Thursday, December 30, 2010

Barkcloth Bonanza!

Not a traditional barkcloth, this cloth certainly falls into the "family" with ease.  I believe this may be a cotton/rayon blend.  Selvage is marked Guaranteed to be a GOLDCO Vat Print. Design COMSTOCK.  Click the image and zoom for a larger view.  Click here to be taken to the listing.
I must begin this post with an apology.  To all the Etsy customers and potential customers who have written to me over the past year and who I have been telling month after month that I am "about" to list some barkcloth in "the next month" I swear, I really thought it was imminent!  Alas, month after month I kept bumping the barkcloth behind other items I deemed more "seasonal" until it was bumped all the way to the last week of the year!  I do have it, however, and will list it all later today.  Some pieces are one-off cuts, like this awesome abstract piece above, but, three of them are being sold "off the bolt" giving you time to consider your needs for larger or future projects.

Click the image and zoom for a larger view.
Click here to be taken to the listing.
This large piece is a flat, printed heavy upholstery stock, not a barkcloth, but I am including it with this group as I believe it will appeal to the same collectors.  This is a "Roomaker Fabric."  At one point I made a note that the design might  be from Mary Cornwall, but, I cannot for the life of me now find my source for this connection.  I have found one on-line dealer selling an advertisement for Roommaker designed by Mary Cornwall (but no photo) so there is a connection there, but, for now, this is a likely but unconfirmed connection.

Click the image and zoom for a larger view.
Click here to be taken to the listing.
I found a matching pair of panels in this pattern. They are pinch-pleated but short, an unusual combination.  Someone could use them for drapes or yardage.  The pattern is quite unusual.  The highly stylized pine boughs are printed in deep black on a ground of white with bright primary colors subtly woven into the white ground in the opposite direction (there is a detail in the listing).  This is true heavy cotton barkcloth.

Click the image and zoom for a larger view.
Click here to be taken to the listing.
This piece is a beauty!  Large and unfaded and likely dating back to the 1930's.  What is amazing is that the selvage, which is almost completely cut off and very hard to read, actually reads "100% Cotton Barkcloth Woven Exclusively For {Something} Textiles, Inc."  That's the best I can do!  Gorgeous!

Click the image and zoom for a larger view.
Click here to be taken to the listing.
Yardage! Yardage!  Yardage!  I have four matching full length panels of this heavy cotton mid-century Poppy floral and will sell all as one lot.  Wonderful for decorating or for yard goods.

Click the image and zoom for a larger view.
Click here to be taken to the listing.
 The last three photos show the fabrics which I found on the bolt.  I had spied this amazing 1950's Boomerang pattern with gold flecks and a red atomic sputnik design at a local antique shop and waited a long time for the price to come down to something I thought I could offer as yard goods.  I still paid quite a bit for it, but, there is a lot of yardage here and I am hoping buyers will be able to purchase the quantities they need for some interior projects.  Marked a "Fabulous Prints by Tower" and Vat-Dyed but I cannot find a pattern name on the selvage.  Mid-weight cotton barkcloth.  Completely unused off the bolt.

Click the image and zoom for a larger view.
Click here to be taken to the listing.
This too, is unused and off-the bolt.  I purchased this from the same dealer as above.  I paid a bit for it as well, so am selling as yard-goods to recoup my investment.  Gorgeous Asian design in spectacular colors and also with good metallic accents, perfect, as this has never been used or laundered.  Selvage is marked Goldtone Prints Design Gold Li Ti. 

Click the image and zoom for a larger view.
Click here to be taken to the listing.
This is the last of the fabrics to be listed this week.  This one too, is still on the original bolt with yards and yards of fabric available.  The pattern and colors are absolutely amazing!  Everything I love in a vintage print of this period.  Wonderful stylized natural forms in a combination of beautiful greens and bright pops of yellows and reds.  What is unusual about this fabric is that it is an open weave, like a linen weave.  It is not a light fabric, it has substance to it, but the weave is such that it creates a "sheer" effect when held to the light.  In fact, I plan to use some of this fabric myself to create sheer patterned drapes for one room in my house.  I show all sorts of photos in the listing so take a look there for more info.  No mark on the selvage.  The bolt is marked with a paper label that reads "Guaranteed Vat Print."  Still unsure of the fabric.  Likely a blend of cotton and rayon or perhaps even silk.  Just stunning!

When I list these fabrics in my shop later today, I will come back and add live links to the listing.  I wanted to get this out there first, however, to give anyone interested somewhat of an advanced viewing of anything that piques interest!  Please note that if one of the "off-the-bolt" links takes you to a sold item, it may be relisted with additional yardage still available.  Please visit my shop and search on the word "Barkcloth" to see all active listings.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Vintage Christmas Goodies!

I've already posted about my love for vintage and vintage-inspired Christmas wrapping papers.  It probably does not surprise you, therefore, to learn that my mother also shares this passion and also adorns her packages with amazing vintage tags and seals!  Above is just a smattering of some wonderful vintage doo-dads included with packages yesterday morning...

I received - as usual - some incredibly thoughtful, beautiful and generous gifts from friends and family this year!  Since this blog is mostly devoted to vintage, I will highlight some lovely vintage items.  These items in no way diminish the other lovely gifts I was fortunate to receive.

The necklace above is a gift from my husband - who has great taste!  - and made the purchase from a darling little Etsy shop SundayandSunday.   The shop has wonderful items and the knowledgeable husband and wife team that operate it only offer quality goods with an eye to unusual designs and commitment to customer service.  Thank you to them for helping my husband gift to me this lovely piece which I already wore this Christmas!

Tucked into my Christmas stocking were two vintage sets of Dennison's Preserve Labels.  Fantastic labels, and, as with many Dennison's items, the packaging is as beautiful as what lies within! (thanks, Santa.)

From my friend Neil, this fantastic 1940's green pottery and parchment lamp.  Great light, but one of the most beautiful details lies beneath the shade: a glorious art deco bakelite lamp housing and custom harp - wow!

For our almost-completely-renovated 1930's style green and cream kitchen, this great cookpot from Mom in 1930's green and cream enamel with a bakelite knob.


I spied - purely by accident - these vintage 1940's peep-toe pumps in exactly my size on Etsy one day and posted a link on my Facebook page.  Evidently Dad saw the post, clued-in mom, and a Christmas gift followed.  They fit perfectly!  If they look too tight it is simply because I shot these by posing like this, leaning forward and photographing my own feet!  Not actually sure how I remained standing. 

Thank you again to all my friends and family members who gave me such thoughtful gifts this holiday!  Food, music, books, clothing, household items and gift-cards to enable us to continue to restore this old house.  I am grateful to all and wish everyone a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Their stockings were hung by the (cardboard) chimney with care...

I spoke to my friend Marie the other day, who was enjoying decorating her new home for Christmas.  The place is more spacious and beautiful, with lovely light and a charming neighborhood.  She had one dilemma, however, she had not considered when they signed the papers over the summer.  No mantle for Christmas decorations!  I therefore send this little post out to Marie, in her new home, with documentation of an old solution to her new problem.

I happened across these photos of a couple opening their Christmas gifts in front of the "chimney" and "fireplace" offered by a fellow Etsy seller.  This looks like perhaps a first Christmas for the pair, and, likely dates to the early to mid-1950's?  The photos are undated, so, we need to rely on fashions, hair-dos and decorations!

The woman is opening some sort of knitted thing, the man, a pair of argyle socks.  They must have the camera set up on a tripod to capture their Christmas moment.  The couple does not look especially happy, but, boy, is that some background!  The entire fireplace is cardboard with printed "bricks" while the "chimney" is a sheet of coordinating brick paper that extends all the way to the ceiling.  It holds not only a small tree, fake snow, candles and a smattering of charming Christmas figurines and such, but also accouterments that would adorn a real fireplace!  There are hanging pots and pans and utensils above, a pot below and it looks like even some wood to complete the scene!  In fact, it is so elaborate you wonder if installing an actual mantle might make more sense?  It certainly adds festivity for the holidays though!  I wish we could spy on this scene in color.

No color option but we can take a closer look at those socks.  These are the mesh kind with paper printed labels across the front.  Each holds a pair of something; perhaps Clementines?

And now a closer look at that mantle!  Little tree decorated with Shiny Brites!  What looks like a pair of Tavern or Gurley candles to the left. To the right, a hard plastic Santa on Skis candy container (I have this one) and perhaps a larger hard plastic Santa in the background?  I arrange my vintage items in much the same way on my own mantle now so it is really fun to see this snippet of history of Christmas cheesiness!  Please note that I scanned and uploaded all of these images quite large for you, so, click on them to zoom in further for details.

And if you are jealous of my vintage Christmas photo finds, there are plenty more if you poke around Etsy!  Here is just a sampling of some gems you too can purchase for your own enjoyment!

From Christmas 1954, this gem from Gwensewvintage

Oh my - the decadence!  From ChristmasAngel
I love dad's expression here - from EandO
An American Classic from Americathebeautiful  (and check out those tropical barkcloth drapery panels in the background - oh my!)
No collection would be complete without a visit to Santa from SCFQ2
And if you are doing your last-minute shopping today, December 24, here is one last one (again, from ChristmasAngel) documenting what that looked like in 1938.  So much more charming than the mall, eh?

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Pretty Paper

I have long been a collector of both vintage Christmas and vintage papers so having a "thing" for vintage Christmas wrapping papers is sort of a no-brainer.  I love to collect and use vintage wrapping paper, but, to use it, I like to have a lot of it.  That is why, for the life of me, I have no idea why I found an entire industrial sized roll of the above paper a couple of years ago and sold all but a couple of yards in one lot on eBay.  I probably only made $20 - $30 on the deal, but, could have kept it for a lifetime supply of this vintage goodness above!


Several years ago, when Martha Stewart first began licensing designs to KMart, her designs were mostly vintage-inspired.  Although not typically a K-Mart shopper, I somehow learned of the Christmas line so stopped in to check it out.  The earliest lots included wonderful heavy papers in amazing designs like this one!  The background is actually silver and the slightly off-set printing makes it look like it walked right off the shelves from 1948!  I wish I had bought every roll of this I could find.  I love it, and, have a wee bit left (I hope my brother appreciates it as I used some precious pieces for his gifts this year).  I scour eBay in the hopes that someone will have some stashed away but no luck so far.  If you know of a stash, drop me a line.

And lest you think I am kidding about hoarding the stuff, here is a roll of one of the original designs I still have in the shrink wrap from 2002.  Yes, I'm a weirdo I know.

I believe this is an American Greetings design from last year or the year before.  Not only does it have a great vintage look, but, it is a wonderful oversize length and the warm red and yellowish ivory ground make your gifts look like they are wrapped in an Icelandic sweater.

Although a modern design, this Martha Stewart Everyday paper from a couple of years back is truly a masterful design.  I love the abstracted pine needles and berries, and believe the quality if design is a nod to similar designs of the 1950's.  In fact, although I love the colors, this would also work quite well as a two-color design.

I am happy to say that all my wrapping is done and now it is time to deliver gifts to the recipients, my favorite part!  "Wrap your presents to your darling from you....pretty paper, pretty ribbons of blue..."

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

A Bonnie Find!

As a vintage seller, I often find items that I immediately recognize as something of value in the vintage world.  Some finds from the past year in that category include Miriam Haskell earrings, a 1970's Gunne Sax dress, a 1950's Vera Scarf and a Christian Dior Leather hat.  I would be kidding myself, and you, however, if I tried to act as if I knew every vintage name in the business; I certainly do not! 

I do think I have a good eye, however, which has enabled me to find items such as Clare McCardell gloves and a Luis Estevez dress without being aware of the designers before the finds.   Such was the case with the Bonnie Cashin leather jacket I found at the local Salvation Army last night.  I was not even planning to go into the Salvation Army.  I had given a co-worker a ride home, and, came into the city from a different direction.  As my route took me down the same street as the retail store I decided to stop in for a peek.  Once I saw this coat I knew it was something special.

Fantastic smooth, soft leather in blood-orange with rounded collar, great long sleeves, coordinating silk lining  and this fantastic closure hardware that I quickly learned, via several internet resources, is referred to as a  "dog leash" connector in the Bonnie Cashin world.  She was known for transforming ready-to-wear sportswear for women beginning in the 1950's using unusual fabrics, shapes and hardware.  Her signature was the concept of "layering" pieces and unusual fabric combinations as well as use of unusual hardware such as these clips and the toggle connectors which she also introduced to Coach bags.  In fact, most people may know her name from Coach, as she designed the first Coach handbags for women in the early 1960's, leading that brand down the path towards the iconic supplier of women's bags that it is today. 

The coat was sold at the old Abercrombie and Fitch store.  The former, sporting and sportswear store that has since been re-branded into some sort of dark hypnotic discotheque with posters of semi-nude attractive youth that takes massive amounts of money from teenagers.   The Vintage Fashion Guild's label reference (a terrific resource for any collector) helps date the labels to the early 1960's. 

I often post items on my blog that I plan to sell in my shop.  I must admit though, that I purchased this coat for myself and do plan to keep it.  If you see me on the streets of Providence, however, I will let you touch it.

Monday, December 20, 2010

I Spy - Last Minute Christmas Bargains

Circa 1935, that is!  I found this great vintage Kresge's "color book" last year just after the Christmas holiday and luckily just rediscovered where I'd stashed it for a seasonal blog post.

Of course the "color book" (or coloring book, as we call them today) is basically a giant marketing ploy for children.  Funny, I would have guessed the concept of manipulating children over the holidays a more contemporary one.  This is pre-Depression, of course, and was likely not seen with this force again until the 1950's.

One of my favorite spreads in the book is this one featuring toy cars and other modes of transportation.  It just immediately dates the book to the 1930's.  I love how everything is "steamlined."  Also, the not so subtle banner along the bottom "Tell Mother and Dad which of these KRESGE Toys you want for Christmas."

Popeye and Tom Mix further help to date this to a time period in popular culture.

I'll bet that "Little Orphan Annie" Pastry Set with recipes along with that Little Orphan Annie steel stove would be quite popular if I were to find them for my Etsy shop!

More "streamlined" vehicles along with a direct message to Mothers and Fathers are on this page.  I'll bet those trains were luxury items, even if this was only the $.25 - $1.00 stores at the time.

A charming winter scene decorates the back cover.  And wait, is that an Airship I spy in the snowy night sky?

Thursday, December 16, 2010

It's Time to Party Like It's 1955!

As I make the final preparations for my annual Christmas party, I am reminded of the parties women threw (or, were told they should throw!) back in the middle part of the last century.

Not only were you dressed to the nines, but so was your table!  Decorations were nestled in amongst the food items, garnishes abounded in red and green, even a simple cheese ball was multi-colored with carefully cut-out star designs!  Oh my!

Arrangements were uniform, balanced and beautiful.  The soup was red to match the red candied cherries on the pastries nearby.

Molded items were popular as they made such a neat presentation, don't you agree?  For the holidays, cranberry is a favorite to mold.  You can cut molded jelly into little matching jelly stars to adorn your chicken salad patties, or, create an entire platter of matching layered cranberry salad molds, as above.

Sweet or savory got the same treatment with this mince-pie centerpiece all aglow!  Personally, I'd hate to be the first person to the table.  How could you possibly disrupt something like this to eat?

Myself, I thought it would be a good idea to have Stop and Shop make me a deli platter to supplement my party food.  I went on-line this morning and ordered it, just to discover that it cannot be ready tomorrow, when I will be at Stop & Shop, but Saturday, when I want to be no-where near Stop and Shop.  So, I called the store to see if it could possible be ready tomorrow.  The woman told me she could take my order over the phone for tomorrow but that she could not cancel the web order, I had to do that on-line.  So, I give her my order and go back on-line to cancel.  The instructions I find for canceling tell me I can call the store (Ok, that already did not work) or call this 888# between 8:30 - 5:00 to cancel.  Since it is 8:35 I call the number and am told that no one can help me until after 9:00 when that department opens.  At this point, a mince-pie arrangement with built-in moderne tree, glass ornaments and lighted candles is starting to sound like the simpler option.

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