That Little Basket!

I was a kid watching Abbott & Costello, when I first Ella Fitzgerald sing this song.  Today, as I listened to her sing this kiddie, joyful song of her little yellow basket, it brought me to post about these once used tobacco baskets.  The tobacco basket was used until about 1980, to display tobacco taken to market. The crop is grown throughout North Carolina, primarily on family farms. According to the NC Dept. of Agriculture, North Carolina farmers today produce approximately 2/3 of the US crop of flue-cured tobacco.

After sorting and grading, the leaves were tied into “hands.” A hand of tobacco weighed about 1 pound if made of tips or lugs and about 2 – 3 pounds if made from cutters. A hand of tobacco is a group of leaves tied together at the stem end. The end is wrapped in another cured leaf.


The hands were then laid in the tobacco basket in a circle with the stem ends pointing to the outside. The baskets were then loaded and taken to the tobacco warehouse where they were sold at auction.  Today these baskets are used for more decorative purposes.

Placed neatly behind this lamp – it makes for the perfect backdrop


Very creative way to display the modern deerhead


The entryway was accented with the basket above the table flanked with candleholders


Here it makes for excellent wall art in this bedroom


A wreath made of cotton is attached to the tobacco basket and hung on the outside of the home


When placed behind the mirror, it gives the mirror more eye appeal


and the perfect accent for a country kitchen


Tobacco baskets are old and some are even broken, but they still offer an array of ways to decorate with them.  They may not be the type of basket Ella sings about but, it’s the basket I chose to write about.  However, if I found Ella’s basket I’d like to give her this and say “Thank You” for making a beautiful music.




12 thoughts on “That Little Basket!

  1. I am a history consumer I eat it up… the way you lead up to the basket displays was fun and engaging. My favorite display was with the cotton probably because back in my young days I chopped and picked cotton.

    Great job!

    • Hey CJ! You and me both love history! I’ve not had the experience but my mom sure remembers doing that.. :-/ But I remember the first time I saw cotton and was intrigued by it.. Thanks for reading and glad you enjoyed it

      • Guess what I got in the mail today… go ahead guess… oh let me tell you cause you won’t believe it. I got a cotton sack from a lady in Topeka, KS. Sometime last year on Home-Talk I mentioned in passing that I was looking for one and here it is from another Home-talker… The Universe works!

  2. This was very interesting; I love to know how things were used. I think a piece has more “energy” or spirit or something when we know what it was. I absolutely love these as a big dramatic geometric statement. They are fabulous. I like the one with the cotton in it, the deer head…I like all of them. I remember the first time I saw cotton growing, I was amazed. I stopped my car, walked out in the field and said, “There are actually cotton balls hanging on this plant!” I think these baskets are almost better visually with broken slates.

    • Hey Ginene! Yes these baskets really have lots of character.. I’ve got my eyes open looking for one.. I can’t wait to create one of the looks. You sound like me whe I first saw cotton.. On the other my mother screamed and yelled “i never want to see cotton again” she had to pick it and hated it.. – a throwback moment.. Glad you enjoyed the post

  3. First: I have always loved the voice of Ella Fitzgerald! Second: love the baskets and the way they are displayed. One large statement on a wall other than a painting or mirror is awesome. Great information. !!

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