Pine Box Keepsake Gift

I have a rather wordy post today and it might get a little long.

A story for you, but it's not really mine to tell so I won't be including many of the more personal details. 

Just enough information to explain about a stinky pine box no one else wanted at a garage sale.

We have some friends.  Close ones.

Our families are pretty entwined, we have the old friends thing, the Godparent thing, the mentor thing, the previous boss thing, the kids are all friends thing, the be in each others weddings things, etc. etc. etc.. 

Even the family tree thing - some sort of third cousin deal I can never remember.  I think the grandparents were first cousins.

Keepsake Box Painted with Country Chic Paint,

Anyway, one of their daughters had a preemie baby back in June, and unfortunately it wasn't to be the way everyone was dreaming about.

Baby Girl is still in the children's hospital.  She is finally able to come home but she will need home nursing care around the clock and it's hard to find staff for that many shifts, so they are searching, and baby can't come home until the nursing needs are met.

I've mentioned a couple times we had sort of a crappy year, but everything that went down for us we will recover from. 

I wish I could say the same for Baby Girl.

Her mama went to the hospital early, the week before her shower and Baby Girl entered the world.  Needless to say the shower was postponed at that point, but friends and family got the chance to shower her a couple weeks ago.

The little family has been busy preparing their home for a special needs child and the shower was certainly a nice distraction from their stress, but I'll say this..... I've never not seen a smile on that mammas face! 

Keepsake Box Painted with Country Chic Paint,

I picked up this old pine box at a garage sale for a few bucks in Spring, fully intending to paint it for the new baby, but my painting was postponed when the shower was. 

Prior to June, Brawn was hired to do some sheetrock work on baby's room in their old farmhouse.  The soon to be dad painted the nursery upstairs in their house a minty green and both parents anxiously nested.

Back then they didn't know if baby was a boy or girl, opting for the surprise and the light green color.

Besides the changes and challenges they now face, they learned they needed to have a first floor room for the nurses to give care, with updated electrical as well as a backup supply in case of outage, so the newly completed second floor nursery would no longer work.

Keepsake Box Painted with Country Chic Paint,

A new room was carved out of some little used space on their main floor.  This time the coworkers of dad did most of the work and lined up what they couldn't do to get it ready for Baby Girl, and their company footed the bill......but Brawn didn't give them one.

Also this time baby's parents knew they were painting a nursery for a girl, so before I started painting the box mint green, I decided I better text mama just to be sure the color hadn't changed.

Good thing.  No more green.

Fuchsia.  Bright fuchsia.  All girl.

She texted me this photo.........

Keepsake Box Painted with Country Chic Paint,

Coincidentally I had been offered some complimentary samples of Country Chic Paint and I thought it was ironic that the colors I chose were a light pink and a bolder more fuchsia color. 

Vintage Cupcake and Cherry Blossom.  Both so pretty and perfect to go along with the new nursery colors.

Keepsake Box Painted with Country Chic Paint,

I chose those two colors thinking maybe I'd have need to match the positive affirmation sign I made for the room of a certain six year old, and I let Country Chic Paint know I might not get around to trying their paint till after the holidays.

Little Girls Positive Affirmation Sign,

I also let them know if I had the paint here, one never knows when the mood might strike me, so they shipped it off to me.

Now I think it was meant to be based on...... 

The fact that I deviated from my usual neutral color choices and landed on the pinks out of all the lovely choices at Country Chic Paint that I would probably have gotten more mileage out of.... 
The fact that I thought I better just ask the new mamma about the mint green that I was all set to paint on the box (I put the paint brush in my hand down to send her the text message)....
The fact that being my usual self I didn't paint that box in June, but waited till the last minute, and the fact that the Country Chic Paint would arrive only two days before and be sitting on the table next to the box.

Keepsake Box Painted with Country Chic Paint,

The Country Chic paint is nice and creamy and went on wonderfully.  Also included in my gift from them was a very nice brush that I love, some of their aging dust that I am anxious to use on some signs, and wax that I used on the box, also very nice. 

Back to the box ..... it wasn't perfect and after I was done I questioned if it was gift giving quality. 

Just the fact I'd be sitting in a room with a couple dozen other women and would be bucking the typical gift giving shower rules made me take pause. 

But when I reminded myself that I wasn't giving this gift to any of those people, I was giving it to the new mama, it no longer mattered what anyone but her might think.

Keepsake Box Painted with Country Chic Paint,

The lid that I stained was a bit wonky not shutting tight on one end, and it had sort of a funky smell.

I wiped it down, but the smell must have gotten right in the raw wood.  I don't remember noticing it on the way home from the garage sale in my enclosed vehicle, but then again I don't remember much from last spring anyway.

The smell isn't really foul, but it isn't sweet smelling either.  Sort of musty, but not a normal musty smell, more sour.  I really couldn't pin point it, and I didn't have time to worry about it anyway.  Sour wet dog smell maybe?

We used some extra CedarSafe boards on the inside of the box that were left over from the ceiling in our playhouse-to shed-to playhouse conversion last year.  The cedar helped, and so did the paint and wax, but if you tried you could still smell the smell.

Keepsake Box Painted with Country Chic Paint,

I painted it anyway - the base coat in Cherry Blossom that would be revealed by sanding and distressing, and the top coat in the Vintage Cupcake.  In the end I was very happy with the paint and my color choices, but I wasn't happy with the box itself.

I was disappointed with how it turned out.  How could I present a stinky gift the very next day among all the pretty baby clothes and cute little things? 

But when I thought about how my vision for the box didn't turn out like I hoped I realized neither did the hopes of this little family for their new daughter, so mabye this was the right gift afterall and I wrote my note to the new mama.....

Dear Baby Girl Mamma,
"I picked up this little wood box at a garage sale.  Everyone else passed it by, I guess they didn't see any value in it since it needed some attention to be the best wood box it could be.  I thought differently and brought it home.

I gave it some fresh paint, and still it’s not a perfect wood box.  It didn’t really turn out how I had hoped and I considered not gifting it to you because of it’s imperfections.  The new paint job isn’t perfect, and it has a quirky lid that doesn’t close right.  It doesn’t smell fresh either.  We tried to figure out why and added some cedar boards to the inside, which helped, but in the end we determined that’s just the way this little wood box is going to be - not perfect to people who first glance at it. 

Maybe everyone else will wonder why I still gave it to you since it probably isn’t what you expected and it has those oddities about it that make it not like some other more perfect wood boxes, but I think it looks pretty and I love it just the same.  I know you will find a use for it and think you will love it like I do - overlooking it’s imperfections and enjoying what makes it different from the other things I could have gifted you."

Keepsake Box Painted with Country Chic Paint,

Baby Girls name and birth date has been swirled out in the photo for privacy reasons, but I can tell you that mama loved it.  It came from my heart and spoke to hers.

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  1. What a wonderful, wonderful gift! God bless those new parents as they deal with a special needs child. Not everyone gets a special needs child because God knows only certain people have the heart, soul, strength, and courage to deal with a baby that needs so much more than regular care. You tell that sweet Mama that I am praying for them and their baby girl. xo Diana

  2. Wow!! What an incredible story and beautiful keepsake box to go with it.

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  4. I had to delete the above comment because I spelled stuff wrong because of the teardrops. The box is lovely, but we cannot continue to be friends if you keep making me cry. Dammit.

  5. This made me cry...what a true gift from your heart and one that will be loved very much. I can only imagine her delight and how truly special and loved she felt to receive it.
    Good job, B.

  6. Love that little box and the baby story. Hope all goes well for that little family from now on.

  7. Oh how lovely, Bliss! This is a wonderfully special gift for a special family! I know they were thrilled...such a sweet post!

  8. I think the box looks absolutely amazing! I would much rather have something made from the heart than one more store-bought whatever. Of course, in this case, the mom and dad did need clothing and other accoutrements for the new baby girl. But to have a place to put that beribboned curl from the first haircut, the first tooth, footprints on her birth certificate.... it's a priceless gift. You did good, Bliss!

  9. What a wonderful gift! My heart is breaking and joyful at the same is that even possible? So much love Bliss, expressed in that keepsake box! ;)

  10. Some people know how to choose the perfect store bought gift. One that is even cost prohibitive for others to purchase. But there is not one more sought after than a cast-off transformed with love, prayer and skill into a love legacy for a lifetime. The story is the bonus. I pray that little dumpling knows a wonderful life as her start has kept us all on our knees a little longer for all the right reasons. Send out a rally cry if anything else is needed. There are a lot of us listening...

  11. Bliss, you are as charming as you are funny. Bless you and Braun both for yuor service to this family.
    The Other Marian

  12. What an amazing story and I hung on every word. First off, God bless this family and this baby girl. She's obviously a fighter and so are her parents.

    The chest is wonderful and if I were in the room I would have been in tears seeing this Mamma and hearing these words

    You and Brawn are incredible people


  13. Maybe it's because it's late and I'm tired. Or perhaps just because this is such a beautiful piece - both the writing and the project. Whatever the cause, I'm sitting here crying and wishing I could give you a big hug. I'm sending it telepathically ... hope it works :)

    Later - Cheryl B.

  14. The box is beautiful and so is your heart. I wish the baby all the best in this world xo

  15. My these parents receive many blessings in the form of things like little girl smiles, giggles and handmade kids crafts to fill up her keepsake box.


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