The One That Didn’t Get Away

Sometimes things work out just fine.

A few short weeks ago, I was loudly lamenting that I had not bought a sewing caddy I found at a garage sale. But that recent experience with hesitation and regret left me primed for the sewing box I found two days ago, at yet another garage sale.

While the one that got away was whimsical and handmade and fun, this one is staid and handsome and sensible.

The case I left behind made me smile out loud, but I think I knew that, if I owned it, I wouldn’t really use it. I have other similar cases and I have never pressed them into real service. They are a little tippy and awkward to move and, I don’t know, not really aligned with my organizational style.

I knew this case was really much more suited to my needs; I loved it the moment I saw it.

This is not to say that I paid the asking price for it! It was priced at three times as much as the box I didn’t buy and I would not have gone that high. But the seller wanted it to be loved and appreciated and was willing to accept what I could pay, she said, because she believed I would love and appreciate it.

She was right.

It belonged to the great-grandmother of the seller; great-grandma’s name was Violet.

Violet, and others in the family who came to use the box, left the case filled with the bits and bobs and flotsam of daily sewing. I spent a happy hour or two sifting through their treasures.

Wooden spools of thread, clothing patterns from the 1960s, needle books given away at stores. Pin cushions. Many, many buttons. I will think of Violet whenever I use the case.

But this isn’t Violet’s sewing box any longer. It’s mine now, and I just know she’d want me to use it and make it my own.

I’ll put most of the old stuff away and fill the box with the flotsam of my daily sewing. It will hold the things I use to sew yo-yos together, to embroider my redwork squares, to organize me through projects as yet unimagined.

I will pick it up and take it with me to sit by the lake on these perfect summer days. In autumn, I can carry it to a spot sheltered from the wind and savor the October sun.

I will transport it next to the fireplace when winter arrives and the lake freezes and the north wind blows cold.

And I’ll be awfully glad I didn’t let this one get away . . .

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75 thoughts on “The One That Didn’t Get Away

  1. This sewing box is so practical. Yes I can imagine how easy it is to carry it from place to place. And it is wonderful to know some of the history too.

    • The woman selling it was clearly conflicted about letting it go but she said she had so much stuff from her relatives she had to downsize. I’m glad i was there at the right time!

  2. What a lovely, functional piece of furniture. Bless those sellers who want their items to be loved and appreciated…they are out there!

  3. Liked the Grand Union sign. I recall when they were the place to shop for food. I also worked for Grand Way which was part of Grand Union in high school and college.

    • That Grand Union thing was a needle book, with all the needles still perfectly inside! They must’ve used it as a giveaway to entice shoppers. And I remember the Grandway well!

    • The thing that’s showing is not actually a pattern–it’s the cover of a little pamphlet about the “in” styles of 1966! I’m proud to say I wore many of those styles in my day!

      • Got it! But I think I have several patterns very similar! The saying these days is “If you are old enough to have worn the style first time around, you should not be wearing it the 2nd time around”! LOL!!!!!! (actually said about ‘bell-bottom’ pants).

    • I know–I was very excited about those contents. There were little style books from McCalls and Simplicity inside from 1966–I’m not sure the box had been used since then!

  4. Oh, I’m so glad. I was quite upset for you after that last ‘if only….’ post. Yours is a splendid acquisition, and it’s going to be a good friend. I know Violet would approve.

    • I do think this one is more my style–as much as the whimsy of the other one appealed to me. I’ve already pressed this into service and it’s very handy! I can feel Violet smiling . . .

  5. This one is a wonderful find! I am glad you were able to get it -and it is filled with treasures, too. You are making me want to scour local shops to find one for my knitting paraphernalia…it looks so perfect by the lake, and I can picture it under the trees and by the fire. 🙂

    • The only problem with scouring thrift shops and going to garage sales is that you have to kiss a lot of frogs before you find any princes or treasures! My mother and I have a regular date to go “saling” and most weeks we find nothing of value . . . .

    • Oh, I know just the kind of sewing box you’re talking about! I bet you could find a similar one on eBay or Etsy . . . but it wouldn’t be quite the same . . .

  6. I remember the one that did get away! But, whatever happens, happens for the good isn’t it? 🙂
    I love your new caddy Kerry and how nice it must be for you to sit by the lake and embroider! 🙂

  7. I would have used the one that got away! They do say all things come to those who wait. And I like that the owners wanted love over cash – that’s the kind of thing to bring into your home! I’m glad you have one you are happy with and will use – and I had a pattern almost exactly like that one in the 60’s, mine was a mini and the neck was a placard inset instead. I made it in a true orange fabric and wore it with white boots and thought I was the bees knees!! It all came rushing back at the sight of the picture 🙂

    • The dress pictured in the box was not a pattern but the cover of a little style pamphlet of the “in” looks of 1966–so you must’ve be very “in”! I had white boots, too–they were all the rage here. We called them “go-go boots.” Were they called that in NZ?

      • Yes they were – it was a global phenomenon 🙂 I don’t recall being particularly ‘in’ but I loved my white boots!! [I still love boots 50 years later, just not white any more 🙂 ]

      • Yes. I’m still jealous that my non-stitching cousin got Gran’s box (it had been in the family for a couple of generations). I hope one of her girls picks it up.

    • I had a lot of fun with the bonus goodies. There are several little pamphlets showing the cool styles of the mid-1960s. Maybe it’s because I was growing up then, and wore a lot of those styles, but I still think they look pretty good!

  8. You passed the other one by to get something even better! I love that it’s portable and at the perfect height to work from a chair. And even better…a chair by the lake 🙂

    • Yes, it’s really designed so well. The lid opens up to be those little shelves and they’re really pretty sturdy. I need to be careful not to let a cat try to jump up there though . . . EEK!

  9. I’m looking for a new sewing box as well and now I know what I’m looking for. 🙂 I love the height of it and it is quite practical. Perfect. All the treasures inside are a bonus. What a lovely shadow box those little treasures would create in the sewing room. Everything has a reason and know you know. 🙂

    • I see quite a lot of sewing boxes at the garage sales I go to but not many that have these tall legs and that look like nice furniture. Your idea of a shadow box is a great one!

      • I don’t get to garage sales anymore because I can’t drive very much. But I’ll keep my eyes open for one now. It will show up. I have a shadow box ready to work on here, which is why I thought about it. Have fun. 🙂

  10. Oh my, it is lovely, beautiful and perfect! And what a bonus that it was filed with trasures and you cold spent a few happy hours in Violet’s company. And just the idea already of sitting in the October sun with yor beautiful box..you must Be very happy. I am looking for a Midcentury one but so far not the perfect one. Congratulations on yours! Xo Johanna

    • I know I don’t need to say this but wait for the perfect one! I’m sure it’s out there. And I’m just like you–waiting for the cool, crisp days of October . . .

  11. So much beauty in an unassuming box. I was bummed for you when you didn’t get the first one but this one is so much more practical. I am sure you will enjoy it in every season.

    • Sometimes I hate the idea that I am so practical and wish I was more impetuous and spontaneous. But, this time, I am just going to embrace it and admit that I bought the right box for me!

  12. How beautiful, useful, and perfect for you! I’ve seen sewing baskets at estate sales, but never kits or furniture like either of the two pictured. I come across plenty of sewing notions, but it looks like you got a few unique treasures in there, too.

    • I go to a LOT of garage sales–every weekend, mostly, over the summer. So, eventually good thing turn up. But this is still the best sewing caddy I’ve found!

  13. That sewing box is perfect, I’ve never quite seen anything like it! I love that the sides fold out into little tables for your drink. The picture of your chair by the lakeside looks blissful, whart a beautiful way to spend an afternoon. I once spotted a gold elephant shaped side-table at a car boot sale that I didn’t buy. It was shiny and kitsch and silly and I’ve regretted it ever since! x

  14. What a treasure! You probably didn’t get the first one, because this one was meant for you. I like how the seller wasn’t asking the highest possible price, but also cared for the sewing box to go to someone who would really love and enjoy it! Happy that it’s not all about the money, which sadly, often is the case.

    • The seller, in this instance, was very conflicted about letting things go. She needed the space that was being taken up by lots of things from both grandmothers and her mother, and she was making hard choices. She was a little relived, i think, to have me be so enthusiastic about the sewing case–didn’t feel so guilty about selling it anymore!

  15. I will buy a mystery box of almost anything, but going through old sewing boxes is one of my favorite things to do! I have tons of those giveaway needle packs from all sorts of businesses. So cool that you bought it from someone who knew you would treasure the box and its contents. Great score!

    • I’ve been using that box consistently since I got it and it always makes me happy! I think you understand exactly how I feel at a garage sale or thrift shop–wheee!

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