Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Art Gift and A Story: For Good

Saturday morning I received a surprise Easter package from my friend Fran. She lives at the other end of the state and is a special friend to me in several ways. In her package there was a fancy hummingbird feeder (picture after I fill it up) and a precious piece of art that she had painted just for me.

Something For Ewe

And she thoughtfully included a small stand for it. It now graces our bedroom and every time I look at it I feel encouraged. Isn't it just grand?

For Good
49th in the Tuesday Story Series

As a youngster, when we visited my grandparents or great-aunts and uncles, I remember often being shown various pieces of linen and other embroidered items, tucked away in a drawer. My great-aunts would receive gifts of these items during their life time and every now and then, would take them out to show or talk about who gave them each treasure. When I would ask why they were tucked into a drawer and not used, the answer would be along the lines of "Oh, but I'm saving them for good!", meaning they were being saved for some special reason in the future. More often than not, sadly, that future would be when their house was being cleaned out after they had died, and the items were passed on to another generation, or given to a charity shop.

In the years before and during the time I owned an antique business, I treasured finding these almost pristine pieces of handwork. Pillowcases, towels, bedding, lingerie, tablecloths, napkins - done on fine linen or cotton. As I began to specialize in antique French smalls (small items, usually not furniture), I found some of the most exquisite examples of all - embroidered French linen bedsheets.

These sheets were made of a heavy stiff linen, sometimes unbleached, and frequently had very fancy initials worked in padded white thread, and other incredible hand stitching such as open thread hem work and other decorative designs. The reason the sheets were so stiff was because they were never used! Linen becomes softer with each wash.

Soon I began to keep much of what I found and used them. After all, our house was not a museum and these items were meant to be used! Our pillowcases are all vintage or antique, we use vintage kitchen towels and I even use the French linen sheets as an extra top sheet on our bed; they are just the perfect weight for cooler temperatures at night when the A/C is running. And they have become softer with use and feel luxurious!

It makes me sad that people put away things which they could have used in their own lives. After all, isn't your family special enough for daily beauty? What's the point in having something so unique if it isn't used? So, I say - use them! If you have old linens which have been passed on to you, don't just stuff them away for the perfect time - the perfect time is now! There are many sources on the Internet for turning small embroidered treasures such as doilies or table runners into one of a kind fashion statements and other uses, such as chair seat covers. And here's a great blog about how to wash and take care of them: vintage linens.

The ones found in the antique stores are usually high quality, one of a kind, and not very expensive. If you want something like the French linen sheets, you can find sellers for them by doing a Google search, although they will be more expensive than local vintage items.

Don't put away something "for good", use it for now!

Come see my latest postcards I've received on Postcards Buffet!


  1. Love your post. My Grandmother saved everything we ever gave her....... we found it all after she was gone. Such a shame she never enjoyed those things.
    But then I find I'm a bit like that. I have my mother's VERY expensive and Old china. Sad to say I don't use it very often. Hugs

  2. My Mother was also too thrifty to use fancy new items. Some years ago she was wearing her favorite old ratty nightgown when she fell down the stairs and broke her neck. She got up, climbed back up the stairs, put on a brand new fancy nightgown with tags still attached, and THEN called the ambulance!!!


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