Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels

A Different Era

Some of you know I’ve been going through fifty years worth of stuff at my late parents’ home, which is taking me forever!  I’m close to being done, thank goodness, and though it’s been a difficult task, it’s also been interesting, rewarding, and meaningful to me.

Recently, I opened my mother’s hope chest, having no memory of what I’d find inside other than her wedding dress.  The things I found made me smile and marvel, transporting me to a different era.  Linen place mats with matching napkins that had obviously never been used.  Some were machine made, but others were hand embroidered. They’re so pretty, and yet I have to wonder – how in the world would they be laundered?  I’m guessing some serious ironing would be involved afterward!  Which is probably why my mother never used them – I’m pretty sure the only time I ever saw her use her iron was when she was pressing colorful autumn leaves between waxed paper to hang in the window 🙂


Tea Towels2

Then there are the tea towels I’m sure she embroidered herself. Cute, whimsical things that amuse me when I look at them, wondering if she chose the patterns herself, or if they’d been given to her.  While I do have friends who are talented at handwork (you should see medical romance author Amalie Berlin’s tatting – it’s incredible!) these kinds of pieces do feel like a lost art, don’t they?  Young women no longer sit around stitching home goods in preparation for their married days – those who do this kind of thing do it for the love of it, don’t you think?  And of course, there are so many media and internet distractions today that make our world completely different from times past. I’m sure the Earth can’t really be spinning a little faster on its axis than in days past, but it feels that way sometimes!


These towels are some of the many things I just don’t know what to do with.  I don’t want to stash them away for another fifty years, to be discarded by my kids. But realistically, I’m not going to use them. My sister-in-law suggested I install a few curtain rods in our guest room to hang the towels on display, as she’s done here with her scarves. A nice idea, I think!


Anyone else have suggestions?  I’d love to hear them.

The real surprise inside that cedar chest is all the scarves and tea towels from the United Kingdom!  My mother was born in the United States, but she was conceived in Lancashire, England and came over on the boat in utero, so that may be why. 🙂  Here are a few of the vintage scarves and towels – you can see that one commemorates Queen Elizabeth II’s coronation, and another the Royal Family tree 🙂



Another shows highlights of the region’s history. And if you’re in need while in the kitchen, some Scottish recipes, too! 🙂 I’m pondering offering these as giveaways with a book to those who’d like to have one – does that seem like a goofy idea, since I don’t write historical stories, or a good one?


Do you have vintage things you enjoy?  Can you give me ideas on mine?  Are you someone with a talent for needlework and handmade goods like these?  I’d love to hear about all of it 🙂


24 thoughts on “A Different Era”

  1. Hi Robin

    WOW they are all so beautiful and there probably are lots of memories behind most of them I too have a lot of this sort of thing now stashed away in my linen press and yes not used I also have a bone china cup saucer and plate that came of to commemorate the birth of Princess Margaret the Queen’s sister that came from my Hubby’s grandmother and I have so many fine china tea sets that were Mums and crystal it worries me what will happen to it in years to come sadly it just doesn’t get used.

    Sorry I have no idea what to do with these either they really are beautiful 🙂 putting some in giveaways would be great I am sure the winner would be over the moon thanks for sharing them with us.

    Have Fun

  2. Hi, Helen! Yes, I suspect there are lots of things like this gathering dust that no one knows what to do with! But when it comes to the china and crystal, I’m vowing now to try to find reasons to use them – after all, what’s the point of stashing beautiful things away in the dark? I figure I need to enjoy them with others, or give them to someone who will. Here’s to you and me having a few lunches with fine china and friends! 🙂 Thanks for stopping by – always love to hear from you xoxo

  3. Robin, you are having quite a journey with your mother’s things. I like that, it gives you so much to take in your thoughts. As for what to do with the actual things is a whole other story and only you will be able to work that out. Don’t hurry it if you have the space to store everything. Some things are best kept for rainy days.

    1. You are very wise, Sue. Yes, it’s been a wonderful thing to have so many interesting items to sift through – many things I’ve never seen before, some dating back to my great grandmother, and it has given me a lot to reflect upon. Storing much of it is exactly what I’m doing (though my family is finally starting to lose patience with me!) I have numerous boxes shoved in closets for those rainy days 🙂

  4. Those linens are beautiful. When my mom and great aunt passed away within 2 weeks of each other, I put aside some of the embroidered hankies and crocheted doilies. I have a few ideas for you. One is if you can quilt, or know someone who does, you could have a quilt made from the linens. If nobody wears the wedding dress, perhaps it could be used to make christening dresses or bridal hankies/ring pillows for that something old. If you don’t want to have anything cut up, you could have some really good high def (in focus) pictures taken of the linens and have them made in to a photo blanket. That way the linens stay intact and you can see them on the blanket every day. the place I have used before is http://www.collage.com , there’s probably a version of that wherever you live. (PS: wouldn’t a book cover blanket be cool?)
    I also inherited all of my moms, grandmothers and great aunt’s jewelry, I kept the good things and gave my nieces some pieces as momentos. When my niece got married last year, she have the florist wrap her bouquet with her maternal grandmothers pearl necklace and a crystal brooch that was my mothers/grandmothers, it was very pretty and a meaningful tribute to the women she wished were at her wedding. A nice something old.

    1. These are fascinating suggestions, Laurie! I hadn’t mentioned the doilies – oh my gosh, so many of them! Women in the past didn’t believe in idle hands, I would guess. I’m sure the sheer number of them is because my father’s mother and my mother’s grandmother were huge crocheters. I love the idea of a quilt… I also love the idea of using the wedding dress fabric for other things – thank you so much for the wonderful ideas! xoxo

  5. Here’s a crazy idea – have them evaluated by antiques roadshow. LOL But I’m serious, these vintage items are worth something, maybe even a lot. Instead of giving them away, give a collector a chance at them first. My opinion. I seriously love those tea towels, especially the lady reading a book and cooking. (It’s probably a recipe book, but as a writer I’d rather think it’s a romance!) 😉

    1. HA! Why hadn’t I realized it should be a romance she’s reading, Lynne? 😀 I particularly love that towel, too. In this journey, it’s been interesting to me how many things are collectible, and yet not worth much in terms of dollars. But for some of the things I don’t want to keep, I’d like them to go to someone who’d enjoy them. I do plan on keeping some of the towels – but honestly, at this point my home is overflowing with things, and the family is telling me to get a grip 😉 I feel like I’ve been very good about letting things go that aren’t meaningful or interesting to me, darn it!

      I think I’m going to display the towels (and there are more!) the way my sister-in-law suggested. I’ll post an ‘after’ pic on Facebook, Lynne 🙂

  6. the coronation one is fab. And I was born in Lancashire too and I am back here now In Sunny Morecambe by the sea. I did live in Canada for a while as a child but I’m a Lancashire lass through and through really 🙂 x

    1. And I’m a Lancashire lass a bit by blood, at least, don’t you think, Sharon? 😉 My grandparents were from Bolton, and my grandmother was proud that her ancestor was Samuel Crompton who invented the spinning mule, and his statue is in a square somewhere there.

      I like the coronation one, too. I also have various commemorating tins, and a brooch with the queen’s face with her crown on, and the outside of the pin is surrounded with ‘diamonds’ wow! 🙂

      1. ah Bolton my husband did his University Degree in Textile Technology there, it does rain rather a lot lol I wonder if the weather had anything to do with that trip across the pond lol we love Lancashire, its a gorgeous place so much to see

        1. Hey, Sharon, guess what I just found as I rummaged through more towels? One about Lancashire, and being a Lancashire lass! 😀 When I get the curtain rod up to display the towels, I’ll have to post some more pics on my Facebook page and include that one.

  7. Robin,
    I have all kinds of things like yours from my grandmother. Some I’ve sold to antique places where I know people who would love them can find them. Some of the towels can be sewn into cute pillows or used in the right bath. You can also make curtains out of them. I have also seen collars for dress made out of the fancier stuff. Maybe even baby clothes. But despite all that you can’t keep it all. I know from experience.

    1. Susan, I was struck by your suggestion about pillows and baby clothes – I also have so many crocheted doilies made by both my father’s mother and my mother’s grandmother. I was thinking I’d try to find homes for most of them, but those ideas would work well for them, I think, so thank you!

      A question – if you’ve used some of your towels, how did you launder them? Just cold water, low temp in the dryer, and lots of ironing? Thanks!

  8. More pictures!! I’m sure you could waste a whole day getting great shots, layering them up and admiring the different textures and colors. I know I could look at them all day!

    Just beautiful all around. (And thank you for the mention. I do love my handicrafts.)

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