Nanny Sheila was Adam’s grandmother and, from the moment I met her almost 4 years ago, like a grandmother to me too. She died this week and I was given her sewing tin. Judi and Brian (Adam’s mom and uncle) can remember this tin from when they lived in England after their father’s death, making this tin about 50 years old.
Nanny didn’t do much sewing later in life (although she showed me pictures of some very smart suits she sewed for herself as a young woman!), but she was sure to have the basics on hand as, having lived through WWII in England, she was firmly of the Make Do and Mend mindset. A large portion of the tin is spools of thread and a few assorted notions – the odd recycled zipper, rolled up bits of elastic, some stained bias tape – that I will put to use, as Nanny would definitely want them to be used.
In amongst the random bits and bobs (and pieces of butterscotch candy) are a few treasures of Sheila’s history. Meaningless and worthless to a random observer, they tell stories to those who know. Sheila saved two sewing kits from her travels. The Plume of Feathers (now known as the Old Plume) in Burton, Wiltshire, England, was a public house although it’s now a private residence. The Hotel Despotiko in Mykonos, Greece is still a functioning hotel.
Nanny had two sets of sewing labels. “Hand Made for my Special Little Boy” were bought and used for clothing that Nanny made for Adam, and if we have a son someday, I will definitely put them in his clothing as well. “Specially Hand Made by Sheila” were stored in a little embroidered leather case from Austria.
Nanny also had a little Las Vegas souvenir pin cushion (from 1990) so I immediately pulled it out of the tin and put it to good use!