Monday, February 14, 2011

Laundry Relics: An Historical Tour

I promise this is the last post about my laundry room! 

When I excavated the laundry heaps recently, I unearthed a lot of family history that I had forgotten was even in there and I am delighted to be reacquainted with it.  It means a lot to me to have the spirit of my foremothers in there working alongside me.  I almost feel like they keep me company during the mundane tasks of laundry.

This trio of implements from the past is a composite of grandmothers.  The iron stand belonged to my paternal grandmother (Elizabeth Carlock Sturdivant) and probably belonged to her grandmother (Georgianna Scott) as well (it says 1894 on it and my grandmother wasn't born until 1908) and definitely belonged to the aunts that raised her (Aunt Emily and Aunt Bess).  The rug beater belonged to my maternal grandmother (Gladys Bacon Baker).  The iron handle used to lift the covers on an old iron stove belonged to Matt's grandmother (Ida Burgess Harjo) (Matt is not the least bit of a saver of objects to I've glommed on to his family heirlooms to keep them safe for our girls).  I love how these three items hang together and bring together three sides of my daughters' family tree in one spot.

The larger of these irons belonged to my grandmother (Elizabeth Carlock Sturdivant) and the smaller one (on top of the books) belonged to Matt's grandmother (Ida Burgess Harjo). 

The larger of these two washboards belonged to Matt's grandmother (Ida Burgess Harjo).  It's been chewed on by rats which makes it all the better!  I found it in a shed behind her old farm house in Wolf, Oklahoma.  Matt's father was born in that farmhouse and returned to live there in his retirement years.  The smaller of the washboards, I must confess, I bought at a thrift store. 

If you look closely, on the near under the washboards, you'll see my mother's honey bottle that I use to hold stray buttons.  I also use the cork stopper as a pin cushion.  Next to that, is an old coke bottle with a shaker top that belonged to my maternal grandmother (Gladys Bacon Baker).  I remember her using it to sprinkle water onto clothes before she ironed them in the days before spray bottles.  It was eventually replaced by a repurposed windex bottle filled with water but I will always remember fondly this old-fashioned precursor to a simple spray bottle. 

I slipped my grandmother's (Elizabeth Carlock Sturdivant) vintage floral china into a little nook (upper left) where it would be safe but where I could also see it.  AND it goes with the wall color!  These pieces are not something that I would use or display in any other room, I am so happy to have a place to honor them.

The stack of violet print towels (upper left) came from my father's house.  Actually, they came WITH my father's house when he bought it because they matched the violet wallpaper in the little under-the-eaves bathroom adjoining the room where I always stayed when I went to visit him.  Once the maid's room, I loved the little room with the sloped walls at the top of the back stairs that went up from the kitchen -- TOTALLY my kind of room!  The towels take me right back there and remind me of those days.

Though not an heirloom, I LOVE keeping the iron and the ironing supplies in this reproduction metal bread box.  The metal means that I can put away a hot iron and not have to worry!  Plus, it just looks neat -- AND, the girls know what it means if someone says "Is it bigger than a bread box?"!

On the shelf above the washer and the table for folding are a glass measuring bowl, two vintage glass juicers, and a fancy glass lamp.  The bowl came from Matt's grandmother's farm.  One of the juicers belonged to my maternal grandmother (Gladys Bacon Baker).  The other I bought for $1.  The glass lamp, though it didn't belong to a grandmother, looks like it could have and probably DID belong to someone's grandmother!

I made these basket labels using one of my favorite techniques.  I color copied a favorite striped pattern from a shower curtain onto cardstock and then cut it down to make labels.  They have a paper clip glued to the backside that hooks into the wicker basket to hold them on.  The baskets I found at a place that no longer exists.  I miss it because they had tons of baskets for $5 each (and larger baskets for $10 each) so it was easy to get lots of matching baskets for very little money.

Ok, now I'm done with the laundry room!

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