Monthly Archives: December 2013

Gifts From The Heart

Gifts From The Heart

Southern Accents Architectural AntiquesRecently Southern Accents has been in the process of salvaging an 1870’s house. Stored in the attic were boxes of scrap fabrics along with several old quilts, each one meticulously stitched by hand. The quilts remind me of the quilts my grandmother use to make. I can still remember the large wooden quilting frame that was secured safely to her ceiling. Once she had stitched all of the small fabric scraps, fashioning them in to one large piece,the frame was lowered. The quilt top and bottom were secured and tightly stretched across the wood frame. She would then begin the tedious task of quilting the pieces together. Most of her quilts did not contain fancy or intricate patterns nor were they made with perfectly coordinating fabrics. They were scrap quilts constructed from fabrics that had been used to make clothing for her family. Those quilts, although not considered very pretty, served their purpose… they made me feel warm and secure on many a cold night.

Looking at the tattered quilts I realize that the efforts of my grandmother were gifts from the heart. Each piece of fabric held a sweet memory, each stitch carefully made with love. I have no doubt that she prayed over each child, grandchild, family member and friends as she sat, needle and thread in hand, fabrics laid across her lap. These quilts serve as a reminder of why we at Southern Accents do what we do. Working to rescue, restore and protect items of historical significance is a gift from our hearts. It is one way that we can help to preserve our history, so that it may continue to serve as a reminder of the things that are truly important in life. It’s not the gifts purchased, wrapped and placed under the tree. It is time spent and attention given to family and friends. It is hard work, sacrifices made, acts of kindness shown to those in need.

During this Christmas season our wish is that you may experience a gift from the heart, either given or received. 2013 has been a year rich with blessings. We are thankful for you, our customers. You allow us to continue doing what we truly love. We look forward to a new year and all that it has to offer.

Merry Christmas from the Southern Accents Team!

After reading this blog post, Jane-Ann Heitmueller shared her beautiful poem with us. It fit so perfectly with our story that we wanted to share. Enjoy!

Heirloom Treasure
By Jane-Ann Heitmueller

To some they seemed just scraps and pieces Grandma tucked away
deep in her bag of remnants from our families’ work and play.
A plethora of textures, colors, patterns, sizes, shapes,
from Grandpa’s tattered overalls, to Aunt Sue’s flowered drapes.

She kept my sister’s red plaid dress, my brother’s checked pants,
the satin dress my mama wore to her first high school dance.
Saved were old worn out tablecloths and faded aprons, too.
That scrap bag held a rainbow filled with yellow, green and blue.

With patience and rare diligence she worked her skillful art,
as Grandma cut and placed and stitched each precious fabric part.
She labored on through summer’s heat and fall’s fast ebbing light,
determined to complete her task by Christmas morn so bright.

Each square reflected cherished years…
Sweet memories to share…
Grandma’s heartfelt and special way to show her love and care.

Article Written by: Lisa Jones
Southern Accents Webmaster/Marketing

Meet Lisa Jones

Lisa JonesOne of the first tasks that Garlan Gudger, Jr. tackled upon returning to Cullman, Alabama in 1999 to take over the family business was to hire his very first employee. As a young businessman, Garlan recognized the need for Southern Accents to have a presence on the world wide web, so he hired a webmaster, Lisa Jones, to put them there. Lisa accepted the challenge, all the while wondering how in the world did this young college grad think he was going to be able to sell architectural antiques online? Fourteen years later, Garlan’s vision, coupled with the tenacity of a then stay-at-home Mom, have introduced this humble architectural salvage business to the world.

Working from home, Lisa built and maintained the website for Southern Accents, adding new architectural pieces to the site as pictures were sent via e-mail. Lisa says,”When I think back on those early days I cringe. Affordable digital cameras were just hitting the market. The picture quality wasn’t great plus the photography skills of the guys at the store were lacking to say the least. The pictures were horrible… but somehow we made it work!”

As the website continued to grow, a majority of sales were to customers viewing the inventory online and calling or driving in from out of town to make a purchase. Two years ago, Garlan recognized the ever expanding role of social media and the need to be able to better communicate with the growing customer base that reached well beyond the borders of his quaint community. He knew that the time had come to further expand Southern Accents online presence and that the person who could help him do that was sitting at her computer a few short miles down the road!

Lisa explained, “Garlan summoned me to the showroom for a meeting of the minds. As he began to explain his vision for the business,which included having every piece of inventory available for online viewing, I knew that the only way I could accomplish this task was for me to be in the store on a regular basis. An agreement was reached and what began as a part time presence quickly escalated into a full time position with an ever expanding role in the day-to-day operations. Shortly after moving into the upstairs office I took on the sole responsibility of writing the weekly newsletters and publishing the stories to our blog. My job description moved from just webmaster into an active role in marketing Southern Accents both locally and abroad via print, the newsletters and social media.”

“I have always known that one day I would end up working not just for Southern Accents, but AT Southern Accents. Through the years Garlan has always encouraged my creative spirit and has many times pushed me to do things that I did not think I was capable of doing. Because of his belief in my abilities, I’ve been given the opportunity these past two years to express my creativity both through writing and photography. I’ve always wanted to write and my long time interest in photography has turned into a new found passion thanks to my job with Southern Accents.”

Lisa continues, “Being a part of this business has also given me a new found appreciation for “old” things. I’ve never been a history buff but the stories that we are sometimes able to uncover in researching some of the antique items that we acquire are fascinating. The face of this business changes every day. It never gets boring! Right now we have a fantastic team… we are like a family working together for a common goal. It’s great!”

Giving Thanks

Thanksgiving card postmarked November 23, 1936. The stamp cost 3 cents!

Thanksgiving card postmarked November 23, 1936. The stamp cost 3 cents!

This past week found Southern Accents salvaging a late 1800’s house in Cullman County. The attic of this house was filled with fabric scraps and quilting pieces. There were boxes of books, letters, and receipts, family pictures and a few pieces of costume jewelry. Cluttered piles of knick-knacks and remnants of someone’s life lay scattered about. Sorting through the boxes and peeking at some of the cards and letters within, we began to notice a recurring theme. The theme was one of giving thanks.

 Most of the letters are dated in the 1930’s, all handwritten on small pieces of yellowing, aged paper. None of the letters are lengthy, just notes from relatives and friends, some who live out of town. Most letters start something like this, “The first thing I want to do is to thank you for the nice pictures…” or “thank you for the beautiful Christmas card…” or “thank you for the cake you sent…” There is an acknowledgement of and thank you for an act of kindness in almost every letter. The letters then go on to talk about family, hard work and hard times.

One letter postmarked December 14, 1932 from Chicago, Illinois is addressed simply to “My dear cousin.” This letter speaks of the depression, the cold, families out of work, and the awful suffering of the poor. Reading this letter quickly brought two things to mind, how incredibly blessed we are and how often we take so many things for granted and fail to utter those two simple words, “Thank You.”

During this holiday season we would like to take this opportunity to stop and say a heart felt “THANK YOU.” Thank you to family and friends throughout our wonderful community for your continued support. We would not want to live anywhere other than Cullman, Alabama. We also want to extend a huge THANK YOU to our loyal customers. We are passionate about what we do. It is through your continued support and patronage that we are allowed to continue our quest to salvage, restore, and re-purpose architectural elements of historical significance. We would also like to say thank you to our incredible, hard working, talented Southern Accents team.

To each and every one of you… we wish you a very happy and joyful holiday season!

This letter dated December 14, 1932 was sent from Chicago, Illinois to Cullman, Alabama.

This letter dated December 14, 1932 was sent from Chicago, Illinois to Cullman, Alabama.

The second page of this letter speaks of hard times and fabric bundles sent for quilts.

The second page of this letter speaks of hard times and fabric bundles sent for quilts.


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