Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Linens, Ironstone, And Other Reasons To Be Happy

It can be hard to know when an object is going to take your fancy. Or why. But there a few things that appeal to my romantic ideal in a big way. They transport me to another time and place like few things can. 

One of them is this old dish towel. It probably dates from sometime in the thirties when folks had an acute sense of the value of things. It's still in pretty good shape. But the fascination for me is in the contrast between the material it is made from--a flour sack--and the work put into it to make it beautiful.

The lace work on this mundane fabric was made on the tiniest of knitting needles with the tiniest of stitches. And I can't help but marvel at the person who would invest so much into so little.

It has very, very little value today except as an object of curiosity to a quirky person. Its strange juxtaposition of materials makes it less desirable to most. But I find it so inexplicably endearing.

Same thing with a very old pitcher I found recently. Its seller valued it at under seven dollars. But it is the oldest ironstone pitcher I have come across. Thick and heavy with a speckled primitive glaze that I love. It has "ice water" lettered across it, which makes me certain it came from a place like the original Whistle Stop Cafe!

It became my instant favorite among my already fairly sizable collection. . . .

I got to spend an hour pressing a few odd things and listening to the forties station on satellite radio today. Those old big band tunes with their muted brass instruments is the best feel-good music I know. I would pay the modest monthly fee just for this station alone.


Stacks of vintage linens make me unreasonably happy.

I find this beautifully scripted identification mark completely enchanting too. 

Who knows why we find certain objects so lovable?
And who needs a reason?
Happy White Wednesday!


Join me for MORE HAPPY at

Home Sweet Home


  1. Beautiful! I enjoy these type of vintage items too. I happen to be one of those who knits lace on very tiny needles. It's the feel of the fiber and the beauty of the lace as it emerges...Creating timeless beauty from such simple tools.



  2. Things like this just make my heart beat faster Jacqueline. Quirky and aged is a great combination. Your treasures are just that...treasures!!!
    I LOVED your previous post was delightful.
    sending hugs...

  3. My heart would be flip-pity flop if I found these glad they are in a HOME that appreciates them. Sweet stitches & wonderful jug!

  4. OH.

    You are not alone.

    Your treasures, shared with us, become our treasures vicariously through you.

    Absolutely wonderful treasures!

    I actually squealed at those gloves.

    You see, I WEAR hats and gloves to all my tea parties and ones I attend, also. Life is too short not to!

    Wonderful and beautiful post.

  5. I love old linens and 40s music as well:) The knitted lace is really beautiful, someone had a great deal of both patience and skill to make that. Which 40s radio station do you listen to? I have a couple on my favourites list but am always looking for more.

  6. Jacqueline,
    your stacks of linen make me druel..they are so so beautiful. I love the little tea towel made from a sack..the last generation made use of everything. There are some little old ladies in the village here that still crochet around their tea towels they buy at the chinese shops.
    your finds are great. love the beautiful gloves.
    nice photos
    thank you for sharing this
    happy wednesday

  7. Your blog is so gorgeous with all beautiful stuffs,romantic fabric
    I'll also look to your blog a lot!
    Have a nice day.

  8. I remember when I was a little girl watching my great aunt crochet edging on to everything in sight. I love these old pieces. They were all done in a simpler time.

  9. Wonderful treasures! I love the lacy trim, and those gloves, oh my! Thanks for sharing.

  10. Jacquelyn,
    I love my daily dose of inspiration from you! If you ever think you have too much ironstone and want to sell that ice water pitcher, can I be first in line?? :-))
    The grain sack tea towel with the delicate handwork reminds me of what my grandmothers would have made ~ like you said, in the days when such work was valued. Just beautiful!
    Mary Alice

  11. I have never seen a flour sack with lace or where anyone has signed their work. Taking something so simple and making it so beautiful..a great lesson in life.

  12. I love all this vintage linen and am proud to have inherited all my mother in laws.

  13. I fully understand your love for these wonderful linens...they have tremendous appeal. You have gathered them together is such a charming pretty!

  14. It's wonderful that you take such pleasure in those lovely items, Jacqueline. It's so important that there are caretakers of the past who treasure all the little fragile items that are passed down through many hands into ours. I love to hold something .. like that lace-trimmed sacking towel or the pitcher .. and wonder who might have held it long ago. Don't forget to hang out your linens tomorrow!

  15. Oh, how wonderful!!! I like that, "caretakers of the past" in the previous post!!! That's what we are, we join together in our love for the handmade and vintage and marvel at the time and skill needed to create these precious items.

    My dad worked in a machine shop/factory....they received nails in large linen sacks.....they would empty the sacks into bins and then throw away the sacks.....but my dad brought them home and my mom made dinner napkins out of them, and did a crochet edging on some and drawn thread work on others. Now, they were Italian immigrants who married in 1928 and came to America......out of necessity and a spirit of "waste not, want not"....they survived and thrived!!! They did not live in a throw away society...we still have many of those linen items to pass down to generations......hugs...cleo

  16. Love all those beautiful linens. I have some pretty Italian linens... just not real crazy about pressing them:)
    Thanks for stopping by.

  17. That identification mark is beautiful!!!! It made the piece for me.

  18. Jacqueline: I'm with you. Can you imagine back in the time when a poor but happy housewife had numerous plain old flour sacks and , by some stroke of fate, found a fair piece of lace and decided to put them together so she would have one piece of finery in her cupboard. It was so lucky to find you after all those long ago years..Happy Thursday..Judy

  19. Perhaps the maker of that lace edged towel was way ahead of her time. It looks like an item that one of our fellow creative bloggers would put together today!

  20. Doesn't it just lift your heart to find such treasures! I actually found a little pitcher with blue undertones for 50 cents at one place. I tried to hold back my enthusiasm - but I know my eyes were glistening with joy! LOVE your towels and the pitcher! Kindred Spirits indeed!

  21. Wow. Sigh. Lace, linens and creamy whites are at the top of my list.

  22. Jacqueline,
    I adore the fact that you spend time ironing linens! I still iron...I love the smell of the fabric when the steam iron releases against the item! I do miss my out~of~doors clothesline and air drying those items. Enjoy!

  23. And what do we have here? Do I spy
    vintage linen Heaven? Jacqueline,
    you are such an inspiration. Just
    love the penned identification mark
    on the linen...What penmanship they
    had in those days? Ironing - best
    therapy in the world, especially
    when it is aromatic..I applaud your
    ability to bring those treasures to
    such a pristine state. Do you
    remember Satina; the little wax
    squares that melted in the rinse
    water and left that exquisite finish on the linens when ironed?
    The younguns don't know what they
    are missing, jettisoning laundry
    and ironing days as they were
    once known. You have launched me
    on a pursuit for things "white" and
    irresistable....Bless you...

  24. Gorgeous! Love the gloves and the grain sack. Thank you for joining me at Home Sweet Home!


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