A Bit Of A Rub Down

The other day a friend and I had a spot of lunch before mooching around a couple of junk shops.

Unlike the U.K., we are very ‘poor’ in charity shops (thrift/op stores) around here but we do have quite a large one within a half hour drive.  There is so much stock that some of it ends up outside to be rained upon and this includes furniture, sewing machines and all sorts.

You could be forgiven for thinking this photograph was taken outside the junk shop but, in fact, it’s part of the terrace at the back of my house – the shutters are a clue.  This, however, is the position this wardrobe door was found in – leaning up against an outside wall in all weathers – with the only damage being the veneer at the base starting to peel off a bit.

I’ve been looking for a full length mirror to put in my sewing room to help with fitting issues and I might not have thought of an old door separated from its wardrobe if my friend hadn’t suggested it.

Anyway, the door was purchased and (wo)manhandled by the two of us into my car – it was a tight squeeze .

I thought the wood veneer might look a bit ‘heavy’ in my workroom so decided to clean and lightly sand the surface …..

……… protect the lovely bevelled mirror with masking tape and whip out the chalk paint.

Here I include a word of warning to anyone over the age of about 40.  Never actually look at yourself when bending over a mirror – gravity is not your friend.

I love this bevelling.

Not much distressing of the chalk paint was necessary as the wood stain shows through a bit anyway so I just rubbed a bit at the mouldings and brushed some soft wax over it all.  I left the little lock cover on as it’s pretty and I’m not trying to hide the fact it was once a wardrobe door – it’s more interesting that way.

Not bad for 5 euros (about 6 US dollars)

Despite having this antique suitcase stuffed full of vintage linens that I must have a rummage through one of these days, we also went a bit mad in the linen department of the aforementioned junk shop.

I say ‘we’ but it was mostly ‘me’.

I find linens really hard to photograph which is probably why I still have a suitcase full of the stuff instead of having it in my online shop.  Well, that and I’m not very knowledgeable about embroidery or different kinds of lace so the descriptions are a challenge for me too.

This piece is lovely and only has a general, slightly tea-stained look about it – no single stains.  I know I have some readers who are vintage linen aficionados and wonder about the best and safest soak for an overall ‘freshen up’ for this piece.  (You should be able to click on all the photos to enlarge them)

I got told off by Mr. Tialys for buying this next piece because it definitely has some staining which the thread, in particular, has absorbed.  The work on it is so lovely though and the lace surround so pretty and there’s no other damage (more excuses ready if needed) that I had to buy it.

Obviously, the darker threads are stains although at first I thought the maker might have just run out of beige thread 🤔- but I also wonder why the light cream and the darker cream embroidered squares are placed in these positions – it seems a bit random.  I don’t think I’ll be able to get the staining out of those threads – unless you know different – but wondered about deliberately ‘tea-staining’ the whole thing.  Any thoughts from my knowledgeable readers much appreciated.

Changing the subject ever so slightly, I hear that mustard is big again this autumn which I hope is true or this –

will have been a waste of time.

Not that most people in the corner of rural France I live in would know or, still less, care but I do at least try to keep up appearances.

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  1. #1 by nanacathy2 on September 20, 2018 - 10:17

    What a terrific mirror and a wonderful haul of fabrics.

    • #2 by tialys on September 20, 2018 - 13:05

      A worthwile outing I think plus I managed to drop some of my junk pre-loved items off at the same time.

  2. #3 by craftycreeky on September 20, 2018 - 10:24

    Beautiful linens, and your mirror looks fab after your care and attention.

    • #4 by tialys on September 20, 2018 - 13:04

      I’m quite pleased with how it turned out and, the fact I needed a blank wall to lean it against, meant I had to have a bit of a tidy up in the sewing room too so a win all round.

  3. #5 by thecontentedcrafter on September 20, 2018 - 11:17

    Ha-ha! Once, accidentally I turned my phone from camera to selfie mode and found myself looking at my face as I leaned over trying to take a pic of my new shoes. I nearly died from the horror! 😀 Love what you did with the old door, it looks wonderful! We have lots of second hand shops here, but most of them are filled with grubby old tat. Your shop looks like it was filled with wonderful finds.

    • #6 by tialys on September 20, 2018 - 13:03

      Eurgh! I’ve done that too. I’m just thankful I’m shorter than most people so they only ever see me looking up.
      The shop in question here is probably 90% filled with grubby old tat – I know because I dropped some off at the back door before going in the front door to buy some more 🙂 You just have to search the good stuff out which is part of the fun I suppose.

  4. #7 by Wild Daffodil on September 20, 2018 - 11:53

    You did a great job with that door. Love the vintage linens. I would be tempted to cut up the stained one and use to add texture to a collage or book cover.

    • #8 by tialys on September 20, 2018 - 12:58


      Let’s hope it doesn’t come to that.

  5. #9 by katechiconi on September 20, 2018 - 11:54

    It really is just as well I live half the globe away… I’m a huge sucker for vintage linens, the more thickly embroidered and open-worked the better. My mother always used to use diluted lemon juice on a stain, whether a spill or storage marks, and then sprinkle it thickly with table salt and put it in the sun. She’d then rinse it out and wash it in Dreft (or some other pure soap flakes). She said bleach rotted fabric and she’d never use it. You could start with OxyAction, though – anything that doesn’t contain chlorine.

    • #10 by tialys on September 20, 2018 - 13:09

      Your Mum’s method sounds similar to some others I’ve read – although I might try white vinegar instead of lemon juice. Lots of people swear by the OxyAction method – in combination with very hot water – but I can’t help but think that might do something scary to delicate fibres. I’m hoping also to hear from Kerry or Lynda – or it might be both – as I think they are au fait with vintage linens and might also have some input.

  6. #11 by poshbirdy on September 20, 2018 - 12:47

    Oh, that mirror is lovely, and I thing you’re right to leave the signs that it came off a wardrobe – it looks no less good. Thank you for the advice – hilarious!! I have bought various embroidered linen sheets recently so would be very keen to hear of any soaks also (your pillow cover is fabulous too)

    • #12 by tialys on September 20, 2018 - 13:11

      You say ‘hilarious’ but I’d say ‘horrendous’ – might just be me though.
      The pillow cover is gorgeous isn’t it – it was the first thing I picked up. It does have a soft cushion already inside which seems to be covered with some peachy covered satin. Personally, I’d have preferred white or cream to be showing through but I’m not about to undo the ribbon weaving holding the edges closed and change it – I can live with it as it is.

  7. #13 by Lynda on September 20, 2018 - 13:12

    Never a waste of time if it is something you like. Color, style, whatever, if you like it, then it is never out of style. Regarding cleaning linens. Martha Stewart (the famous “do it yourself” lady here that went to prison for tax fraud) is who I trust for cleaning old linens and lace: https://www.marthastewart.com/913359/how-cleaning-fine-antique-linens She mentions OxyClean brand but any oxygen bleach (not chlorine based) should be safe. That door… ❤

    • #14 by tialys on September 21, 2018 - 09:14

      I noticed Martha kept appearing in my Google searches – I’ll have a look now you’ve recommended her.

  8. #15 by Lindashee on September 20, 2018 - 20:37

    France is indeed not a country known for its charity shops, but that’s a wonderful find, well done ! It looks very nice with the chalk paint.

    • #16 by tialys on September 21, 2018 - 09:13

      It’s funny when most high streets in the U.K. have almost nothing but these days. I like chalk paint – you don’t have to do much preparation, which is always a bonus.

  9. #17 by KerryCan on September 21, 2018 - 12:48

    You set my pulse racing with your vintage linens, although I do love the mirror, too! Why can’t all mirror be beveled like that?! I wrote the following post about my techniques for getting ick out of old fabric. Maybe you can use some of these ideas if you can find the products where you are? That very dark stain will be tough to remove, I think, but if you can lift some of it, it won’t be so jarring. If you get a very bright, sunny day, try putting the piece in the hot sun and keeping it damp with a mist bottle–I’m always amazed at how much that can help.

    • #18 by tialys on September 21, 2018 - 16:38

      Thanks Kerry. I do have some oxy stuff that I might try for the just slightly browned cloth but I’m a bit worried about the other one. Still, nothing ventured…….. We are still having lots of lovely sunshine too so I’ll also try the damping down and leaving in the sun trick – hopefully the cats won’t mistake it for something to pee on.

      • #19 by Born To Organize on September 30, 2018 - 18:42

        You always make me laugh! I’ve missed your posts (and blogging in general). It’s nice to have some time to visit today. I’m reading in reverse, so I see that you’ve managed a brilliant transformation with your linens. When I worked in a a theater costume shop many moons ago, we too relied on lemon juice and the sun.

        Your mirror is gorgeous. I love the milk paint (chalk paint) effect and I’m glad you left the hardware intact as well. $6 US. That’s a bargain.

      • #20 by tialys on October 1, 2018 - 14:39

        I’ve missed you too – have you been busy?

      • #21 by Born To Organize on October 17, 2018 - 00:36

        So busy…with life. I’m going to try to get a post up soon. I’ve been saying that for weeks too. Sigh.

  10. #22 by JaneyB on September 21, 2018 - 15:18

    I love the mirror! I also know what you mean about not leaning over them … we have mirror topped bedside tables in the guest room and I have to close my eyes when I dust them!

    • #23 by tialys on September 21, 2018 - 16:39

      It’s really quite scary isn’t it?

  11. #24 by kathyreeves on September 21, 2018 - 16:33

    That mirror is incredible, I love how you gave another life to it. No clue on the linens, my mom was the stain expert, but I was foolish and never asked her to divulge her secrets. I have heard that mustard is in as well, but no way will I go there…it would be horrific on me, so please make something grand and I will look on with pleasure!

    • #25 by tialys on September 21, 2018 - 16:41

      I thought you meant mustard for getting stains out for a minute there – I’d forgotten I’d tagged on a photo of my latest project on the cutting table. I don’t know whether mustard suits me either actually – I’m sure somebody will tell me if it doesn’t.

      • #26 by kathyreeves on September 22, 2018 - 01:13

        😂I’m glad you didn’t try it!!!

  12. #27 by dezertsuz on September 23, 2018 - 05:15

    The door is fabulous, and I think you were absolutely right to leave the lock on it. You did a wonderful job and have a beautiful piece now. The lace and linen pieces are also beautiful, especially the one that got you into trouble. I don’t know if you can get the stain out, but I’d soak it in a gentle soap for a while and see what happens. You can always tea dye it later if that doesn’t work, and perhaps it will at least lighten.

    • #28 by tialys on September 23, 2018 - 09:17

      I’m making some good progress with the linens – some more sunshine drying today and there might be something to show soon.

  13. #29 by Beads and Barnacles on September 25, 2018 - 11:03

    That mirror looks lovely now ☺

    • #30 by tialys on September 25, 2018 - 13:25

      Not bad for 5 euros is it? 😊

  14. #31 by jendavismiller on October 10, 2018 - 20:18

    That mirror was beautiful in its old state. Now it is just gorgeous! And oh lordy yes, I know the perils of bending over a mirror. It could send one into apoplexy! 😀

    • #32 by tialys on October 11, 2018 - 09:03

      Then you’d look even worse!

      • #33 by jendavismiller on October 18, 2018 - 04:05

        HAHA! You may be right about that.

  15. #34 by mariannasew2pro on October 14, 2018 - 17:47

    Nice work on the mirror. And I’m glad the linens are in your safe hands. Wonder what you’ll come up with.

  16. #35 by sewchet on October 25, 2018 - 11:28

    What a great idea for full length mirrors for our future B+B. I shall look at these things in a different light from now on. I found out the hard way ages ago about not bending over a mirror and catching sight of my reflection. I nearly turned round and punched the old lady who was standing so close to me.

    • #36 by tialys on October 25, 2018 - 12:02

      Haha! That would have been a sight to behold.
      I have just propped my mirror up against the wall but, for health and safety, you’d probably be best mounting it properly. I’m not sure you’d manage to find one for the equivalent of 5 euros but, even at five times that price, I still think it would be a good buy.

      • #37 by sewchet on October 25, 2018 - 12:03

        Definitely – we had a quote for £800 per square metre for a bespoke one!!

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