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Original Designs With Vintage Finds Blog

New England Thrift Meets Energy Crisis…

Posted by Nick Brown

Dec 6, 2013 9:15:11 AM

…growing up in the 70s, Jimmy Carter taught us to turn down the thermostat and don your wool sweaters.  As an uprooted mid-Atlantic family newly transplanted to thrifty New England we dutifully obliged.  Who wouldn’t?  Fair Isles sweaters and the Prep look were all the rage and the harsh New England winters made you glad for all that warmth.  


Original Designs With Vintage Finds Sweater


New England thrift became part of my being.  My mother advised saving my colorful fairisle and colorblock sweaters, “so that your daughter can wear them someday”. As an avid rescuer of all things vintage, my favorite high school sweaters now serve as inspiration and resources for my crafty home accessories.  (my daughter has no interest in wearing these dated, and itchy, sweaters)


Original Designs With Vintage Finds Pillow


I love crafting pillows. They can be changed to update your decor seasonally and are a perfect way to use your vintage supplies.  Most wool sweaters can be easily felted to create a nice dense fabric from which you can simply cut into appliques.  Stars and trees are simple and can be attached with either your sewing machine or via hand embroidery.  Feel free to embellish with buttons, embroidery thread or any other vintage supply you may have on hand.


Original Designs With Vintage Finds Pillow

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Repurposed Wrapping... Have Yourself a Greener Holiday

Posted by Barb Brown

Dec 4, 2013 2:52:37 PM


Original Finds With Vintage Designs

I adore wrapping paper…the colors…the designs…the store displays.  They work their magic and woo me as I pass through the shops.  If I so much as walk near Paper Source, I feel my heart race and my hands perspire.  BUT…as a lifelong tree-hugger with a reduce, reuse, recycle kind of mentality, I force myself to stop.  Visions of crafty supplies…rescued ribbons, vintage fabric scraps, saved pompoms dance through my head.  I have a hoarder-like style of saving everything, well, you just don’t know when something will come in handy, do you?


Original Finds With Vintage Designs


So…into my studio I go to collect accessories that fit the season or occasion… left over wrapping paper, fabric scraps, buttons, ribbons (I even once saved a student’s rejected watercolor and turned the paper into hangtags).  Not only do I save a bundle (to spend on rescuing more vintage items) but I created a unique OOAK (one-of-a-kind) gift.


Original Finds With Vintage Designs


Save a tree this holiday season and have yourself a greener holiday!
As always…made with love. ~Barb

Original Finds With Vintage Designs

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Holiday Memories and Recycled Vintage Fabrics

Posted by Barb Brown

Dec 3, 2013 7:23:33 PM

Our family’s favorite time together is dinner time…the food, the wine, the conversation.  I know the trend for “open concept” living is all the rage, but for us, the dining room, closed off from the busy-ness of our lives, is where we love to gather and share.


Recycled Vintage Fabrics


The dining table has been a foundation of creativity for as long as I can remember, but never more so around the holidays.  From those iconic Thanksgiving apple turkeys to individual placecards adorned with mini pinecones or river stones painted with each guest’s name, holiday projects were both a way to formalize the meal as well as a source of entertainment for the children and adults alike. Creativity ruled; we didn’t care about “perfect”.  My husband likes to joke that his formal Yankee Grandparent’s motto was “children should be NOT seen and NOT heard”!  Can you imagine!?!  Not in our household!

Recycled Vintage Fabrics

Now that the kids are flying the coop and I have more time on my hands, I love making table runners from my vast collection of vintage fabrics.  The textiles I use depend on the occasion or season.  Nubby vintage chenille with its amazing array of color and textures is perfect for a baby shower.  Textural bark cloth from the 40s blends beautifully with the smooth elegance of vintage velvet for winter nights and the delightfully colorful fabrics of vintage Lilly Pulitzer adds a real pop of color in welcoming back Springtime.
Recycled vintage fabrics . . . whether you scored yardage from estate sales, selected vintage clothing from Goodwill or inherited a box of Grandma’s linens from a neighbor… will make you feel proud about your resourcefulness and, the textiles you choose can provide the beginning of what will become one of your family’s fondest memories…your stories.
As always…with Love,

Recycled Vintage Fabrics
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Vintage Fabrics and What I know...

Posted by Barb Brown

Nov 26, 2013 12:08:00 PM

I know… the pure joy on my children’s faces as they ran outside in a rainstorm returning covered in mud.  I know…the spontaneous leap of faith that took me across the country to live independently was the best decision I ever made. I know…the reckless abandon that would find me with muddy toes in the morning, while a tad embarrassing, is a memory I treasure.  I know…that I was lucky enough to grow up a “free range” kid exploring the world on my blue Schwinn bike.  And, I know…you can’t teach that kind of freedom.


Vintage Bicycle


Don’t get me wrong, I had structure…I went to school.  I did my homework.  I had chores.  I was a participating member of my family of six.  In fact, one of my first chores was ironing my Dad’s handkerchiefs and pillowcases and, in the summer, I would spend time with my Aunt who lived in the mountains where we washed our clothes in one of those refrigerator-sized machines with the really cool rollers that would squeeze your clothes dry. 





Who knew that my on-the-job training would eventually lead to my current passion…rescuing and recycling vintage linens.  My passion conjures up those childhood memories… of freedom…of adventure… of muddy toes.

And, I know…the look of joy…of peace…on the faces of those who remember too.

“Remember the feeling as a child When you woke up and morning smiled Its time its time its time you felt like that again” (Taj Mahal, Giant Step)

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Vintage Linens for Holiday Gifts

Posted by Barb Brown

Nov 22, 2013 1:02:43 PM

Looking for a unique one-of-a-kind (ooak) gift for the person who has everything?  Vintage linens is the way to go!  My studio is filled with linens of all sorts.  Once word got out that I collected linens, grateful women bestowed upon me their family heirlooms, thankful thatsomeone would be putting them to good use.  One of my earliest crushes is also one of the simplest ….

…the Vintage Handkerchief.

 Weighing about as much as a feather and generally sized at a petite 10 inches square, the vintage handkerchief is probably the easiest of linens to use and, I might add, one of the most treasured, especially if you’re using one from your grandmother’s collection.  If you are lucky enough to have some of your own or have started your own collection, great!  If you don’t… you can easily find them.  Try your local antique shop or, what I like … grab a large cup of coffee, a couple of girlfriends and haunt your local flea market.  For as little as $1 (cheap, right? well…let’s call it thrifty) you can find one that suits your style.  Don’t worry if it’s not perfect.  We can take care of that.


Once you get it home you’ll want to launder it.  Pop your new finds into a bucket of very hot water into which you’ve added a dollop of laundry soap (I prefer Myers brand) and a dash of Oxyclean.  Let them soak for at least one hour after which you’ll want to hand rinse in running hot water.  Squeeze out as much water as possible and then, using a clean white (preferably) towel, lay the hankie on the towel, roll the towel up, and step on it.  Yep, step on it.  This will gently remove just about all moisture enabling you to air dry your hankie in no time.

When your hankie is dry, or actually better yet, when your hankie is just about dry, iron it.  The little moisture that is left will steam out any wrinkles in no time.

TaDa! Your freshly laundered hanky is ready for its new life!

vintage handkerchief hanky


Upcoming blogs will feature items from the following list.  Be sure to stay tuned!

  • Balsam sachet using Grandma Moses fabric
  • Table Runners
  • Fabric Tree
  • Coasters
  • Patchwork blanket
  • Inspirational Sachets
  • Woolen Wreath
  • Pot Holders
  • Holiday Banner
  • Embroidered Runner


As always…made with love. ~Barb

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Vintage Fabric Buying Tips

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