Saturday, December 17, 2011

Great finds!

Shortly before Thanksgiving I went to a great church fair and found something wonderful!  They had a room filled with old linens of all sorts. Many were handmade items with elaborate needlework on them.  They were selling for so little.  As I went through hundreds of items I kept wondering who made them and how on earth did they end up in this sale?  Did the creator pass on and did family members not understand or appreciate what was made?  Or were there just no family members left?  I'll never know the answer, but let me show you one of the incredible finds.  It is a gorgeous tablecoth with cross stitch, backstitch, lazy daisies, and appliqué.  Every stitch is perfect and the appliqué placement is beautiful and consistent.  It also came with 16 matching napkins!  There are no stains or imperfections.  The whole set cost me $6 and I used it on Thanksgiving Day!

Isn't that amazing?  My family certainly admired it.

That same weekend of the tablecloth find, I had a dream come true!  I had a secret hope that one day I would find a cool needlework tool and be able to buy it for little because someone wouldn't realize its worth!  Well, it happened, and in a very special way to me. 

See, I had an across the street neighbor who was a sweet and funny woman in her 90's.  She liked to sit on her porch during the summer and enjoy the outdoors and chat with passersby.  I often came over and sat for a bit and visited.  She really cared about other people and it showed in so many ways.  Her name was Mary Ann.  She lived in half of the house that she was born in and grew up in.  Her sister Helen lived in the other half.  Mary Ann had never married but had many nieces and nephews to adore.  Her working years had been spent at Pratt  & Whitney.  She loved pretty china and dolls and costume jewelry.  She really didn't need any more of any of these because her house was seriously jammed, but she was unable to resist more.  I mean how many sets of china does a single 90+ year old need -- especially when she didn't do any entertaining!  But she kept collecting.  She had no storage space for any of it, so her lovely treasures were stacked up in piles on her dining room floor and on top of her dining table.  These sets probably numbered in the dozens.  When I would go inside I'd have to carefully walk around these piles to get in and around her house -- hehehehe!  Mary Ann was so cute with her treasures.  She just admired them.  Looking at them seemed to be enough for her.

SO....when she passed away her family was left to deal with all these treasures.  They each took what they wanted and then they had an estate sale.  Antique dealers came and grabbed up most anything of value.  I went to the sale with my husband.  We both wanted to get some little thing to remember Mary Ann by.  He chose a funny candle holder that has a mouse standing up on a lilly pad rowing.  It's so Mary Ann-ish!  And I found an adorable little ceramic piggy bank.  We were both satisfied with our little remembrances, and then I decided to poke through the mountain of costume jewelry.  Buried among it all was a little plastic bag with an antique sewing kit in it!  I recognized what it was immediately, saw it was marked $3 and got it without even looking inside at it!

It is made of brass and "Austria" is engraved onto it.  Mary Ann did a lot of traveling in her day and I'm guessing she picked it up as a little souvenir. 

The top unscrews and is a thimble, and inside is a sectioned 3-spool with some thread still on the middle spool.  The inside of that is a needle holder!  Oh, what a treasure!  I was able to search online and find that it was likely made around 1920-1930.  I saw similar items for sale that weren't in as great condition -- and they were selling for $60-$70. 

My husband knew by the look in my eye that I'd found something hot. Neither of us said a word because we didn't want to draw attention to it.  When we got out of sight I looked at him and said, "My precious!"  LOL!

Yes, I got a great deal, but what is really cool for me is knowing that Mary Ann had used this little sewing kit and having such a sweet remembrance of her!


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