I’ve always had a love for the old stuff. Call it vintage, retro, antique, whatever you will. There is something to be said about pieces of everyday life that have lasted the test of time. Restoring, revamping, or recycling them is a great way to honor their existence while preventing them from ending up in a landfill. 

One family heirloom changed the course of my life. 

Rewind back to 2010 in a small town in southern Mississippi. My Nannie, grandma, knew I had an eye for vintage things. She had seen a set of luggage I had purchased at a flea market. So she gifted me my great-grandma’s train case and luggage set. I brought it home and lovingly used it for over a decade all the while thinking “it could really use a new lining.”

In early 2020, Covid hit and we were all stuck at home. This trapped feeling resulted in a flood of craft projects being started. Some are finished, and some remain in the UFO (unfinished project) pile. One project stands out among the completed. My first train case relining. 

I used the ole’ “reverse engineering” logic to disassemble my beloved family heirloom. Taking it day by day, I was winging it. I made tons of silly mistakes but it was my first attempt. Mistakes happen! After that, I was hooked. Knowing that this first case was owned and used by my family and is still in use today, means the world to me. It is truly a cherished piece of my studio. 

They just don’t make them like they used to. 

If you get a chance to compare a 1960 Lady Baltimore train case to any modern-day equivalent you’ll notice a few major differences in the quality of craftsmanship. A Lady Baltimore features a thick vinyl exterior, brass hardware, and quite possibly the biggest difference, it’s made from wood. Modern-day cases are typically made from various types of plastic and similar materials with some being made from fabric and cardboard materials. 

Think about it, it’s 60+ years old. There has to be a reason why they are still around today. The lining may be worn, separated, or even smelly but that internal wood structure will last and last. As long as you don’t throw it out a second-story window or crush it with the weight of a truck, it’ll carry your craft supplies, makeup, gaming consoles, or whatever you fancy with no trouble at all. 

There’s a profound sentimentality and sustainability that accompanies the transformation of vintage treasures into modern masterpieces. As we reflect on the story of reviving a family heirloom, it’s evident that each restored piece carries with it a legacy of craftsmanship and durability that transcends generations.

The process of reimagining these vintage gems not only breathes new life into them but also serves as a tribute to their enduring quality. Through the meticulous restoration of a beloved train case, we witness the convergence of tradition and innovation, as well as the profound connection to our roots.

In an era where disposable goods dominate the market, there’s a poignant reminder in the resilience of vintage pieces like the 1960 Lady Baltimore train case. Their enduring materials and timeless design speak volumes about the value of craftsmanship and the importance of cherishing the past while embracing the present.

So, as we continue to uncover the beauty and potential within these vintage treasures, let us not only celebrate their aesthetic appeal but also honor the stories they carry and the lessons they impart. For in the journey from old to gold, we discover not only the art of restoration but also the art of preserving memories and legacies for generations to come.