Saturday, April 3, 2010

Cameo Kids Intro

Hello, my name is Debi and I am the designer and creator behind Cameo Kids Boutique. This photo is me at Lido Beach in Sarasota, Florida my favorite place, especially St. Armand's Circle!  This is my place in the sun where I go to destress. 

The idea behind my little online boutique is creating children's clothing, accessories, and gift items by utilizing and recycling vintage linens and fabric into the sweetest one of a kind items for your little ones.  You'll find many items created with the beautiful fabrics of today also, and at times an item can be a mix of both.  But, Cameo Kids isn't just for kids, we also love creating pretty gift items and home decor items for mommy’s too. 

Below we have given some details on how Cameo Kids got started and a bit of the history that formed us.  The name Cameo came from when I was little.  As a child I use to spend alot of time with one of my grandmother's, she is also the one who taught me to sew and the inspiration that led me to creating this business.  She always used this certain soap for bathing and washing up.  I loved the smell of it and it's cameo shape.  It also had this beautiful scrolly design in its center in the shape of a cameo too, and it was a pretty pink.  It was called Camay Bar Soap.  Wish I could find it still, it was wonderful!  When naming my boutique that soap came into my mind for whatever reason and I thought, thats a perfect Cameo Kids Boutique it was!

Sample of Past Creations Using Vintage Pillowcases for Dresses in Different Styles - The First Two Photos are Pillowcase Dresses Created with Today's Fabrics - Third Photo is a Christening Dress made from a Vintage Pillowcase - Last Photo on Right is a Jacket Crafted from a Vintage Pillowcase Combined with a Designer Rose Floral Fabric

Why We Love Using Vintage

We love to use and recycle vintage linens in our creations, because of the beauty and uniqueness found in so many of these treasures of the past. You can’t find anything like that in stores today. With the linens you'll find beautiful hand embroidered designs, and stunning hand crocheted lace that you don't see much anymore these days. Much of the embroidery and crochet today is done by machine. Many of these vintage treasures are one-of-a-kind, making them even more unique and rare. The quality in the fabric is better too. Many of my pieces are from the mid to late 1800’s and the early 1900’s, and they are just as beautiful and as solid today, with many more years of wear to give. Oh, and one more thing! Most all of our creations made with vintage are eco-friendly, recycled, and or kept as is but, a little bit of altering may have been done to the original piece known as, “Altered Couture, and getting very popular now days.

Some of our Favorite Magazines - We find tons of Inspiration and Ideas from the Folks at Stampington & Company 

Just a Handful of Our Collected Vintage Pillowcases That Will be Recycled into Pillowcase Dresses

One of the things I learned in my research is that the cotton used in most of the linens I use from my vintage collection, were made from cotton that hadn’t been tainted with pesticides or insecticides and all the other garbage that is sprayed or used on the soil that cotton grows in today. So we can say that we are part of the “ Go Green ” and " Eco-Friendly " society with our vintage linen recycled creations.  And you will see .… we waste very little. If it’s big enough to make something with, we do.

Below are Several Different Personalized Lavender Sachets Along with Our Twitter Tweet Heart Shaped Lavender Sachet. These were All Made From Vintage Pillowcase Fabric Remnants From Making Vintage Pillowcase Dresses. We Use Every Scrap of Material We Can - You Can Find Them In Our Boutique and They Can Be Custom Made  (I have been teaching myself how to hand embroider by studing the stitches on my vintage linens.)
Find Our Lavender Sachets In Gifts and Collectibles


Recycling – It is Good!

A large percent of these vintage items are just sitting in closets or chests, drawers, boxes, attics, or basements, in hopes of being found and rescued by someone who can see their beauty, and appreciate the work that went into making them. I am one of those people. I have collected hundreds of these vintage beauties such as vintage pillowcases, chenille bedspreads, hankies, table runners, doilies, sheets, and quilts. I have also collected quite a stash of vintage fabrics too.

I love looking at them and use many in my own home. Some of them are just so darn adorable; I just can’t help but smile every time I see them! I know its sounds crazy but they make me feel happy. The problem is though, now they are stacking up in my closets, and cabinets! I just can’t find a place in my home to use them all.

These Were Some of My Very Favorites -  Embroidered Vintage Cases That are Now All Dresses With Little Girls to Love Them - Now How Can You NOT Smile at These Precious Pieces?!

So even as hard as it is to cut or alter a collected piece, I make useful items like clothing for children, gift items for kids and moms, or needed and useful accessories for people and the home. Every time my conscious gets to stabbing me when I set the scissors to a piece, I just tell myself that the lady who created the original piece, would be happy to see her work loved and used again in any way. Recycling, I love doing that when ever I can.


Left - A Sweet Vintage Hanky was Recycled into Creating This Adorable Vintage Hanky Skirted Pinafore Onesie - Right - Here We Recycle Two Vintage Chenille Bedspreads to Create This Sweet Little Girls Bathrobe

The Path to Cameo Kids Boutique 

A few years back I was at a tea room in Brandon, FL. and one of the things I found was this darling little dress. To my great surprise and amazement, it was made from a vintage pillowcase. I could not believe I had never heard of these before or ever had seen one before, (being as old as I am). I wanted to share it with the world! I thought I had made a huge undiscovered discovery. Not! I found out very quickly that many others knew about pillowcase dresses, but very few were made from vintage pillowcases. I was so intrigued and charmed by it, I wanted to try and make some myself with some of the vintage pillowcases I had that my own grandmother and mother in-law had made years ago. So I bought it! Mainly because I was so afraid that even after holding it in my hand and looking at it again and again, I would forget how it was made by the time I got home, so it became my pattern.

I made my first one within a few hours of arriving home. I was so excited that I now needed to find more old pillowcases to make more of these dresses even though at the time I had no one to wear them. My husband introduced me to eBay for starters, (BIG BIG mistake on his part and his wallet hehe), and that set me on the path to the beginnings of my collecting, and the birth of Cameo Kids Boutique.

I got so into collecting all these old pillowcases, they soon were coming in the mail darn near everyday! I would sit all day and night sometimes just making dresses! It seemed that no matter how many of them I made, each one came out more beautiful than I had imagined it to look. I have made hundreds of them to date, and I still am just tickled pink and amazed with the final finish.

Soon after I was collecting every type of vintage linen you could imagine, and soon expanded my clothing line to tops, pants, jackets, pantaloons, quilts, bibs, purses, lavender sachets, and the list goes on.  Just recently we added soft plush stuffed animals and dolls with them.

I began researching everything I could find about these old pieces from the people I would purchase them from and on the internet. Then that led to researching information that related to sewing, quilting, how chenille bed spreads were made (because I was so intrigued by all the different patterns in them), the history of hankies, and all the other things I got my hands on.

My husband and I love the civil war era and have done much collecting and research on that.   When we travel we always go explore places and sites that where part of that time. I started researching the life and times of women from that era and I learned from that, quite a history for the hand arts like embroidery, crocheting, tatting, the spinning of cotton into fabric, and I could go on with that list too, but I think I’m being chatty enough here lol. It was a fascinating adventure and still is, and I learned so much. I wonder many times why it was I disliked history in school because I am fascinated with history now.

I love talking with the older men and women I have met along this journey, with the stories they have to tell about their lives with the way they used to do things, the things they once used, or how things once were made.  I can sit and listen to them for hours! What has come out of all of this is, many of the items that are created by Cameo Kids, and the vintage pieces we use, you get a bit of that history when you purchase our creations when applicable and when we have it. These are items like our vintage pillowcase dresses, our hanky dolls, some of our items made from vintage chenille bedspreads, our hanky purses and other things. When I find some of my pieces from garage sales, estate sales, or craft fairs, and if I can learn anything about the items like who made the piece, how old it is, etc., I send that information along with the item to customers too.

Most of our customers really love that. A large majority of Cameo Kids customers tell us that they will be passing on the items that they purchase from us when their little ones out grow them. They love the history that comes with the item and what makes it even more valuable to them is that it will gain more history as time goes on from one generation to the next. In that time, the piece will be creating new stories to go along with it for moms and daughters to share each time the little piece is taken out of storage for another generation to wear or use.

What We Are About – Creating Little Works of Heart with Your Little One’s In Mind

So this is what Cameo Kids is all about. We aren’t just a store of stuff. There is a purpose and meaning behind what we do and offer, even if no one realizes it or not. Our products are truly gifts with heart and meaning. We feel strongly that the women of yesterday and their works of heart should be honored, and the art of hand work and handmade should be celebrated as it has been slowly dying over the years.

Before and after photo's left to right: Pics 1 & 2: vintage linen bath towel to dress.| Pics 3 & 4: table runner sent to us from a customer that a great great aunt had made and crocheted which was used at the alter of the aunts church is now a Christening Gown for the great great granddaugter.| Pics 4 & 5: A vintage pillowcase with crosses becomes a gorgeous Christening Gown.| Pic 6: A beautiful vintage wedding hankie becomes a Baby's Christening Bonnet.

We breathe new life into the beautiful treasures of yesterday, to be used and enjoyed again today in clothing items, accessory items, and gift items, with the hope that mommies will save them for their own grandchildren one day. It creates an heirloom or antique complete with a history with added years of new stories to share. We know not everyone is into all that, and that’s ok. We still would love for you to buy our products and we appreciate it when you do. But if you are like us, you get more than just a piece of clothing, or an accessory, or gift. You get heart. You get yesterday, today, and tomorrow, and a way too, of keeping family connected down through the generations. By passing on, there is a remembrance of the family member who first owned the item to share with others, keeping the memory of them alive, and all the ones after. You also get all the stories of those loved ones that will come to mind when you pull this little item out of storage again, and that can continue to be repeated and passed on, keeping those who have gone on before us, alive in the new family members after us.

So as you can see, Cameo Kids Boutique is not just about handmade clothing from some old fabrics or linens, or just something sweet and cutsie. We aren’t about just making a buck. We are just as much about the importance of history, memories, and family. We are about how important it is to keep those memories and moments alive in our hearts and minds so we have those things to enjoy, to share, and pass on. So, if you love that kind of thing too, we offer you the old, the cute, the sweet, and the unique, to help you get started!

Finding the Dream and Coming Full Circle

You know, there was one person in my life that I loved so much and I realize now she was a huge impact on my life growing up. She gave me the tools that I believe guided me in the direction I have gone, and that has played a role in the person I am today. It was my grandmother, my mothers mom, (little grandma is what I called her because she was so short and tiny. Our other grandmother was called big grandma, because she was short, but heavy.)

There are so many cherished memories of my little grandma. The times shared together, the things she taught and instilled in me, the things made by her hand with sewing and embroidering, showing me love always, teaching me to respect others, the trust I counted on, and the guidance she gave me all the time she lived. I truly believe she is the reason and the why of where my life is now. She was a large part of forming my purpose, and it also became the answer to a long awaited dream. It has taken a lot of years for me to get here, but I guess it’s true when they say there is a time, a reason, and a season, for everything.

This is My Sweet Sweet Lil Grandma Rice and I When I was About 10 Months Old - I Can't Get Over How Old These Pictures Look!

I think growing older and experiencing life makes all the difference in our goals and dreams for the future. I’ve gained in my growing older time, a better appreciation and perspective for what life is really all about. The journey helps us understand the wisdom given to us by the ones who love us most, which if we were smart, we would listen. It's another tool to help guide us towards having a successful satisfying life, remember they have been there... done that, I'm sure you have heard that one.

One of the gifts of her time she gave me, was teaching me to sew when I was 5 years old. That didn’t mean much to me then, except that it gave me something to do and it was kinda of fun. She would always make me feel like I was so smart and talented. She would always save me the scraps of fabrics she had left from making clothes for my 5 younger sisters and me to sew with.

She was such a gentle lady and a savvy business woman. Even though we lived in Michigan, she seemed very much a southern type of lady. Maybe I should explore my family history on her side, maybe our roots lead to the south. I didn’t find out until long after she passed away that she also had a great love and curiosity for the civil war era. Maybe that is why I do, who knows.

She had a home filled with beautiful things which meant nothing to me then, I just related them to an old lady’s fancies of stuff. In my search for treasures, I have found many of those same things she treasured, now considered antiques and vintage, but I see them in a different light now. I have purchased many of those things for my own home because they remind me of her.  I understand the joy they can give you, and the memories attached to them make me feel happy when I look at them, but I do wish I had hers.

Oh MY GOSH! - Talk About Vintage! - I'm VINTAGE!!!! - This is a Photo of my Sister Carol and I.  She is 10 Months Younger Than I Am.  I was About 1 1/2 in This Picture.  Where Does Life and Time Go.  I Love my Little Buster Brown Shoes!  We were Really Kind of Cute!

I was lucky to have been given her old sewing machine when her eyes and hands just didn’t work that well anymore, which still works today. I sometimes wonder if she knew all along that one day sewing would be the door I was meant to open when the time was right. I had looked for years for a way to stay home and make money so I could be with my kids and not owned by some company who could care less about me or my family and its needs, but never found it. I had become very modern in my taste but now have changed to more of the homey, vintage, shabby, English, antique style of living if that makes any sense, and as I look back, that was my grandma through and through. But with all these thoughts and the passing of time, after my kids have grown, and 6 grandkids now in my life, I have a fonder appreciation to the importance of God and family and the past that is connected to me. It was exactly what I was trying to find for the last 36 years. Now I feel content. 

With all this I was prepared finally to see that door and the opportunity that I was meant to open, because the time was right. I always wanted to work at home.  I wanted to own my own business and call the shots. I wanted and cried for having the time to live and grow with my kids and grandchildren, to be happy and less stressed.  Most of all if I had to do something I wanted to love what I did!

I could see my grandmother standing right there at the door. Once I walked through the door I found that I had a bit of creativeness now that I have had some time to learn more about myself. It was there all the darn time since I was 5! It was sewing! Maybe it was my grandmother who led me to that little tea shop boutique where I found that adorable little vintage pillowcase dress a few years back. She knew it would inspire me with ideas and get me to dig out that old machine and learn to use my hands again, because that is when it all came together.  I’ll be dang, my life was finally meeting up with my dream and it was coming to life and I wasn't even trying anymore!

I’m working at home; I have a little boutique online, a new found love and respect for all things old, and a renewed sense of respect for what’s really important in life. It’s an adventure and I’m learning so many things and making many friends, and people really like what I have to offer!  YEA!!  So I have to thank my little grandma. I know she is looking down from the heavens above watching me, and I really believe she is still guiding me with that loving heart and still holding my hand in hers. Life is coming full circle. I wish she was here so I could thank her and have one of those hugs again. Cameo Kids Boutique may be mine, but it was really born with my grandma in mind. Thanks grandma, it wouldn’t have happened with out you. I so miss you and I will love you.... always and forever!

Two of the Most Important People In My Life
This is the Last Picture I Had of Her.  This is My Father and Lil Grandma Rice About a Year Before She and My Father Both Passed Away.  She was 86 when she died and my father had just turned 53.  They died within 6 months of each other, and 3 weeks after my fathers death, which grandma passed first, my moms brother passed away too.  What a trying time in our lives then.  My poor mother was devastated.  My Dad was My Best Friend and the Greatest Dad Ever!  I have felt so lost without him in my life, but so glad to have memories of all of them, along with the photos' and other things that belonged to them or where so them. I feel so blessed with the people God has put in my Life!

Thanks for so much for visiting!



  1. Hi Debi,, you did a fantastic job on your blog!!!! Congratulations. I hope you love blogging as much as I do. I will add you on my sidebar too! I hope you are getting some rest. Enjoy a pretty spring day and happy creating, gail

  2. Thank you Gail! This has been fun although unnerving. I just keep hoping I can do this well enough for people to be interested in visiting. I'm trying to figure out how I add one more duty to my day with DH and his stroke recovery, the business, spending time with my grandbabies, and all the day to day stuff. But until I get my new website, this will allow me to do alot things I can't where my boutique is now. I feel like a little girl in a candy shop with this blog though. Thank you for adding me to your sidebar. I feel most honored you're sharing me. Well I have to get back to hubby to have a beautiful day! And, thank you for visiting and leaving a comment. You're my first! Yippee!!


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