Thursday, May 31, 2012

Ebay Alert!

I just found this super-amazing Bakelite (or maybe Lucite) bangle on eBay (OK well, actually, I found it surfing eBay on my phone in the middle of the night). I've never seen one quite like it so I thought you lovely readers might like a peek:

a-mah-zing vintage eye candy
To go to the auction on eBay click here

I love vintage jewelry with a bug theme! I think these little cicadas look like gummy bears. I kinda want to eat 'em. I sure don't want to eat the real kind :-)
The ebay seller doesn't say specifically  that this is Bakelite, but judging by the looks of it, I think it could be...I don't really care, I love it anyway. Unfortunately with the dollar conversion and the shipping from England it's a little rich for my blood right now, but maybe one of you gals will snap it up!

UPDATE:   This cool bangle ended up selling for $81.57. I think that's less than it's worth, if it is in fact Bakelite. What do you guys think?

Friday, May 25, 2012

Estate Sale FAIL

Usually when I buy vintage items I'm really careful to check them over first, to make sure they're in good shape, but estate sales can be so hectic (with all the other dealers hanging all over you like vultures) and frequently it's also really dark inside the houses. So occasionally I end up buying something that turns out to be a total dog once I get it home and into good lighting. It hasn't happened in a while, so I guess I thought my buying skills were improving...think again!

Example:  take these lovely can't see it in the pic, but they are covered with elaborate beading. Really beautiful!

Here's what happened when I went to slip my hand in:

Aaaaarrrrggghhhhh! Ka-BLAM!! That puppy blew apart like it was made of tissue paper. Sad face.

I'd never had that happen with a pair of gloves! I think it's funny the way that, just when you think you've got it all figured out, guess what? You don't! Oh well, live & learn, right?

Oh, and , yes...that's me. I figured I'd set the bar low and show myself for the first time sans makeup, uncurled hair, crummy clothes. That way I have nowhere to go but up! :-)

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Estate Sale Tales, Episode One

This morning I went to an estate sale in Bel Air, which if you're not familiar with Los Angeles, is a really fancy-schmancy part of Beverly Hills, where a lot of celebrities live.
This one was a first for me...we (the shoppers) actually had to park off-site and be taken by van to the home, which was behind a big gate on Sunset Blvd.
The lady of the house was a truly inspirational gal...she was a real spitfire! Teeny tiny, and with bright-red hair, she apparently got a boob job at 82 years old (!!!) and was so proud of it that she'd show anyone who wanted to look. She was a MAJOR shopper and a bit of a hoarder in the fashion department. She had over 500 pairs of shoes! Yes I said 500! Piles and piles of purses, jewels, absolute mountain of lingerie and negligee sets...I've never seen so many. Needless to say there were a million clothing dealers like myself there all vying for the best stuff.
Here's what I managed to grab:

Mostly from the early 80's, purses, shoes, belts, gloves, etc.
Unfortunately, this lady wasn't much of a long-term "saver" and there wasn't a thing there that was before about 1979, but still, I got some cute stuff.
I'm thinking about keeping one of those two pairs of fabulous sunglasses in the front, there...they look amazing on!

I also got two things for myself:

this cute summer bag with straw veggies on the front, and...

this cool flower. It's made of a shiny faux-patent leather. It's got a pin back on it right now, but I think I'm going to convert it to a hair flower. I love it!

All the other goodies are going up in my Etsy store as soon as I can inventory/clean/photograph and list them!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Handbags by Caron of Houston, Texas

A few years back I found a beautiful vintage handbag, peeking out from under piles of tacky purses, at the grungiest of thrift stores. Shining like a pearl inside an oyster...there she was...
The cute label inside said "Hand Decorated by Caron of Houston, Texas". I still have her. Here she is:

My first Caron bag

I'm not sure what it is I like about these bags so much...they really are kind of tacky & almost ugly, in a way. I think it's best described by the french phrase 'jolie laide", which means "pretty/ugly".
Since then I've run across many bags from this maker, but never saw much about the company or designer in any book. No one seemed to know anything about this company! I did manage to find one 80-something year old lady who said that back in the 50's, Caron bags were "all the rage" and she just "had to have one!"

Here's what the tags look like:

Two more Caron beauties

I'm thinking about selling one of the two above in my Etsy shop. Anyone have an opinion as to which one I should sell? I like them both equally, but they are similar enough that I think I should sell one...I can't decide!

Here's the most recent addition to my collection. This little golden cutie was a filthy wreck and I got it on Ebay for about ten bucks. A little TLC, and she cleaned up nicely!

My new baby...I love the boxy shape!

The most common pieces are black wool jersey, with a single top handle. One side is encrusted and bedazzled with a thick layer of all kinds of gewgaws...beads, needlepoint flowers, rhinestones, metal and/or plastic leaves, three-dimensional fruit...all framed by a strip of coordinating braid or gimp. There are other colors out there, most commonly navy blue, brown, tan, taupe, and occasionally metallic gold or silver.
Here are some nice & somewhat unusual examples from Ebay.

Current eBay auction Very unique (and overpriced)
The straw ones are fun, too! Another Ebay auction
There are other companies that made similar bags during the 50's and 60's, notably Soure' New York.
I have a couple of those, too. Here they are:

Two bags by Soure' Bags, New York
These bags are frequently beaded on one side and sort of a mesh-type fabric on the other, whereas the Caron bags are most frequently knit fabric. I've also never seen a Caron bag with a lucite, faux-tortoiseshell handle like the ones above, but it wouldn't surprise me if one existed! I'm going to list one of the two above in my Etsy shop sometime soon.

The Caron company was started in Houston, Texas, by Mrs. Velva Pepper (great name, huh?) who began embellishing handbags in her garage in the mid 50's and selling them to her friends. Soon, her daughter joined her in this enterprise, and soon thereafter their respective husbands joined in as well. Caron, Inc. of Houston was formed in 1957.
According to an old Kiplinger's report, Velva took her little garage enterprise to pretty great 1963 they had 65 employees and annual sales of $2,000,000. Impressive, I think!
I haven't been able to find out when the company shut down, but my best guess is in the late 60's or early 70's. Mrs. Pepper passed away in 1982 at the age of 68. I wish I could find a picture of her...if I do, I'll post an update.

I think that's a pretty cool story. It would be a big deal nowadays, but back in the 50's? You go, Velva!

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Burbank Vintage Clothing and Textile Show, Part 2

As promised, here are some pix of what I bought. I didn't buy much 'cause I'm on a pretty tight budget right now (who isn't?), but I did manage to pick up a few cute things...I HAD to, right? I mean who goes to a vintage show just to look?

This is my favorite thing! It's super soft cashmere, and the color is just soo gorgeous. This pic doesn't really do it justice at all. (As an aside, my camera doesn't seem to be able to capture greens very well...does anyone else have that problem?) Anyway, I'd say this sweater is early 60's. I paid a little bit more for it than I probably should have, but I'm sure I'll get lots of use out of it and have it forever.

This cute little sundress will be perfect when it starts to get really hot this summer. The fabric is really lightweight and yet not so sheer that I have to wear a slip or something underneath it. It's got a couple of minor stains on it that I'm hoping will come out with a little TLC.

This is fabric...a couple yards of lightweight cotton. I just think the pattern is funny and the colors are cute. I think I might try to make a little sleeveless shirt out of it someday, when I learn to sew more advanced-type things!!  I really am going to learn...someday :-) Although I must say the idea of making buttonholes is very scary.

This is also fabric, just a little scrap of it, but enough to make a couple of cosmetic bags or a purse or something else that's small.
I love the atomic 50's print and the colors.
I spent about 100 bucks on the four things, and most of that was for the sweater. I sure could have spent a lot more so I feel like I escaped without too much damage!

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Burbank Vintage Clothing & Textile Show

Last Sunday I went to a fun vintage clothing show, in Burbank, right by Disney and Warner Brother's Studios.
They have this show three times a year, but this is the first time I'd been able to make it.
I'm so glad I went! I had a great time, and most importantly bought a few fab things to add to my vintage wardrobe.

The show is held at a place called Pickwick Gardens where you can have wedding receptions & things like that. The grounds are full of flowers...really beautiful!

Right away I saw some great stuff:

Love those "telephone cord" bags

gorgeous late 50's copper jewelry

I've been interested lately in this type of 50's/60's copper jewelry with colorful enamel. I can't deal with clip-on earrings (ouch! Pass the Advil, please), but a bracelet would be nice.

There's a vendor named Wear it Again Sam that always has the best things. Check out this leopard swimsuit:

You can't really see in the pic, but there is lacing up the front...super hot!
The owner, Kristine, has the best taste...I could burn up some serious cash in that booth, if I had any serious cash ;-)
I also loved this dress & jacket combo:

 Isn't that a great print? The dress is sleeveless, with an Empire waist.

I think my favorite find of the day, though, wasn't a clothing item, but a person. Check this out:

Joanne with just a portion of Verona's wardrobe

 The nice lady in the pic above is Joanne, from Joannes' Vintage Lifestyle. She's a super nice gal, very passionate about vintage stuff, and she sells at the Rose Bowl and at the Pasadena City College Flea Market. Yeah, yeah, that's all well and good, but here's the interesting part: every single thing in her booth came from the wardrobe of ONE LADY. Her name was Verona, and here she is:

That's her in the red dress. She started out her life as a nun, of all things...apparently she made up for lost time later in her life! Boy, Verona knew how to shop!  There were easily 100+ items of GORGEOUS clothing in this booth, and apparently these were only the springtime & summery clothes! Joanne said there were just as many fall & winter things she'd be showing later in the year.

Many of the clothes still had the tags on them. Some, like the adorable dress above, even had the original catalog tear sheets! Another interesting thing is that the clothes were a small spectrum of sizes, not just all one size, because Verona's shape changed over shapes are wont to do ;-)
Joanne doesn't have a website that I know of, but she'll be at the Rose Bowl every 2nd Sunday, Row H21.
She'll have lower-priced items of clothing (around $25) and also some mid-century furniture that belonged to the lovely Verona, as well.
If you're in the LA area you should definitely check her out! 

Well, that's enough for now...I'm going to save the goodies I bought for another post!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

A Road Trip?

I feel like taking a road trip...wanna go with me?
Let's take the green Caddy!

or maybe the red one...

Don't forget your sunglasses!

We'll cruise down Route 66...

until it ends at the beach. Then we'll cool off in the waves...

and relax in the warm sand...

Doesn't that sound like the bee's knees? Now who's with me?

(All pix are from Harper's Bazaar, May 1956...a great issue with Suzy Parker on the cover...that's also her in that Foster Grant ad. I'll be putting this issue up on eBay next week!)