Sunday, September 20, 2009

Poke Sack

I am happy to report another victorious search and rescue at the thrift store. My affinity for "poke sacks" is well known. Poke sacks, poke boxes, poke bags, bags o' unknown crap, call them what you will... I CANNOT resist one. All I need to see is one little trinket that catches my eye and it's all over. I have to find out what else is in there! All of this loveliness was stuffed, in a tangled mess, inside a large plastic bag just waiting for me to sort and smooth and oh and ah as I brought order to the chaos and respect to the possibilities.

I won't bore you by cataloging everything that came home with me for my $3.98 but it includes many bundles and several spools of acetate ribbon, the kind used for floral work, many, many colors of satin ribbon, lace, both old and older, rick-rack, braid trims, seam binding, some thread and a thimble, zippers, many sizes and types of elastic and a cool piece of ephemera offering an apron pattern for 25 cents.
I have heard it said that you should bring nothing into your home that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful. I try. Really. Some things cry out in a way that is almost audible - RESCUE ME!
Over the years I think I've seen just about everything at the trift store, from bronzed baby shoes to a burial urn. Yes, really. A burial urn. As I was unscrewing the lid my brain was processing that I was UNSCREWING the lid and I realized what it was at about the same moment that I peeked inside. Luckily for me the only thing left of the occupant was the metal toe tag. So I really have seen it all, cradle to grave.
My favorite rescue are the poke boxes of buttons and sewing notions. As I poke through them I get an impression of the former owner. You can tell a lot about a woman from her sewing box. Many utilitarian buttons, removed from the garments and saved for mending punctuated by random glass or rhinestone buttons saved from a few "special" dresses. Uniform buttons strung together on a piece of darning thread, perhaps all that is left of a loved one's uniform. A few marbles and bullets (yes, I have found bullets) retrieved from pockets on the way to the washer. A felt needle case with "MOM" crudely embroidered on the front, surely a gift from a young daughter. A thimble stamped with S&H for the green stamps. Hand-tatted lace cut from the endge of a worn out pillow case so it could be repurposed as trim from a baby dress. Bra extenders because she put on a little weight as the years went by. You can tell a lot about a woman from her sewing box.
It tugs my heart when I find these poke boxes in the thrift store. Some one grabbed a box or a bag and up-ended the drawers of the sewing cabinet to "get rid of all that junk". Big sigh. It makes my heart glad to rescue them and respect that they are the artifacts of a creative life.

1 comment:

Michelle Murphy said...

I love those litle treasures. I have not been shopping in awhile..need to take a day and go. Thanks so much for sharing.