new old things

It started with a vintage sampler in a crumbling frame at an estate sale of what I felt was a very sad house.

The sampler was pretty but the lady who had stitched it had not framed it right. It was also stained under the frame. I started by removing the frame. Underneath, the masking tape to keep the fringes from unraveling while stitching had never been removed. When I removed it, the sampler was sticky.

So I soaked the sampler in Restoration fabric restorer for 24 hours. It came completely clean and the sticky residue was gone!

I blocked and air dried and then ironed the sampler and gave it a bit of starch. I did not iron directly on the embroidered sampler, I put a clean towel on top of the sampler and ironed it that way.

Then I measured out an ultrasuede remnant I had and pinned out my sampler on it’s reverse. I stitched it by hand on three sides and stuffed it with a bag of poly-fil stuffing, and stitched the top closed.

I ordered some fringe trim, but the first batch wasn’t right so that will get used on another project. I have another kind of trim on the way, a close out remnant which hopefully be perfect.

This was an experiment for me because years ago I made a pillow from an embroidered sampler I had stitched and really liked it so I wanted to try it again with a vintage sampler that was lovely but I did not want to reframe it.

Now mind you, I would never do this with an antique sampler, but a found vintage sampler is a different story.

This is not a pillow that suits everyone’s taste but it’s an adaptive reuse of a vintage item that would save someone’s handiwork from ending up in the trash somewhere.

It’s really easy to put a vintage sampler pillow together because the hard part, the embroidering, has already been done for you.

I will also tell you I do love crewel and regular embroidery. I have made a few pillows in my day.

In the photo below, the top left was stitched by me when I was either 10 or 11. To the right is a pillow where I drew the design and embroidered it. The lower right is a pillow I stitched with colors I preferred versus what the old crewel kit came with. That pillow actually has an identical reverse because I found two of the same crewel embroidery kits one time at a church rummage sale and I decided to put them together.

Rainy day stitching is fun and I am glad I had time for my pillow this afternoon. Being creative is like gardening- it’s good for you! Next I will tackle a couple of vintage quilts I am restoring.

Thanks for stopping by.

linens and old lace


My mother recently gave me linens my great grandmother received when she was a bride. Her name was Concetta. She was my father’s grandmother. We have the same initials so it is pretty cool to have these linens.

I have vague and shadowy memories of my great grandparents on my father’s side. I remember visiting them with my father when I was a tiny child, around three, I think.

I remember a tiny woman in black sitting in a chair speaking Italian, and I remember my great grandfather being a somewhat intimidating figure to a small child. I remember him being rather tall and jingling coins (change) in his pocket.

Just a random memory . It is funny what children remember.

Another thing I remember ? A particularly snowy Christmas in 1969. I was five and my sister two.

We lived in Philadelphia at that time in Society Hill. There was so much snow that the trolleys and cars couldn’t run on the streets and I remember being pulled down the middle of our street on a sled.

These old linens and pieces of handmade lace are easily over 100 years old. So I have wrapped them up in unbuffered acid-free archival tissue paper. It’s a must for old textiles especially if you don’t use them much.

These linens also don’t get stored in the attic or basement because linens of this age require very even and stable temperatures as well as preferably a darker storage area.

I wonder what Concetta looked like as a young bride? I never saw photos of her anywhere.

I love old and vintage textiles but I generally prefer ones I can use. These linens are part of my family history so I have to treat them well, which means not using them a great deal.

Thanks for indulging my walk down memory lane on another snowy evening.