Tuesday, April 12, 2016

April Showers brought more than flowers . . .

It’s raining. Sky is filled with grey clouds but the landscape is a lush green. Our garden is growing; lettuce was planted earlier and last night, we had the freshest green salad anyone could ask for. There is nothing like fresh lettuce!

So, as the rain falls, I sit at my computer and contemplate what I should post about. This month had several obstacles that got in my way of blogging, but they are over and I can get on with posting. During this time another oddity unearth itself from the basement. And here it is!
My husband brought me these two whatsits with a few more still in a can in the basement. He found them among my (sadly departed) father’s tools and multiple boxes and cans of things. As we examined them, it was determined that they were not hatpins or hairpins or could not secure a scarf. Both have a pretty floral design imprinted on the button face. The two-prong tine is sharp and thick and would certainly leave their marks on whatever it pierced. The metal is possibly antique silver or nickel. Then our daughter thought they might be upholstery pins or tacks. Close but wrong. Though some furniture tacks are decorative, they do not have prongs. So to Google I went in search of the mystery thingamabobs.  After many search pages, I found them on https://www.etsy.com/shop/AllVintageMan#about  Here is the detailed description:    

Antique Pins, Doily Pins, Crocheted Doilies, AntiMacassars Pins, Upholstery, Upholstery Tacks, Furniture, Couch, Victorian, 1800s, Supplies
DESCRIPTION: “Set of 2 (two) Victorian Era antimacassars pins. What a history these pins have! They date back to the mid-1800s and were once used to fasten doilies or squares of fabric to the backs of upholstered sofas and chairs to protect the upholstery from Macassar Oil. The oil was used by men of the Victorian and Edwardian eras as a hair elixir to groom and style the hair. Unfortunately, the oil would transfer to the backs of the sofas and chairs, staining it. Hence, the anti-macassar was born! Ingenious housewives began covering the arms and backs of chairs with washable cloths to prevent the upholstery from being stained. The antimacassars were quite ornate, ranging from intricate crocheted or tatted pieces to heavily embroidered cloths. These pins were used to hold the doilies and cloths in place!”

And here’s a little history on the Doily from Wikipedia: A doily (also doiley, doilie, doyly, doyley) is an ornamental mat, typically made of paper or fabric, and variously used for protecting surfaces or binding flowers, in food service presentation, or as a head covering or clothing ornamentation. It is characterized by openwork, which allows the surface of the underlying object to show through.
So now that I know what these are, I wondered where did they come from and why were they with my father’s things. That was the answer. My father’s things and the doily. The antimacassars came from his mother, my Grandmother Anna Yuknavich. Like the description above, “What a history these pins have!”

Anna (nee) Vaicuilionis Yuknavich, Born June 1887 in Vilkoviskis, Lithuania. Immigrated to Pennsylvania where she met and married my Grandfather Anthony.

Very talented in crocheting, sewing, carpet making, knitting and cooking.

I remember as a child visiting Grandma and sitting with her on a very itchy mohair sofa. Burgundy in color, the 3-piece set was bought for her by my father from Sears & Roebuck sometime in the 1940s. And across the backs and on the arms of the furniture were doilies. I honestly can’t recall the pins, but I am sure they were there. When my grandparent’s passed away, the house was sold and all its goods went to several family members. I recall how my father was upset about not getting the furniture, reason being that his wife (my mother) detested it. The furniture went to my cousin and when my father saw them again many years later, I can see the sadness in his eyes. But, he saved the pins and now I have them and they are proudly display in our Grandparent’s Museum.   
P.S. I do not have a picture of the sofa but I am asking my cousin if he does and if so, I’ll post it.     


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