But what were they? Where did they come from?
She had found them--get this--under the cushion of an old easy chair in a house she moved into. So she passed them along to me, sure I would find, if not their origin, something awesome to create. At long last, I finally tracked down these little mysteries, thanks to this photo.
Lo and behold, they are vintage laundry pin tags! I found these at http://www.kittredgemercantile.com/
Mystery solved! Now if I can just figure out what to do with them....