I have the most cherished memories of my Granny. She was a great lady, full of worldly wisdom, an adventurous spirit and a flair for living life to the fullest. Although she was not fabulously rich, I always thought she was. It was the little things.
Her bathroom had a shelf beside the sink where she laid out three perfectly pressed, monogrammed linen hand towels. They weren’t meant for kids’ grubby paws, but I simply could not resist touching them as soon as I was tall enough to reach that shelf.
Monograms say something special. Embroidered letters with swirly tails produce a personal stamp of quality and thoughtfulness wherever they appear. There was a time when it was customary to have monogrammed bed linens, bath towels and napkins. Today, perhaps because we are less formal, these symbols are no longer commonplace. But the allure is there, and when the occasion is right, personalizing a gift with a monogram makes it a treasure.
Monograms provide a sense of pride of ownership and place. A single initial or a combination of two or three letters is used to embellish more than linens and clothing. Surname letters are particularly popular in rustic and outdoor settings, etched or painted onto chair backs, stools and benches, watering cans, paddles and knapsacks. They are seen proudly displayed at the entrance of cabins and cottages over the front door or on the welcome mat.
The joy felt by the parents who decorated the charming nursery shown here is evident in the rosy wall color, but mainly in the M for Molly emblazoned over the crib. The letter sits within a painted wooden frame. The soft-green background builds up secondary contrast against the pink wall and white letter, producing a captivating picture.
I discovered a company on the Internet called Trading Phrases that is brimming with imaginative ways to incorporate monograms into your decor. Molly’s monogram is from their product line. However, they specialize in more than letters. Writing words of wisdom and fun on wall surfaces is a time-honored tradition, and they have taken it up a notch. Trading Phrases delivers your favorite sayings cut out in sticky-back vinyl ready for you to position wherever you choose. They have an almost endless list of fonts and colors, and they will help you with the design. A happy customer sent in a photograph of their newly built wine cellar featuring the following phrase at the entrance: “Wine is sunlight held together by water. — Galileo.” The lettering is not so big that it intrudes on the setting, but the words are powerful and truly enhance the space.
Explore the many methods of putting letters and words on surfaces inside and out. Monograms and phrases can be embroidered, hand-painted, stenciled, stamped, printed or stuck onto any surface. Do you have something you would like to say that would add a touch of class or a moment of contemplation to your home?
Debbie Travis’ House to Home column is produced by Debbie Travis and Barbara Dingle. Please e-mail your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org. You can follow Debbie on Twitter at www.twitter.com/debbie_travis, and visit Debbie’s new website, www.debbietravis.com.