Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Vintage Holiday Decor - Vintage Tree Bling

Tired of using the the same Christmas ornaments year after year? Looking for something different and unique for your holiday decor? How about tree ornaments made from vintage jewelry! This is something I've wanted to do for a while and this year I finally did it! I used my collection of sparkly vintage odds and ends to decorate a table top tree. You can do the same!

Here is what you will need. It's handy to keep a list of the items you hang on the tree, specially if you are using small items like earrings. That way you wont loose anything.
  • Christmas tree (I should note that I use a small fake tree for this so there was no fear of pine pitch. No vintage was harmed!) 
  • Christmas Lights
  • Scissors
  • Ribbon
  • Assortment of vintage jewelry and sparkly bits
Start by wrapping your tree in lights. Necklaces, and some bracelets, can easily be looped or draped across the branches. Because earring are small I tend to keep them together or at least place them close to one another on the tree. Vintage dress clips and clip on earrings are great because you and clip them right to the branches. Thread a loop of ribbon through your favorite bangle and voila! Instant ornament! You can do the same with any pin or large brooch.

Most of the items shown here came in one large box lot from and antique shop several years ago. Many of the pieces I've picked up over the years are missing stones or are damaged in some way so I got a really good deal on them. But that's OK because you don't notice the flaws once they are on the tree. :) Keep your eyes open at yard sales, flea markets, etc. and you will find some good deals. One thing I sometimes see at antique shops are mason jars full of beaded necklaces and other odds and ends of mis-matched jewelry. That would be perfect for a project like this. I've found some nice non-vintage pieces at thrift stores too like the cat pin seen in this post. My favorite victory pin (the large V with rhinestones) is even hanging on the tree!

Here is what you do.
  • After selecting your vintage pin, cut a piece of ribbon 5-6 inches in length (longer if desired)
  • Thread the ribbon through the back of the pin. Even out the ends of the ribbon and tie a knot leaving a small tail.
  • Use your scissors to curl the ends of your ribbon OR tie the ends in a pretty little bow 
  • Place your ornament on your tree and you're done! 

I've been collecting 1950s/60s rhinestone necklaces for a long time and these look especially pretty draped across the branches. I find them everywhere and have to stop myself from buying them all lol! Prices vary but on average I never pay more then $10 or $12 for a necklace. Often they are less then that. Occasionally I will splurge on a nicer piece like the one I wore for my wedding. Or blue and white one seen below that came with matching earrings. 

The rhinestone necklaces like those at the upper right are commonly found at antique shops. The necklace and bracelet at the bottom right I wore for my wedding.
Dress clips, shoe clips, and earrings can be clipped to the branches.  Tip! With a fake tree you can bend the ends of the branches so these little pieces sit just right.

Vintage Dress Clip Tree Ornaments
Vintage earrings make lovely ornaments too! The pink pair are from the Etsy shop of Chronically Vintage.
Thank you Jessica!
Have fun with this and don't be afraid to mix in some modern pieces as well. My little tree looks so pretty at night. Sadly my camera doesn't take very good pictures in low light but it's so sparkly! :)

Stay tuned for another post this week about vintage holiday decor! I can't wait to share with everyone how I decorated my fireplace mantel.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Christmas at Hildene

I can't believe it's December already. Where did the year go? It's certainly been a busy one that's for sure. Today's post has been sitting, mostly finished, in my draft folder for a year now. Why I never posted it last December I'm not sure but as the holiday season is now upon us I decided it was worth sharing. :)

Hildene, the summer home of Robert Todd Lincoln
 Last December, about a week before Christmas Cori and I visited Hildene. Located in Manchester, Vermont, this beautiful historic house was summer home of Robert Todd Lincoln. Robert was the only child of Abraham and Mary Todd Lincoln to survive to adulthood. Robert visited Vermont with his mother during the summer of 1864. In 1902, he purchased 500 acres of land and a year later began construction of the house. Today the house and grounds are open for tours and there are a number of historic displays throughout the house. While President Abraham Lincoln never visited Hildene (he was assassinated in 1865) you can view one of the few black silk top hats known to have been owned and worn by the 16th president.

The view walking from the Carriage Barn/Visitor's Center up to the main house.

Photography is not allowed inside the house so the interior photos I've included in this post are all from the Hildene Facebook page. All the rooms are furnished as they would have been during Hildens's hey day of operation. During the Christmas season the house is beautifully adorned with Victorian trimmings. Visitors are greeted by the sounds of a Aeolian Pipe Organ. This particular organ is believed to be the oldest residential pipe organs still in working condition in the U.S.

It was a chilly day! But We did manage a few quick photos outside. In the spring and summer months the gardens behind me are overflowing with color. Not so much this time of year!

A short walk from the main house visitors can enjoy the recently restored Pullman Sunbeam train car. Robert served as general counsel for the Pullman Palace Car Company under George Pullman. He became the company's new president in 1897 after Pullman's death. The Sunbeam, one of the finest examples of a wooden luxury care made by Pullman, was built in 1888. It was used by U.S. Presidents McKinley and Theodore Roosevelt.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Remember Pearl Harbor

To the Congress of the United States: Yesterday, Dec. 7, 1941 - a date which will live in infamy - the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan.
The United States was at peace with that nation and, at the solicitation of Japan, was still in conversation with the government and its emperor looking toward the maintenance of peace in the Pacific.
Indeed, one hour after Japanese air squadrons had commenced bombing in Oahu, the Japanese ambassador to the United States and his colleagues delivered to the Secretary of State a formal reply to a recent American message. While this reply stated that it seemed useless to continue the existing diplomatic negotiations, it contained no threat or hint of war or armed attack.
It will be recorded that the distance of Hawaii from Japan makes it obvious that the attack was deliberately planned many days or even weeks ago. During the intervening time, the Japanese government has deliberately sought to deceive the United States by false statements and expressions of hope for continued peace.
The attack yesterday on the Hawaiian islands has caused severe damage to American naval and military forces. Very many American lives have been lost. In addition, American ships have been reported torpedoed on the high seas between San Francisco and Honolulu.
Yesterday, the Japanese government also launched an attack against Malaya.
Last night, Japanese forces attacked Hong Kong.
Last night, Japanese forces attacked Guam.
Last night, Japanese forces attacked the Philippine Islands.
Last night, the Japanese attacked Wake Island.
This morning, the Japanese attacked Midway Island.
Japan has, therefore, undertaken a surprise offensive extending throughout the Pacific area. The facts of yesterday speak for themselves. The people of the United States have already formed their opinions and well understand the implications to the very life and safety of our nation.
As commander in chief of the Army and Navy, I have directed that all measures be taken for our defense.
Always will we remember the character of the onslaught against us.
No matter how long it may take us to overcome this premeditated invasion, the American people in their righteous might will win through to absolute victory.
I believe I interpret the will of the Congress and of the people when I assert that we will not only defend ourselves to the uttermost, but will make very certain that this form of treachery shall never endanger us again.
Hostilities exist. There is no blinking at the fact that that our people, our territory and our interests are in grave danger.
With confidence in our armed forces - with the unbounding determination of our people - we will gain the inevitable triumph - so help us God.
I ask that the Congress declare that since the unprovoked and dastardly attack by Japan on Sunday, Dec. 7, a state of war has existed between the United States and the Japanese empire.
 - Pearl Harbor Speech: Day of Infamy. 
Delivered by President Franklin D. Roosevelt on December 8, 1941 Source

Photograph of Battleship Row taken from a Japanese plane at the beginning of the attack. The explosion in the center is a torpedo strike on the USS West Virginia. Two attacking Japanese planes can be seen: one over the USS Neosho and one over the Naval Yard. Source
I've posted about WWII era pins and sweetheart jewelry before here and here. Today, on the 73th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor, I wanted to share with you some very special pins. All of these were made in remembrance of that fateful day.


This pin was created by Walter Lampl. They origianlly sold for $1.00 each at department stores across America, 10% of the retail price was donated to the Honolulu Community Chest for the relief of victims of the attack. Check out the patent for the pin.




This one is one of my favorites. It's part of a collection of Pearl Harbor pins that was appraised by Antiques Roadshow back in 1998. (you can watch the appraisal video here.) I have no idea if the collection is intact but I certainly hope so. I know I've see a few similar ones on Ebay. You can find some reproduction "Remember Pearl Harbor" pins here.


Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Some Things I Want to Sew ....

There are lots of things I wanted to work on this summer but with wedding plans and moving into a new house, pretty much everything non wedding/packing related was moved to the back burner. I'm still working on setting up my sewing room so I don't know how much I'll be doing until I have a good working space. But that doesn't mean I have to stop planning projects does it? ;) In no particular order, here are some of the projects I've been dreaming about lately.

A matching hat and purse. Maybe red and white? I've always love this image from Vogue!

THIS outfit for a Christmas party!! I've always adored this image. OK, so this one might actually happen sooner then the rest. Anyone know a good source for blouse weight black and white polka dot fabric?

Pajamas!!! Butterick 7153 will be perfect. I used the pattern to make a pair of beach pajamas this summer. (seen here) Now I just need to wait for Renaissance Fabrics to restock their silk-faced satin in Marine Blue. Still looking for a pair of those Daniel Green slippers in my size. The shoes below sold on Etsy for only $45.00!! And of course they were my size and of course I only saw them AFTER they sold. :( If anyone finds a pair like theses please, please let me know!!!

The blue pjs were listed for sale on one of the Facebook vintage market pages. The shoes sold on Ets.

More vintage separates! Specifically blouses and pants. I love making dresses but I find I don't wear them as much as I would like to. Separates are more versatile and allow for mixing and matching. I will certainly use Hollywood 1530 and Simplicity 1306 again but I'd like to give the Simplicity pattern below a try too.  

I have two 1920s dress in my collection that someday I'd like to reproduce. The originals are so frail they are really only good for study. One of my blogging goals for next year is to create a series of posts showing some of my vintage and antique garments. I've shown a few things here and there but I'd like to make this a regular addition to my blog. The plan is to take detailed photos and maybe create a few sketches to show what pattern pieces might look like. I'm no artist but hopefully they are be useful to someone. My 1920s dresses will be the easiest of the group to draw but mainly because dresses from that decade tend to be created from squares and rectangles. :)

And speaking of the 1920s, at some point I really need to make a decent 1920s dress. I've been going to more events that require a good day dress that can be worn outside. I've used the pattern below to make a blouse (seen here) but a dress made in a nice light weight cotton or even in linen would be wonderful for summer.

So what sewing projects have you been dreaming about?

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Traveling Vintage Dress, a Stop in New England

Thank you all for your wonderful and sweet comments on my wedding photos post. I'm astonished at the amount of feedback I have received here and on Facebook. Over night my blog post has become my number 2 most viewed post ever!! I just can't believe it. :) I'm really happy to have been able to share a little bit of my special day with all of you and will be sharing more soon. Thank you all again for being such an amazing, encouraging, and supportive online community! You guys rock! :)

Today I have something special as well.

When Joanna of Dividing Vintage Moments first announced her idea for a traveling vintage dress, I knew this was something I wanted to take part in. I think this is such a fantastic way to get to know other bloggers and to see each lovely lady's unique take on vintage fashion. Clothing is such a personal thing and is one of the best ways to express yourself. This beautiful 1940s dress will continue to travel around the United States and Canada before crossing the ocean to Australia. It's already visited few places here in the States so be sure to check out the links below.

I spent a lot of time thinking about how I wanted to style this dress. Did I want to style it in an authentic 1940s way? Or mix and match with modern items? I really couldn't decide but finally opted to let the dress  - and the weather - tell me what to do. :) We recently moved into our new house and are still very much in the process of unpacking and settling in. So some of the items I thought I might use have yet to surface. (Some words of wisdom, don't buy and move into a new house two weeks before your wedding!! So much extra stress lol!) I did find my shell belts though which made me really happy. They are from the 70s but are a perfect match for the dress. I wore one with the dress itself and the other over my sweater.

As you can see, the dress is a little big for me. It's also I bit longer then what I would normally like for a dress. Fortunately though, this dress is constructed in a way that allows it to be worn and styled to suit a variety of body types. :)

The sunshine didn't last very long! It was also rather windy and getting chilly the day we took these photos so some extra layers were needed. That's often the case during this time of year in New England. My plum colored wool sweater seemed just the thing! It was a nice complement to the purple and gold print of the dress.

To complete my outfit I wore a small crinoline to add a bit of fluff to the skirt, some tights, (I can remember the last time I wore tights!) and my depression era leather lace up boots. I LOVE these boots!! They are incredibly comfortable and so much fun to wear. (You've seen them once before as part of my aviatrix costume.) I think every gal needs a pair.

Our property, like many places in New England, is bordered by stone walls. They make a great backdrop don't you think?

This beautiful stone marks part of the boarder on our property. It makes a great backdrop for photos. :)
A fall photo shoot in New England would not be complete without stone walls, old cemeteries, and a covered bridge. After taking pictures at home, Cori and I hoped in the car for a short road trip. I can think of at least a dozen covered bridges and old cemeteries within a 30 minute drive of our house but by the time we finished taking pictures at the cemetery I was too cold to do any more. So the covered bridges will have to wait for another day.

The building seen below was constructed in the 1780s and was originally used for both Congregational church meetings as well as civic and governmental meetings. Church services ceased in 1839 but town meetings continued to be held in it until 1869. The building and cemetery were added to the list of National Historic Landmarks in 2000. Today visitors can tour the historic building during the spring and summer months. The grounds are open during daylight hours. Some of the headstones in the cemetery date to the 1770s or earlier and are extremely beautiful. I should really do a blog post about early headstones because they really are fascinating.

Sitting on the steps of the old meeting house.
 I had to jump in the leaves!

To keep warm I added a jacket over the dress and sweater. The jacket is modern, something I picked up at a second hand shop, but has a nice vintage feel to it and is something I wear on a regular basis.

A year or so ago I started wearing pins on my fall and winter jackets and I'm still amazed at the amount of complements I get. Lately I've been wearing this kitty pin.

So there you have it. Way more picture then you needed, I'm sure. ;)

Outfit details
Jacket, sweater, crinoline, and kitty pin - Thrift store finds
Tights - Gift
Scarf - Vermont Country Store
Belts - Yards sale finds
Boots - Ebay (I have a very similar pair for sale.
Please feel free to contact me for pictures and details.)
Lipstick - Chocolate Kiss by Bésame Cosmetics

Below, from left to right are Joanna of Dividing Vintage Moments, Kristen of Verity Vintage Studio, Whitney of LittleHeapVintage, Stephanie of The Girl With A Star- Spangled Heart, and Laura of Paper Mothball Vintage.

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