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May 19

Moms Stash from the Attic

When I was back at home visiting my mom for mother’s day, she insisted that I go through some of the boxes of stuff I had kept from high school and earlier.  I admit that I kept little, just because I have no place for it in my apartment. 

But then she brought down a 2 to 3 boxes of some random sewing and craft supplies.  I thought all of this old stuff had been sold off years ago in one of my mom’s numerous garage sales!  While I’m not sure I can fit it all in my apartment, I had to take it home with me so I could flip through it at a leisurely pace.     

I don’t pretend that this stuff means anything to anyone else, but dear readers, it felt like I hit a treasure trove of family history that I’ve been without for soo long, it seems. 

One of the first things we uncovered was my mom’s old tatting stash.  My mom squeed when she saw her old plastic, orange storage container of threads.  (Note: the orange container is actually old makeup powder, that was repurposed by her as a teen.)

While I’m not sure I’ll be taking up tatting at the present, I could see trying my hand at it at some future point.

I do know how to crochet, so these edgings design books are perfect for me, at present.

My mom wrote out directions for some tatting designs I think she made up herself, and pinned examples to the paper.  It was all nice and folded up in an old envelope and look at what was with it!  And old picture of my grandma and grandpa.

Here’s a closeup:

Don’t they look so cute and happy?!  My grandmother passed away about a year and a half ago, but my grandfather passed away when I was a little kid, somewhere around the age of 9 or 10.  So in my mind, he looks so similar to what I remember (just older).  It just warms my heart every time I see it, so I made sure to put it in a prominent spot at home.

Here’s some of my mom’s tatting that we also found:

There’s one piece of crochet in here (lower right piece), but everything else is her tatting.

Here’s a close-up of her work:

I think tatting is so pretty.  I like crocheted lace, but tatting (to me) is much more elegant and delicate looking.

I want to take a moment to highlight the fact that all of this stuff came out of my mother’s attic  and some of it was not properly wrapped up.  I’ve heard quite a bit of horror stories about bugs getting into yarn and laying eggs (major GROSSNESS!) etc.  So in order to take precautions, I’ve put all this stuff into sealed baggies and have put them in the freezer.

The freezer is a good place to kill anything that could potentially be in there.  Now I didn’t see anything, but it doesn’t mean that it’s not there….  So if you happen to be the lucky recipient of old thread, cloth, etc.  Make sure it gets a proper washing if you’re able, otherwise the freezer is a good option.  (And yes, I do have frozen bananas in my freezer….  I stockpile them to use in my banana bread.)

In the stash I also found some of my mom’s old flower making supplies.

I’ve never tried to make flowers, so I’m not certain what is available in the stores today, but I found these fun colorful vintage stamens (pink, yellow, blue, navy, and white).  I thought they were too cute to pass up, so I took these as well in the hopes that I could use it someday.

Two Christmases ago, my mom presented my sisters and I with a cute, hand-sewn apron that my great-grandmother had made.  She gave me the baby blue one knowing I love blues and I think it was also the smallest of the three. 

And looking through the attic stash, I came across a bag of red gingham fabric.  I immediately noted that it looks like the same fabric that my sister’s apron was made out of.  So when I got home I opened it up to see how much yardage was available.  And much to my surprise, it was an apron-in-progress!

She was in the middle of making this smocked apron, and even still had the needle and thread stuck in it marking where she left off! 

At the moment, I’m not certain if I should leave it, or try to continue her work and finish it.  And as I’m writing, I’m now just thinking how wonderful it would be if my mom and I both worked on it together, in memory of my great-grandmother.  I’m sure she’d like that…

And last but not least…. patterns!!!

These are really in poor condition, sitting in the attic for so many years, but the pattern pieces still appear to be intact. 

Aren’t these dresses adorable?! 

And look, more scallops!  :)

I have close to 15 little girl’s patterns now, but I don’t have any kids.  It’s a shame to just hoard them myself without using them, but unless I have someone to sew for, I think they’re going to stick with me for a while yet.  (While I do have lots of nieces, I don’t think they’re much into vintage wares…)  So for Katie, Patricia, or Stacey if you’re reading this and see something you like… you know how to reach me.  heh

This is turning into a really long stash post….  But here’s the last of it: vintage Workbasket magazines. 

My mother and great-grandmother collected these little magazines, and I believe I have at least 2-3 year’s worth of them now.  They’re primarily from the 60’s, and era that I’m not particularly crazy about, but they’re still fun to flip through.  And as a bonus they still have their transfers attached.

My mom was very close with her grandmother, and she talks about how they used to sit together and go through all of these magazines together.  While these boxes of items have been sitting, unwanted, for at least 20 years, it continues to be difficult for me to just view this as more “stuff” to add into my stash. 

Just sitting with my mother on Mother’s Day going through these boxes was wonderful.  This “stuff” opened up the dialogue to talking our own mothers and grandmothers.  My mom told me stories I’ve never heard before and I got a glimpse into these women’s lives, through her eyes and I also got some little bits of my mother’s own childhood that she remembers fondly.  

Sometimes stuff is just stuff and it clutters our homes and landfills.  But other times this stuff is memories and a means of remembering the past.  So to me, these hand-me-downs continue to be a constant reminder of what is important in life and reminds me what isn’t.

  1. Stephanie / May 19 2011

    How cool! My mom used to cross stitch but I never really got into it. (And I too have bananas in the freezer for banana bread!)

    • Liz / May 19 2011

      I tried to make banana bread one with fresh bananas, but it just felt so wrong. heh Glad to know I’m not the only one who does this!

  2. Karen / May 19 2011

    You have treasures! My grandmother taught me to tat many years ago and I try to “rescue” tatted doilies, handkerchiefs, whatever I find in the resale shops. Somewhere in the sewing room, I too, have a stash of Workbaskets. I think my g’ma saved only the tatting pages….and your smocked aprons are wonderful. I wonder if you finished the one if you could enter it in the current apron competition over @ Patterreview? So glad I bumped into your blog!

    • Liz / May 19 2011

      Thanks Karen! How sweet that you tried to rescue other people’s stuff; that made me smile. :) Do you know if people still tat? I really haven’t seen or heard about it except from my mom.

      I’m going to have to swing by Pattern Review and see when the competition ends. Thanks for stopping by my blog. :)

  3. Karen / May 19 2011

    Absolutely people are still tatting! Look around on etsy–there are some beautiful things happening. I would also like to share with you some recent tatting done by a friend that I taught many years ago. She has far surpassed anything I’ve done! http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=223575344324724&set=a.223574730991452.79277.100000167796002&type=1&theater and http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=223575514324707&set=a.223574730991452.79277.100000167796002&type=1&theater

    • Liz / May 19 2011

      I can’t see those facebook links for some reason. I think it’s probably because your friend hasn’t made her profile public. Are they on flickr?

      I think I will have to check it out on etsy, either way. Thanks!!!

  4. Karen / May 19 2011

    You are so lucky, my grandmother was an amazing seamstress, but somehow there isn’t much to see to remember her by. I am happy for you to have all that.

  5. Marty J. Christopher / May 19 2011

    Talk about a sweet stash! I know that somewhere in my mom’s house are vintage patterns. I remember finding them years ago and telling her I wanted them. She stashed them somewhere and we’ve both forgotten where. This post makes me want to go over there and rifle through her stuff while she’s out of town. Lol… Can’t wait to see what you make with all these great finds!

  6. Tasha / May 20 2011

    What a treasure trove!

    I think it would be absolutely wonderful if your mom and you took turns working together on the apron. What a great way to honor your great grandmother!

  7. stephanie / May 23 2011

    all those vintage girl dress patterns are so cute. love it.

  8. Catherine / May 23 2011

    I have tried many times to tat and have given up many times feeling close to the verge of mental fatigue.I just get the hang of it and then it all goes wrong AGAIN!! So while I crochet and make bobbin lace I have drawn a line under attempting to tat and have great respect for those who can and do.
    I love the little girls dresses…don’t get rid of them as you will regret it if you do!

  9. Suzq / May 24 2011

    I, too received a similar stash from my mother-in-law. They were her mother-in-law’s sewing kits. She had no use for them. My sister-in-law had no use for them. I sew, so I got them. Inside I found a lovely collection of sewing kits. I plan to mount and display them in a windowbox sometime. The thread, needles and other notions have already come in handy for some of my projects. The button stash is priceless!

  10. Clare S / May 25 2011

    What a lovely post! The ‘things’ you’ve now got are great, but, yes, they’re more than just that. I love finding old family items and chatting about them with my mum. Thanks a lot for sharing this.

  11. the sewing dork / May 25 2011

    What a fabulous stash! I (having little girls myself) drooled over those little girl patterns. I have sewn several vintage ones and always love the result. Your mom obviously had good taste.

  12. Nancy Jane York / Feb 10 2012

    I love what you did with the tatting on the red skirt and in your hair. Lucky you to have these hand made creations. I have some tatting from my Mom I treasurer too, she was born in 1899 if you can believe that! She was well know in the family for tatting edges on linen hankies and giving them as gifts. I tried to tat myself a couple times but never could get it. I sew up a storm however!!

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