The Glen Flora Emporium is currently filled with 8,000 square feet of quality antiques. The store is well organized, clean and air conditioned. If you didn’t know her store had flooded 10 months before, you would never even suspect it. Owner, Trish Winkles would like everyone to know that she is open to the public, and would like to encourage shoppers to come by and visit her.
Trish recalls the effects of the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey. Her small community had been devastated after 3 feet of water overflowed from the Colorado River on August 29, 2017 and ran rampant through the small town. Trish not only owned The Glen Flora Emporium, but also the resale shop located next door.
Shelving Lost in Glen Flora Resale Shop
On the evening of the 29th the water came up fast and flooded the town within 45 minutes. Trish and her husband were at home furiously working to get all their rescue animal kennels – 20 dogs and 18 cats – out of her backyard and safely into her house. Fortunately, they were able to save all of their animals, but she said this was one of the most stressful times during the flooding for her.
Eight inches of water flowed into her antiques shop, located just down the road from her home. The river crested on the 30th and the flooding lasted 3 days. Fifteen inches of rain filled her resale shop next door, and she lost all of her shelving there and a lot of merchandise.
Volunteers Haul Glen Flora Flood Debris
After three days, she and her husband were able to get back into the shop to start shoveling mud. The mosquitoes were terrible and volunteers brought supplies and bug spray.
Trish recalled one of the local tree farmers bringing a dumpster and setting it right in front of her resale shop door. She said volunteers helped her haul out all of the wet debris and ruined items.
Flooding Aftermath Brings Healing to Glen Flora
Trish had determined to close the shop, but when one of her vendors, Ginger, asked her to remain open, she decided to keep it open.
She said it was a good decision. In the aftermath of the flooding, her neighbors would come into her shop and talk about the flooding. Everyone shared their stories and it was a time of therapeutic healing .
“We didn’t greet each other with Hi, how are you? We greeted one another with “Did you flood?”
Imagine owning an 8,000 square foot shop filled with hundreds of beautiful antique items for sale, and hearing the news that a hurricane would be hitting the Gulf coast, 130 miles from you within a few days. Trish Winkles, owner of The Glen Flora Emporium had weathered hurricanes that had hit the Gulf Coast before. Little did she know that this hurricane would indirectly cause unimaginable devastation to her community.
Hurricane Harvey was the fiercest hurricane to hit the U.S. in more than a decade and he rolled over the Texas Gulf coast as a mammoth category 4 storm with 130 mph winds. Harvey weakened overnight to a category 1, but the rain continued to pour and stalled over the area for days dumping 40 inches of water.
Renell Moore June 17, 2018
Rain from Hurricane Causes Colorado River Overflow
As the rain continued to fall, the Colorado River, which runs within 2 blocks of the small town, began to fill up and contain all the water it could hold. On Tuesday evening, August 29th, its banks overflowed and the river began flowing through and across Glen Flora.
Trish owned The Glen Flora Emporium as well as the resale shop located next door. She closed early on the 25th and they began moving their most expensive items up to the 2nd floor of their building.
“On the 25th, we put more things on the 2nd floor, on the 26th we started setting things up on bricks – the water had not come up yet. On the evening of the 29th the water came up fast and flooded the town within 45 minutes.”
Eight Inches of Water Fills Glen Flora Emporium
“We lost a bunch of stuff, but all in all the building is brick and concrete.” Trish felt fortunate because other people in her community lost everything they owned. The river crested on the 30th and the flooding lasted 3 days, with eight inches of water filling the inside of her shop.
Dealer Asks That Emporium Stay Open
On the third day, they were able to get back into the shop to start shoveling mud. The mud was sticky and the only way to get it out was to shovel it. The mosquitoes were terrible and volunteers brought supplies and bug spray.
“We had volunteers throwing wet stuff away, and the dealers came in and started getting their things out.” She told them she was closing the store, but when one of her dealers, who had been in upstate New York during the flood, returned and told her “you can’t close because I have a trailer load of items I have been purchasing for resale.” Trish then rethought her decision to close and decided to stay open. She is glad she did.
Indigo fabric is a remnant of the last product of a chapter of English textile history. Dyed and discharge printed in Manchester for 140 years, it was manufactured for export only to the South African market.
In the early days of sea travel, the journey to Africa took a long time and during the trip the natural starches in the compressed fabric resulted in a very stiff material being offered for sale. The Africans liked the starched English fabric (the starch and dye giving a beautiful blue gloss to their skin) and it came to be recognized as a sign of quality. Red and brown fabrics were also popular.
Sarah Sang, June 2018
Modern Products Replace Indigo Fabric
As the journey time grew shorter as transport improved, the English mill owners found it necessary to starch the fabric before it was shipped so that the imported material always appeared the same. Unfortunately, as with all trade, there came a time when more modern products started to replace the indigo fabric and so one by one the mills ceased to manufacture this particular cloth. Eventually, all production ceased and the last mill transferred its plant and processes to the African continent.
The blue indigo fabric is considered high quality material that is worth its weight in gold in today’s market. It is highly sought after for quilting material.
The indigo fabrics are known for originally from coming from South Africa. The fabric pictured below is the 1860s fabric that was manufactured and woven in Manchester, England and it was sent to South Africa to be dyed by the those that worked in the mills. The brown indigos were only developed during the late 1800s. The navy blue indigo fabric that appears almost black was developed through the late 1830s.
For Sarah Sang, who owns the antique shop, Carmine Serendipity, in Carmine, Texas (and who also fosters hunting dogs for three different rescue organizations), combining her undergraduate degrees in anthropology, history and chemical engineering has led her to fascination and love for the history of fabric and quilting. She said the age of fabric can be determined by dye lots, and dye colors that were determined by world events such as major wars.
England and Africa had more of an impact on fabrics, quilting and clothing because of the fabric mills.
Indigo fabrics are known for originally coming from South Africa, and the” blue-black” terminology refers to the black workers who dyed the fabric that came from South Africa and then shipped to New England.
Renell Moore June 3, 2018
Blue and Brown Indigo Fabrics Sought After by Quilters
Original 1860s fabric was created and woven in Manchester, England and then it was sent to South Africa to be dyedby the black workers who worked in the mills. These workers worked with the blue indigo dye so much that they developed a blue tint to their skin. Thus the term “blue blacks” was created. Blue indigos were dyed by the blue blacks.
Sarah said the blue indigo fabric is very popular for quilting material. “It is worth it’s weight in gold and it is not easy to find. People who quilt only want to quilt with the best fabrics.”
The beautiful brown indigos were only developed during the late 1800s but the blue black indigos, meaning the dark blue that looks almost black were only produced up to 1930. These real brown indigos were also produced in South Africa and are rarely made today, and not easy to find.
The logo on the back of the fabric denotes the mill where it was made in Manchester, England.
All fabric produced in the Manchester Mills had an “M” logo, but when the fabric was washed or had backing added for quilting, the logo would disappear. The English mill owners felt it necessary to starch the fabric so it all felt the same. The 100% cotton fabric in stores today gets softer with every washing.
Bubble Gum Pink Color Used in Fabric Developed After 1930
Women who quilted during the late 1800s and early 1900s had servants who did the domestic chores for them and this gave them time to sew and quilt.
The bubble gum pink color used in fabric was not developed until 1930.
“The woman who made the quilt shown in the photo below had stock piled the brown indigos and then used bubble gum pink to make it.” Today, you can tell if a fabric has been made in China because of the colors and the feel of the fabric. For example, Cranston Print and Cranston Villages 2009 fabric wasn’t starched and it was made in the orient. Most of the earlier fabrics originated in New England and up through New York where they had fabric mills, but all of those mills closed down and fabric began being mass produced with automated machines.
Fabric Dye Lots After 1955 to 1960 Considered Day Glow Colors
A good cotton fabric runs from $15 to $30 a yard today, if it is made by a reputable company.
Fabric dye lots created after 1955 to 1960 had the colors orange, magenta, brown, greens, and blues ,and were considered “day glow” colors. These fabrics came out after the Vietnam war. A Harley Davidson cheddar orange quilt with some of the blue black indigo colors from the 1930s is pictured below.
The Mary Engelbright fabric below featuring cupcakes was made in the states in the 1980s and contains the colors red, yellow, black and white.
Sarah said countries would have certain colors and fabrics, and colors can be culturally oriented. For example, colors in New Orleans have more feeling than colors in New York where you think of stainless steel and gray. Some French fabric was manufactured with the screen printing method and had gold, orange and pinkish colors.
Linen Hemp Fabric Made in France or Germany in the 1930s and 1940s
One hundred percent linen hemp fabric was made in either France or Germany in the 1930s and 1940s. It was used as feed sack fabric. The farmers filled the sacks full of seed to sow the fields.
“The linen hemp fabric contained organic colors and began in the 1930s and 40s just before the second world war. Colors were red & beige, red & white and blue & white. Purple linen hemp came much later and was manufactured on short, narrow looms, not more than 24 inches wide.
“It is junkology that we have turned into something else and made for sale,” said Lucy Capps, owner of LL Junkology Shop, located at 401 E. Main in Eagle Lake, Texas. LL stands for Lucy & Lynn. These two women work together to take a lot of junk and do something with it – they repurpose and upcycle.
“Just changing a little bit in it and doing something with it -anything we can do to add an extra little art to it.”
The women paint decorative art on old rusted gas cans and sell them for $25 to $35. They have their own system for pricing items. “We say, ‘what would we pay for this?’ if we were buying it ourselves, and that’s our price. We have fun with it; we’re not making a living off of it.” The prices are reasonable, and dealers from Austin and Houston come to LL Junkology to buy and take items back to their shops for resale.
Renell Moore May 27, 2018
Re-purposed Rusted Yard Art
Along with managing her shop in Eagle Lake, Texas, Lucy remodels homes and enlarges old bathrooms in homes built in the sixties. She lives in a Greek colonial home – and received the yard of the month award in Eagle Lake, Texas last month.
The area outside the shop is filled with rusted yard art, such as an old vintage Montgomery Ward wagon. “We didn’t do anything to it except put a lot of dirt and plants in it, and it was gone – just like that!” Other interesting and unique items include a rusted door from an old Model T painted with flowers and the phrase “When one door shuts, another one opens.” An old vintage refrigerator tray is re-purposed to make a plant container.
Junkology, Timeworn, Oxidized Engine Parts Upcycled
Amid the rusted items are an uncommon wind chime (made from a timeworn oxidized engine part, painted with blue and purple foilage,dangled and ready to string the chimes onto it), a rusted tractor seat splashed with blossoms, half a wheel barrow filled with soil and ground covers and a long-standing discolored double pump bicycle.
Yard Art Created From Glass Plate Layers
Another hot selling item includes a 2 and half foot glass floret made from layers of glass plates, a saucer and a candy dish. The plant stem is made from PVC plumbing parts and ¾ inch pipe. A rusted old box springs can be re-purposed to have a potato plant vine wind into the tarnished springs and grow on.
Goodwill Finds Given New Life
Inside the shop, customers will have their choice of a lot of different things, such as an old kitchen chair painted silver with an added vintage brooch featuring sparkly rhinestones and a faux ostrich upholstered seat. She tries to find things at Goodwill and give them a new life.
“We will stick pins on all kinds of pillows, like an old cameo and pieces of earrings.”
One distinctive piece is a painted deer head with decorative jewels.
Lucy uses E6000 glue because she has found it works better than using hot glue
“Sometimes we refurbish and paint and sometimes we don’t – we recreated one chair that was a wicker rattan. The rattan was all rotted so we painted the chairs and then placed some nice cushions that had come off of some other timeworn chairs on them.”
It is a beautiful spring morning in Louise, Texas where an occasional train whistle, and a rooster crowing can be heard in the background. Charlie and Margie Stehno are both dressed in matching khaki coveralls and wearing white straw hats. Charlie smiles and points toward Margie “She makes doing all of this worth it.”
“All of this” meaning the many different vintage machines the two of them restore together using various engines, with a 1930’s Maytag one-and two-cylinder engine being a favorite.
Renell Moore May 20, 2018
Swap Meets Started Interest in Vintage Engines
The pair have been married for 13 years, but were friends before that. Charlie was the best man at Margie’s first marriage ceremony to his cousin 47 years prior. After Margie’s husband passed, they married and began to build a life together restoring machines from vintage engines. They sell these machines at various swap meets around Texas.
“If it weren’t for swap meets, I wouldn’t be into this business,” Charlie said. “That’s what started everything.” Swap meets are the place where people with similar interests can buy, sell and trade parts that are no longer available for purchasing in a store.
Vintage Machines Include Ice Cream Makers to Corn Grinders
Charlie said every machine they have runs. The machines include everything from ice cream makers to corn grinders to make homemade cow feed for their cattle. The ice cream maker was made with an engine that came out of a water well. When the ice cream is ready, there is a whistle call they pull to alert the grand kids that the ice cream is ready, and it’s time to “come on down.” Margie and Charlie have 4 grandchildren who live just down the road.
Charlie was 28-30 years old when his uncle gave him his first engine – it had been used to pump a water well. Chickens meander around the yard and throughout the many barns. Each barn is filled with parts from “Model A” and “Model T” rear ends, heads and blocks – to vintage Maytag motor parts. “Any kind of parts a person could want,” Charlie said. A pale green, pristine, 1926 Maytag washer is powered by one of their engines and was only used once by its original owner.
1909 Majestic 7-horse Power One-Cylinder Engine Ran Cotton Seed Cleaning Processor
One of their most prized machines is a 1909 Majestic 7-horse power one-cylinder that ran the cotton seed cleaning and processing operation . Affectionately called “Big Mo”, it came out of El Campo, Texas and was given to Charlie 30 years ago. He painted and restored it to working condition.
Other machines include a woods buggy that they drive at Christmas. They hook a trailer behind it and take their 10 grand kids for hayrides. A Gibson garden tractor with a blade on the front and a plow on the back with no sheet metal, and nothing but a tractor seat and one steering handle is still being used. A rare Fairmont engine that used a conveyor belt that ran both ways to power a square railroad car back and forth on the track carrying supplies is also among their collection.