Wednesday, July 20, 2011

I've been collecting...

Vintage linens! I love them. I especially love hand-embroidered tablecloths and hand-worked doilies. My collection's not large, but it's composed of special pieces.
In my mind's eye, these linens were made by dreamy-eyed young girls for their hope chests, and proudly displayed in their homes all their lives. I never had a hope chest, but now I have an established home, I delight in having (and making myself) lovely things such as these.
As a one-time embroiderer (on the back burner now, along with many of my creative endeavors due to time constraints placed upon me as a toddler's mama, but here's an example of my own), I truly appreciate the time and care taken to make a beautiful object.
One of my favorites is this green appliqued doily. From even a few feet away, the design looks printed: only close-up the amazing hand-sewn detail shows.
I began collecting when Partner and I became engaged, in 2003 (our seventh wedding anniversary was this month!). My first piece we bought together, and it remains my most cherished tablecloth; with rainbow-colored flowers in delicate stitch-work, it's pictured on the left, on top of the stack. This is a working collection. I use my tablecloths on my table--and despair when someone spills tea again. One much-loved tablecloth became four napkins recently, when the wear and tear--and the large hole in the middle--overcame it. And my doilies pull their weight, augmenting ornaments and furniture. I collect them, therefore I use them. I look for linens in second-hand stores, jumble sales, charity shops, antique fairs, markets, and in the cupboards of family members; my mother knows to check her local thrift stores for me--occasionally I get a mystery package and a note: "I knew you'd love it." I hope you've enjoyed seeing my collection; I had such fun pulling everything together and photographing it; I've seen it with new eyes today.

Posted as part of Casey's Elegant Musings cherished collections blog tour.

10 comments:

catherine_sr. said...

I love all these, especially the green appliqued doily. The detail is amazing and I love the color! You have a great collection.

lahbluebonnet said...

What a beautiful collection! How fun to receive mystery boxes!
Laurie...visiting from the blog tour

bonita said...

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Beautiful collection! I love the way you photographed them as well, I think it really showed off the beauty of these pieces. I collect vintage linen and doilies myself and use them all around my house! They really do add a special touch to your decor.


xox,
bonita of Depict This!
~ * ♥ * ~

Summer said...

So beautiful! Thank you for sharing :) The colors and detail are amazing.

Corrine said...

Your collection is so special, so sweet, and comforting. I am always adopting and rescuing embroidered linens from friends, estates sales etc because I feel they are orphans these days. I am also so glad that you use them. One thing I did learn, if a piece has tea stains (old or new) I usually tea stain the entire piece. Many people pass these up because of the stains, I cherish them. Thank you so much for sharing your collection.

Mortira said...

Your collection is so pretty! I love the breezy, feminine designs. And good for you for making sure they get put to good use!

Renee said...

Very pretty collection. I love things like that. I have doilies, too that I use. My mom's step mother used to tat. I made a tree skirt using some of the things she tatted and some bits of lace and ribbon.

AmelieNoMori said...

Lovely collection! The green appliqued doily is indeed beautiful, a very nice piece of work, and I love the colors. It's really nice of your mom to send you mystery boxes. How exciting! :)

Peggy of Plush Nest said...

such pretty handwork! thank you for sharing.

Gilbrides said...

Great job!! You have some gorgeous pieces. I am so glad that you don't hide them away but actually use them. Even when they do get stained with tea. Life is all about living and enjoying those things we love.