It came stocked with old polyester thread of Styrofoam spools, a bag of ribbon snippets and various old notions--bias tape, yellowing elastic, ancient zippers.
There were a few wooden spools, though, and a velvet strawberry (a friend of mine tells me these are stuffed with emery, for sharpening dull needles),
and these little "cotton mushrooms," made in West Germany, which tells you how old they are. I don't know what one does with cotton mushrooms, but they're pretty darn cute anyway.
I cleaned it up with some strong black tea (I rarely listen to advice from my mother-in-law, but she tells me she learned this trick from the Antiques Road Show, and it seemed to work well--I could smell years' worth of Lemon Pledge lifting away), and replaced this mess:
Don't you think it looks especially classy next to the giant Rubbermaid container of fabric? Oh well, baby steps.