Category Archives: sewing

An Investment in Time


Lace tablecloth

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?

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.

Steampunk Colorado – not a place, but a state of mind


Steampunk

I have to admit I didn’t know much about steampunk.  I probably still don’t know a lot about steampunk, even after my long conversation with two neat people who came into my store dressed in Victorian steampunk style.  I’m learning however.

However, I am always curious and open to new things.  Shrugging off my middle America farm girl cloak, I went looking for answers to my question “What is Steampunk?”  Thanks to Wikipedia I learned that Steampunk is a genre that originated during the 1980s and early 1990s and incorporates elements of science fictionfantasyalternate historyhorror, and speculative fiction.  It involves a setting where steam power is widely used—whether it be an alternate history such as Victorian era Britain or the “Wild West” era United States, Science fiction depicts Steampunk in a post-apocalyptic time —that incorporates elements of either science fiction or fantasy.

Now I understand it.  Turns out I do know some of the steampunk styling’s after all.  TV Shows such as the television series The Wild Wild West (1965–69), which inspired the film Wild Wild West (1999) with Will Smith as James West. is a Steampunk genre.  The popular “Sherlock Holmes” series is considered Steampunk, the modern version with Robert Downey, Jr. more so then the older versions.  I love these type of films.  If you want to know more about the history of Steampunk, look up the Wikipedia article.  It’s a comprehensive look at the genre and the history.  I understand why it is attracting so many young people today.  It’s creative and inventive and that is exciting to anyone who has a pulse and the ability to fly in the face of convention.  I understand this.

I find myself involved because of the linens and the lace that I have in my stores.  Turns out the Victorian style genre that steampunk builds on, incorporates the linens, lace and the styles from the Victorian era.   Both of my stores are perfect for the creative imaginations of the steampunk aficionados.  Even my husband’s collection of desk and writing items; some from the late 1800’s,  plus his ornate watches that he has tucked into “Dads Corner” suit the genre.  I can’t say that you will ever see me dressed in the steampunk style, (as a teacher I may frighten the conservative parents of my students) but I love the freedom of expression and uniqueness the genre brings.  I’ll continue to furnish the lace and satins, but it will take a more creative stylist then I to make the material live in the steampunk tradition.   I would love to see the results however.

I’m sure I will have more to say about this fascinating art in later posts.  Readers feel free to help me out here.  Point me in the right directions.

The Care and Cleaning of Vintage Quilts


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.”

my new (new to me) antique quilt! i lurve it.
My new (new to me) antique quilt! I love it. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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?

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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.

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.

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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.

Patriotic Teddy Bears


Estate auctions and antique stores are often great places to find vintage linens and bedding.  This beautiful Patriotic Teddy Bear Queen size Quilt with Pillow Shams is a good example of a find that will be going into our store this week.  Beautifully stitched and thick, it appears to have never been used.  Priced at only $159.00 we don’t expect it to last long.Patriotic Teddy Bear Queen Quilt w/ Shams