My mom still has all of my Cabbage Patch Kids and their clothes (most of which she made). They have bunk beds and car seats and lots of clothes to wear. They used to live in the attic in the home where I grew up and my sister and I would spend hours playing house with the Cabbage Patch dolls and a few other dolls. We set up beds and cribs and used all the old blankets we could find to take care of the “kids”. The girls came out of retirement when Casey was little and moved down to the cottage so Casey could play with them when she visits. There was one year where she really enjoyed them but in the last few years, she gets them out for a few minutes and that’s about it. This year, she was more interested in the little quilts that were with the dolls.
We’re not really sure who made the quilts and which one might have been mine and which one might have been my sister’s. They look like a true patchwork of leftover fabric, in some spots bits and pieces were put together to get the square. They are perfectly imperfect…the squares are not exactly square and they don’t meet up perfectly at the corners, but that completely adds to the charm.
I hung them on the clothesline to snap pictures, trying to get a shot before the wind blew them up and away from me. It was a beautiful sunshiny day and I love how the sun shines through the seams. Plus the scenery in the background is not too shabby either…high tide on that particular day and time.
One quilt is a little more pastel than the other. The other has some richer reds and greens and blues…maybe they thought I was going to be a boy. Something makes me think the darker one was mine. The pastel quilt is backed with a low volume floral print and the darker one is backed with a Holly Hobbie fabric. There is no binding, just a zigzag seam around the outside. They are about 30 by 30 inches. They are quilted with ties.
These quilts are just a few years shy of 40 years old and they’re just getting better with age. The fabric is super soft and Casey brought one of them home to Florida with her for snuggling. (It’s certainly not needed for warmth here right now!) Like the button bag, it’s fun to imagine someone working on it a few decades ago and picking each fabric piece to add.
When I was thinking about the things I wanted to write about the cottage, I asked my mom if she had any old photos. I thought I had seen most of the old albums she had but the ones that she pulled out were a piece of family and cottage history I hadn’t seen before. The albums belonged to her mother and sisters and they were from the late 1920s and early 1930s. It was a unique experience down a memory lane that wasn’t exactly ours. Mum knew who most of the people were and knew stories here and there that she’d heard as a child. The photos were pretty well labeled with names and the places were places we knew but 85 years younger in the photos. Her mother, my grandmother, had the most entertaining captions for her photos. We had a great evening laughing at all their poses and trying to imagine a day when men wore 3 piece suits to spend time on the beach.
While we were looking at these pictures, we were sitting with another piece of history behind our backs. Mum made pillows for her new leather couches and she told me she used some old buttons, probably from her grandmother. When I asked her where the buttons came from, she brought out the button bag to show me. The button bag lived in the old cottage and was there as long as Mum can remember. Through the photos we looked at, we saw a picture of an original cottage with the caption that it burned in the 1920s. What I’m calling the “old” cottage must have been brought to the site sometime shortly after that as it appears prominently in the late 20s photos. Mum believes the button bag must have been her grandmother’s and continued to live at the cottage through the years and through the next few generations.
I dug through the button bag, trying to imagine where the buttons used to live, who might have worn them. Some are obviously buttons from button down shirts. Others look like they spent time on a coat or a dress. It’s obvious that they are well used buttons, probably salvaged from well worn clothing, maybe more than one time. Some are so worn that they couldn’t be used again.
Some of them are probably 100 year old buttons! And I love that my mom not only still has the button bag but was able to use some of the buttons in the newest edition of the cottage.
We also checked out an old sewing basket…even I remember seeing that basket sitting around at the cottage. Quite a collection of thread inside, with prices ranging from 15 cents to 50 cents.
The photo albums were a fun trip to the past through the eyes of my ancestors and the buttons and thread were a unique physical connection to most of those same people. As I get older, I feel like I should be writing this history down as I hear the stories. Although my kids didn’t understand why I was taking pictures of old buttons and thread, someday they might appreciate the story (and hopefully I will have remembered it because I wrote it down) and hopefully they will still be able to dig through the button bag.