Category Archives: crafts

crafts and all things made by hand. Creative ideas, using linen and lace in a creative manner.

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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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.

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

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.

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.

Goodbye 2013


Once again, we find ourselves at the end of a hectic year.  I am not sure if I can ever get the image of Miley Cyrus swinging across the screen

Happy New Year 2014
Happy New Year 2014 (Photo credit: Eustaquio Santimano)

naked on her wrecking ball, nor the horrible carnage of the Boston Marathon out of my mind, but I am going to try real hard.

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.

Best wishes and Happy New Year 2014

Keeping my Head Above the Linen Pile


English: Thread made from two threads, each of...
English: Thread made from two threads, each of them consists of three single yarns. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Rummaging through our lace box, the young woman asked me if we ever dyed our lace.  I smiled thinking back to the hours of hand washing, categorizing and pricing each piece.  I told her no, that due to the demands on my time, that was one area of owning a vintage linen store, I had yet to venture in to.  I asked her what she was looking for.  She didn’t know, just looking but she mentioned that she was in town for her Aunts second wedding and was looking for a special gift, “something old,” she said.  Lace and Ribbons for sashes are used for weddings or first communions.  They make great gifts and because they are from gentler eras long past, they represent something very special.  Pale blue or light rose are perfect colors.  Think about a spring winter morning sky.

By the way, as long as we are talking quality vintage and pricing, (we were, weren’t we?) monogram bed linens are often very heavy.  They were favored by the wealthy who could afford to have them monogrammed.  The thread count for many of the vintage linens is over 1000 and some we have estimated approach the 2000 mark.

Remember, if you like bargains, (and who doesn’t) when shopping either one of our stores; “The Treasure Shoppe” or “American Classics Antique Mall”, be sure to pick up your discount card.  Keep the card with you, give one to your friends and every time you or your friend purchase our linens, just present the card at the checkout counter.

And once again, if you see a woman with her nose buried in the linens, it’s probably me.  Stop in and say hi.  Tell me what you’re looking for.  I probably have it.

And now I want to step away from the store for a moment.  These last couple of weeks in Colorado have been devastating.  The flooding has uprooted and separated family’s, destroyed or severely damaged homes and cost lives.  As I write this, the news is reporting on another tragic loss of two young people caught in rushing waters.  I’m trying hard not to cry.  We may be strong here in Colorado and we can rebuild property,  but we cannot bring back loved ones.  My heart goes out to all who are affected by the floods.  Please head the warnings and do whatever you can to keep you and your families safe.

Shopping For Fabric When Making Fabric Handbags


English: Handbags, unidentified material, FW20...
English: Handbags, unidentified material, FW2010 Collection (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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.

There’s no better time than whenever.


christmas 2007
christmas 2007 (Photo credit: paparutzi)

I hate to see anything end.  I don’t know why.  Heck, I hate to see a good movie end.  I dislike the word “finale,” and “end of a year.”  I use to look forward to Christmas. However, years back, I began to realize that Christmas signaled the end of that year.  Regardless of whether the year has been good or bad (any year above ground is good) I wasn’t ready for it to end.  One more wrinkle, one more notch on the stick of time, one more year where I haven’t written my great American novel.  My husband say’s that if we didn’t change the calendar or celebrate New Year’s, we would not be as aware of the change.  Therefore, I have adopted this attitude.  It made sense.Our ancestors marked the years passing by the seasons and the crops, why can’t I?  I have a new crop of grey hair, thanks to my husband.  I’ll use that.  Calendars weren’t required on the farm I came from, even though the tractor company would always send us one.  The auto parts store would always send my dad one, but that calendar somehow always ended up in the garage where we kids couldn’t see it.

Without an end, I can function.  For example, for the last two weeks, I have been off on Fall break.  You are probably thinking  – “well then, why haven’t we read more posts?”  I will explain this.  Part of the answer is simple.  I didn’t have time to think of the end.  I have been busy restocking both stores new vintage, in anticipation of the holidays.  New “vintage” meaning Christmas linens, tableware and other Christmas items such as Tree Skirts and Mantle Runners from an East Coast estate, late 70’s, early 80’s.  I also put in some beautiful lace doilies and tableware from the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s.  (By the way, residents of Manitou Springs, if you have missed your Vintage Linen Store, take time to stop in the Treasure Shoppe downtown Colorado Springs – go to space B4 and look at the vintage German doilies and lace I just put in.)

The only problem with putting new stuff in, is that I am reminded there is a calendar out there, running out of pages.  I don’t celebrate New Year’s now, just another day for me.  I brought out the Christmas linens only because the big stores did.  My calendar is perpetually on 2008.  I keep it because of the hunky firefighters pictures.  Mr. July has been very good for me.

Therefore, if you are one of my relatives or friends, I am sorry I missed your birthday or anniversary.  I was close.  I still have your Christmas card from 2007 – all addressed and ready to go.  I just need to add more postage – someday.  Stop by and pick one up.  For my employing school, call me if I don’t show up one day.  I’m probably on Spring or Winter Break a little early, (or late) I don’t know.  As part of my campaign to let the days roll on, I may not be on time as well.  I stopped wearing my watch and refuse to look at the clock.  If you roll by the house in the early morning, that’s the husband pushing me, half-dressed – out the door.  He is my official timekeeper.  Betcha he wishes he hadn’t been so philosophical now.

Steampunk Colorado – not a place, but a state of mind


Steampunk

I have to admit I didn’t know much about steampunk.  I probably still don’t know a lot about steampunk, even after my long conversation with two neat people who came into my store dressed in Victorian steampunk style.  I’m learning however.

However, I am always curious and open to new things.  Shrugging off my middle America farm girl cloak, I went looking for answers to my question “What is Steampunk?”  Thanks to Wikipedia I learned that Steampunk is a genre that originated during the 1980s and early 1990s and incorporates elements of science fictionfantasyalternate historyhorror, and speculative fiction.  It involves a setting where steam power is widely used—whether it be an alternate history such as Victorian era Britain or the “Wild West” era United States, Science fiction depicts Steampunk in a post-apocalyptic time —that incorporates elements of either science fiction or fantasy.

Now I understand it.  Turns out I do know some of the steampunk styling’s after all.  TV Shows such as the television series The Wild Wild West (1965–69), which inspired the film Wild Wild West (1999) with Will Smith as James West. is a Steampunk genre.  The popular “Sherlock Holmes” series is considered Steampunk, the modern version with Robert Downey, Jr. more so then the older versions.  I love these type of films.  If you want to know more about the history of Steampunk, look up the Wikipedia article.  It’s a comprehensive look at the genre and the history.  I understand why it is attracting so many young people today.  It’s creative and inventive and that is exciting to anyone who has a pulse and the ability to fly in the face of convention.  I understand this.

I find myself involved because of the linens and the lace that I have in my stores.  Turns out the Victorian style genre that steampunk builds on, incorporates the linens, lace and the styles from the Victorian era.   Both of my stores are perfect for the creative imaginations of the steampunk aficionados.  Even my husband’s collection of desk and writing items; some from the late 1800’s,  plus his ornate watches that he has tucked into “Dads Corner” suit the genre.  I can’t say that you will ever see me dressed in the steampunk style, (as a teacher I may frighten the conservative parents of my students) but I love the freedom of expression and uniqueness the genre brings.  I’ll continue to furnish the lace and satins, but it will take a more creative stylist then I to make the material live in the steampunk tradition.   I would love to see the results however.

I’m sure I will have more to say about this fascinating art in later posts.  Readers feel free to help me out here.  Point me in the right directions.