Treasure island courtesy of Grandma

My dad and his siblings are in the process of clearing out my grandparents house after my grandpa moved into a really nice home. It feels a bit goulish going through someone’s belongings when they’re still around but I’m comforted by the fact that he looks happy and relaxed in his new place.

My Grandma was a lovely lady who thrived on social occasions when she got to find out the gossip of what everyone was up to. She was also a very crafty lady capable of turning her hand to most things including sewing, knitting and embroidery. She made me this wall hanging when I first went to Africa. It is a scene of Lake Malawi which was one of my stops on my backpacking adventure. She very much enjoyed making things for other people and I do miss her inquisitive spirit.
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So on to treasure island…….

My Dad offered me a sewing table and I said I’d take it without looking to look at it first. We don’t have a massive house but a little sewing table is exactly what I’ve been looking for in my grandplan to create myself my own sewing space (currently I’m clogging up the spare room). It’s a sweet little table – more of a side table than an actual side table but has good deep storage.
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Which is where things got interesting. And just a little bit high pitched and feverish. If any dogs in Midlothian got a little antsy at about 9pm on Friday 12th June I apologise. I was emitting noises only dogs and dolphins can hear.

That’s because this lovely little table with good storage was packed to the gunnels with treasure! Oh aaaarr me heartys. Treasure! After a manic few minutes I decided to come back another evening once I’d calmed down and take a proper inventory. And here it is…..

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Drawer 1


3 dress making shears (sadly all right handed – I’m left handed but I’ll hang onto them as my daughter is showing signs of being right handed)
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2 scissors
4 fine scissors
1 perforating rotary blade
Dressmakers chalk
Oodles and oodles of buttons
Oodles of pins and some lovely needle books – some clearly made by Grandma
Corkscrew things – any ideas what these are?
5 thimbles (chuffed with this as I’ve been meaning to buy one)
2 sharp pokey things – no idea what these are for?
Curtain hooks
Safety pins (already came in handy as I ran in Pretty Muddy at the weekend and needed pins for my number)
4 measuring tapes – the numbers are rubbed away on some of them but they’re so pretty I have to keep them)
3 seam rippers
A mystery wooden egg that I can’t get open. It’s got the Robert Burns poem Bonnie Doon inscribed on it.


Then on into the top storage box

1 daylight lamp – apparently it will help do fine needle work at night
Box of knitting needles
Tube of knitting needles
Embroidered roll of yet more knitting needles
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Wooden thingy – any idea what this is?
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Bag of chamois leather – I was wondering about using it for the soles of baby shoes? Any other ideas?
Bag of shoulder pads
Charles and Diana box with sewing machine maintenance kit. Shame they didn’t have a maintenance kit for Charles and Di eh?
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Box of bias binding and oodles of snaps
Box of bra elastics – clearly of the wartime era my Grandma appears to have take scissors to all her old clothes when they were no longer fit for wear
Box of embroidery wool
Box of elastics
4 circular knitting pins – I’ll pass these onto the Mothership to encourage her to keep knitting for my little girl
2 embroidery hoops
1 trouser pocket replacement – who knew you could buy such a thing?

Finally tucked away in a little box are my Grandpa’s ‘pips’ from the war (sorry about the crap photos). He was Royal Medical Corps and my husband is a bit of an army buff and reckons it made him Lieutenant Colonel. He doesn’t talk much about his time in the war. Little snippets come out occasionally but only about the nicer bits. Like how he married my Grandma while on leave and they honeymooned in a little B&B in Pitlochry but got thrown out early after he couldn’t find his ration book. It turned up later in his pocket – my grandma had been too embarrassed to check the pockets of her new husbands trousers.
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So all in all a treasure trove of memories and a bucket load of really really useful things that I’ll hopefully put to good use.

Thanks Grandma!

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27 thoughts on “Treasure island courtesy of Grandma

  1. Oh what a treasure trove indeed. I had her sewing machine but it blew up on me twice (not so messy as her elderflower champagne) so was donated for spares. Hopefully someone else’s machine is being kept going by it’s non exploding bits. The instruction book was kept in what I can only assume was her primary school gym bag. A very neatly embroidered work with her class and name sewn on to it. All now resides in my sewing box. Alas just an old cloth kits box. But hopefully providing sewing karma from its present home. I’ll need it, got an Anna (Frozen) creation to make for next week. Jx

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    1. It’s actually the little personal things that are the real treasure including a little Austrian pinny I’ve put in Lily’s toy kitchen. That and her name labels saying Alison MF Brown. So nice to have such a reminder.

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  2. That really is lovely, and so many things you will treasure.

    I agree with the darning mushroom, and think the egg is in fact a darning egg.

    Are the pointy pokey things awls? I know my mother used to use those for making holes in belts.

    And a tracing wheel! We used those when I learned to sew in school.

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    1. Ok still none the wiser – whats a darning egg? Good call on the pokey things and Ive used the rotary cutter lots at my sewing class as a way of preserving patterns. Tres useful!

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    1. I’m just gutted that her scissors are all right handed. I could do with a new pair as in my amateur approach to sewing I *whispers* cut paper with my dressmaking scissors

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      1. Get a cheap pair of paper cutting scissors and save your sewing scissors for only fabric! Mark them or get a coloured pair so you know whats what – Top tip!

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  3. Sorry for the late comment – this is such a lovely post. It must have been an emotional experience going through all your grandma’s things. I can remember my grandma darning socks so I did recognise the darning mushroom but I don’t think it is something I’ll be trying!

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    1. It’s actually been a few years since my Grandma died so actually it was lovely to get this table. She was a lucky lady with 9 of us grandkids so I’m just lucky I got this otherwise I may have had to share my bounty!

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  4. What a lovely find! I’d have been excited by this too! Did you work out what everything is yet? Were the pointy pokey things awls? Otherwise could they be tools for turning piping out the right way & for making corners pointy?

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    1. I think they are awls – they’re very sharp so would go through the fabric if it was for turning out corners. I think I’ve now worked out almost everything except the Army pips. My parents are convinced my Grandpa was only a captain but all my army friends say he was at least a Leutenant Colonel from the pips.

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