Friday, February 26, 2010

Film Fashion Friday: Niagara (1953)

This week Film Fashion Friday is bringing you a taste of warmer weather! Lately, I have been caught up in films that are set in warmer climates. They are so inspiring and I am creating a mental library of summertime outfits for the up coming season.

The main film this week is Niagara (1963) starring Marilyn Monroe, Joseph Cotten, and Jean Peters. I watched it for that first time last week and I must say I was quite surprised. I wasn't expecting much and this film turned out to actually be pretty good. I can't believe it took me this long to watch it, considering my love for Joseph Cotten. Both Marilyn Monroe and Jean Peters have an array of fantastic outfits created by Dorothy Jeakins. I would say that this is among Jeakins' best films, considering her small body of work. If you like her work in this film, I would check out South Pacific (1958), Titanic (1953), or Three Coins in the Fountain (1954), all great films with some eye candy worthy wardrobes.

Niagara is the story of two different married couples and how a week at Niagara Falls intertwines the two. There is also the added element of murder and mystery making for a quasi film noir. I highly recommend this film, if for nothing more than the spectacular costumes. Monroe and Peters each go through several outfit changes and each has their own distinct look -- giving both "good girl" and "bad girl" style in one film. This film really showcases how fab '50s summertime clothing was.

Stop Staring Clothing sells a dress that looks to be an exact replica of Marilyn Monroe's famous dress from the film. It is a bit pricey, but I must say it looks like it could have been in the's that good. So for all you gals that want to look like you stepped out of movie, literately, then this dress is for you!

Going along with the summer theme and staying in the same decade, this week's honorable mention stars Katharine Hepburn in Summertime (1955). The film was shot entirely on location in Venice and features a cute little love story between Hepburn and Rossano Brazzi. No costume designer/director was listed in either the credits of the film or on IMDB. Whoever put together or designed the clothes for this film did a fabulous job, really creating the feel for a summer holiday in Italy.

Both of these films are instants on Netflix and are normally widely available at video rental places. I hope you find this breath of summer air as inspiring as I did!!

Make sure to check back next week and keep sending in your requests!


Thursday, February 25, 2010

A Successful Day

I haven't posted a lot about estate sale finds in a long time. This is mostly due to the fact that there haven't been a lot of eye catching sales as of late. For the past few months, it seems that there have only been about one great sale a month -- kinda rare for Michigan. Since discovering estates sales two plus years ago, there has always been at least one good sale each weekend. I guess we are experiencing a dry spell.....which has been nice on my wallet and has allowed me to acclimate less stuff and clutter. I have also been fine tuning my tastes and destashing my stash. When I was starting out, I think I would buy things more because they were inexpensive and less because I loved them. Now when I go to sales I have a set goal in mind, mostly because I have been getting better at keeping a mental list of items to keep an eye out for, which coincides with pin pointing my tastes. I think it also helps to know what different kinds of items are available and most frequently appear at your local thrift stores. I know for me, vintage glassware pops up at lot at thrift stores and for much less than at estate sales, so I tend to bypass that stuff at the sales.

Today was a good estate sale day. The house of the sale I attended was literately filled to the brim with vintage dishes, linens, and weird/creepy old dolls -- few of which were actually vintage. I didn't expect the linens to be priced so high, considering they had so many to move out; I am guessing there were at least 1,000 pieces, no joke. There were at least 2,000 different dishes and glassware objects to take your pick from. Those were priced fair. I couldn't come home without at least one new linen for my collection, considering how many there were to choose from. The tablecloth pictured above caught my eye. There was also a lot of great vintage fabric, but at ten bucks per piece, I had to leave the pieces there. The guy gave me a price for all my items, since the only thing marked was the tablecloth ($8). However, I worked it out and on average, my items cost just a little less than $3 each, so I was thoroughly satisfied.

I loved the chalkware piece the moment I saw it. I have two smaller pieces that are in a similar design and color scheme. I am thinking the three will look nice together in a kitchen someday. I am a sucker for anything that is peach glazed, swanky swigs, and for metal recipe boxes. I might even do a whole post on my vintage metal recipe boxes, which is one collection I actually have a back-story as to why/how I collect them.

How are the sales in your neighborhood?


Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Past Life's Fabulous '40s Home Front Giveaway

One of the lovely blogs I follow, Past Life, is holding a fabulous giveaway prefect for the '40s gal at heart. I'm crossing my fingers...that snood is super cute!! If you want a chance to win, click HERE to be directed to the giveaway page. Do also check out Miss Cherry Bubbles' blog...she is so adorable!


Monday, February 22, 2010

Morning Surprises

This morning I awoke to a snow storm, one I had no clue that was coming. While I know it's going to be a mess later, it was quite beautiful to see snow coming down and blowing in the wind. Maybe being snowed in will give me a chance to finish tackling my mending pile. Yesterday I managed to put a pretty big dent into it!

Pumpkin had a little too much fun playing outside. Sometimes I think she thinks she is a bunny because that is what she looks like, hopping around in the snow. She loves being outside; it doesn't matter what it's like out -- she loves it no matter what. Today it was hard to get her to come back in. Thankfully, when she goes outside she is on a lead, unless I am there to supervise her. When Pumpkin was just a little puppy, she figured out how to get out of our fenced in yard. She gave her mama quite the heart-attack!! After that, all outside time must be supervised.

I do enjoy watching her play in the snow. She looks so adorable prancing around! I hope everyone is warm and cozy!!


Friday, February 19, 2010

Film Fashion Friday: Once Upon A Honeymoon (1942)

Last week I mentioned the Valentine's Day sale that the Warner Archive was having. Well, my movies finally came in the mail this past Wednesday and I was super excited. I was even more excited to find out that both of the films for this week are available to view on YouTube. So even if you don't want to purchases the DVDs in order to view the films in this post, you still can via YouTube.

The main film for this week is Once Upon a Honeymoon (1942). I actually saw this movie for the first time through YouTube. It is such a good movie and the well dressed Ginger Rogers only adds to the charm of the film. The gowns were done by Miss Leslie and I can't seem to find much information on her. According to IMDB, it seems that Once Upon a Honeymoon was the only film she did. Regardless, I am loving the outfits worn by Ginger, which range from very dressed down to evening wear. This film definitely provides looks to inspire any occasion.

I can't find a trailer of the film, but it follows Ginger Rogers and Cary Grant as they make their way across war-torn Europe. Rogers marries a foreign baron and must become a spy after she finds out he is on the wrong side of the war. Grant plays an overseas reporter who becomes enamored with Rogers. The two end up traveling together and falling in love. As I said, the film is available on YouTube and HERE is the link to part one.
This week's honorable mention is also a fashionable '40s film, They Met in Bombay (1941) starring Clark Gable and Rosalind Russell. Gable and Russell both play thieves after the same jewel. Once they find each other out, they decide to team up and become partners in crime. While both actors are playing criminals, you can't help but love them and cheer them on. Plus, how could one not fall in love with the glamourous creations by Adrian?

HERE is the link to part one of the film on YouTube.

Just as a side note, as of today the 4 for $45 sale at Warner Archive was still going on. They have also added a President's Day sale as well.

See you next week for more classic film fashion!


Monday, February 15, 2010

A Quick Fix for Missing Vintage Rhinestone Buttons

I never shy away from buying a vintage piece that is cheaply priced but needs a little work, case in point: my Mend and Make Do Dress. One of the shirts I brought home from the last estate sale was missing most of the rhinestones in the buttons, but it had major potential for $2. I have mentioned on here before that I have replaced my rhinestones in vintage buttons with new ones and felt it was time to do a little tutorial. This is such a quick and easy it's really inexpensive as well. What you will need is a blouse or dress (really anything with rhinestone buttons that have stones missing), some good quality glue, and some rhinestones.

1. The glue of my choice is Aleene's Clear Tacky Glue. It dries quick and forms a strong bond. I used it on the last garment I fixed and it held up through the washer and dryer. I have yet to test the glue out on the dry cleaners, but when I do, I'll let you know. Read the back, it will normally say if it's okay for washables. This glue doesn't say, but I have tested and it worked out well for me.

2. The stones I used were knock off Swarovski Crystal by the Joann house brand, Ultimate Crystals. They were on sale for half off, so I stocked up. I think they will still be on sale for a few more days. These stones are the closest I have found to matching the original ones, although the new ones are flat backed and not cone backed like original rhinestones. The flat back stones work wonderfully and give off the same effect as the cone backed stones. In fact, I haven't been able to find cone backed stones anywhere. I also think it would be hard to get a good fit with cone backed stones. The flat back ones sit right at the top of the well and I haven't had any issues with them popping out.
Here are the steps:

1. The first thing I do is gently pop out all the other stones. I guess this could be optional, but I find that if many stones are missing, the probability that the rest of the original stones will make their way out at some point is eventual and I also want a uniform look. I save the original stones in case I will ever need to just replace one or two on a blouse or dress. That way I can avoid popping out more than necessary. You will also need to make sure that the little well were you will place your new stone is pretty much glue free. Most of the time it is, as the glue comes out with the stones, but I always check. If there is a little residue, I just take a larger sharp needle and carefully pop or scrape it out.

2. Next comes the gluing. Before I glue anything, I check for fit. The size in between the smallest and largest rhinestones that most stores sell fits most sized buttons. My package didn't give the millimeters, but I always get the in-between size and that works for me. I lay out my stones and after I know they fit, then I begin to glue. I only put a tiny dot in the well, where the cone back of the original stone would have sat; I don't want the glue to ooze out. If there is some overflow, I keep a wet paper towel handy and wipe off the excess if need.

3. Repeat the gluing part for the rest of your buttons. I should note that I have found it is easiest to do the gluing with the garment closed and buttoned up. This gives the button something to rest on and makes for a sturdy, even surface -- especially since most of these buttons have a shank back.
Here is the finished product. The supplies cost me about $6, which is sooooo much cheaper than having to replace the buttons. The price of buttons astounds me, which is why I just had to find a way to do an easy and inexpensive fix to rhinestone buttons. Plus, I really wanted to avoid having to sew on new buttons! I think the look of rhinestone buttons is so pretty and sure to dress up any garment. I am so loving the new look of this shirt that I just might wear it tomorrow!! :)

I hope this helps!! If you have any questions, feel free to comment or send me an email.


Sunday, February 14, 2010

My Funny Valentine

Happy Valentine's Day!!!!! This year, since I don't have a beau, my valentine is Pumpkin. She does make for an adorable valentine...doesn't she? Today we will be spending the day at my favorite year around flea market, hopefully finding some special goodies. I hope everyone has a sweet day with their valentine....whoever it may be!

While I was looking online for a vintage valentine of a girl and a puppy, I came across this valentine, pictured above. It totally reminded me of the Merrie Melodies "Pettin' in the Park." There is a scene in that little short that looks identical to the valentine I found. The song, Pettin' in the Park is most famous for appearing in Gold Digger's of 1933, a spectacular Busby Berkeley film. If you haven't seen it, I highly recommend it! The Berkeley numbers are, in my opinion, among his best and the film also features some great '30s sports wear.

I will leave you with both the Merrie Melodies and a clip of the song from the film. Have a wonderful day!!


Friday, February 12, 2010

Film Fashion Friday: Charade (1963)

I had a request for some Audrey Hepburn films, so without further adieu, here are my picks. My main pick is Charade (1963) starring Cary Grant alongside Hepburn. Such a cute romantic/mystery/comedy, perfect for Valentine's Day. Givenchy provided the gowns -- actually both films this week feature Givenchy designs. I really love Givenchy. He created such classic, iconic looks that are still popular today. This week I have included the trailers for each of the films. I think I might start doing that with each week's film...what do you think?

This week's honorable mention, Paris-When it Sizzles (1964) came out a year after Charade. William Holden stars alongside Hepburn this time, making for a cute couple. Although, Cary Grant and Hepburn are just as adorable! Givenchy styled the wardrobe for this film, which features a lot of his signature touches. Another great Valentine's Day film...even if it is a little different than most lovely-dovey Valentine's Day movies.

Please keep sending in your requests!!


Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Snow Day Sale

Today I got the best news when I awoke.....a SNOW DAY!!!! Being a college student, these are very few and far between, it rarely ever happens. However, last night southeastern Michigan received about 5-10+ inches of snow, depending on where you live of course. I was extremely elated and decided to check and see if there were any estates sales. There are hardly never sales on Wednesdays so imagine my luck when there was one, close to home, and literally PACKED with TONS of vintage clothing and over all vintage goodies.

My mom and I headed out and got there about two hours after the sale opened. There was still a lot of great stuff left, but I could tell that the really spectacular stuff had already sold. Nonetheless, I still found a lot of great deals and was able to cross of some more things off my look out list. Apparently, this home/store front was being used as a storage facility for the owner and he wanted to clear everything out. It was truly a digger sale, with many open boxes waiting to be looked into. In the boxes is where I found most of my deals...I am thinking the early birds didn't take time out to do so. Anyways, here is a list of all the things I got. Sorry for the lack of photos, most of the stuff is either drying or at the cleaners.

*Two pairs of vintage sunglasses $5 each
*A pair of late 40's black velvet baby doll pumps $3

The house part of the building had a whole room just full of shoes. The walls were lined with shelving and still filled to the brim with vintage shoes. This was like my dream room!! I've been looking for a new/old pair of black pumps to replace a pair I have. These fit like a dream and are so cute...I'll post pictures soon. The room also had a table in the middle with accessories. There was a shallow box full of vintage sunglasses; there must have been at least 30 pairs. I picked out two pairs and I had no clue that the black framed ones were vintage Foster Grants until I was cleaning them at home. I think the red and orange ones look like the pair Gene Tierney wears in Leave Her to Heaven (1945).

*A vintage beaded sweater $2
*A black vintage 50's rayon circle skirt $5
*The cutest black 40's Hat $3
*Two pairs of Navy issued pants (one black, one navy) $2 each
*A vintage all-in-one girdle new with tags (a list item!!) $2
*A 40's silk pajama top $2
*An early 50's navy dress $5
*2+ yards of vintage rayon fabric $3
*5 vintage blouses (some silk, all have labels!!) $2 each

When I was looking through the racks that had the blouses on them, I can across a pink one with rhinestone buttons. I thought it was cute, so I picked it up to examine it. Would you believe my surprise when I looked at the label and it said CHANEL??????!!!! This sale actually had a lot of designer items, the guy in line behind me got a few items by Christian Dior. Since there were other designer items there, it's pretty likely the Chanel shirt is a real, but I am going to investigate the label. Regardless, it's cute and was only $2.

My grand total for 17 items was $49. Not bad, if I do say so myself!! I hope everyone enjoyed their day as much as I did!! :)


Sunday, February 7, 2010

Celebrate Valentine's Day with the WB Archive

With Valentine's Day exactly one week from today, I felt it fitting to advertise the great sale that the WB Archive is having - $44.95 buys you four of their romantic classics. Click HERE to visit the page. My top two picks are The Moon is Blue (1953) and Once Upon a Honeymoon (1942). I've been wanting to blog about The Moon is Blue for quite some time now and haven't gotten around to it. I bought this film a while back on one of my WB archive spending sprees and am soooooo glad that I did.

The Moon is Blue is about a girl who, by running into a man, has a crazy serious of events. Upon meeting Don, Patty agrees to go to Don's apartment to help him sew on a button on his jacket. Once up in the apartment, Patty ends up cooking dinner for Don and his ex-lover's father! What follows is a great love triangle between William Holden (Don), Maggie McNamara (Patty), and David (David Niven). This spectacular cast is directed by none other than Otto Preminger, who's ballsy gamble of releasing a picture not approved by the Production Code certainly paid off at the box office.

While this film many not seem that edgy today, I can see how it was extremely scandalous at the time. With numerous references to Patty's virginity - Patty even comes right out and tells Don she is a virgin - and the film's use of the word pregnant made for an all out ban and several protests from many different groups. I think the film has some great dialog and Holden and Niven are wonderful.

If you are planning on getting some Warner Archive films, now is a good time. At a little more than $11 a piece, this is the cheapest the dvds have been; plus there are some really great titles to choose from. If you are a classicfilx member and don't want to splurge for dvds, this is a definite rent!!

I also recommend becoming a Warner's member, even if you don't plan on purchasing anything. You can get email alerts as to up coming sales and new releases -- sometimes some that don't get widely posted on their website!! I always get super excited when I check my inbox and there is a message from WB. :)


The Real Me

A while back, Miss Cherry Bubbles tagged me to post a picture of the "real me." I was racking my brain, thinking of what kind of a picture would embody the real me. I finally decided on taking a picture with my sweet little doggie, Pumpkin. Ever since I knew what a dog was, I wanted one. After living twenty-one years without a puppy (I am living at home while attending college), my parents finally caved in and got me one. She is the best little doggie in the whole world!! :) In a way, I am sort of glad my parents had me wait because I really do appreciate her whereas I think if I were younger the novelty would have certainly worn off by now.

Other than my love for my little puppy, here are some other things that make up the "real me." I am always late or running late. I have a very hard time getting places on time, but I have been getting better. I spend way too much money and am addicted to online shopping, primarily eBay. Who doesn't love getting packages in the mail?? And, lastly, I am completely obsessed with movies, mostly Classical Hollywood. I pretty much watch a movie a day, whether it is for school or for enjoyment...sometimes both!

Instead of tagging people, I will open this tag up to any of my readers that feel inclined to do a post on the real me.

I also want to put the word out to all my fellow Michiganders that Saturday, March 20th there will be a jewelry and vintage apparel show in Bloomfield Hills at the Birmingham Unitarian Church. It's only $5 to get in and the one day show is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Check out the website for more information. I can't wait!!!!!


Friday, February 5, 2010

Film Fashion Friday: Easy to Wed (1946)

Welcome to the fourth and final week of Actress Month. I feel like I saved one of Lucy's best films for last! The main feature this week, Easy to Wed, comes from 1946 and stars Esther Williams and Van Johnson alongside Lucy. This film has to be one of the cutest post-war romantic comedies I have seen. The story is a musical-esque remake of Libeled Lady (1936). While many don't feel this film lives up to that of its 1936 origin, I feel it's still a super fun film with great Irene costumes. Plus it has Esther Williams in it, wearing some awesome swimwear.

Irene worked a lot with the musical department at MGM. It seems that her two favorite starlets to dress and design for were Doris Day (whom Irene became very close with) and Esther Williams. I know that most of the Williams' films were made with the same team, so it's no surprise that Irene worked on pretty much all of these films. Irene had a long career that began as an actress in the '20s. The early '30s marked her debut as a costume designer and supervisor.

Just as a little side note, the TCM Spotlight Esther Williams Volume one collection is amazing!! All of these films have stellar costumes, especially beachwear and Mexican inspired looks. This collection is a must see before summer to get some really get outfit ideas.
This week's honorable mention features an all star cast. Stage Door (1937) is about a boarding house of actress wannabe's. These gals are impeccably dressed and the gowns by Muriel King are the envy of any '30s enthusiast.

Both films are available on DVD in box sets and through online rental at Netflix. I hope everyone enjoyed actress month as much as I did!! Keep leaving your requests and suggestions!!

See you next week for some more vintage film fashion!


Monday, February 1, 2010

1001 Vintage Decorating Ideas Part One

While cleaning out and sorting my vintage magazines the other day, I came across this decorating book from the late '40s. The cover is similar (but not the same) as the one pictured above. It seems that these little books were put out quite often, since I have found a few different covers online. I spent some time flipping through the book and found some really great ideas, ones that would work in even a non-vintage home. In the quick little search I did, I didn't come across my book -- which is #4. So, I thought I would do a series of posts sharing some of the ideas and information in the book.

This posts will contain questions and answers which are found on pages 9 and 10. Just as a note, as there were just sketches in the book, I found these images off a google search to complement the post.

Do You Know the Answers to the Most Commonly Asked Decoration Questions?

How can I arrange a room containing a baby grand piano?
Place it so that the player faces into the room. If you have a long wall, place the straight side of the piano parallel to the wall. Stand a chair and lamp table in the curve of the piano.

High windows at either side of the fireplace have me stumped. Have you a solution?
Build bookshelves under the windows, or busy sectional bookcases to fit the space. Paint them to match the woodwork or walls. The back of such cases can be painted a gay color, so anything you place on them will become more decorative. Eliminate drapery treatments here for it will make the windows look fussy. Another solution is to block them out entirely, build shelves from floor to ceiling, and display colorful glassware. Or if you don't need the light, window casing can be used as a frame for a picture backed with plywood.

Can I create a center of interest in the living room without a fireplace?
Yes, there are several ways. One successful system is to use a long, shallow table -- or chest or bookcase -- with a large mirror over it. Flank this with matching wing chairs or love seats, facing each other.

Shall I buy a rug that allows a floor margin, or is wall-to-wall carpeting better?
If you own your home, all-over carpeting will give a more spacious look to the room. However, if your budget is limited, or you live in a rented house, a rug is a sensible choice. The margin should be the same all around -- anywhere from 6 to 18 inches.

Is it all right to use light and dark wood furniture in the same room?
Yes. It makes for interest, and breaks up monotony. But the woods should be of the same formality. For instance, "pickled" pine is nice with mahogany, or light and dark mahogany are good together.

I am never quite sure how to hang pictures. Can you guide me?
A good general rule is to hang them at eye level of a person standing, but be sure that person is of average height. In grouping pictures place them one over the other, side by side, or in other organized and symmetrical groups. But don't arrange them in a stair-step fashion. The latter treatment is nice only for stair walls. Hang pictures low if you want to add height.

Can I have floor-length draperies with a radiator under the window?
It's easy! Use a cornice board at the top and extend it six or eight inches beyond either side of the window so that the draperies will hang free of the radiator. This treatment gives a nice broad look to the window and at the same time will overcome any interference from the radiator.

Would you advise painting my woodwork which is dark, but has a nice grain.
We believe that dark woodwork give a heavy, dated look to a room. Do paint it to match the walls or background color of the wallpaper you are using, or simply paint it white. Light woodwork will brighten up the room and give it a new look, and requires very little extra care to keep it fresh. As a matter of fact, dust shows up more on dark woodwork than painted. For the really dirty marks there are washing powders which loosen dirt without much effort.

My problem is one of high ceilings. Can you suggest a way to lower the apparent height of the room?
Painting the ceiling a warm color is one way to bring down the height of the room. Another way is to use a deep valance or cornice at the windows, or to lower the molding 12 to 18 inches from the ceiling. Don't use a vertically striped wallpaper.

Shall I use lace antimacassars on my overstuffed furniture?
No, for they seldom serve their purpose and only tend to give a tacky, dated look to a room. With the wonderful cleaning products on the market it is an easy matter to freshen up the upholstery. Slipcovers are a much better way to keep upholstery clean, and slipcovers can be wonderfully handsome.

My fireplace has ugly red bricks that spoil any chance of an interesting color scheme. What would you do with them?
The remedy is very simple. Just paint the bricks with a good flat paint -- white or ivory -- to match the woodwork in the room. Black is good, too.

How can I treat a group of windows placed together?
Use a pair of glass curtains for each window, but only one pair of draperies for the group -- that is, a drapery at each extreme end, with a continuous valance across the top to tie the group together and give it a framed look. Such draperies should have extra fullness and should look full enough to pull across and cover the whole area.

Can I mix furniture periods in a room?
A room has far more charms and style when it combines a little of the old with a little of the new. These days, more than formerly, a strict carrying out of one period seems to make for a very stuffy room.

Is it necessary to use a small table beside every chair?
No. Too many little tables can give a room a "leggy" look. Try placing one big, important table between two chairs. Your room will have more character if you combine three of four small tables with one or two large tables.

I hope you all enjoyed this! Next up, I plan on featuring the "Don't Throw it Out" article.