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.
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.
The 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→
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 to 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.
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.
The eclectic look in home decorating is trending. Repurposing, reusing, refurbishing is
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.
I wish to thank all you who helped make my stores as successful as they were last year, especially those of you who stopped in and said hi on the weekends when I had a chance to be in the stores. I had a ball meeting with you. Let’s do it again real soon.
I want to thank those who stopped by my Facebook Page and who visited our website/blog at Linens2Lace.com. Thank you for your kind remarks. I want to thank those of you who purchased the many types of vintage linens I have in stock and those who simply browsed and had kind words to say. Thank you for picking up our “Use Anytime” discount cards and for telling your friends.
I want to thank my furniture buyers. You made my year. We decided to mix up our offerings this last year by bringing in antique and vintage furniture that reflected what you might find in sewing rooms or the bed and bath area. We are very pleased with the results of this mix.
My wish for all of you is a very prosperous 2014. My mother always told me to never discuss politics or religion, so I won’t – except to say that my hopes are for 2014 to find a congress that remembers that they are “for the people” and not just their individual party affiliations. Sorry Mom – I had to do it.
I am looking forward to this year. I am looking forward to meeting all my friends again, including strangers who I consider friends I haven’t met yet. With my teaching schedule, I get in to the stores on weekends and on holidays so once again, if on a weekend you see someone with their nose buried in a pile of vintage linens or lace – it’s probably me. Stop in and say hi. I’d love to visit and show you around.
Let’s say you love handbags and you just can’t get enough of them. In fact, your closet is filled with so many of them, that it seems as if the store has moved into your very own apartment. The prices of these handbags can range from very cheap to very expensive. There are many of us who are gifted with the talent to make our very own fabric handbags. Creative people who love vintage designs, take handles and other hardware from old out of date bags and apply new / vintage material to them making their own design. However, what material do you use? That is the subject of todays article.
It is important that you at least have a general idea of the different types of fabric or material that is available for the type of lifestyle you and your bag will lead. Much of this material can be found in one of our two stores; either The Treasure Shoppe downtown Colorado Springs, or American Classics antique Mall on North Academy. Our fabrics are on either on the large racks or in the cubbies.
Materials best for handbags.
There are certain types of delicate material that need the utmost care when removing stains. You may not want these for a handbag consistently exposed to the perils of everyday use. While there are other materials that is easier to maintain, you need to that you pay close attention to the cleaning directions of the different types of fabric.
Cotton comes in a wide array of choices when it comes to color, weight, patterns and design. Plus the material is very easy to manipulate and cut. It is advisable to pre-wash cotton before making it into a handbag.
Silk is not recommended for DIY handbags because aside from the fact that it requires dry cleaning, the material is difficult to handle and is more prone to stains. Satin is the same, never the less, silk or satin make a great liner for some of the more elaborate designs.
Linen. The bad thing about linen is that it easily wrinkles. However, the wrinkled look is often desired for that one of a kind design. Dry cleaning is recommended. Use no bleach and avoid designs that require crimping or hard folds, as linen fibers will break.
Leather is a very durable material. The thing is it requires special equipment when you use this plus only a professional can clean it. Suede can be brushed which sometimes may remove a small discoloration or stain.
Burlap makes a very rustic bag. Great for that trip to the beach or mountains. Stains don’t show up as bad with burlap, but even if they do, they tend to give burlap a rustic used look.
Canvas is another great DIY bag material. A little fabric paint for a creative design adds to its long-lasting value.
The fabrics I have mentioned are just some of the many that you could choose from. I strongly suggest that you experiment with a few. We have the selection and we recommend trying the vintage fabrics we have before you invest in new modern imported fabrics. Ultimately, you have the knowledge for what works best for you and your skill in crafting the bag.
“Nobody wants to live in the past, we just want to be able to step into it when we need to breathe.” That was the philosophy of the
visitor who stood before me, casually fingering the 1860’s Waterfall Satin bedspread I had hanging in the corner. She went on to say, “That is why I created my “get away” room using a Victorian theme. I love everything Victorian. I can step back into that era when ever I want. When things are going too fast, I can close the door and slow the day down. The rest of my house I call modern country but my room is strictly Victorian. I don’t have a telephone or any other modern conveniences in there.”
She stepped around to finger the French Victorian Lamp shades. We were in the Willowstone store and she had been there for about five minutes when we struck up a conversation. She went on to tell me, “I have my books, my Victorian couch, my tea set; which I have filled with Earl Grey, and I have my plush French Provincial chair and footstool, in which to plank my butt in and close my eyes for a while. Sometimes I read, sometimes I merely sit there, unwinding. I may sit there for hours doing nothing but quilting, sewing or reading. Then there are those days when I may only get to sit there for a minute or so. No matter what, this is my sanctuary and I use it.”
She went over to the lace section and picked one of our Quaker Lace tablecloths. “This will look beautiful draped over the back of the settee and used as a shawl.” Just the right weight to keep the chill off the legs in the wintertime, without being as heavy as the wool blankets I have in our living room.”
As she folded it up and stuck in her cart, she went on to say, “ I love to repurpose. Lace of all types are my favorite, plus damask. The quality of the old world workmanship, lives on forever and you can’t find the intricate patterns like you get in bobbin or Quaker lace or the beautiful patterns you see in a pure white Damask tablecloth.” I asked her if her whole house was Victorian Style. She said, “Oh no, more eclectic than anything else. She was mainly into repurposing. “For example,” she said, “I purchased the entire set of vintage lace curtains you had in your store at American Classics and used those over my windows in my office area. They were vintage Chinese lace; a very delicate pattern. They do well over my modern roll top desk which better accommodates my computer screen. I also purchased that large roll of lace trim you had at the Treasure Shoppe and used that on the walls in the daughter’s room. As you can tell, I shop all your stores. I wanted to do something different, so for their room, so I made a lace-ceiling border, like those stick on borders, around the entire room.”
“I used Elmer’s white glue, watered down slightly to make it paintable with a brush, and then glued the lace to the top of the wall. When it dried, I painted over it. I messed up the first time when I inadvertently stretched it too tight. I got in a hurry. It shrunk and separated from the corners. It was easy to peel off and the second time, I just laid it making sure it wasn’t stretched and I only did one wall at a time.”
She promised to send me pictures I will share with you, but in the meantime, do a Google search for interior decorating lace borders and you should find instructions.
By the end of her stay in my store, I was ready to go home and redecorate. Instead, I sat down and shared her conversation with you. I think she has the right idea. If you are into antiques and vintage, decorate to an era and not just to color, plus, repurpose anything and everything you find for that era. The best part however was her advice on de-stressing by building a “get away” room. Good advice and I’m so lucky to have the perfect stores for it. Now if I could just find that room.
Did you know that in 1846 cans were first invented? How ironic is it that it took 12 years for someone to invent the can opener? What did they do with the cans for twelve years; sit and look at the shiny metal lining their shelves; wondering what the contents tasted like? Of course, by 1858, someone had managed to invent the Rotary washing machine. This invention provided the young homemaker with other things to do than stare at cans.
How many of you, when you were kids, remember chewing Blackjack gum? Remember your parents looking screaming in horror, thinking you had swallowed black paint? (Maybe it was just mine who did this; they were a little over dramatic back then.) Well, in 1872, the year Blackjack gum was invented, kids everywhere shoved it into their mouths by the bucket full. Who knew it was so old? So millions of kids (with black gums) chewed Blackjack on the way to the woodpile, because it wasn’t until 1896 that the first electric stove was developed. This leads me to my next revelation.
Before 1896, it was little Johnny’s duty to stoke Moms cooking fire. If he was good, his treat was more Blackjack gum. Only the rich could afford coal, so wood had to do until the something better came along. In 1896 “better” came in the form of magic. The first electric stove graced the family’s kitchen. Homemakers everywhere were happily cooking away on this newfangled contraption up until 1921, when along comes Mr. Henry Ford – a man who couldn’t stand to waste anything. You remember Henry; he invented the Ford Model T and Assembly Line Manufacturing, but in 1921 after the electric stove had already been in full use and loved my millions of Moms, good Ol’ Henry brought to us the now-familiar charcoal briquette. Up until then, no one knew they wanted to go back to wood, but Ford got the idea from the scrap lumber left over from building his model T’s. He had all this scrap, that he could turn into smaller scrap by heating the snot out of it, and that the resulting (now black – semi burnt – scrap) got very hot and lasted a long time when burned in a stove. Being the salesperson he was, he sold the public on using his newly coined “charcoal” for cooking. Low and behold 1921 saw the birth of the “Grill Meister.”
Later that same year the first homogenized gallon of milk showed up on the steps of many a home. A man in a white coat and white hat, who jumped out of a milk wagon pulled by an old tired horse, delivered the new homogenized milk. If, in the summer, you didn’t get the milk off the stoop first thing in the morning, you had homogenized sour milk. You drank it anyway. It was also in 1927 that Kool-Aid was invented. It had real sugar in it. Kids preferred Kool-Aid to the sour milk. I
think this was the year they also coined the medical term “hyperactive.”
By 1930, a man named F.J. Osius had an idea for a mixer that could chew through anything. He also had no money. He went to the famous bandleader – Fred Waring for help. (They probably got drunk mixing the first margarita.) Waring ended up lending Osius the funds provided that he (Waring) could put his name on the product. The pair finalized the deal and then Waring took off, traveling around the country with his band plus a large trunk that opened up into (of all things) a bar. He would play, blend and demonstrate the mixer, then play some more.
Now for the last one. Do you know why metal lunch boxes are so collectible? Because in the early 70’s a group of Florida mothers, fearing for the heads of their children, launched a nationwide campaign against allowing metal lunch boxes in school. Apparently, they became very good weapons during schoolyard fights. Little Johnny was getting his bell rung with a metal lunchbox. Apparently, plastic lunch boxes only rang his bell a little.
You can find these tidbits of history and a ton of other information at a remarkable site called Food and Utensil Chronology at https://sites.google.com/site/coquesters/foodandutensilchronology. Check this site out. It’s great for vintage collectors who want to know the year a particular item they are coveting was born. It’s also a great spot for someone who’s been laundering a new batch of vintage linens all week after work, who needed a break and who says to her writer husband, “Please write the blog for this week.”