Did you ever see lace doilies covering the back of a chair or couch? Think 18th & 19th century, or Byron. Did you know that at one time they were more than decorative? They had a purpose.
You see at one time men of the family oiled their hair with oil of Macassar. It gave them that irresistible look, plus it hid the smell of unwashed hair. Needless to say this oil didn’t do the furniture any good and over time, it would stain it to the point that the material would be ruined. Somewhere along the line, an industrious homemaker came up with the idea to hang a doily along the area where her hubby’s moldy – oily head rested. Problem solved. Easier to wash a doily then to wash a chair.
Now the special use doilies became known as antimacassars. Today we see similar chair protectors on the back of seats in commercial airlines or Amtrak coaches.
Needless to say, we have a display of these antique doilies in our store. Look for them soon on our repurposed magazine rack.
9:00 PM Thursday and I’m tired. I am just putting the finishing touches on a colorful border that will go up along the shelf in our store. I am using some odd sized material and scrap lace that doesn’t come up to a yard. It will be neat, trust me. Anyway, just as I am about to finish, “the disruptor” (my husband) turns towards me and says, “Here” and he hands me a printed rectangle and some paper pieces he has cut out and laid on top of the sheet.
“What’s this? I ask. “Are we taking up paper dolls?” ( I get “the look.” Strike 1) “No,” he answers. “This is the floor plan for the layout of the linen store. I told you that I thought we should change the store around to give it a new look, so here’s my idea.”
“These tiny scraps of paper are your idea?” I asked with my usual incredulous look on my face. You would think I would know better. Strike 2
“No,” he said patently, this is the stores floor plan in scale. We are going to shift the pieces around on the paper until it looks the way we want it.
His idea has merit and I know it. Plan it out on paper before you just jump into something. He’s right in his thinking but, I hear myself saying, “It’s 9:30 in the evening. I have to be up at 6:00 AM – can this wait until tomorrow?” I knew the minute the words left my mouth – I was in trouble. The look on his face was similar to the first look he had when I told him I dented the car. Strike 3.
What I should have said was – “It looks great dear – let’s wait until tomorrow to work on it. Instead, we worked on it that night. Little scale pieces of cabinets and shelves, moved around on the paper until they were just right. The following morning I woke to find a completely different layout then what we had the night before. It figures. He always does this. By midnight, I was convinced he was saying yes only to humor me anyway.
The one thing I learned about all this is that you have to be able to visualize flat plans in three dimensions. I can’t when it comes to floor plans. That was frustrating to both of us, because I can see a dress pattern in three dimensions. I can see the finished dress or project when it is nothing more than a bolt of cloth, folded readied for cutting. It has to be genetics. I won’t go so far as saying that’s what makes us women, because there are many excellent men fashion designers, just as there are women architects. The significant trait is the ability to visualize in three dimension, regardless of the gender.
I still couldn’t visualize his plan on paper, but what he had done in anticipation of this, was build it out using our daughters Lego‘s. Now I could see it. What a great idea. Try it the next time you’re trying to figure out a room layout. Now if they could only make a dress pattern Lego, what a great world this would be.
Until next time, recycle, repurpose and stay green.
Recently, I had purchased some nice table linens from an estate sale. I was very pleased with my purchases even though you could tell they had been stored a long time. They had that “stuffed and tucked away” smell to them. I wash and iron all linens anyway, but imagine my dismay when I opened up the white tablecloth and found a rather large, light coffee colored stain along one whole border
I had once read where you could use a baby wipe to blot up coffee spills from your rug or carpet; it absorbs both the liquid and the stain. I thought that a great idea so I grabbed some from the car that I carry there for when my husband makes a mess. I am regularly attacking coffee spills he gets on himself from his old drippy coffee cup he never washes. Trouble was, they were too dried out from having sat there in the hot car after someone (him) had left them open.
So when the baby wipes didn’t work, I turned to my dog-eared copy of Heloise where she advised using baking soda. I quickly figured out that baking soda would work if the stain was brand new, but for coffee stains that had been washed and set in – baking soda didn’t seem seem to be the solution.
Beer was the next suggestion and much to my husbands dismay I figured the better the beer, the better the results. I suppose I should have asked him first before I snatched the beer from his hands. Seems you can soak the stain in beer and it should remove the stain quite well. Three beers later, two of which I drank while waiting, the stain was fainter but still there. I, on the other hand, was fading quickly.
By this time, I was desperate, frustrated and, I must admit – a little light-headed. (That’s my description and I am sticking with it.) I was also frustrated. Grabbing a bowl, I poured the rest of the beer in it and dumped about – let’s say – a quarter of a box of baking soda into it – just for good measure. The mixtures foamed all over the place and gradually settled down to this mush like mixture, which I put a lid on as I went to bed.
By the time I woke up the next morning, slowly walked into the kitchen and then remembered what I did, I half expected to take the lid off and find a large hole where the spot had once been. I didn’t – thank goodness. Instead, I found a clean white space where the stain had once been. Excitedly, I told my husband while holding up the table linen He nodded once, grabbed his tool chest and then spent the morning putting a lock on his beer cooler.
Later I read that had I brushed the mushy mess into the fabric using a soft hand brush, it would have done the same thing – but quicker. If you don’t drink the beer, it also helps get the stain out faster, because then – you would have read that last part of the instruction. However, what fun would there be in that?
Use these suggestions only on white linens and it’s OK to use cheap beer.
Until next time, repurposed, recycle and stay green.
Well, we did it. “Mom and Me” went down to the store and drew hearts on a ton of inventory. Everywhere you look you should see a heart. What this means for you is that the items with a heart on them are now 25% off their normal low price. I forgot to tell Mom that this was the reason we were drawing hearts on the tags. She almost had her own “heart” attack over it. (get it) She reminded me of Red Foxx as Fred Sanford on the old TV Show “Sanford and Sons.” (Hand over chest – looking skyward)
Stop in the store (downtown Colorado Springs at 324 E, Pikes Peak) and every item with a red heart on the tag – take it up to the counter and they will automatically take 25% off its already low price.
I’ve got some new ideas I am trying out that I will write about later today. I’m putting the finishing touches on them now.
Until next time, repurpose, recycle, and stay green.
I love fall colors. The rich warm browns, the warm yellows, the burnt oranges. I say this because I don’t want you to think me callous when I say I am looking forward to spring. We just put much of our linen on sale for Valentine’s day, and while I know it’s not quite spring yet, it’s the holiday before Easter and that is when we trot out all of our Spring colors. That got me thinking about spring and the rest is history. I can hardly wait.
As many of you know, I search for unique ways to repurpose stuff, especially linens. Well, I found a great site called Pinterest (www.pinterest.com) You need to sign up to request access to enjoy the benefits offered by this site, but believe me – it’s worth it. It’s a Treasure Shoppe on the internet, all by itself. Take time to read how to use the site, than explore. Be careful however, it’s addictive. I get so many great ideas there, I don’t want to leave. In between clicks I do manage to say hello to my husband – once in awhile, then back to the research.
When you are granted full user access, just for giggles, type in “repurpose.” You’ll be there all night.
Until next time, repurpose, recycle and stay green.
Friday night, after a long – but too short Christmas break, I finally closed the classroom door and was happy to get home and hit my easy chair. Tomorrow, (Sat) we are heading to the store to add in some more lace and vintage material, then it’s off to the Antique Show here in Colorado Springs.
An idea for you teachers. Two years ago, I made seat back pouches for all my elementary student chairs. The kids would come in, put their books and personal items into the pouch, keeping everything off the floor and out of the way. Naturally I used repurposed material. In this case, it was old car seat covers I had found, but any heavy canvas material would do.
Instructions: Measure the width of your chairs and the length from the top of the chair to the seat. I will bet that you creative types will already know how to sew the rest, but for those who don’t try this. Take your length measurement times 2 1/2. plus 2 inch’s. e.g If you measured 15 inches from the top of the seat back to the seat, then the length of the canvas you will need is about 38 + 2 or 40 inches. The last 8 inches is the pouch part. The first fold is at 15 inches. The second fold, folded inside itself is at 30 inch’s (I hem the top and bottom of the strip one inch before I fold anything, so that’s why the extra length.) The width of the piece is two inches wider then your seat back. Now sew the side edges and turn everything inside out. Your pouch part is now on the outside and ready to be filled. Slip the whole thing over the seat back and your done. Do this 25 more times and you have a classroom full of happy kids with new seat pouches and a clean floor.
Until next time, recycle, repurpose and stay green.
It has been a great day. Met a beautiful grandmother who had a great selection of vintage linens and old lace she wanted to sell. Our arms were full by the time we left and most of it will soon be in the store. What was as great was her charm and outlook on life. She had such a refreshing – and yes, a positive outlook, that it was a treat to talk with her. I told her of my resolution to shut off the news and end my subscription to the newspaper. Her response was “did that years ago.” Go figure.
On another positive note, about two months ago, we found some lace curtains; Scranton lace to be exact and my husband did some research on the Scranton Lace Company. From all the reports he found, and the documentary on the History Channel, it turns out this company was a fantastic company to work for. They opened in 1897 and closed their doors in 2002. At one time they had over 1500 employees producing some of the finest Nottingham lace money could buy. What was more important was how they treated their employees. Between the in-house bowling alley, the gymnasium, the movie auditorium and the employee medical center AND daycare, they really cared for their people. They made them feel like part of the company and that the employees were important to the success of the firm. I won’t go into any more details here, but suffice to say, if you want to read about a special time in American Manufacturing history, read about the Scranton Lace Company. It will make you wish for the old days again. If any of you readers are familiar with Scranton and the Scranton lace company, write me.
Until next time recycle, repurpose and stay green.
I woke up early this Sunday morning of the first day of 2012, resolved to not look back. That’s right, NOT to look back. That may be hard for a person who deals in vintage linen and lace, but that was my resolution. I opened my Sunday paper and immediately the opening headline is “A look back on 2011.” Who wants to? 2011 was a disaster. Who wants to go back?
I prefer to look forward to the good times coming in 2012. Sounds a little unrealistic I know, but that’s my attitude. I hate negative anyway, so why surround myself with it. I prefer the positive and that’s how I am going to approach the new year. It’s going to be fun to record my posts and see if I can keep that attitude throughout the year. I’m positive I can. How about you?
Happy “Positive” New Year citizens and readers. Shut off your news, end your subscription to the negative press, and learn to live happy. You’ll wonder why you didn’t do this sooner. Remember to reuse and recycle items as much as you can.