Of Things Old

Old is a number. By number, I am old, but still active, healthy in habit, and fairly strong. I am older than my Mom was when she died by almost a decade. Old here in the mountains seems to be a lower age than I have reached, but I’m from a long lived arm of the family paternally. My great grandmother lived to 94, my grandmother to 88, my father to 92.

I love old things, but I’m not an antique collector. My parent’s home had many antiques when I was small, but most of them were replaced during the two years my mother worked outside of the home when I was in 7th and 8th grades. A few pieces were saved and a couple of those pieces have come to me. Two simple tables, hand built by past generations and kept in the family. One is a small table with three drawers that was in a kitchen long ago. When the top right drawer isn’t pushed tight shut, there is evidence of a mouse gnawing it’s way into the drawer, a small oblong hole and a keyhole with no lock.

My Dad cleaned this beautiful little table of paint and put a wax coat on it, it is repurposed as a side table in our living room.

I don’t know the history of this one, except hearing the story that my parents felt it was too tall, the legs had the same flattened ball shape turning at the bottoms of the legs and Dad cut them off. When it was given to me, the top was loose with nail holes in it, the finish damaged. It too had evidence of having been painted and the paint removed. I stripped the table, put L brackets under the top hidden by the drawer to tighten it and refinished it. It is the table between our chairs in the loft, where we put our beverages and my spinning bowl. It too is from my mother’s family home.

This cedar chest was in the hall at the top of the stairs of my in-laws home. When my Mother -in-law passed and their house was sold, we got the brass accented cedar chest. It smelled of mothballs and is full of old family photos and home movies from hubby’s side of the family. It serves as our living room coffee table.

When I was pregnant with our first child and we were moving from the duplex that I co owned with my parents into a larger home in which to raise our family, we bought me a Boston rocking chair for the nursery. It was used in the nursery for the older two children, but when we moved to a larger home in a nicer neighborhood prior to child three, I found this 1700’s pressed wood rocking chair in a shop where I bought the reed I used to make baskets. The gentleman caned chair bottoms and had begun making the pressed leather pieces that adorned some chairs from that period. This rocker came home to be in the nursery for the youngest.

Because of it’s age, it was used, but used gently. When youngest was about 3 or 4 years old, we elected to down size to a townhouse that we could afford on my salary as a school counselor so that hubby could open his own Law Office, knowing that it would be a while before his fledgling business would be solvent. Since the boys had to share a bedroom, the chair was put in the living room. Our children knew that if they used that chair, it was to be used gently. One Thanksgiving while we were living there, I hosted the meal for some of the extended family. One member, a large man sat in that chair. Son 1 suggested to him that maybe it wasn’t an appropriate choice just prior to him leaning back and snapping the back right off the chair. There was an antique repair shop that put dowels in the broken spindles and re glued the chair so that it looks okay, but it is now just a decorative piece. The seat is sound, and it is probably safe for gentle use.

Somewhere in our life history, a good friend purchased this antique treadle sewing machine at an auction. My husband purchased it from her for me as a gift. It has been in several locations in our homes, but fits nicely in this corner of our hallway and holds a landline phone that we must keep to have internet. The brown rectangular box basket on top is my great grandmother’s sewing basket. The machine has a leather drive band and still works, though I think it needs a good cleaning and oiling.

There are a few other small items, a child’s chair that is from my Dad’s childhood, another child’s chair that belongs to one of our Daughters in law, a bentwood doll’s chair made for my mother, and a small pottery jug that came from my mother’s family home. And in our loft, the large Walking Wheel seen in the header photo. That wheel, a gift from hubby a few years ago, purchased in an antique shop in Front Royal, Virginia on a visit to Son 1’s family. It is a functional wheel and knowing now what I didn’t know then, we paid about twice what it is worth, but it is beautiful and I love it.

Whether these pieces stay with our children when we are gone or not, this is so they know some history. I have thought about putting the history of each on a card and tucking the card in a drawer or under the lid. They haven’t all “fit” in some of our homes, but they are all perfect for this log home in the middle of a farm.

Olde Christmas 1/5/2020

Wilderness Road Regional Museum celebrated Olde Christmas today with the traditional King’s cake and the burning of the greens. There was story time at one end of the museum and my weaver friend, Kim and I at the other end. There were cookies, hot tea, and craft beer available. A roving fiddler to provide music. A Colonial toy set up by another friend, Mary.

The local militia gathered and fired off a multi gun salute.

We wove and spun for about 4 hours for visitors, discussing fiber in the Colonial era, visited with each other and guests.

I said goodbye to the wheel in my photo as it was donated today to the museum, reducing my herd to two, my huge Walking wheel and my everyday “in the style of” wheel. When I spin there, it will be one of my options for use.

Next time, someone else will take my picture, selfies don’t seem to work so well.

Done – 1/4/2020

The blanket beat the baby. The weave was completed last evening, but I didn’t want to work with my sewing machine without very good light, so it rested on the loom overnight with the small towel.

After the morning Farmers Market run for some protein and veggies, which we did between the early morning rain and the arrival of the cold front with wind and more rain, the weave was carefully removed from the loom. The third panel was added to the other two, the ends hemmed. The other three pieces were also hemmed.

The crochet hook located and a single crochet edge applied.

With fingers crossed that there wouldn’t be too much shrinkage, the four pieces were put in a cool water quick wash in the washing machine and a dry on low in the dryer. The blanket shrank a bit as expected, but is still baby blanket size. I think the Lily Sugar and Cream shrank too much for the towel to still be a towel and the smaller one is a dish drying mat or hot pad size. The dish cloth is ok.

Maybe 3 more woven with the same warp amount and the three blocks, I will have a set of placemats. If packaged with the hot mat and 4 napkins sewn from a matching color cotton fabric, it will make a nice set to gift or sell.

As tomorrow is Olde Christmas at Wilderness Road Regional Museum, the rest of the evening is being spent making sure that I have clean fleece to spin, fiber on the ring distaff for spindle spinning, and a basic men’s hat cast on with hand spun Jacob on the bone DPNs. That will give me plenty to demonstrate to any visitors that tour through the museum. The militia will be outdoors and will fire off a salute to Christmas. There will be goodies to eat, craft beer to buy, some crafted gifts to purchase, and music. It is a family friendly event, so if you are a local reader, it should be a nice if cool day to come out for some fun.