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Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Vintage Clothing

I said to my sister the other day: “Did you know that 80’s clothing is now considered vintage?”  The look on her face said it all, which made me burst into uncontrollable laughter; I couldn’t help myself.  I remember wearing all that stuff – big shoulder pads, skirts with leggings, crazy jewelry, very big hair, and blue eye shadow.  At the time, we thought we were ‘in-style’, and now I look back and think we just looked ridiculous.  But there’s actually value in vintage clothing.  There are lots of vintage pieces that can be worn at any time, and they still look just as lovely and elegant as the day they were first brought home by their original owner.  Furthermore, unlike the inexpensive clothing we seem to find out there today, vintage garments tend to increase in value over time.  That’s because they are made better than most clothes that are made today, plus you’re not going to see someone else walking down the street wearing the same dress as you.

So what exactly is ‘vintage’?  Vintage clothing is anything at least 25 years old, and any clothing item over 100 years old is considered antique.  I am the furthest thing from a vintage clothing expert; I just know what I love, and I absolutely love polka dots, black and white, and dresses from the 1950’s.  And if it’s all in one dress, then look out – I’m buying it. But if you’ve never purchased a vintage garment, then it can be a bit overwhelming.  So we’ve come up with a few basic tips to help you get started.
  • Look at these items to know that a garment was manufactured before the mid 1960’s -- metal zippers, side-snap closures, saw-toothed edges or pinked seams, and union labels printed in blue.
  • Two things have changed greatly over the years – sizing standards and undergarments.  Many times the appropriate undergarments make all the difference in ensuring that a garment actually fits correctly.  Some vintage garments may not look the same today if you don’t have the proper undergarment to wear with it.  It’s also important to point out here that if you just love something but it’s not proportioned just right, it is likely that you can have it tailored to give it a more custom-looking fit. 
  • Do research, know your eras, and make sure what you are choosing fits into your style.  This is so important.  Vintage items can be quite pricey, and you want to be sure you are making a purchase that is a good value.  This also means knowing whether the garment is in good condition or not.  Be sure to feel the fabric and make sure there is no cracking, pulling, or fading or that the fabric is fragile. 
  • There are lots of places to begin shopping – obviously online, but check out local auctions, vintage shops, flea markets…….and your grandmother’s attic.  There’s no telling what she has stored up there.  
If you decide to give it a try and you end up finding that perfect vintage garment that you simply cannot live without, but you see it needs a bit of TLC, drop it by one of our locations and let one of our trained staff members take a look at it.  We’d love to help you bring a treasure back to life.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Recycling Old Carpeting and Rugs

Too much ‘stuff’ makes me crazy.  I have lots of clothes, so when I buy new clothes or shoes, I try to purge the same number of items so my already large wardrobe doesn’t endlessly continue to grow.  Whenever Gray gets new toys, we see what he can ‘live without’.  Earlier this year, we decided to replace our like-new leather living room furniture with something more comfortable, and before we even purchased our new sectional, we’d already sold our current furniture, leaving the room empty for well over a month.

That’s how I like to roll – not letting our house explode at the seams.  But now we are talking about replacing some carpeting and a rug.  Before I could even think about what I want, I had to resolve an issue that would eat at me until I had an answer to this question: What will we do with the old stuff?

There is a group called Carpet America Recovery Effort that has an online tool with a map of recyclers that will take old carpeting.  Before just showing up with your old carpet, call first to see if there is a cost associated with recycling your carpet.  If you have a small amount or just a few scraps, you could put them to good use with these ideas:
  • Turn them into furniture movers.  Cut old carpet in small squares and place a square under dresser, bed, or chair legs and then pull the item across the floor instead of having to lift and carry.
  • Save your knees.  Roll up a piece and use it to kneel or sit on when gardening or doing yard work.
  • Create a comfy place for Fido by turning it into a bed for your dog.
  • Use it to clean the gunk, dust, and dirt in your window screens by dipping a piece into warm, sudsy water, and rub the pile side onto the screens.
  • Place scraps of carpet under the feet of laundry machines to reduce noise.
  • Use small pieces inside a dollhouse or even a playhouse or treehouse.
But before you decide to cut up your old rug, check into having it cleaned first to see if you can bring it back to life.  Our 6-step professional rug cleaning process helps extend the life of your rug by removing dirt that will scratch the rug’s fibers and leave your rug looking dull and lifeless.  To see if your rug can be saved, drop it by one of our locations or call Greg Henderson at 336-804-0045.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Avoiding Wedding Day Mistakes

Who remembers that movie with Jennifer Lopez called “The Wedding Planner”?  My favorite scene in the movie is when she opens her suit jacket to reveal this kit full of supplies – needles, thread, duct tape, breath freshener.  It’s sort of a cheesy movie, but I’ll admit loving it solely because of her ‘wedding preparedness kit’.  But the truth is, as much advanced planning as goes into a wedding, things will inevitably go wrong.

Just thinking back over the years, between my own wedding mistakes and others that I’ve had to experience, I’ve put together a little list of things to remember, four on the actual day, and one after. 
  1. Skip the horse and carriage.  One of my dearest friends had a horse and carriage drive her and her new husband from the church, through town, to the reception.  The wedding party followed along behind on a ‘hayride’.  It took so long to get to the reception that many folks left.  If your reception is at a different location, allow for drive time and photos, and offer your guests something to snack on while they wait.
  2. Invest in a professional photographer.  That’s something we didn’t do, and it is my one big wedding regret.  We had a small but lovely ceremony and Matt’s uncle and cousin took photos.  In retrospect, it seems unfair to have asked them to spend the day behind the camera, plus they weren’t exactly trained photographers.
  3. Make sure you can be seen.  My college roommate was incredibly shy, and when she got married, if she wasn’t holding her bouquet too high, she was sinking back into her veil.  If you choose to carry a large bouquet, make sure you are carrying it low enough so that when you look back at your photos, you can actually see your dress.  Same holds true for the veil.  Make sure it frames your face instead of hiding it. 
  4. On the big day, follow Mary Fiore’s (aka Jennifer Lopez) example and have a small emergency kit with a needle, thread, safety pins, scissors, hem tape, lint roller, stain stick, static guard, and baby powder nearby.  These items will help with most garment-related wedding day emergencies.  I can speak from personal experience.
  5. Don’t leave your gown hanging unclean in your closet, in a plastic poly bag, for 11 years.  Have your gown cleaned as soon as possible after your wedding.  The longer you wait to have it cleaned, the less likely it is that all the stains can be removed.  I’m fortunate that I didn’t ruin my gown by this careless move.
While many of these tips we can’t help you with, we can help you with the last two.  First, we can perform alterations and prepare your gown before your big day so that, hopefully, you won’t need to use your emergency kit.  Second, cleaning and preserving wedding gowns is one of our specialties.  To learn more, check out this article on Wedding Gown Cleaning and Preservation or stop by one of our locations to speak to a manager. 

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Preventing Cooking-Related Fires

There are so many good-quality pre-made products at the grocery store these days that most people are surprised when I tell them all the things I make myself – bread, jelly, vanilla, marinara, salsa, cakes, soap.  You get the idea, but one thing I’ve never made from scratch is molasses.  One of the biggest reasons is that it takes a lot of work to get the amount of juice you need to process a batch that ultimately results in not a lot of the finished product.  The other big reason is it requires lots of watching and waiting.

But one of our Roanoke customers is way more patient and industrious than I am, and he decided to give molasses making a go.  It can take several hours for the excess water to boil out of the juice to make the molasses, and unfortunately our friend fell asleep during the process.  As he and his wife slept, the mixture continued to cook down, started smoking, and ultimately ended up leaving a burnt chemical smell throughout the entire house.  There are no photos to share from this disaster because there was no smoke residue at all.  The damage was a pungent odor that soaked into all this couple’s textiles – clothes, furniture, curtains, carpet, rugs.

The National Fire Protection Association reports that 40% of all house fires are cooking related – usually leaving pots or pans unattended on the stove.  A Cleaner World cares about you and your family, so we wanted to remind you of these important cooking-related safety tips:
  • Never leave cooking food unattended.
  • Always set a timer when cooking.
  • Be sure to keep cooking surfaces clean to prevent food and grease buildup.
  • Avoid wearing loose fitting clothing when cooking.
  • Keep flammable items away from your stove and oven.
  • Always have the appropriate lids for your pots and pans nearby in case you need to smother or cover a fire.
  • Check your kitchen before leaving or going to bed to make sure all appliances are off.
  • Keep a fire extinguisher in your kitchen and check it periodically to ensure it is not expired and is in good working order.
  • Install a smoke alarm near your kitchens and test it monthly.  Replace the batteries at least once a year.
To learn more about A Cleaner World’s Fire Restoration Division, check out the FAQ section of our website.  Should you experience the devastating effects of a home fire and need help, please feel free to give us a call
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