Monday, September 5, 2011

Little Dutch Girls

My grandmother was as Irish as they come...with a little Scottish blood thrown in for good measure but as you may know, the Irish and the Scots are often of mixed heritage between the two but still identify solely as one or the other. My great great grandmothers on her side of the family both came to America in 1849-50, the years of the Irish potato famine.

My grandmother's family settled in an enclave of Irish mine workers outside of Pittsburgh PA and lived there for several generations. They were poor but they were proud.

Somewhere along the way my grandmother developed a fondness for little Dutch girls. Was it because they were blond and she was not? That they had smooth pale skin where her relatives all had freckles and red blotches? The 1865 novel "Hans Brinker and the Silver Skates" by Mary Mapes Dodge was enjoying a resurgence in popularity in the early 1900s when my grandmother was a child so perhaps there is a connection there. I know that it was one of her favorite books and that as very young children we watched the movie on her old black and white television with her.

Anyway, she collected all sorts of Dutch pictures and little knickknacks and hung things like this in her kitchen to write her shopping notes or recipe notes on.
It could hold a little pad of paper but she often thumb tacked paper on it to write on as well. There was also a place for a pencil in the wooden butter churn. This is a very sweet piece but I can't keep everything.
As mentioned in an earlier post my grandmother also collected knick knacks and postcards and in her collection of cards I also found these sweet Dutch children.
Many of my grandmother's pieces have moved on to live with my sister, my kids and my cousins and we have all tried to keep as many as was/is feasible but sometimes it is best to let things move on and find a good home. I'm hoping these will make someone else smile the way they made my grandmother smile.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Old the box!

My grandmother loved cards and postcards. When we were children she sent postcards to my sister and me all the time even though she lived fairly close by and we saw her often. After her death I found boxes of postcards and over the years I have sorted through them and organized them, trying to condense the collection and figure out what to do with it. I even have my great aunt's postcard albums from the early 1900s. It's a LOT of postcards, well into the thousands....and I just don't have room for them all and my kids have no interest in them whatsoever. I have begun to list some in my Muna's Treasures Etsy Shop.

These are particularly cool ones--a very rare Scottish Halloween Card from 1915
and this John Winsch card from 1913
 There are literally hundreds more where these came from so I will be listing for days if not weeks. Please stop on over at Muna's Treasures to take a look--they are just fun to browse!

Do you have old cards and postcards from your family? Do you save them? Throw them away? Put them in albums?

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Things our grandmothers said...

Did your grandmother have lots of funny and old fashioned expressions? Mine sure did...

Whenever we sat down to eat at her table we would first say grace but then she would look up, grin, and say, "Pick, shovel and dig!" I used to think that was the funniest thing ever, especially since I thought she said pig, not pick!

Remember being told to "Hold your horses!" ? I would always, always say....but I don't have any horses and my grandmother would say, "Watch that mouth, young lady."

She would give directions "as the crow flies" and threaten to "lambaste" us if we were fresh. When we were anxiously awaiting something she would remind us "that a watched pot never boils" and when someone was gossiping about someone else she would often whisper to my mother, "Now there's a pot calling the kettle black" which always confused me. I didn't see any pots or kettles....

Did your grandmother have fun sayings? Please add them in the comments.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

I'm back!

It has been a long year filled with many trials and tribulations and after many months of working through things I seem to be on the mend so I am back at work once again. I still have so many wonderful things of my grandmother's to share and am also working on writing down the stories she told and the stories I remember of her as well so stay tuned. I'll be posting more regularly very soon. In the meantime I've been putting the contents of her sewing baskets up in my Etsy shop.

I also found this little collection of nail files

and these cool old keys and nails came from an elderly friend...

You can find all these and more at Muna's Treasures on Etsy.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Back in the Saddle...

Wow, it's been awhile. I seem to have just slipped off the blogging horse to sort some things out but here I am again.

November is here and it is a month where I find myself thinking of my grandmother and my other family members that have left....My grandmother LOVED Thanksgiving and some of my favorite childhood memories are from her big, festive dinners in her tiny apartment.

Over the next few weeks I will dig out some old photos and tell some stories.
These two turkeys were in my grandmother's boxes of cards. I have spent days and weeks gathering her various cards and memorabilia together, sorting and labeling things. Some I will keep but many things will get listed over at my Muna's Treasures Etsy shop.
These sweet little linen books were published in 1927 and for years they have sat in the bookcase in my little office. They are spotted and dirt marked but still so sweet they make me smile. I have enjoyed them for years, now it is time for someone else to enjoy them. Their useful days as actual story books is probably over but maybe someone will want to just look at them and display them....
When I found this copy of Miracle on 34th Street in my mother's things I had to smile. Every year we watched the old movie with Natalie Wood and the old Macy's building. I remember how excited I was to see Macy's for the first time when I went to NYC as a young adult.
It's funny how times of year can bring such vivid memories. Do you have fond memories from this time of year?

Monday, August 16, 2010

My Grandmother's Sewing Basket

Over the years people who sew gather all sorts of materials and my grandmother and mother were no different. After they passed on I kept many of their sewing supplies for I learned to sew from both of them and I didn't just want to throw them away.Recently we helped a friend clear out an estate and in the basement were boxes and boxes of old sewing projects and supplies and I took some home to add to the ones I already had. Last week I sorted through them to see what I had and to see what was worth saving.
I hate to say it, but you should see the piles of stuff I threw was overwhelming and there were boxes of tangled threads and yarns that just weren't the effort to untangle so I tossed them. What I did find were lots of fun buttons and an amazing amount of scissors.
I have started to list these items and kits in the shop and have lots more so please feel free to be in touch if you are looking for something special.

And don't worry, I have kept the things that really mattered to me ;-) You can see some of the listings here

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Memories in a handkerchief....

Did your grandmother have a huge collection of handkerchiefs? Mine did. She had them in all her pockets whether it was the apron she put on when she came home from work, her bathrobe or her house dress. She had plain ones for home and fancy ones for going out on the town or to church.She bought handkerchiefs as souvenirs of places she had visited. She didn't really travel much so some of her souvenir hankies are sort of from the next town over. She was always buying sets of hankies for my mother and for us kids. I don't think my mother ever used hers but she made us carry ours in our little patent leather pocketbooks. My mother much preferred the modern throw away tissues....but she thought we needed to learn how to be little ladies so we got the handkerchief treatment.
Does anyone use hankies any more? I occasionally see old men with them but I have to admit, thinking about what goes into one is enough to make one understand how the throw away version came about....;-)
Will hankies make a come back as we begin to think in greener terms? If you're looking for some fun ones to start your own collection, I have some listed here.