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Vintage crochet, magic beans, water mines and other treasures from Portugal

 
Mother Tree
Posts: 11656
Location: Portugal
2281
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As many of you know, I've had a pretty rough time over the last couple of years.  And now I'm starting to recover and am ready to move on.  Literally.  My new partner and I have bought a new farm so we can have a fresh start together and we've just started work clearing the house out.  The seller was born there, and the house was built by his parents.  It's been empty for around ten years but left pretty much untouched.  He was obviously very emotional about the place and was finding it difficult to even contemplate clearing out his mother's belongings, so I told him to just take what he wanted and leave the rest for me to clear.  

It turns out his mother must have loved three things very, very much - flowers, the colour pink, and all things crochet!

Here is the kitchen.  Bright pink, full of plastic flowers, and with a crochet granny square (well, hexagon) hanging up as a pot holder.



And here's the living room. Not pink, but full of lacey crochet work, old plates, cracked plastic vases full of sand and pink plastic flowers, the occasional jar of honey, and endless textiles tucked away in old chests and boxes and bags.



The first treasure I found was a bedspread, made of the same granny-hexagons as the pot-holder in the kitchen.  I made off with this immediately and soon had it soaking in a tub of water and washing soda to remove a decade's worth of dust, and then washed it gently with several rinses and put it to dry.  It's a little shabby chic and needs a bit of repair in places, but I absolutely love it and it's currently adorning my bed and getting used to its new owner.



The next two treasures were a little different - a twenty euro note (which I think I should offer back to the seller...) and a little bundle of cabbage seed.  I've sown half of this, in the off chance it's still viable.  It would be good to get the strain of cabbage, probably perennial galega cabbage, that belongs to the new farm.  The piece of crochet these two treasures are sitting on was far too damaged to be worth trying to salvage, but the very stained table runner at the back was actually intact, so I rescued it and it became my test piece to see how well I could remove old stains.  More about that in a later post.



Here's a table runner that showed up.



And another one...



And a couple more bits and bobs...









And then these.  

Which somehow seemed to sum up everything all at once.  

Pink, crochet flowers, on plastic stems, presumably recycled from old plastic flowers.  

They somehow seemed incredibly symbolic, so I brought them home with me to clean up and get ready to display in my new bedroom, when we finally get to the stage we can move in.



I've taken the crochet flower heads off their plastic stems and put them to soak with a bit of washing soda to see if I can clean them up a bit, or at least get the crap and dust off them.



All the old vases in the house were plastic and split, so I hit the used furniture place in Castelo Branco and came home with a perfect little glass vase for the princely sum of 50 cents.  I've washed the dust and grime off it, and also off the plastic flower stems, and trimmed the stems to a more appropriate size.



One final photo for now.  Right at the bottom of the last old chest of textiles that I cleared was a glass perfume bottle, which still smelled of perfume, and this photo.  I'm guessing I've come face to face with the creator of those pink crochet flowers!



More to follow.
 
steward & bricolagier
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OH COOL!! I'm SO glad you are keeping what you can,and what neat things to keep! I hate when people clean out someone else's home by throwing it all away, to me it's not only wasteful, it's disrespectful. You are keeping the tradition of that home up, and that is a wonderful thing to do! There are houses, which are just a building, and there are homes, you bought a home, and you are keeping it that way.

I love the hexagon blanket!

I wish you all the best in your new start, you deserve it :)
 
Burra Maluca
Mother Tree
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Location: Portugal
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The crochet flowers cleaned up well!

I soaked them in a solution of water and washing soda, then rinsed and washed with soap, rinsed again thoroughly and put to dry.



Then put them back on the plastic flower stalks, which I trimmed a bit to make them fit in the vase a bit better.



I think they've come out brilliantly!  

I still have a load of table runners and things to work through.  More to follow.
 
pollinator
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Very Cool!  
 
Posts: 9002
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Is this close to your old place ? The amount of beautifully constructed stone buildings that sit idle, is amazing. So many have moved to the city, abandoning little villages and farms.

I think it's great that you are keeping some of the home's decor and history.

A new beginning in a new place. The old place is an important part of your past , but probably not the best spot, to begin with a new partner. Congratulations.
 
Burra Maluca
Mother Tree
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I just have too many memories in this place, and somehow the way that it's all gradually falling into shape, with fruit trees just starting to bear and all the things I dreamed of becoming real just makes it harder.  Plus it's almost impossible for my new partner to feel as though it's really his.  The best thing all round, including for my son, who had also got himself a bit bogged down in the memories, is a fresh start somewhere new.

My new partner has always wanted his own place to do up exactly as he wants, and the bottom floor of the new place is an incredibly blank slate.  It's just been used as a shed, without even a floor, so he's busy trying to mesh his long-held dream of under-floor heating with mine of having a rocket mass heater. So the boys are about to start chiseling the dirt floor out to start making both our dreams come true.  Plus there's a lovely old stone barn for my son to convert into his own dream-shed.  

We'll still be in the Castelo Branco region, but a bit further north, on the foothills of the mountains.  Because I've always been a mountain girl at heart...
 
gardener
Posts: 950
Location: Galicia, Spain zone 9a
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Burra Maluca wrote:
My new partner has always wanted his own place to do up exactly as he wants, and the bottom floor of the new place is an incredibly blank slate.  It's just been used as a shed, without even a floor, so he's busy trying to mesh his long-held dream of under-floor heating with mine of having a rocket mass heater. So the boys are about to start chiseling the dirt floor out to start making both our dreams come true.  Plus there's a lovely old stone barn for my son to convert into his own dream-shed. .



Sounds like ours. The whole downstairs was barn so our long held dream of underfloor heating it is. We have a large barn which will be Roy's garage workshop (the Garage), his carpentry shop (the Man Cave ), and a rest room with bathroom. The house Bodega will be my canning/food preservation/utility area. We will be able to spend whole days without speaking to each other. Hmmmmmmm. After 34 years together it will be nice to get together in the evening and discuss our days again like we did when we both worked.  Our new matress comes today - MY FIRST PROPER BED FOR 7 YEARS!
 
Burra Maluca
Mother Tree
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I started work clearing out downstairs today, which in traditional rural Portuguese style was basically the shed.

And I think I hit the mother lode....

A whole bag of beans!



They are all different colours, saved all mixed up, in two bags, one inside the other.  I'm pretty certain these were saved from plants grown here.  And with this many there's a much better chance that some will grow.



There are definitely worm holes in some, and a fair bit of dust, but there are a lot of them intact so I'm very hopeful.  And I just love the mix of colours...





 
Mandy Launchbury-Rainey
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Brilliant find. You could germinate indoors, and if you don't  have a heated invernadero, just use your UFH!
 
Burra Maluca
Mother Tree
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Mandy Launchbury-Rainey wrote:Brilliant find. You could germinate indoors, and if you don't  have a heated invernadero, just use your UFH!



I'm seriously hoping that we'll find a way to safely and effectively get the rocket powered under-floor heating figured out before long.

In the meantime, I want to report on the badly stained crochet table runner that I wanted to test a few stain removing techniques with.

I still had some oxiclean around in the back of a cupboard that had been sitting there since I emigrated 15 years ago. As the stains were so bad, I decided to take a risk on whether or not it would damage the fabric and soaked the table runner in a solution of oxiclean overnight.  The stain faded considerably and there didn't appear to be any damage, so I changed the solution and tried again.  It seemed to me that every time changed the solution and left it for 12 hours, a bit more of the stain would disappear.  After about five changes, the last bit of stain seemed pretty determined to stay, but there was still no apparent damage to the structure of the fabric.  So I washed it with washing soda, which lifted it a bit more to the point that I thought I'd probably be quite happy to use it myself, then lay it on top of my solar cooker to dry in the sun and hope that the sunlight would bleach out the last bit of stain.



And this was the result - no visible staining left, and no apparent damage to the table runner!



All it really needs now to make it perfect is an iron, which is a thing I not only never use but also do not possess and haven't done for many, many years.

But there, lurking in a corner in the new place, might be the very thing I'm looking for - another treasure!



It still has old coals inside!



There's even an ironing board in there.  Now, should I try to restore the iron?  Or leave that for a while...
 
master steward
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I want to know what is in that glass jar and those earthen jugs you showed in the other thread! So many mysteries!



Living in a 20 year old manufactured home, that was built on land that has only ever been forested/logged, I am really envious of all the history in your home! Now you just need a secret passage or nook!
 
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Although it's definitely a bonus for you, It's sad to see old crocheted things left behind by family. That sort of stuff should be part of family heirlooms, handed down to kids.

A hint I learnt from my Mum: when ironing fine crochet work or lace, place a slightly damp, white cloth over it and iron on that. It prevents catching it with the point of the iron, scorching, and the steam created helps flatten it out.

When washing wool blankets and crocheted throws, we always use a small amount of eucalyptus oil - it softens the wool, gives it a very slight perfume, and apparently kills dust mites.

Those 'flowers' came up really good - looks like old fashioned double Carnations.

If your new partner is named 'Jack', you may be in for a surprise with those beans!
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