Life Lessons from an Old European Grain Sack

Grain sack


You know I love old European grain sacks.  The texture, the personalized monograms and how you can repurpose these old sacks, used by farmers, into table runners, pillows, aprons, or upholstery fabric.  I kinda think I’m one of millions, with a heart felt attraction to these things.

On a recent buying trip, I wanted to find a big stack of sacks.  My inventory was pretty low.

I quickly found a dozen, or so, that I loved and moved on to some other treasures.  While I take all old sacks home, to soak, wash and iron, you never know how many of the stains will come clean.

Don’t judge a book by its cover. 

I was so enthralled by the cool monogram, on the outside of this sack, that I missed other issues, that could prevent me from making a profit.


Sometimes, we get all gaga about the first-glance.  Take your time, when making a purchase.  Especially, when it’s something old.

As it turned out, I was able to make lemonade out of lemons, by turning the sack inside, out.

Grain sack

While I’ll use this bag at home, these sacks are reversible and the inside is beautiful, on this sack.

Take pride in what you do; even when no one’s looking.

Grain sack

This bag has at least five or six repair patches, carefully patched by hand, to extend the life of this bag. This photo is of the “inside” of the bag and I’m so impressed with the care given.  It’s one reason why I love grain sacks, so much. This workmanship was the norm, at least back then, which brings me to the next life lesson:

Take good care of your things and they’ll take care of you.

While I love the technological advances our society has made, I worry about how we are quick to buy poorly made materials and discard them, when they fail to please us.  This probably explains why I’m attracted to well constructed old things, that I can make pretty again.

We all make mistakes.  


This repair job was done on the “sister” bag, to the first bag shown.  I wonder why the repair work was so inferior, to the other bag, from the same family.  Could it have been done quickly, by a younger, less experienced family member?  Who knows?

We all make mistakes. That’s part of life.  I figure that if we don’t make mistakes, we are living too safe of a life.  If you don’t experiment a little bit, you’ll miss some wonderful discoveries about yourself and the world.


While this bag isn’t perfect, it’s worked hard and shows a few battle scars, from a well lived and well loved life.

Grain sack

Now, it can spend its years of retirement peacefully, enjoying my admiration and respect.

Isn’t what we all want?


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  1. I have a few and was gifted a most beautiful monogrammed blue striped one…I am sure you do make lots of lemonade!!!…Beautiful grain sack Barbara.

    • Barbara Bussey says

      Thanks, Shirley! I just re-wrote the last half of the post, because somehow, I discarded it. Ah, technology! Take care, friend!

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