Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Back to School: Fall 2011

Yesterday I got into a Twitter conversation with Birdhouse Books (check out her shop!) about back to school stuff. We were talking about the stuff that we love about back to school shopping: the smell of a new rubber eraser, the excitement of a blank, clean notebook, the fun of opening a pencil box. Clothes shopping for school was never really something I did as a kid (my mom just got us clothes when we needed them, not at a particular time of year), but I did start doing it once I got into college. And now that I work on a college campus, I get a kick each year of seeing the way that students put together their own styles.

One trend that seems to be growing is very high heels. Given how much walking students have to do, I’m surprised to see this as often as I do. Platforms are also appearing more frequently. These great platforms from Retrotrend would not be out of place here.

Caramel Platform Slingbacks Size 8

Bold prints and flowing dresses are wonderful to see across campus. I can see this one from JoJosRetroandVintage on a stylish student:

This lightweight Boy Scouts jacket from my own shop is a great way to transition into the cooler fall weather:

Vintage Boy Scouts Jacket with Patches

Ways to store and carry things are always needed as students move back into their dorms and apartments. Shopping vintage for these items is a great way to save money and add flair to one's style. I can see students (or faculty!) falling for this great bag from LoverlyVintage:

Vintage Totebag

We have a rather large art department on our campus, and something like this would be perfect for an art student who needs a stylish way to carry supplies.

Interested in more back to school ideas? Check out what the Etsy Vintage Market Team has to offer. Just search tag vmteam. Your student (or you) will be stand out from the crowd.

Monday, March 14, 2011


So I was reviewing the inventory in my shops, and, as usual, got totally distracted by flipping through the pages of the books in my Etsy bookstore. I can spend hours just cracking them open, staring at pictures where they exist, and scanning passages. I was particularly absorbed by the growing Wonder Woman comic book inventory in the shop. Clearly I have never gotten over the fascination with female super heroes that I had when I was growing up in the 1970s.

Wonder Woman No. 297 1982 DC Comics Thunder on the Wind

Wonder Woman 1977 Pizza Hut Collector's Edition No. 62

I loved (and still love) Wonder Woman—her strength, her independence, her total fierceness! I grew up in a family of strong women. My grandmother was a single mother (her husband died when her oldest child was only 7), and my mom struggled to work and raise my two siblings and me at a time when my dad was having all kinds of Vietnam-related issues. Watching Wonder Woman on TV was my chance to see another strong woman who didn’t come home tired at the end of every day, and who didn’t have to face the stresses that I now understand my mother did.

The Bionic Woman was another huge favorite of mine. More than anything, I wanted to be that strong. I wanted to be able to rip phone books in half. I was a pretty quiet, insecure child—maybe it was exactly those qualities that made me want to be the woman who could chase bad guys and rescue people.

I admit that I don’t watch a whole lot of TV these days, but of what I’ve seen there haven’t been many of these kinds of women heroes recently. (And I admit that I'm focused on the sci-fi genre.) There was, of course, Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Sydney (played by Jennifer Garner) in Alias, and there was the Kara Thrace (Starbuck) in the recent version of Battlestar Galactica, but what other great, strong female characters are on TV now? I’d love to hear your suggestions!

Friday, February 11, 2011

Ideas for the Vintage Wedding

Maybe it’s Valentine’s Day that has me in a romantic, sentimental mood, but I thought I’d highlight a few items that would be perfect as part of a vintage wedding—either as gifts to give, items for the celebration, or just special tokens between the bride and groom.

One of my favorite items in my own shop is this gorgeous silver pitcher from Wallace La Reine. Give it as a gift on its own or pair it with these wonderful goblets.

Sarahanntiques on Etsy has this amazing 1940s wedding dress for the bride--it's in great condition!

This brooch from VintageEyeFashion would be a great way for a guest at the special event to add a whimsical touch to the event!

Consider giving this beautiful jewelry to your maid of honor as a thank you for all she does.

Vintage touches in your wedding don't have to be expensive or cheesy. The sense of time that one experiences when looking at a 1940s dress or wrapping a piece of much-loved jewelry is perfect when celebrating the exchange of lifetime vows.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Ahh, Love!

I have recently become enamored (it must be the Valentine's Day season!) of vintage postcards thanks to my acquisition of a stack of them from the 1940s and earlier. The photos on them are charming--full of impish humor and charm! This one, with a caption reading Got Something I Didn't Expect, features a young woman looking at her boyfriend (at least I assume that's who he is) with an expression of utter reproach. I'm pretty sure my husband has seen that same expression on my face.

My current favorite is the Yum Yum Baby We Were Made for Each Other card. The look in this woman's eyes draws you in and makes you want to know more about her. I imagine her as a spirited, independent young woman with a tremendous sense of fun. I realize she was probably a model, but she's become real to me.

But what intrigues me even more than the images on the cards (and I am a fan of all, even the basic ones that show an image of the front door of a motel) are the messages on the back. For instance, on the card above, the sender simply wrote, From Ruby, and left it at that. I assume Ruby sent the card to her boyfriend, and I think about how excited she must have been when she sent it.

Sometimes I find a card where the message and the image don't really seem to square at all. I have a few, for instance, where a friend sent a card with images of romance on the front and a message on the back inquiring when Grandma (or someone similar) would be out of the hospital.

I'll be posting more images from my now-growing vintage postcard collection here, as well as in the shops.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

I’ve been terrible about keeping up with this blog, but my New Year’s Resolution (okay, I’m getting a slow start to actually fulfilling it!) is to get back on track. I thought I’d start by highlighting some of the wonderful vintage items that the Vintage Market Team currently has on sale.

Being a sucker for lace-up boots, I got pretty excited when I found the pair above from Chic Vintage Wear. They're not my size, so I thought I'd share them with you. They're only $18.90!

I I found the shirt (above) in RetroHomme's shop. This store focuses on vintage items for men and has a great collection of clothing and accessories. This velour shirt from the 1970s caught my eye. It really captures an era, no?

Another wonderful shop is Back in Time Boutique. Check out her shop announcement to see her coupon codes. I love the graceful design of this pendant that's now in her shop.

I have a clearance section in my shop where everything is 50% off. I have some great items in this section—leather jackets, faux fur coats, some jewelry. Included in this section is this wonderful 1989 Storm Front Billy Joel concert shirt.

There are a ton of treasuries highlighting our sale items, as well! Check them out!

Monday, November 8, 2010


I went to Goodwill yesterday both to hunt for treasures and to kill some time before a meeting I had to attend, and I was thinking about how, as I wander through that and other thrift stores, I feel pulled in two directions: one is full of nostalgia and looking for signs of comfort (such signs being toys I played with as a child, or seeing colors or designs that remind me of my grandmother's kitchen), and the other is seeing the potential for change, the opportunity to change my identity as others perceive it through objects. And the latter may be how many items ended up in the store in the first place. Perhaps a child grew up and his or her room became a study or a sewing room, and the crewel artwork in the bedroom was given away.

Oval Portrait of Little Boy on Artfire

None of this is profound. My youngest turned 10 last week, so I guess I'm feeling a bit nostalgic anyway. I've also been feeling pretty restless, torn between thinking about my kids as babies and wondering how to find space in my life for who I am becoming as I move forward. I see tremendous possibilities as I gaze around my house and office, and at the same time I feel nostalgia as I look at the kids' pictures still hanging on the walls and fridge.

I'm feeling a bit between worlds, I guess--the worlds that I saw in Goodwill yesterday as I watched the teens finding fashionable tees to wear and the new mothers finding inexpensive baby bedding and the guy at the CD rack exclaiming over music that he hadn't heard in ages. I suppose we're all traveling between times. Vintage is all relative.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Definitely not gold!

I started thinking again about the idea of alchemy when I came across a box full of vintage cookbooks at a yard sale recently. This collection is mostly from the 1960s, and one in particular is full of those totally unappetizing photos that somehow populated cookbooks of that era. This book focuses on the many uses for canned shrimp.

It gets me thinking that there are some things that just can't be transformed.

One of my favorite recipes in the books is for something called Jellied Tuna (if there are two words that shouldn't be in the same sentence, I'm pretty sure jellied and tuna are those!). Wanna try it?

Jellied Tuna

3 eggs, separated
1.5 tsp dry mustard
1 2/3 cup evaporated milk
3 envelopes unflavored gelatin
1 6 oz. can of tuna, drained & flaked
3/4 cup of celery
1 tsp of salt
1/2 tsp of paprika
6 tbsp of lemon juice
6 tbsp cold water
1/4 cup chopped green pepper
1 1/2 cup mayonnaise

Beat egg yolks with salt, mustard, and paprika. Add milk and lemon juice. Cook in double boiler until it thickens, stirring constantly. Soften gelatin in cold water. Add to hot mixture. Chill mixture until it begins to jell. Add tuna, pepper, and celery. Fold in mayonnaise, then egg whites which have been beaten stiff but not dry. Pour tuna over aspic, chill for at least 2 hours.

When ready to serve, unmold on cold platter and garnish. Makes 8-10 servings.

So I'm curious: what's the most interesting/unusual/weird recipe you've run across in your explorations of vintage cookbooks and recipes?