Ahem - once upon a time there was a table (nothing too extraordinary there but stick with it!) Having passed through the glory of youth and bounty of middle age it was now spending a quiet retirement in the corner of a shop. A shop filled with grand carvings, marble washstands, Victorian samplers and hand painted china. People came and people went. Wowed by the beauty of the grander artefacts they rarely noticed the small, unassuming object in the corner. That is until the day that Plain Jane appeared.
Okay - enough of the third person - that's just too far. Back to earth now.
Always on the lookout for a bargain the shape of the little table took my eye. It appeared to be made from bent plywood with a gorgeous bevelled round top.
But then I looked closer.I saw something that made me curious. Can you see it? Look really close.
A catch. Now where there's a catch there's usually more to see. Hidden treasure? I quickly peeked inside and hurried over to Mr Shop Man to nervously ask the price. He looked relieved. Oh that thing - it's been there for ages - full of junk - how about £10 just to get rid of it? I must have changed colour. Surely he hadn't looked inside properly. Surely he was talking about something else. What was certain was that for £10 I had bagged a cute little table and I needed to get it out of that shop - quick - before he realised his terrible blunder. Unaware of my anxiety Mr Shop Man calmly accepted my £10, carried the little table to the car for me and waved me off in a friendly, if confused, fashion.
Once home I couldn't wait to see the full extent of the treasure. I unclasped the catch and was immediately smitten by the beautiful rose coloured silk that padded the lid.
I was so excited that my hands were shaking. Look!
And then the little treasures revealed themselves.
It became clear pretty quickly that this little table had once been owned by someone who valued it very much. It was a place for them to store all that they needed to 'make do and mend'.
There were needlebooks.
Look at the motto on this one.
|'Tis Plenty in Small Fortune to be Neat.|
Mrs Table Woman was not only thrifty but neat to boot! Inside this one each 'page' had a label as to what sort of needle should go there.
This one was double, long and darning but there was also chenille, straw and rug!
Some darning thread together with a beautiful hand painted darning mushroom.
Lots of 'bits and bobs' including notions, a suspender clip, a shell, keys (I wonder what they were for), a badge from Torquay and - obviously - a small plastic baby.
There was beading thread on a gorgeous card.
|...for stringing pearls and beads.|
And a pillar box red tin
full of pins!
The sweetest little blue nappy pin and name tape. B.D. - Bartholomew Dimple?
But the crowning glory was saved until last.
I imagine this tin was given as a present, probably full of loose tea, and was cherished as a 'posh' tin which would be brought out when visitors arrived, full of biscuits or home baked fancies. Later in life it was given a new purpose. Maybe not as fancy but just as noble. Can you guess?
That's right. Buttons!
Lots and lots of buttons.
Mrs Table Woman must have kept the buttons off all of her clothes. Imagine the larger ones on her winter coats, pretty glass ones on 'best' blouses, hefty ones with brass fastenings for Mr Table Man's cardigans. I have my own button stash and the obvious thing to do would be to sort them all out together and then keep them according to size, colour etc. But it wouldn't feel right. No - these buttons must stay together until needed for a worthy cause! In that tin is a whole history of Mrs Table Woman's wardrobe - how lovely it would be if we could magic up the clothes they belonged to. For now they are going back in the tin. And the tin is going back in the table. And the table is going to be cherished for many years to come.
I blame it all on Bagpuss x