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A Modern Day Ironrite to Keep Your Vintage Christmas Aprons Crisp and Pretty

Guess what I found??? A modern day Ironrite! Remember my post with the instructional video showing how to use it? Well, now you can use all that knowledge after Santa brings you your very own Miele Rotary Iron. Santa will only have to shell out around 2,000 bucks but you’re worth it! AND he’ll get his boxers nice and crisply ironed along with all your table linens. You KNOW Martha Stewart’s housekeeper has one of these things.

One of my favorite things to do during the Christmas season is to visit the Williams-Sonoma store and drool over all the wonderful kitchen and household goodies. Yes, it’s a bit embarrassing to be followed around with a mop because I want it ALL, but I don’t care! This year, I’m not sure I’m going to get to actually visit the store due to having dual knee surgery so I perused the online catalog with a sponge at my chin. Not quite the same, but … I digress.

Vintage is all the rage – I always wanted to say “all the rage” – and you can see newly made (quite often in China) “vintage” aprons in malls and mega-stores like the ones at W-S.  While I obviously love W-S, I want to take a moment to remind you to shop for true, REAL vintage!  Many times, you’ll find the real deal is less expensive, even with shipping, more well-made, and real vintage is almost one-of-a-kind!

Wouldn’t you rather give (or receive!) one of these darling, real, TRUE vintage Christmas themed aprons?

Vintage Christmas Apron Novelty Gift, Holly, Berries, & Rick Rack Trim L0148

Vintage Christmas Apron Novelty Gift, Holly, Berries, & Rick Rack Trim L0148

Christmas Snowman Handkerchief Pockets L0147

Christmas Snowman Handkerchief Pockets L0147

Vintage Apron 50s Christmas Nylon Net Ribbon Trim Rick Rack Hostess Cocktail RAB

Vintage Apron 50s Christmas Nylon Net Ribbon Trim Rick Rack Hostess Cocktail RAB

Vintage 1950s Sheer Christmas Apron Flocked Christmas Wreath Candle Design EC

Vintage 1950s Sheer Christmas Apron Flocked Christmas Wreath Candle Design EC

Vintage Apron Vest Set Christmas His and Hers Red Corduroy Vest for Him Apron for Her

Vintage Apron Vest Set Christmas His and Hers Red Corduroy Vest for Him Apron for Her



Vintage Full Apron Christmas Clear Vinyl new with tag Raindeer Bells Wreath Jingle Bells

Vintage Full Apron Christmas Clear Vinyl new with tag Raindeer Bells Wreath Jingle Bells

For The Love of Vintage Enamel Flower Pins


Yes, I did scream that.  I do!  I love them!

I LOVE VINTAGE ENAMEL FLOWER PINS!  Yes, I did scream that.  I do!  I love them!  There's something just so very cheerful about them - they're always colorful, bright, and usually pretty big.   And you can  wear them in so many different ways.  Obviously, my absolute favorite way to wear an enamel flower pin is on my jeans jacket, but any jacket will do.    If you have just the right chain, you can usually wear them as a pendant.  Another fun way to wear an enamel flower is on your purse - maybe on the strap, or right in the middle.  So, pin on a bit of sunshine and cheer today!

Having a bit too much fun playing with vintage enamel flower jewelry

There’s something just so very cheerful about them – they’re always colorful, bright, and usually pretty big.   And you can  wear them in so many different ways.   Obviously, my absolute favorite way to wear an enamel flower pin is on my jeans jacket, but any jacket will do.

If you have just the right chain, you can usually wear them as a pendant.

Another fun way to wear an enamel flower is on your purse – maybe on the strap, or right in the middle.

So, pin on a bit of sunshine and cheer today!   (or … just have fun playing with them – like I do!)  LOL

I just listed a few of these in my Etsy shop, so check them out!

Researching Vintage Fashion Leads To ….

It’s a good thing I love research!  Not a day goes by that I don’t need to do some research – style, date, labels, materials – the basics.

The best part is when I run across something that fascinates me – usually having little or nothing to do with the original subject, like this video that is a remix of several decades of Chanel fashion.  It’s kind of an odd video, a bit grainy and with a lot of strange background noises, complete with breaking glass (!) but the fashions are wonderful!  Toward the end are some close ups of gorgeous costume jewelry. You’ll see a dress where the fabric design has large leaves – oh, how I wish the film was in color! Then there are several Chanel suits, again – how I wish I could see the colors!


Looking at these suits brought to mind the wonderful pink and green linen and wool suit dress in my shop.  I have several wonderful pieces from the estate of a woman whose husband owned a local department store that closed in 1961.  Other that a couple of dresses, including the Mingolini – Guggenheim dress, it looks like she had most of her clothing made for her.  The pink and green dress has a lot of the same lines as the Chanel suits, specifically the slightly lower than natural waistline and boxy jacket.  I always felt this lady must have been quite tall because the skirts of her dresses are fairly long but, as you can see in the video, the style is a bit longer.  (I’m short, so one of the first things I notice about any garment is how much I’m going to have to shorten a skirt to wear it!)

It’s All Barbie’s Fault -Really!

I was thinking about my best friend coming to visit soon and looking forward, not only to just catching up and enjoying her company, but to having her help me get some newly arrived vintage clothing inventory photographed for the website.

Midge, Barbie, & Allen - the original fashion dolls

Midge, Barbie, & Allen – the original fashion dolls

It was then that I realized … I’m still playing with Barbies!  Except this “Barbie” is 6 ft. tall (taller than either of us) and weighs enough to, well, she’s no lightweight – she’s a vintage mannequin – you’ve probably seen her in some of my listings.  Her name is T.C. (a story for another time).

I just love dressing T.C. in fabulous vintage fashions.  It’s even more fun when I’m able to accessorize with hats and purses. Just like back in the old days … with Barbie.

My friend, Lynne, and I would spend hours … well, actually, days playing with our Barbies together.  We must have literally had hundreds of different outfits between us.  My dad always growled that he felt he should be allowed to claim Barbie as a dependent!  Between us, Lynne and I had a collection of dolls, accessories and of course, clothing from the mid-1960s through the early 1970s that, if they had been real adult clothing would have not only cost a fortune, but would give any vintage lover today heart palpitations!

Sadly, like many girls, we grew older and sold our Barbies and their wardrobes at a <GASP!> garage sale.  I’ve lamented the loss now that I’m older and comfort myself with the thought that when we sold them, they weren’t collectible.

So imagine my surprise when, just the other day my darling husband gave me duplicates of my old blonde bubble hair Barbie and friends.  Talk about fun!  All I’ve been able to think about is trying to find some of the old sets of clothing that I had.  Of course, the outfits I’m most attracted to are the older sets, those of the early and mid 1960s.  I didn’t have many of those but the few I had, I’d love to find again.  (I did find one – one of my favorites!)

And then it hit me … this is just like what I do every day!  I search out great vintage dresses for the shop and I dress T.C. in them.

So, it IS all Barbie’s fault!

That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

Back on Track with a Great Find –1965 Sears Catalogs

We’ve all had writer’s block.  OBVIOUSLY, I’m having one and have had one for … OMG … 6 months.

In my defense, I have been over my head in STUFF.  Closing the shop last fall required more time and effort than I ever imagined.  Every time I thought I could get back to working on what I love – vintage fashion – MORE stuff showed up that needed my immediate attention.

So, it’s been a very frustrating 6 months for me, but this time I THINK I’m really back!  Just wanted to make contact and see if I still even know how to use wordpress.  I promise, the next post will be creative, informative, and exciting (probably!)

Vegetable Garden

Vegetable Garden

Plus, I admit I’ve been happily sidetracked by my garden produce.  I’ve been blessed with a bumper crop of green beans and have been busily picking and freezing.  Got a great deal on blueberries in bulk and made jam (haven’t done that in YEARS!) and am in the process of freezing the rest.  I just made a blueberry crisp from a new recipe with a strange ingredient that I, personally, hate.  But it turned out really good!  Now, I’m seeing some of my Roma tomatoes beginning to turn red so tomato sauce is on the near horizon.  And, my “critically acclaimed” salsa.   I made gallons last year and all that’s left are two jars.

Back on the tracks … all this madness has been due to the sale of my building and closing my brick and mortar antiques shop where I also had my vintage clothing.  This building is 100+ years old and had a minimum of 60 years of leftover JUNK in there that had to be removed.  While I had never used the “attic” (simply a crawl space above the 14 ft. ceiling for electrical and roof access), we went up there to be sure there was nothing that needed to be removed.  It was empty, as expected, EXCEPT for a small crate of old Sears catalogs from the mid-1960s.  Most are still in the mailing wrapper!  I’ve only had time to briefly look at a couple from 1965 and all I want to do is place my order!  Would love to see the “Cape Jacket Suit” on the left appear on my front porch! Anyway, I’m going to be studying these treasures and hope to show you a few fun “new” vintage in the coming months.

Martha Sleeper – Silent Film Actress to Fashion Designer

Maybe I said this before when I was researching a Nelly Don dress, one of the most enjoyable parts of selling vintage clothing – for me – is research and learning.  It seems selfish not to pass along information when I find it. Including a lot of historical detail  in a description can be overwhelming for some, so I’m passing some knowledge along here!

I purchased several pieces of clothing from the estate of a woman whose family owned a high end clothing boutique from about the 1940s through the 1960s or 70s.  Almost every item was either tailor made, designer (remember the Mingolini Guggenheim?), or at least had an interesting clothing label.

Now that we’re well into summer, I’m desperately trying to pull a few more summer dresses out to get into my shop.  This dress caught my eye because the turquoise and white cotton print looks so cooling.  One look at the label, “Martha Sleeper Creates For You  100% Cotton San Juan, Puerto Rico” and I knew I had some research to do!

Martha Sleeper Label

Martha Sleeper Label

It turns out that Martha Sleeper started her career in silent films and then moved on to Broadway in the 1940s.  Then, in 1949 she took a vacation to the Virgin Islands and ended up in Puerto Rico where she loved it so much, she stayed.  While looking for a way to support herself in her new life, she began designing jewelry – a hobby she enjoyed prior to WWII.  Finding that “too tedious”, she started designing clothing and in 1950, opened a shop. She designed the silk screen prints for her fabric and 80% of this printed fabric was processed in Puerto Rico.  By 1955, her island inspired clothing was being exported to other islands and to the US.

Martha Sleeper Vintage Summer Dress

Martha Sleeper Vintage Summer Dress

In 1964, Ms. Sleeper opened a shop in Palm Beach, Florida at the urging of her friends and divided her time between Palm Beach and Puerto Rico.

Martha Sleeper died on March 25, 1983 of a heart attack at age 72 in Beaufort, South Carolina where she lived with her third husband.

So now that I’ve found out just who Martha Sleeper was … can I really sell the dress?  Well it depends.  Does it fit me?!

Mingolini & Gugenheim – Italian Designers

Mingolini Gugenheim Italian Designer Dress Vintage 50s 60s

Mingolini Gugenheim Italian Designer Dress Vintage 50s 60s

From the first moment I laid eyes on it, it was obvious that this dress was special.  The label read “Mingolini Gugenheim Piazza del Spagna, 9-91- Roma”.  Honestly, I had never heard of Mingolini & Gugenheim before I found this dress

What little information I found while researching indicates that Carlo Gugenheim and his partner, Sergio Mingolini were designing clothing at least since the 1930s and into the 1990s.  Micol Fontana mentions a Mingolini Guggenheim jacket from the 30s in her archives that was once owned by Edda Ciano – Mussolini’s daughter – in an interview with Eugenia Paulicelli, the author of “Fashion Under Facism”.  She calls Mingolini Guggenheim “one of the best known fashion houses in Rome”.

In a Reuters article from January of 1960, Italian fashion designers DeLuca and Mingolini-Gugenheim are said to be designing with an eye toward the American market by creating fashions with a “long, slim line for a long, slim woman”.  Smooth fabrics are meant to emphasize “slimness, softness, and smoothness.”

An Associated Press article from January 1962 describes the coming spring fashions from Italian designers Mingolini-Gugenheim as being focused on capes and influenced by the Egyptian look due to the new Elizabeth Taylor movie, “Cleopatra”.   The new designs by Mingolini-Gugenheim were notably the cocoon-like capes, evening gowns with godet skirts, and suits with short or bolero jackets and narrow skirts.  They were described as having “lots of appeal for individual private clients but much too lush to be a pacesetter for mass produced fashions”.

Undeniably, one of the most outstanding tidbits of information I was able to find was in the Caribou Observer of March 10, 1955 (p.14).  Included on the social page was a photo of a drop-dead gorgeous evening gown (would have loved to have seen it in color!) on a .. shall we say “special” mannequin.  The caption calls it “weird” and “surreal” – the body of a woman with the head of an animal.

Mingolini & Gugenheim are now on my personal radar.  As I locate more information about these designers and their fashions, I’ll be posting more here.  And if you have any information to add, let me know!

Migration Patterns of Vintage Costume Jewelry

I noticed an interesting phenomenon a couple mornings ago as I was putting together the jewelry I wanted to wear that day.  It moves.

Some years ago as I was sorting through my mom’s old costume jewelry – and my grandma’s because Mom had it until I inherited it – I kept finding things like earrings in Grandma’s jewelry box and the matching necklace in Mom’s.  At the time, I thought it was interesting to see the types of costume jewelry Mom liked well enough to move it into her own jewelry box.  It was fun to match up the sets again

Vintage 40s 50s Costume Jewelry

Vintage 40s 50s Costume Jewelry

and then I started to wear them.

Over time, I’ve pretty much tried to keep Grandma’s costume jewelry in her jewelry box and M

om’s in hers.  And of course, mine in my jewelry box.  There’s an interesting difference among all three of our jewelry boxes.

Vintage 50s 60s 70s Costume Jewelry

Vintage 50s 60s 70s Costume Jewelry

Grandma wore mostly pastels and she had a lot of bracelets.  Most of her jewelry dates to the 1940s and 1950s.  (Can you believe she gave me that sparkly blue set to PLAY with?)

On the other hand, Mom wore mostly fall colors and pins, and her jewelry mostly dates from the early 1960s through the 1970s. (Lots of Sarah Coventry there, which probably explains part of why I’m so drawn to it.)

They also had two sets and two brooches that were identical except for color (the earrings are a bit different).  I was surprised the blue was in Mom’s jewelry and not in Grandma’s.

Vintage Costume Jewelry 3

Vintage Costume Jewelry 3

I would include a photo of my jewelry, which dates from the 1970s with a big gap to post 2001, but really, until post 2001 when I really became interested in vintage costume jewelry – mine is, let’s face it, boring crap. LOL

And then it hit me.  My jewelry box is beginning to sprout some of their jewelry inside!  Some moved from Grandma’s, then it moved to Mom’s and now it’s in mine.  I’d say that’s absolute proof that vintage jewelry IS truly timeless!  AND migratory.

Now, go raid your mom’s jewelry box!  (with her permission, of course!)

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