Dearest Donations

It was a hot day yesterday. It reached 93°F here at the Three Cats Ranch. We're generally around ten degrees cooler than in the valley, and so you know it was even hotter in the lowlands. We're expecting a little cooler weather today and through the remainder of the week. The kitties spent most of their day cooling their tummy furs on the concrete in the shade of the house.

And this naughty little girl...we had trouble getting her in the house last night. Her curfew has been moved back to earlier in the afternoon now.

As I mentioned yesterday, I had just two more chests I wanted to go through in order to complete our clean-out of the downstairs. This is my mother's cedar chest. My brother had it for a while after she passed away, but he offered it to me, and shipped it from Southern California to Oregon. It came to me all crated up in wood. The shippers did an excellent job of getting to me in good condition. 

I think during the 1940's, these were every young woman's dream. Lane seemed to be the one to have. 

If that little "brand" wasn't enough to tell you who manufactured it, there was this sign in the top for good measure.

And much the same way we register product warranties online these days, if my mom did all the things mentioned on this sticker, she was entitled to a $100 moth insurance policy. I always think it's a good idea to insure one's moths.

Inside was an envelope containing the actual insurance policy.

This is the postmark on the envelope. It was 1943, and it cost just 3¢ to mail a letter in those days. My mom would have been 21 then. She and my dad married on June 4th, 1944.

I'll tell you about my own hope chest in just a second, but I wanted to tell you first about this Lane handkerchief box I have. Around the time I graduated high school during the 14th Century (1972), the Lane company advertised free handkerchief boxes to graduating senior girls. Probably I read about it in Seventeen magazine or something. For whatever reason, they didn't do it the year I graduated, and I dearly wanted one. 

After Mike and I were married, and we were already living in Phoenix by then, my mother went to a furniture store in San Diego that was offering the handkerchief boxes. She explained that I'd missed out when I graduated. The next time they came to visit us, she brought this handkerchief box.

Inside...sure enough...the Lane insignia.

It's just one of the things I have to remember her by, and it reminds me what an advocate she was for her kids. Driving to San Diego to get a handkerchief box for me? All in a day's work for her.

Okay, but here's my hope chest. My dad's military service had him serving in far-flung places. This chest came from Taiwan. He was there on R&R from Vietnam, and he bought this for me and had it shipped home. It's made of camphor wood. Camphor has the same moth deterring properties as cedar. Also, it's a very fragrant wood. It made everything in my hope chest smell good.

Here's the label inside...Taiwan built.

This is the carving on the top.

This one is on the side.

It has an interesting lock mechanism. Below are the lock and key.

The key was inserted at a 90° angle on the right side, then rotated up to fit through the notches on top.

Then you push to the left to open it.

My mother's cedar chest had lots of stuff from my grandmother still. A few quilts. Two were pretty well tattered. I'm not going to restore those, and so those will go to Goodwill. I couldn't part with the other three. Also, I went through all her crocheted doilies. I decided to keep those since I might want to make a quilt from them someday. Most of the dresser scarves were donated unless I thought I could use them in my Vintage Linens quilt. I found about half a dozen I wanted to keep. The rest...all to Goodwill.

The most precious things were in my own cedar chest. This was a crewel embroidery piece I stitched while I was pregnant with Erik. It gave me something to do while I waited for the nine months to pass. I was very excited to become a mom.

I made these little latch hook wall-hangings to hang in the nursery.

I made this next one while I was pregnant with Matthew. My pregnancy with him was so fraught with anxiety, and it gave me something to do. His birth was a scheduled C-section, and I knew we were having a boy. I could stitch everything except the weight. I took the piece with me to the hospital and finished it there after he was born.

This next one was from a little needlepoint kit. I used to find in them in stores. I'd done several of them, but this is the only one I kept. It was hanging in the nursery too. It's about 5 x 5 inches.

Also, I found this one. It was probably a gift at a baby shower. I don't remember who KAK was, but she was probably a co-worker.

It was hard to give up some of that stuff. I couldn't part with the baby shoes or my wedding dress. I'm saving my wedding dress to donate to a group called Little Angel Gowns. They use wedding dress donations to make burial gowns for deceased infants. They only accept donations at certain times of the year, and I've signed up to receive notifications from them. When the time comes, I'll donate my dress to them.

Okay, so that was a nostalgic trip down memory lane. I emptied one of the chests entirely, and my mother's chest is about 2/3 empty. From there, I went to work cutting one of the newly-found dresser scarves to use in the 6th Vintage Linen quilt block. Sadie was my helper cat for that. She helped by taking a nap and staying out of the way.

I cut this one a little larger and "peakier" to try to capture as much of the embroidery as possible.

When it was all finished, it looked like this. The sharp angle at the top point meant it ended up positioned higher among the fabric strips than the others I've done.

When I lay them out together, it seems less noticeable to me. I can always sew a strip to the sides where they are uneven. I have an idea to set these with sashings and to use some of the smaller embroidery motifs as cornerstones. When it's all sewn together, I don't think it will matter that some are a little off center.

Next up on my list of WIPs is to make another block for the Shop Hop quilt. The next one will be from Forget-Me-Knots quilt shop in Bandon, Oregon. We were in Bandon for the Circles in the Sand event at Face Rock. While there, we saw the nearby Coquille Lighthouse...

and so I chose this lighthouse fabric for my regional print.

Now I've traced out the name for my quilt block, and that's where I'll start this morning.

So the back of my Jeep is packed to the gills again with more donation boxes. I'll be making (hopefully) my final trip the Goodwill for a while. It was hard to part with some of that stuff yesterday, but the alternative was putting it back into the chest for my kids to deal with after I'm gone. Might as well lighten the load now. Aside from that, I'll need to water the flower pots today and then I'll get back to my sewing. 

Oh yes, and I almost forgot. We're erected deer deterrent devices in the tomato and flower pots. I don't know if this will work, but they're kind of fun to watch spinning in the wind.

Okay...off I go. Time to get a start on the day. I hope you have a good day planned for yourself.


Barbara said...

Looking back is a way to sharpen the focus on the things you want to change in your life. I think there's something about nostalgia that really puts a fine point on the here-and-now, and that can be incredibly fascinating and interesting and engaging for the mind. ~ Sarah Paulson

Quilter Kathy said...

Thanks for sharing all your treasures with your blog readers.
Such exquisite stitched and wooden treasures!

Katie said...

I thought you might show us what was inside the hope chests, but I suppose now much of it is gone. Ah well, my mom has one I'll inherit eventually (she is still living and doing well!) and then I'll have this kind of fun. The chest from Taiwan is cool, though, with the engravings and funky lock. As for Miss Sadie - my Gabby, formerly feral, will do ANYTHING for a Churu treat. The liquidy kind, not the nibbly treat kind, though I haven't tried the latter. There are similar products called "squeeze-ups" I can find at my local grocery store, but the Churu brand I can only find at my local pet store or online at Chewey. It's a little tube of cat food, about the consistency of baby food, that, when she had to take pills, she would come out from hiding when hearing the pill bottle rattle, knowing a Churu was coming next. She truly was feral when we got her and though she most recently has learned to sleep upside down on my bed, she still VERY MUCH had a mind of her own. All the kitties like all the flavors, and though they're expensive and you need to give some when bad things aren't a part of the routine for the ruse to work, I'd highly suggest them as a prize for making curfew if Sadie continues to be a wild child!

Sherrill said...

You have TWO hope chests! Awesome. Your mom's is pretty (I think my niece has my mom's) but yours is cooler coming from your dad. And love the 'lock' on it. I graduated in the 14th century (1972) and got one of those cute little boxes. Unfortunately the key was lost and could not open it any other way besides breaking into it. That did the box in. Love the lighthouse. Oh yeah, I saw a squirrel yesterday laid all sprawled out on someone's driveway and I thought 'what the heck is he doing? It's over 100 degrees!!'. Dumb squirrel.

murphysranch said...

Grad in '73 and got a Lane box for free. Don't have it anymore, but I sure loved it. I have a hope chest at the foot of my bed. Baby stuff and precious things in there now.

Sara said...

You are brave - but generous - to donate those items. I am still having trouble parting with too much stuff. And my daughters are both worried about what they may have to go through when I'm gone.

Hope those spinners slow down the deer snacking!

gpc said...

What a difficult task. I seem unable to dispose of even the things that have no sentimental value, so I would have really struggled with things I cared about. If there are any of those things . . . that's the thing about a mountain of clutter, from outside it all I don't know if there's anything that matters. I love the idea of donating your wedding dress for Litlte Angel Gowns though; it is a beautiful use of the fabric and will be a small comfort to someone. I feel a tug of envy for the hope chests -- I wanted one badly as a girl, but never got one. I found out later that my mother had given my grandma's away to an aunt to use as storage and it was ruined, and I am not sure what ever happened to the one my mother had. I would have liked my grandma's but even more would have liked one of my own. Oh, and an angora sweater. Not that I nurse grudges forever or anything. Bygones.

Vicki W said...

By the time I hit high school the "Hope Chest" fad has pretty much peaked but I always wanted one. They were made near where I grew up. My town made all of the Bassett brand furniture. I did have one of those small handkerchief boxes though. Good memories!

Rhonda Casey said...

My mother had a Lane chest too. My brother has it now. You brought back some good memories1

Anonymous said...

Barbara, your post today was a trip down memory lane for me….
I have one of the Lane handkerchief boxes that I got my senior year in high school, way back in 1966…(I think one of our local furniture stores gave them away)…I grew up in Danville, VA, which is about 28 miles or so from Altavista, VA!!
I spent many hours looking through the issues of Seventeen Magazine in my teen years!! I remember being so excited when a new issue would show up on the newsstand!
Your “cleaning and scrubbing” embroidery piece brought back memories of a cross stitch piece I made for our oldest nephew’s nursery wall, back in 1980!
I really like the way your Vintage Linen quilt blocks are coming along…what a special quilt this will be!
Sandra B

piecefulwendy said...

So Sadie's feral feline side came out a bit, I take it - thought a night of hunting might be fun? What beautiful chests, yours and your mom's. I like what you are doing with the embroidery pieces, using them to make another quilt. I really need to do some clearing, too. Not my favorite job!

Quilting Babcia said...

I'd never heard of the Lane handkerchief boxes, they may have begun that tradition after the 60s when I graduated. My mom had a beautiful Lane cedar chest that my sister now has. Your hope chest is truly special both for the camphor wood and unique decorative carvings but especially since your dad bought it especially for you and had it shipped home. What will you keep in it now that it's been emptied. Seems like it should continue to hold some very special treasures for your boys to find "someday." We have a lot of clearing out to do too but it's been hard to get "someone" motivated to begin. Purged my quilting magazines last month, a small start ...

Auntiepatch said...

Your Mom & Dad were married on the same day that my Mom & Dad were married!

Bridget said...

There is a person named Deborah Harry who turns rescued linens into project bags. they are gorgeous. She might give you ideas for using the linens you have...I believe she is on facebook.

Magpie's Mumblings said...

I've never heard of a moth insurance policy - interesting. Oh, and did you know that you can resurrect the cedar scent by a little light sanding?
That locking mechanism is rather ingenious...quite obviously hand made. Fun to discover the little stitcheries.

CA Bobbie said...

I have the same cedar chest as you, I also have the small handkerchief box. My Mom's chest went to my elder son and I suppose the younger will want mine. I did a lot of "clearing out' after doing the hard task of clearing my Mom's home. Now my cedar chest has only quilts in it, all the other mementos went on to others and some also to the donation store. It was fun to see the clothes I wore in the early years of my marriage, the crocheted puppets and knitted sweaters. But the memories live on. Job well done by your both.