Category Archives: shoes

Secret Collaboration

So secret that my collaborator doesn’t know about it yet. Hi, Erin! ::waves::

My friend Erin is, among other things—many other things—a painter. Her paintings have been commissioned by businesses (Oklahoma Employees Credit Union, for instance) as well as individuals, and you should probably get yourself an original before her work really takes off. If that’s not in your wall space allotment right now, she also sells her work in the form of prints, calendars, and iPhone/iPod cases. Erin recently posted a photo of a painting created for Pencil Shavings Studio, now that it’s hung in place:

Custom abstract art by Erin Cooper for Pencil Shavings Studio

Custom abstract art by Erin Cooper for Pencil Shavings Studio

Lovely, right? And also, wouldn’t that make a fabulous border print for a sheath dress? Which I mentioned to Erin. So now I’m just waiting for her to decide to make a Spoonflower order and ship me the fabric, so I can sew her up a dress of her own art. Something kinda sorta like this:

The Cooper Sheath, as imagined by me.

The Cooper Sheath, as imagined by me.

But with better shoes, because it’s Erin. She’s an excellent stylist.

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We Interrupt Your Regular Broadcast…

About the Dot Blouse: It’s still in progress. I write posts “live” as it were, and I don’t have a week’s worth lined up and ready to go. In true sew-along style, we would be sewing the blouse together. That is, until I got the flu and then started working 7 days a week. It will still happen, but there’s a delay while I try to fit in cooking, cleaning, and breathing.

On to more banal, personal stuff. I haven’t gone there in a while.

Selfie with a brand-new (and stinky) perm.

Selfie with a brand-new (and stinky) perm.

I got a perm. It’s not the pin-curl-set look I was secretly hoping the stylist could whip up, but at least my wash-and-wear hair doesn’t pouf and frizz as much now. This photo was taken the day of, so it’s not actually as curly as shown here. And while we may have come a long way, Baby, the process still stinks. Literally. It took 4 or 5 shampoos to finally clear the chemical stench from my hair. Yech.

Working. Ya. I’m still officially unofficial over at Prestige Estate Services, although I’ve been “freelancing” for them regularly since October. I should technically be an actual employee by now, but I like the freedom of scheduling days off to focus on design clients. It’s just that I haven’t been scheduling days off, so I wind up spending every “off” day working on design. While I love design and estate sales, I’m running myself ragged. I know this and whine about it, but I still do nothing to alleviate the stress, such as taking an extra day off from Prestige or saying “no” to a client. I have as of this moment very conveniently had 4 days off in a row from both jobs (a client is late getting me her files), and while my time has been filled with much-needed housecleaning, grocery shopping, dental work, and Tiddleywink Vintage administration, it still feels quite relaxing.

My office is set up in a corner of the basement tiki bar/lounge/shop photo studio/storage area, and the office percentage has become smaller and smaller until it’s gotten flat-out claustrophobic. The Boyfriend and I didn’t whip it fully back into shape this weekend, but we made a very good dent in the chaos. Having unearthed the backstock that has never made it into the shop, I am simultaneously overwhelmed and inspired. However, I’m trying to move some of this inventory into a booth at a local “antiques” mall. Space isn’t cheap, but it may be worth it if people can personally inspect the items before committing to a purchase!

The newest addition to my vintage handbag collection: a Lucite purse by Rialto. SCORE!

The newest addition to my vintage handbag collection: a Lucite purse by Rialto. SCORE!

On a separate-but-related subject, I’ve been buying my dentist a boat. While the work I need is deeply discounted through Direct Dental Plans of America, it’s still a lot of work. After today’s session in the dentist’s chair, I decided to stop in at the thrift store next door to look around. I didn’t even bother to take a shopping cart or basket in with me. Any interesting cookbooks? No. How about lamps? No. Sewing patterns? Nothing. Bathroom department, which I usually skip entirely but it’s right next to Sewing: that’s a nice vintage tissue box cover, but let me think about HOLY CRAP IS THAT A—YES IT IS—IT’S A LUCITE PURSE. IN THE BATHROOM DEPARTMENT. I glance furtively around. Does anyone else see this? Was someone trying to hide it over here? I look at the price tag. Nope, this wasn’t hidden. Whoever priced and shelved this must think it’s a cotton ball container or something. Quick check for cracks or chips (none) and to see if the latch works (yes) and I’m off like a shot to the cashier. The hinge is so shiny I think it may be a repro and then under the light at home I see “Original Rialto NY” and I can’t tell you how much I got it for because it was such a steal that I’m a bit embarrassed. And feel not entirely unlike I’d actually stolen it. Now that Viva is fewer than 8 weeks away, I really need to get cracking with the packing. And this purse, of course, will be a part of that.

Since this purse goes into my Pry It From My Cold, Dead Hands collection, it frees up a couple of other vintage white purses for me to relinquish to the shop. So there’s that. Maybe I’ll get some fresh product photography done after tomorrow’s dentist appointment (yes, another one) and meeting with the antiques mall manager! Woo!

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(Many) Shoes and (Pumpkin) Pie

Hi, my name is Wink and I used to blog with frequency. I’ve been with the busy, however, what with this whole the-boyfriend-is-moving-in dealio, as well as filling my free time with helping a local estate liquidation company organize and price a hoarder house for an upcoming sale. Since we last met…

That there above-mentioned boyfriend* moved in. He didn’t bring a lot of Things into the household, but what he did bring was Not Small. We had his parents over for dinner last night, which forced the issue of (finally) organizing the living and dining rooms. They look pretty dang good right now, at the expense of the guest room and basement. Which currently look an awful lot like the hoarder house I’ve been working in.

The hoarder house. Whatever you’re picturing, it’s wrong. This house is in an upper-middle-class neighborhood, and was inhabited by an upper-middle-class couple. For decades, these were “normal,” rational people. And then, about 10 or so years ago, the woman cracked. In a ceaseless attempt to fill that crack, she bought stuff. Lots of stuff. Lots and lots and lots of stuff. In fact, during the last couple of years, she bought so much stuff and with such frequency that she didn’t always have the time to remove the price tags or even take items out of their shopping bags before heading out to buy more stuff. A professional organizer was hired to help deal with all the stuff, which only wound up making more room for more stuff. Which she filled. And then she died. Leaving behind a husband who had grown accustomed to living in a smaller and smaller space, and a hell of a lot of stuff. So the husband moved out and said “to hell with all of this stuff.”

I’ve been to estate sales described as hoarder homes, and I’m always disappointed (?) that they don’t look like the dark, magazine-and-newspaper addled homes that I’ve seen flash by on the news. (I hear there are a few different reality shows that focus on hoarders, but I’ve never seen one so I can’t compare.) I now know how much work goes into clearing those homes out so people can actually walk around in the space. Which seems obvious, but I never did put 2 and 2 together. For two or three weeks now, we’ve been going through this house room by room, clearing out the receipts and tissue paper and shopping bags (we filled a roll-off Dumpster) and trying our best to organize and price the remaining clothing and shoes and furniture and DVDs and artwork and cosmetics and collectible figurines and avoiding altogether the packed-to-the-rafters basement, which will have to be an entirely separate sale.

So anyway, if you live in the greater Denver area, you should really swing by this sale. We’re running the first half (pre-basement) for four days, and while the selection will be greatest on Wednesday (day 1), I can guarantee that there will still be plenty left on Saturday (day 4). Everything is in like-new (or brand-spanking-still-with-tags-new) condition. In an interesting twist, when we finally worked our way into the husband’s home office, we found that it was loaded with antique books and historical artifacts from his family. So this sale has the brand new AND the very old!

Above-mentioned pie: I’d stopped in at Dollar Tree for something or other, and was greeted at the door by a display of canned pumpkin. Canned pumpkin! For a dollar! How could I pass that up? Pumpkin pie is super easy to make, especially when using a store-bought Graham cracker crust (which I knew I had in the pantry), so I whipped one up. A week later, I made an eggnog cake for no reason other than I had some eggnog in the house. I’m crafty that way.

A few posts back, I’d mentioned that I was going to have to start meal planning now that there are two mouths to feed. I’ve been doing it, and it’s surprisingly easy so far. I understand how it might get tedious over time, but so far, so good. This week we’ll be eating a lot of recipes that call for fresh tarragon because I needed it for one recipe and you can only buy one size package which is enough for, like, four different recipes. I used it last night to make the béarnaise sauce required for Sautéed Steak, Henri IV, my very first attempt at a Julia Child recipe. It was delicious and pretty easy, if a bit fussy to plate. Tonight we’ll dine on Fluffy Cracked Wheat With Mustard And Tarragon, and tomorrow I’ll roast up some tarragon chicken.

Part of the meal planning adventure includes serving up something every Wednesday from one of my many vintage cookbooks, and we’re two for two so far. On Halloween I cooked up an Irish Stew (or, since it was Halloween after all, Slaughtered Lamb stew) in ye olde pressure cooker. Actually, I used ye olde (1954) Mirro pressure cooker cookbook, but my spiffy late-model (2011) Cuisinart pressure cooker did the work. I’ve never eaten, let alone made, a lamb stew before, and I have to admit that I am floored by how absofreakinglutely delicious it is! And because pressure cookers are magical things, I went from raw veggies in need of dicing to hot stew ladled into a bowl in just about an hour.

The following Wednesday, I turned to my copy of 641 Tested Recipes from the Sealtest Kitchens for something a little less meat-centric and more retrotastic. I had hardly flipped through the pages when I came across Peppy Cottage Cheese Peppers (“A man’s main dish”) and knew that I had the week’s winner. Green peppers, stuffed with a mixture of rice (I used brown), cottage cheese, sautéed onion, tomato sauce, a bit of Worcestershire sauce, and topped with diced bacon. Not vegetarian, but at least it wasn’t based on meat. And while the squishy pink filling in the peppers looked dubious going into the oven, this turned out to be another will-make-again recipe.

My selection for this week is something called Applesauce Meatballs (Sunset Cook Book of Favorite Recipes, 1949), and I’ll have to report back with the results at a later date. I plan to serve them up with a side of spaghetti squash seasoned with, you guessed it, fresh tarragon. If there’s still any tarragon left at that point, I’ll put it in a small bottle of vinegar to steep for future use.

And on that note: until next time, my dearest readers!

*For the first time in 12 years, someone else did my laundry yesterday. IT IS DELIGHTFUL.

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Filed under collections, day job, food, Halloween, holidays, kitchen, life-threatening clutter, reviews, romance, relationships, shoes, vintage

All of These Things Are Not Like The Others

One of these things is not like the others, one of these things just doesn’t belong.
Can you tell which thing is not like the others, by the time I finish my song?

I didn’t have a specific post planned for today, or if I did, I’ve forgotten what it was. But there I was, doing a quick search for dress clips on Etsy this morning, and it seems a lesson is in order:

Dress clips are not shoe clips are not clip-on earrings. They are not interchangeable. I have personally attempted to use clip-on earrings as shoe clips, and they hurt because they’re too dimensional. I wouldn’t dare use dress clips on my ears, because that’s akin to clipping an iron maiden onto your earlobes. Neither shoe clips nor earrings have the strength required to gather and restrain fabric like dress clips.

Below: some visuals of properly described items currently listed on Etsy, so that you can see what you’re looking for. (Clicking on any photo will take you directly to the matching Etsy listing, if you’d like to see prices and more info.)

Dress Clips
Grandma, what big teeth you have!

1940s Vintage “Cream Corn” Bakelite Carved Dress Clips from ForGrammaAlice

Shoe Clips
See how the clip lies flat and smooth, and isn’t hinged? A hinge would dig right into the top of your foot. All. Day. Long.

Vintage Art Deco Shoe Clips from BakeliteBakery

 

Clip-On Earrings
Note the tensioned hinge and the somewhat curved (cushioned, as much as metal will) piece that presses against the earlobe. No teeth here!

Vintage Earrings Clip On Teardrop Shaped Bone Colored Filigree from MagpieSue

This is not to say that there are never variations on the hardware for these items, but before you buy (or sell), think about the purpose these items are being advertised for, and whether or not the hardware is up to the task.

DISCLOSURE: As you know if you’re a regular reader, I am a vendor with two vintage-themed shops on Etsy. MagpieSue (earrings) and I are both members of the Vintage Lovers and Vintage Market teams on Etsy; I otherwise have no affiliation with these particular vendors.

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Filed under citizens, fashion, jewelry, shoes, vintage

Snap-front Shirts

Two is a coincidence, three is a collection. -Me

Well alrighty then, kiddies, gather ’round and let me tell you ’bout a little girl who never wanted to dress like a cowboy until some time late in high school when she HAD to have herself a pair of cowboy boots. And by “have herself,” I mean “beg for a pair for Christmas.” I still remember ’em: Dan Post boots, in black leather. Nothing fancy, which, even then, I was disappointed by. But still, good boots of my very own. And for that, I was pleased. They were joined shortly thereafter by a pair of Larry Mahan lizard-skin boots, very graciously donated to me by my friend Winston, a real, live Texan. They were too small for him, and too big for me. My heels would bleed from rubbing around inside those boots, and the lizard was cracking, and the soles were separating, and I was in no financial position to do anything about it.

Actually, even before the boots, I had a t-shirt on which was printed an old photo of a line of cowgirls, real buckaroo rodeo gals, from maybe the early ’30s. Wonderful, broad-brimmed hats.

I’m not sure at what point I decided that I wanted to be Dale Evans. I loved Nudie‘s work, and I’d wanted majorette boots since I was a tiny little thing, so I guess it was a natural progression. I bought my first leather-and-concho belt in Kansas in 1995 or ’96, and my first fancified snap-front shirt in… shoot. I don’t remember. It’s been a while.

Click on the photo to take a look at the collection.

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Dim-Out Anklets

Hi! Remember me? I used to post 5 days a week. Now I seem to post twice a month. It’s something I will try to get better about. I think perhaps I need to get out of the house more.

Okay, so if you know me at all, you know that I collect, among other things, vintage clothing. Always have. Well, as long as I’ve had money to spend, I have. My mom had a beautiful, I’d guess late-1800s jacket that I used to adore as a girl. It was too fragile to atually wear out, but I would put it on, and wonder about how to fix the worn and frayed bits. I have no idea what ever happened to it, or to the gorgeous, ’40s-era ivory satin wedding dress (tea-length, therefore not a gown) that I bought on Canal Street in NYC back in 1990. I spray-painted a pair of pumps to match. I kid you not.

All of the collecting that I’ve done over the years has been with a huge amount of luck, and a small understanding of what it is I’m looking for. I recognize silhouettes and colors and fabrics from the photos I’ve always admired, and as a graphic designer, I can guesstimate an era by the typeface used on the label, but I’ve never done any serious studying. I could be wrong a lot of the time. In fact, I’m sure that I am. So from time to time, I do a little online hunting to brush up and maybe learn a thing or two.

This morning, I was scouring the LIFE archives on Google Images (boundless thanks to Ryan Cochran over at The Jalopy Journal for pointing me there). The image search feature is capped at 200 matches, so I kept finessing my keywords based on intriguing hits. Some magical combination of words let me to a series of photos of a woman’s ankles, wrapped in a variety of large white cuffs. There was a mention of “dim-out fashions.” Of course, I know what a dim-out is, but it inspired a fashion trend? And what on earth could it have to do with these giant anklets? My internal research alarm was buzzing madly, so I went about finding out.

If there is an online archive of LIFE articles, I don’t know about it and can’t find it. I know that these photos accompanied an article that ran in the March 22, 1943 issue. And while I couldn’t find a LIFE archive, I sure know where to find the New York Times archive. On January 16th of 1943, the Times ran an article which explained,

White anklets, which would make New York women pedestrians visible to motorists 100 feet away on the city’s dimmed-out streets, were suggested yesterday by the Public Safety section of the Greater New York Safety Council as part of a five-point program to reduce the mounting number of fatal traffic accidents here.

Ah-ha! Now I get it! There’s also a mention of “college girls” being asked to “help out” which only strengthens my belief that the entire concept was thought up by a bunch of ankle fetishists. I mean, c’mon. Take a look at these photos.

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Filed under fashion, Is it safe to remove the gas masks?, nostalgia, shoes, vintage

Mrs. Blandings

Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House is not my favorite movie. It’s not included in my admittedly small personal library. But there is one scene which, due in no small part to the nature of my “day job,” is very near and dear to my heart.

Jim Blandings, feeling the constraits of a small, New York City apartment on his growing young family, decides to move them all to a more spacious spread in rural Connecticut. Jim’s wife, Muriel, is in charge of the decorating.

In my favorite scene, Muriel Blandings is discussing with the painter her color choices for the walls, as workers scurry about in the background. This is the dialog between Mrs. Blandings, the painting contractor, Mr. PeDelford, and his painter, Charlie:

Mrs. Blandings – Now, Mr. PeDelford, we’ll discuss painting.

Mr. PeDelford – Okay.

Mrs. Blandings – I had some samples. Here we are. Now, first, the living room. I want it to be a soft green. Not as blue-green as a robin’s egg.

Mr. PeDelford – No.

Mrs. Blandings – But not as yellow-green as daffodil buds. Now, the only sample I could get is a little too yellow. But don’t let whoever does it get it too blue.

Mr. PeDelford – No.

Mrs. Blandings – It should be a sort of grayish yellow-green. Now the dining room, I’d like yellow. Not just yellow. A very gay yellow. Something bright and sunshiny. I tell you, if you’ll send one of your workmen to the grocer for a pound of their best butter and match that exactly, you can’t go wrong.

This is the paper we’ll use in the hall. It’s flowered. But I don’t want the ceiling to match any colors of the flowers. There are some little dots in the background, and it’s these dots I want you to match. Not the little greenish dot near the hollyhock leaf, but the little bluish dot between the rosebud and the delphinium blossom. Is that clear? Now, the kitchen’s to be white. Not a cold, antiseptic, hospital white.

Mr. PeDelford – No.

Mrs. Blandings – A little warmer, but still, not to suggest any other color but white. Now, for the powder room in here, I want you to match this thread. And don’t lose it. It’s the only spool I have and I had an awful time finding it. As you can see, it’s practically an apple red. Somewhere between a healthy Winesap and an unripened Jonathan. Oh, excuse me. (leaves to speak to another contractor)

Mr. PeDelford – You got that, Charlie?

Charlie – Red, green, blue, yellow, white.

On every one of the press checks I go to, it’s my job to KNOW color. I have been playing with Color-Aid swatches and Pantone books since I was a toddler. So, when I order a RED dress from eBay and it shows up RUBY, don’t think I won’t say something. When my beautiful, Stealth Gray Pearl car is repainted some custom mix that a lazy painter thought would be close enough… it isn’t. When my Persimmon and Periwinkle tattoo comes out Persimmon and Blue, I’m going to bitch about it. The differences might be subtle to most people, but to me, it’s like night and day. This isn’t to say that I’m GOOD at color. If I don’t have my swatch in front of me, it can be a nightmare for me to match it. Some folks have a real knack for putting a color to memory, but I’m the sort who is STILL trying to find “the right pink” to match a dress I bought a year ago. And while, in many cases, “close enough” is, it isn’t where that dress is concerned. In this case, I’m trying to learn a lesson oft repeated to me by my friend Mary Jo: “It doesn’t have to match, it just has to go.” (Meanwhile, people stop me on the street when I’m “daring” enough to wear yellow shoes with an all black-and-white outfit.)

So, what goes with this lovely new vintage number that I brought home, again at half-price, from the thrift store yesterday? It’s what I’d call a Sky Blue; not as green as a Robin’s Egg…

As usual, more info if you follow the link.

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