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Honoring my Aunt who died of COVID-19

Updated: Aug 5, 2020

My Aunt Donna, who has been getting older and more frail for awhile now, had recently decided it was time to sell her home. She hadn't been living in it for a few years, but instead had been in a independent living facility. While cleaning out some of the nicknacks I got this little house.

It had lots of good bones, a cute little shape, but not my style nor did I have a need for it. But, I figured I could do something with it.

It was just a few days after I got it that I found out the news - my Aunt Donna was in the hospital and had been diagnosed with the dreaded COVID-19. Her health went up and down for a few days there, enough for many in her family to be able to contact her before she passed away. It was then that I decided I would make something to not only honor my Aunt, but to bring a bit of happiness into this time when we are stuck at home.

I took some wood filler and filled in not only the holes where the hooks had been, but also the slats. I know many people love that sort of farmhouse style, but I am definitely more of a city girl. I don't know how much it really worked because you can still see it in the final piece, but hey, the character of the final piece is fun.

Then of course I painted it black. I had some of this left over from my, um, house project you haven't seen yet, and I know it isn't what is typically used, but gosh, I had it, so I used it. I was super happy about how shiny it got.

I was very concerned about it at first, it has been sitting in the shed for two years, and I don't know if you can tell, but it was more blue gray than black. But, it dried perfectly.

For the saying I decided to go with "home is where love is felt." My Aunt had lived in many places in her last few years, the last few days being especially hard. I know that to protect everyone from this disease it is best that we stay home, but home for so many people looks so different right now. We aren't able to meet together as groups in each others homes, we aren't able to be with all those we love. My Aunt's funeral was one of the oddest, yet neatest I had ever seen. Sure, we weren't allowed to hug each other, but to be able to have such an intimate gathering at her grave with just close family was special. And especially with death we aren't able to see those we love in this life anymore (although I am a firm believer in the afterlife, and that we will be able to see those we love again.) But, there are many ways that we are still able to feel the love of others although they are not nearby. And for this reason - home is where love is felt.

Since I do not have one of those fancy vinyl cutters, I decided to do it the old fashion way and colored the backside with pencil. My husband was very lost on this step, but if you guys remember, once you turn it back around and trace the front of it, it transfers. I did make sure and test this on some paper I had used as a dropcloth first to make sure the paint wasn't to dark for the pencil.

Worked perfectly.

This is where a little trial and error came. At first I just drew it out with silver sharpie. I looked very nice but didn't have a bold contrast I was after. So, I painted it.

And from there we learned that my hand was steadier with a sharpie than with a paintbrush. I mean, I did know this, but the thin lines told me it as well. It did look a lot bolder though.

I do like the finished project. It is a nice reminder that even though I am stuck at home with just my husband (many are calling it a second honeymoon), that as long I we can make sure everyone is felling loved, then we will all have happy homes.

I have also made a print similar to this if you would like to purchase it to have in your home, wherever that is and whoever that is with right now. I wish you all the best and stay safe out there.

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