Remembering Grandmother

My mothers’ mother owned a cedar blanket chest that ended up at my house. My grandmother was born in Tennessee but after marriage started moving southward, such as Arkansas and eventually settled for most of her life in Louisiana (where she raised her family).

It’s been kicking around here for about 10 years and no other relative wanted it. I think it was probably built in the 1930’s or 40’s and doesn’t hold a lot of historical or intrinsic antique value. It’s an awkward size. Not big enough to be a coffee table, not high enough to be an end table, and it doesn’t have enough historical value to keep it as a treasured family heirloom. My mother, in a fit of pique, put car wax across the lid which never really worked.


I suspect that the chest is made from the Eastern Red Cedar, a tree that grows in the areas where she lived and is a quick growing evergreen that is quite common. This tree should not be confused with the Juniper, even though they have common looking similarities both inside and out. This is where a magical reference or use of Juniper may or may not be applicable to the Cedar.

Both trees can often be found in cemeteries, probably due to it’s growing hardiness, it’s evergreen foliage, and the inner red heartwood. It’s aroma makes the wood repellant to insects so was often used for blanket and linen storage (like this chest). For use, it’s associated with cleansing, healing and purification and is often used in smudging, especially for those that have been ill.

Some time around Thanksgiving I had the idea to have Grenwinae take it apart and build boxes from it. I would give one to my daughter, and if any of my family wanted one, I could have one made for them too. My sister asked for a small box.

I think this is quite fitting as my grandfather, her husband, was a carpenter. Grenwinae worked the wood down using his grandfathers’ table saw, gifted to him by his father.

The cedar smell had become old and musty. Pretty overpowering and kinda disgusting. Luckily, using Coconut Oil removed the musty smell that was so obnoxious and made the wood glow.

I asked Grenwinae to build me a box large enough to hold my Turkey Vulture feathers (or Tarot decks) and Essential Oils.  We haven’t put on any hardware yet so I’m looking for some nice latches, hinges and carry handles for the sides as the box is quite heavy, as the wood was very thick. I am thinking I may also give the exterior a bit of a darkening stain.

Here is the project right now…




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