Thursday, August 9, 2012


"All my scattering moments are
taken up with my needle."
            ~Ellen Birdseye Wheaton, 1851

   I freely admit that I am not very good at sewing - a few untidy stitches maybe but I cannot create a piece of art with a needle. I admire the intricacies of antique needlework, embroidery, and ribbonwork and I always wonder how women of that period were able to make such lovely things! I love to peruse the collection of sewing things at the antique store where I work - the delicate little paper packages of vintage needles, tiny boxes holding empty spools of thread, pin cushions made out of miniature cast iron shoes or the puffy lace skirts of little dolls, buttons and buckles made out of pearl. So many pretty treasures! I would love to go back in time and step into one or two of the shops where Victorian ladies used to buy their ornaments and tools. What a dream that would be! Here are a few photos I have taken of bits and baubles, old fashion clippings, ribbons, and sewing things...

I am linking with:
Vintage Thingie Thursday


  1. My gosh- What beautiful, beautiful images! Just gorgeous- I LOVE coming here- xo Diana

  2. Your pictures are beautiful the tiny sewing needles, the soft pinks and whites. So beautiful... Cindy

  3. Adoro guardare queste dolci immagini e sogno!Rosetta

  4. I love your beautiful pictures, the lace cover is exquisite.
    You always know how to make a romantic post.

  5. Hi, Jennelise! I'm like you when it comes to sewing - not! In fact, I can't even thread a needle, how's that? That is why I so admire women who are gifted in that craft, especially today, with so many sewing-nade-easier doodads to make life easier. Thank you, ma'am, for sharing. Again, you made my (another) day!

    Christine Karie

  6. I loved your Summer Florals post; have been going thru the archives to see what I've missed (been "out of pocket" but I'm back online again). Nice to see you're up to your usual gorgeous posts.

    I, too, have such respect for fine sewing and can't do a lick of it; never could. It's in many ways a lost art, although a lot of young women are yearning to revive it (in general...crocheting, or tatting, needlepoint, lacework, embroidery, quilting, knitting; or making beautiful baby things, doll clothes, pillows, stuffed animals, other fabric beauties, etc.). It takes patience and focus. Some of it takes up a lot of time, though, and busy working ladies, especially working moms, are often short on time.

    I rarely had store-bought clothes in my closet until I was out in the working world as a young woman because my mother made all of my clothes; it's just the way a lot of us lived, years before you were born, Jennelise! The moms made practical things like curtains, outfits, tablecloths, pillowslips, aprons; I'm sure there were more sewing machines out there than televisions, back in the day.

    But hand-sewing was additionally a wonderful form of self-expression, just like other forms of art or music, and I think it must feel very satisfying to complete a sewing project, having created something beautiful and no doubt useful. My mom's sewing always had her personal "stamp" on it; some extra embellishment or special touch. I coincidentally bought a modest sewing machine a few months ago because I find it necessary for mending or slightly altering garments to fit better. (I actually CAN sew a straight machine stitch!)

    My late father was handy around the house with building things and yardwork, as well as most home (and car) maintenance; a sports dude and a businessman with his own business. He ALSO knew how to mend/hand-sew AND sew on a sewing machine; he was the last child of six, so was at home with my grandmother when all the other sisters and brothers were at school, and she taught him everything to know about homekeeping, not just so that he could help out, but so that he'd know how to get along once on his own. He could cook from scratch, iron his own shirts, clean the home, tidy up, do dishes; I don't think my mother had a clue how lucky she was to have such an all-around helpful, capable husband (he wound up being her caregiver for 20 years and didn't miss a beat when it came to changing places, in his sixties/retirement years, taking over management of home-life, when a lot of other husbands might be wandering around from room to room, wondering how to start).

    There's a woman named Heidi, an American living in Holland and married to a Dutch gentleman for 25 years, who has a few blogs, one of which is called "All My Scattering Moments." She's very crafty and loves sewing; I stop by her blog from time to time. She loves art, gardening and I love it when she does a short travelogue of the locale, as my grandfather was born in The Netherlands and, although I've only traveled there once, Holland and Heidi's "neck 'o the woods" feel familiar to me. She shares interesting tidbits of Dutch traditions, such as holidays and how they celebrate them. I'm thinking she might have named her sewing blog from your nineteenth century quote that started this post! I was unaware of it; now, I need to look up Ellen Wheaton...

  7. Wow, my above comment was too long; sorry! Just wanted to add from looking at your lush photos that I have, among my favorite things, many WOODEN spools of thread from my grandmothers' and mother's sewing boxes, with the cotton threads (I don't think there are any silks) intact. Another fun thing is "the button box" which has every odd button my mom ever collected...she, from the generation who never could bear to throw anything aside in case it could be used later. I recently saw a woman wearing a sweater she had knitted, purposely using varied and mismatched buttons for a rather unique "look"...and it worked; it was really cute. I would think thru the years that I should do something with the wooden spools or the many buttons. I've seen necklaces made with each, for instance. In the long run, I've decided I just like looking at them from time to time. Random, their sewing boxes, just as they were fifty years ago or more.

  8. I do not sew either, dear Jennelise...and am always in awe of those who have the patience and talent!
    The lacemaking is just incredible...
    - Irina