Friday, March 30, 2012

Happy Girls in Vintage Land

I wish I was here:

from Jan. 1950 California Stylist magazine

I want to be the brunette girl right now...on that fabulous sailboat, in that glittering sea, wearing that adorable dress.
Instead of my cramped and cluttered office, wearing old flannel PJ bottoms with stars and planets that long ago lost their ability to glow in the dark, and a mismatched Jeep t-shirt.


Some days you have it, some days you don't ;-)

Friday, March 23, 2012

Vintage Science Friday...Episode 2

 (To preface this post, yes, this is science! There are chemicals involved, and chemicals = science, right?)

One of my favorite things to do is find some beautiful piece of vintage something-or-other that needs major TLC and fix it all up so it looks shiny and new.
Here are a few things I use to bring vintage pieces back to their former glory. But first, one note of caution! Use all these things with care. They're all strong stuff!

I mostly use the above items for textiles. I use the "Cold Water Wash" (it's like Woolite) for delicate things like scarves, sweaters, etc. I use *very* cold water and a capful of this stuff in a clean bucket...submerge your items gently, and then very gently swish them around a bit. Let soak for just a few minutes (10 max) and then rinse & rinse & rinse, with cold water. Lift the item out with great care...some fabrics are super-fragile when they're wet and you don't want to tear the fabric! Then lay it out flat to dry, on a towel or on a rack.
**********One quick note: you probably already know this, but you can't wash anything with a lining that's made of a different material! For instance, a beaded cashmere or wool sweater with a chiffon or satin-type lining. Usually the lining will shrink. Sometimes the outer part shrinks and not the lining. Either way = very bad. Take these items to a dry cleaner. You say your dry cleaner won't clean beaded things? Find a "theatrical" dry cleaner.**************

The Biz is remarkable stuff! I use that only on cottons and polyester-type, man-made materials. You can soak things for hours, even days...Biz is an enzyme wash and it works incredibly well on the type of yellowing you get on fabrics that have been stored away for decades. The Soft Scrub I use with the toothbrush only on tough, white fabrics that have resistant a vintage tablecloth. Scrub it on the spot, wait a few minutes, then rinse thoroughly.

The "Miracle Cleaning Eraser" (generic Magic Eraser) is great to take little scuffs off of glasswear, ceramics, and it takes magic marker/sharpie off of things, just be careful to use an extra-light's abrasive & it'll take the shine off, too!
The Rust Stain Remover here is an absolute miracle worker! Once I washed a sweater with metal buttons and then left it wadded up, damp, overnight (I know! Bad Vintage Owner! Bad!) this, of course, left huge horrible rust stains where the buttons were resting against the wet fabric. A little bit of this stuff and *Poof* the stains were gone! It was like a magic trick. Seriously.

Baby wipes are for things that can't be washed, like a fabric-covered handbag or belt, or a hat. They gently remove surface stains and don't seem to leave a residue.

Hot glue gun...I use this to stick down shoe insoles that are lifting at the heels. Also for lots of other things where you need instant adhesion. Watch your little fingers, though! that stuff's like napalm!

I have lots more tricks up my vintage sleeve, but I'll save some for another post...
I hope these things help :-)
Does anyone out there have tricks for cleaning & fixing up vintage items? Feel free to share!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

My Book Wish-list

I spend waaaay too much money on books...well, I used to anyway. Then I moved, like 5 times in 4 years and packing and schlepping all those books cured me a little bit!
My brother-in-law (who was helping us move) said to my husband "When I get married, my wife is going to collect something nice & paper fans" :-)

I still love to look at Amazon and dream a little, though...

Here are a few of the books at the top of my wish-list right now.

This would look great on my coffee table. If I had a coffee table. Instead I have one of those useless ottomans-with-a-tray-on-top which looks so nice in theory, and in reality is so lame. sigh. But anyway, gorgeous book!!

I love her prints and I want to learn more about this designer...I have a dress I'll put up on Etsy soon that might be hers, but the tag's been cut out. I need to see if I can find the print in this book.

Vera! What a talented and inspirational lady! I found my first Vera scarf at a thrift store for 50 cents. Some people don't know gold when they see it!

This book is brand-new on Amazon. Has anyone read it or seen it? Looks interesting...

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Happy (almost) St. Patrick's Day!

Green is my favorite color, so it's never any effort for me to wear it on St. Patrick's Day...I wear it half the time, anyway!

In honor of the coming day here are some fun green Etsy picks. Enjoy!  

Cute Four-Leaf Clover cardi at MoMoDeluxeVintage

                                          Awesome plaid cape at Animal Head Vintage

                                         Killer Springolators at Planetclairevintage

                                           Adorable dress at TheArborVitae

                                              Hand-painted vintage bag at MoMosMadness

 Did you like my picks? I hope so...I'm off  to make a (vegan) Shamrock Shake!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

A Fun Trip to Wertz Bros. Antiques

A while back I stumbled upon a gem of a place, in Santa Monica (pretty close to where I live) called Wertz Bros. Antique Mart. You know how sometimes you drive by a place a million times, and every time you say to yourself "I've gotta go in there someday!"  Well, I guess it was someday! Mostly it was because I spied an open parking spot right by the door...I loves me some "Doris Day" parking :-)

Wertz Bros. looks unassuming from the outside, but the inside!!! I literally gasped when I walked through the door. It's enormous and filled to the rafters with every kind of vintage amazingness.
Here are my favorite finds of the day:

my favorite color
this chair NEEDs to be in my living room
the most exotic perfume bottle ever
yummy can never have enough

Wertz Brothers Antique Mart in Santa Monica, CA

Here's a link to their website:Wertz Bros.Website

What a fun place! If you're ever in L.A. it's worth a look!

Friday, March 2, 2012

Introducing...Vintage Science Friday!

You guys out there in Blogland don't know me that well yet, but if you did, you'd know that I'm secretly a big'ol nerd. A dorky, science-loving, sci-fi watching, bug-collecting, library lurking nerd. So in that vein, I'm gonna do a little thing I'll call Vintage Science Friday!!!! Not every Friday...I can't commit that much, but perhaps most Fridays? Or every-other?'s the Premier Edition:

MOTHS: They are not our friends!

Anyone who has experienced the heartbreak of pulling a beloved vintage cashmere sweater out of storage and finding, instead, a cashmere piece of Swiss cheese knows that moths are not our friends at all. Specifically clothes moths, or Tineola Bisselliella, the common clothes moth.

Our Enemy (thanks to WikiPedia for the pic)

He looks innocent enough, right? Not so much...he, rather SHE is our enemy! She is a very good Mommy, and searches for a safe and sound place for her babies. Her HUNDREDS of babies. A safe place like your closet, or your drawers. She will lay 100's of eggs in a place that's dark and quiet, and where there's a ready food source, like your favorite 1950's cashmere sweater set. When those eggs hatch, they become tiny caterpillars who munch their way through your clothes, sometimes for months. They turn Keratin, which is the natural protein of which hair and wool consist, into food. They will eat any natural fiber: wool, alpaca, cashmere, silk, cotton (yes!), silk, fur, feathers, linen, etc. Only your 70's polyester is safe :-)

These little darlings especially love it when you've put your sweater away dirty (ewww) as they love sweat and food particles, however microscopic. They use this stuff to get their moisture, because they can't drink.

"But how do I stop them???" you ask in's how:

* Never put your clothes away (for any length of time) dirty! Hand wash or dry clean first, always!

* Dry Cleaning kills moth eggs and larvae.

* Freezing kills moth eggs and larvae. This is what I do when I get a wool sweater from a thrift store or some such...I wrap it tightly in a plastic bag and put the bag in my freezer for 3 or 4 days. My husband loves it when he opens the freezer and finds sweaters instead of food :-)

* Heat kills moth eggs and larvae. 120 degrees F. for at least 30 minutes. The hottest setting on your washer and dryer *may* get that hot, but do you really want to do that to your vintage clothes? Probably not.

*Old-fashioned mothballs kill moth eggs and larvae, but only in an air-tight container. Yes, they are poisonous and they smell funky. Keep them safely away from pets and children, and don't stick your head in the container looking for that one sweater...
The mothball smell can generally be completely removed by putting the item out in fresh air and sunlight for a few hours. Sunlight degrades the smell, and fresh moving air carries it away.

* Lavender Oil will work, but only just has to be STRONG, refreshed often, and in an air-tight container.

* Things that don't work: Camphor (needs too high of a vapor concentration to be practical),
Cedar: smells lovely (if you like your clothes to smell like a hamster cage), but doesn't really work, other commercially available herbal/spice things...go ahead and try if you like, at your peril!

That concludes this episode of  Vintage Science Friday.  Stay tuned next week for more fun with science! ;-)