Monday, April 30, 2012

Today's "To Do" Pile or Tomorrow's Vintage Treasure?

Monday, April 30, 2012

Gramma hit the jackpot this weekend but was nowhere near a casino. After an early breakfast at the diner with Grampa, she dropped in on the local flea market and noticed a tattered cardboard box that everyone else had passed up. And—voila! She found some treasures to share with all her fans.


Think for a moment about someone discovering your sewing basket 50 or 60 years from now. What would they find? Gramma’s digging produced a McCall’s quilt pattern from the 1930s and a quilt-in-progress. There were 25 strips of vintage quilting fabric ready to be stitched up and some just fabulous finished quilt blocks with traditional newspaper backing used to help hand stitch them together. The real surprise is that the newspapers were from the 1930’s!! Oh my!  Unfortunately she couldn’t read all of the articles because the owner hadn’t put “continued on next square,” but had to settle for bits and pieces of news stories. (Did that man ever go to jail? . . . .hmmmm.)
And you should see the delight on her face when she discovered—in the same box--several hand-stitched collars (some with really nice adornments) that would add the perfect touch to plain cardigan or sweater, or serve as the centerpiece of a girl’s special-occasion dress.
It pays to dig. At the bottom of Gramma’s cardboard jackpot was the cutest little apron complete with a Raggedy Ann tag sewn in. Remember those little dolls we had back when? They weren’t Barbies; they weren’t Bratz with all kinds of accessories. They were simple and loved and cherished Christmas gifts from Santa or a birthday gift from your favorite aunt.
And finally, Gramma also came across a beautiful  pink wool and cotton cabin-style blanket from the 1940s or 50s! This delicious looking “spread” would brighten up any cottage-chic d├ęcor.
I now know what Grandpa means about finding “the honey hole” when he goes fishing. What looks like rag remnants just might be worth another look and some digging. There are nuggets of gold out there - - you just have to prospect at some places you’ve never tried before.
To see Gramma’s treasures, click the links to her Etsy shop; Facebook page; and her eBay items online.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Business or Hobby? or "How to Make PIN MONEY at home"

Tuesday, April 10, 2012
Over the winter, I've given a lot of thought to whether Gramma's Linen Closet is actually just a hobby or whether it could become a business--a real business that actually generates real income.

There have been disappointments: having clothing and accessories on consignment at a vintage shop, and selling practically nothing. Working a craft show with similarly poor sales.

On the other hand, I've picked up several things at auction or flea markets, or at very low prices at antique malls, and been able to resell them at significantly higher prices. A couple of mint-condition dish towels out of a $5 box lot at the auction went for many more times than what I paid for the whole lot. A vintage unused steam iron in its original box I got at auction for 50 cents sold for $20.

So maybe my sewing needs to take a back seat for awhile while I discover vintage items that can be resold?

David has lent his considerable energy to the idea, and is helping me build a business plan, and get organized. I know I have a good "eye," and I've certainly been able to generate enough income so far to pay for the fun I have hunting for vintage treasure.

But is it enough to actually generate real income? Income that might enable me to retire from full-time teaching  a little early? Cover expenses if the cuts in school funding in my state lead to a job furlough?

Coincidentally--or maybe not, depending upon how you feel about such things--I picked up a wonderful little booklet at an antique store north of Ithaca this weekend. It's called "How to Make PIN MONEY at Home." There is no copyright date, but it looks to be 1950s. It's chock full (as in 100 suggestions) of ideas for housewives who need to make a little extra money. Although the language is dated, the sentiment seems somehow appropriate these days:

     "Today, almost no man has a large enough income to satisfy the demands of his family. Expenses have distanced salaries in their rise, and men and women are hard put to find the necessary funds to do all they wish to for their children and themselves. Naturally, the women are looking about for ways to increase the family income....

    "The first thing to consider before undertaking part time or home work is: How much time can I give to such employment? If you hope to make your work pay, you must so arrange your household duties that you have several free hours every day.... If your home tasks are so engrossing that you cannot do this, you should not undertake any additional work. It would not only prove unremunerative, but would tax your strength beyond its endurance."

And so the experiment begins....

Help me decide by visiting my Etsy shop, "Gramma's Linen Closet," or searching Ebay for my sales under "GrammasLinenCloset."

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