Category Archives: Hints Tips

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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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

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.