Saturday, April 30, 2011

The Line

Everyone in the vintage biz knows about "the line."  Lines form in advance of the best church sales, school sales, flea markets and even yard sales with crowd control!  I usually do not mind waiting in line.  I do mind the antics of other people in line.  Why is it that adults at second hand sales and airports suddenly cannot understand how to form a line?   For instance, those two people in front of me in this photo of an annual sale from last night? They arrived AFTER me.  How they managed to get in front of me was a long process of sort of joining the line from the side, not shifting with others when the back of the line was directed to better hug the building and striking up a conversation with the people in front of me.  By the time we went inside, they were firmly ahead of me.  Luckily the woman who completely cut everyone in line last year decided to wait her turn this year.  I did, however, have the ever-present person behind me who arrives a half hour early, then, when there are still 15 minutes until the scheduled time for the event to begin, starts to complain loudly about how "They should just let us in." Of course, these are the same people who would be screaming if they arrived and the doors had already opened before the sale time.  I simply brought a magazine and snapped some pics as time passed to share here.

When I first arrived I turned around and snapped this photo behind me.  The event was scheduled to begin at 5:30 and it was about 4:55 when I took this pic.

By 5:15 the line behind me had grown as you can see above.  (I cobbled two pics together to try and capture the curve from behind me all the way to the end.

Close to the opening, at about 5:25, the line had shifted towards the door so my angle changed, and, the back of the line still grew!  You can see it stretching off into the distance of the field above.

As is inevitable at these events, I was not in the door 5 minutes when I ran into someone I knew; this time, my friend Debbie from Vintage Haven.  Don't be fooled though, this photo was not taken when we first saw each other.  At first we said "Hi" then parted ways and continued to hunt.  Later, after we'd both exhausted the room a few times we were able to chat and snap a couple of pics.  You can get a glimpse of the mayhem in the back of this pic and the one below.  Thanks to Debbie for letting me snap these pics - she is very knowledgeable and her shop is fantastic, take a look at her shop on Etsy here.
When you stand in line at these events, you have to decide where to go first.  At this sale, I usually head into this tiny little room near the door first.  It is usually filled with costume jewelry and often has some nice hats or bags if they have been donated (this is a school fundraiser.)  Unfortunately this year that was a bad call.  I went into the room first and it had almost nothing.  I glanced around as quickly as possible, grabbed a 25 cent rhinestone choker that I quickly peeked at through a baggie and tried to move on.  By that time, however, I'd wasted precious moments.  This was all too obvious when a few minutes later in another part of the room, Debbie pointed out to me the two great vintage tablecloths another woman had snapped up in the linens area.  Dang!  Should have gone there first.  You never can tell though, it is a combination of preparation, a good eye, swiftness and luck at these things.

In a stroke of good luck, that little choker in a baggie turned out to be a Weiss piece. Yay!

Probably my most fun find was this 1960 Pan Am travel bag.  This is actually the type of thing I typically find at this sale.  Unusual, but interesting and only a dollar.  You can't beat that!  I love that this actually has the date on it.  The sale was actually a wee bit disappointing compared to past years, but, I still had fun and running into Debbie made it all that much better.

As an addendum to this post, I will tack on a little "Things I did not buy" addition from a Boy Scout fundraiser sale this morning.  Heywood Wakefield Dresser, $20.  Yup, $20.   I have no place for it in my house and do not usually deal in furniture so I snapped a pic instead and left it for someone else to find.  Why couldn't they have had the Heywood Wakefield credenza?  Now THAT I could use...hmnn...maybe next weekend????

Thursday, April 28, 2011


I rarely buy ceramic figurines, planters and such to sell in my shop (unless holiday related.)  They do not have wide appeal with younger shoppers, they are more delicate to store and are certainly more of a risk to pack and ship.  Today, however, I came across a couple of pieces I simply could not pass by. First, this set of elf shakers.  They all have the same set of holes, I could not figure out who was who and they were inexpensive enough for me to buy all three together.  Marked Japan on the bottom of each they are in a word: delightful.

Also found today was this Valentine Girl planter from RELPO.  This sort of thing does not appeal to me personally, but, I sell a lot of these pieces around the Christmas holiday and this one just had a nice quality to her.  Turns out my instinct was right!  These planters are quite popular with collectors and this one - large at over 7" - typically sells for ten to twenty times more than I paid for her.  Evidently Relpo is primary known for some of the most collectible head vases but also made some of these planters as well.  I will likely sit on it until next Valentine's Day unless you write me and beg me to list it...

Monday, April 25, 2011

Library of Vintage Jewelry Ads - Part One

From September 1953 Glamour - Coro Patrician
Ok, I am going out on a limb here by calling this "Part One."  You see, I found this great stash of vintage fashion magazines at the local flea almost a year ago and have promised to start posting the vintage jewelry ads from them for about as much time.  Home tonight with the flu, however, I decided to give it a go.  This will be part one, and hopefully, I should have parts two and three from what I already own, and, maybe get lucky at the flea market again this year to even post parts four and five in the future!  Please excuse any "foggy head" typos as I muck my way through this with a fever...

From September 1953 Glamour - Accessocraft Fluted Beads

From 1953 Glamour - Castlecliff Cachelettes
I have posted all of these photos quite large so that you can click on them, then click again to zoom in for details.  I'm sort of exhausted, so snapped photos instead of scanning which in hindsight I may do for future posts.  If you need me to replace anything with a scan drop me a note and I will try and help you out once I am well again.

September 1958 Harper's Bazaar - Weiss Aurora Borealis

September 1958 Harper's Bazaar - Trifari Cuffs

September 1958 Harper's Bazaar - Richelieu Glitterlite
These vintage ads are helpful to dating costume jewelry for collectors and sellers alike!  Sometimes only one piece of a set like the one above from Richelieu was marked, so, you may find just the unmarked piece without a mate and have difficulty identifying it unless you find it in a print ad.  Also, they are just useful to reference as the styles of the jewelry and treatments of one maker can often help you identify a trend or style to help date a piece from another maker.  For instance, the brushed metallic surfaces shown by Trifari above were also commonly used by other costume jewelry makers in the late 1950's as well.

April 1960 Vogue - Weiss Big Pins

April 1960 Vogue - Monet
One of the best sets of print resources for dating costume jewelry I have found is the Collecting Costume Jewelry 101, 202 and 303 series from Julia C. Carroll published through Collector Books.  She has fabulous photos, details, reprinted advertisements and history of styles, manufacturers, trends and more.  On-line, there are some great resources including this fantastic resource from Illusion Jewels with regard to identifying marks. If you need to research a jewelry patent, try this great site.  If you are interested in collecting Delizza and Elster or Juliana Jewelry, this site has all the resources you will need!  (Warning, if you do not already collect D & E, a visit to this site might just inspire you to start!)   I also link to these sites in the sidebar of my blog if you ever return and are looking for them again. 

Enjoy!  Make comments and suggestions and I will try and keep this going across several future posts...

Friday, April 22, 2011

I Brake for (Vintage) Bakeries

A week ago I visited the Federal Hill section of Providence with a friend.  Before heading home, however, I had to make a quick stop into Scialo Bros. Bakery to pick up some real* cannolis for my husband and I.
(*Note that the reviews on Yelp claiming that the cannolis are stale or not "real" are from people who have never had a real canolli.  These are made with ricotta, but, are whipped up light and do not have the consistency of wall putty like many ricotta cannolis.  Nor are they filled with custard or whipped creme which is certainly not a real cannoli.  The pastry is light and flaky and not overly sugared, as it should be.  They add a sprinkling of chocolate chips at one end and nuts at the other which is in keeping with traditional preparation and adds a bit of texture and taste as well.  Do not believe those who do not know what they are talking about!)

The bakery has been around forever, and, in fact, that is the founder, Luigi Scialo above.  The man lived to be 103 so I'd suggest you go there and ask what HE ate!  If you go to their web site you can read more about the history of the place.

The reason I am writing this weekend, however, is that when I was there, the window and bakery cases were already full of adorably crafted Easter treats!  (Again, those on Yelp! claiming them to be "sloppy" can go back to Stop and Shop and have a digital photo of a Disney character put onto a cake for their kids; these have REAL character!)

Easter colors,  paper ears, candy eyes, and coconut "fur" make these charming and timeless!  I'll bet they have been doing the same designs for years and they are still adorable.  Give the kids a break from Disney this time and consider putting a handmade bunny cake on the table from a local bakery like Scialo Bros.  I'll bet the kids will find it just as cute and may even enjoy it more!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

A Few Girlie Items...

In the "where do you find that stuff?" category we are doing a bit of a Savers binge lately!  They are having that card-stamp program (full card = 30% off entire order) so I am in this cycle of getting stamps, using a full card, getting more stamps, etc..etc.. At the moment I have two full cards and one partial in my wallet!  I like to save them for when I buy either a) a large group of stuff or b) something I really want but think Savers has priced too high, like the Tammis Keefe scarf "in the case" for which I refused to pay their full price, but for which I gladly returned with my 30% off card to snap up!  Ok, so, back to the theme of today which is to show some girlie finds.

We will start with this awesome Hawaiian dress.  Love it, love it, love it!  As is not all that unusual with these dresses, it appears to have been worn once if ever.  Often women bought these on their honeymoons in the 1960's, wore them out to one honeymoon dinner in Hawaii, then, returned home to find that they did not fit in so well on the mainland and they were stored away as a memory.  This one is killer, and, it probably fits me so I have not even tried it on.  I will probably bring it to the Top Shelf and if it does not sell there offer it in the shop in early June.

Next on my list is this Margaret Smith bag.  Known as the "Kate Spade of her day" (according to my friend Michelle over at The Red Velvet Shoe) I have been lucky to have found three of her bags in my day.  One, I have had for years and it is my summer wedding bag.  I cannot recall where I found it, but, Savers is a possibility.  The next was a colorful floral I gave to a friend as a gift.  The third was this bag, found today, that I will likely offer in my shop soon.  Her bags are so colorful and perfect for the warmer months!

Last on my list is this lovely little homemade "Mad Men dress" from the early 1960's.  With metal side zip and darling little bow detail at the front, this one is a classic!  It is certainly handmade, but, people did a good job back then with these things!  Super clean and cute, this will go into Carmen and Ginger very soon.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011


So when I told my husband last night that I was going to blog about Sean Connery today he got jealous.  I mean, what husband would not get jealous when their wife plans to blog about a hot 80 year old?  Wait, 80?  Did you say 80?  Seriously.  He is the hottest 80 year old on the planet.  Look at that photo above for "The Climate Project."  The man has still got it going on!  He made four James Bond movies before I was born and he can still turn my head?  Wow.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

It's That Time of Year...

...the time of year when Carmen and Ginger can finally - FINALLY - start getting those vintage tablecloths cleaned, out on the line to dry, and into the shop for you!  It's been a long winter here in New England, and a very cold spring.  This can't keep up, however, and we are going to do our darndest to get these in the shop pronto!

Who does not love a great fruit print cloth? No one, that's who!  This one has a few minor spots from storage but is super bright and colorful and a fab print!

I cannot even find one like this in my vintage tablecloth reference books.  If you are a coffee lover, this is the vintage cloth for you!  Great bold design and terrific mid century graphics.

Got a "thing" for Vera?  We've got just the cloths to scratch that itch!  We'll start with this one, a circular linen beauty with these luscious coral roses in a classic Vera design with lots of movement and expression!

And for the hard-core collectors, take a look at this fabulous Lancaster Prints cloth with the original paper tag!  Yup, that's right folks, in the shop within the week.  (Oh, and peeking from behind, just a little old California Hand Prints cloth, that's all...)

Keep watching as we will iron and photograph these this week to have in the shop in a jiffy!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Fun in the Sun!

Although I literally still have a space heater blowing on my feet under my desk as I type this, here at Carmen and Ginger, we are thinking ahead to summer as we plan for the next Top Shelf Flea event!

Late 1960's Roxanne Suit in Medium/Large Size

We have been squirreling away any vintage swim and sun related items we have found all fall and winter and plan to debut them at the May 22nd event!  Those who attend get first dibs; after that anything left will go on-line.

No tag or mark on this vintage swim cap, but, it is a vintage beauty for sure!

1950's Roxanne Cotton Weave Belted Swimsuit Small/Medium Size

These vintage cotton suits are getting oh so hard to find!  I grabbed this beauty in a flash!  Please see the vintage cover-up below in a similar but not quite matching pattern.

Early 1960's Gabar Swimsuit in small/medium size.
The cotton cover-ups below were found at the same time as the blue and yellow swimsuits above.  They are adorable and perfect as beach cover-ups for your vintage swimsuits!

Stop by the Top Shelf Flea early to get first look at these summer beauties! Hope to see you there...

All vintage images used in this post are courtesy of the January 1956 Harper's Bazaar.




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