Displaying Family Keepsakes in a China Cabinet

display / china cabinet with family keepsakes

What makes this china cabinet so special to us?

When my sweet mother-in-law Faye passed away, my father-in-law decided to sell their home and move to an independent living facility. None of Neal’s brothers wanted this china cabinet. Neal and I really did not have room for it, but it kept calling me. So . . . we brought this beautiful china cabinet home with us. In this post, we will share with you how we display keepsakes in this china cabinet and maybe inspire you to do the same.

It reminds me of Faye each time I see it. She used it as an actual china cabinet.

My inspiration for repurposing this china cabinet…

I was trying to decide where and how to use it; then I saw the picture below in a catalog (I think in Garnet Hill, but I no longer have the catalog). This picture became my inspiration.  (I took a picture of the picture to insert in this blog post.)

First, where to put this?

We ended up putting this in our bedroom. Here is my attempt to recreate the same look. But more importantly, this cabinet has become a way for us to display and enjoy special family keepsakes.

And here is a closeup look.

The meaning behind each keepsake

Here is a closeup of the top (seeing the ceiling fan in the mirror sort of takes away the picture–sorry about that).

Clay pots and statues…family treasures…

The clay bowl was made by Faye. When our children Ryan and Emmy were little, Faye took them to the “old armory” (Park and Recreation Center in Opelika, Alabama) where they made pottery. Ryan and Emmy have fond memories of this. We treasure the clay pots Faye and our children made, which are now displayed throughout our house.

The statue is Ryan when he was three. He accompanied me to a luncheon when I was a finalist for Alabama’s Young Careerist. I was very pregnant with Emmy at the time. An artist saw Ryan with “Bear” and asked if she could take pictures of Ryan to create this statue from Alabama red clay. Months later, we made a trip to Fairhope, Alabama, and purchased it from the artist.

The final item is a piece of beautiful driftwood from the lake. This is a reminder of God’s artwork.

The picture below is a close-up of the top two shelves.

Special Family Relics … our family’s history…

The old car was my grandmother’s (“Mom-Mom”) when she was a child. Mom-Mom who was an artist repainted it when she was an adult.

The trophy was given to my grandfather (“Pop-pop”) when he was a child.

It says,


Richard Blackburn Trophy

Caroline County

Corn Hucking Contest

4th Place

Frederick F. Wright

Gotta love that! I grew up on a poultry farm adjacent to my grandparents’ farm in Caroline County, Maryland.  I found this in my Dad’s barn after he died so this is priceless to me.

We have had the girl and boy statues since Ryan and Emmy were young; they remind us of our two precious children who are now grown.

The white pitcher is old (I think from Neal’s maternal grandmother “Big Mama”). The red berries came from Hobby Lobby.

The driftwood floated up from the lake. Isn’t it beautiful?

The binoculars were my father’s; I remember my father using them when I was a child living on our farm in Maryland.

The small change purse is my great-grandfather’s (my Dad’s Grandfather). My father had fond memories of “Pop” using this when he shopped in town.

Treasured childhood painting that foreshadowed the future…

Below is a picture of the two lower shelves.

The green glass objects are antique insulators.

Our daughter Emmy painted the church when she was a young child. Ironically, it looks very similar to the Chapel at The Waters in Pike Road where she and Keith were married.

The young boy statue reminds me of Ryan.

The umbrella handles are from Faye. I am not sure if the one with a hook is an umbrella handle or not. If anyone knows, comment below. She loved antiques and passed this love on to Neal.

The dried flowers are from my mother-in-law Faye’s funeral (yellow roses on her casket).

The handprint is Ryan’s when he was a toddler.

The crystal stemware is from my parents when they married in 1959. My Mom recently shared with me that she was mad at my Dad for buying more of these when they were first married because they did not have much money. She laughed and said she forgave him and in the end was glad he purchased them.

The duck decoy is an antique that my parents had in our home when I was a child. It was on my father’s dresser; he used it for things like his watch, pocketknife, coins, etc.

What makes this so special . . .

Neal’s parents and my parents loved old things and so do we. Each time we pass by this special piece of furniture, we think of so many special loved ones. To me, this is what makes our home special. It is not about the latest and greatest decorating, but about special keepsakes that remind us of those we love. Thank you, Faye and Bobby, for this beautiful gift.

Here is the cabinet decorated for fall. 

The sign says it all, we are so THANKFUL!

What are some special keepsakes you have and how do they remind you of your loved ones?

Let us know what you think about displaying family keepsakes in a china cabinet by posting below.


  1. Jackie Joiner on 11/08/2019 at 1:37 PM

    I love this!! So special!!
    I think the handle with the hook may be an antique boot/shoe hook.

    • Suzanne on 11/08/2019 at 7:14 PM

      You are SOOOOO good to know this! Thank you so much for sharing this with me! Knowing what this makes my day!

  2. Britney on 11/09/2019 at 6:02 PM

    This is such a purposeful and creative way to display keepsakes. I love how each item reminds you of someone different! The older I get the more I love hearing about sentimental keepsakes. What a unique and tasteful way to share your memories!

    • Suzanne on 11/10/2019 at 10:31 AM

      Britney, thank you so much for your kind words. I am a sentimental person, indeed.
      Thanks for reading my blog.

  3. Katherine on 11/10/2019 at 9:54 AM

    Thank you for sharing part of yourself with your readers.

    • Suzanne on 11/10/2019 at 10:32 AM

      Thank you, Katherine. It is all my pleasure. I am thankful for all those who read my blog, including you.

  4. Karen on 11/11/2019 at 7:29 PM

    I made my husband go to the attic and find a box we’ve had for years with my grandmother’s church gloves, old glasses, old milk bottles and some other old stuff. We are gonna shop over the holidays for a cabinet for this. I really like this idea.

    • Suzanne on 11/11/2019 at 7:47 PM

      Your comment made my day! I just love that you are going to enjoy your family treasures! Please send me a picture of your final result. I can’t wait to see!

Leave a Comment