Cleaning Vintage Linens

September 25, 2012 § Leave a comment

I know a lot of people get especially nervous when you talk about cleaning vintage linens and yes, sometimes you do have to be cautious.  However, if you know what your fabric is, it makes it a lot simpler.  So, I wanted to impart a tip on cleaning vintage cotton since most of us are handed down pillowcases, quilts, and towels and we actually want to make use of these treasures and incorporate them in our daily lives.

The fantastic thing about old cottons is that they were made to last; most items, like large quilts, can take a quick tumble in the washing machine on delicate.  It’s preferable to line dry these items, but if you must place in the dryer I would leave out the fabric softener and then use a hot iron.   For small pieces, you may want to opt for hand-washing.  I use a 1/4 cup sea salt or kosher salt to every hot gallon of water.  Soak up to 48 hours, occasionally swishing the fabric about and then line dry and iron on hot  for best results.  Not all stains will come out, especially rust, but you will see a marked improvement over yellowing and linens will be soft…ready for you to enjoy for years to come!

***This vintage pillowcase set pictured, is available in my Etsy shop and was cleaned in the “salt” method.  A great find for the collector or anyone with an interest to begin collecting vintage linens.

–Lisa LeBlanc

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Work in Progress: Holiday Cross Stitch Pattern

September 24, 2012 § Leave a comment

For a couple weeks now, I’ve been stitching this new little pattern for the holidays.  It promises to stitch out pretty quick…I did us all a favor and have no fractional stitches whatsoever, time keeps getting away from me though because big changes are afoot at the Nest.  (tease — which I’ll be announcing very soon!)

This year I have released five cross stitch patterns thus far and I’ve never stitched so much in my whole life.  I do love it but I’ll be taking a little stitching R & R after this new holiday pattern is released.  Especially as I woke up the other morning and found I slept the night on top of embroidery scissors – I’m such a hard core stitcher.
As I put the final stitches and edits to my last pattern of 2012, I am thinking of not only releasing this as I normally do in PDF, but creating a limited amount of kits with supplies included.  I know how challenging the holidays can be, so gathering supplies will be one thing I can help cross off your list.  And if you would like to give it as a gift to a fellow stitchy friend, its a ready made kit to give.  I’ll keep you posted on my progress and also keep watch for a big announcement in the coming days regarding my retail location…ahhh, another tease!

–Lisa LeBlanc

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New Fabric Design: Julia’s Kitchen

September 21, 2012 § 2 Comments

I’ve been searching for Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Volume One for a few years now and I finally scored a copy (dated from 1971).  Not only was I super excited to thumb through the recipes but I was quite taken with the book illustrations, namely the fleur de lis motif on the book jacket.  I immediately thought it would be a wonderful fabric, as it is a small vibrant design and wouldn’t it be charming with the historical significance attached to Julia Child?  I began working on recreating the covers of both Volume One and Two (which are the reverse of each other) on Spoonflower.  Then I began playing with the colors and created three additional colorways…a tomato red “Ratatouille”, a yummy chocolate “Souffle”, and a black and gold “Bon Appetit”  (which is a bit of a nod to New Orleans and it’s take on French cooking).

I’m so pleased how my samples came out!  Now comes the hard part…what do I make first?  Pot holders or an apron?

–Lisa LeBlanc

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Happy Owloween…

September 17, 2012 § Leave a comment

A few weeks ago I ordered a little bit of my Hootie Cutie fabric from Spoonflower, in Bibbity Boo, a special Halloween colorway.   I wasn’t really sure what to do with it, I just knew I wanted to use it for something!   At some point inspiration hit…which is usually right when I wake up, taking a shower, or driving to work (places where I can’t write down a thing!); fortunately, I remembered and decided to make a couple treat bags with a matching black cotton in my stash.  They are just adorable!  If you would like one, I’ve put them in my Etsy shop or stop my in-person at Nest.

–Lisa LeBlanc

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A Downton Alphabet

September 14, 2012 § Leave a comment

I failed to mention over the past couple of weeks that I had FINALLY finished stitching my second Downton Abbey inspired cross stitch pattern.  I’m partly relieved and a tiny bit sad as it went everywhere with me the last month, including my trip to Houston.  This grew from a request from one of my customers that asked for smaller “Downton” images.  I wanted to create something that would work nicely as a whole but fun to break apart and do what you like.  It was a lot of fun designing and there are few images from both seasons one and two that true fans will get like evil sugar and Mr. Pamuk (who looks like a zombie because he sure wouldn’t go away in season 2 for a dead guy).  Also, you’ll find subtle references like a violet, the namesake of the Dowager Countess and items you would easily find of the time like a trifle, needle and thread.

The pattern includes a detailed color chart with symbols referencing DMC floss and a floss count (which is awesome…so you know exactly how much to buy!).  I’ve made this available on Etsy and Meylah (which allows for instant download, and you won’t have to wait for me to e-mail you) of the PDF file.  Also, as a courtesy to my customers – as so many of you wonderful people have been purchasing this new pattern and the original first pattern, I’ve combined both in one listing at a discounted price here.

Also, I invite all my customers to share their progress and finished work (especially if you have reinterpreted anything) in our Downton Stitch Flickr group.

–Lisa LeBlanc

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On Being Unremarkable…

September 13, 2012 § 2 Comments

This is actually a very happy post, so do not be concerned.

Nearly 2 weeks ago, we traveled back to MD Anderson for my latest round of scans.  First off let me say it was all good news.  I’ve come to a point after my diagnosis and successful treatment, that I don’t let the fear of recurrence plague me like I once did…until it’s scan week.  (sounds like shark week…and they both bite!).  I went in for my MRI and the delightful tech mentioned I would have a longer test than usual because it was a new machine with more cuts.  I think I obsessed for an hour in the machine that now with the added detail they would see something new.  The next day, was “doctor day” where they review your progress and let you know informally how your scans look.  This is what I love about MD Anderson…they are fast!  At 7:30 in the morning the very next day I went into the eye doctor and the first thing she told me was; “I saw you had a scan yesterday, and though it’s not my area, it looked good!”  It was a blessed relief!  Then we continued on with the eye exam and as she commented back to nurse taking notes for my chart, she looked into each eye and said “unremarkable”.  I’ve never been so delighted to be ordinary!

Cancer schmancer…so, I know what you really want to know…what did we eat?  Oh Houston, you are evil to my waist line!  We visited one of my old haunts during my radiation vacation, Gio’s Flying Pizza in Dickerson, TX.  For whatever reason, their Blanco Pizza was the only thing I could minimally taste after I lost my taste buds during my treatment.  Now that they are back, oh my, this place is de-lish!  My friend’s five year old son loves this place because they toss the pizza in the air and this time he recommended the raspberry chocolate cake.  He was right…but he barely let me get a bite!

We’ll return in January for hopefully continued good news and yummy eats!

–Lisa LeBlanc

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Vintage Fabric Yardage

September 12, 2012 § Leave a comment

Did I ever tell you I was a fabric junkie?  About 15 years ago, when I was studying Interior Design at LSU, part of the curriculum required us to take one class in the Home Economics building; a Textile History and Use class.  Most of the design students expressed how “beneath” them this was to be associated with “home makers” (and it was promptly removed from the program the very next year).  But I found it valuable; learning how fabric is made, the difference between man-made and natural, and most importantly how to clean anything.  I aced it!  I even regretted a bit not changing majors and becoming a textile designer (I had already gone from Art History to Veterinary Science  to Interior Design in my first semester so I decided I better finish what I started!)

That class did stick with me and for many years I’ve collected fabric.  Now that I’ve gathered quite a collection of vintage textiles, I’m de-stashing what I haven’t used in the last few years (hoping they go to good hands that won’t procrastinate like me!).  I am listing a couple new each day on Etsy; most are dead-stock yardage I cut and then a few remnants, as well.  All good stuff though, like barkcloth, dimity, eyelet and more.  Browse my collection and keep it in mind when you need that really unique fabric from long ago!

–Lisa LeBlanc

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