1964 G.I. Joe Viet Nam Marine

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.

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.

Video

Mom & Me Vintage Linens & Lace @ The Willowstone Antique Mall


Our newest Vintage Linen & Fine Lace location at the Willowstone Antique Mall is featured in this video. With this location, we have featured most of our Victorian Linens, many of which consist of beautiful satins, fabric remnants and handmade 1880’s French watermark satin bedspreads. Also in stock are handmade lace tablecloths, doilies, pillow shams and other fine authentic Victorian fabrics that are sure to peak your creativity.

Summertime, summertime, summertime.


English: Taken at a Chicagoland Flea Market. R...

English: Taken at a Chicagoland Flea Market. Rosemont, Illinois on Sunday. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I just looked at my timeline for the first time in a long time.  My o’ my, where has the time flown.  It’s been six plus weeks since I have posted anything.  You would think I fell off the earth.   Actually, I have been quite busy with back to school things.  Things like getting the daughter prepped and ready for school and getting myself ready for the back to school grind.  Actually that part was easier this year because I taught summer school for the first part of the summer and the daughter attended two band camps of which I participated by being the second camp chauffeur .   The hubby did the first camp during my summer school phase.

Then there were the busy summer sales at both stores.  We put these on in between band camp and summer school.  I love summer sales.  I was trying to decide just what items to put on sale when the hubby said, “Just put it all on sale.”  So we did.  He’s so practical.  In the afternoons and on the occasional weekend, we did manage to get out and go picking.  He’s into collecting and selling “netsukes” and vintage pens and I let him put some in “Dad Corner” in my space at American Classics.  He also has his display in Case 409 there as well.  I love our excursions to the antique stores, estate sales, and garage sales.  Together, we love the flea markets.  It’s where he occasionally finds some of his best treasures.  The weather was hot most days, but we endured.  (it’s a tough life isn’t it?)

So that’s my excuse for not writing and I’m sticking with it.  Been too busy to write and too busy being busy.  In all fairness, I could have simply sat around all summer and complained about the heat.  I know many people who did; so I let them, all by themselves while the hubby and I played.    But now, it’s back to work time.

However, every weekend and after school many times, you will still find me in one of my locations, nose deep in my linens, getting my weekly fix.  If you see me at either the Treasure Shoppe (B4) or American Classics (C30) and I have that glazed look in my eye, know that I’m in my own little heaven.  Feel free to grab a handful of freshly laundered linens and join me.   It’s OK, I know what you’re feeling.  You’re welcome here.

We Depend on You.


Occasionally people ask us where we get our linens. It took us awhile, but at this stage of our business, we depend on our customers; therefore, most of our linens come from referrals and sellers who contact us directly. More than just referrals however, we depend on our customers to tell us what they want. In some cases, especially when it comes to vintage lace, we may buy from a few known dealers or private estates, both local and out-of-state.

In any case, we have specific criteria for what we put in the store and most of our referring agents know what we look for. When they get it in stock or hear of a supply, they contact us. For example, some of our early 70’s and 80’s linens have come from a Chicago estate sale and we are fortunate enough to have established a long-term relationship with the estate so we expect that we will have plenty of beautiful vintage linens for years to come.

Some of our exotic lace came from the granddaughter of a Russian immigrant who ‘hand made’ the lace she carried out of Russia as a young girl, during the revolution. Occasionally, I will come across a great supply of vintage material on either Etsy or eBay that I can’t pass up. I have selected dealers on both these sites that I have bought from before and what they sell is quality.

Bottom line is that we depend on people, just like you, people with taste and an eye for fine linen that holds that old school quality. Thank you for you e-mail and your suggestions. Please keep them coming. If you’re local and have vintage linens to sell, contact us. We are always in the market.

The Reason I Collect and Sell


The other day, I was in the store straightening up the linens and repackaging some lace that someone had left out, when Kitchen Towelsa woman came in a started browsing.  I greeted her and she replied in kind then without another word, went about her browsing seemingly with purpose.  I went back to my straightening up and yet occasionally I could hear her softly chuckling to herself, as she would pick up one tablecloth or drapery at a time.  Soon, she started fingering the napkins and then the bed linens; all the while softly talking to herself or, as I said before, softly chuckling.  Eventually she got close to me and I commented, “Beautiful aren’t they?”  She looked at me and with a slight twinkle in her eye said, “Oh my, do I sound like an idiot?  I’m so sorry, but I must sound like an old nut job.  When I came in here earlier this week, I had to stop myself from smiling out loud.  I keep forgetting that other people are around.”  I told her not to worry, that she didn’t sound like a nut, when she continued to explain, “It’s the linens dear, the lace, they so much remind me of when I was a little girl, helping my mother wash and press the linens.  Every Wednesday was our wash day and my job was to iron and fold the little tea napkins and kitchen towels, when I wasn’t in school.” 

I could see the memories in her eyes as she very carefully folded each towel back up and neatly placed it back on to the stack.  I could tell she was doing it the same way she did as a child.  Rose (that was her name) eventually bought two 50’s hand towels and a couple of lace dress tops I had salvaged.  She said she was going to make a gown with a lace top for her granddaughter.  As I thanked her for her purchases, she stopped me and said, “No, thank you for the memories.  I’m going back home at the end of this week, and this little shop has added a special memory to my trip. 

I have to admit that prior to Rose coming in, as I was ‘cleaning’ up after people, I had asked myself if all the work I put into this shop was worth it.  In one brief encounter, Rose made it all worthwhile.  Thank you Rose – wherever you are.  You are the reason I collect and sell vintage linens.  You managed to put a smile on my face on a day when I needed it the most.

Wrinkled Fingers and Time


 
A wrinkled finger after a warm bath
Image via Wikipedia

This has been a busy two weeks.  We, (Mom & Me,) have washed, pressed and folded more vintage linen in the last two weeks then we would have in an entire lifetime.  We both have wrinkled fingers.  I have to admit, half the time we sat admiring the linens we held and the other half of the time, between the folding and stacking, was devoted to commenting on them.  What is it about a pure white or cream Damask tablecloth that brings a sparkle into ones eye?  What is it about a table napkin with 1950’s colors and patterns that bring me back into an era I would have longed to live in?  What causes me to pause when I hold up a bit of vintage pillow lace?  Is it the thought that someone, years early, in a quiet and dusky room, sat patiently and painstakingly, twisting and turning each individual bobbin until inch by inch this lovely delicate pattern emerged?  Perhaps that’s why when I try to press out the wrinkles accumulated over the years it sat idle, I don’t get frustrated.  If they had the patience to make it beautiful, I have the patience to present it properly. 

Lace

Lace (Photo credit: Nefi)

Take a look the next time you are in our store.  We put our lace pieces in the lace basket, usually in zip-lock bags to keep them clean.  See if you see what we see and then let us know what you felt when you ran it through your fingers and held it up to the light.  I guarantee you will come to appreciate it more when you apply it to your new dress or table creation.

Until next time, recycle, repurpose and stay green.

A Great Day for Shopping


Bobbin Lace, Tucked in the Craft Room

Bobbin Lace

It has been a great day.  Met a beautiful grandmother who had a great selection of vintage linens and old lace she wanted to sell.   Our arms were full by the time we left and most of it will soon be in the store.   What was as great was her charm and outlook on life.  She had such a refreshing – and yes, a positive outlook, that it was a treat to talk with her.   I told her of my resolution to shut off the news and end my subscription to the newspaper.  Her response was “did that years ago.”  Go figure.

On another positive note, about two months ago, we found some lace curtains; Scranton lace to be exact and my husband did some research on the Scranton Lace Company.   From all the reports he found, and the documentary on the History Channel, it turns out this company was a fantastic company to work for.  They opened in 1897 and closed their doors in 2002.  At one time they had over 1500 employees producing some of the finest Nottingham lace money could buy.  What was more important was how they treated their employees.  Between the in-house bowling alley, the gymnasium, the movie auditorium and the employee medical center AND daycare, they really cared for their people.  They made them feel like part of the company and that the employees were important to the success of the firm.   I won’t go into any more details here, but suffice to say, if you want to read about a special time in American Manufacturing history, read about the Scranton Lace Company.   It will make you wish for the old days again.  If any of you readers are familiar with Scranton and the Scranton lace company, write me.

Until next time recycle, repurpose and stay green.