Vintage & Fashion news, pretty vintage items and of course wee bit personal life style ramblings of an eleven year on line vintage clothing seller, avid fashion, antique and vintage lover

Monday, June 28, 2010

In time for the Intime'

known fact ~ mention "road trip" and i have my shoes on waiting at the door. just love them! When we first moved to texas, we'd explore constantly.. always going on little rides, taking country roads and just checking things out in our new state.

then allana became a cheerleader.. horray! we had an "excuse" for road trips. We'd all caravan from the school to the town where the football game was, but after the game, we'd venture off on our own. We'd have lunch at a little local mom/pop diner.. stop at antique malls, and of course road side stands for produce.

the kids are grown.. so now our road trips are justified with estate sale..not that we need a "reason' for one, but it makes them fun.

So Saturday, off we go. My middle daughter Melissa and I head two hours south. for one well advertised estate sale. Did i mention its over 100 degrees in Tx? and of course, hotter south.

we get there, wait in line.. get in and no luck. lots of pottery and china. smalls. things i no longer am interested in ~ already have a garage full of that!

squeezing our way into the bedroom.. nothing. wah! she was a "pajama lady".. no pretty nightgowns. But wait! i spot chiffon. and black! i move over to the dresses and YES! she had a nightgown! i grabbed it, a few purses and off we go.

we find a cute little resturant, have a wonderful home made lunch with out of this world barbecue, then hit the town square and the little antique shops. No other purchases but enjoyed all the little shops.

We took our time driving back, again using country roads and avoiding the freeway. by now its probably 103. And i realize we need to start doing estates either north or east where its a wee bit cooler to walk around.

and the nightgown? totally worth the drive, even if it was only one and not perfect but gorgeous.. a vintage Intime' of California with a fabulous massive sweep of chiffon.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Hats, hats and more hats ~ Vintage of course!

Hats are darling. There is a shape for everyone, a style to flatter any face. Yet.. rarely do we wear them! Of course in winter to keep warm, or in summer to keep the sun out of our eyes working in the garden. and those who i admire but consider self assured to wear them on a daily basis, no matter the weather.

Remember when it was mandatory to cover your head in church? I fondly remember hats every Easter.. and the tradition of all the kids getting new Easter Bonnets annually. Evidence below.. i'm the tall one standing in back, surrounded by my sisters and cousins, circa 1960.

Mom always wore her little pill box hats. My favorite were always picture hats.. great big brim that were so dramatic and i owned quite a few, proudly wearing them!

Then came the pretty little net whimseys that did the job.. covered our head without the bulk of a hat. Cute and trendy for teens in the 60s and 70s.

This week's theme on another blog (Reflections of Vintage) i participate in is "hats".. so the mad race was on! get those hats listed, so i can be included in the blog. Out comes the huge rubbermaid tote full of hats. So many, and most i had completely forgotten about.

There were even some my dear friend from kindergarten found at a Michigan estate sale and shipped to me. Some from my "designer upscale lady estate" in Dallas.. others i had picked up individually along the way with the intent of wearing.. instead they all went into the tote.

I've only made a small dent in it.. but i needed the incentive, glad i got it, and am really enjoying them, a nice switch from clothing! They are listed here:

but keep checking back.. i'm still plodding along! :D

Monday, June 21, 2010

Eyelet & Embroidery ~ did you know?

Have you seen that ridiculous commercial for Bing ~ the one that shows information overload? well, that's where i am right now.

i miss the good old days when you went to the library, pulled a ton of books from a specific section, took them home and gleaned the information you needed.

but now? nooooooooo.. Why drive all the way to a library (if your's is still open).. when you can just google it.. get information overload. Unfortunately. I couldn't even get what i was looking for.

what was i searching? eyelet. Crisp, beautiful, embellished embroidered eyelet. I listed a few items last week in eyelet.. one of my ultimate favorite treatments on clothing.

To get to the history of eyelet, i had to weed through embroidery first.. but it was really interesting.

One version credits embroidery to the Egyptians. . The earliest surviving embroidered cloth is Egyptian, preserved by the dry desert climate from the 6th century. Ancient Egyptians also created embroidery with white threads on a white canvas that was so sophisticated that even today's modern technologies can't exactly duplicate it.( getting closer to white eyelet?? nooo)

In the 16th Century, the Chinese were creating two sided embroidery with silk threads on silk fabric.

We also have Greece, Italian workshops, Czech and German ecclesiastical embroideries of the 10th and 11th centuries, which were mainly created in monasteries and convents.

The earliest embroidery to survive in England (from 906) is a stole and maniple (church vestments) from the tomb of St. Cuthbert at Durham.

Yet another source credits the year 1639 and the Monarchy in England. . England was also credited "Elizabethian Embroidery" in the 16th centrury as raised embroidery, which we call "crewel" today.

We cant forget Ireland, who is also famous for it fabulous Irish linens and gorgeous cutwork, both ancient products.

Much like Mexican embroidery, different regions offered different styles and techniques. All were being developed simultaneously by any country that practiced sewing; each area unique, despite being a common skill.

Evidently, embroidery began as a male thing. Yep.. men invented it, then some time through the years, women enjoyed it as well. Victorian embroidery was considered an important part of a girl’s education and for part of her trousseau. Poor girls could use their needle skills to find paying work. Girls living in their Little houses on the Prairie did samplers.. Pieces of embroidery with sayings, the alphabet or just a "sample" of all their skills with various needle stitches.

But.. i still couldn't find my eyelet information. Also referred to as openwork, white works, pulled-thread, and Ayrshire Needlework, which originated in Scotland in the late 1700s.

Then i researched Broderie Anglaise - (English Embroidery), with its large eyelets and simple cutwork, was used to embellish clothing and linens. Sometimes referred to as Eyelet, Madeira, monochromatic embroidery or Swiss Work.

So i had even more names to research.. see what i mean about "information overload"??

Closest to what we currently in America refer to as Eyelet Lace is by the technical name of "Cutwork." Areas are finished with closely placed buttonhole stitches and then the inner fabric is cut away. Satin stitch is used, and for the more ornate varieties, buttonhole bars are used to fill the spaces between the remaining fabric. The result is a lace-like effect., except i thought the buttonhole bar style was called faggotting. i know horrible name, but i didn't invent it.

Then we have "Specific styles of cutwork" ~ Renaissance, Richelieu, and Venetian.

Geeze! all i wanted to know was who invented embroidered eyelet lace?? From all this, i narrowed down to "Whitework" and discovered Redwork, (first became popular in the 1880s) then bluework ~
outline embroidery almost identical redwork embroidery except stitched with blue thread instead of red.

Then i discovered eyelet was extremely difficult and most likely conceived in the 1700's. I pretty much guessed the difficult part~ stitching with white thread on white? exact, precise perfect stitches? Excellent eyesight would be a requirement, I am sure. And i did discover that early eyelet was embroidered first.. the holes cut after.

Sadly, our little local library is closed, due to county budget cuts.. so i had no alternative to google overload. And after all this research, I thought i'd pare it down to basics and share it ~ it was fascinating, i hated to waste and honest... all i wanted was a little blip about the history of eyelet to share with you, and three of the new eyelet pretties i have on

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Fathers Day ~ A Red Rose or White?

My earliest memories of fathers day when I was young were not just the ties we bought dad, or the home made crafts we made for him; but from Church.. it was explained to me that if your father was deceased, you wore a red rose, if he was still alive, awhite rose. This left a strong impact on me back then.

Of course, like many things.. I just moved on and forgot about the custom, as it seems it no longer is a tradition. I became curious to this as we approach Father's Day this year. Surprisingly, Father's day is a relatively "new" celebration, not becoming national until 1966.

Research on the origination of Father's Day is varied, interesting and sentimental.. One such story, and the most popular, was a Ms. Sonora Louise Smart Dodd from Spokane, Washington was sitting in Church on Mother's Day.. and wondered if there was a day to honor fathers, as there was mothers.

Sonara's own mother had died in childbirth at the young age of 16, leaving her father to raise 6 other children and a newborn on his own. She became inspired by Anna Jarvis's accomplishment of a national day to honor mother's and began her own mission for a day to honor fathers, justified in feeling her father certainly deserved being honored.

She began locally, in her own church, then to the Spokane Ministerial Association and the local Young Men's Christian Association (YMCA) who all supported her,

Mrs. Dodd celebrated the very first Father's Day on June 19, 1910. Though there was initial hesitation the idea gradually gained popularity through US and Fathers Day came to be celebrated in cities across the country .

It took almost six years for the idea to really spread. Finally, in 1916, the concept of honoring father's reached higher powers.. President Woodrow Wilson approved of the idea.

A full seven years later, President Calvin Coolidge too supported the idea of a national Father's Day in 1924 to, "establish more intimate relations between fathers and their children and to impress upon fathers the full measure of their obligations".

Finally, after a struggle of over four decades, President Lyndon Johnson signed a presidential proclamation declaring the third Sunday of June as Father's Day in 1966. Then in 1972, President Richard Nixon established a permanent national observance of Father's Day to be held on the third Sunday of June.

Of course, there are many conflicting stories, including the first Father's Day was celebrated in a West Virgina church in 1908 and a rumor the first was in Vancouver, WA.

Another report states Harry Meek was the president of the Lions' Club in Chicago, and it is said he celebrated the first Father's Day with his organization in 1915 to stress the need to honor all fathers. He selected the closest date to his birthday, the third Sunday in June for celebrating. In appreciation for Meek's work, the Lions Clubs of America presented him with a gold watch, with the inscription "Originator of Father's Day," on his birthday, June 20, 1920.

Then in 1957, Senator Margaret Chase Smith wrote Congress: "Either we honor both our parents, mother and father, or let us desist from honoring either one. But to single out just one of our two parents and omit the other is the most grievous insult imaginable."

I am fortunate to be wearing a white rose to Church this year on Father's Day, and will be happy to explain the tradition to anyone that isn't aware of it. I'm truly grateful to have such a wonderful father. I was his first child when he was only 17, four more after me. In retrospect, we most likely grew up together, he was so young to have so much responsibility.

Dad took all of us under wing and taught us everything from changing oil in the lawn mower, how to fix a flat and even budgeting and investing. He taught us independence and respect. To this day, I go to him with any problems and respect his wisdom. For all this I am grateful to my wonderful father, and to Ms. Sonora Louise Smart Dodd for her perseverance to create a holiday to honor fathers..

My dad, 1934

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Two BIG $ celebrity dress Auctions

There were two separate auctions in the UK last week.. one for hollywood props.. who handled Marilyn Monroe's pink dress from Gentleman Prefer Blondes.. they said it was the "most important Hollywood dress ever".. its the one she wore when she sang " Diamonds are a Girls best friend" in the movie.. the price?

And Kerry Taylor auctioned off Princess Di's black satin dress from her first official outing as Prince charles fiance'.. and it wasn't even the original.. she lost so much weight, the Emanuel's couldn't alter it, so made her a duplicate. the auction was for the original dress... the price? $276K

Dontcha wish you owned just one of them??

Very Special Vintage Robes

Woo hoo! only 19 days into the month and my "new year's resolution" and i have exceeded all my goals.. tons and tons of new listings on, facebook, twitter AND my beloved blog all have regular updates.

One of my projects was Robes.. a dear dear customer who became a pen pal, and now is a wonderful friend put in a request for a robe.. so i grabbed one tote (of several) and started on the robes. Scarey ~ i forgot just how many i have.. and they should be listed!! So i got to work on robes.

Last year, i drove to Austin (5 hours, told ya i love road trips! lol) and went to an estate sale there. It was amazing. A gentleman who worked in the oil industry was constantly on the road for his job. He had a wonderful wife of 40 years.. and with each trip, he would return with a gift for her, and it was almost always lingerie.

If he was in a small town, he would purchase from a local boutique.. if it was big city, he'd go to Neiman's or Saks.. nothing was too good for his beautiful wife.

And of course, she had more lingerie than she could ever wear! Each piece was amazing. The condition incredible.

Then in the 1980s she passed away. He never re-married, devoted forever to his wonderful wife. The trips continued, and he passed away last year. The daughters had to deal with the estate, and among it, all their mother's treasured lingerie. I bought every single piece. it became as sentimental to me as it was to the daughters, and i listed it slowly.

A wonderful lady in California bought the first piece. We became pen pals.. and she asked of the estate and i told her what i had learned.. so she bought more. In fact, she bought most of it, and i was thrilled it went to a good home. Sellers get personal about their things you know..

And today i came across two more pieces from this estate. A gorgeous late 1970s vintage Komar Robe in a stunning peacock blue velour.. it has a zip front perfect for lounging but it also has the most amazing neckline. its quilted.. but the quilting is actually done in roses and leaves. its just gorgeous. Of course, like new, with a dry cleaning tag attached.

She also had a pink brocade or jacquard robe. Its satin, but very light and fluid, the design a subtle tone on tone.. just lovely! it too has quilted trim. Stunning white satin with classic diamond quilting accents on the pockets, cuffs and the shawl collar. Very Mad Men.. it would be fabulous on the show with January Jones wearing it! Actually, if it meant getting close to Don Draper.. i'd wear it!!

Well, the robe tote is almost done.. and i do hope if my special friend in N. Carolina doesn't buy either of these, that they go to a home as special as they came from.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Fabulous Vintage Olga Nightgown in Rare Styles

Of course i love an Olga nightgown.. who doesn't? if you read my earlier post about the history of olga nightgowns, you have already learned there's a style to suit everyone!

well, i managed to get a few new ones listed this week.. one a common favorite, the other two really rare:

This one is the more common, but highly collectable "Butterfly" lace.. called so because of the lace inset across the bodice that trails a wee bit down the side to give almost an illusion of butterfly wings.. isnt it pretty? This is in the Bodysilk fabric, ultra silky and luxurious.

A more rare one is this cozy top secret hug. it has a fabulous brushed nylon bodice and silky nylon skirt. Wonderful long sleeves with lace cuffs.. how perfect for a cold winter night, with the flannel like top, and the silky bottom.. the best of both worlds!!

and last we have another really rare style, the fabric ultra sheer and ultra soft, with a "whipped cream" texture.. just incredible. I like it for the style as well.. a little stand up collar, pintucks at the bodice, then yards and yards of fabric as it flows free busted to the floor.. with an amazing full sweep. demure, yet very sexy!

All are available in my shop! stop by and look at all the lovely Olga nightgowns available.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010


what a wonderful campaign. not a new concept, its been around for a while. the idea is to support small local business. you try to spend $50 locally, every 30 days. you know. mom & pop shops. local restaurants, local farmer stands.

and if we all did it.. we'd have all this money back into local economy. i love it! it just makes sense.
and of course, i would much rather spend money with the "little guy" struggling to make a living, especially in this economy.

Sometimes its hard. other times its easy. Mainly the hard part is the outrageous prices the little guy charges. I know. he has overhead. he has to buy the product for way more than the big box store charges, often he has to buy from the big box store to re sell, since his small orders don't even qualify for delivery.

So on the way home today, i passed Wal Mart.. knowing their milk is only $1.99.

And i stopped a new produce store that just opened last year. A 3rd generation farmer who put up a cute little building with wrap around porch. Grows his own corn and tomatoes, but also buys "excess" from local gardeners, which is another nice thing i like about him.

The porch itself attracts customer. It has a row of hand made Adrondiak chairs, hand made by a local retired carpenter. For sale of course. Jim, the produce stand owner doesn't take a cut.. you just make your check out to the carpenter. Jim's nice like that. For his kindness, his business should thrive.

He helped me pick out a watermelon, and sold me a quart box of tomatoes, half green for frying. His prices barely more than Wal Mart..but i know he didn't use nasty pesticides or anything bad in growing them.

Just down the road a bit after Jim's produce stand and right before my house is a "corner store"..little gas station with two pumps and a small convenience store. Its been there for ages, though its on about the third owner. I have to mention its in the middle of no where. 7 miles from "town."

You never see a car there. its sad. The convenience of having him open, despite high prices is worth supporting him. Hey, you can't run up to walmart in your pajamas at 9:30pm cause you forgot you don't have coffee for the morning or bread for the kids lunches. But you can there. And he doesn't even laugh, although i'm sure he wonders about some of his customers.

So I stopped in and grabbed a gallon of milk. $3.99. but that's ok. it was worth the extra $2 to not deal with a parking spot at walmart, the long lines at the checkout. And he greeted me by name, asked about the kids as he handed me my change. You don't get that at big box stores.

We haven't spent anywhere near $50 so far this month.. but we'll hit the little restaurant for breakfast Saturday morning, and keep trying to "keep it local".

its a nice feeling.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Texas Country Reporter

One of the best things about selling vintage is scouting it. Since i absolultey love a road trip, its a great justification for one! We get to see a new area, go to wonderful estate sales and enjoy local food. we especially enjoy small towns and back roads.

A lot of the inspiration for our road trips comes from one of my favorite local travel shows, "Texas Country Reporter"

Bob Phillips, the show's host features small towns, artists, festivals and just people of interest in the state of texas. We have enjoyed many of the locations suggested on the show, often perfect little weekend get aways.

Imagine my surprise, and excitement when today's show featured a re-sale clothing store! Yes! Bob went to Sweetwater, Tx, and visited Bennie Frazier, who owns Bennie's Attic.

Bennie was interviewed mainly for an estate she bought of original Route 66 art.. which is fabulous, but of course, i was focusing on the racks and racks of fabulous vintage designer clothing, hats, purses and shoes.

There were ladies shopping during the show, and trying on clothing. Racks of beautiful coats and dresses were glimpsed.. enough to tease!

Bennie also had cute collectibles and antiques.. the store looks absolutely charming, a place you could just spend hours in. Bennie herself seems like a fun, vivacious person that anyone would enjoy meeting.

Sadly, i found no website for her, a few local newspaper articles and of course video from today's Country REporter show.

but~ know the second we can get away, we're heading down to sweetwater to visit Bennie's store and see her vintage clothing!

If you happen to be in Texas, Bennie's Attic is at 113 Oak St., Sweetwater, TX 795556

Friday, June 11, 2010

The Playhouse

Moving cross - country is pretty traumatic for anyone, but especially children; even when they say they want to.

In 1993, I took the plunge. Packed up the kids and left Michigan for Texas. The girls were excited. My family was beside themselves.. looking forward to two more grandchildren/ neices to spoil.

My parents, two sisters, and one brother; all their familys and lots of cousins were in TX. Mom even flew up to MI, so she could drive back with us. She helped make it a fun "girly trip" to Texas, stopping anywhere interesting along the way and taking our time.

Everyone tried to make the transition easy and fun for my girls. Especially my dad. The back yard to our new house had a large, odd cement slab. We had a large back porch, so the slab was a mystery, even the neighbors could not tell us what it was ever used for.

I thought it was the perfect foundation for a playhouse! nice and flat, on a hill, with a fabulous view of pastures.

The quest began. Dad wanted to build it himself for them. We looked at kits, ready made and even blueprints. we had to have the perfect playhouse. Then dad had yet another heart attack, and needed a stent. Sadly, his construction days were over; but he never forgot his promise to my daughters.

Months later Dad called. He wanted me to meet him at a local lake. No reason.. just come! So i jumped in the car to meet him. I found him in front of a sadly neglected, abandoned cottage. I thought perhaps he was interested in lake property?

No. Dad had other ideas. This would be a PERFECT playhouse for his grandaughters. I laughed. it was HUGE ~ 10 feet wide, and over 20 feet long! it was two story with a very narrow staircase and definately needed some TLC.

Dad had already talked to the owner, who wanted the land, but not the cottage. The price he wanted for the building was ridiculously low. The lumber and building supplies to build a new one were at least ten times more than he wanted, and this one was pretty much ready to go!

Dad also had a quote of only a few hundred dollars to move it from the lake to our back yard. He was quite convincing, and made so much sense. Dad always is logical.

So, the very next weekend, the former cottage was moved to our back yard. The girls and their playmates had a wonderful time painting the interior. If you can imagine 6 & 8 year old girls with paint rollers.. it was a fun time.

We put down vinyl tile downstairs, hung curtains and moved in an old sofa , a kitchen table, bookshelves and even a TV.

The upstairs was carpeted, so it just needed a good cleaning. We moved up mirrors, clothing racks and a dressing table, as well as bean bag chairs and sleeping bags.

My daughters always loved dressing up in vintage clothing, and making up plays. Real plays with several acts they wrote themselves, made tickets for and carried out. Partially as an excuse to dress up i'm sure, but they had wonderful imaginations!

Despite being the "new kids in town" our house rapidly became the place to hang out. There wasn't a single weekend i can remember that did not have at least one little girl spending it here, usually four or five. And typically from Friday to Sunday night. we all loved every minute of it.

The girls would spend hours and hours dressing up, experimenting with makeup. They would make sandwiches in the house, and take them out to the playhouse to eat. They would create new plays to perform. And most of all, I think they developed their own fashion style.

Even as they grew to their teen years, they would still enjoy the playhouse. Often they would incorporate something from the massive collection of vintage clothing up their into their every day wardrobe. They actually started fashion trends at school with their peers. It was natural that Allana, my youngest wore a beautiful vintage dress to her prom.

Years later, the girls grown and gone, sadly there are no more slumber parties in the playhouse. Since then it was a crafting room and a potting shed. It was too wonderful a space to not use.

These days the kitchen table and sofa are gone. The book shelves are still there, but instead of the rock collections and favorite children's books, rubber maid totes line them. Full of vintage clothing. Not the girl's dress up clothes, but my inventory. An entire wall of new shelves are marked nightgowns, robes, blouses, skirts ~ and on each of the shelves are the appropriate vintage clothing inventory.

I can't part with the playhouse. I have had offers to sell it it many times. Hopefully one day, a little grandaughter will come running in the house with a vintage dress, high heels and a huge fun hat from her dress up time in it.

And each time i go out there to add inventory or retrieve a sold item to ship, i can almost hear the laughter of the girls over 10 years ago!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

I Love an Interesting Brooch

Pins are fun, and a great way to express your feelings, your hobby, your favorite things. They are easy and inexpensive to collect, small to store. Great conversation starters, pins or brooches are a wonderful fashion accessory even if you aren't a "jewelry person" ~ just pin your favorite brooch on a coat, jacket, sweater or blouse and enjoy the compliments!
Like most of us, Madeline Albright loves a good flea market, or an antique store. And like many of us she loves a pretty or an interesting brooch.

Last year while promoting her new book "Read my Pins" I became fascinated with her. Ms. Albright was our first female Secretary of State, a challenging job on its own; most likely more so when you have to prove yourself for being a woman in that position. She was interesting, charming and witty on these promotional talk show interviews, a completely different side of her than we were used to seeing.

I was reminded of that interest recently as the Smithsonian is doing a special exhibit on her many brooches.

The former Secretary of State has an amazing collection of pins, that she would use to her advantage "politically." According to the Harper Collins book description:

"Before long, and without intending it, I found that jewelry had become part of my personal diplomatic arsenal. Former president George H. W. Bush had been known for saying "Read my lips." I began urging colleagues and reporters to "Read my pins."

Despite her important and very serious role, she has a wonderful sense of humor. She took President Bush's "read my lips" one step further with her own "read my pins". The fashion legacy began for her with the Iraq media comparing her to an "unparalleled serpent". On her next trip to Iraq, Ms. Albright wore a snake pin; and the trend began.

Meeting Nelson Mandella? why a zebra pin! Russian president Vladimir Putin ~ "Hear No Evil, Speak No Evil, See No Evil". On a good day, just a flower pin. Being kept in the dark? a mushroom pin of course! A different brooch and a different way to express her feelings various official missions of state.

Pins are a great way to express yourself, and there are unimaginable pins available! From romantic and elegant to whimsical. Vintage bouquets loaded with rhinestones, cute animals, characters, fruit, flowers, pets, favorite places, and from abstract to realistic, these little pieces of jewelry are most often works of unique art.

Pick up her book or try to see Ms. Albright's collection at the Smithsonian, then touring the US, and in the meantime, here are some fun and beautiful pins for you to consider starting your own personal fashion statement!

or more beautiful costume jewelry in my ecrater shop:

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Sarah Coventry's Soaring Seventies

The 1970's were an exciting time for me. High school graduation, a wedding, then my first child. It was also the time I went to my first "demonstration". Home parties were extremely popular back then. We were having parties to sell everything from jewelry, to Tupperware to home decor in the comfort of our homes laughing with friends and eating jello salads.

Sarah Coventry was the first "Home Party" jewelry company. I went to a friend's Sarah Coventry party to support her older sister who was the "Fashion Show Director" and by the end of the night I was recruited. I fell in love with the jewelry and the concept!

Charles Stuart founded his company in 1948 using his wife's name, Emmons. In 1949 he incorporated and began Sarah Coventry, named after his granddaughter. They started their company with Home Fashion Shows and continued doing so for almost forty years. The jewelry was wonderful, high quality with precious, semi precious gemstones and very progressive yet timeless designs. The company had a complete line of costume jewelry with something for everyone, from necklaces, key chains, rings, cuff links, tie tacks and even items for "tweens" which they termed back in the 70's . It was exciting that the line was constantly changing and updated. Celebrities endorsed the company and appeared on the catalogues.

We offered holiday, birthstone, monogram, initial pieces and charm collections with themes like "endangered species." Many limited edition items were offered. Each piece had an exotic or fun name and was versatile. As a Fashion Show Director, we were trained to demonstrate this versatility, and show our customers that a brooch would have a fob on back so could be worn as a pendant. Chain necklaces could be worn as a belt, and a dangly brooch like "Fashion in Motion" or an earring could be added to the necklace chain "belt" for a completely different look, and to get the most for your money out of each piece.

Sales campaigns were constant for Fashion Director's. My favorite was "Sarah's Soaring Seventies." Directors that sold a certain amount during this period, were rewarded a circle pin with the number seven, representing the 1970's in the center.

Their Director Award incentives and hostess gifts were always generous; from Regal poly perk coffee pots to golden maiden trophies and of course jewelry. Hostesses' were entitled to select from an exclusive line of jewelry not available to others. Sarah Coventry jewelry is always marked. "Coventry" is one of the earliest marks, as well as the full name "Sarah Coventry." In 1950 they used "SC" for the first time. Approximately 1951 the mark was changed to simply "Sarah" as well as continuing the "SC" mark. In 1960 they began using "Sarah Cov". There are some pieces marked "SAC" from 1950 to the 1960's but I have not been able to substantiate that it is indeed one of Sarah Coventry's.

In 1984, Sarah Coventry was sold, and the line went from home parties to retail stores. Desire to take the company back to its roots resulted in the company going back to the concept of home party sales in 2003. If you are approached to have a home party ~ go for it! You will earn beautiful jewelry, learn unique ways to wear it and have a good time with your friends.

As for me ~ 40 years later I smile when I see my mom or an aunt wear a piece of now vintage Sarah Coventry purchased through me ~ still as beautiful as the day it was created. And I have lots of jello salad recipes from all those parties!

If you are looking for Sarah, its a wonderful investment, beautiful jewelry and will never loose its value, i have a few pieces available.

Monday, June 7, 2010

The Red Shoes

Anything more than 20 years old is vintage.. and it has to be more than 100 years old to be an antique.

Although my parents marriage is close to antique.. it's still only "vintage". Today they will be married for 60 years. i'm so proud of them. it has been a huge struggle.. they are still so very much in love, and they've come such a long way.

You see, my dad went to school with my mother's sister, and through her; noticed mom right away. it was love at first sight for him. He thought she was beautiful, and he was attracted to mom's red shoes, he just had to meet her.

Auntie introduced them, they dated and both fell in love.. this is the part where i think i should mention they were both only 15 years old.

After a few months, dad's mother grew concerned. it appeared the kids were getting serious. gram wasn't fond of this idea or my mom. So Gram did what she thought best.. pull dad out of school and ship him off to live with her brother in California.. a long way from Michigan. surely this would break them up. surely.

Who would think their love would endure seperation? dad immediately got a job in California at a gas station and worked up to mechanic. he lived with his uncle, and each week, when he received his paycheck he would send mom money.

Mom, back in michigan, was double promoted and continued school. she never told anyone about the money; but secretly hid it. immediately after graduation, this 16 year old girl took the savings dad sent, hopped on a greyhound bus and began her journey ~ young and alone cross country to be with her love.

When mom arrived, of course uncle was livid. he was not going to allow mom to live in the house when they weren't married, and his sister did not want these two married. so he only "partially" helped them, by driving them to the mexican border, and made them walk across into Tijuana and get married.

Even then, he did not allow them to live together in the house. mom did, but dad had to live in a garage apartment. So again, dad started saving money. six months later, when they could barely afford bus fare, they again got on a greyhound, this time together, and headed back to michigan.

And though they had bus fare, they barely had enough money for food or drink. a kind stranger in Chicago fed them and loaned dad money to continue the trip. Mom kept the stranger's address and as soon as they had jobs, sent him every cent of his loan back.

Once they arrived in Michigan, they stayed very briefly with grandma, then other relatives, then moved to the Brewster projects (famous for being the home of Diana Ross and the Supremes).

From the projects they continued to move as they could afford it. each time a little further north of the city until they were the first ones in the family to move "way out to the suburbs".. which back then was a block north of the "Eminem Famous" eight mile road.

Of course, by then, i was born, and a few years later a sister.. till eventually our family of five kids, two of us with birth defects; which mom and dad handled with grace. We outgrew the house. Dad picked up a hammer, called some friends and we all pitched in to help build an addition large enough to accommodate us, as well as the all important huge kitchen; which was always the gathering spot.. We stayed in that house for almost 20 years.. and have so many happy memories there.

With such young parents, they literally grew up with us. there were always Friday pizza dinners with uncles, aunts and cousins. barbecues on weekends. a constant flow of company, both friends and family.. and always music. lots of music, dancing, lots of happy times.

Dad bought a boat, and we each had a turn to go fishing with him early Saturday mornings. we bought a tent, and would camp. Dad bought the boat used. .. the tent was used.. we were poor, but never knew it. Mom was always our room mother at school, as well as Brownie and Girl Scout leader.

We had everything we wanted or needed within reason; a nice home, loving parents and were always happy. We were taught morals, ethics, scruples. All of us kids worked part time jobs in high school and actually enjoyed the responsibility.

All five kids are grown now, there are 21 grandchildren and 5 great grandchildren. Sixty years later, mom has the most amazing shoe collection that fills four closets and favors sparkles, glitter and faux animal. They are still crazy in love. dad can't pass mom without giving her a kiss on the cheek, or even if she's just standing at the sink. Mom still holds dad's hand when they are walking, and they still love to dance. And of course, dad still loves it when mom wears red shoes.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Nobody's Perfect

I am so fortunate to have so many wonderful repeat customers. most are pen pals.. some have become friends over the last 10 years (ELEVEN years next month!). my family & friends all think my "job" is a piece of cake.. and essentially it is. Shop for a living? you betcha its fun!

but they really don't "get it". its a lot of work too! i'm not complaining. not for one second. i absolutely love what i do, i love what i sell, and when i'm not shopping, i don't have to put on makeup, i don't even have to get dressed ~ unless a repair man or someone is coming over. lol.. friends popping in already know to expect me in a zip robe, lounger, or in summer ~ a long maxi cotton sleeveless comfy vintage sundress.

after an estate sale, my procedure is to leave everything in the garage. everything. then the bags go to the back porch, where each item is inspected and hung. despite being in the most beautiful homes in the area, i have still detected a bug or two. and momma does NOT like cockroaches, moths, carpet bugs or anything creepy-crawly.

So the goodies hang outside to be aired out. i'm anal. everything is hung color coded.. all the whites on one side of the porch, pink on another, blue yet a third area.. pretty crazy, but it helps when i wash them, after they have aired for a day.

Then the laundry begins.. everything is washed by color; thus the time saving color coding as mentioned. then hung back outside to air dry. Usually a whole day is spent on washing then steaming or pressing.

Next the mannequin is drug out, and i try to take as many pictures in one day as possible. after the photo shoot, the clothing then precisely folded and added to the "ready to go" tote.

Did i mention inspection?? yep. lots of it. of course i try to check at the estate sales, but its hasty. then its checked again when its hung originally. another after its laundered and hung. again while its being put on the mannequin.

As i write each item up for the listing, i inspect AGAIN as i'm measuring it. Once sold.. yep. i try to check it over again as i'm packing it for shipping.

That's a lot of scrutiny isn't it?? i know i'm not alone in this habbit.. i bet i could name 5 other sellers just off the top of my head that also inspect just as much.

and yes.. very occasionally something slips past. pretty hard to believe, but it does. hey, we're all human. do our customers understand this? most times.. occasionally we get someone unreasonable, but for the most part.. again.. our customers are understanding.

i recently sold a new with tag miss elaine customer was absolutely wonderful. i got the nicest email imaginable as to how happy she was with it ~ but.. under the collar, along the seam it was un-sewn. NOOOOO! how on earth is this possible? did i "assume" since it was NWT, even tho it was vintage, it was perfect?

and the incident put me on my toes.. don't think because something has the tags on it, its perfect. :D

after the photographing, there is downloading the pictures, croping, editing, and uploading them. Have i complained lately that i'm working with an almost vintage, hand made circa 1998 computer? lol.. and yes, its slow as molasses. in fact, i recently took it to my little computer guy and he laughed. he actually remembered installing a cd drive (not a dvr, just player) in it a few years ago. and he said he loved me, but had the right to refuse service.

and i have aol.. and i'm on dial up. uhhhh huh. big time slow.

so each listing takes at least 1/2 hr. just to write it up (ok, i admit, my listings are WAY too lengthy!) then uploading the picture. then the item is assigned a number, added to my running inventory list, and noted which site it is listed on. so at least an hour per item most likely. i honestly don't like to think about it, cause it would mean i probably only make fifty cents an hour.

then the item is stored.. again.. anal.. i have shelves marked for items. nightgowns, blouses, robes, slips each have their own shelf; and are stored numerically per the assigned number when listed.

huge totes store listed coats, long dresses or anything bulky.

it would seem to the average person that i would never make a mistake listing. that i would be able to find an item just by the number and the appropriate shelf.. but it isn't always so! every once in a while, something is placed in a tote instead of a shelf.. or worse.. the wrong tote. meaning i have to tear everything apart to find one item.

yesterday was the day! i heard from my kind, understanding (and forgiving!) customer about the split seam in the nightgown, Then i discovered a payment in paypal for an order they never notified me of, so i had no clue the item was sold. a hasty apology to the customer for the "over sight".. grab and pack that order, then spent 1-1/2 hours trying to find a maxi dress for another order. how on earth do you loose not only something big, but bright! it was yellow, blue and red.

i finally found it.. packed the items, and made it to the post office before they closed to ship. .. but you'd think with all my "wonderful" organizational skills, eleven years of doing this, my little business would run a whole lot smoother. but i realized.. everything turned out well, and nobody's perfect.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Coffee A Go- Go ~ A Vintage Lifestyle

Of course my passion for vintage extends to my life style. I think most vintage clothing lovers also appreciate other vintage things, especially in the home, or their cars. I live in a very rural area of Texas that in the last 10 years experienced a boom of new construction. Three new subdivisions of beautiful, extravagant homes who also appreciate the country lifestyle.

One morning I realized the thing we were lacking out here was a good cup of coffee on the way to work. So I spent months researching and even did crazy things like counting cars driving down the main highway at 6 am.Next a friend and I started experimenting with various coffees and donut recipes. Bingo! we hit on a cake fried donut hole, "Texas size" similar to a hush puppy but sweet and melted in your mouth. We rolled them in cinnamon or powdered sugar, they were pure heaven!

Once the "hard part" of menu was out of the way, I needed a venue. Something "cute" and fun for a drive through, so people could just zip though for fresh but no frill coffee and out of this world donut holes. Of course, I preferred something vintage!After months of searching for an air stream camper, I found a little 1959 Mobil Scout Camper. Well, it was "kind of" round like an air stream, and way less expensive. The condition reflected the price.. cheap and a huge mess! It took us almost a week just to clean it out, then another two months replacing the floor, fixing leaks, updating the electrical, building counter tops, shelves and modifying it. We had to remove the old window on the side opposite the door to accomodate a sliding window to serve drive through customers.



interior before:

interior after:

Drive through coffee, plus love of vintage, plus vintage camper. A perfect name for coffee to go ~ Coffee A go-go! My little dream was born.

A call to my son in Michigan resulted in amazing vinyl graphics, proportioned perfectly to the areas. He recommended Dallas Cowboy blue on the silver camper, and they were so perfect you would have thought he did them here on site. My Kentucky daughter in advertising printed frequent buyer punch cards, business cards, flyers and even found pretty pastel waxed bags for the donut holes. My other daughter helped clean and paint, inside and out of the camper and helped pass out flyers.

It was a family affair, local and long distance.I made different curtains for the windows, alternating between peace signs, happy faces and tie dye with a matching table cloth. Even though it was drive through, I wanted the inside attractive as customers peeked in.

As a former classic radio disc jockey, I had plenty of photographs of rock stars, like Bob Seger, Ted Nugent, Paul McCartney and Mitch Ryder, all from that "era" as well as photos of Leave it to Beaver's Jerry Mathers and Ken Osmond as well as others. I photocopied posters and ticket stubs and made a collage of them to the walls.

Being in the country, I only had to obtain a tax license, and register the name for a business license. The state health department told me I was considered "mobile"and I was good to go! The now freshly remodeled and sparkling clean camper was hauled up to the corner, only one block from my home, and we were in business!

Coffee A Go-Go was pure fun. Other than having to get up at 3am to fry the donuts ~ just like that old commercial; it was social ~ laughs and good times all morning. Within a month we had regulars.

I would recognize cars as people pulled in and by the time they reached the drive through, their coffee was ready as they liked it, with no waiting for them. Customers would call me as they left their driveway and when they got to the shop, their order was waiting for them.

Others would sit and chat, so someone donated a picnic table. Another generous customer donated a huge lighted roadside sign. A different customer donated the letters for the sign as well as "invented" breakfast trays I would make for her to take to her clients.

Breakfast kiddie meals were made, with little bottles of juice, a few donuts and stickers. The menu kept expanding by request. Soon I was serving huge muffins, making breakfast burritos, donut hole "flavor of the day" like chocolate, blueberry or Orange Julius, then biscuits and gravy, and even croissant breakfast sandwiches.

No more 3am.. soon I was getting up at 2 am to fry bacon, eggs and sausage. It was still fun, but became a ton of work. There was barely room in the camper for me, an employee was out of the question. Soon it got to be just too much, and Coffee a Go-Go was done.

For weeks after I closed, customers / neighbors would come to my house for coffee in the morning, missing Coffee A Go-Go. I had requests for my special donut holes, and even a few breakfast tray orders. But, all good things must come to an end.

Neighbors still stop in for coffee, but not before 10am.. and they bring their own donuts. My idea and research must have been pretty good, as one of the very few Dunkin Donuts in TX opened just down the street six months after I closed, and very recently a Starbucks.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

"There Really Is An Olga"

Almost every vintage lingerie lover will name an Olga nightgown as one of their favorite gowns. The styling, fabric, design were trend setters, and often copied by other lingerie makers. No one could duplicate an Olga exactly, though many came close. The superior construction of her complete line is a testament to quality, as there are many thirty year old items that still look like new.

And yes.. there really is an Olga. In 1941 Olga Erteszek and her husband immigrated to the United States from Poland, fleeing the Nazi army. In California, she worked in a sweatshop making lingerie; taking a trolley to work.

It was on this trolley that the concept of business was conceived for Olga.. she noticed a woman across from her with her nylon hose rolled to her knees. Olga felt there should be something nicer and more feminine for women to hold their stockings.

With $5.00 and a rented sewing machine, Olga created lace garter belts for women. The garter belts sold immediately to Bullocka-Wilshire, and her dream began. Olga created lingerie items that flattered a woman, while attractive to a man.

As a woman, she knew what "problem areas" most of us had, and created spandex blend fabrics to gently hold and support tummies while holding the bust in place. A true genius! There is an Olga gown to flatter any woman's style or taste, from flannel and demure to lacy and frilly with dramatic full sweep hemlines. During a hospital stay, Olga discovered the need for bust support and created the "Sleeping Pretty" line in 1966 which featured a very softly lined, comfortable bra built into a nightgown.

Olga also created the first line of "seamless" bras and tummy trimming panties. The Olga product line created amazing lingerie, from slips and camisoles to luxurious pajamas. With three daughters, she also had a limited, very exclusive line named for her daughter Christina.

Olga's company grew, to over 2000 employees and 17 designers. As well as a successful line of lingerie, she was also very successful in the business world. She held the woman's record for patents ~ with over 28 of them. Olga was one named by Fortune 500 as of the 100 best companies to work for in the United States, and was one of the first to initiate profit sharing for her employees. She won numerous awards, humanitarian as well as Industry design and fashion as well as California Industrialist of the Year Award for lifetime achievement..

According to her obituary, by 1984 the Olga Company; now public had reached a volume of $67 million. The company was sold that year to Warnaco (warner's). Warnaco is still producing under the Olga name, but has sadly discontinued the nightgowns, only offering bras and panties.

Daughter Christina stayed on as a designer for the line "Olga's Christina" for Warnaco. Christina designs for her own company, "Intimate Health" and sells earth friendly all organic cotton bras and panties to help prevent bacterial infections, as well as the "Brassage" a massaging bra designed to help prevent breast cancer, a cause dear to her, as that is how her mother, Olga died in 1989.

There is an Olga style for everyone, demure brushed flannel, sexy sweeping dramatic, to even innocent baby doll nightgowns, do try a vintage Olga nightgown. The minute you slip it on, you will understand what the fuss is all about.

And of course, here come's the shameless plug, lol.. i was fortunate to obtain some fabulous NWT olga's from the grandaughter of an Olga employee..and still have just a few left!

Olga Babydoll Nightgown & Matching panties, NWT:

Demure Brushed Nylon Olga Nightgown:

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

New Years Resolution in June?

i realized this morning i had started a blog. Took a huge amount of searching, recovering passwords, finding the "correct" email associated with it, and accessing it. Sure did! found it. lol..

and i am embarassed, yet its kind of funny. my last and only post was 2 years ago. i think i got side tracked?

Did i get to busy to blog??? Why, I'm an "empty nester" now! My last daughter left for college ten years ago. There are no more responsibilities of the children. Sure, i still have the house. a wonderful neighbor does my much smaller lawn. the daily responsibilites now are much less.

So how on earth could i forget i started a blog and there are masses out there waiting to read my every word.. REALLY lol now!

when the kids left, and i found myself working from home i was organized. i had goals. i would discipline myself to take pictures of minimum 10 new items a week, and list them on my "secret" nights on ebay when i thought my items would get the most attention.

then ebay ended. i set up selling sites on other venues. there was no longer the need to list at certain times ~ i could list during the day or the middle of the night! it was wonderful. i loved my new found freedom, but missed the regular sales of course. It is WAY more difficult to promote items on a web site verses the international exposure of a site like ebay.

i started a blog. did twitter and facebook. the social media thing. Facebook is fun..its not a chore and has not been neglected in two years. I have found friends i havent seen since kindergarten ~ in fact, 6 of us from elementary school had lunch together in Mich a few months back.. it was like we had just seen each other yesterday, not 30 years ago.. too fun! I'm in the middle with the black print shirt.

i digress..anyway.. this social media thing on line is fun. Since i have limited computer skills, my daughter the college grad started a face book fan page for me.. (yes.. i'd love you as a fan, or a "like"..)

and since i love to write, i can't imagine how i could forget my blog!

So even though its June, and its unconventional, i'm making a new years resolution. i am now going to post a new blog (realistically) once a week; although i'm shooting for more.

i am going to keep up with my social media projects. Twitter regularly as well as the Vintage Pretties Fan page.. (the personal face book is already a daily routine, lol)

i am going to list at least 5 new things a week, and start getting this overwhelming inventory of racks and racks and totes of vintage inventory, both women's and mens; boxes of hats and shoes and even tons of estate jewelry out of my house.

Just because i don't "have" to do things.. i should.. and i really want to! And if i commit to it like this, why i'll just have to do it, won't i??

let the games begin!