Thursday, May 7, 2015

A Peek Inside: Aunt Bertha's Kitchen Set

Will there be items in her hope chest that Miss Abigail will never use? Probably.

I have a large and loving family. There were six aunts that lived close by as I grew up. These aunts were wonderful models of homemaking skills and I learned a lot from each of them. Three of the aunts are still living and are very elderly. Around the time of my birthday, a few years ago now, I picked up a package in the mail. It was from my Aunt Bertha. Inside the package were these wonderful hotpads and the embellished dishtowel, along with a note that told me how much she loved me and appreciated all of our shared experiences.

My Aunt Bertha is a very talented woman and I've never been able to use the gift as she intended that I should. I will perhaps one day, but in the meantime, I just like to get them out and look at them and remember my lovely aunt. There are a couple of things that I made for my own hope chest that I never used. I get as much pleasure out of their prettiness and the effort it took to make them as I would in using them. But even as I say that, I hope that Miss Abigail will use the things I am making. I'm making LOTS, just to ensure that she will have enough to use. There are enough that some could be gifted as my sweet aunt did, and some leftover for grandchildren. I'm sure that there will be things that Abigail will only bring out for special occasions and maybe one of two that she will just save to look at. But I hope she will use and reuse and wear out most of her hope chest.

One of my favorite activities, on a lazy afternoon, is to go to antique stores and poke around. I am always drawn to the linens. There are piles of wonderful hand crafted linens to sort through. I always wonder about why they were made and love to guess whether the crafter made them for a hope chest. I like to see signs of them being used. I think it sad when I come upon a perfect, unused pair of pillowcases or tablecloth or monogrammed napkins. There is such a lot of work involved to have the item remain unused and stored away in the dark of a chest or drawer.

Do any of you have items that you acquired for your home and yet have never used? Do you think it a shame, as I do? When do we reach the point of allowing ourselves to use our beautiful things? I really do try and hope you do as well.

BTW, the dishtowel is embellished with a simple fabric border along with the pretty peaches iron-on transfer. My aunt also used the ever-popular single-crochet diagonal pattern for the hot pads. Just google it (single-crochet diagonal hot pads) for lots of directions and tutorials.


  1. We have some beautiful crystal bowls and decorative items we received as gifts for our wedding. For the first 5 or 6 years of our marriage I kept them carefully wrapped and stashed away, only pulling one or two out once a year for a "fancy" event. I decided finally though that I was missing the point of those. I wanted to use these special gifts that were given to us not to take up cupboard space for 363 days out of the year. We started using them as fruit bowls, vases, pretty dishes for dinners more often, etc. Every time we use them I think of the love people expressed through those gifts, and they make my house more pretty! One of the crystal bowls has broken through using it, but I don't regret using it. It brought cheer and beauty and reminded us of love, and I think that was much better than just stashing it away to keep in intact and never seen or used.

  2. And, all the beautiful linens and dishcloths you made for us for our wedding have done the same thing. I love using them. They are so pretty, and I feel loved every time I pull one out.

  3. I'm so glad you are using your pretty things, Marquette! And I'm pleased that you feel the love I put into the things I've made for your family. Towels can hardly express it, but there's the tangible reminder nontheless.

  4. I came across your blog a few days ago as I researched vintage hope chest ideas. There is something so familiar about this tea towel and how it is made that I wonder if your Aunt Bertha is my grandmother? Are you part of the Anderson family from Idaho?

    I just wanted to let you know that I love what you are sharing here and the things you are making for Abigail. Thank you!

    1. Well -hello Kiyoko! Yes, I'm a cousin. I think it is amazing that you could run across my blog. I hope you'll check in now and then. If you look under the "genealogy" label on the sidebar, you'll see some pictures that you may recognize.


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