This morning I drove into town to go to an Estate Sale. I was presently surprised. I noticed, right off the bat, that 1950’s midcentury furniture is starting to have more value, even here. I spotted a chair with the price tag $5000.00 (not five hundred, mind)
The house was a darling little ‘cape’ style obviously built 1950’s. Though the Cape has many old houses built from the 1600’s and on, this was in a little development down by the sea of little homes in the ‘manner’ of a cottage with a very 1950’s feel. There was a darling little breezeway connecting the kitchen and garage.
I was drawn to this sale as I saw the word “Sewing Machine” in the add. I was happy to see a lovely Singer, probably from the 40’s in a pretty case, but they wanted 200 dollars for it, and it was not quite the model I wanted. (I am saving my pin money for a Singer Model 401 or 500 with all its lovely accessories. I shall find it!)
If you have not been to these type of estate sales, let me explain them. You go into the house and it is very much set up as a house. The drawers are still full of things, priced of course, beds made and such, all priced. So, you rather feel, after the initial shock of feeling as if you are an intruder, as if you are a guest. I often begin to feel I can sense the person. And, by the time I had left two hours later, I felt rather acquainted with the old owner. I found out her name was Ann, as some of books of hers I bought had been inscribed to her. And I found out, from the nice lady in the basement, tending those things for sale ( I found this lovely metal cart and little lock box and lazy Susan and these old Saran wrap boxes) that the woman, Ann, who owned the house had literally died two days prior. She was 101 years old and had been a teacher of English and Literature. I felt so much more akin to her.
Many of the things I bought seemed odd to the older ladies who were running it. They wondered, was I a dealer, and when I explained to them, of course dressed in my tweed skirt, hose, matching coat hat and gloves, that I liked vintage fabric, buttons and such because I use them and make my own clothes. They thought it sweet, but you could tell they were, themselves, not interested. One lady said to me, in her jeans, and sweatshirt, “Oh, you look nice, did you just come from something” “No,”says I, “this is just how I dress”. She laughed and said, “I just told someone if they move to the Cape one nice thing is you don’t have to ‘dress up’”. I smiled.
One lady, however, when she discovered that I was not a dealer, did not have a shop and had not intention of doing anything with the things I bought but to use them, kept following me about and chatting with me. I came to find out that she collects and sells vintage fabric and buttons. She gave me her card and I am going to check out her things. She also told me she sells sewn things made from vintage materials and said, if I were a good seamstress, which I told her she would have to be the judge of that, she would love to ‘hire me’ to do some sewing for her. I told her I would think about it. I am not sure I have the skill to sew for someone to resell, but it would be a good source of pin money and very 1950’s to do so. I am just not sure I have the time. SO, we shall see.
SO, here are some pictures of my finds. After digging though this plastic box , I couldn’t believe I found this box of pen nibs . When hubby and I were first married he wrote with his typewriters (and still does) while I used a jar of ink and pen nibs such as these for all my writings and journals. She had quite a record collection and when I began to go through them, another lady and gentleman turned to me and said, “Oh, it’s mostly classical. You would think with all this hip furniture (she had some nice mid century modern pieces) there would be some Beatles or something.” I just smiled and proceeded to sit on the floor and begin collecting up my pile of records to buy. I found quite a few and hubby especially loves “classical” music. I also found this wonderful Edith Piaf record and this great Burl Ives. Some lovely piano pieces and some Opera arias for me.
I fell in love with this sewing/knitting bag and this fabric and tablecloth. Here are some of the treasures I found. I just love ‘digging through’ the boxes to find the treasures once I get them home! In this picture you can see a treasure I found neatly tucked into a little brown bag into one of the boxes. They are the pink garters. Ann obviously, as you would, cut them out of things as they wore out to sew onto later. These will come in handy for me, as Sometimes I like to add garters to things for my stockings. And you can bet those old trims and things will end up on my dresses and clothes! This is a great little lock box and the tape dispenser, which you can barely see, if so heavy and going straight away onto my desk in my little sitting room. I wondered if it sat upon Ann’s desk as she taught English all those years? Aren’t these gloves dreamy? The pair with the cut out hole design are the MOST soft buttery kid I have ever felt. Here is the most darling little tin biscuit tin and I also found two boxes full of vintage Saran Wrap. The tin will either go in my pantry or my sewing, not sure. The saran, when it is empty, will hold new rolls of saran, as I think the colors and graphics will be happy living in my new (when I build it this spring) walk in pantry. look how darling the graphics are on the saran wrap (also on the box it says Dow made in Pennsylvania. I wonder if it still is?) This doesn’t look like much now, this metal cart, but it is so light and easy to pull around. And when I redo my kitchen, I wanted a metal cart with rollers to keep things on. I have to share (next post) a wonderful film form 1949 showing the perfect layout for a kitchen. It changed the way I am planning my kitchen. This tray will paint up a treat, as well!
I began to feel more and more akin to ‘Ann” the longer I spent in her home. Sad, then, that I could only ‘know’ her now. I am sure we would have been fast friends, but I could hardly wander into random homes asking to ‘befriend’ various people. But, had I done that, Ann and I would have seen eye to eye, “Beatles, indeed. Let’s put on Edith Piaf and talk about Moliere instead”.
Now, on one of my blog posts someone had asked me if I knew of the patterns for those crochet scrubby things you use on pots and pans. Well, I didn’t and I have never crocheted a stitch, at the time. So I found some patterns and today I found our local yarn shop. I am so happy to have it in our community. It is called the Black Purl (how adorable is that, sense it is on the sea and of course Purling is a knitting term).
Here is the blog where I found the pattern and she did say to share it so here it is:
Crochet Pattern: All Purpose Scrubbie
Here is a scrubbie that is soft enough to shower and wash your face with and still tough enough to clean dirty pots and pans. I wouldn’t recommend using it for all of these at one time, so be sure to make enough to go around. No matter if you are a beginner or an advanced crocheter here is a pattern you can enjoy. It doesn’t take much yarn and can be whipped up fairly quickly. For extra scrubbing power, add some nylon netting.
Finished Size: 3” (8 cm) diameter
Medium Weight Yarn (approximately 30 yards)
Crochet Hook H (5.00 mm)
Crochet Pattern: Scrubbie (make 2)
Round 1: ch 2, 6 sc in second ch from hook, place marker: 6 sc
Round 2: 2 sc in each sc around: 12 sc
Round 3: (2 sc in next sc, sc in next sc) around: 18 sc
Round 4: (2 sc in next sc, sc in next 2 sc) around: 24 sc
Round 5: (2 sc in next sc, sc in next 3 sc) around: 30 sc
Round 6: (2 sc in next sc, sc in next 4 sc) around, sl st in next sc, finish off: 36 sc
With a yarn needle, sew two circles together.
Row 1: ch 19, sc in second ch from hook and in each ch across: 18 sc
Row 2: ch 1, turn, sc in each sc across, finish off: 18 sc
Using photo as a guide, sew strap to scrubbie with a yarn needle.
If you needle help with this pattern, let me know by leaving a comment!
Share and Enjoy:
I went into our yard shop with enthusiasm and hope and came out with a skein of white cotton, a crochet hook and some knowledge. They were so kind, that one of the ladies sat down and showed me a chain stitch and then how to start the circle that will be needed for the scrubby. Here is my beginning. It will take some work, but I am determined.
I also found out that they have classes on Saturday and open days on wed and Friday every week where you can stop in with what you are working on, have a good gab and help one another out. The owners and others there will help you out if you are a newbie and have questions. Now, how is that for local community! I am rather excited on the whole.
Now, here is a video on how to do the basic single crochet (Which I just learned today. I don’t actually know how to follow the instructions on the above scrubby, but those who can will and I will learn at my next trip to the yarn store. For now I am going to make a circle and then some chain stitches and hook them together and see what I get.
I thought this tutorial was good for a circle, though it was different than I was shown, but I might try it.
So, after my lovely morning out and my feeling so proud to have found some things and met some lovely people in my community, I opened my blog to find the following comment. I am not ashamed to tell you that I sat right down, after my elation of my finds and feeling so akin to the poor dead Ann and cried.
I think there must have been a misunderstanding in my last post (which really was just a film made in the 1950’s by Redbook Magazine) as this was the comment which saddened me, indeed.
I liked your blog a lot better last year when you were just a gal attempting to live a retro life. What a shame, that you now view the 1950s through the jaded eyes of 2010, instead of seeing them for what they were, a time of optimism and hope after the war years. Your socialist views seem to have clouded your vision of the 1950s and have caused you to view things in a bitter way. To say that our generation "sold out" is a great personal insult to us housewives of the 1950s. it is all well and good for you to play your game of make believe, but please do not insult those of us who lived though the 1950s with pride. Do not judge, because you have not waled a mile in our girdles, not matter how much time you spend playing dress up.
I, in my anger filled tears, reacted straight away and wished I had not. Things said in anger and haste are often only defense against what we hold dear. I don’t think I could hold the 1950’s housewife generation any dearer or with any more respect than I do presently. I have found the strength and determination of their generation SO inspiring to me, that I have patterned my life after it as much as I can.
I am not sure where the idea came to her that I feel that the 1950’s generation ‘sold out’. Perhaps I was not careful with my words, but I felt it important enough to make this statement here, in the midst of my blog, that that could not be any more false. And need to make it very clear:
I HOLD THE 1950’S GENERATION IN VERY HIGH STANDARD AND RESPECT. THEIR STRUGGLE THROUGH THE DEPRESSION AND WAR AND HAPPY IDEALISM IN THE 1950’S IS AN INSPIRATION TO ME.
I hold that generation very high in standards. Any selling out I felt happened with their children, the Baby Boomers, and not that THEY sold out, but that they were unfortunately ‘lured’ by the siren song of turning their backs on their parents generation. SO, I blame neither, but am sad that it happened.
I find many things of that 1950’s generation to be things I am striving to return to. In fact, one of the reasons I wanted to start the Apron Revolution website was so that we could encourage one another in these things and to also keep ourselves AWARE of the modern world so we can try to change it for the better.
Now, in this country, Socialism is a dirty word. I have never said I am a Socialist and not sure exactly what 1932 meant when she called me thus. Perhaps we should, in the future, discuss exactly what Socialism DOES mean to us? Our definition of it and such.
I, on the other hand, feel that what I want in our return to the 1950’s is not government aid and hand outs (which is often what is meant by ‘socialism’ in this country) but in fact to the world where we could have production and supplies and business more IN the U.S.A. Currently, that is not the case. There is more and more production leaving, but I won’t get into that. I want us to be more like that generation in their idealism, smarts and ability to live within a changing world and to also have that world create and make what it needs WITHIN our country. So, if that is Socialism, than perhaps that is what I should be called.
I, honestly, don’t like titles. To brand oneself a Republican or Democrat or Socialist, is to take a side. I think as a unified country we should have no sides but to work as one. We all live in the country and want it to be successful and I think to act with our minds and hearts rather than to follow behind the line of ‘this group or that’ is rather very American, but enough said about that.
I hold much respect and honor and am proud to attempt to do even half of what that generation was capable. I don’t play ‘dress up’ to mock but to celebrate and uphold. To me it is almost a uniform to which I am proud to wear. I may not ever be of the same fiber and strength of that generation, but in my emulation of them, with my uniform (as a soldier wears the uniform of his forefathers) I take on the pride and respect of it. I never mean or intend to offend and hope, if I have, to be forgiven.
Please know all I do is out of RESPECT and to feel that I can help my own Generation (generation X) and other generations to not be only a faceless non brand, but to want to make a change and to live in a way that is something of which to feel proud. SO, again, apologies where they are due and hopefully misunderstandings cleared up.
And I am glad, ‘born in 1932,’ that you have ( up until now of course) found my words interesting enough to read since last year. To that I am honored to have one of the ‘real ladies of the 1950’s’ deem to view my meager words, ideas and oft times rather silly attempts at what I am sure you have excelled, a great honor. I copy to honor not to offend. And, if you have not given up on me, hope you can forgive me and still be a part of our community. We need you and your generation to help and lead our generation to better understand our past and build a better future.
Now, on the subject of that generation: on the way home, feeling so happy to have felt a part of the departed Ann’s life, I stopped and bought a bottle of champagne. I plan that tonight, with hubby, I am going to listen to some of Ann’s records, thumb through her books and toast the good ole gal. I want to feel I have, in some way though I never met her, taken on a piece of her to hold onto and keep her alive.
No matter what you believe in religion or afterlife, if we can, any of us, just take a moment of our life and remember and hold onto those who have gone before us, even if they were strangers we never met, than we have made a sort of memorial for the past generations. Those who were not in the history books but everyday men and women like we, who loved their books and dog-eared them in places, kept that little glass bottle from the World’s Fair, or a pressed flower given, when young, and kept to molder in old pages. If we, those of us alive, take the time to care for those things and save them from the trash and landfills, we can keep them alive in our hearts and actions. And then, maybe if we are kind and good and want to make a difference, one day that little post card we loved and kept in the mirror of our dressing table will land in the hand of someone one hundred years from now. They will smile and wonder and we will live on just a bit more.
SO, to you Ann, 1909-2010, we salute you. Your love of classical music, Edith Piaf, sewing, and your passion for the written word lives on. We drink a toast to you and your life well lived. You were not in the limelight nor in the History books, but in the brief years of my own life, you shall live on. And from your own little book of Emily Dickenson, inscribed with your name, I give you these words while I sit amongst your things that I have “gathered these to-day”:
Then I remember not;
And if forgetting, recollecting,
How near I had forgot!
And if to mourn were gay,
How very blithe the fingers
That gathered these to-day!