Athena Magazine

Fashion, lifestyle, passions

Secondhand Angels March 4, 2010

Submitted by Marjorie Cunningham, manager of Reclaimed to Fame Market at 1000 Markets and owner of Marjorie’s Cracked Plate Jewelry.

Meet one of our newest merchants in the Reclaimed to Fame MarketSecondhand Angels!   Here’s her story:

I am primarily a self-taught artist.  My mother is a painter and writer and was I exposed to a great deal of art and culture growing up.  I have taken a few classes here and there.  Most recently in the fall of 2009, I attended an ART of REUSE class at John C Campbell Folk School in Murphy, NC for a week.  It was a wonderful, priceless experience.  My instructor was very encouraging; I ended up with time recently after losing a job.  I decided if not now, when so I have been able to get my shop set up and focus on my art.  This is something I have wanted to do for many years.

I have done different things over the years – mixed media, collage, shadow boxes, but really got jazzed up about jewelry after JCC.  I came up with the name Secondhand Angels as I describe on my website.

I started making Angel Pins a few years ago after my Aunt Frannie passed away.  She was an exceptionally creative woman and very influential in my life.  I realize now that making the angels was my way of feeling close to her. She is with her sisters in my banner photo.  I started using odd earrings and pieces of jewelry.  I have sold in local shops, but until now I have mostly made items as gifts for friends and family.

I have recently expanded my vision with bracelets.  All designs are ONE OF A KIND; many are vintage and some are contemporary.  I use old and new buttons, items from the hardware store, sewing notions, beads and whatever strikes my fancy!  You may find an angel charm on most of my bracelets.

I collect items at thrift stores, flea markets and all places in between.  The collecting is just as special to me as assembling my pieces.  Who were the women who once owned these pieces of jewelry?  What were their lives like? Where did they live?  I love preserving the history by recasting items into a new interpretation.

I have also set up a fan page on Facebook and have over 100 fans in two days! Please stop by and join.

I feel this is the beginning of a journey for me and I will quote one of my first customers after she received an angel pin.  “My precious Hope Angel came yesterday!  And I’m wearing her today!  Thank you so much for your gift of vision! Blessings to you.”

I am proud to be a part of Reclaimed to Fame – I am honored.

Amy T. Cunningham
Secondhand Angels


The Best of Indie Sewing Patterns December 13, 2009

anna maria horner study hall skirt pattern

The delicious Study Hall Skirt pattern from Anna Maria Horner

Read the latest DIY Design column for the top picks in indie sewing patterns. Click here.


Whip up some DIY accessories today November 25, 2009

Check out my column on quick-sew bags, jewelry and flower adornments that you can put together in no time. Read it here…


Designers get the blues as Louise leaves October 5, 2009

projectLouise is out, out, out, sadly, and there are only nine little designers left … catch up on Episode 7 here.


Set the Table – Vintage Tableware & Linens September 29, 2009

Submitted by Marjorie Cunningham, owner of Marjorie’s Cracked Plate Jewelry and manager of the Reclaimed to Fame Market.

Meet Del Hylton, owner of of Orland, Florida.

Tell us a bit about your business, Set the Table.

Thank you for asking me about my business, Set The Table–Vintage Tableware and Linens.  Selling vintage (and some antique) china, crystal, silver flatware and linens on the site has proven to be a satisfying second career for me.  Specifically, I sell to anyone interested in my particular collections.  Personally, I am an Anglophile, that is, I prefer everything English, due to my family background.  Professionally, I prefer whatever the customer prefers.  Set The Table’s mission would be to “preserve the past” and to keep such household treasures circulating as long as possible.  Quoting from The Fusionalists web site: “We are the keepers of things from the past…”

When did your interest in vintage tableware and linens start?

I was born into the love of “old stuff,” and am very proud of my southern heritage, being born and raised in historic Mobile, Alabama.  My aunt valued the few pieces of cut lead crystal from my grandmother’s housewares, the only pieces saved from a storage shed.  My mother, on the other hand, was a total 1950s devotee.  So, in my 1950s childhood home, we had the pink flocked Christmas tree, and in my aunt’s home, she had furniture and china which reflected the “old days.”   I should mention that my grandfather, an interpreter in China in the late 1880s, was originally from London, England.  My grandmother, a Baptist missionary in China, was originally from Ft. Gaines, Georgia.   They met and married while in China.

When did that interest transform into your own business and how did that come about?

In the late 70s, I wanted to start a bakery, selling my custom decorated cakes.  My Italian mother-in-law just laughed at the idea, so I accepted that.   In the early 90s I wanted to open a muffin/dessert/tea shop, and did a lot of research into the food side of the business.  I consulted with a S.C.O.R.E. person, and he totally discouraged the idea.  A month later, a muffin/dessert shop opened in the exact location I was considering.   Set The Table was created in 2005, when I realized that my elderly mother’s home caregiver even had her own business.  She was making/catering food for friends.  I asked her as many questions as I could think of, not knowing anything about starting a business.   I knew that I already had an incredible amount of family and purchased vintage tableware and linens.  My score on eBay was 100%! To shorten this very long story, I leased one room in a neighborhood 1920s home-turned-professional building, from a lawyer and her psychologist husband.  At the same time, I started the process of getting the rights to use “Set The Table–Vintage Tableware and Linens, LLC” as my business name.  You can’t do anything without a business name first here in Florida.

I see that you sell from your home in Orlando, Florida. What are the benefits and disadvantages to working directly from home?

Selling from home far surpasses selling in a stand-alone shop, which I opened originally.  One of my 3 bedrooms is devoted specifically to packing/shipping my “treasures.”  My computer work area is set up so that I can conveniently communicate with buyers/shoppers, print shipping labels, and do research on items which I may possibly list for sale.   At the same time, as I am working in my den, I can watch my favorite English BBCAmerica shows while I work at my listing and selling.  My inventory is displayed/stored all over my living room, dining room, and sun room, although some is stored in my “shipping” room.   This allows me to rotate items when needed, to photograph items in a home setting, and to enjoy looking at all the things I love.  Honestly, sometimes I walk through my house, take an item off a shelf or wall, and list it for sale.  I am just that random.  There is much emotion in my choices.

There is no disadvantage to working directly from home, as I have a full-time career as a life-long professional educator and my children are grown.   Living so close to a post office, and being able to have items picked up from home for shipping makes the process very easy for me.

What made you decide to start selling online and take your business one step further?

The cost of keeping a shop open was prohibitive for me, as I could only be open during the evenings and the weekends during the school year.

Where do you find your vintage treasures?

I find my vintage treasures from my extensive collections I have purchased or been given by relatives. I have had no need to look for more items as I have enough to last for many years.

What advice do you have for those interested in starting a business selling vintage items?

That is a hard question. I am not a yard sale person, so I do not go looking for more treasures.   I would say that if you are going to start a business, start online first.  You must, MUST, be willing to be a people person, if you are not one now.   A space will be required for packing, shipping, photographing, and working online. OPEN YOUR OWN BUSINESS CHECKING ACCOUNT AT A NEARBY BANK.  Don’t shut yourself away from your normal activities or family just to run your business.  Be open to new knowledge and helpful comments from your customers.  Do not listen to family/friends/busybodies who will discourage you or demand that you make a profit to justify what you are doing.  If you are passionate and driven to do what you love, you will have a measure of success.

What is the most satisfying thing about your business?

Truly, the most satsifying thing about my business has to be the knowledge that someone else recognizes the value of saving our past.  What qualities do you think you need in order to manage a home-run business successfully?   I would say organization is required, but I am hardly organized. I did recognize the need, the requirement, of specific areas to complete one’s transactions from beginning to end.  I have known some sellers who adore the selling but hate the shipping, so they put this part off, which in turn puts the customer off.  Identify the whole process, and be sure you know what steps will be needed.   Getting paid is but a tiny part of running your own home business, believe me.  Being flexible and accommodating also helps in selling online.  Keeping your business money separate from any household/family money with a separate business bank account, is essential.

Anything else you’d like to share with us about you and your business?

I have a goal of continuing Set The Table long into my retirement years, and I hope that you will contact me if you have questions and/or comments concerning my experiences.  My thanks go to Marjorie Cunningham for asking me to participate in this interview.   I’d also like to express my gratitude to, which made it possible to navigate the web to specifically find  others who had the same interests in vintage as I had.

You can find more info and photos of Del’s inventory at Set The Table – Vintage Tableware & Linens.


Cowgirls unite: Couture Western Shirts September 24, 2009

A Western-styled jacket---isn't that just the coolest!

A Western-styled jacket---isn't that just the coolest!

In my ongoing tribute to Canada, here’s a site I found that makes the most painstakingly crafted Western shirts and more. If you’ve been seeking Western wear that’s created the couture way, look no further. I’m always thrilled to find another fan of slow sewing. Read below to learn about Golden West Clothing:

“I make western shirts and jackets.  Most styles are organic cotton.  At present, all patterns, cutting and sewing is done by me in my studio in Kitchener, Ontario, Canada.

I manufacture according to principles that have become known as “slow fashion”. The designs endure, materials are chosen for their quality and eco-friendly characteristics.  Construction emphasizes craft over mechanization.

Some shirts recreate vintage styles. Others re-imagine classics with a modern edge. They all pay homage to the western shirt in one way or another. The piping is custom made. Chainstitch embroidery is not computerized. There’s no fusing. All seams are flat-felled by hand. You won’t find shirts like these in any store.”

See more Golden West Clothing …


Say hi to dbDesigns! August 31, 2009

Submitted by Marjorie Cunningham, owner of Marjorie’s Cracked Plate Jewelry and manager of the Reclaimed to Fame Market at 1000 Markets.

One of our newest merchants in the Reclaimed to Fame Market is dbDesigns of Fleming Island, Florida. Danielle Blumenberg creates beautiful jewelry from antique flatware and coins. She is very aware of her environmental footprint and does much in her work to reuse and repurpose. She also does a lot for charity. Here’s her story! “Hi! I’m Danielle Blumenberg, owner and designer of db Designs in sunny Fleming Island, Florida. I am a military wife (for 20 years), who has had the privilege to live all over the world. The great part has been getting to experience the cultures of different places every 2 to 3 years; the not-so-great part was never being able to have a career of my own… Until recently 🙂 “I started my jewelry design business a little over 5 years ago, and my how it has changed! What began as just a little bit of beading quickly grew into wirework, and then metal-smithing. For the most part, I am self taught (and consider myself very much a novice) with tons still to learn! I have been able to take some great workshops with incredibly talented artisans, but not nearly as many as I need or want! “Much of what inspires me and fires my imagination is trying to use old

commonplace items in new ways. I love working with many mediums, but mostly metal. Specifically, “upcycling” or “repurposing” antique and vintage solid silver flatware and coins into unique wearable art! As I anneal, saw, forge and bend the vintage components into fabulous pieces of jewelry, I wonder about the possible history of the components. For example, while I was working on the WWII era Mercury dime necklace, I couldn’t help but muse about whether any of the coins were in the pocket of an American G.I. as he defended our country.

“I have an environmentally friendly, but VERY messy, studio in my home, and recycle and reuse everything I can. I use natural chemicals, such as eggs for patina, and citric pickle, to try to reduce my environmental footprint. I also make every effort to purchase from fair trade vendors, as opposed to free trade vendors for my findings and beads. When founding db Designs, I wanted to strongly support the community and those who strive to make a difference. In an effort to do that, I contribute merchandise and a portion of all sale proceeds to a variety of charities. As db Designs continues to grow, so will my efforts to make a difference. To date, db Designs has donated over $8,000!!! For a list of some of the charities that have benefited, you can contact me via email at or visit”

Check out dbDesigns here at 1000 Markets at


New DIY Fashion Column on AOL’s August 27, 2009

formCheck out this new column on AOL’s “Destination Designer.” It’s all about DIY fashion with a focus on sewing and designing techniques, bringing you the best of the web every Tuesday, to get your style rockin’. Discover “Destination Designer” here …


Threadbanger Rocks August 23, 2009


I was doing some research this weekend and spent some time on I’d forgotten just how awesome this hipster-DIY-sewing-with-Goth-edge site it. Check it out …


Get the scoop on Project Runway’s Season 6 kickoff August 21, 2009

projectProject Runway, now living in L.A., was off to a fashionable start last night with Season 6’s 16 new designers. Find out who made the cut and the surprising upset here: