Not all treasure is gold and glittery… I found dozens of old letters written to and from my papaw in WWII including one written the day after DDay. What a find! I also found this… which to me, is worth a million bucks.
This is a letter written by my papaw to me EE after their very first date back in 1946. Apparently, just into the date my papaw’s car got a flat tire (which I’m sure you know back in the day was often a ploy used by fellows to take advantage of the ladies). He sent this letter of apology to my EE just a day later (written from the point of view of the steeple that caused the flat tire). He wanted to reassure her that there really was a flat tire, that it wasn’t just some scheme. As you can see, he even included the culprit as evidence.
It is quite obvious that he loved her from moment one- as he felt the need to perform this grand gesture begging for forgiveness and a second date. Too bad he thought her name was Elizabeth – as it’s actually Evelyn! Haha. Thank goodness she forgave him and that ol steeple, as they were married just 8 months later (a union that lasted almost 60 years before death separated them) and became the two most influential people in my life. Thank G-d for love like this…
Isn’t that the cutest story? Love like this just makes my heart happy, and the idea of having something so personal and family-related just made me so excited. I was touched that she would ask if I could make this new family heirloom for her.
Usually when I am approached with a project, I get to work right away. For this, however, I got the supplies that I would need, and then, I had to wait. I just needed time to think about it, play with the ideas in my head, make it really personal.
Step 1 was to get a skeleton key. This was something that she wanted to have as a part of the finished necklace, as it had special meaning to her grandparents. I went to my favorite store Class and Trash and found these:
I loved their old, dirty look, but they weren’t going to look great next to the newer chain and bezel that I found, so I had to clean them up a bit. I still wanted the old, worn look, but just not dirty.
So, I put some vinegar on the stove,
poured the hot vinegar into a bowl, and dropped the keys inside to sit. This was supposed to clean them off. It didn’t work perfectly.
So, I dropped them in baking powder with the vinegar. Some bubbles, but not much cleaner.
So, next step was to coat them in Bar Keeper’s Friend (our go-to for stainless steel pots/pans cleaning) and scrub. Much better! Again, not perfect, but they had the look that I was going for.
Next, I had to figure out what to do with the letters. I knew the main phrases that she loved, so I decided to try to use as many of them as possible. She had scanned the pages and sent them to me. Using Pages (I much prefer this to Word), I manipulated the images and made them a larger size. I then printed it, traced it with a marker so that the words I wanted stood out, while the other words blended into the background.
The final phase was literally cutting and gluing the phrases to a circular background. I then scanned it and resized the image down to be the size of the bezel.
Once I had the paper image inside the bezel tray, I first used ICE Resin (a liquid resin kit) to fill the bezel tray.
It was supposed to dry after 12 hours. Eh, not so true. After communicating with the company, I realized that I needed to use the full tube of it to have the chemicals work together. That was confusing, as the directions for this product said that I could use part of the container and cap it off to reuse it later.
So, instead of scrapping the whole thing, I got some Mod Podge Dimension Magic (clear) and took a risk and put it over the ICE Resin.
It was PERFECT! It dried within a couple of hours, and I was even able to put some finishing drops on to give it a bubbled look.
Here’s how it turned out:
Finally, I just pieced together the chain, key, and the pendant. Here’s the finished product:
What do you think? I am so happy with it.
The phrases are: “Dearest Darling,” “Love to all, Louis,” and “Unpuncturably (I think that’s what it says- it’s hard to read) Yours, the steeple”
As an added present, it is her son’s birthday coming up. He’s a darling almost-5-year-old, and he loooooves all things Batman. Well, I realized that the Batman logo and an M (the first letter of his name) are eerily similar. So…
By the way, the picture of him receiving it was priceless!