Monday, November 30, 2009

Sunday Crush (a day late and several dollars short)

Tinsel Lights

Oh man, I fogot my Sunday Crush installment. Well, I think you'll forgive me since I was shopping for my latest crush...Vintage Christmas.

We lived with my Grandparents from 1967 to about 1977. Christmas at my Gram's house was always a big, BIG deal and she always held a huge all-you-can-eat (and drink) Christmas Eve party. She decorated with the usual stuff, tree, train, little houses, garland, plastic figures, candle holders, salt and pepper shakers, the usual.

My Aunt still lives in that house and we do still celebrate Christmas Eve there but just with immediate family. Some of the decorations are the same but others don't get put up, have been gifted away, were junked or are otherwise MIA. I am an extremely sentimental person when it comes to my childhood and when I started finding the exact items my Gram once displayed, well, I had to have them.

Up first, my most sensational find! An aluminum tree with all it's branches, original box and base. Looks to be in pretty nice condition too. I watched this same item go for $81 at auction, did a little searching and found this one for sale at a little over half the price! Now, it's only 2 feet high because I'm using it in my bedroom. It's a safety hazard to put electric lights on aluminum trees. Instead, you use a color wheel which illuminates the tree in a couple of colors. I'm just not sure a 2 foot tree needs a 12" color wheel. I may try to rig up some other light fixture with a single color (Pink?) bulb or small spot light.

Now, my Gram never had an aluminum tree. She's probably rolling over the fact that I'll have one. She hated them and always had a fresh tree. I remember a neighbor in the "new" housing development full of modern ranches had a pink aluminum tree that rotated in their big bay window. I thought they must have been uber rich to have such a fancy display! In truth, if you want a 5" or 6" PINK aluminum tree, you had better have $ to burn because they go for thousands of dollars!

Here's a link to some info about the history of the aluminum tree plus a pic of a Pinky!
(sorry, may have to copy/paste in your browser as I can't seem to get links to come up)

Something of my Gram's that I did score were these Knee Hugger Elves. I swear the green one is an exact duplicate of the ones that sat in the ledge of her kitchen window! I *think* she might have had a red one or maybe even this white one but it became discolored from sun or somehow damaged and my Gram pitched him. The cool part is that the tags say, "Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry Stuffed Toy Registration Number 85 Approved". As I live in PA, I told the seller I am bringing the boys home! LOL

Another of my Grammy's decorations are these Snowman Salt and Pepper Shakers. These were on one side of the kitchen window over her sink. The other corner had a set of Mr. and Mrs. Claus Shakers which I am still hunting down but getting warmer. (I found them but they were "repurposed" into friggin tree ornaments. arrrrggghhh)

I also found three of her old cookie tins and was "this close", had them in my shopping cart and everything. The only problem is that I don't usually bake. I could bake, Nestle Toll House Chocolate Chip, Double Chocolate Chip (you use chocolate cake batter, chocolate chips and walnuts) and Cherry Winks (dates in the batter, rolled in crushed cornflakes and dotted with a snip of marachino cherry...nobody loved these except my Gram and I). My Gram made all of these as well as Oatmeal, Peanutbutter and Hello Dolly's (made in a pan, layers of graham cracker, condensed sweetened milk, choc chip, coconut, nuts and just keep repeating until you are outta room). The only thing is that we are watching fat and cholestorol. I think maybe my Gram would prefer if I saved my money on the tins and skipped the cookies in exchange for our health. I dunno. We'll see...I may get them yet!

Oh geesh! I just remembered...I found Gram's tree topper and I need to go back and get it! I hope it's still there! I always wanted to know the angel's name and Gram finally said it was Gabriel. I was so in love with this angel that I would hide it when they were packing up the decorations so I could have it all year. I always got caught. My Aunt still has this one and uses it. Still my favorite angel. :)

Update: Gotchya! She's made with something referred to as "spun glass"

Okay...gotta go shop a wee bit more!
I have NO ornaments for my swanky aluminum tree and that must be rectified pdq!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

If I could step onto a movie set...

If I could leave reality and step onto movie set, there are two places that fascinate me sufficently to take up residence. The first is the 1940's swank single girl apartment of Miss Laura Hunt. A little over the top, perhaps, but right up my ally. I can just imagine the records playing and the cocktails flowing whilst I saunter about in something dreamy going over my next high profile ad campaign. The other dream spot is really just a room, but what a room it is. I'd be perfectly happy to move into the first Mrs. DeWinter's boudior. The enormous sheer curtian divider and floor to ceiling windows are incredible. The wardrobe and the pull out drawers that hold her delicates are every (okay THIS) woman's dream. Let's face it, the ocean view would be sweet too.

So, the first comes with a nut job who coiffes you, styles you and tries to kill you. The second comes with a nut job who isn't interested in brushing YOUR hair and will try to get you to kill yourself. Decisions, decisions...

Here are just a few photos I could find.

About the only thing that tops Laura's place is Waldo's bathroom. Talk about a throne room! Good golly!

Here's a hint of Rebecca's boudoir...Hiya Danny!

Danny before the divide

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Etsy vs Ebay

I only have a few moments to get this together because I work the overnight today. Drat! Oh well, tomorrow is pay day. Did you hear that Etsy and Ebay? I said Payday! LOL

So, I decided, Etsy is like your BFF, very best gal pal in the universe. She's fun, she isn't pushy, she's diverse, and when you shop together, she'll answer you honestly. Hey, if it won't fit, Etsy will find you something else and if you like it, you buy it.

Ebay, on the other hand, is like an abusive boyfriend. He's got tons of stuff going on all the time and very little of it focuses on you, he dangles temptation in front of you and then lets you down, or worse gives it to somebody else. He treats you bad but you just remember that one great bargain and keep going back, like a drug, a love drug.

Okay, I'm sort of kidding! Seriously, after years of retail management, I am finding a few pet peeves. Sellers, you're in this to SELL. Why do people list garments and tell you nothing, nada, zippo? "Pin Up Sweater, Kim Novak, Vavavoom" but not a size, not a label, any buttons missing, nothing. It's like pulling teeth. Eesh! But that's nothing compared to my biggest gripe. What the heck is the deal with Plus Size adverts? OMG! We know we are plus size. We appreciate that you photographed the item on a plus size model. Really, we do. But why, oh why is she in hoochy momma poses????? Good Lord! We're curvy not slutty. Not a single plus size woman I know arches her back, sticks her chest out with her hand behind her head and one leg up with her foot on a brick wall...wearing a 1950 circle skirt. Give us a break!

Speaking of brick walls...Do you find it strange that vintage models are decked out in the thing you might buy but sitting on a dirty stone wall, or a dead tree stump or some other place you and I would never sit in our best duds? All I can think is, "Great, there's probably a big dirt mark on the rear now!" clutch is over. LOL

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Sunday Crush

I thought I'd try a little bimonthly homage called Sunday Crush. The idea is to feature someone or something that I love, adore or find myself currently smitten with.

Pauline Trigère, 1956.

Bernard Gotfryd—Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Sometime in the 1970's, when I was just a kid, I saw Pauline Trigere interviewed on some talk show. I thought she was amazing. I recall everyone admiring the model in Ms Trigere's design but Pauline, herself, was out of her chair and hunched over examining and fussing over the hemline. TV be damned, image be damned. She was a consumate artist and ever attentive to her creation. Maybe I'm an old soul. Maybe I was just a strange kid. I never forgot Pauline Trigere. Granted, I filed her away in the back of brain for a few decades, but she's out now and I dare not put her back! LOL

If you've ever seen "Breakfast at Tiffany's", then you know the fuss that was made about Audrey Hepburn's wardrobe by Givenchy (credited to Edith Head!). Well, Patricia Neal wasn't looking too shabby either. Pauline Trigere had some hand in that! There's also contraversy as to what Ms. Trigere created for Ms. Neal and what Edith Head happily took credit for as well. I don't know, but I feel as if the wardrobe has more of a Trigere feel. (Ha ha! Edith, love, I hope your spinning!)

(Thanks to Cinema Style blogger for the two images above)

If you have the figure and the finances (I hate you!), here's a masterpiece for sale on Etsy from TimelessVixenVintage. I'm totally green with envy of anyone who can even stand in the same room with this one!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Shhhh...don't tell Mom

I don't even know how or why I stumbled across these but I got a strange sense that I'd seen them before. I told my Mom I was either having a really, really early childhood memory or a stroke. Good news! It was a memory. My Gram had a set of these when my Mom was growing up. I vaguely remember them (late 60's) just before she gutted the kitchen and updated everything...which meant bye-bye awesome aluminum canisters. I haven't seen these in nearly 40 years and I can STILL remember how they felt, standing on Grammy's chair to reach the counter, one hand on each smooth rounded side, pulling them toward me in an attempt to "help".

Shhhhh....don't tell Mom, but I bought them!
The black lids won't match a darn thing but who cares. Sentiment means more. :)

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

My first wearable purchase!

I know, I know...not quite what one would imagine for a first vintage purchase. Men's Pajamas! What can I say? I kept going back to them and going back to them. I knew darn tootin' well that they'd fit as the dimensions are roomy and then some. Best of all, I could visualize myself wearing them whilst standing in the bathroom trying to set my hair. So...had to have 'em. LOL

They are deadstock Fruit of the Loom men's PJ's, possibly from the 50's. Who knows? They do have a sort of Madmen feel so I'm happy.

Sizing, Cinchers and Bears...Oh my!

So, as I'm searching through Etsy's vintage goodies, I'm feeling a bit like a kid run amuck in a candy store, lol. The only problem is, I find myself allowed to look but not taste. Why? One word: Sizing

The first thing a newbie needs to understand is that vintage sizing is a totally different animal than our modern dimensions. The challenge is further compounded for those of us accustomed to wearing nothing but oversize, shapeless clothing. I'm going to have to get re-aquainted with having a shape again. eesh

V-8 moment #1: If your chest is a 42 and the garment measures 42, it aint gonna fit!
(courtesy of the ladies at FL)

You would think this would be common sense yet somewhere in my neophyte vintage brain, I figured, "I'm a's a 42...good to go." Uh, no. You need "give" which translates as extra inches for an item to fit. You also need to consider how the garment will be worn. eg a blouse with a bit of ease might be okay but a jacket with the same amount of ease might not work if you are layering bulkier items underneath.

V-8 moment #2: They wore girdles!

As a vintage virgin, I was starting to feel really freakishly made. Why, oh why could I meet the bust and hip measurements in some items but NEVER EVER the waist? Am I that freakishly thick in the waist? Seriously, I'm inches bigger than any 1950's item I've seen. Then a lovely gal over at FL mentioned proper foundations. Well, duh!
She mentioned Rago Shapewear by name as they carry plus sizes. Hoorah!

Waist cincher just went to the top of my wish list! LOL

So, still no actual vintage street clothes in my collection, but I'm learning!

Some other tips from the FL Gals: Don't buy a smaller size thinking you'll lose weight and it will fit. Don't buy anything so seriously damaged that fixing it isn't worth the hassle. Ask sellers about things like odor and arm pit stains. Check the upper arm measurements and get a feel for where the waist will hit. I'm told there's nothing worse than getting it home to find the waist is somewhere around your neck. And probably the best advice of all...don't buy it unless it makes your heart sing. If it sells, you'll feel bad for a teensy bit, but some other I-have-to-have-this item will be along in a matter of hours or days.

Friday, November 6, 2009

The New Old Me...

As the title implies, this is the diary of a vintage newbie. It is also the chronicle of the New Old Me. A play on words? Definitely!

Years ago, I never left the house without my hair done, my nails done (had to match my lipstick or I'd die), great accessories, you name it. (My favorite outfit was my fitted red bucle suit with my Sam & Libby stacked black pumps, my Norma Kamali Super Matte Opaque tights in black and my croc embossed patent tote bag.) This isn't a brag, just understand that I was into all things "girl" and really enjoyed it. Over time, I just sort of lost that. Now, when I look around, I have my big old scrubs that I wear to work and a hodge podge of mismatched tshirts and sweatpants. Not very pretty, I know. If you asked me to go to a movie, right this second, I'd be hard pressed to find anything I liked that was half way decent. Pathetic, don't you agree? LOL

Like most women, I battle the buldge too. I've been as small as 119lbs and as high as...uh, I don't think we know each other that well yet! :) Suffice to say, back in May 2009, I was at an all time high. My Mother also had emergency quadruple bypass surgery in May. In an effort to support her, I adapted her diet guidelines and what do you know, the weight came off by itself. As of this post, I've lost 22lbs, Mom has lost a bit more. :) I still have a way to go but it's more about feeling good and eating healthy than seeing a certain # on the scale.

So, I'm feeling good about dropping a few. That got me thinking that I really should do something with this hair! Egads! It's been two toned (grey in front and bad dye job in the back) for over a year now. I can't do anything with it except throw it up in a french twist and just keep it out of the way. Honestly, it makes me feel ridiculous, sometimes embarassed, and really, really dowdy. Put the hairdo with the current wardrobe and all I can think is FRUMP with a capital F. Well, it's time to say F-THAT and reinvent myself! Change is good, change is good...say it with me!

I'm also discovering that today's "style" isn't really for me and I hate shopping at the Mall. (I'm ex-retail management, so I tend to avoid the mall like crazy.)

Enter Etsy. OMG! I'm an addict! I started searching the Vintage items and I was in love, LOVE I say! Then I found The Fedora Lounge while searching for info on Marcel Waves. Have you ever seen these women? What a great bunch of ladies, stylish, gorgeous, absolutely put together. They work hard at keeping themselves happy, it shows and it's really quite inspiring.

So, that's how I got hooked on vintage. I'm just starting and working on a list of items I'll need. Hopefully, I'll be brave enough to show you the before and afters as I attempt to get my groove back. LOL Anyway, now perhaps you'll understand what I mean by the New Old Me...a new me but with a vintage twist.

Thanks for reading!