Tag Archives: Shopping

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.

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Mothballs and Persimmons


Ripe Hachiya persimmons on a tree in December
Ripe Hachiya persimmons on a tree in December (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Persimmons.  That was the smell, persimmon.  I stood with my nose buried into the cloth, taking in the smell that brought me back to my childhood.  Even thought I wash and iron all my stock I could still smell it.  My mother used to pack her linens with a persimmon scent.  Where she got it from, what she used, I don’t know.  I didn’t want to put the towel down.

Mothballs, the next smell that came to me, brought me back to my grandmother’s house.  Trying to sleep; on those rare times that we would sleep over and she would drag out the guest bedding.  Bedding stored with packets of mothballs.  To this day, the smell conjures up the memory of her; which in turn, brings up the scent of Noxima, the stuff she smeared on her face at night to remove her multiple layers of makeup.  Of course, she had to kiss us kid’s goodnight before she took the goop off.  Why?  I don’t know.  To this day, I can’t stand the smell of Noxima.  Into the rewash pile this piece of linen goes.  I’ll wash it with my new lavender-scented softener.  I love the smell of lavender.  It calms me.  I need calming.

If you ever see me in The Treasure Shoppe with my face buried in my linen stock, giggling – don’t worry about me.  I’m not the crazy woman in space B4.  I’m simply taking my occasional trip down memory lane.  .

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.

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

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.

Holding on to an age of quality


(Photo credit: George Eastman House)”][MCCALL'S MAGAZINE, KIDS IN LINEN CLOSET]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 afforded 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 and roasted potatoes.  In my mind, I hear 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 vintage so special? 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 then 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 little bit of cloth, I pass history forward. That makes me smile.

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.

Anti what?


Did you ever see lace doilies covering the back of a chair or couch?  Think 18th & 19th century, or Byron.  Did you know that at one time they were more than decorative?  They had a purpose.

You see at one time men of the family oiled their hair with oil of Antimacassar DoilyMacassar.  It gave them that irresistible look, plus it hid the smell of unwashed hair.  Needless to say this oil didn’t do the furniture any good and over time, it would stain it to the point that the material would be ruined.   Somewhere along the line, an industrious homemaker came up with the idea to hang a doily along the area where her hubby’s moldy – oily head rested.  Problem solved.  Easier to wash a doily then to wash a chair.

Now the special use doilies became known as antimacassars.   Today we see similar chair protectors on the back of seats in commercial airlines or Amtrak coaches.

Needless to say, we have a display of these antique doilies in our store.  Look for them soon on our repurposed magazine rack.

Make a plan – then make another.


9:00 PM Thursday and I’m tired. I am just putting the  finishing touches on a colorful border that will go up along the shelf in our store. I am using some odd sized material and scrap lace that doesn’t come up to a yard. It will be neat, trust me. Anyway, just as I am about to finish, “the disruptor” (my husband) turns towards me and says, “Here” and he hands me a printed rectangle and some paper pieces he has cut out and laid on top of the sheet.

“What’s this? I ask. “Are we taking up paper dolls?” ( I get “the look.” Strike 1) “No,” he answers. “This is the floor plan for the layout of the linen store. I told you that I thought we should change the store around to give it a new look, so here’s my idea.”

“These tiny scraps of paper are your idea?” I asked with my usual incredulous look on my face. You would think I would know better. Strike 2

“No,” he said patently, this is the stores floor plan in scale. We are going to shift the pieces around on the paper until it looks the way we want it.

His idea has merit and I know it.  Plan it out on paper before you just jump into something.  He’s right in his thinking but, I hear myself saying, “It’s 9:30 in the evening. I have to be up at 6:00 AM – can this wait until tomorrow?”   I knew the minute the words left my mouth – I was in trouble. The look on his face was similar to the first look he had when I told him I dented the car.  Strike 3.

What I should have said was – “It looks great dear – let’s wait until tomorrow to work on it. Instead, we worked on it that night. Little scale pieces of cabinets and shelves, moved around on the paper until they were just right.  The following morning I woke to find a completely different layout then what we had the night before.  It figures. He always does this.  By midnight, I was convinced he was saying yes only to humor me anyway.

The one thing I learned about all this is that you have to be able to visualize flat plans in three dimensions. I can’t when it comes to floor plans. That was frustrating to both of us, because I can see a dress pattern in three dimensions.  I can see the finished dress or project when it is nothing more than a bolt of cloth, folded readied for cutting.  It has to be  genetics.  I won’t go so far as saying that’s what makes us women, because there are many excellent men fashion designers, just as there are women architects.   The significant trait is the ability to visualize in three dimension, regardless of the gender.

I still couldn’t visualize his plan on paper, but what he had done in anticipation of this, was build it out using our daughters Lego‘s.    Now I could see it.   What a great idea.  Try it the next time you’re trying to figure out a room layout.  Now if they could only make a dress pattern Lego, what a great world this would be.

Until next time, recycle, repurpose and stay green.

A Long – Short Week


United States Olympic Committee headquarters i...
Image via Wikipedia. United States Olympic Center

Friday night, after a long – but too short Christmas break, I finally closed the classroom door and was happy to get home and hit my easy chair. Tomorrow, (Sat) we are heading to the store to add in some more lace and vintage material, then it’s off to the Antique Show here in Colorado Springs.

An idea for you teachers. Two years ago, I made seat back pouches for all my elementary student chairs. The kids would come in, put their books and personal items into the pouch, keeping everything off the floor and out of the way.  Naturally I used repurposed material. In this case, it was old car seat covers I had found, but any heavy canvas material would do.

Instructions:   Measure the width of your chairs and the length from the top of the chair to the seat.  I will bet that you creative types will already know how to sew the rest, but for those who don’t try this.  Take your length measurement times 2 1/2. plus 2 inch’s.  e.g If you measured 15 inches from the top of the seat back to the seat, then the length of the canvas you will need is about 38 + 2 or 40 inches.  The last 8 inches is the pouch part.  The first fold is at 15 inches.  The second fold, folded inside itself is at 30 inch’s  (I hem the top and bottom of the strip one inch before I fold anything, so that’s why the extra length.)  The width of the piece is two inches wider then your seat back.  Now sew the side edges and turn everything inside out.  Your pouch part is now on the outside and ready to be filled.  Slip the whole thing over the seat back and your done.  Do this 25 more times and you have a classroom full of happy kids with new seat pouches and a clean floor.

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.