Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Fortunate Finds: Estate Sale Linens, Books, and More

I've been good about several months of destashing, so I gave myself permission to go to a humongous estate sale over the weekend.  I found some really great vintage stuff, and I need it all, truly!  Ok, I don't need it all, but I was really circumspect about what I bought. I couldn't resist hot pink grosgrain ribbon, and this charming embroidered ribbon that dates to September 1978 whispered "please take me home":

I also found the most gorgeous handmade embroidered linens I have ever seen:

A preview of linens needing a bit of restoration

Those I've pictured above are stained in places, or need some crochet restoration work, such as in the photo below:

This picture does not do this sweet crochet trim justice.  It was hand sewn onto the edge of the fabric with tiny, nearly invisible stitches.

Isn't this stitching amazing?

All of the embroidery is nearly perfect, and I am in awe of the skills the woman who did this.  I actually turned the green doily over to look for joins (knots), as the stitching is so even it appears to be machine-made.  I know that I may not be able to get the stains out, but as I bought these pieces for my enjoyment and have a good idea what I'll be using them for, I'm not worrying about.   I also found a few darling, perfect, unstained pieces.  I will put those in the Etsy shop sometime soon.  A find like this is too good not to share!

I also found some things that I was not looking for at all.  I bought a small bag of loose buttons, and apparently I now have a small collection of vintage and antique wooden spools of thread that I probably shouldn't keep.  They might encourage further collecting.  Check out my Flickr photostream if you'd like to see them and a couple of other interesting vintage items.

Finally, I found the strangest button that I've ever seen, molded in plastic with a pretty design,  and a metal corkscrew "shank".  This is a first for me.  Is it an upholstery tack of some kind?  Can anyone help me identify the button below?

What is this?


  1. My mother and I used to clean these sorts of linens in Biz and then lay them in the sun to dry. It whitened and removed some of the stains. Unfortunately I checked around two weeks ago for a new box of Biz and couldn't find it anywhere. I guess it's not made anymore. I'm trying to find out what exactly it was to see if I can find it elsewhere. It was the best for cleaning older textiles.

  2. Susan, thanks, Biz and sunshine are some of the tricks in my arsenal! I just switched to Biz a few months ago, and I agree, it is hard to find. I found the liquid at a local grocery store and my local Target only carries the powder. You may have to look around for some time before you find it.

  3. Great finds indeed! The embroidery reminds me of things my Grandma once made. I wish I had the fortune at finding great items that both you and my Mom seem to have...

  4. ooo, I love finding these sort of things, love it! I have lost track of BIZ too so I now use Amways SA8, I just get it off their site, it's worth it. :)

    As for the funny tack, mmm... maybe as a hat pin that would screw into a loose weave hat and grip your hair underneath. Really interesting thats for sure.

    Have a great PEAR day!

  5. Thanks Nico...it just takes time to find things among all of the crap at estate sales. I am a lot more patient than I used to be, and I try to look at everything.

    Gabrielle, thanks for the Amway tip! I the tack is too small for a hairpin...my only guess is upholstery. But I've never seen one like it before!

  6. I think the button is used to keep antimacassars in place.
    An antimacassar is a small cloth placed over backs or arms of chairs.
    Because of my poor English I had to copy this from Wikipedia :)
    Hope this helps?

  7. Yes the "corkscrew button" (not an official term that I'm aware of) is used to hold fabric on upolstered furniture. It would certainly work for antimacassars. My mother had a sofa cover (for our fraying sofa) that we held in place with those buttons.

  8. Thanks everyone! Mystery solved!

    I wish I had more than one! I'll bet there are ton of crafty uses for them....

  9. Those tacks were used when people used to have doilies on the arm rest of sofas and chairs to protect the fabric underneath. They not only came in clear (like you have) they also came in a off white that looked like ivory. Very pretty. My grandmother used to use them and I was always playing around with them. LOL


I love to read your comments! Thank you for sharing your thoughts with me.

If you have a question for me or would like a personal response, be sure to allow email replies in your Blogger profile or just leave your email address in your comment.

Have a great day!