March 19, 2013

January 29, 2010 Feedsack Friday – South of the Border

Filed under: ◦Fabrics,◦Feedsack Friday,◦Vintage — sharon @ 3:45 pm

Another cold weekend ahead here in the northeast, so I’m glad to be continuing our visit to tropical climes. This week we’re headed south of the border, down Mexico way. Here’s a selection of feedsacks with a Mexican theme:
Mexican sackMexican sackMexican sack
Mexican sack Mexican sackMexican sack

This is by no means the only selection of Mexican themed sacks; I’ve seen quite a number with larger-scale vignettes, in various colorways – perhaps I’ll be able to feature them later.
There are also sacks that feature cactus from the desert southwest, and finally, you’ll want to wear one of these sun hats woven from palm leaves to keep from getting too hot.
cactus sackcactus sackhat sack

I don’t know how much longer we’ll be able to use the tropical theme to escape the reality of our winter chill, but we’ll see what we can find for next week on Feedsack Friday.

January 22, 2010 Feedsack Friday – Tropical Odyssey

Filed under: ◦Country Living,◦Fabrics,◦Feedsack Friday,◦Vintage — sharon @ 3:43 pm

After posting last weeks array of feedsacks depicting pineapples, I couldn’t shake the relief I felt from the long winter nights and chilly days – so I decided to continue this week on a tropical theme to relieve the midwinter blahs. This week we have sacks featuring palm trees, island scenes and even dancers in grass skirts!
tropical sacktropical sacktropical sack
The first and third sacks above are almost identical, just changing red and green in the background.
tropical sacktropical sacktropical sack
tropical sacktropical sacktropical sack
Many of these other sacks have color variations as well, I’ve seen several different combinations on the first of the two below:
tropical sacktropical sack
We found other sacks featuring palms and some other tropical features this week, but instead of presenting them now, we decided to extend our feature next week with a visit south of the border, featuring those and other aspects of Mexican and southwestern themes.

Hope you enjoyed this week’s edition of Feedsack Friday!

January 15, 2010 Feedsack Friday – Willkommen, Bienvenue, Welcome…

Filed under: ◦Country Living,◦Fabrics,◦Feedsack Friday,◦Vintage — sharon @ 3:41 pm

Welcome to another edition of feedsack Friday. Today, in order of counteract some of the chill that’s present in the northeast this time of year, we’ll feature something tropical, that venerable symbol of welcome: the pineapple. The pineapple is hardly a welcoming fruit in appearance, even forbidding with its spiky outer covering, but from the time of Columbus’ second voyage has become renowned as a special treat, and used as a symbol to welcome guests.

Feedsacks, as a part of everyday life, did not neglect representation of the pineapple, both realistically, and somewhat abstractly as we see in these examples.
pineapple sackpineapple sackpineapple sack
pineapple sackpineapple sackpineapple sack
pineapple sackpineapple sack

Well, ok, maybe more than a little abstract in the case of those last two, but I think you’ll have to agree that those are pineapple-inspired designs, however wild and garish. Wish I could get to Hawaii this week to compare with the ones there….

January 8, 2010 Feedsack Friday – Let it Snow!

Filed under: ◦Country Living,◦Fabrics,◦Feedsack Friday,◦Vintage — sharon @ 3:39 pm

We’re now well into winter, and much of the country is feeling the chill. This morning we had another dusting of snow here; things have been covered in white for the past week, and we’re not due for a thaw until next week. So it’s a perfect time to play in the snow.

Feedsack designs have celebrated snowy weather in a number of ways. This pup obviously enjoys his downhill slide, while the kids have fun sledding and building snowmen.
snow feedsacksnow feedsacksnow feedsack

A snowy winter landscape is perfect for skating and sleighrides.
snow feedsacksnow feedsacksnow feedsack

Finally, the snowflakes themselves can be considered as beautiful works of art.
snow feedsacksnow feedsack A word to you southerners: don’t envy us our snow too much, until you’ve had to shovel it, or pull your vehicle from a snowdrift. It can be fun, but it can also be a lot of work.

I’m sure we’ll see more snow this winter, but I’ll soon be ready for it to end.

January 1, 2010 Feedsack Friday – Toyland

Filed under: ◦Fabrics,◦Feedsack Friday,◦Vintage — sharon @ 3:36 pm

Lots of kids got lots of toys from Santa this Christmas. And lots of us are still kids in many ways, and we all love our toys. Here are some feedsacks covered with a selection of little toys:

toys feedsacktoys feedsacktoys feedsack
toys feedsacktoys feedsacktoys feedsack

Three color variations on the same toys, and then some larger toys, too:
toys feedsacktoys feedsacktoys feedsack
toys feedsacktoys feedsack OK, everybody play nice – there are plenty of toys to share – and we’ll see you all back here soon for another edition of Feedsack Friday.

Happy New Year!! And don’t miss the feedsacks we’re currently offering on eBay!

December 31, 2009 Another Year

Filed under: General,◦Country Living,◦Family,◦Friends — sharon @ 3:35 pm

New Years' Eve
Older and deeper in… Well, it’s been quite a year. We are thankful that business has not been as bad as it could be. And that we are warm inside despite this morning’s dusting of snow, not hungry, and relatively healthy. We’ve made our donation to Feeding America, and we’ll make more, I think, because the need is so great.

I can’t believe this blog is now 1 1/2 years old. I had hoped that having a blog would make me more productive, more communicative, even more creative – and it does provide a certain amount of pressure to produce something (anything) meaningful, that someone besides us will actually care about. I’m not sure we’ve been very successful, and I know we’ve been at times neglectful, but the blog has not always been the first order of business. Perhaps the year to come will see us more loquacious, more inspired, even more profound!

The folks on the farm are hunkered down in the cold snowy weather: Our garden chicken,
New Years' Eve

And one of the fluffier neighbors.
New Years' Eve

Since we are inside and warm, we plan to stay that way, celebrating marking the passage into the new year curled up here at home, probably sound asleep at midnight. I know I’ll be crossing out dates for a while, as usual, but otherwise will neither curse nor welcome the passage.
New Years' Eve

And we’ll all be looking through the chilly mist that hangs in the air, hoping for that first glimpse of a spring thaw, ready to go round the seasons once again.
New Years' Eve

Happy 2010 to all our friends, readers and customers. We’re looking forward to getting to know you all better in the coming year!

December 22, 2009 The Vintage Business

Filed under: ◦Antique quilts,◦Fabrics,◦rickrack.com,◦Vintage — sharon @ 3:31 pm

I posted recently a post called Vintage Vintage, about the misuse of the word to designate items that aren’t really older, just inspired by older things or made to an older design. And I’ve probably mentioned before how absurd and difficult it can be to try to make a business of selling things that must be sought out and found individually, and offered for sale in whatever condition their age and experience has given them. How much more simple – and businesslike – it is to be able to order things by the dozen, bright and shiny new, and sell them one after another, never having to change the picture or advertising copy.

How much simpler, yes, but where does the joy come in? And that is the word that makes the difference. For some of us (you know who you are!) it’s all about finding that special vintage item, one with character, color, warmth, the love hand-crafted into it! It’s why we keep going to antique shows, flea markets, estate auctions and yard sales – hoping for that brief moment of elation, our heart skipping a beat on finding something wonderfully special. For instance, this Turkey red tablecloth from the Victorian era sets a festive tone for the holidays that can’t be matched by mass-produced, synthetic goods.
Turkey red tablecloth

Because we are privileged to live in a time of abundance, in an area whose history provides such a wealth of things made and saved, preserved and treasured for generations, we have been able to enjoy this feeling of discovery more frequently than many people, and that enjoyment has accounted for a rather large accumulation of vintage treasure. This is the wealth from which our business was conceived and born, but the joy of the find is still the spark that motivates all that we offer. Hopefully the joy is passed on with many of the special items we’ve been blessed to offer.

One especially tantalizing type of find is that of the unused item, preserved in its original package, still adorned with paper labels or price tags, put away for a rainy day that never came. Again we have been lucky to find many of these, and love having them to offer on our website, like these two tablecloth sets:
Wilendur tableclothPrints Charming tablecloth

Or these aprons:
MWT apronMWT apron

But even lacking like-new condition and original labels, it’s still a thrill to find something old that has somehow avoided the ravages of time, that has become the exception and survived unscathed, or only showing slight traces of the history that used up most of its contemporaries. This is the case with so many of the quilts we find in our area, the ones that were only for nice, and were carefully stored away for generations while the workaday bedding bore the brunt of the wear and tear. So that an item lovingly crafted 150 years ago can still look like this:
Whig rose quilt

So it is that we enjoy our business because we enjoy the beauty of the items, the connection with the past, and the linking of the past with people of today besides ourselves who appreciate the many qualities we nostalgically revere of days gone by.

I suppose it’s naive of me to have assumed that pristine condition in a vintage items is a desirable quality, though I’d be willing to bet that to most collectors, it is. And so in my naivete, I was surprised to recently receive this email:

Hello & Merry Christmas~
I want to start with telling you how much I did enjoy your aprons choices. I would like to interject though that you should take a little more care in your photography of the items you are advertising to sell……

It is quite obvious to me, and probably others that collect aprons that your items are reproductions and not actually VINTAGE APRONS. Look at the photographs- the aprons are pristine, unwashed, unused and have never been worn before! It can be easily deduced by any aficionado that these aprons are copies that had just been sewn probably from either migrant workers or from a foreign country for pennies on the dollar. I suggest that you wash them then partially iron them to give that a slightly worn look before photographing them.

This is just a suggestion…. I did alert a family member that was thinking of ordering from you that these aprons were not authentic vintage aprons. I’m probably not the first person to do so…..

And another immediately following:

I just took a look at your FAQ page- it is SUCH a lie that these are authentic VINTAGE products- you might want to think about changing your wording… it is totally false!!!

So we have come full circle. Apparently wear and tear is a desired commodity; pristine condition an impossibility! If I were to take these missives to heart, I’d have to change my whole philosophy. It’s not that I don’t find joy in things that have been used, on the contrary I have a special place in my heart for items that have been mended and patched, sometimes patched on top of patches, feeling the value that their owners obviously placed on them over the generations.

The Christmas greeting I received above bothers me more because I’ve been so careful to be honest, to represent what I sell as accurately as possible, and despite all of that been taken to task for gross dishonesty – for lying – based on scant and faulty evidence. Heaven knows I don’t think my pictures are all that good, and all too often the aprons are wrinkly or show a spot or something. But why, if I were selling repros, would I only have ONE of EACH?? I’m crazy enough to be in the vintage business, not crazy enough to try to pretend that new is vintage. Oh yes, and though my business is based on recycling at its best – re-use rather than new manufacture, I’ve been accused of abusing slave labor!

We spoke with this lady on the telephone, and wished her a Merry Christmas also. I think I overcame her skepticism and convinced her that we’re just a couple of people trying to make a living and preserve the best of earlier times, not to hoodwink anyone into buying shoddy merchandise produced in labor camps.

The vintage business. It is crazy, labor intensive, more a hobby than a business really. I’ve been told before that one or another of my items was new, not vintage, and had to point out that the maker whose label adorned the product had not been in business for decades. I’ve also been taken to task for having too great a markup, since the item I was selling for $30 had the tag still on showing that I had paid only $1.29. That tag was also from a store that was out of business before I was in.

Christmas hankyI won’t be changing my business model. It’s all right there and plainly visible to an unbiased view. I have often wondered about people who find deception in everything they read or hear. I have no problem with common sense, value it highly in fact, and am the last one to accept everything at face value. But if you look, really look, you can see the difference, can’t you?

Wishing all my readers the most joyous of Christmases, or happiest of whatever holidays you may celebrate!

December 18, 2009 Feedsack Friday – Before Christmas

Filed under: ◦Country Living,◦Fabrics,◦Feedsack Friday,◦Vintage — sharon @ 3:28 pm

‘Tis the week before Christmas, and all through the room, I’m looking for feedsacks to brighten the gloom…

Seems we’re about to have our first big snowstorm of the winter, and with temperatures due to stay below freezing, it may be a white Christmas for us this year. There aren’t too many feedsacks that have a Christmas theme, but we did find a few. First are these two featuring candy canes, one in the traditional red and green, the other in an unusual colorway:
Christmas sackChristmas sack

That’s all we were able to find in our feedsack stash that showed a specifically Christmas theme in an overall print – but we do have one other Christmas sack from the Chase Bag Co., printed on a larger scale with scattered Santas, candy canes, presents and trees, along with the company logo. I can imagine a stack of these filled with feed at the local mill, lending an air of festivity to an otherwise workaday scene:

Christmas sack
 

I’m not sure we’ll do Feedsack Friday next week on Christmas day, but hopefully we’ll still have a few other holiday-oriented postings. Happy holidays, everyone!

December 11, 2009 Feedsack Friday – Solidarity

Filed under: Vintage, rickrack.com, Fabrics, Feedsack Friday — Bill @ 4:31 pm

Quilters and others often look for fabrics in solid colors to offset or contrast with print fabrics, and for some reason solid colored feedsacks seem to be among the scarcest. We don’t find them in the same bright colors of the printed sacks; for instance, I have yet to see one in that bright lime green, nor in vivid red. Mostly what we see are subtle shades, pastels and the like. In fact, the very subltlety of the colors makes it difficult for us to post a true representation of the color on our site. We’ve been sold out of solids for a while, but here are some we’ve come across that we’re adding to our stock.
solid sacksolid sacksolid sack
solid sacksolid sacksolid sack

This time we found no yellows, nor pinks – but we have seen them before, along with others…
solid sacksolid sacksolid sack
solid sacksolid sacksolid sack

Of course, there are many, many more. One thing we’ve also found is that some folks home-dyed plain white sacks to use for their projects, but I believe that all of these were factory colors. I do have one in apricot, and one in green, with lettering from the label still on them.

March 18, 2013

December 6, 2009 Cheesy Quilts

Filed under: ◦Antique quilts,◦Fabrics,◦Vintage — sharon @ 11:54 pm

One of the staple colors of quiltmakers of the 19th century was that strong, deep yellow we call “cheddar” today. Though not as popular as the ubiquitous double pink,, overdyed green or “Lancaster” double blue calicoes, cheddar was used by Pennsylvania German quiltmakers in a number of variations. As a solid color fabric, it was used both in backgrounds and in highlights, particularly in applique quilts. Less common were the cheddar calicos, a double print similar to the blues and pinks, and one seen more often with a cheddar lattice with a black and red figure overprinted.

This latter fabric seems to have been a favorite of one Mary Groh, who made these two quilts in Berks County, PA in the latter part of the 19th century. I like them for their vibrancy, not least because of the color choice.
Chinese lanterns quilt

This Chinese lanterns quilt positions the lanterns as pinwheel or windmill blades, set in a bright cheddar field. Sadly, as sometimes happens, the cheddar is somewhat oxidized in places, taking on a greenish tinge.

9 patch variation quilt

This 9-patch variation uses the cheddar only in the outer frame of each block, again shows that oxidation. But I love the way the red patches chain the whole pattern together, with another chain of red diamonds in the border. Mary also made a pink ocean waves quilt with embroidered embellishment that is nothing like these two – just illustrating further her artistry and originality – which is what makes me love the huge variety of Pennsylvania German quilts, particularly those of Berks and Lehigh Counties.