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Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Quilt Barns

What are they and how did it all get started? Here is the story of the originator Donna Sue Groves. I've also included the links for Quilt Barns across America,utube video of Ky Quilt Barns,and Maps for Kentucky. Enjoy

A Patchwork of Hope: Donna Sue Groves, the woman behind barn quilts, faces the challenge of her life

Losing a job and learning you have cancer would devastate just about anybody – except for Donna Sue Groves. She is a survivor. What helps Donna Sue fight is the love and support of family and friends, and the community she has helped create through a simple idea of painting colorful quilt squares on barns.
When Donna Sue Groves was a young girl she spent hours in the backseat of the family car during vacations. Sometimes they would travel from Crede, West Virginia to visit grandparents in their native Roane County, WV. Other times, they would drive through Pennsylvania, up to New England.
Somewhere along the way, her mother Nina Maxine Groves, created a game for Donna Sue and her brother based on the different types of barns they saw dotting the countryside. Points were awarded per barn and painted advertisement. Donna Sue got really good at spotting barns and grew to love the different shapes and the stories of the people who built and worked in the wooden structures.

Years later, when Donna Sue was divorced and her mother widowed, they purchased a farm in rural Adams County, Ohio. When they toured the property, they came across an old tobacco farm. Donna Sue had never seen one before and thought it was the ugliest thing she ever saw!

Looking at the distressed wood of the giant barn, she joked to her mother, a celebrated quiltmaker, that she would paint a quilt square on it to give it some color. Donna Sue had a great appreciation for the colorful fabrics and patterns pieced together by the skillful hands of her mother, as well as both her grandmothers.

Her promise of painting a square became a joke amongst friends and neighbors, until one day some of those friends encouraged Donna Sue to make good. But she didn’t want to paint just one square. With the help of the community, Donna Sue created a “Clothesline of Quilts” in Adams County. The idea was to create a driving trail of 20 squares so that tourists would come to the area to see the quilt barns and stop at local merchants. It would be a way to bring economic opportunity to the area.

The first square was unveiled in 2001 and Donna Sue immediately started getting calls from neighboring counties. They wanted to know how they could start their own trail; asking everything from where to get the paint to how big to paint the plywood squares. Donna Sue was happy to share what she knew.

Almost ten years later, it’s now the National Quilt Barn Trail, spanning more than 20 states and British Columbia. Donna Sue is even getting calls from overseas; she wants to start calling it the “International” Quilt Barn Trail. There are still moments of amazement that this phenomenon all started in a small Ohio community.

In 2003, the second of the Adams County quilt barn squares was unveiled. It was a “Snail’s Trail” quilt pattern added to the Groves’ old tobacco barn. Donna Sue and Nina Maxine even added a second square on the side of the barn that faces their homes, away from the road. It is just for them. A reminder of a promise kept and a promise to keep fighting, no matter what tomorrow may bring.

a website for more info and Quilt Barns in other states;

Quilt Barns of Kentucky

Ky Quilt Trails--Maps

Sunday, September 25, 2011

The Eyes Have It

Faces remain a favorite style of figural costume jewelry

Ask the average person on the street why people love jewelry and answers might range from wise investment to frivolous fashion indulgence.

But there's a whole psychology surrounding jewelry too, and why we love what we love and when. For instance, look at three different time periods when large-scale jewelry was the rage: the 1940s, the 1980s, and for the past five years of the 21st Century. Was there a common link in those trends? Sort of.
When life suddenly revolves around rationing and sacrifice, it makes psychological sense that anything big and abundant is going to prove desirable. Maybe a fantastic new dress was out of the question during the worst war years, but an enormous brooch, big as a lapel, was affordable and could make stale fashions seem fresh.
Beyond size, whimsy was another key ingredient for obvious reasons: Light-hearted and novel distractions were cheering, whether in movies or on fashion modes.

In the 1980s, on the other hand, jewelry's large scale was the child of ostentation often married to wealth. Bigness during the Reagan years made a statement about who we hoped we were: important.

Today those two decades intersect. As the divide widens in America between the haves and have-nots, oversized pieces feed the needs of different socio-economic groups hankering for what adornment bestows. A well-heeled woman might opt for a large fancy-color diamond as an enviable and envy-arousing investment, or massive Iradj Moini jewel-encrusted collar that boldly asks: What Recession?

On the other side of greener pastures, someone unemployed and scared out of her wits about the future still needs the occasional balm of lovely novelty, so a big bib dripping in stones on sale for $10 at Burlington Coat Factory can make a girl at least feel for a week like a million bucks.

This is all a round-about way of traveling to the demise of one jewelry trend, which I don't understand at all. In the Facebook era, why would the long-time figural favorite – face jewelry – virtually be made no more? It doesn't make sense, unless jewelry houses put the kibosh on kissers because women weren't buying them, but since just about every jewelry collection includes multiple countenances, what gives? Psychologically speaking, I have no answers for that one.

Happily, the current unfortunate retail trend doesn't prevent us from relishing the many vintage and later visages on the secondary market. It's also worth mentioning that faces remain a favored realm among artists and artisans, if not jewelry companies.

The variety of human expressions cast as jewelry is vast. So are values, styles and quality. Technically, a face pin might be a museum-quality cameo carving worth thousands of dollars, a stunning, delicately painted portrait pin, Art Nouveau ladies cast in sterling silver.

Snag anything that's unusual or remarkable. A face brooch that looks like an Alien Geisha is one example. The flip side is a face that's straight-out beautiful.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Decorating with Vintage & Antique Plates

Have you looked at decorating magazines lately? The top interior designers are hanging plates everywhere! Decorating with plates is an inexpensive way to make a bold statement. Exquisite china that is beautifully arranged says much about the homeowner. Why not make vintage and antique china an integral part of your home décor?

Here are fifteen savvy styling tips to get you started:

1. Hang plates horizontally along the top of a wall as an interesting border.

2. Butter pats as a border make an exciting visual statement, particularly in the dining room and kitchen areas. Many collectors enjoy displaying butter pats along the kitchen soffit. Another idea, hang around window frame.

3. Place 3 plates in an arch around the top of a framed print/painting

4. Hang large 19th-century Staffordshire platters next to breakfast table or maybe over a door opening.

5. Don’t despair over chips, crazing or glaze flaws — they will add to the shabby chic appeal of this easy-on-the-budget decorating scheme.

6. Plain white ironstone plates in a grouping make a chic statement against exotic wallpapers or lively paint colors.

7. Try matching same theme plates and platters such as roses or fruit-motif. Sometimes mixed unrelated styles work if in same color tones. An arrangement of vintage plates representing various states or tourist destinations is a real conversation piece and a reminder of great vacations.

9. Plates combined with Impressionist artwork create a serene environment.

10. Hang your collection of pie plates

11. Don’t throw out your breakages! Use to make a mosaic and hang that on wall.

12. Display plates arranged in an arch over a buffet or sideboard.

13. Hang a wooden plate-rail shelf in a dining room, kitchen, or hallway, and use it to display plates and do change your exhibit seasonally.

14. In earthquake areas use museum wax to attach valuable china pieces to shelves. Then make sure the shelving unit is earthquake-strapped to the wall as well.

15. Hang a beautiful 19th-century Limoges plate on your office wall to remind you of the lovely home that you have to return to each evening.

Antique and vintage plates can be found at very reasonable prices and these stunning pieces with a history are so much more appealing than contemporary china. Wouldn’t you adore having your home decorated with quality Limoges or Staffordshire china?

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Victorian Pictorial Brass Buttons and others

Brass picture buttons from the Victorian era are very collectible. These charming discs were stamped with images taken from everything from operas to children’s books, and animals. In fact, if you wanted to tell the world you were a fan of a work of literature, you’d sew buttons featuring scenes from the novel or story on your coat or shirt. Other picture buttons took their cues from nature (flora and fauna), the sciences (stars and moons), or mythology (cupids and fairies).

Black glass buttons from the Victorian era came next. When the Queen’s husband, Prince Albert, died in 1861, the monarch took to wearing black for decades. Much of England mourned with her, prompting a rise in the popularity of black clothing and jewelry. At first, black buttons were made out of jet, a fossilized coal found near Whitby, England. But jet was very expensive, so black glass was used as a replacement. Some black glass buttons were molded to create reliefs of plants and animals, or even detailed pictorials. Sometimes the buttons appeared to mimic fabrics; other times they were given a silver or iridescent luster to imitate needlework or crochet. Some black glass buttons were faceted while others were painted or enameled.

Another collectible type of glass button hails from Bohemia, which is now part of the Czech Republic. Between the wars, glass artisans made buttons in styles ranging from Art Deco to "realistics," which were buttons shaped like the objects they depicted

From the late 1800s through the 1920s, celluloid buttons were all the rage. Then came the Bakelite buttons, which were common in the United States from the 1920s through the 1940s. Bakelite buttons were sometimes carved and then embellished with a metal escutcheon in the shape of an animal or a plant. Others were decorated with glass sequins or costume jewels. The so-called "cookie" buttons were made out of long sections of laminated Bakelite that were then sliced into wafers, each one of which revealed a cross section of the lamination. Other types of Bakelite buttons were reverse carved and then dyed or painted from the back.

Of course, these types of buttons just begin to scratch the rich surface of this tiny collectible. Some collectors specialize in buttons in the Art Deco style, while others like the more modern look of Lucite or buttons cut out of shell. Still others collect based on themes—cats, dragons, Oriental imagery, famous men and women, etc.

Particularly noteworthy are the enamel buttons from the 19th and 20th centuries. Cloisonné buttons were the most difficult to produce because the process demanded that tiny threads of wire be soldered to a base. The resulting cavities were then filled with enamel and the button was fired.

We have a good selection of above mentioned buttons at way below going rates--an example would be that most of the victorian brass buttons sell in the $25.00each to $100.00each range on ebay and other sites. We purchased ours at a reasonable rate and want to pass the huge bargains on. Come see for yourself---- all the photos are just some of what we have available.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Vintage European grain sacks & American burlap produce bags. The new in thing in home-decorating.

Fabric sacks, like the kind traditionally used by European farmers up until the middle of the last century for carting grains to and from the mill, can be spotted all over the home this fall.
On pillows. On tables. On lampshades.

The two looks emerging include striped linen and printed burlap.

Historically, linen grain sacks were produced on the farm.
Family farmers would set aside land for growing hemp or flax. They would harvest it, soak it to loosen the fibers, clean and spin the fibers into thread and then weave the fabric (because in those times durable fabric was not readily available). From the rolls of fabric different textiles were created, including utilitarian grain sacks. The grain sacks were used for the harvesting of whatever they were growing.
They were really a kind of a workhorse. Imagine when the farmers were harvesting their wheat, they would put the whole wheat into the bag and bring it to the miller, and when the miller had ground their wheat ... the sack was returned to the rightful farmer. Grain sacks stopped being made around the 1930s.

The other popular style is made of machine-woven burlap, a coarse, twine-smelling sack printed with the logo and name of a farm, co-op or mill. Today, the front printed panels of burlap sacks are sought after for use in upholstery, decorative pillows, headboard covers, rugs, framing or displaying under a glass tabletop. It's really easy to layer burlap, linen and chunky cable knits to add a touch of Country style.

While these original textiles continue to be discovered in people's attics and basements, a number of reproductions have come onto the market. They can be found at Pottery Barn,Target,etc and VERY HIGH PRICED. (Example: pillow Pottery Barn $80.00---ooh-eeee)

To purists drawn to grain sacks for their history and beauty, there's no comparison to the real thing: the handwoven quality, from dense to a medium open weave, and texture, from velvet-soft to coarse.

Another idea is to mix or use cutter quilt pieces. This picture shows a mix of seed sacks and quilt. By the way "cutter" quilts are those that have problems like tears, stains and holes. Or how about quilt tops that are unfinished? This chair is normally on a roofed porch but photographs good in the yard.

We currently do not have any European grain sacks but we do have some good American burlap bags and quilt tops. The photos below show some of what we do currently have.