Tag Archives: antique linens

Once-in-a-lifetime Estate Sale Shopping Spree

“Almost 20 years ago, they  (the lace portraits shown below) were purchased at an estate sale,  where they were pinned to a sheet of cardboard.  If any interest is expressed, I’ll write a post about that once-in-a-lifetime textile shopping spree.  Occasionally, I still dream about it!” 

antique-lace-portraits-FI

 

This quote is from an earlier post about these antique lace portraits. Readers did ask for the story.  So let me tell you………

This was the most amazing estate sale I had ever seen, or ever will again.  It was truly a once-in-a-lifetime shopping opportunity to acquire beautiful things.

First, a few details about one of my finds at that sale, a set of 6 placemats and napkins with a matching table runner.

 

blueSW placematw napkin

Shadow embroidered placemat with surface embroidery and hemstitching.

 

The shadow embroidery on this luncheon set is absolutely flawless.  Worked in two shades of blue, the stitches are so tiny and so regularly spaced that it’s hard to believe this is handwork.

 

blue SWplacemat Lcorner

 

The surface embroidery is equally remarkable.

 

blueSW placemat

 

The set of six placemats and napkins includes a table runner.  With my Blue Willow china,  it makes a pretty setting for lunch.  For tea, flow blue cups are elegant.  My 7 yo granddaughter Laurel and I enjoy having tea on the breakfast porch with these cups.  Robert, 6, sometimes joins us but prefers a no-nonsense Gator mug.

 

blue flow cup stand

 

So here is the story about how this all came about.  My mother’s friend, Marybelle, had a daughter who did estate sales and auctions in New England.  She didn’t liquidate little Ma & Pa farms or cottages but rather huge estates with names like Rockefeller or DuPont.  Mind you, I don’t know the surnames, but the implication was that they were of this status, rich and/or famous.

 

Suzanne bought these, then duplicated the technique. The article is featured in Creative Needle magazine.

 

The story goes that the 4 or 5 adult children had already stripped the house of  everything that interested them, which apparently was the bulk of the mansion’s  contents.   Then, at the auction, more than $5 million worth of items were sold.  The leftovers were sent to Marybelle, a well-connected Southern lady, who was to offer them to her friends.  Fortunately for me, my mother was one of her friends. Continue reading

Iris Tea Linens

Earl Grey tea and banana bread served in the potting shed

Earl Grey tea and banana bread served in the potting shed

 

This set of  six linen napkins and placemats is so beautiful that using them, either to  pamper myself or entertain special friends, always makes me appreciative of the needleworker’s skill.  They were purchased from an estate sale and were estimated to be vintage 1940.

By virtue of my friend Suzanne Sawko’s definition  of “antique” as something that is older than she is, I declare these linens to be the real deal.  But using Suzanne’s standard has made it harder and harder for me to find genuine antiques!

 

Iris Linen placematcorner

placemat corner

 

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