Another Thrift Store Find

Look at this beautiful cross stitch sampler.

Made by Ruth Benkendorf in 1964.

Priced at $2.00!

I do not know Ruth but I do know how much time and effort went into making this sampler so it came home with me and will hang in the shop as just a little remembrance to Ruth, whoever she was.  If anyone reading this knows Ruth’s family and would like to have this sampler returned, you only have to ask.

Here’s a real funny story about me shopping at my favorite thrift store.  When I was shopping there one day after mom died I saw a framed fall garden sampler by Country Threads and I admired the workmanship and nice choice of colors and then I turned it over.  On the back it said “Happy Birthday, Mom! Love, Mary”. You could have knocked me over with a feather!  My sister, Becky, had brought many of Mom’s things to the thrift store.  I was so embarrassed for her but what I really wanted to do was buy it and wrap it up for her at Christmas – ha!  When I confessed I had seen it they went and bought it back.  What a great family story !  We have laughed and laughed.

Connie and I had lunch with Ina yesterday – she looks good but she misses all of us.  I’m guessing I like retirement better than she does.

I found another great series to watch on DVD – an old Masterpiece PBS series from 2002-2003 and it is excellent.  It’s very similar to Downton Abby.


21 thoughts on “Another Thrift Store Find

  1. Becky Rose

    Bet I know who took Ruth’s sampler to the thrift store — her sister!!

    Your embarrassed sister,

  2. Bernadette Jackson

    I bet one of The lady’s children (mentioned in her obit) would love to have their mother’s piece. Although they may possibly already have her other handiworks. About six months ago, I discovered a lovely, framed cross stitch in a neighbor’s free-for-the-taking garage sale box. Cleaned up and now being enjoyed by yours truly.

  3. Cindy Sabinske

    Would you divulge the location of your favorite thrift store, would love to take a day off go for a long drive and discover it also.!

  4. Louise K.

    I love the sampler, and that you have a story for the maker. I have a confession to make…once in a while if I just don’t like a UFO and don’t want to finish it, I donate it to the thrift store! I also volunteer there, so I know that those projects are scooped right up. I’m hoping that at least someone else will finish them, or maybe we’ll see it back on the thrift store shelf! You know the saying…someone’s trash is another person’s treasure…how true.

  5. Diane

    I love it, too! You do get great prices! The info on Ruth was interesting. I like to save old quilts from being cut up. Great laugh about your sampler. Are you feeling better? You look good in the pic with

  6. Amy Rochelle

    Forsythe Saga. . . I remember it. I’ll watch it again. You definitely become drawn in like Downton Abbey. At times, your heart will hurt over it.

  7. Mary C.

    Well God bless you for rescuing Ruth’s handwork from the thrift store. And shame on whoever consigned it to the “get rid of” box in the first place. It’s nice to know she was thought of today by the people reading your blog post because of the work of her hands and that her piece of needlework has a good home with you. May we all be so lucky!

  8. Marsha

    I “rescue” handwork, too. I limit my cross-stitch saving to ones about home and hearts. Otherwise I wouldn’t have enough wall space. I hang all my heart/home samplers in my guest bedroom. I’ve gotten some beautiful ones but my favorites are, of course, the ones my grandmother stitched!

    I also buy crocheted doilies, hankies, and other handmade linens – dish towels and antimacassars with cross stitch or other embroidery. I’ve started embellishing some of my favorite denim skirts, shirts and vests with appliques cut from stained or torn pieces that still have beautiful handwork on them. I fuse them on and then blanket stitch around them with my sewing machine! My next project is to add a “ruffle” on a skirt made from 6 matching hankies I found at an antique mall! I also have stacks of hankies to use to embellish clothing! What fun!

  9. Diane Deibler

    I made that same sampler many years ago It is in one of my closets. Guess I will have to bring it out one of these days!!!

  10. Martha Engstler

    What a treasure you found. My mother made the same sampler in 1962. It hangs in my kitchen and I can’t imagine parting with it. She put the date but not her name. I’ve thought for years I’d add that to it. My daughter-in-law now lives in the house and treasures it also. Thanks for sharing.

  11. Ann Barlament

    Too funny about your sampler.

    I made a sampler for my brother & his wife, when they were first married. She divorced him on their 25th Anniversary, yet that sampler still remains on the wall today!

  12. Connie

    Well THAT made my day…. your funny story about finding your gifted Sampler to Mom in a thrift store and not recognizing your own beautiful workmanship!!! 🙂 Had a good laugh… Thanks.

    Ruth’s Sampler is beautiful. What a shame it wasn’t being appreciated wherever it was. The price is unbelievable. I don’t see prices like that on treasures like that here in northeast Georgia! Thank you for giving it a home!

  13. Launa

    Mary, You have the best luck or “eagle eye” at thrift shops for such lovely finds. Thanks for sharing.
    One of the best programs I saw on PBS last week was Willie Nelson being presented with the Gershwin Award for Best Song 2015…an hour and half of such wonderful songs (Stardust and Crazy to name a few) and great entertainers from Congressional Hall.

  14. Mary McCarron

    I once found one of my quilted Christmas wallhangings for sale at a local thrift store Didn’t buy it since I have so many at home already but it sure was a hoot to remember how many items I have crafted and sold over the years Left the store with a smile

  15. Sandy Bessingpas

    I have a similar day several years ago I was shopping at a favorite antique store where I spotted an old time Santa painted on a childs ironing board. I said to myself, that sure looks just like one my sister Margaret painted several years ago..sure enough, on further inspection, there was her signature. Of course, I HAD to buy it. Two years ago I was at a local thrift store when I spotted another ironing board, this one a regular size one, with a Santa painted on it. Again, from the style of the painting, I said to myself, that sure looks like Dorothy Reiners painting..she used to live down the road from me. Again, it had her signature on it, so I HAD to buy that one too. Thats what makes it so much fun to shop thrift and antique stores. You never know what you may discover.

  16. Glenda

    I found this obituary for a Ruth Benkendorf. Looks like she had ties to Iowa.

    Ruth (Pflum) Benkendorf Osen passed away December 4th at the Oakwood Care Center in Clear Lake, IA. Born June 29, 1924, Ruth had recently celebrated her 90th Birthday.

    For most of her life Ruth lived in Wisconsin, graduated from Waupaca High School, attended Carroll College where she met Charles Benkendorf. They were married July 24, 1944. After he served in the military and finished his medical training, Dr. Benkendorf practiced as a Radiologist in Green Bay Wisconsin until his death in 1972. He was Chairman of Radiology and also served as Chief of Staff for St Vincent’s Hospital.

    Ruth was always a homemaker who loved taking care of her family along with sewing , gardening and cooking. Very active in the community, Ruth was very involved in several organizations: The Salvation Army Women’s Auxiliary and served as past President; a member of St. Vincent’s Women’s Medical Auxiliary; Green Bay/De Pere Antiquarian Society and the De Pere Garden Club.

    Ruth later married Clifford Osen, De Pere, WI in 1975 and it was a happy union until his death June 10, 1994.

    Her children are Anne von Benckendorff of San Diego, CA, Mary Linden of Houston, TX and Charles (Rhonda) Benkendorf of Clear Lake, IA, and grandson, Charles Curtis Benkendorf of San Francisco, CA.

    Predeceased by her father Dr. Edward Pflum and Mother Elizabeth Weix Pflum, and siblings Dr. Edward Pflum, Carol Dorn and James Durawa. – See more at:

    1. CountryThreads Post author

      Glenda – thanks so much for the info about Ruth – guess I just had not taken the time to explore online but I love knowing about her life. Her sampler has a home on my wall.

  17. Connie

    I feel the same way you do about “rescuing” handiwork from the thrift store. Anyone who has done cross stitch knows how much time goes into each piece. So glad that Ruth’s work went to someone who will treasure it.

  18. Louise

    I love older samplers. Thanks for sharing yours..I should say your story! Too funny. Thanks for the hint
    about Forsyte Saga.

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