Category Archives: Victorian

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.

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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.

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Space B30. Check out the lace.

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.

Dads Corner


So, my husband; feeling a bit left out of my vintage linens, (what man isn’t?) decided to add a “Dads Corner” to my American Classics – B30 space.   “Dads

BLW Inro with Chrysanthemums on a Striped Ground
BLW Inro with Chrysanthemums on a Striped Ground (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Corner” in a Mom & Me space?  What, is he crazy?  Well, as it turns out, he may not be.  He put in some of his vintage pens that he took from his other case in the store (case 409), some beautiful paperweights that I had admired when he first purchased them, and some funky art pieces that frankly make me laugh every time I look at them. (The “Primitive Printers” on top of the case is so ugly – it can only be a piece for a man cave or a writer with a sense of humor.

Anyway, he set the case up and immediately it started to gain attention.  Mostly from the men who’s wives were forcing them to wait while they visited my lovely linen selection.   I began to see my husbands thinking here.  Mom & Me should be a shop that everyone could enjoy.  Of course his reasoning was that it helped poor husbands who are doing their best to pass the time while waiting.  Then he began to put in some Japanese and Chinese Netsuke carvings.  Now he had my attention and, as it turns out, some of the attention of my visiting wives.  Now he has three cases – two in Space B30 and one in Space B26 where he has many of his older Victorian items.

Good for him – it keeps him out of trouble and out of my . . . well you know what I mean.

New Space, Add Victorian, Go Crazy


When you are facing a raft full of gingham, lace, satins, silks and velvet, what do you think? The first thoughtDSCF3004 that came to my mind was “I need to open a section of Mom & Me’s Vintage Linens and Lace, devoted to Victorian / Gothic (Goth) style. The idea intrigued me so much, the more I thought of it, the better it became. Of course, that thinking led my creative side to go crazy. That expansion led me to adding a partner who’s an expert in furniture and the styling’s of the Victorian era, especially the American Victorian era; where, if you were in the south, extended into the Antebellum era. (After war) Naturally, a theme setting like this, demands authentic furniture and they have some beautiful pieces. The more the idea nurtured and the more we talked about it, the better it became. So, we did it.

We added Furniture like a three-piece parlor set with chairs, footstools and a beautiful couch. Add in matching 1860 velvet couches. Not reproductions mind you, serious Victorian era furniture, including a Barrel top desk and a Victorian dresser with a marble top that will knock your socks off.DSCF3012

Want to see what we produced? Stop in at the American Antique Marketplace and right next to my store in space B30, you will see my new addition in space B26, which include the furniture I just described. If you love Gothic, Victorian, or Steampunk, you will be sure to find something that matches your taste here. Stop in, finger the Satin. Run your hands over the Battenberg lace banquet tablecloth that’s hanging on at the entrance. That’s 123 year old lace you’re holding. Still beautiful to this day and it has many more years left to grace your table. However, if you see me holding tight to the 130 year old Rose colored Watermark satin with Battenberg inserts, please try to understand. I’m having a little separation anxiety.

More pictures to follow.

Something old – something new . . .


Bride and women
Three Generations of Brides (Photo credit: spaceodissey)

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.

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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.

We moved


child-and-mom - Copy
Mom & Me in Space B30 @ American Classics

We moved!  We didn’t go far, we simply changed locations within the same store. We moved from the dinky little space C30 to a bigger and better location at B30 – within the American Classics Antique Marketplace on N. Academy and Constitution. The response has been tremendous. People love the new space and I would love to hear what you think. The beautiful lace is no longer hidden. The satins shine and the Damask tablecloths take on a whole new sheen as they are allowed to breathe. Does it sound as if I have become too personal in my relationship with my linens? Perhaps. They needed to be showcased.  Our new home for them does that. I darn near killed my husband moving everything in one day, but he survived. A little special loving, a lot of aspirin and he eventually stopped whimpering.

While you’re there, look for our brochures, because attached to them are discount cards that you can use anytime. Pick one up for your relatives and your friends. In addition to American Classics, the cards are good at our store in the Treasure Shoppe, downtown at Pikes Peak and Wasatch and the Willowstone on Dublin and Academy. Keep them with you because you can use them over again. As usual, if you see me in there, stop and chat. I’ll be the one with that dreamy smile on my face.

I almost forgot.  Take a look at the Tiffany lamp in my husbands new case.  It is one of Tiffany’s earlier “pulled feather” designs and it is stunning.

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.