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.
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.
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.
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 talk certainties. Let’s talk about self-sufficiency and dependency. Let’s talk about
small business and Colorado Springs. Specifically, let’s talk about the certainty of supporting the individual antique dealers who run small shops in all the local antique malls here in town.
When the average antique shopper walks into one of the Antique Malls here in town, they tend to think of that mall as being “the antique store.” In fact, that mall is a retail site that houses many antique stores or small businesses, each responsible for their own inventory, their own displays and their own advertising. Your support of the mall equates to you supporting hundreds of small business owners. This is a good, because that owner is the same small business owner who buys their groceries from where you work, pays for gas from your service station, which powers the cars and trucks that your son or uncle may have worked on. The same owner who collectively employs the staff that works behind the counter when you check out, who helps you load your antique purchase into your car, who later that night, will take their spouse and family out to eat in the local restaurant you own or work in.
The antique mall you walk in to, be it The Antique Gallery, The Treasure Shoppe, AmericanClassics, the American Indoor Flea Market, the Garage Sale or Willowstone, house over 800+ independent businesses combined. That is a lot of small businesses, but that’s not counting the hundreds of other individual dealer’s countywide that make up this unique group of retailers. 800+ businesses that supply jobs to the local community. All they ask is that you support them by purchasing your favorite antique or collectible from them, instead of only ordering from the Internet.
From the income derived from your purchases, they will pay their taxes that will keep the roads clear and the schools open, they will educate their children in the schools where your son, daughter or granddaughter teaches, and all without extra shipping costs. These owners buy the homes your family and friends worked hard to build and in doing so, they keep their dollars local. They are not some outside multi-million dollar conglomerate with virtual offices, where income is a matter of international trade. They are not the antiques that when you buy from their internet site, some person in India, Germany, Britain or China gets a little richer. They believe in sharing the wealth and they believe it starts at home first. Support them and they will support you.
As my wife and I are proud members of this independent small business community of antique dealers, we thank you all for your continued support and your patronage. The next time you come in to one of our Mom & Me Vintage Linens & Lace stores; as our way of saying Thank You, pick up one of our permanent discount cards either at the Treasure Shoppe (space B4), American Classics (space B30 & B26) or American Indoor Flea Market (“Found Treasures” in space 301). If you see us there, say hello. Let us know how we’re doing. We’d love to meet you.
This post is directed to the person or persons who painted the 1927 Singer sewing machine case baby blue – thank you. You have given my husband many hours of pleasure and kept him out of my hair. He has toiled away in his workshop, lovingly removing the hideous color from what he tells me, is beautiful oak. Thank goodness, they didn’t paint the machine itself.
By the way, for all you shabby chic aficionados who are reading this, this was not shabby chic. I’ll be kind and simply say this was at best – a very poor, sloppy paint job. (I said I would be kind) While we love good shabby chic, this was not it. As the appraiser said, because the machine works are in excellent condition and the cabinet was the more expensive seven drawer model at a time when most of the ones sold were the less expensive five drawer cabinetry, the only solution for preserving it, was to restore it to its natural oak finish. Once my husband carefully removed the paint, he refinished the beautiful wood with three coats of hand rubbed Tung oil. That gave it life again and because everything was by hand, he even managed to save some of the old patina that had been painted over.
Once again, I can see where the hand of a young mother rubbed the finish as she guided the fabric through the foot. One of Singers earliest conversions to power, it still has its treadle, but I can see where her foot rested on the power switch and where the soles of her shoes wore the black paint off the side. I can see the dents and scratched made from buttons, dropped scissors and probably a child’s tin toy. If I close my eyes just right, I can even see the gleam in the little girls smile as mother holds up the new Sunday dress she just finished.
The next time you are in Mom & Me’s Vintage Linens & Lace in the American Classics Antique Mall, stop in space B30 and marvel at the simple ingenuity of these beautiful sewing systems. Look at the quality of the cabinetry work. The careful attention to the joinery and style of the design. You know that old world post-war craftsmen created them. Rest your hands on this beautiful machine, close your eyes and see if you can relive its history. Yes, it’s for sale at below appraised value because my husband hopes that its next owner will be able to repurpose the machine, but not want to paint it ever again.
“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.”
Why invest in antiques and collectables? Because during a down economy, it makes good economic sense. The article at: http://antiques.about.com/od/thewisebuyarticles1/tp/aa100208.htm explains the point in excellent detail. It’s no secret that antiques increase in value over time. In a down economy, people sell. There are bargains are everywhere. How many investments have you made where the growth can amount to a 50% or more increase in over one year?
Of course, we deal in linens and lace. When I look through a pile of new linens, I marvel at the thought that the material I hold is still beautiful despite hundreds, maybe thousands, of washings, abuse, stains, rough handling and love over the 50, 60 or more years since its creation. The other day in our new Willowstone store, we hung three beautiful examples of true Victorian lace in the form of two tablecloths and a Victorian handmade queen size bedspread. My husband and I speculated about the stories that the bedspread could tell, having been present at life’s moments that are more intimate. We could almost recount the family conversations held over the lace as it graced a Sunday dinner table. Having done the research, we marveled at what its value was today, in comparison to what she had purchased it for 20 years earlier from the estate of its original owner. I calculated that it had grown in investment value by over 400%. That’s a simple 20% growth per year of ownership. Yes, I know the value of compounded growth calculations, inflation, etc., but you get the point. I wish my retirement package as a teacher grew at that rate.
Antiques represent quality you can’t find in today’s products. Most of the modern furniture that the average newlywed couple will buy today will end up in landfills. Rarely does a young adult in today’s society want Grandma’s old Victorian couch or parlor set. They grew up with them. Even when they inherit them, they don’t see them fitting their constantly moving lifestyle. The furniture is old fashion, heavy. They are ready to move on to the new ultra-modern plastic or pressboard furniture. Then, while that ultramodern couch is deteriorating, the 130+ year old Victorian couch continues to increase in value. The French Lace banquet size tablecloth hanging in the corner of our store, ready for you to take it home, will continue to outlast even the best of today’s Chinese polyester import. Its value will continue to grow while the other is long left to the fabric pile. The hand cut dovetail joint in the drawers of that American Walnut 1790’s Hepplewhite desk, will continue to open and close a thousand times more than the nailed and hot glued joint of your Swedish import.
However, before I start running off on a tangent and jump on my soapbox, I ask my readers: At what age did you first notice that antiques were an investment and what factors influenced you?