When I see something at a thrift store that I absolutely love, especially if it’s something small that I can tuck away and actually use such as table linens, I always buy. On a recent stay in the Kansas City area, I discovered these two treasures that evoke such warm memories for me that I couldn’t pass them up.
These cheery, delicate French napkins exude springtime. I’ve mixed them with my other vintage table linens for a bright and whimsical tabletop. Again, I found this set of six at the Kansas City's River Market Antique Mall for about $5, which is a little more than I would normally pay for napkins. However, the quality was perfect and at $5, I would still call that a bargain!
The pièce de résistance here is a hand-embroidered, hand-tatted table runner that I paid $1.65 for at the Independence Disabled Veterans Thrift Store. What says spring more than a colorful and chic-motif-of-the-moment motif: the butterfly.
This lovely winged creature trips my memory of the careful handiwork my mother lovingly applied to the yokes of the shirts she made me as a child. They are still in the bedside table of my childhood bedroom. Every time I open that drawer, I’m reminded of how proud I was to wear to school those beautiful, checked shirts, each with cheery Old Mexico and cowboy designs emblazoned on the shoulders. I imagine that someone spent many hours, just like my mother did, to create this fantastic, fluttery specimen and how happy the maker was when it was displayed in her home. (Or maybe his home. I learned to embroider at an early age!)
The lace trimming is slightly torn, but that makes me love it even more. It has lived a full life and aged gracefully with use. When I run my fingers over its delicate structure, I remember Aunt Lou. Her full name was Louetta Bacon and she really wasn’t an aunt -- just a dear friend of my grandmother who was like one of her sisters. Even though her hands were riddled with arthritis, that didn’t stop her from tatting amazing rows of lace on an old broomstick as she watched her stories from her comfy, old chair.
The embroidered butterfly also brings to mind the beloved singer and songwriter, Dolly Parton. Her favorite motif is the butterfly, so much so that in the 1970s she wrote a song about it: “Love is like a butterfly, as soft and gentle as a sigh. Its multi-colored moods of love are like its satin wings. Love makes your heart feel strange inside. It flutters like soft wings in flight. Love is like a butterfly, a rare and gentle thing.”