We have been busy and it has been good but I have been neglectful, so I hope today’s entry makes up for it. The new site in AmericanClassics is growing in customers and we are happy as can be. We added the Victorian Section and that too has grown in popularity. The other day I spoke with a woman who was getting married and she was going to have a Victorian / Steampunk wedding. Because of our yellow tag sale, she bought things right and left. That would be a fun wedding to attend. I hinted my behind off, but to no avail.
Another lady asked me how to get older linens white. Here’s a quick formula I use for the linens here. It’s a gentle remedy.
In a large roaster or pot, (I use the roaster we roast the Turkey in.) fill with hot water and several slices of lemon. Bring to a boil, turn off the heat and add your linens. I sit the roaster over two of my top burners. Use a wooden spoon to push them down until they become completely submerged and saturated with the water. Cover the pot and leave overnight. I cover mine with tin foil. The following day, rinse well, wash with mild detergent and water as usual and then lay the items out in the sun to dry.
Another way to do this, especially while it’s still cold outside when you would end up with frozen linens, is to use Biz & Oxyclean Use 1 Scoop Biz and 1 Scoop Oxyclean to 1 Gallon Hot Water. Soak in the hot water for up to 48 hours, then rinse and launder as usual. Use the scoop that comes with the Oxyclean. This works very well.
By the way, I don’t know about you, but I can’t wait for spring to get here.
As I write this, it’s cold outside, something close to 15 degrees. It is expected to get to a balmy 19 today. My husband, dressed in his lucky Bronco’s shirt and sweat pants, sits in his easy chair, outfitted with all the goodies he will need for the big game today. Makes you think of Spring and weddings doesn’t it?
I never said I was well. In my defense however, I am sitting here fingering and pricing beautiful damask tablecloths. When I close my eyes, I can see these on a beautiful spring day, gracing a bride’s table at her wedding. Inauspicious patterns intricately woven together – shimmering when you hold it up to the light. When paired against a white satin and lace wedding gown, vintage Damask showcases a bride on her special day.
Something old, something new . . .
Of all the vintage linen and lace tablecloth’s I have in stock, Damask is my favorite. The definition of Damask is a reversible figured fabric of silk, wool, linen, cotton, or synthetic fibers, with a pattern formed by weaving. Damasks is woven with one “warp” yarn and one “weft” yarn, usually with the pattern in warp-faced “satin” weave and the ground in weft-faced or “sateen” weave. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Damask) This reversible weave is what makes Damask so durable. One mother told me of having passed her Damask tablecloths to her daughter, just as her mother had passed them on to her, having had them passed on to her from her mother’s mother. Four generations and each generation had used the same tablecloth to grace the brides table on their wedding day. What a special tradition.
My mother’s Damask linens never made it out of the fire they had years ago. I never had the opportunity to appreciate them as I do these I hold in my hand. However, as I look over at my fourteen year old daughter, her head bobbing to sounds only her ear buds and she can hear (thank god), I think that in a few short years, her newly acquired Damask tablecloths, mine that I pass on to her, will be gracing her wedding table. She may be deaf by the time she gets married, but on her special day, she and the Damask will be beautiful.
You can start your own Damask traditions by stopping in any (or all) of our stores and picking out your favorite pattern of Damask linens. Be sure to pick up a brochure with the discount card attached while you are there. And, as usual, if you see a person with her nose buried in the fresh smell of newly laundered linens, it’s probably me. Say hi.
“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.
Remember me telling you about the material we obtained from a retired vintage doll maker? Maybe I put it on our Facebook site. (Linens2Lace.) Well in addition to the faux mink and beautiful lace, we also put a large selection of beautiful and affordable satin into the Willowstone store. This is dress material weight in a variety of Victorian colors. First question asked of us, by the visitor holding up the beautiful black satin bolt, was “Can you wash satin?”
The answer is “of course you can – provided you follow the rules.”
Satin has a smooth silky feel that makes it appealing for many items from garments to bed sheets. It comes in various weights and thus ranges in durability. However, there is a limited amount of cleaning options. The cleaning and care tags that come with your garment should give you all the instruction you need. However, what do you do with fabric that you have used to make that beautiful one of a kind gown?
Here’s our advice.
Rule 1: Only wash satin by hand. If you do use a washer, the gentlest silk cycle is best.
Rule 2: Cold Water only. If you do have to use soap, use the gentlest soap you can. Woolite is good.
Rule 3: Wash satin as you would silk. Let it soak in soapy water for awhile, then gently squeeze the wash through the satin by hand. Rinse the fabric real good with cold clear water. If you leave any soap residue behind it will whiten and show up as spots. It’s hard to get these out once they set.
Rule 4: Leave the dryer off. Never put satin in the dryer. The dryer will shrink and put a permanent wrinkle in the material. Instead, lay it flat on a dry towel. Don’t wring it out, rather roll it up in the towel, squeezing out the excess water as you roll and then put it out onto another dry towel, laid flat away from the sun until dry.
Rule 5: You can iron satin, but on a light setting with no steam. I find that going from the inside out works best but don’t linger. An expensive satin blouse with a burn mark in the shape of an iron on its back, is only humorous in a sitcom.
Rule 6: Vintage satin should be dry cleaned only. Use a dry cleaner you have experience with and who you trust.
Linens, Lace & Faux Mink.
I am often asked for ideas about the repurposing of vintage linens. For starters, I’m not a tailor; I’m just a lover of fine silks, satins and lace. I sew my own creations and do small patchwork before I put our material on sale, but being a schoolteacher doesn’t allow me with a lot of time to take on big sewing projects. Speaking of patchwork, let me first get this off my chest. I want you to walk into your laundry room and grab your gallon jug of bleach. On the front of that jug, in bold black letters, write DO NOT USE ON ANY LINEN, VINTAGE OR OTHERWISE. Any bleach or bleach related product you have in your laundry room, do the same thing. Now put the bleach down and step away. Refrain from using it on any linen, new or old. In the last two months, I have tossed out more beautiful linens pieces, then I care to think of. I have tossed out Battenberg and Quaker Lace for the same reason. It hurts me to have a beautiful damask tablecloth fall apart in my hands. When I see bleach burn holes in lace, I want to scream. Bleach has its uses in moderation, but the culprit is the overzealous use of bleach. If you must use bleach, rinse twice neutralizing with a ½ cup of vinegar. I actually had someone look at a small stain on the lace corner of the Rose Victorian Watermark Satin tablecloth/bedspread we have on sale and ask me if they could use bleach to whiten the Battenberg lace inserts. After I calmed down, I pointed out that this was an expensive Tablecloth/bedspread with ecru lace, which was hand sewn circa 1880 – 1890. One should not whisper the word bleach in the same room as this piece.
Now that I have that off my chest, I feel better. The other day, I was going back through some old posts and one of my dear readers had asked if I had any ideas on repurposing left over Damask napkins. I apparently missed this reader question. I apologize. Because old Damask napkins are often large, the first idea that comes to mind is to cut off the damaged part and make Damask placemats. They would be usable with any tablecloth underneath them. Another idea is Victorian Doll clothing.
The third is, (if you have enough,) cut the good portions into smaller squares and make a damask quilt. If you don’t have enough, stop into any of our stores. We have plenty for you. A very pretty idea is a linen Damask border with a lace insert, using a vintage lace-curtain panel. It produces a beautiful tablecloth. On the reverse side, an old or ruined Damask tablecloth will often produce a large enough usable pieces make a beautiful center, bordered by vintage lace. Adjust the size of the tablecloth to take full advantage of the usable part of Damask that you have. Do a search for images on Google using the terms Damask and Lace Tablecloths
What about it readers; have any ideas you can come up with?
One last thing. Winter is here. It’s going to get cold. We just put a large bolt of FAUX MINK into the Willowstone (space 31) store. But I warn you. It is so luxurious; and large enough, that – after purchase – you may be overcome with the need to spread it out on the bed and lie naked on it. When I held it in my hands, my will power was strong, but professional photographers or husbands should take this as a hint.
I just put in a bunch of 1900’s to 1960 vintage quilt pieces (scraps, fats, squares, 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 this got me to thinking about how to take care of vintage quilts. I called a friend who quilts 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 quit 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, then 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, then consider making a rope drying rack. The look like an old rope bed. One of my mother’s friends uses an old king size bed frame she weaves 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?
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.