The Sewing Box

I am loving the late afternoon sunlight pouring into my hallway this week. A few days ago we had the old yellow glass in our front door replaced with clear, and now it is light and warm, and I can see every speck of dust on that hall table.

Whilst putting away the pile of stuff that had mysteriously materialised on my bedroom chair the other day, I discovered The Mending Pile. It was lurking under the unwrapped birthday presents for my niece and sister-in-law, and just north of the Go Straight To The Dry Cleaners Do Not Pass Go Pile. One of the reasons I don't like mending is that I have a sewing drawer. Every pin, needle, piece of elastic, cotton reel and safety pin I've ever owned lives in there, it's all wrapped around everything else, and I can never find the needles until I impale myself on one. So, in the spirit of procrastination, and because even sorting is more fun than mending, I dumped out the whole drawer, and Rosy and I sorted it out during Downton Abbey.

During the week I had been inspired by a fellow ballet Mum. She was sewing about a million tulle blossoms onto a tutu, and she had a beautiful old wooden box with her sewing things in. 'Wait,' I thought, 'I  have a beautiful wooden box. It sits on my hall table, and has nothing in it.' A cunning plan was formulating in my mind. This lovely wooden box belonged to my grandparents, and I brought it home with me when my grandpa died last year. It is the biggest one in the photo above. The other two I bought at Oxfam in the days when I still bought things because I still had empty horizontal surfaces. The tiny one contains our rechargeable batteries, the middle one, eclectic pieces of tat. Rosy's job was to unwind all the tangled up thread and pack it into the middle box. Here it is, a lovely thread rainbow.

And below is the nice old wooden box, which contained the first aid kit at my grandparents' house for many, many years. The label on the blue paper lining reads Birk's Homeopathic Chemist, Rundle St, Adelaide. It is highly likely that it was the family homeopathic medicine chest of one my sets of great-grandparents, as nobody in that family ever threw anything away. Now it holds all the bits and bobs I will need to tackle any mending task, including grandma's thread scissors and darning mushroom, and the teddy-bear-shaped felt pincushion Rosy made me when she was five.

The old sewing drawer still has all the bits of elastic and safety pins that I know I will need one day, and when I do, I won't cut off my fingers with the sewing scissors trying to get to them. It does give me immense satisfaction to have another tiny corner of the house organised, and I love to have my things in containers that are beautiful and useful, and in this case, a link to the past as well, to the line of grandmothers who administered first aid, and darned stockings.

So last night, having run out of excuses, I sat down with my lovely sewing box and darned those school tights, four pairs, all with holes in the toes. And this afternoon Rosy came home and demonstrated my complete incompetence, toe poking out the end of the mend. Darned stockings!


1. My house is very dark, and usually I dislike the darkness, except when the light finally does shine through and exposes all my dusty surfaces. Then I remember why I don't mind the dark so much.

2. I love boxes! And old wooden boxes are the best. I've been on the prowl for an old wooden box to put my letter writing materials (stationery, postcards, stamps, etc.) in, but so far not much luck. Your sewing box is beautiful

Jo said…
What a good idea, a letter-writing box, though not so good for me as I am pathetic at writing letters. I have always been intrigued by the portable writing desks in old novels, with cubbyholes for everything, and a tray that folds out to write your letter on. Katy bought one for Elsie for Christmas in What Katy Did. I would maybe even write a letter if I had such a wonderful contraption. Maybe.
Judy said…
What a lovely post!

My eldest daughter took textiles A level and now we have a mountain of shoe boxes full of sequins and fancy material scraps (she bequeathed them to her little sister when she left for Uni). All her sewing things are in a very masculine and broken toolbox, mine are in a tin and we have inherited my Grandmothers wooden sewing box too, along with a large tin of buttons (nothing was ever wasted). Little sister has now started sewing dolls clothes and on top of the mountain of shoe boxes is now a cardboard box that she made into a wardrobe.

Seeing your lovely wooden boxes all organised I am determined to find some nice ones too and a little chest of drawers to keep everything all tidy. Thanks Jo

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