Tuesday, December 03, 2013

Punk'd Hair & A Mink Coat

As I'm sure you've seen from previous posts, I tend to wear my hair on the longer side of short.  That is to say, I generally wear my hair about mid-neck to shoulder-length.  When I was in high school, I used to wear it super-short in a pixie cut, but haven't had it that short since then.  Well, when I went in to my much-talented hairstylist at Salon Selah V, I asked for something short enough to be "low maintenance," but long enough that I could still do pin curls for a vintage style on date night.  Beyond that, I left it up to him.  Well, this is what came out!  What amounts to a pixie cut on one side, transforming into a longer bob on the other...very edgy and punk rocker (to me, anyway).  At first, I have to admit that I wasn't quite sure I could pull it off.  My personality tends to be more "quirky" than truly "edgy."  But my hairstylist always knows best, and after a few days of living with it and realizing how easy it was to style (shampoo & quick blow dry for a simply ready-to-go-out hairdo, or a few extra minutes with some spike gel for a super punk rocker look), I was pretty much in love with it too.  I actually had women stopping me on the street to compliment my hairdo.  And I found that having a more edgy 'do actually made me wear my vintage more often when I went out, because instead of saying "Oh, I'm too tired to do my hair today to match my pretty clothes," it was "hey, my hair already looks awesome, so let's add a killer jacket, red lipstick, earrings, and heels to match!"

Which brings us to the mink coat...oh, the mink coat...*dreamy sigh*

I purchased this amazing GLMA ("Great Lakes Mink Association" - the makers of the "Blackglama" line) dark brown mink coat from a local estate.  It had the previous owner's name "Jackie Thompson" embroidered on the lining.  I'm guessing the coat was from the 1980s or 1990s, so it was vintage, but only just barely.  The coat was in pristine condition, and so soft it was a dream to wear.  The coat fit me perfectly, and I was sorely tempted to keep it.  The problem is that (1) I'm so petite that I tend to drown in full-length coats, (2) I like the earlier coat styles of the 1930s thru 1950s, and (3) the coat - though amazing - was almost too decadent for my personal style.  It needed someone far classier than my quirky self.  So, I ended up selling it on Ebay, and bought myself some new hats and vintage furs (that I'll actually wear) with the profit.  It was hard to say goodbye, but I know it's going to a loving home where it will be worn and adored...

Monday, November 18, 2013

Sexy Storage Space

After years of listening to me complain about how terrible my bedroom closet was for storage, the amazing Mr. Garrett finally built me a custom cedar-lined box of mothy death!  Hurray!

He started by dismantling the shelves of the old closet.

Then, he paneled all the walls in cedar (with cedar moulding).

He built me a custom wooden bracket.  Not only will this beefy piece support my massive vintage addiction, but it also makes sure to hold my clothing the proper width and height.  This ensures that my wide swing coats and long dresses are properly situated off of the floor and away from the cedar walls (you don't want your clothing touching cedar, as the oils in the wood will stain the material).

He built me a poplar shelf on top for storing massive amounts of hat boxes (FYI - still not enough storage space for my collection!  I think I need a larger closet...maybe in the next house...?), and a wide enough hidden shelf along the back walls to host a Noah's Ark of shoes (they proceeded two by two).

There is also a small shoe shelf on the floor, with enough space underneath to store a few more hat boxes.

And here's the finished design!  As you've probably guessed, I'm one VERY happy camper.

Friday, November 01, 2013

Flapper Friday

I went to an interesting estate sale a couple of weeks ago - lots of (sadly, overpriced) vintage clothing, but hidden away in a corner of an upstairs closet was the most amazing 1920s wedding dress I've ever seen! 

Decorated with what I believe is handmade Flemish lace, this dress is exquisite in its simplistic elegance. 

I even managed to find the original white stockings that went with the dress too!  The dress is currently listed in both my Etsy and Ebay stores, and will make the perfect dress for that Gatsby-style wedding.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Cheers to Eight Years!

Eight years ago, on October 22nd, Ryan and I reluctantly agreed to be set up with each other on a blind date.  Neither one of us wanted to go, but in the end we agreed.  I think it's safe to say that the date went well, and neither one of us regretted our decision to go!

We had been trying to think of a fun way to celebrate.  In the end, we decided that, instead of going out to a fancy restaurant and spending a lot of money on one meal, we'd cook ourselves a fancy multi-course meal at home (and have leftovers for several days afterward!). 

We came up with a menu, purchased the proper wines to compliment each dish, and spent most of Saturday happily cooking together at home.  

We set the table with our finest china, crystal, and silverware.

 Saturday evening, we did farm chores at the usual time (and there was no mad rush to get through them and catch a dinner reservation - so nice!), and then we grabbed our "date" clothing and went into different areas of the house to change.  We had decided not to show each other our date outfit until we were ready to actually start the date!  Unbeknownst to me, Ryan raced through changing, ran outside, and picked me a pretty bouquet of red roses (which he cutely bound with blue painter's tape).  Just as I was finishing up, he rang the doorbell and surprised me with flowers.  I was so touched and so happy (as I am sure you can tell by the picture).

It's probably hard to tell in the pictures, but I wore my amazing metallic gold 1930s dress with fishtail hem/train that I purchased from that antique store that was going out of business. 

Also purchased from that same store was the amazing art deco white fox fur wrap that I am wearing.  It's falling apart, but I love that wrap!

Our first course was a lovely Roederer Brut and an assorted local artisanal cheese platter with my homemade pork liver pate and bread crackers.

We decided that we would each act as waiter for two courses.  I picked the soup & salad courses, and Ryan chose to do dinner and dessert.

For our main entree, Ryan chose to cook his classic Cabernet-braised beef short ribs with gorgonzola polenta and mixed herb gremolata.  The short ribs were locally raised, the polenta was our own homegrown & handground cornmeal, and the herbs came straight out of the garden!  

Not only did the dish look amazing, but it tasted out-of-this-world delicious!

Some people might laugh at us, but honestly it was the best, most fun, evening we'd had together in a long time.  It was so nice to get all dressed up and have a fancy meal without worrying about driving home, or getting to a restaurant in time, or trying to find parking.  We could relax and enjoy ourselves!  We spent the same amount of money that we would have at an upscale restaurant, but we had several days' worth of delicious leftovers, and lots of amazing wine & food pairings.  It was the perfect way to celebrate eight years of happiness with my soulmate.  We have decided that we are definitely going to "eat in" more often!

Indian Summer

It's been an odd fall here - very much Indian Summer weather.  After a couple of bad frosts, the weather warmed back up again.  It's in the low 30s in the mornings, and the high 70s in the afternoon.  Very strange for this area.  The good news is that it has made the fall foliage around Jacksonville absolutely spectacular!  Last weekend, Ryan and I went for a walk around downtown and enjoyed the lovely colors.  

I wore my 1940s "His Girl Friday" suit and a Frank Palma feathered tilt hat.

The Jackson County Courthouse in downtown Jacksonville is one of my favorite buildings as far as local architecture.

Look at the gorgeous detailing on the columns.

They even have their Halloween ghost decorations up!

Just a gorgeous time of year!

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Let Them {Wear} Cake!

One of my wonderful friends recently had a birthday, and we celebrated at a lovely little pizzeria in Ashland.  I loathe giving store-bought gifts, and I wanted to give her something special.  So I made her a birthday cake hat.  Because I'm that awesome.

The hat is made out of black felt (dinner plate) and white felt (birthday cake).  It has lace around the sides of the bottom (decorative marzipan frosting), and even felt candles with sequins for the flames!  "Happy Birthday" is written in "frosting" (really soutache braid).

I think the hat was a hit!

Tuesday, October 01, 2013

Like New (Or Maybe Even Better?)

A few months ago, I purchased a sad little faux bird hat on Ebay.  It was in desperate need of TLC: the veiling was shattered, faux birds missing nearly all their feathers and body parts, etc.  The hat was described by the seller as being "covered by chickens."  That description made me giggle, and I think was one of the reasons I purchased it.  Who else can claim to have a "chicken" hat?

I could see that at one time this hat was truly spectacular.  It was a 1940s black felt tilt hat by Frances Adams.  I knew that I could restore it to its former glory, but it was going to take a complete overhaul.  Beyond the felt hat base and the orange plastic faux bird beaks, everything else would have to be replaced.  I used a vintage black veiling to replace the shattered one, and attached it just as the original had been: looped like a figure "8" and tacked down at the edges.  Rebuilding the faux birds was much harder, as (because they were missing most of their feathers and parts) I did not quite know exactly how the original wings looked.  I did my best to reconstruct the birds as they were originally.  I believe I did a good job, and I hope Frances Adams would agree.

Recent Vintage Scores

After a long summer of no real vintage finds, I struck gold last month.  A peacock blue silk 1960s wiggle dress (with matching bolero jacket) for $10, and a $40 so soft 1950s squirrel fur bolero jacket made by "The Harris Company."

I also grabbed a $10 WWII wool nurse's cape at the thrifty a couple of weeks ago.

And I also finally finished repairing this lovely 1950s feathered Caspar-Davis hat (gift from friends, found at the thrift store in Portland).

I purchased this $35 1957 purple lace prom dress from the daughter of the original owner.  She wore it to her Talent high school prom!

I bought 21 vintage sewing patterns (1930s-1950s) for $1/pattern at a yard sale.  One of my favorites is a 1940s beret and matching purse pattern!