Stefan and I went down to Houston for Thanksgiving to visit my parents and sister. Here is the required “on our way” selfie from the Airport. I think the “on our way” selfie is the only real reason my parents have iphones. Here we are on our way!
Fun Fact: Lucy is named after Lucille Ball. She must be called with a Spanish accent a-la-Ricky Ricardo “Luuuuuucy!!”
My parents also have a goofy little Beagle named Bella. She helped us with the Vintage Lace Christmas Tree Skirt that I’m going to tell you about.
First we cut out a circle in the backing fabric. The Christmas Tree Skirts were just about 55″ in diameter. We cut out circles from Damask tablecloths that my mom had lying around…you know, cause everyone has damask tablecloths lying around.
Just look at that cute craft room!
We also had lying around, this box full of lace squares….
Now, who exactly has squares of lace and damask tablecloths just lying around. Well, we do. This was an unfinished project from about 20 years ago. My mom and Grammy would plan these fun projects. These lace squares were one of their projects. The idea was to make a tablecloth out of squares of damask tablecloths with antique lace tacked on. Now there are a few problems with this grand plan,
1. The sheer amount of time needed to tack lace onto squares of fabric is astounding. And, of course, Mom and Gram weren’t going to go half-way with it. Oh no, no checkerboard pattern with blank squares, no 3 pieces of lace per square, and certainly no 42 inch round tablecloth for them. It had to be huge, like 100″ x 100″ I’m sure so it would have a nice drape on Gram’s 52″ round table. Which brings us to the next problem.
2. Who would eat on a tablecloth that took 20 years to make? Who would let anyone eat on a tablecloth of that intensity? Let alone, who would think it was a good idea to start a project to make an impossibly fussy, non-washable tablecloth anyways? Mom and Gram that’s who. That’s not to say 6 year old Sarah didn’t have some part of this saga. There is, in a jar in my house squares with copious amounts of glue and little scraps of lace that 6 year old me made. But guess what, 6 year old Sarah got farther than Mom and Gram did!
So 20 years ago, Mom and Gram started this project. It was a multi-trip project that they worked on off and on for a couple years. Eventually it got waylaid by other projects but it did come out again when Grammy was in the hospital and when Mom was spending a bunch of time with her at the end of her life. It was the unfinished project that they worked on together for years. You could say I inherited this multi-decade, multi-generational project. Gram was a starter and I’m a finisher so there have been a good number of multi-generational projects!
Back to the Christmas Tree skirt. We decided on a Christmas Tree skirt because Christmas is the time of year for something this ridiculous. Christmas Tree skirts also tend not to get dirty (fake trees, of course). It was also a project of manageable size… I can just imagine how this conversation would go with Gram if she was still around. I’d give her a hard time about taking on overly-ambitions projects and she would say “Well…” just like my Mom says now.
We sewed them together and spent a lot of time ironing…Mom sewed and I ironed…. blach.
Mom and I each got a square with a G on it. A bunch of the lace came from my Mom’s Dad’s Mother’s Aunts…so my Great Great Great Aunts, Ruth and Rose. The G stands for Griffith…I should figure out who that is. Uncle John? Fill me in..
Bella the beagle helped us out while we worked. That dog is a sleeper. She does nothing but sleep so we put her bed in there and she was content to watch instead of walking all over everything with dirty paws. If only Vector was that easy to out-wit!
Mom and I each made one. I can’t wait to get it out under the tree this year. It is such a big piece of what I remember about Grammy. It’s so nice to have something that so wholly reminds me of my Grandmother and Christmas is the perfect time to get it out.
I’ll be posting pictures of all the Christmas Decor so you’ll get to see the final product in place!
soak and scrub in a hot, soapy water solution.
Then soak in a vinegar, salt, and water solution. The piece will come out kind of red-ish. I had to soak in 2 stages in order to get the whole lamp done.
After the lamp came out all red looking, I took a cotton rag (old t-shirt or sock) and used this metal polish to restore the shine.
Here you can see one side is polished and the other isn’t. It shines up so nicely from the red color.
A few tips:
- I used about a quart of vinegar for 2 gallons of water
- Really hot (boiling) water worked much better/faster. I think the hot water is key.
- Check your polish to ensure it leaves a silicone residue to protect the finish. Otherwise you will have to use a wax or silicone tarnish prevention sealer
Things got sticky and ketchup is basically just vinegar and salt anyways.
2) Baking soda and lemon juice
It fizzes a lot so be careful. The baking soda gives a good amount of grit to scrub with without harming the brass but scrubbing is way more difficult than soaking. I used the post-fizz paste on a toothbrush to get into the groves which was useful on some other brass pieces with deep groves.