Vintage Linen and Fancy Work

girlinwintergarden.jpgAn essential element of Cottage Lifestyle is vintage linen, also called fancy work.  A touch of lace or a cheeky ruffled doily under an art pottery vase turns a display into something charming and warm.  Sheer lace on a tea table or bright-colored 1940’s linen in grandma’s kitchen speaks to many of us in the inmost reaches of our feminine soul.

I am known at the auction for my predilection for lace and hand-made linens.  Just last week, I bought an entire laundry basket of crocheted lace and doilies–and am still washing and ironing each one before they take their place in our shop, Farm Grove Collectables.  One becomes intimately acquainted with laundry when each piece is hand-washed, blocked, and pressed.  The experience is its own reward as I have time to reflect on the character of each piece, and how each can be displayed or used to its best advantage.  

A length  of crocheted netting and floral medallions is a perfect valence.  That long border of scallops would trim a country pillow nicely.  I especially look for large crocheted rounds as they dress small tables in warmth.  Most of our grandmothers accumulated substantial caches of such hand work, the result of hours of spare-time toil.  We can appreciate these tokens even more for the loving time devoted to them. 


About Sharon L. Clemens

Sharon and husband Merle and their children owned and operated a specialty shop and restaurant in a restored dairy barn for thirteen years in a village in Illinois. After closing their restaurant, they converted the barn into the family home and moved their shop to the garden level. They operated a collectable shop as a home-based business for another thirteen years before retiring to the country life. Sharon has been a special feature guest on the local NBC telelvision affiliate and has spoken professionally on topics relating to herb gardening and cottage lifestyle. In addition to conducting workshops and programs, Sharon writes a weekly cottage lifestyle e-newsletter called “Cottage Chat” and a Word Press blog: Seasons of Farm Grove. She has written five novels, The Younger Girl, Door County Cottage, Timeless-A Door County Love Story, Door County Cabin and Door County Escape, love stories with traditional values set in Door County, Wisconsin.
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