Friday, July 30, 2010

Vive le Quebec!

Sorry for the gap in postings but my husband and I were on a vacation up north in the province of Quebec!  Since it is generally unwise to post your vacation plans on the web before you go, I thought I'd share some surprise photos with you upon my return.  Above is a composite of our adventures in Quebec City; a beautiful, picturesque city.  The prices are a little high but the food is excellent and people are very nice, especially if you can attempt to parle en peu de Francais.  I had the best Bouillabaisse of my life at a tiny little restaurant we found by wandering the streets!  From here we moved north and of course stopped at some shops "de antiquities" as well!  More photos to come...

Sunday, July 18, 2010

My New Antique

On my way home Saturday morning from having the fifth - yes, fifth - windshield installed in my Jeep, I spied this Chinese table at a yard sale not far from my home.

It has seen better days, as some of the design is worn at the top, and, this decorative bar (with circular designs) should be on all four sides but is sadly only still present on this one side.  I still loved it and thought it would go smashingly well in the library of my 100 year old home.  (We refer to the room with the most "period" look as the "library.")  For $20 I brought it home.

I know nothing, however, about Chinese furniture, can anyone out there help?  It is lightweight wood with a thick black lacquer that covers the entire surface except where the decorative bars were broken away from the surface.  The gilt painting is very nicely done, and, even where worn at the top, the paint does not look "flakey" or like it would come off easily.  I do believe the wear is cumulative over time.  Three different people at the yard sale commented on the table and all referred to it as having belonged to the great grandmother of the guy I purchased it from who was likely about 30.  She could have acquired it from family, or, purchased it late in life for all I know, but, I do think it has some age in either case.  There is an ancient crumbling paper label on the bottom that has Chinese characters visible to one side and the word China to the other side but nothing else is legible.

 I have seen similar tables listed as "painting tables" on-line, but, none with the black lacquer and gilding.  Any thoughts?  In any case I like it, and, much against my husband's protests (he has little patience for anything missing pieces and showing wear) it's staying for now.  Share your thoughts or ideas please!

Saturday, July 17, 2010

It's the Cheese

My brother gave me this terrific owl tee for my birthday and yesterday was the first day I was able to wear it.  I was feeling pretty good about myself, and, was having a fairly good day of errands, when, yet again, someone I'd never met before asked me if I was pregnant.  NO!  C'mon, I was used to this a year ago when I'd put on a little weight and had only been married a short time.  Since I had been a skinny minnie most of my life, and, was a newlywed, it did not surprise me as much when people saw my paunch and made the leap.  BUT, when people I have never met before (this week it was the dental hygenist) pose this question, I'm in trouble!

I took this photo before I left, I was not doing any serious body manipulation and there is no Photoshopping going on here.  I don't think I look pregnant? Do I?  Now, I HAVE put on some weight, and, it does ALL go to my belly which is why this happens.  As my former co-worker Roger  would have put it "I'm a fat thin person."  My frame is thin, but, I'm getting fat, so, it reads oddly.  I know I only have myself and, the cheese to blame.  In fact, that is what I tell people "No. it's the CHEESE!"  I have a plan, really I do.  It involves less cheese and more exercise and it is very well worked out, in my head....

If you want to see this tee on someone who does NOT get asked if she's pregnant, check out the model above.  My brother purchased the tee locally at a shop near his home, but, they also have a web site of great stuff at fluffyco.

 (I appropriated this cartoon from another site who had already appropriated it from so please visit that site and show then some love and send my apologies for stealing part of their creation for my own purposes.)

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

To The Shore

I went to the beach for the first time this summer this past weekend with my dad.  My parents live within walking distance of the ocean but it still seems like as we get older we don't get there nearly as often as we used to or, intend to.
We went for a walk at dusk one night with great golden summer sunset light but don't you know I forgot to bring my camera!  I have therefore decided to supplement my post with a "new" stack of vintage beach photos I found not all that long ago.
What I love about vintage beach photos is that although the outfits are remarkable to us, the people all look the same as people at the beach today!  They are goofing around, laughing and generally happy when at the beach.
And you see the same cast of characters in a shot like this one; the fashion mavens, the covered-ups, the cigarette-smokers, the kids, the lovers, the elderly overdressed; as you would in a similar shot today.  They are all there, and, will likely all be there years from now.  I think this one is my favorite.  Look at those Coca Cola and Moxie signs in the background!  This may even be the old Rocky Point back in the 1930's but I am not at all certain of that.

On my way to my parents' place last weekend, I got together with a girlfriend and we did a little "thrifting."  I had just finished listing all my summer wardrobe items, so, had not planned to add anything new to the mix, but I came across this awesome 1960's Catalina Beach/Pool Cover-up and I had to have it for my shop:
I know that beach cover-ups and, 80's style rompers are especially "in" this year with the style set, but, I normally cannot bring myself to even go in that direction.  Having graduated high school in 1984 and college in 1988 I lived through just about every 80's fashion faux-pas first-hand and I have no desire to revisit.  I simply cannot bring myself to put a 1980's rayon gathered brightly colored (on a black background, of course) romper into my shop.  Don't worry, if you are a fan, there are many, many Etsy sellers who have them for you. 

If, like me, 80's rompers are not your thing, perhaps you will enjoy some other funky vintage beach cover-ups.  I miss the terry cloth wear from my childhood.  So much better suited for the beach than rayon, soft, colorful and just says "fun!"

 Not sure how this Mod beauty from nautiegodiva was not snapped up at the beginning of the summer!

Yowsah! Beachwear from SnapItUpVintage.  They'll notice you coming AND going in this beauty!

Handy with the sewing machine? This pattern from bluettecourt will have you stylin'!

...and the piece de resistance?  
Holy smokin' you!  You've gotta click on the link above so you can see this set!  New old stock 1960's bikini with this matching sheer black cover-up with coordinating goddess-style neckline.  Holy cats!  And at an amazingly affordable price from swingkatsvintage

What do YOU wear to the beach to cover up?

Monday, July 12, 2010

Country Living - With Cats

I really enjoy reading Country Living.  I know it is not for everyone, but, for anyone into vintage kitchen collectibles, textiles, holiday items, and outdoor items, it is a feast for the eyes.  They feature wonderful photographs of enviable collections in gorgeous vintage (but cozy) homes and they deserve kudos for using Etsy sellers in their mag and using their style influence to send their readers over to the Etsy shops of these creative folks! 

I have to take issue, however, with a spread in the July/August edition.  Entitled "Show 'Em The Ropes." it features products for the home made mainly from Sisal.  It's somewhat of a "summery" type material, but, a little weak on longevity.  I mean, Country Living Editors, do any of you own a CAT?  When I look at the  image above, my brain renames the title of this article "How to Turn Your Home Into a Giant Customized Kitty Playland." and I see this.

...and when I look at this layout of rope and sisal items...

I see this:

C'mon Country Living.  We know 90% of your readers are women, and, probably 60% of them own a cat.  You cater to cat owners in each issue in both articles and advertisements:
So this is no surprise to you!  

I know that vintage items and cats do not always go together so well either, but, a home of sisal is basically a giant customized scratching post.  Thanks for your efforts but I'll pass on this idea!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

It's a Mod Mod Mod World

You know, I'm thinking my shop is looking pretty good this morning.  It's got color, it's got style, and it's got whimsy.  Something for the women and something for the guys.  Prices range from an affordable $12 to an I-can't-live-without-it $165 and that's just all on the front page!  As usual, I am still behind where I should be for the season...still listing summer dresses while the magazines are ready to start touting the fall fashions!  I'm almost through it, though.  I've got some good stuff and I just need to get it out there.

Those great mod, black and white backgrounds for the jewelry shots came from this 1964 French Elle spied by my friend Marie during our last Flea Market outing.  Brigitte Bardot and Jeanne Moreau are promoting their Louise Malle film Viva Maria! on the cover, but, the inside is filled with great mod black and white shots.  The perfect background to some colorful gems from about the same time period.

These funky shoes I found yesterday at the awesome Rocket to Mars on Broadway in Providence.  Her price was reasonable enough for me to buy them for resale.  These were actually featured in a terrific window display a few months back which you can see here:
What fun!  I figure if these helped bring people into her store for a while, maybe they can also help bring people into MY store for a while too!  And if you want to buy one they are for sale as well.  Just click the shoe pic above to view all my fashion offerings!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Saturday, July 3, 2010

I see a pattern here...

I think sometimes I should just start a weekly post entitled "What I found at Savers" as even I am amazed at the range of items spied weekly!  If I were to do that, however, and my shop regulars got wind of it, it might affect how they look at my stuff!  Sure, I clean it up and make it look pretty and take great photos and merchandise it for them, but, how many times can someone see a price tag of $1.99 and pay me $32?  Truthfully, my markups are actually often much lower than that as I keep my prices pretty low, but, you get the idea. 
Most of the stores keep the sewing stuff all together and have a bin or two for patterns.  I usually glance at them but rarely go in detail.  Two days ago, however, I noticed a HUGE amount of added patterns and could easily see that most of them were vintage.  I therefore got to work!  At $.69 each, you can't go wrong, right?  This group above I will likely list all together to celebrate the July season premiere of Mad Men.  What great 1960's fashions!

 This one I picked up for the folks on Etsy.  I have another similar in the wings.  These are so great for those wonderful folks who create the vintage inspired aprons from vintage fabrics, they do such a great job!

I focused mainly on the dress patterns.  There were some great shirt, pant, skirt and set patterns there, but, I find that people really like the dress patterns best.  I also found a couple of coat patterns like the Vogue pattern above.   Patterns are easy to photograph and ship, but, somewhat of a pain to list if they are cut. You really need to inventory them and let your buyers know if all pieces are there along with instructions.  I must say, however, that I rarely find a saved pattern - especially from someone who clearly enjoyed sewing - where the pieces were not all neatly stored along with the instructions.

The find of the day was this trio of 1950's Pauline Trigere patterns.  Ooh la la baby!

Also collectible (but not nearly to the level of the Trigere) is this Vogue Couturier series.

Now I am going to switch gears on you here for a moment, but trust me, there is a connection.  I wanted to talk about two types of patterns today; the first, the literal sewing patterns above; the second is a pattern of behavior.  You see, I have this bad habit of seeing something, NOT buying it, then getting home and regretting leaving it there.  (This happens in part because I am trying to overcome another habit of buying everything I see then getting home to realize it's not worth the bag I carried it home in...) But, today I want to talk about the first bad habit, the day-after obsession.  You see, yesterday morning I decided to look up on the internet this book I had seen the night before.  Although, I had not actually written any details, I just had them in my head.  This bit of misguided research led me to believe I had left a $3000 copy of Somerset Maugham's "Of Human Bondage" at the store.  I immediately dropped everything and drove a good 15 miles south of here to the store only to find that it was OF COURSE NOT a $3000 book, but, a $15 book at best.  Sure, the book is a classic regardless, but we are talking investment here.
What got me in trouble was that I had recalled reading the publisher's name of Doran along with the date of 1915.  What I did NOT recall was that on the same page it clearly indicated a later publication by The Sun Dial Press.  Often books reprinted earlier in the last century used the original plates from the first edition which can make the dates misleading to collectors.  Likely, when I first looked at the book I saw this and put it down.  The next day, however, when my obsessive brain kicked in, I simply forgot about that part.

The trick to avoiding mistakes like mine are very simple.  As with birders, who tend to see a common bird without their guide book then decide it is some rare species later with book in hand, I advise you to write down the facts right away.  Where the birder might write "Robin-sized bird with white chest, yellow pointed bill and brown streaked upper body" you should write down the details as well.  Heck, in this day and age you have all sorts of options!  Here is what I recommend whether it be for resale, a gift for a friend, or, an item for your own collection:

1. If you want to look something up later, write down the details.  This should include color, materials, size, any and all markings, dates, tags, etc. on an item along with condition.  When I am doing this right, I come home, look things up on the internet and 9 times out of ten, discover I made the right choice to leave it there. 
2. Photo! If you have a camera, even a phone camera, take a photo.
3. Research while there.  If you have a hand-held device, look it up on the spot!  ( I now see book dealers standing in the Salvation Army diligently researching every single book on the shelves.  If they can do it you can do it!) 
4. Call a friend!  If you have a friend or family member who will not roll their eyes when you call, have them do a search for you.  This may be the best method if you are someplace you cannot return to later like a flea market or yard sale.   I've even photographed items then emailed them to a friend from my phone for info.
5. Get the follow-up-facts.  Take with you the information for how to get back in touch with the seller.  Name, phone number, days/hours of business and also ask if they ship to you.  I have done this with items I regretting not buying while on vacation.  I called and a week later it was in my hands!

These things may be simple, but, doing any one or more of them can keep you from the obsession, waste of time and money that comes from walking away from an item when you have questions.   I have on many occasions come home and felt relieved to have left items because they had not been the treasures I'd hoped.   I have also been able to determine if an item is desired by a family member or not.  I have on rare occasions, gone zooming back to a location with good reason!  But, 9 times out of 10 your instinct to not purchase something will be the right one.  Whatever you do, try to avoid what I did yesterday.  My penance?  I bought the book and will read "Of Human Bondage."




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