Rustic Tray Styling & Remembering Grandpa

Last week, I shared a little behind the scenes of how I hide our winter gear in a home with no coat closet or usable mudroom. One important piece to that, is the storage ottoman we keep in the living room. Today, I am showing how I have styled it on top, this winter, with a new rustic serving tray.
My mom gave me this wooden tray, with a blue plaid/flannel insert, for Christmas last year. After I opened it she said it was to remember Grandpa by. My heart ached for a moment, and I had to fight back the tears.

If you came by for my fall home tour last October, you might have noticed I had my grandpa's flannel shirt hanging in the entry way. Since he died less an a year ago, I am trying to keep his memory alive all throughout our home.

Now, every time I look at this tray, I immediately think of him.
This coming March it will be one year since I watched him pass away and leave this world. Such a surreal time. Not a day goes by that I don't think about him. I know as we approach the one year anniversary, I will probably have a flood of emotions bringing me right back to that day, which was one of the most heartbreaking I can remember in my 34 years. Keeping his memory alive through mementos is one of the ways that I have tried to heal.

The reason this particular shirt is so special, is because he was wearing it the day my grandmother died. My sister snapped this photo and sent it to me. I was sick with the flu and couldn't go be with him to give him a hug, so it was the only thing I had to hold on to that day. After he passed away two months later, my mother and I were looking over things in my grandparents' bedroom, when we found the shirt.
When it's too painful to have this shirt out, I keep it hung in my closet and sometimes go in just to touch it or linger in the scent to bring him back to me...if only for a moment.
So that is why this simple act of receiving a serving tray for Christmas was so meaningful. It really does stir up emotions and memories of this amazing man.

The color and style is perfect for decorating this winter. It adds warmth and texture to the room...and now also nostalgia. I styled it simply with some rustic, bohemian pieces to coordinate with the style of the living room, including a small cactus, lidded basket, deer antler and a candle. It can easily be changed out as my mood does (or as my children see fit! True story: I found a green haired troll inside that little basket the other day).
Later, I asked my mom where she found the tray and couldn't believe it when she said the Dollar General! And it was only around 5 or 6 dollars. Sometimes it really is the simple things in life that can be the most special. 

I am glad for all of the wonderful years worth of memories that I had with both of my grandparents and I am even more relieved to know that neither of them knows pain any longer and that they can be together again.  Their legacy will always be alive and I hope to honor their memory every day I am given.

Source List:
This list contains affiliate links and some products previously received through brand partnerships. I may receive a small commission for sales made through the affiliate links but have not been compensated in any way for this post.

Rustic Flannel Tray - Dollar General (couldn't locate something similar online)
Wall Color - Glidden "Antique White"
Saddler Leather Sofa - Raymour & Flanigan
Driftwood Bamboo Shades by Home Decorator's Collection - Home Depot
White Faux Sheepskin- Ikea on Amazon
Apache Saddle Blanket - Amazon
Marrakesh Shag Rug - Rugs USA
Tufted Ottoman - HomeGoods (almost identical to this one from Wayfair)

Everything else was likely purchased at thrift stores, antique shops, on Craigslist or are one of a kind finds.

Thanks for stopping by! 

Till next time...
~Alice W.

| Linking Up Here |

Follow along with me!

Want to make sure you never miss a post? Subscribe below!
Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner


  1. Your post is so emotional, I can feel your heartbreak. Love that photo of your grandpa. It's almost the same look my grandpa had when grandma passed, and ironically, he was wearing a flannel shirt too. I was only 7 years old and it was 50 years ago, but that image is forever burned in my memory.

    Your moms gift is touching and bittersweet.

  2. What a wonderful, wonderful memory and something you can see every, single day:-) I miss my grandparents so much, and even though it doesn't get easier with time, having things they used and touched around me, keeps me connected. I love that aspect in your decor:-)

  3. This is the sweetest idea, Alice...the tray is a treasure now. So thoughtful of your mother. Wish I would have thought of making these for my children (and myself) when my dad passed nearly 2 years ago. I still miss him everyday. xoxo

  4. This is such a beautiful momento. It's funny how the simplest things bring us back to a special time with those we loved.

  5. what a wonderful way to have the reminder always of your grandparents. My parents are 90 and 93 and health is up and down. I know that this day will come and what a beautiful projects I could do for my kids and nieces and nephew. Thank you for sharing this. Your room is warm and inviting.

  6. It is difficult in remembering loved ones who have died. Somewhere I saw how someone folded a shirt to become a pillow and thought what a cool idea.
    You can remember the loved one with joy and shed tears at the same time. I remember my husband and the day of Nov 10th each year is always a little more emotional for me.

  7. What a lovely way to keep your grandfather's memory in your day to day life. That whole space looks so cozy and warm, in addition to being a wonderful tribute.


Post a Comment

Thank you for your comments! I love to hear from you! ~Alice W.

Popular Posts