A Simple, Sentimental Piece

When it comes to “art” in my home, I don’t really use things that don’t have some sort of sentimental value.  I love to be able to be anywhere in the house and look at things that mean something to me and have memories attached. To me, that’s what makes it home.  So, aside from my mirror obsession, what’s hanging on my walls or sitting on my table tops all has some sort of sentimental value.
That said, I’ve mentioned before that my mom passed away almost seven years ago, and today actually marks that anniversary.  She fought a long, courageous battle with ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease) and did quite a bit of writing during that time.  As a result, we were left with precious page after page of my mom’s thoughts about life, hopes for her children and family, her testimonies of her faith,  and just day to day conversations (she had to do her “talking” through a computer in the last few years–yes, like Stephen Hawking).  As you can imagine, these writings have been invalueable to those of us who loved her. One of the things she wrote, and we have valued the most is her “Favorite Things” list, known among our family and friends as “The Infamous List.”  I could go on forever about this list and what it means, but I’ll just say that this list IS my mom.  In reading over this countless times in the past few years, it’s become apparent to me that if you want to KNOW someone, just have them write a list of their favorite things.  I’ve started writing one of my own, just a few things here and there, in a book, for my kids some day.
So, a few years ago for Christmas, my dad put together a book of some of her writings for us, including The List, and I read it ALL THE TIME.  Almost every item on this list triggers some type of memory for me, whether it be something we did together, or just something I remember her talking fondly about.  And like I said, it really is the essence of who she was, the love she had for her family and life, and the attitude and grace that she carried even to the end.  Because of that, and because my child(ren) will never “know” my mom, I wanted to put the list somewhere prominent where we can all look at it and have happy, good conversation about someone who was such an amazing person.  So I made a pretty substantial piece of “art” out of it, and put it right in the dining room.
As I said, I knew I wanted it big, so I grabbed a $4 frame at IKEA in one of those odd IKEA sizes (27.5 x 19.375 I believe) and just typed it all up in a publisher document, and layered it over an old book page texture you can find here (and they have tons of awesome textures).  To personalize it even more, I bolded (is that a word?) some of the favorites that we share.  
To say this list is long would be an understatement–this is 18pt. font in an almost 20×30 frame, and this isn’t even the whole list, just the general stuff.  She also has a list of favorite movies, actors/actresses, things that fascinate her (which I LOVE), and significant events during her lifetime.  In all, the list is about 10 pages long.  But I love the things on the general list like: 
The dimples in a baby’s hand
Watching babies learn to walk
The smell of rain
The smell of wet cement on a hot summer day (reminded her of laying on the cement to get warm after running through the sprinklers)–I LOVE that smell!
The sound of a stream trickling over rocks
And my personal favorite: “surprising people & myself with ingenuity.”  A-men!
Besides all of the other things this simple piece reminds me of, it’s a daily reminder to remember the small, simple things that make life beautiful.
So here’s to a beautiful, amazing woman that I miss every day and am lucky to call my mom, and to her ability to still spark great conversation!


  1. says

    A lurker here. My grandfather who raised me died of ALS last Valentine’s day… I was weeping while reading this. So beautiful, so touching. Thank you for sharing this.

  2. says

    I just found your blog and was perusing your projects and came across this. How very lovely – I am so touched by it. Makes me want to ask my mom to write a favorites list so we will always have it. What an inspiring lady your mom was and a beautiful way to remember and share who she truly was.

  3. says

    I just found your blog through the summer home tour and this artwork caught my eye. What a beautiful and inspirational piece. What a wonderful thing you have done for yourself and your mom. Lovely.

  4. says

    I too found this following the summer home tour. I just only have looked at your first image of your entry way and I already have commented. This is so beautiful in both look but most importantly the meaning. I am inspired to do the same for myself but also ask my mother to create a list as we’ll. bravo on ingenuity.

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