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By Kimara - Posted on 29 July 2008

            When I was young, I loved going to my paternal grandmother’s house. My grandma knew how to show a kid a good time. She’d take us to wooden floored "dime stores", let us stay up with her and watch the Tonight Show, and in clement weather, we’d go to the drive-in movies. My grandma use to drive up and down the rows looking for young couples. She always parked next to a duet that seemed amorously inclined. Grandma was a first class voyeur! When the movie started, she’d often spend more of her time watching the mating ritual in the car next to us then the movie on the big screen. Through out the night she’d give us reports. “Oh, look, he put his arm around her.” “Ah, now they’re kissing.” “Oh, damn, the windows are steamed up. I can’t see anything.” Occasionally, she’d be caught in her clandestine pursuit, and the couple would move their car to a new location. She always felt cheated when that happened, as did I. If the couple next to us was entertaining enough, we’d stay for a double feature. If their activity did not properly amuse Grandma, we’d usually leave at intermission, and we’d miss the countdown featuring dancing hotdogs and other performing concessions...and the second movie. Ah, but as usual, I see that I am meandering from my intended topic!


            Putting aside the undivided attention she showered on us, I think the thing I enjoyed most about Grandma’s was her stashes. She had any number of collections that I could spend hours rifling through. She had an awe inspiring collection of cheap costume jewelry. As it happens, I don’t share my Grandmother’s love for jewelry. I myself wear a simple ring, beaded necklace and silver hoop earnings. Period. But as I child, I loved going through her jewelry boxes. I’d adorn myself with multiple necklaces and bracelets. I’d marvel at her ability to wear the pinching clip-on earrings for an entire evening. When I was in high school, I finally convinced her to let me pierce her ears, and it was her turn to marvel at the comfort of pierced versus clip-on earrings. Joyfully, I could even get my older brother involved in jewelry play if it became the booty of marauding pirates!


            But what I loved the very best, what I could totally immerse myself in, was her sewing notions. My grandmother could do anything crafty. She could sew, knit, crochet, paint and was always in tune with the latest trends in crafting. She made clothes for herself and her daughter, including my aunt’s elaborate wedding dress. In the final months of her life, as dementia robbed her of her most endearing memories, I could usually get her to reminisce about the dresses she made for her daughter, and for briefest of moments, a smile would touch her lips and her fingers moved back of forth feeling fabrics from the past. But when I was young, she was still an active crafter, and she saved everything in hopes of turning them into a future work of art. She had stacks of cloth she had collected over the years. There were bins of elastic, hooks and eyes, bias tape, ribbons and garter hooks, which I will be eternally indebted to the women’s liberation movement and technology for doing away with the garter belts and girdles! My favorite potpourri was her tin of buttons. This tin held the collective history of my father’s family’s wardrobe. No garment was discarded without being stripped of potentially useful items. She’d remove workable zippers, lace collars, and of course, buttons.


            The only downside to any of this was the smell. Her things smelled…well, old. As I sorted through the buttons, sorting by color or size, I was inundated with a musty, sour smell. I imagined this was the scent of an opened coffin long after the person’s remains had decomposed, leaving behind rotting fabric and disheveled hair. And no, I’m not generally a morbid individual, but her drawers and boxes, bins and tins smelled of arcane history. As I held buttons I wondered if they had been on a pair of my dad’s knickers or a roaring twenties frock worn by my grandmother. Occasionally, my grandmother would remember a button’s history, but more often than not, I was forced to fantasize over their origin.  


            The other day I was reorganizing my sewing room and attic closet, both of which are crammed full of arts and crafts supplies. As I was rerolling some lace, and trying to decide if I should sort cloth by size or fabric content, I realized, somewhere along the line, I had become my grandmother. I was now the nutsy “old” broad, hoarding a lifetime of acquisitions, in hopes of turning them into treasures. It was now my grandchildren that come over to sort buttons and finger the laces and trims. It won’t be long before they are ready to knit and sew and then my closets will hold untold treasures and possibilities. I don’t know exactly when I became my grandmother, but I think it was well before my first grandchild was born. Our desire to craft and create made us kindred souls long ago. Our collective ability to look at items and see potentially lovely creations made it almost impossible to throw out anything. As I look lovingly at my stashes I think, I am my grandmother’s granddaughter. The only difference…my stuff smells much better!


Here are a few of my "presentable" stashes. I find it extremely satisfying to just gaze at them! 

Felting Yarns.

Felting Yarn.


Ribbon and Trims.

Thread Collection.

Partial View of Sewing Room Closet.



This is just a sampling of my "neatest" stashes! I think Grandma would be proud! What traits did you inherit from your grandmother?

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You really have learned a brilliant and interesting things from your grandmother. Thanks a lot for sharing it here. - Nova Science Publishers

Lisa, I'm glad that you liked the brownies, and thought they were easy!

This one's easy. My grandma is a neat freak. She wasn't much of a cook as a matter of fact it was a family joke but her house was always neat and organized. She was always making cardboard drawer dividers so the pencils didn't touch the pens and I think she kept every shoebox she ever got and they became marked holders for her stuff. Today I buy drawer dividers and rubbermade containers but I organize everything. My mom doesn't get either of us! My mom's house drives my grandma and I crazy! I guess I also inherited that whole not a good cook thing, but I'm working on it. I try recipes people recommend here. I made Tina's brownies. They were good and they were easy. Thanks! And I made Michelle's dutch apple pie which was yummy but I cheated and bought a crust but it was still good :) BTW your stacks look very organized. Even your thread and buttons are sorted by color. You'd even make my grandma proud!

I never knew my father so I never knew his mom. Makes sense. And my mom never got along with her mom so I barely ever see her. When I was young I always wanted a grandma. My friends were always going to their grandmother's houses and it always sounded like fun. I can remember begging my mom to go see my grandma. When I got older I understood why we didn't visit often. She really is a very judgemental person. If my mom gets really pissed at me she says I'm acting just like her. So I guess I inherited my grandmother's stubborness and opinionatedness(sp?)! The stuff about the drive-in is funny. I can imagine how unnerving it must be to realize there's an old lady staring at you when you're making out!

I love your stashes. It must be nice to have that kind of space to organize your stuff. Maybe, someday!

I wish I had had more opportunities to learn more about my grandma. They lived really far away and we didn't see them very often. I did want to say thanks for sharing your craft pictures. Love your stashes! I especially like your shelf of mason jars with all the prettily colored buttons! My craft room is sorely in need of organization. That is certainly one thing I did NOT inherit from my Grandma. She was definitely an organized, crafty woman. So, maybe I got the crafty part without the organization side.

One thing that always makes me think of my Nana is card games. She loves card games and so do I. We would play cards for hours when I spent the night at her house (which I did frequently as a little girl). Some of our favorites include Cribbage and Dominoes. She also taught me the basics of Bridge. But most of all we played Spite and Malice. It is a lot of fun and can get extremely competitive… which we both are. Neither of us likes to lose… and that would definitely be something I say I get from Nana, especially since neither of my parents have that ‘Type A’ personality thing going.

Here is a link to the rules if anyone wants to learn…