Category Archives: Quilts & Quilting

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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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

Action Figures (don’t call them dolls)


It’s been awhile since I have been able to write. Longer then I wanted, that’s for sure. Added responsibilities in my teaching career, plus a personal loss in my family took me away for quite some time. I’m back however and I will try to keep up once again.

As you may know, my husband does furniture restoration and we have some beautiful pieces for sale in Space B26

1964 G.I. Joe Viet Nam Marine
GI Joe Action Figure

at American Classics Marketplace next to my linen shop (B30). Some he refinished or repaired, but most are as he found them in his daily travels. What you may not know is that he’s a big kid at heart. That will become apparent when you see the collection of #G.I Joe Action Figures that he just put into his case in B26. He came across them at an estate sale and couldn’t pass them up.

I have to laugh at a grown man playing with #action figures, (don’t call them dolls) but that is exactly what I caught him doing one afternoon when I walked into the living room. He says he was just trying to see how many different positions they would actually bend too and I say he was playing. The decisive factor came when he sat two of the figures into the 1/6th size Jeep he is selling with them. Yep, he was playing.

He put them on sale in his side of the business. I tell you this because if any of you would like to start your kids or grand kids on collecting, the G.I. Joe Action figures are a good place to start. They just keep going up in value. The 12-inch full size ones he has in the showcase feature two of them from the original 1964 series, one still in the box. He also has some of the original Cobra 1984 small (3 1/2 inch) version. There is an interesting history of these toys found on Wikipedia. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/G.I._Joe

Now to my linens. I was told that we were the only Linen and Lace store south of Wyoming devoted to vintage linens. A person who came all the way down from Denver to purchase one of our Quaker Lace tablecloths told me this. I’m not sure about all of Colorado, but in checking the I25 corridor south from Wyoming to Pueblo, it appears she may be right. That also brings up my mentioning of some new stock I just put in. The same estate sale that my husband found the G.I. Joe’s in, yielded some beautiful hand done lace tablecloths and Italian linens. I have to admit, I had a hard time parting with these.

I’ll end here for now. I promise to be more vigilant in my writing, but until next time, enjoy the Super Bowl weekend coming up. Once again, if on the weekend you stop by the store and see a woman with her nose buried in linens, it’s probably me. Stop in and say hello.

 

 

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.

Stepping Into the Past to Live for Today


It makes sense that as owners of a vintage linen and lace shop, we are in love with fine linens. Tight woven linen, some white, some cream, some with hand printed flowers and vines, with vivid red, yellows and green colors in distinctive patterns. Colors just as alive and vibrant today as when they were first produced. You can visualize the artist passing the linen through each color separation, but not always registering the cloth exactly, as would happen if it were in today’s high-speed linen press. That’s what makes vintage so special; the imperfections given a warm hand, versus the cold steel of today’s production methods. Then you have the beautiful Damask linens, each with their subtle but distinctive pattern, that when laid out on a table, along with the matching napkins and fine silver, make dinner with friends a special event.

Oh, did I fail to mention we just picked up a trunk full of vintage linen this weekend? You probably would have guessed it anyway. I have spent my day, literally lying within the folds of history. I have smelled the clean air, the aroma of the slow cooked pot roast. In my mind, I have heard the clatter of dishes and dinnerware over the chatter of family all sitting down to Sunday dinner.

I started thinking, what makes the experience of touching fine linen so special? For that matter, what makes the experience of collecting anything so special? Is it the love of handcrafted quality or the secret hoarders in me coming out.

I don’t know the exact answer; it’s different for everyone, but I have my suspicions. The 30’s, 40’s, 50’s are my favorite years and it’s hard to pick any one thing that makes these generations stand out, until you voice all adjectives and realize that you have used “quality” more than once.

The fact that the linens that we hold in our hand are so crisp and wonderfully colored after all these years and hundreds of washings later, are a big part of it. Modern day linens miss this level of quality. Maybe it’s the fact that these were produced when pride and quality of workmanship was in everything.

Perhaps that’s what all of us look for when we purchase anything vintage. We are purchasing a chance to get back an era when times were simpler and families were closer and pride in workmanship was paramount. When you pick up a napkin from the 30’s you get the same feeling your grandmother felt and the same feeling your children will feel when they are the recipients of your collection.

Secretly I want to keep every linen napkin I touch; every lace doily I wash, or every tablecloth I fold. I want my daughter to have this quality long after my passing. Then my husband says the magic words that bring me back to why we opened this store. He’ll say, “Do you know that when a customer buys these linens, that their children will probably end up using them in their future?” I pause and think about that and then it strikes me, that this is the guarantee that “quality” gives you. That’s what I live for. By retrieving, preserving and passing on this bit of cloth, I pass history forward. That makes me smile.

We consolidated our stores into two locations B30 & B26. within the American Classics Marketplace @ 1815 N. Academy CS/CO. Stop in a pick a piece of this history. Take a look at what American workers did. Some of them (many of them) were your grandmothers and grandfathers, maybe – if you’re older, even your mother and fathers. They did good back then.

Image
Space B30. Check out the lace.

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.

Recreating an Era


“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

Armenian needlelace
Armenian needlelace (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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.

Caring for Satin


Satin bedding
Satin bedding (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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.

If you have any other tips, send them to me.

Until next time.

Sew Vintage


Upcycled Tablecloth Skirt
Upcycled Tablecloth Skirt (Photo credit: Vancour)

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.

Gold on the Ground


:Fall colors, Poudre Canyon, Colorado
:Fall colors, Poudre Canyon, Colorado (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I get giddy this time of the year.  Giddier then usual I should say.  Maybe it’s the chill in the early morning, the frost on the rooftop or the simple realization that I can see my breath as I walk to the car that gets to me.  I don’t know. Fall just makes me feel alive.  I love sleeping snuggled deep into the covers, whining noticeably to my hubby when I have to get up and he gets to stay warm.  Padding around the pre-dawn hours in my heavy winter terry cloth robe is a perk I leave to winter.  While I dislike freezing temperatures and ice on the windshield, winter white represents a sense of purity that’s refreshing.  The beauty of new snow, dotted here and there with the evergreens; against a contrasting gray sky, signals rebirth is but a few months away.The best thing about fall is the linens.  The rough texture of a vintage linen towel or the silky smoothness of an Irish tablecloth, in vibrant fall colors, gets to me.  Nature knows what she is doing when she carpets the floor of the forest with the gold and reds of fallen leaves.  That’s the image represented by fall linens carefully landscaped on a Thanksgiving table.

Winter morning
Winter morning (Photo credit: blmiers2)

We’ve just put our fall stock into the stores and both stores look great.  As we have an abundance of summer linens, I did my best to separate them, but for you diehard summer people still clinging to the waning summer like weather that we have here in Colorado, don’t despair.  There are still summer linens left in stock for you.  To my fall people, go crazy.  Again, if you see me in the stores with my face buried in the linens, just move me over.  There’s room for both of us.  By the way, for my quilters getting ready to burrow in this winter with your quilt projects, we just put our quilting and fabric stock on sale.  Look in the material cubbies for the 30% off stickers.