16 posts categorized "Musings"

Writer's Block: From A Girl's Point of View

Vintage smith coronoa pink typewriter
(photo courtesy of Joe Vintage)

My daughter has been asking for a vintage typewriter for years now.  That's one vintage passion she shares with me.  She's an avid writer, her notebooks are scattered around our world--I find them in the car, all over our house, and occasionally in the trash when she gets writer's block.  I try to tell her not to throw it away, that sometimes you just need to leave it alone for awhile.  I guess I've been following my own advice.

It seems the faster paced world of tweeting & status updates have pushed the more time consuming, thought provoking world of blogging to the back burner.  Typical of the "instant gratification" culture of today.  I'm guilty of it--I know that as of today 281 people on Facebook will see what I scored at an estate sale if I post it there.  I highly doubt a blog post devoted to it would bring that sort of traffic. 

Reading and writing blogs is time consuming, but in a far better way than Twitter & Facebook can be.  I've come to know some rather amazing people through their insightful, witty, and informative blogs.  They make me laugh, cry, gasp & blush...I have, in a virtual sense, welcomed their newborn babes into this world and stood graveside with my arm around their shoulder when they've had to let someone go...

So here's to an occasional well-written blog post and finding my girl a pink vintage typewriter--something like this.

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The Tortoise and The Hare


The Tortoise and The Hare

There once was a speedy hare who bragged about how fast he could run. Tired of hearing him boast, Slow and Steady, the tortoise, challenged him to a race. All the animals in the forest gathered to watch.
Hare ran down the road for a while and then and paused to rest. He looked back at Slow and Steady and cried out, "How do you expect to win this race when you are walking along at your slow, slow pace?"
Hare stretched himself out alongside the road and fell asleep, thinking, "There is plenty of time to relax."
Slow and Steady walked and walked. He never, ever stopped until he came to the finish line.
The animals who were watching cheered so loudly for Tortoise, they woke up Hare.
Hare stretched and yawned and began to run again, but it was too late. Tortoise was over the line.
After that, Hare always reminded himself,
"Don't brag about your lightning pace, for Slow and Steady won the race!"

I read an interesting blog post at Circa Vintage this morning and it got me to thinking about this beloved Aesop fable.  Circa Vintage resides in Australia and is the brain child of vintage clothing extraordinaire Nicole Jenkins.  She runs a brick & mortar vintage clothing shop in Melbourne, an online shop , has written a fabulous book "Love Vintage" , and she has also worked in costume hire, film, television, theatre and fashion in Australia and in the UK after studying costume design and construction at Perth Technical College and the WA Academy of Performing Arts. 


It was her list of what is involved in adding new items to her website that got me thinking:

"It’s quite a process – I’ll take you through it…the item is….

1 – Mended.
2 – Hand washed or dry cleaned.
3 – Checked for damage and mended again if needed.
4 – Measured and the particulars written up on a product sheet (if it’s a pattern we also check all the pieces are there)
5 – Photographed.
6 – The photo may be edited if needed, and is also renamed.
7 – The photos are loaded online.
8 – The content is added to the photos.
9 – More photos may be taken if details or damage have been overlooked.
11 – The item is published!
12 – If I really love it, I may post it to Facebook or Twitter too.

This process takes around 2 hours for each item and all four of us who work at Circa will handle it at some point as we all have different roles. Not surprisingly, there are currently lots of items that are at some point in the process so not all 1100 are published but quite a few are – if you’re looking for something and you can’t see it yet, stay tuned because every week more are being published."  (source: Circa Vintage)

Whenever I read posts such as this one, I have one of two reactions, depending how things are going for me.  I either:

1.) Feel vindicated and understood.  At least someone out there realizes the work involved in running an online vintage clothing store~~which is far different than simply an online store, where merchandise is brand new, wrapped in plastic or boxes and there are probably 500 of a particular item available, but only has to be listed once.  Not with vintage~~every item is unique and almost always needs TLC before any of the work can really begin.  If you want to be a respectable seller, that is.  We won't even go there today.


2.)  Feel completely overwhelmed & discouraged.  I look at the long list of steps involved~~and she's right, it is about 2 hours per item, whether the item is worth $12.00 or $1200.00~~and wonder how I will ever get it all done.  With the obligations of running a household (properly), being a parent, community & spiritual obligations, health & exercise, and making time for family & friends it is no wonder days will go by without even one single photo being snapped in my workshop.  Not one hem mended.  Not one dress brought to the dry cleaners.  Not one pair of shoes polished.  Nothing. None. Nada. 

When I read her post today, I felt a little of both.  My little one is home with a fever, a thick coating of ice gave us a 2 hour delay for school, so even if she were well, the morning is shot as far as getting any work done.  With her little pink cheeks and glassy eyes brimming with tears because she knows if the fever doesn't leave she won't be able to sing her solo perfomance in the school talent show this weekend, I submit to the ache in my heart for her and silently switch from Work mode to Mommy mode.....what's another day. 

"Slow and Steady won the race...."  even if we are down to a very slow crawl.




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I'd like to learn more about this pretty, classy hat you're selling, and have some questions. Please send a copy of your answers to my home email.

  • Where/from whom did you acquire this hat?
  • Is it in completely mint condition?
  • How do you price this hat (why is it worth $XX.00)
  • Is this a rare hat design?
  • Is it more dressy, or do you think it could be worn casually?
  • So there are no stains, smudges, pilling, moth bites/grazes, inner sweat marks ,etc. present on this hat?
  • Are the ends of the polka dot bow frayed/coming undone, or is the whole ribbon intact?
  • Any flaws/stains on the ribbon?
  • Could you send a photo or two of this coat on a real person, so I can imagine what it looks like when worn?
  • Do you have any more hats similar to this one (designer vintage hats) that you'll be adding soon?
  • Do you ship via USPS Priority mail?
  • Do you use Pay Pal?
  • How much extra is shipping/insurance for this hat?
  • Do you accept returns?
    Thanks again, I look forward to learning more about this pretty hat. "


This "convo" arrived in my Etsy mail box many months ago.  It was in regard to a Halston hat I had listed.  I suppose the fact that I'm posting about it shows that it still irks me.  It felt like a vintage police interrogation, bright white light and all. 

"Manhandled" police interrogation scene

Here is the response I sent:

Dear Sara ,

Thank you for the inquiry.
Many of your questions are answered in my listing and under "Shop Policies".
This hat was purchased at a second hand/resale shop. It is in excellent condition. There is a bit of glue on the ribbon~~there may have been some sort of attachment at some point, although I do not know if that was part of the original design.
If you are looking for a pristine, absolutely spotless, brand new condition hat, you may be better off not shopping vintage. This hat is some 30 years old, and although it is immaculate, it's still not a brand new hat. Every item sold at The Red Velvet Shoe is of the highest quality and is presented in my boutique with full disclosure of it's condition. If an item is not in pristine condition, I am very clear about it in the listing and it is priced accordingly.


@ The Red Velvet Shoe


This is what I really wanted to say:

  • Where/from whom did you acquire this hat?  Sorry, #1 rule of a vintage huntress, never disclose the source, and why do you care anyway??
  • Is it in completely mint condition?  Hmm, what's the difference between "completely mint" & "mint"~~I thought mint meant just that.
  • How do you price this hat (why is it worth $XX.00)  1. It's Halston  2. Research 3. Do you ask this question about everything you buy? 
  • Is this a rare hat design?   Unfortunately, the manager of the Halston hat factory wasn't free for an interview so I couldn't find out exactly how many were made. 
  • Is it more dressy, or do you think it could be worn casually?  It's a hat.  You can wear it when/however you want.
  • So there are no stains, smudges, pilling, moth bites/grazes, inner sweat marks ,etc. present on this hat?  You really know how to insult a gal.
  • Are the ends of the polka dot bow frayed/coming undone, or is the whole ribbon intact?  You do know you can zoom in on photos, don't you? 
  • Any flaws/stains on the ribbon?  Again, there is a zoom option. And thanks for another insult.
  • Could you send a photo or two of this coat on a real person, so I can imagine what it looks like when worn?  Are you sure you know what your looking at?  A form letter none~the~less!
  • Do you have any more hats similar to this one (designer vintage hats) that you'll be adding soon?  Not if I have to put up with this from you again.
  • Do you ship via USPS Priority mail? I have three words for you: SEE SHOP POLICIES!
  • Do you use Pay Pal?  Same three words... 
  • How much extra is shipping/insurance for this hat?  Repetition for emphasis.  See last two answers.
  • Do you accept returns?   You don't have to worry about that, I'm not selling it to you.
    Thanks again, I look forward to learning more about this pretty hat. "
      Do nothin' till you hear from me.

I never heard from her again, and the hat sold to a wonderful buyer in Canada who was thrilled with it and the transaction was interrogation~free!  I understand when shopping on~line, and especially shopping vintage on~line, questions and details are important & neccessary components.  The shop owner has the huge responsibility to provide accurate, detailed, and honest information about each and every item, a responsibility I take very seriously.  The shopper has the responsibility to thoroughly read the item description, check the measurements, zoom in on photos if you question the condition, and read the Shop Policies.  If you still have a question, then contact the shop owner.  And try not to insult her, if you can help it.

Sarah Jessica Parker in Halston

And who knew fellow vintage/thrift shopper SJP was going to jump on the Halston band wagon anyway?  I could have sold it to her!  Unless, of course, the "Sara" involved is one and the same . . . would I sell out on my on~line vintage shopping etiquette rules to accomodate a super~star?  Would you? 

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The most difficult part of selling vintage clothing & treasures is deciding if you really want to part with it.  I know I am not alone in this "downside" of it all, and I employ as many tactics as I can to talk myself into "letting it go".  (My grandmother is partly to blame for this, she was the world's greatest pack rat and I am proud to say I inherited it from her.)   I guess I am more of a collector rather than a
hard core retail seller, and I always wonder about the people who purchase my vintage treasures . . .

"Triangle" vintage brown sued bag chanel-esque gold link chain The Red Velvet Shoe 

This is the very first vintage item I ever sold.  The Red Velvet Shoe was originally launched on eBay, I was a pc newbie, had NO idea what I was doing, and looking at the quality of this picture, it's a wonder it even sold!  I was so thrilled to have a sale, that at the time I didn't really question parting with it.

And then I found this:

BurberryNYC_Byrdie1_27Web.jpg the purse I sold Brandi 
(Photo credit: Exuve.com)

I was doing some designer trench coat research (due to the fact that I will soon be listing a vintage Yves St. Laurent trench coat in my boutique) and this image caught my attention.  Rod Stewart starts humming in my head "and she wears it well . . . ."  (it's actually a Burberry, not an YSL)  and I love the western belt buckle and chunky necklace. . .and what a cool bag, wait let me look closer at it . . .


Zoom on brown bag

And there you have it. 

My vintage brown suede purse by "Triangle" with chanel~esque gold link chain hanging on the arm of this very chic woman* . . . and I wonder, is this my vintage purse?

I think I want it back . . .

( A little "Byrdie" told me this is Byrdie Bell )

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During my treasure hunting last week I found this fabulous vintage velvet hat:


and after doing some research, found out it was created by a woman from Maine, who in the 1940s began creating whimsical & fun beach bags and totes for friends.

She came to be one of the largest handbag retailers in New England
and is known in the designer purse world as
"The Kate Spade of Her Day".


What a compliment!

Her name is


"Margaret Smith"

and the label you see above is one of the more coveted labels for vintage collectors and it's on my sweet, little vintage hat!

I loved this story, because there are so many of you who work so hard at designing, creating, sewing & fabricating such amazing treasures, and this is a real~life story of a woman who made it with her passion, her talent and her hard work.  What an inspiration!

I spent almost two hours researching this label (another reason I am very slow about getting new items listed.  Am thinking I should switch to a profession in vintage clothing/label research?) and sadly learned that the company closed just last year.  It seemed to be another case of the old fashioned, small town merchant company swallowed up by pathetic consumerism of imported crappola from a giant discount chain store or two. . .

Another sad ending to an authentic Made In The USA label dating back to before World War II.

Onto something French to cheer me up:

Givenchy glass frames (2)

 This fab pair of vintage Givenchy glasses just listed  in "The Shoe".

I love how they looked on my mannequin with the hat, don't you?  I wore them around for awhile before I realized they were prescription lenses. . .hey, it was after a few glasses of wine so who knew? 

Nothing like some fabulous french designer vintage to cheer one up, don't you agree?

I have been very busy with my Etsy shoppe trying to get some little doo~dads listed, so I apologize for the lack of posts and will try to get around to say hello soon.

Have a wonderful week!




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I wonder if I'm alone in feeling a bit let down by American "Glossies" as of late. . .I flip through them while waiting in the check out line and sort of feel, well, nothing.  I used to have all sorts of subscriptions and looked forward to them with great anticipation.  But one by one, I let them expire and now I just treat myself to one now and then when I find something that catches my eye.  It seems that a lot of the fashions have become so modernly outlandish that I just can't relate to them or feel inspired by them.  Where am I going to wear a shredded mini dress made out of a trash can liner that's been dipped in gold paint and covered with feathers & safety pins?  I live in a typical suburban town where getting dressed up to go out usually means a clean pair of khakis & a crisp white shirt with flats.  Even if I lived in SoHo or 5th Avenue, I don't think I would choose the shredded mini~~it's just not me. 

So I have been rather delighted to have found two magazines within the past two months that I actually felt the desire to splurge on~~and they were both issues of Vanity Fair.  As I'm quite sure you know, the September issue had an amazing spread based on Mad Men's Don & Betty Draper and the photographs were stunning.  I guess I have to admit that my adoration for "Vintage Fashion"  leaves me a bit "closed~minded" about some of what is considered "Modern Fashion".  So when a modern magazine features or achieves the look & feel of an issue that dates back 50 years~~my little heart goes pitter~patter!  This was one of those times!


 Being quite content with that glossy~fix, I had no intention of splurging on another magazine.  Until I walked into CVS and  saw my fashion icon JBKO on the cover of the October issue and, of course, had to have that issue as well.  This is one of my favorite photographs of her, and I believe it was JFK's favorite of her, as well.

So, two months in a row, Vanity Fair has delivered.  One of my favorite sections in the magazine is "FAN FARE" and the October issue has a great tribute to

Rovos Rail


"We have re~discovered the train.  We abandoned her for the convenience and speed
of the airplane and vowed never to look back.  But there's something relaxing about the
familiar, rhythmic sounds of the rails and looking out the window as the landscape whistles past you. 
The great train journey to somewhere special is about enjoying the trip as much as it is about arriving
at the destination."

~~DAISY FINER~Vanity Fair~October 2009

If, like me, you are a fan of old~world train travel, then treat yourself to this issue and enjoy!



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How do you like to spend a rainy day?

Beautiful bedroom2 

I think I'll sleep in a bit. . .


soak in a bubble bath. . .

Girl on car  

get dressed up. . .


meet a friend for coffee and a decadent pastry. . .


treat myself to a manicure. . .

689931~American-Traveler-in-the-Paris-Salon-of-Gilbert-Orcel-Buying-Hats-Posters.jpg Yale Joel 

do a little shopping. . .


catch a matinee'. . .


take a long nap. . .

April 1 1957 vogue Richard Rutledge 

get dressed again. . .


for a romantic dinner for two. . .


*visit The Paris Hotel Boutique Journal to enter a wonderful French Inspired Give Away!



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Ladies_lunching *I truly love this photo. . . the photography is amazing for starters but what is also amazing is the way women dressed for Lunch!

It is rather obvious from the natural window light that these dazzling damsels were out for lunch. . . not a glamorous evening dinner or drinks at the club. . . I mean, really, how amazing does she look? 

Take a few minutes to decide what you will wear today. . .dressing like this for lunch may seem a bit "over the top" nowadays, but I promise you will have a far more fantastic luncheon if you take a few minutes and put together an elegant outfit.  The French do it every day, and who does it better than the French when it comes to Food & Fashion? 

*(Previously posted on September 24,2007. Edited for this post)


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In light of the fact that the entire globe is in an unprecedented, staggering economic crisis, I thought I would devote this post to a very simple, old fashioned, somewhat outdated past~time:

Mending   DARNING : (noun) 1. Mending holes in clothes, the work of repairing holes in clothing or fabric with long interwoven stitches.

Seamstress by Renoir  MENDING : (noun) 1. articles, especially clothes, to be mended.


SYNONYMS :  Restoration, patch~up, healing, renovation

It used to be that every domestic diva had a basket full of things that needed mending.  A bit of attention with needle and thread could extend the life of a garment by years and that used to matter to people.  As the years passed, this simple past~time gave way to the notion that "it's a lot easier to throw it away and buy a new one".  Businesses were booming, advertising took on a major role in society, and mass production of just about everything left lots of grandmother's shaking their heads and wondering if the day would come when not one bride~to~be would know how to thread a needle, much less know how to mend something.

But now, it seems, consumers are not so quick to throw things away.  Many are actually choosing to "make do" with what they already have and if it needs a little TLC, well that is better than having to purchase a new one.  While this poses a challenge for those of us in the "Retail" sector or some version of it, I still find this trend heart~warming in a way.  After all, if my adored vintage frocks were not cared for the way they were, I wouldn't have the pleasure of working with such beautifully crafted garments.  And so. . .

From socks to cars~~people are choosing to be:

THRIFTY :  (adjective) 1.careful with money and resources, managing money and resources in a cautious and sensible way so as to waste as little as possible.  2. Prosperous

Isn't that interesting: PROSPEROUS was the archaic meaning of the word THRIFTY!

In our day, being thrifty has generally been equated with being cheap, tight~fisted, even poor.  And yet now being "Thrifty" is suddenly in style.  Everywhere.  Good Morning America ran a prime time segment on "Secrets of a Thrift Store Shopper" . . .their retail business is booming!!   Not to mention that thrift/resale/consignment store shopping is a wonderful way to "Recycle".  Check out this interview with clothing designer Elizabeth Kramer and take a peek at her creative flat/studio infused with vintage finds.  A far cry from this story of CEO extravagance by Mark Patinkin in the same section of my Providence Sunday Journal. 

Seamstress in red

Perhaps the antiquated meaning of "Thrifty" will come to be in fashion once again. . .while we usually equate prosperity with wealth, this beautiful word means far more. . .

PROSPEROUS : (adjective) 1. thriving  2. flourishing  3. abounding  4. successful

Doesn't that put a lovely new angle on "Prosperity"? 

It's who we have, not what we have, that makes us prosper in the most genuine sense of the word. . .and in lean times, remembering that can make a big difference in our outlook every day.


Ladyinbluesewing1  I'm going to try to think about that while I'm sewing today. . .but of course I will be tuned in at half time to watch you know who!








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For an absolute Vintage Art fix

please take a moment to visit


which is where I found these lovely Pochoir images. . .


A bit of outdoor romance~~skating together. . .


A childhood favorite~~building a snowman with friends. . .

Adr_Pochoir-Lord-&-Taylor.jpgpurple coat 

Seems the "Purple Obsession" is nothing new. . .some vintage outerwear fashion. . .


"Darling, let's go somewhere. . ."


The few I've shared with you are just a glimpse of the beautiful posters, prints and artwork you can find at

"I Desire Vintage"

Promise me you will take a peek!



Here in the North East we have been inundated with




so I have been trying to take advantage of being stranded by cleaning out files, folders & images on my computer.

I tend to actually "OVER ORGANIZE"

to the point I sort of can't find anything. . .

can anyone else relate to that?

Here are a few more Vintage images I found. . .since I won't be going anywhere warm soon. . .



House & Garden Magazine

How wonderful would this be right about now?



House & Garden Magazine

This would be fine as well!



House & Garden Magazine


Yes, darling, let's go somewhere!











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