Advertuesday? I think that should be nominated for Worst Portmanteau, 2012. However, what we have here are (vintage) advertisements, and it is Tuesday. The only thing that any of these ads have in common is that they all appear in the May, 1948 issue of Woman’s Home Companion. And that the magazine is too big to fit on my scanner, so rather than scans these are instead hasty photos, complete with uneven lighting and occasional glare. I hope you enjoy the look back! (Click each image to make with the biggering.)
Category Archives: fashion
Last week, I said I’d be posting some charming vintage aprons in the shop.
I didn’t forget. I gave up. By the time I’d steam-burned my hand for what seemed like the 427th time (and I’m pretty good with a garment steamer, seeing as I’ve been using them for something like 6 or 8 years now), I hit the proverbial wall. I’ll sell these aprons for $8-$12 a piece, and for what?
I’m tired. I’m tired of driving the miles to wait in line to push through crowds to paw through filthy, wrinkled piles to dig out the gems.
Tired of inspecting every seam every button every snap, of hauling loads to the dry cleaner, of hand-laundering what I can or have to, of re-sewing hems and re-attaching buttons, of steaming steaming steaming to get every single piece photo-ready.
Tired of fighting with cameras and lighting stands and buying photo bulbs that are NEVER bright enough, of losing half of my basement (and thank goodness I have a basement) permanently to photo studio/inventory/shipping supply storage.
Tired of color-balancing photos, of taking measurements, of researching labels*, of researching price comps, of writing descriptions.
Tired of answering umpteen questions** from potential customers, and so rarely getting a “thanks” in return.
Tired of paying for every listing, paying for every sale, paying for every credit card transaction, paying for advertising space that doesn’t return the investment.
Tired of re- (and sometimes re-re-re-) listing items that don’t sell the first time around, even when they’re in perfect condition, a wearable size, and better priced than my competitors.
Tired of packing boxes and writing out Customs forms and making trips to the post office.
Tired of what a mad nest of paperwork my income taxes have become.
Tired of feeling oppressed by the sheer volume of inventory that isn’t yet photographed/listed.
All of this excess isâ€¦excessive. I am very seriously considering consigning my entire inventory at one of the local brick-and-mortar shops. Tiddleywink Vintage‘s stock (and back-stock) would easily quadruple what Jolly Goods currently has to offer in the clothing area. Or maybe Night & Day Vintage would have room. I could sell off my backdrops, my mannequins, my studio lighting. I’d get my basement back, and some free time. Butâ€¦
I’d miss it. Yes, everything I’ve griped about above is true. But the fact of the matter is that I’ve never done this for fame and glory and easy money. (Ha!) I do it because I see beautiful vintage clothing that is potentially destined to become next year’s shredded Halloween costume if I don’t get it in front of the eyes of people who also appreciate its worth.
As other enthusiasts have noted, vintage clothing is getting harder to find. These items are 50-60-70 years old (or more), and they’re aging out. We can take all of the care we can muster, but we wear this clothing. Over time, fabrics deteriorate. Threads break. Buttons fall off. Zippers jam. Drinks get spilled. And yes, some items become next year’s Zombie Crawl*** costume. As time goes on, more pieces get lost to the rag bin. Can I, in good conscience, let it all go?
Time will tell. But time, and my patience, is running short.
*This part is actually right up my alley, but it’s frustrating that I spend hours researching items so that I’m confident they’re properly attributed, and then I see other sellers who so blatantly don’t bother. And we probably have equivalent revenue.
**I don’t mind as much when they’re good, valid questions. I mind very much when they’re stupid, thoughtless questions that could be answered by reading the item description. I understand that the item may not be your size/style/exactly what you’re looking for. I won’t be hurt if you don’t buy the item being discussed. But for goodness’ sake, say “thank you” when I answer your questions!
***Another seller grieved over the vintage piece sold to a customer who then gleefully exclaimed that she actuallyÂ planned to shred and blood-stain it for a Zombie Crawl costume. We can’t always win.
Bakelite |ËˆbÄk(É™)ËŒlÄ«t|Â noun trademark -Â an early form of brittle plastic, made from formaldehyde and phenol.Â Designated aÂ National Historic Chemical LandmarkÂ by theÂ American Chemical SocietyÂ in recognition of its significance as the world’s first synthetic plastic.
ORIGIN early 20th cent.: named after Leo H. Baekeland (1863â€“1944), the Belgian-born American chemist who invented it, + -ite.
One of the firstÂ plasticsÂ made from synthetic components, Bakelite was usedÂ in electricalÂ insulators, radio casings, kitchenware,Â jewelry, and children’sÂ toys.
And it sounds really good when it clunks together. And the colors are deep and rich and take on a warm hue as they age. Over time, many pieces of Bakelite jewelry broke or were thrown away. Those that remain are collectible, and can run into 100s of dollars. There are companies who still manufacture Bakelite-type plastic jewelry (the Retrolite line from Classic Hardware, for instance) but the manufacturing process is labor-intensive and the jewelry can still seem expensive for “just plastic.”
One of the more collectible lines of Bakelite jewelry is a collection that may or may not have been called Cherries Jubilee, originally produced in the 1940s. (I can’t find documentation to support the nomenclature, but I’m not a professional researcher.) If you search online for the necklace in this line, you’ll find many examples in a wide price range, from original sets to reproductions. While some are worth every penny and some bear an inflated “market value,” they’re all out of my pathetic little price range. So, it looks like it’s time once again to Get Crafty!
I’d had the vague mental plan to recreate my own version of this necklace for a Very Long Time. It wasn’t until I was looking for a bit of chain in order to carry out a clever earring storage trick I’d seen on Pinterest that I realized I could accomplish both projects with one purchase. So, while I was at it, I picked up some plastic beads, a packet of head pins, and some filagree bead caps.
white chain, $1.99
lucite crackle beads $1.99
lucite leaf beads $1.99
4in head pins $1.49
7mm bead caps $1.49
7mm jump rings (in my stash)
toggle clasp (in my stash)
Total Cost: $9
Parts Left Over: many bits, I’ll make matching earrings at the very least.
This was going to be more of a tutorial, but here’s the thing: if you actually give enough of a whit about making jewelry to have the proper tool for making loops on head pins, then you can already figure out how to put this together. If, however, you love it so much that you need to run out and buy round-nose micro pliers just to make this necklace, comment below and I’ll break down all of the steps for you.
Now, my version contains more metal parts than the original (head pin “stems,” bead caps, chain) and the plastic bits don’t even pretend to look like Bakelite, but I was going for the general effect, not a precise reproduction. If I wanted a “real deal” look, I’d buy the hand-made version (and matching pin while I’m at it) from Melody O’Beau because she deserves to get paid for all of the work and care she puts into hers.
And fini! My version will work just fine, for now.
More vintage necklaces from around the â€™net (clicking on any of the photos with prices will take you directly to that item’s sale page):
My apologies for missing the Wednesday and Thursday posts. It’s been hectic this week. I’ll keep this brief (and the crowd goes wild) because I have a massive amount of day-job work to do in the next 5 hours, but I do want to let you know that an estate sale whichÂ Erin and I almost skipped entirely turned out to pay out in, among many other things, a stack of 1950s blouses that have never been worn. I truly hope to start getting fresh clothing listings up at Tiddleywink soon! I’ve been busy listing some of the many vintage cookbooks from my collection, so if you’re hungry, do go take a look.
Another thing I picked up at the sale is a zip-top bag of old photos. The price was right, and I think they’ll be fun to slip into orders when I’m packing them up. They’d be even more fun if the photographer had marked them with any information whatsoever, but we’ll have to settle for the lone, identified photoâ€”of a cabinâ€”as saying “Cabin” on the back. So in this case, it’s not so handy anyway. Shown at top: the wedding of (an unidentified man) and (an unidentified woman) in the year 196X.
Enjoy your weekend!
While researching the designer label on an evening gown I picked up this weekend for TiddleywinkÂ Vintage, I came across the “society” page of The Pittsburgh Press, November 15, 1947. I hope you like these snippets. Click â€™em to see â€™em larger.
- The fella and I, along with his younger sister and their parents, went up to Leadville (Colo.) for a day trip over the weekend for the parents’ 40th anniversary. The dad lived in Leadville until 1958, so it was a trip jam-packed with anecdotes and information that really made for an interesting day. We saw the hospital where dad was born (now condos) as well as the tar-paper house where his mother was born in 1906. We went past the rectory where her father first stoppedâ€”ready to receive his last ritesâ€”when he arrived in Leadville, because he was sure that his arid-climate nosebleed was in fact a sign of the high-altitude-induced brain hemorrhage that would soon cause his death. :) An antiques shop in Leadville is where I found the aforementioned gown, but seeing as it’s not exactly a fancy-dress town, I’m not sure if it ever saw a dance floor locally. Perhaps it caught a performance or two at the Tabor Opera House before being packed away for many years.
- Also acquired: my first piece (no, really!) of Fire-King Jadite ovenware! I’ve long been on the hunt for a single, affordable, useful piece. Yes, I could use a mug, but I have this whole matchy-matchy thing going and I likely wouldn’t. I once found a solo fridgie dish-and-lid for a reasonable price, but it was chipped. Then lo, what do I spy in the corner of the antiques store but what appears to be a smallishy loaf baker which is not only marked a reasonable $22 but also conveniently on sale for 20% off! Once I got it home I learned that it’s actually a fridgie dish but with the less common (?) “Colonial” style rim, and it should have a clear lid. This set came with the same clear, handle-less lids used on the Gay Fad painted series. Those seem more easily found online, so I may buy myself a Gay Fad set just to steal the lid. ANYwayâ€¦pale green bliss!
- The cherry-pie-that-didn’t-turn-out, I have decided, will make a delicious addition to a batch of homemade ice cream. Mmmm, ice cream!
- The wardrobe dep’t. for “Vegas”Â placed another order! Woo!
- Um, probably other stuff! Zippity doo-dah!
Very happy to be working this week on a project for Cooper House, who are not only pretty darn fab designers (and coders), but also wonderful friends. However, between that and a client meeting I have on Wednesday and a high-maintenance-pet-sitting gig I have going all this week: go away. I’m busy. I’ll be blogging (I hope!) but you have a reprieve from the baking/canning/cooking posts this week. Ta for now!