Category Archives: crafts

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

Save the Leather


You bought that vintage suede jacket.  It’s beautiful, but when you get home and take the rose-colored glasses off, you

Suede
Suede (Photo credit: AMagill)

notice that dark color you thought was only from the poor lighting, is actually a large stain.  Suede is leather with a brushed or “napped” surface.

NEVER use leather cleaning products on suede unless it says it is specifically designed to clean suede.  Instead, make a paste of fullers earth and water.  Brush clean with a soft brush after drying.  Re-apply as needed.  Make sure the past is wet enough to stick.  Allow it plenty of time to dry fully.  Brush the area gently.

We obtained some suede pieces that had been mixed in with some linens we purchased from an estate.  A couple of pieces had small stains of unknown origin.  So before we ut it in the shop, we tried this and found that it worked well.  Will it work on every stain?  Don’t know, but it’s a safe method for trial and error.

Happy repurposing.

——

About Julie
Julie is a homemaker, mother, teacher of special needs children and an entrepreneur.   As a teacher with along history of teaching students in the elementary grades, she obtained her credentials for Special Need teaching and advocacy late in her career, because – as she puts it, “these kids need to be taken out of the corner and given a voice.”
As a means to lessen the stress that comes when one deals with bureaucracy, Julie – her Mother-in-Law and her daughter, opened the Mom & Me Vintage Linens and Lace shops late in 2011.  Now with two locations in Colorado Springs, (The Treasure Shoppe – downtown CS and American Classics on N. Academy) she has managed to gather a rich following of friends and steady customers who look forward to seeing her come in with an armload of vintage linens, fine lace and the occasional vintage purse or pillow to round out her diverse selection.
Julie can be reached by JClark@Linens2Lace.com .  You can also follow her blog at www.Linens2Lace.WordPress.com, and her Tweets at #MomNMe.
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Lick that Lacquer


English: Sodium bicarbonate, sodium hydrogenca...
English: Sodium bicarbonate, sodium hydrogencarbonate, sodium bicarb, “baking soda”, “bread soda”, “cooking soda”, bicarb soda Deutsch: Natriumbicarbonat, Natriumhydrogencarbonat, “Natron”, “Backpulver”, “Bullrich-Salz” natriumvätekarbonat (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

You see a beautiful brass or copper antique pot, kettle or other metal object in the flea market but some fool has lacquered it.  You know it’s a vintage piece, but its value is greatly diminished by the now yellowing lacquer.  However, the price is right and when you point out that its been lacquered; the seller offers to make you an even better deal.  So you buy it with thoughts of leaving the lacquer and using it for a trash can.  (shudder)

What can you do with that lacquer?  Try this.

Mix ½ cup of baking soda with

1 gallon of boiling water

Put the newly found lacquered pot into this solution and let sit.  When the water cools the lacquer should peel right off.  Be careful not to use any sharp metal instruments around the crevices or tight areas.  Use a toothbrush instead.  If any lacquer remains, repeat the process.  You should have a completely restored piece by the end of the day.   We’ve not tried this on varnish or an other finish other than lacquer.  If you do and it works, let us know.  We’ll pass it on and give you credit for the advice.

Oil Down, Don’t Strip


Have you ever bought an item from an antique store or flea market only to get it home and realize that the seller glued a %@*$#+ sticker on the wood or other finish, that will not come off without the threat of ruin?  Don’t use alcohol, scrape it or use any abrasive.  (shudder)  Don’t even pick at it with your finger nail.  Instead, grab the salad oil or mineral oil, pour it on a soft cloth and cover the sticker, letting it sit and soak for a while.

If you have already pulled parts of the sticker off, use the cloth, rub the oil into the glue in a circular motion until it softens and rolls off.  If the sticker is stuck fast or has been there for a long time and you can afford the time, (and with some stickers you may have to do this anyway) pour either one of the oils directly on the paper and let it sit overnight.  The following day it should be soft enough to pull off, glue and all.

While we are on this topic, every collector should have mineral oil around.  A small amount of mineral oil works great on removing light scratches from vintage furniture, without stripping the original finish or patina.

Get Down and Polish the Dirty.


Spray bottle top
Spray bottle top (Photo credit: Arria Belli)

You are in mid-panic.  The in-laws are coming for dinner and your furniture looks as if a dust storm blew through your house in the middle of the night.  You go to your cleaning cabinet and here is where you discover you are out of furniture polish.  The heart can’t take this and you want to open the booze cabinet instead.  What can you do?  Follow these simple steps and you will stay sober and live another day. 

1)      Run to the kitchen.  (don’t trip over the dog or the baby)

2)      Measure out a quart (4 cups) of water and pour into a pot. .  

3)      Put the water on the stove and turn on the burner. 

4)      Open your cupboard and pull out:

  1. Olive oil and
  2. White vinegar

5)      Take a deep breath and:

  • Put 2 (two) tablespoons of olive oil into the quart of now hot (tepid) water.
  • Add 1 (one) tablespoon of vinegar
  • Let it heat up until it’s just warm but not boiling while stirring constantly.
  • Pour the mixture into a spray bottle before it gets too warm.
  • Get busy.  Use it as you would any spray polish with a lint free rag. 

 This is a low-cost, green alternative to expensive furniture polish.  It works best if the mixture is warm, so you might want to sit your spray bottle into another pot of warm water occasionally and before using the next time.  The mixture will wash the dirt off the furniture, leaving behind a light oil finish.  Add a drop or two of lemon extract to the mix for a great lemon scented furniture polish.  Your mother-in-law will be impressed. 

By the way, for you collectors, I have a natural formula for a furniture polish that my grandmother used.  It works great on antique furniture because it doesn’t harm the original finish.  That and more of my formula for removing stains from vintage linens are also coming.  Tell your friends.  Have them subscribe.

We Depend on You.


Occasionally people ask us where we get our linens. It took us awhile, but at this stage of our business, we depend on our customers; therefore, most of our linens come from referrals and sellers who contact us directly. More than just referrals however, we depend on our customers to tell us what they want. In some cases, especially when it comes to vintage lace, we may buy from a few known dealers or private estates, both local and out-of-state.

In any case, we have specific criteria for what we put in the store and most of our referring agents know what we look for. When they get it in stock or hear of a supply, they contact us. For example, some of our early 70’s and 80’s linens have come from a Chicago estate sale and we are fortunate enough to have established a long-term relationship with the estate so we expect that we will have plenty of beautiful vintage linens for years to come.

Some of our exotic lace came from the granddaughter of a Russian immigrant who ‘hand made’ the lace she carried out of Russia as a young girl, during the revolution. Occasionally, I will come across a great supply of vintage material on either Etsy or eBay that I can’t pass up. I have selected dealers on both these sites that I have bought from before and what they sell is quality.

Bottom line is that we depend on people, just like you, people with taste and an eye for fine linen that holds that old school quality. Thank you for you e-mail and your suggestions. Please keep them coming. If you’re local and have vintage linens to sell, contact us. We are always in the market.

Male Menopause or Why I Killed Him.


Living room in a Bowen residence, ca. 1905
Living room in a Bowen residence, ca. 1905 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I haven’t been near a keyboard for over a week. Why? Because my husband and I decided to change ( he say’s redecorate) our living room. I mean, he decided to change the living room and I said OK. In my defense, I was half asleep at the time.

I don’t know what comes over him sometimes. He likes change. I don’t. He thrives on chaos, I don’t. He sits and thinks (that what he says he’s doing) and then suddenly jumps up and starts moving stuff around. I admit, I tend to move things first, then move them back when it doesn’t look right. Maybe he has that part right, but it won’t work as a justifiable motive in my murder trial.

Anyway, we are finished (I am anyway) and maybe – just maybe, we can get back to normality around here. We did manage – between trips to the home store, to put in some new – beautiful 1950’s kitchen and bath linens, and our Mothers Day sale is still on, so I guess some things still work right. I’ve got to end this for now because he wants to move the TV – again.  He didn’t like my spot.  It must be male menopause.  Does anyone else have a husband like this?  I’d like to know so I can mount my defense ahead of time.

Buying Vintage Linens


What is the difference between muslin and combed cotton? 

The sticker says 300 thread count.  I can see my hand through it.  Is the sticker correct? 

These are examples of the questions I get by e-mail, which lead me to believe that there is a lot of misinformation out there regarding the purchase of linens, especially vintage linens.  Let’s see if I can clear up a couple of questions I get most often. 

Muslin pieced
Muslin pieced (Photo credit: lovelihood)

Muslin vs Cotton.  If you have very young children and you are looking to stretch your dollars by buying long-lasting bedding for those rough little dirty feet, stick with muslin.  It’s a little rougher in terms of feel, but a lot tougher and easier to clean than pure cotton.  When your child grows out of their small beds, you can change over to a cotton blend sheets, usually called “percale,” which is softer because the thread count is between 160 to 200.  If you are buying 300 thread count or higher designer sheets for your little ones, I want to come live with you. 

Which leads me to my second question and answer.  Thread count.  Simple put, thread count is the number of threads per square inch of fabric.  Unless you shop with a “Linen Loop,” always on you, (a high-powered magnifying glass for counting threads) how can you tell if that sticker showing a 300 thread count is correct?  First look for a manufacturers tag sewn into the edging..  If none or faded into non-existence, hold the fabric up to the light.  If you can see the weave and the light through the cloth, you have a low thread count on your hands, probably 150 to 200 TPI.   Next, feel it.  The higher the thread count, the softer the fabric. 300 and higher thread count is very soft and not easy to see through. 

I hope this helps for now.  I’ll have more linen buying tips later.

upcycled napkins {diy}


napkin diy




Remember the pillowcase I picked up here? Well now we’re enjoying it as a new set of napkins – just in time to complement my new cooking skills!

I love upcycled projects like this, especially when they’re as easy as one two three (cut, iron, sew – oh and of course pre-wash so make that four).

Buen provecho!

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Make a plan – then make another.


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.

Beer in My Coffee Stain.


Coffee Stain
A coffee stain that is sure to ruin someones day.

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.