A Sewing Box Treasure

**Thank you, everyone, for your kind wishes for my hubbie this past week – He’s back at work now and feeling fine! Yippee!**

Sewing History

Look what my Mom picked up for me last month! (Thank you so much, Mom!) She was in Lansdowne, Ontario for a family reunion and memorial, and found this lovingly hand-painted sewing box at a local second-hand shop. Isn’t it pretty? I love the colour and decoration… but the bottom is even better!

Sewing History

Thank you, Violet Jones, whomever you are, for putting your name and date on the bottom. It feel so intensely personal to know that she put so much care and pride into painting this box back in 1939! I love the way the pencil lines are still showing. Oh, to have handwriting like that!

Sewing History

Inside are all kinds of treasures…

Sewing History

Some precious, some just the accumulated junk from years of use… which are just as fun! I love the paper measuring tape, and the fine needles…

Sewing History

My favourite is this old poppy from Remembrance Day. It’s made of starched fabric and black felt. A far cry from the plastic red-and-green poppies we get now! Of course, she would have painted this right at the start of WW2… I wonder if the poppy dates from between the wars, or after WW2? I did a little research, and apparently poppies have been worn in Canada since 1921, and were made by veterans. The poem “In Flanders Fields” was written by an Ontario man who lived in the town where I went to university. As a teen, I sung with a children’s choir on a tour of Canadian military graveyards in Holland and France, so it’s a particularly poignant symbol for me!

PicMonkey Collage

Now, Violet Jones is no relation of mine, but there *is* a family connection to Lansdowne. My great-great-grandmother, Ellen Beatty Scott (pictured above – isn’t she sweet looking?) lived in Lansdowne and wove a massive wool carpet in 1887. The carpet is now in a local museum, but somehow small pieces of Ellen’s original weaving has also been passed down for generations. That’s my mom’s section draped over the couch above – The colours are brilliant and bold, and not for the faint-hearted! My sister got so fascinated by the history of the carpet this year that she wrote an amazing series of blog posts, and then gathered everything she’d learned into a self-published book!

Sewing History

Here’s a shot from the book: Look at the size of the original carpet! On the opposite page, you can see pictures of my Mom, Dad and sister investigating the carpet at the museum – They were kind enough to bring it out just for the family!

Of course, my great-great-grandmother had moved on long before my little sewing box was painted… but I feel lucky to have both the carpet and sewing box as a connection to the crafty past. (Plus, look how closely the box happens to match the colours of the carpet!)  

My family has always had an interest in history, and we’re lucky to have more heirlooms and old photos than most… but as immigrants to a colony way back in the early/mid 19th century, we have nothing dating back any earlier. Settlers just couldn’t bring very much with them! 

How much do you know about your family history? What’s the oldest heirloom that your family has? I’m fascinated to know if British and European families that have lived in the same place for centuries have been able to hold on to more tidbits from the past than those of us in the “New World” and colonies!


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