corner cabinet. The kind everyones parents had in the 70s. With a glazed top door behind which sat her Coalport China . Mum was very house proud and her front room was ‘for best’ . High days & holidays . The bottom door hid/housed her sherry and brandy for special occasions.

Ornaments

Sitting lonely & yes unloved in my garage for over three years after she died, I didn’t want anyone else to have it, I never intended to paint it and sell it but just didn’t know where or how it would work in my modern home. Until Christmas 2020 that is and suddenly I knew exactly what I needed to do with it.

Hand & bulb

My Mum started a tradition over 30 years ago. Each Christmas she would buy me and my Sisters a Snow Baby Ornament . A tradition we have carried on after losing our parents. We still buy each other one every year. As you can imagine there’s quite a collection now. I do love when it’s time for them to make an appearance, and feel sad when they have to be packed away. This year nowhere that I placed them felt right. This is when it came to me that Mum‘s former drinks cabinet would make the perfect home for them.

Forget me not

I set about creating my own memory furniture. Our house is decorated in neutral Scandi tones so the dark wood regency cupboard didn’t fit at all. I got to work removing the doors and the shaped plinth on the bottom before I began refinishing it in a contemporary grey colour. The shelves were given a woodgrain effect in a taupe. The finishing touch was an angel feather containing some of my Mums ashes which I discreetly attached to the top cornice . My snow babies were home.

Forget me not items

As part of my journey with FMN I have reached out to various organizations, forming relationships with those in the funeral industry, house clearance agencies, care homes, hospice and other makers of Keepsakes.We share a passion and common goal to assist bereaved families on their grief journey. Helping to preserve something precious, creating links from the past with their future. Because after the rain there is sun & when the two come together they create magic. What lies beyond is up to us…

Rainbow

What is a Keepsake?

Throughout our lives we all gather and collect things that have meaning to us. That first photograph of our newborn, a rose bought by our first love & pressed between the pages of a bible, a train ticket from a special journey. But why do we hold onto them?

This is where the seeds of my vision for Forget me Not Memory Furniture began.

When I moved out of my childhood home I recall my mum giving me a box with items from my childhood. Things that she had held onto as i was growing up. There were my vaccination certificates, my old school exercise books, my first comic and lots of other bits that she had lovingly stored but ultimately were mine. That box went with me across the sea to the Isle of Man then back again 5 years later & 3 house moves later the box is still in my loft. Those of you that have seen Mamma Mia will recall Meryl Streep singing ‘Slipping through my fingers’ Does this sound familiar?

As far back in history as ancient Roman times there is evidence of remembrance jewelry, using bones & teeth. During the Renaissance mourning rings which were paid for as part of the deceased  estate. Rings were commissioned with their names & D.O.D. Prior to the 17th Century it was known as memento-mori jewelry, a reminder of mortality rather than in memory of an individual. The peak of popularity until recently was in the Victorian Era when Queen Victoria began wearing items of Jet following the death of her Husband Albert, also lockets containing his picture & camoes of him. In the mid 17 hundreds wig makers would fashion rings, pins, bracelets etc from locks of hair. 

Image by GordonMcDowell

In the early 20th Century the industry fell out of fashion making a brief comeback in the 30s & 40s. The  rise in Cremation rates in the past 20 years has seen the popularity of jewelry incorporating ashes . Who 20 years ago would have envisaged having something made that held our loved ones ashes? Today many thousands of us do. The advancement of technology means fingerprints and even photos can be engraved onto jewelry too.

Thumbprints are a perfect way to keep tangible mementos. Today we use our thumbprints increasingly in everyday life. Opening apps, phones etc so what better way to hold onto something so unique than to use it. I have a cast of  my Dads which I was able to take whilst he was on end of life care at the local Hospice.This enabled me to have a silver charm made which I wear daily. I also had a necklace  made for my mum and my niece. It is very precious to me with this in mind I offer a thumbprint kit as part of my service (contact me for details!)

Families can have imprints of their loved ones hidden within a piece of furniture they have refinished thereby keeping them close and creating new history. The beauty of this is that you can do this both whilst you have you loved, but also before they are inturned (after which sadly this wouldn’t  be an option.) 

Many find comfort in other forms of keepsakes  such as using ashes to make beautiful jewelry, and again I offer this as an option. Encased in resin then placed  within  a wooden button, ashes can be hidden or placed as a feature in a bedside table of a lost partner or in grannies old china cabinet for example along with her favourite gin. The ashes would be dispatched in the kit  provided  with your furniture, thereby no risk of them being lost in the post. 

In my memory box I also have the last Christmas cards I received from my Mum & Dad with their signatures, newspaper clippings & tons of photos. Bet we all have those don’t we? Wouldn’t it be lovely to see those turned into new keepsakes….

 I’ve recently decoupaged a newspaper from the day my dad was born in 1942 to the legs of a footstool belonging to my Dads Great Gran. Signatures can be scanned and engraved too. The stools a mini time capsule with a lace hankie of my great Aunts, some crystal beads of my Great Grans  favourite necklace & my Mums ashes in a button. 

Decoupaging photos and fabric is also a touching way of incorporating sentiment. Much the same way as Memory Bears have become popular I aim to offer the option to have for example Mums favourite silk scarf lining a set of draws that may sit neatly in your kitchen or hallway refinished in a stylish colour to match your decor. New handles maybe added to bring it up to date but the heart of it remains Mums. I’ve even used old family photos to repurpose old drawers into wall shelves . You may not wish or have room to keep a whole item of furniture but these make a fitting tribute as well as an exclusive addition to your home and family History. Something to tell the grandchildren about. 

Sentiment and the holding onto memories is in our nature & culture. We like to think that those who came before us will be remembered by those who will come after us. So just as we keep the first teeth  of our babies or have our bridal bouquets dried and mounted in frames my aim is to raise awareness of MEMORY FURNITURE.

 We live in a throw away society  but sustainability & sentiment are a fusion in my opinion. If you Google Memory Furniture see what currently pops up-Memory foam beds! If you google Memorial Furniture outdoor benches are the result. MEMORY FURNITURE isn’t a ‘thing’, just as Memory Bears weren’t a thing 15 years ago. Watch out World. MEMORY FURNITURE is now MY THING. For more details and enquiries I can be contacted on 07876 022343.

Keep Your Loved Ones Near With Re-finished Inherited Furniture

Before lockdown started, I decided to specialise my Furniture Refinishing Business to the very Niche market of Memorial, Inherited Pieces.

I’m acutely aware, from personal experience, that this is an extremely difficult time for families. None more so than during this pandemic. This is why I feel passionately that my service can be invaluable in creating a tangible memorial to lost loved ones before the opportunity is lost to landfill.

I know relatives often have a treasured item which would make the perfect keepsake bringing comfort and creating new memories in a family member or friends home. This is where I can help. I can work with funeral directors to incorporate hidden mementoes such as thumb prints , ashes etc if so wished. Signature transfers and items of clothing can also be added creating unique Forget me Not Furniture.


I’m based in Doncaster and work throughout the region. The photo above was commissioned by a lady in Retford that had belonged to her late parents. She was going to give it to the local charity shop as she didn’t think it could work in her stylish home. She now loves it all the sentiment it holds .


If I can be of help now or in the future don’t hesitate to contact me. I can help you figure out how best to preserve your loved ones memories through their treasured pieces of furniture.