1927 Singer


DSCF3038(1)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 DSCF3037(1)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.

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“THE LITTLE STORE OF TREASURES”


Thank you for the great article.

Treasure Shoppe

017We would like to launch a new feature in our Treasure Shoppe series and give our readers a chance to know some of our vendors. The store is heading into its fifth year and our success is shared among our many dealers. These talented individuals lend their time and efforts every day to make the shoppe experience a pleasant one for our customers. So it is our pleasure to take a few minutes and let you take a virtual walk through the aisles via this blog.

“I craft, therefore I am”,  says Mary S., the proprietor of “The Little Store”. Card making is her focus. She guarantees that every greeting card in her booth was personally handmade. She has a huge collection of “stuff” to utilize when she creates. Mary began this hobby after her mother passed away and she was housebound with pneumonia. It proved to be a soul and spirit…

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SewDown Philadelphia-Elizabeth Hartman


I just wrote an article on DIY handbag designs. Perfect timing for this article.

The Modern Quilt Guild

Join us in Philadelphia! New friends, amazing workshops, a swanky hotel and all delicious meals included for this weekend get away!

Each day this week we will be sharing a little about their teaching style.

Up next is Elizabeth-who will be teaching-Perfect Quilted Totes!

elizabeths bag

Class Description: In this class, students will learn a simple and fun quilt-as-you-go technique that combines scrappy patchwork with utility fabrics to create sturdy panels for a polished tote bag that stands on its own without the use of interfacing. Topics covered in class will include fabric selection, fussy cutting, and quilt-as-you go tricks like finding a perfect stitch length, joining multiple areas of patchwork, and preventing seam allowances from showing through. I’ll also go over some of my favorite bag finishing tricks, including making handles, adding pockets, making a stay-put lining, and making a top facing. Students will leave class with a variety of…

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How Stella Got Her Retail Grove Back.


As a dealer of vintage linens, I found this to be a timely article.

Treasure Shoppe Marketing Tips

We all come to a point in our retail life, that we lose sight of the big picture.  Life as an antique retailer requires us to assume so many roles; accountant, buyer, seller, stocker, etc. that just like the movie “How Stella Got Her Groove Back,” we tend to lose our stores identity.

In the haste to grow, we often lose sight of what we originally started out doing and that was to have fun.  In the effort to grow profits, our original plan is lost along the wayside; either because we failed to write it down, or failed to read the plan periodically.  Either way, we take this to the point where we lose control over what we offer for sale.  Suddenly, we look to see a booth full of miscellaneous unrelated items we can’t remember having ever purchased.

Eliminate from your store those items that do not fit. …

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Shopping For Fabric When Making Fabric Handbags


English: Handbags, unidentified material, FW20...

English: Handbags, unidentified material, FW2010 Collection (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Let’s say you love handbags and you just can’t get enough of them.  In fact, your closet is filled with so many of them, that it seems as if the store has moved into your very own apartment.  The prices of these handbags can range from very cheap to very expensive.  There are many of us who are gifted with the talent to make our very own fabric handbags.  Creative people who love vintage designs, take handles and other hardware from old out of date bags and apply new / vintage material to them making their own design.  However, what material do you use?  That is the subject of todays article.

It is important that you at least have a general idea of the different types of fabric or material that is available for the type of lifestyle you and your bag will lead.  Much of this material can be found in one of our two stores; either The Treasure Shoppe downtown Colorado Springs, or American Classics antique Mall on North Academy.  Our fabrics are on either on the large racks or in the cubbies.

Materials best for handbags. 

There are certain types of delicate material that need the utmost care when removing stains.  You may not want these for a handbag consistently exposed to the perils of everyday use.  While there are other materials that is easier to maintain, you need to that you pay close attention to the cleaning directions of the different types of fabric.

  • Cotton comes in a wide array of choices when it comes to color, weight, patterns and design.  Plus the material is very easy to manipulate and cut.  It is advisable to pre-wash cotton before making it into a handbag.
  • Silk is not recommended for DIY handbags because aside from the fact that it requires dry cleaning, the material is difficult to handle and is more prone to stains.  Satin is the same, never the less, silk or satin make a great liner for some of the more elaborate designs.
  • Linen.  The bad thing about linen is that it easily wrinkles.  However, the wrinkled look is often desired for that one of a kind design.  Dry cleaning is recommended.  Use no bleach and avoid designs that require crimping or hard folds, as linen fibers will break.
  • Leather is a very durable material. The thing is it requires special equipment when you use this plus only a professional can clean it.  Suede can be brushed which sometimes may remove a small discoloration or stain.
  • Burlap makes a very rustic bag.  Great for that trip to the beach or mountains.  Stains don’t show up as bad with burlap, but even if they do, they tend to give burlap a rustic used look.
  • Canvas is another great DIY bag material.  A little fabric paint for a creative design adds to its long-lasting value.

The fabrics I have mentioned are just some of the many that you could choose from.  I strongly suggest that you experiment with a few.  We have the selection and we recommend trying the vintage fabrics we have before you invest in new modern imported fabrics.  Ultimately, you have the knowledge for what works best for you and your skill in crafting the bag.

Scranton Lace Company – Two Centuries of Quality.


Close-up view of the punch cards used by Jacqu...

Close-up view of the punch cards used by Jacquard loom on display at the museum of science and industry. Photograph taken by George H. Williams in July, 2004. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Scranton Lace Company stood as a testament to quality industry.  The company was the largest producers of Nottingham Lace using massive Jacquard looms brought in by ships from Nottingham, England in 1896.  Construction workers and engineers installed the massive Jacquard looms, planting them firmly on huge concrete footings, then built the plant around them.

Employing over 1400 people in its heyday,  Scranton Lace Company had to be a great place to work.  The plant; spanning over two city blocks, was not only the largest employer in the area, but it also housed its own theater, bowling alley, infirmary, gymnasium and barbershop.  When WWII broke out, Scranton Lace was right there with the troops.  The plant shifted some of its looms into producing camouflage and mosquito netting.  For looms of this size using Punch Card technology, this was no easy feat.

During the 50’s, import competition from a war-torn Japan looking to rebuild and China with its cheap labor force, forced the company to layoff workers.  This hit the town of Scranton very hard as the lace company was it’s largest employer.  Then, when risky investments in the fledging Television industry of the 50’s failed to pay off, the company could no longer compete.  It held on with a skeleton crew producing minimal lace products, until finally in 2002 the company president – walked on to the production floor and during mid-shift, announced the plant closed – effective immediately.  The plant lay abandoned from then on.

Being a lover of fine vintage lace, I started out to write this post to impress you with how lace was produced and to show you one of the best examples of manufactured lace that ever existed.  However, words alone cannot give you the full magnitude of this process, nor the sense of loss you feel when you look upon the abandoned plant.  To appreciate the process fully, you have to see it and to do that without travelling to Scranton, I recommend the pictorial journey through the abandoned Scranton Lace Plant you can find at http://wiseminds.com/thedigitalmirage/?p=136  .  The photographers did a fantastic job of capturing the heart and soul of this plant.  It is well worth your time to see the photography; especially the looms and the punch cards used to produce the miles and miles of lace, that came off them.

I caution you however.  If you love antiques, and long for the quality produced in an era long past, you will come away from the pictorial journey feeling a sense of loss for an era we can never hope to recapture again.  An era when “quality” was a word you heard more often than “profit” in the board meetings.

There is hope for the old plant however.  On December 30 2011, the company’s abandoned building was featured in the pilot episode of the Abandoned TV series.  That drew national attention to it.  In 2012, the factory complex was added to the National Register of Historic Places and then in 2011, plans for restoration were placed before the Scranton City Council.

Business Cards for Antique Dealers – part 2


He’s right. I put our business cards everywhere. Mom hands them out to everyone.

Treasure Shoppe Marketing Tips

If you want to decrease your marketing cost, learn to use a well-designed business card.  Effective marketing requires you to adhere to the old business Rule of Threes.  The Rule of Three’s is:  Your customer has to hear you, (conversation with customers) see you, (your smiling face or website) and read you to remember you.  Your business card answers the third requirement and is the best form of low-cost marketing antique dealers can use.  The more you give the card out, the better the exposure.  Even if you do nothing more than smile and say hello while handing them a card, you have accomplished all three requirements.  Now go one-step farther.  If you want to have repeat customers (and who doesn’t), then make the card work for you.  Here’s how. 

When you design your business card, VistaPrint will ask if you want anything printed on the…

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Getting from Then to Now


This is a good article. Good ideas.

Treasure Shoppe Marketing Tips

Did you know that Julio T Buel of N.Y. patented the first bait-casting lure in 1848 and it was the first to go into commercial production?  Did you know that in 1883, an insurance salesperson with the last name of Waterman lost a huge insurance sale because his pen leaked?  In those days, pens didn’t have reservoirs; most of them were of the dip style pens and you had to carry a small bottle of ink wherever you went.  Waterman’s ink ran dry just before the client said yes and the contract was to be signed.  He was so disgusted, he set out to invent his own pen, one with a self-contained reservoir and in 1884, he patented the first fountain pen.  A day later, his wife scrubbed her little heart out removing the big ink stain from his shirt pocket.  (Not a known fact, but I bet…

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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.