All posts by Mom & Me Vintage Linens, Lace & Antiques

Wife, mother, retail vintage linens and lace shop owner and teacher of special needs children. I opened my linen stores, first as a hobby, now as a passion. Now, 2 spots in one location at the American Classics Antique Mall (space B30) on N. Academy & Constitution and our new store in The Wilderness Treasures store 5975 N. Academy Blvd. also in Colorado Springs.

An Eclectic Life Style


The eclectic look in home decorating is trending. So is re-purposing.  Re-purposing, reusing, refurbishing is “green” and in vogue. Thank Goodness. I never thought my eclectic house would ever get back in style.  We may not have coined the word, but we sure live it.  We have no one favorite era, hence the reason  for the mishmash of styles in our home and the wide variety of vintage linens and lace in our store.

Hold a piece of Victorian to early 20th century era lace up to a piece of lace from the “mart” stores and look at the craftsmanship that went into the older piece. It could even have a tear in it and you’ll go, “I can mend that.”  A tear in the new stuff means it’s thrown away.  Look at the quality build in a chair, dresser or chest of drawers from the 30 to 40’s. Don’t even bother to compare it to a press-wood piece of todays throw away society.  It can’t be done.

We don’t use sideboards that much anymore and we don’t store blankets or linens in chest of drawers that much either.  We prefer to have our homes and condos a little less crowded. We don’t keep that much “stuff” any more. .  So, what can we do?  You can repurpose and retrofit a Mid Century Modern Chest of Drawers or Mission Style Side Board into a remodeled bathroom sink and cabinet, or a host of other ideas.  A sideboard make a great baby changing table also.

Vintage linens are still usable, long after their Chinese replicas have worn out. Re-purpose damask table cloths into drapery.  Lace curtains make a beautiful shawl. Lace Doilies sewn together make a unique and colorful quilt.  Be creative. You can’t make a mistake.

My next decorating change will be to scrape the popcorn from my ceiling. However, thinking with my retro state of mind, if I don’t look up, it can wait for another year. Who knows, it might come back in style.
Stop in and browse through our vintage linens. Our selection ranges from as far back as 1860, up to the late 1970.  You’re sure to find something that lights up your eyes and gives you that urge to create.

Send me your ideas. I’d love to see them.

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2nd Hand Flip


2nd Hand Flip – By G. Allen Clark is On Sale now for readers of this site, for the introductory price of $4.95

Have you ever wanted to be in business for yourself, or turn your love of flea market and thrift store shopping into a profitable business?  If you have ever had this idea, now is the time. Why get into the business of reselling? According to National Association of Retail Trades, (NARTS) (https://www. narts. org,) a consumer research firm, an average of 15 percent of Americans shop at resale stores in a given year.

The industry has experienced an average growth of seven percent a year for the past two years, and, according to IBISWorld, reselling is expected to increase at an annualized rate of nearly three percent until the year 2021. The number is higher if you add in Flea Markets or sales through online thrift stores.

For consignment/resale shops, it is higher, hitting in the area of 12 – 15%. To keep these figures in perspective, consider that during the same time frame; 11 percent of shoppers shopped at outlet malls, less than 20 percent in apparel stores, and just over 21 percent at major department stores.

For those who are Rich, Poor, or Middle class, the art of the deal is inherent in all of us.  The American Dream is built on the adage, Buy Low and Flip It.  While many major chain operated businesses close their doors every day, vintage stores, including the small Mom and Pop booths in Resale malls, remain healthy and continue to be one of the fastest growing segments of the retail market.

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Authentic Antique Pine Furniture: An Antique Buyers Practical Choice


A well used and ancient pine board “cubby.”

By: G. Allen Clark

If you are new to the world of #antique or #EarlyAmerican furniture, choosing the right piece in a store full of antique #furniture can be daunting.  More so, if you are looking for unusual or out of the ordinary antique furniture pieces.  Might I suggest that you start looking for Pine furniture?  Why Pine you ask?  Antique pine pieces are scarce, so when you do find antique pine, you usually will be finding something that fits the bill of #unique and unusual.

There are many kinds of finishes that were applied to pine.  The objective was to enhance the wood grain patterns that were and still are very appealing in antique and early American decorations.  In many cases, that pine cupboard you find can be #refinished in another color quite easily to meet the #decor of any setting.

In general, early #furniture makers used pine to build #bedroom sets, #bookshelves, #cabinets and #dining #tables. Because of this, the use of pine has been coveted, making antique pine furniture scarce.  Consider these tips to help you select the best pieces.

First, a short tutorial about the wood itself.  Wood for furniture is either #softwood or #hardwood.  These descriptions vary on the foliage of the tree, not on the wood’s strength.  Hardwood trees (Oaks, Cherry, Maple, and Ash) drop their foliage’s seasonally.  Trees in softwood category (Pines, Douglas fir, and Cedar) sustain their leaves all throughout the year.  Pines are part of the softwood family and they are grown and utilized all over the world.  The grain patterns in Pines vary with the climate in the region grown.  Wide grain patterns reflect an abundance of moisture, giving to a faster growth and wider grains.  Tight grains are reflective of a slower growth typical to drier climates.

Pine was historically used to build furniture in the #UnitedStates and #England.  When you find Antique furniture made of pine, you will have found furniture that was made for the lower socioeconomic classes of their society.  This was due in large part because when early settlers came over to the new world; pine was plentiful, thus less expensive compared to scarcer hardwoods like oak and walnut.  Scarcity commands higher prices that the wealthy were willing to pay.

Ironically, today pine furniture is embracing a lot of popularity and in fact; antique pine furniture is in high demand.  Even #millennial’s realize that the value of a vintage pine bookshelf or chest-of-drawers, because furniture made today is made from cheaply made pressed wood, falls apart before its return on investment can be realized.

Old world furniture manufacturers preferred the use of pine to hardwoods because of its versatility and easy-to-work-with features.  Usually, pine is light colored and its knots and grains are prominent and desirable.  The more knots and dark grain, the better.  I had two Antique Pine Cabinets in my store at the #WildernessTreasure location.  I barely got the one in the door and set up, when it sold.  I anticipate that the other one (see picture in the following article) will go as quick.

So why consider antique pine furniture over the hardwood variety?  Generally, Pine is less costly than other pieces of wood and easier to maintain.  A full antique chimney cabinet in solid oak or cherry, similar to the solid pine cabinet I just sold, would cost you five times more.  Pine furniture in today’s marketplace however, is also very rustic and perfect for today’s modern country look.

Pine is lighter and easier to move, than modern furniture made from veneer over presswood.  Antique oak or cherry pieces are heavy in comparison to the same piece in pine.  Why is that important?  Ask a millennial who, while wanting value, needs to remain flexible in his or her living location, due to their career choice.

Pine is versatile and fits in with any decor, even ultra-modern.  You can change the look with different finishes such as a clear varnish-finish, or stained, or even a washed paint.  With the trend towards shabby chic, pine is a perfect choice for the #DIY’er trying their hand at this type of furniture painting.

Antique pine furniture will stand out as unique and interesting because of its prominent knots and grain throughout.  This is also a good option since it can harmoniously blend with other wood types, allowing you to mix it with other furnishings in your home.

The quality of antique pine furniture varies widely.  If the piece is designed well, tightly constructed, it will not display any signs of irregularities like missing parts, inconsistent outlines or holes where the knots once were.  If the wood is old enough, they will be scratched and dented.  This is good, because it gives the antique piece the warmth (patina) that is desired in antiques.  Be careful however.  Solid Pine furniture will warp if subjected to constant moisture and humidity.  However, it does well in air-conditioned homes.

Like all solid wood furniture, you must supply some maintenance of your pine furniture.  Wood need to be oiled regularly in drier climates.  As an antique furniture restorer, I use #Howards #Restore-a-finish in Maple/Pine first, and then apply a coating of Howards Feed N Wax over the life of the piece.  You will soon be able to get these products at my Wilderness Treasure location.  (5975 N. Academy #ColoradoSprings, CO. 80918.)  Ask the front desk for Mom & Me Vintage Linens, Lace & Antiques.

Antique Furniture Repair: Adhesives as Part of the Solution


Sometimes antique or vintage furniture breaks. Temperature change starts a small crack and alternating humidity and dryness takes its toll.  We here in Colorado understand this problem at a scale like very few other locations.  Instead of throwing the old piece along with the rest of your obsolete materials in the back corner of the garage, bring it out, repair, restore it, and put it back to good use.  Antique (over 100 years old) and vintage (over 20 years old) furniture, are one of the best re-purposing items one can find in a second-hand store.  Furniture is one of the handful of best investments, future generations will profit from by owning.  Because adhesives make the repair of that furniture easier, we are going to discuss its use here.

The “judicious” use of Adhesives is one of the best solutions for antique furniture repair.  I say judicious because typically the inexperienced DIY person believes that the more glue you can slather on something, the better it will hold.  Nothing can be farther from the truth.  Not only is too much glue detrimental, it is also ugly.  Older furniture was assembled with craftsmanship and accuracy, but wood dries out over time.  Holes expand as they dry and tendon that go into those holes, shrink.  Eventually the once tight joint, loosens and weakens, becoming prone to breakage

Originally glue was not a common material used in assembling bigger furniture pieces during the original manufacture.  When the old craftsmen build furniture, the tolerances were close, joints were tight, screws were used.  When glue was used, usually it was made from the rendering of “animal hide” and hoofs.  Remember hearing or reading about “sending the horse to the glue factory?”  That’s where it comes from.  Removal and replacement of that old glue and rebuilding the dried up joints and tendons becomes a necessary part of the repair process today.

What glue to Use.

There is a lot of glue available for antique furniture repair.  Some holds on contact without any pressure while others requires around thirty-minutes or more of pressure to safely and completely bond.  It is always best to buy the recommended glue, instead of the off-brands.  The use of adhesives, such as the commonly known white wood glue is the most preferred when repairing wood furniture.  For example, Elmer’s Wood Glue is a staple in my shop.  Other wood glues are perhaps just as good, but I grew up with Elmer’s in my Dads wood shop. I have come to trust it.  Not to be confused with the Elmer’s paper glue used in schools.  That glue taste good, but wood glue doesn’t.  At six years old, I learned the difference.

I use wood glue the most, especially for raw wood gluing of joints and seams.  You will too.  Because it is water-soluble, I mix it with wood shavings or sawdust, making a sort of wood paste to build up a loose joint or fill in an enlarged hole.  This trick came from my Dad.  I’ve used oak sanding dust mixed with Elmer’s to repair a small crack in an oak table. I clamped it and once dried, I sanded it down, and you can hardly tell where the crack was.  I re-sold that table for a healthy profit afterwards.

Because wood glue is water-soluble, it is easier to clean up, leaving behind no residue. You want this because you will need to paint or stain over the exposed section of the repair.  Note however, that if you’re new to wood repair, fully read and follow the direction indicated on the product labels.  If you have questions, contact the company and ask.  The kid in the paint store who is stocking shelves won’t know, but the pro in the company tech department will.

Sometimes, the repair entails a single leg of an antique chair or table that has been broken.  This is not a simple glue it together and be done fix.  Fast-setting water-soluble type glues are not suitable for this kind of repair.  You will need to use an epoxy type glue plus either nails or screws.

You may find that some of the new catalytic type glues that are mixed together, may be needed.  Think of a surgeon repairing a badly broken leg.  The hidden screws pull the joint back together; but cannot provide the full repair.  The glue is to strengthen the joint and serves to bolster the holding power of the screw.  Together they make for a good repaired joint; one that you would feel safe in using.  Separately they are a small percent of the repair.

Right Glue for the Job

You have to be careful in choosing the right glue for antique furniture repair.  Do not buy cheap glue or plastic glue from a hobby shop, because they are suitable for anything which takes a lot of strain.  Model glue depends on chemically melting and mixing with plastic to hold.  Furniture of any purpose takes a lot more strain then this glue is capable of holding.

Impact adhesives in rubbery or jelly like textures, are rolled or sprayed on. They are best used for sticking large areas such as big pieces of veneers.  Small cans of this glue are also used with small flat disposable brushes, for repairs of raised or damaged veneer.

Epoxy resins come in double tubes that are equally mixed before applying. These are highly suggested for securing anything that is not porous. (glass, ceramic, metal, etc.)

There are many more adhesives available, each varying on the particular need of antique furniture repair.  You just have to pick the right and the most suitable one. Once selected, the repair of a fine antique becomes a lot easier, enjoyable and more profitable. Plan your work carefully then work your plan.

The ultimate goal in any repair project is to repair it, so that no one knows it has been repaired. For that reason, my repair glue cabinet with all the variety, is almost as full as my paint and stain cabinet. \

Ever wanted to go into the business of reselling? 17% of the American population shops in second-hand stores.  The business is easy to learn, fun to do and best of all, profitable.  Learn how.  Download a copy of “2nd Hand Flip, by going to https://goo.gl/7Bc21R  Use coupon code RT93L at checkout for a “Thank You” discount on your purchase.

 

Clearing up the Confusion of Antique Refurbishing


As we may have mentioned in earlier post, my husband refurbishes antiques. We have found that the word refurbish often confuses people. Some assume it as a complete rebuild or refinishing of a precious antique destroying the original patina, while others assume refurbish means a light cleaning or doing nothing at all. In truth, it depends on the careful inspection of the antique. The following might help to explain the designations you will find on our price tags.

The first is a complete refurbish with some new materials which ends with a rebuilt antique, but can seriously diminish the value. You will rarely find us doing a complete refurbish. The exception was the desk at the left. It had fallen off the back of a truck doing 45 MPH. My husband took up the challenge and had to completely rebuild it, adding a new back and rebuilding the interior cubicles using new wood. He found replacement hinges, antiqued them and then refinished the new wood to match the old finish. By the way, you can see these examples in space B26

Second is a ‘soft’ restoration, where no new hardware is used, and only what is from the original construction goes back into its rebuild. We do this level of refurbishing on many of our steamer trunks, such as the example shown to the left, especially when we have a piece that has all of its hardware.  If we have to replace hardware, we search our resources for original hardware. If we can’t find original, we either repair the old piece or replace the piece with a duplicate new part. This kind of project is best used on pieces of value, where authenticity is important.

 

The third is a moderate restoration, where as much of the original hardware is re-used. Whenever possible, parts from the same period (or if we can, the original manufacturer) are installed. Failing that, he will replace with new hardware. He will spend hours on the internet researching to make sure he keeps the original look. This is often the hardest but most rewarding restoration and our preference when restoring cabinets, tables, desks and or other valued antiques. The 7 foot tall Pine Chimney Cabinet shown here is an example of this level of restoration.

Singer Craft Work


IMG_20130920_083004_122The other day I was in the store putting stuff away and generally cleaning up, when young man came by and started looking at our #vintage #Singer sewing machines. He said he was looking for another one for his girlfriend to use. Apparently he and his girlfriend are #crafts people and the #Singer66 and its smaller version the model 99 are heavy-duty machines, perfect for #crafting. He ended up buying one of mine. Thank you Jake. Continue reading Singer Craft Work

Action Figures (don’t call them dolls)


It’s been awhile since I have been able to write. Longer then I wanted, that’s for sure. Added responsibilities in my teaching career, plus a personal loss in my family took me away for quite some time. I’m back however and I will try to keep up once again.

As you may know, my husband does furniture restoration and we have some beautiful pieces for sale in Space B26

1964 G.I. Joe Viet Nam Marine
GI Joe Action Figure

at American Classics Marketplace next to my linen shop (B30). Some he refinished or repaired, but most are as he found them in his daily travels. What you may not know is that he’s a big kid at heart. That will become apparent when you see the collection of #G.I Joe Action Figures that he just put into his case in B26. He came across them at an estate sale and couldn’t pass them up.

I have to laugh at a grown man playing with #action figures, (don’t call them dolls) but that is exactly what I caught him doing one afternoon when I walked into the living room. He says he was just trying to see how many different positions they would actually bend too and I say he was playing. The decisive factor came when he sat two of the figures into the 1/6th size Jeep he is selling with them. Yep, he was playing.

He put them on sale in his side of the business. I tell you this because if any of you would like to start your kids or grand kids on collecting, the G.I. Joe Action figures are a good place to start. They just keep going up in value. The 12-inch full size ones he has in the showcase feature two of them from the original 1964 series, one still in the box. He also has some of the original Cobra 1984 small (3 1/2 inch) version. There is an interesting history of these toys found on Wikipedia. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/G.I._Joe

Now to my linens. I was told that we were the only Linen and Lace store south of Wyoming devoted to vintage linens. A person who came all the way down from Denver to purchase one of our Quaker Lace tablecloths told me this. I’m not sure about all of Colorado, but in checking the I25 corridor south from Wyoming to Pueblo, it appears she may be right. That also brings up my mentioning of some new stock I just put in. The same estate sale that my husband found the G.I. Joe’s in, yielded some beautiful hand done lace tablecloths and Italian linens. I have to admit, I had a hard time parting with these.

I’ll end here for now. I promise to be more vigilant in my writing, but until next time, enjoy the Super Bowl weekend coming up. Once again, if on the weekend you stop by the store and see a woman with her nose buried in linens, it’s probably me. Stop in and say hello.

 

 

Fats, Scraps, etc. Oh My!


This week, I put in a bunch of 1900’s to 1960 vintage quilt pieces (scraps, fats, etc. oh my) Sorry, I couldn’t help myself. Anyway, as I started child-and-mom - Copyto say before my mind wandered off to its secret place, I put of load of vintage quilt material in both stores, and I put all fabric on sale (50% off) to clear out some of the inventory I have. As I worked away, I got me to thinking about how to take care of vintage quilts. I called Mom, who used to quilt all the time. First words out of her mouth were “very carefully.”

When I asked what she meant by ‘very’, she explained. Never dry clean a cotton quilt since the weight of the ‘fluid’ may place more stress than ‘water’ on old fabric. I emphasized fluid and water for a reason. Dry-cleaning fluid is heavy with chemicals. (Who would have thought?) Its weight will tear old fabric. Her next bit of advice was “never hang a wet quilt on a single line.” Same reason. The water pools at the bottom, placing stress on the seams and threads at the top as they drape over the small line. If you have to dry a quilt outside, hang it over two or even three lines, evenly distributing the weight of the quilt. If you have a lot of quilts or need to wash and dry many for sale, consider making a rope drying rack. The look like an old rope bed king size bed. One of my mother’s friends uses an old king bed size frame she weaves into a bed of ropes.

Bottom line of all this is be careful with vintage quilts. I am sure you have seen some beautiful ones for sale in an antique store, only to turn it over and find the material separated, or the stitching torn out. Makes you want to cry doesn’t it?

Speaking of Vintage Quilts, make sure you check out the new ones we placed in the store. I dated the one back to 1930, the other, I believe goes back to around 1945. Both came from an estate sale and both are fantastic examples of the quilting craft.

Stepping Into the Past to Live for Today


It makes sense that as owners of a vintage linen and lace shop, we are in love with fine linens. Tight woven linen, some white, some cream, some with hand printed flowers and vines, with vivid red, yellows and green colors in distinctive patterns. Colors just as alive and vibrant today as when they were first produced. You can visualize the artist passing the linen through each color separation, but not always registering the cloth exactly, as would happen if it were in today’s high-speed linen press. That’s what makes vintage so special; the imperfections given a warm hand, versus the cold steel of today’s production methods. Then you have the beautiful Damask linens, each with their subtle but distinctive pattern, that when laid out on a table, along with the matching napkins and fine silver, make dinner with friends a special event.

Oh, did I fail to mention we just picked up a trunk full of vintage linen this weekend? You probably would have guessed it anyway. I have spent my day, literally lying within the folds of history. I have smelled the clean air, the aroma of the slow cooked pot roast. In my mind, I have heard the clatter of dishes and dinnerware over the chatter of family all sitting down to Sunday dinner.

I started thinking, what makes the experience of touching fine linen so special? For that matter, what makes the experience of collecting anything so special? Is it the love of handcrafted quality or the secret hoarders in me coming out.

I don’t know the exact answer; it’s different for everyone, but I have my suspicions. The 30’s, 40’s, 50’s are my favorite years and it’s hard to pick any one thing that makes these generations stand out, until you voice all adjectives and realize that you have used “quality” more than once.

The fact that the linens that we hold in our hand are so crisp and wonderfully colored after all these years and hundreds of washings later, are a big part of it. Modern day linens miss this level of quality. Maybe it’s the fact that these were produced when pride and quality of workmanship was in everything.

Perhaps that’s what all of us look for when we purchase anything vintage. We are purchasing a chance to get back an era when times were simpler and families were closer and pride in workmanship was paramount. When you pick up a napkin from the 30’s you get the same feeling your grandmother felt and the same feeling your children will feel when they are the recipients of your collection.

Secretly I want to keep every linen napkin I touch; every lace doily I wash, or every tablecloth I fold. I want my daughter to have this quality long after my passing. Then my husband says the magic words that bring me back to why we opened this store. He’ll say, “Do you know that when a customer buys these linens, that their children will probably end up using them in their future?” I pause and think about that and then it strikes me, that this is the guarantee that “quality” gives you. That’s what I live for. By retrieving, preserving and passing on this bit of cloth, I pass history forward. That makes me smile.

We consolidated our stores into two locations B30 & B26. within the American Classics Marketplace @ 1815 N. Academy CS/CO. Stop in a pick a piece of this history. Take a look at what American workers did. Some of them (many of them) were your grandmothers and grandfathers, maybe – if you’re older, even your mother and fathers. They did good back then.

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Space B30. Check out the lace.

Bringing Back Style & Quality


The eclectic look in home decorating is trending. Repurposing, reusing, refurbishing is

Side Board 1920 - 1930
Side Board 1920 – 1930

in vogue. Thank Goodness. I never thought my house would ever get back in style. Actually one of the reasons why are in the antique and vintage linen and lace business is because we love quality. Hold a piece of 1890 – 1930 lace up to a piece of lace from the “mart” stores, you’ll see what I mean by this. Remember the 70’s?  Avocado walls, polyester and shag carpeting? I can do without the long shag, but the denser and shorter shag does make a great retro look for select rooms. How about the 80’s with the popcorn ceiling and the color “salmon?” What, you don’t remember salmon colored walls?  How about avocado?  We don’t use sideboards that much anymore and we don’t store blankets or linens in chest of drawers that much, because our homes and condos are getting smaller. We don’t have the room for too much furniture, but we still want the quality and style associated with that era. So, what can we do? One popular idea is to repurpose / retrofit a Victorian Chest of Drawers or Side Board into a remodeled bathroom sink and cabinet. My next decorating change will be to scrape the popcorn from my ceiling. However, thinking with my retro state of mind, if I don’t look up, it can wait for another year. Who knows, it might come back in style.