When I was little and would go to the clothes-store with my mom, I had a habit of disappearing under the clothing racks. It felt like going into a shady, close forest. Sounds and light were muffled, my ears filled with the rustle of fabric. It seemed warmer and safer there than out in the open. I liked to sit in the middle of rounders and look at all the clothing hanging down around me.

And while I was there, I’d find little treasures. Innumerable things fell off those clothes onto the carpet:  straight pins, shirt clips, collar stays, tag pins, tiny little safety pins. I’d collect them and hold them tightly in my fist.


Eventually we’d make our way to the fitting rooms where my mom would ask me what I had.

I’d respond, ‘These are my possibilities.”

Possibilities. I’m  not sure where my 5 year-old self came up with *that*, but as I look back now I realize that it was the perfect word. I had no idea what the bits were, what they were used for, but I was fascinated by them. I wanted them, wanted to *do* something with them – I just didn’t know what or how. But I treasured them and thought about ways that they might work together or find a new purpose.


Fast-forward a few decades to now.

I don’t find myself much interested in diving under clothing rounders at Macy’s, but my fascination with little bits of things hasn’t waned. If anything, it’s only grown stronger over the years. Times have changed and I’ve grown older.  I haven’t seen a plastic shirt clip in decades. Shopping isn’t what it once was… now I don’t even need to leave my couch and coffee to purchase clothes.

But even though my shopping methods have changed, there is something wonderfully similar to the magical world under the rounders. I don’t have to limit myself to picking up Possibilities under the racks of the few stores at the local mall. Instead, I have entire universes of bits and bobs at my fingertips. Ebay, etsy, Ruby Lane, and other wonderful e-sites have become a new source for finding wonderous things.

And while the items themselves may be different from those pins and clips from the 70s, the sense of wonder and discovery I feel at seeing them and pondering their uses – both past and future – never ceases to fascinate me to distraction.

In place of straight pins, I have bone stilettos and crochet hooks. Tiny mother-of-pearl thread winders. A twee brass needlecase:

Instead of shirt clips, I have vintage spools of buttonhole silk and wonderful old packets of needles:

I certainly don’t need tag pins when I have lovely old cloth measuring tapes and cloisonné thimbles:

And frankly, I’m just not sure what these are all about… but I love them to distraction:

(Someone’s going to tell me that the one on the bottom is a lady’s personal care tweezers and ear-wax scraper, right? I was afraid of that. Who knows what the brass implement is? Does it have anything to do with buttoning? Do tell!)

There are other wonder-full things that have come along with these findings, where I’m not exactly sure of their purpose… yet. Discovery and learning are all part of the process, the magic, and the enjoyment of these new Possibilities.


3 thoughts on “Possibilities

  1. Katie Ann says:

    LOVE this post, friend. Adorable and very well written. And the photos of your new (old) Possibilities are gorgeous! (Are these still part of the Florida find or are you adding to your stash?)

    I have the exact same memeories of hiding in the rounders shopping with my Mom, and the same joy in finding those tiny treasures. This gave me a little dose of happy for the day–thank you, dear friend! 🙂

  2. MOM says:

    Your Possibilities was very touching. It is amazing to me how one word will stay with a person forever. How about Nakalaka?

  3. Penny says:

    Love the word “possibilities”. It invokes images of an adventurous spirit.

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