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.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Wedding Planning, Budget, and DIYs

It's hard to believe it's been two months since my wedding. The year is almost over and it sure went by fast! I first wrote about my wedding plans in this post. Some of the planning was fun but some of it was extremely frustrating. We spent more then we originally wanted but certainly not as much as we could have. Good golly, weddings can be expensive!! Just mention the word wedding and prices sky rocket on everything! Cori and I are very practical people, or at least we like to think, so dropping the equivalent of a year's college tuition or the down payment on a house for one day of our lives was simply out of the question.

For us, as I'm sure is the case with most couples, the biggest expenses were the food, followed closely by the venue and our photographer. We saved a lot by doing many things ourselves or with the help of family and friends. If we didn't already have something or couldn't borrow it we went with out. I think we spent a grand total of $200.00 on reception decor - and that's including all decorations, lighting, and center pieces! Save the dates, invitations, programs, and menus were all DIY. It did mean more work for us but in the end I'm happy we created these things ourselves.

Here is a breakdown of the various supplies, decorations, etc from our wedding and where we sourced them. The was very helpful in figuring out our budget, keeping track of payments, and making a to do list. And the best part, it's free! You will find all kinds of information on wedding planning.

  • Corsages  - Made of felt by the very talented Lucy of 1940s Style for You.  
    • Cost - approximately $12.50 each (we ordered 12) plus shipping from the UK, $162.
  • Bouquets - Made by me using wool felt from The Felt Pod, floral wire from Joann Fabrics, and vintage buttons from the stash. This is one of the tutorials I followed. 
    • Cost - I don't remember the exact amount of felt I ordered but I estimate the total cost of supplies for the bouquets to be around $130.
  • Hair Flowers - Made  by my wonderful friend Monica. Cutie Clips and more. 
    • Cost -  Free! These were made as a wedding gift.
  • Mums - Purchased from a friend's farm stand and used for both the ceremony and reception. They decorated the front porch of our new house after the wedding. 
    • Cost - About $12 each for 6 plants, $72.
  • Flowers as Part of Table/Cake Decor - All the flowers used on the tables, as well as on our cake come from my mom's garden. 
    • Cost - Free!!
Total Cost for Flowers - Approximately $364.

Wedding Attire
  • Cori already owned a 1920s tuxedo, which he pieced together for the Downton Abby event we went to in January of 2013. (Which is where we got engaged!) He purchased a beautiful 1940s pin striped suit from our friend Jennifer at Morning Glorious Vintage to wear for the reception
    • Cost - Hard to put an exact price on his attire as it was purchased here and there over the course of a year. Approximately $300, give or take.
  • The groomsmen all wore their own suits with the exception of the best man and my brother who both wore WWII army dress uniforms. 
    • Cost - No cost to us.
  • The bridesmaids all wore 1940s vintage dresses with the exception of one dress that was made from a 1940s pattern. Finding good vintage for the girls was rather tricky. I spent hours searching Ebay and Etsy for dresses that were the correct size, dressy enough but not too formal, and reasonably priced. I've been a bridesmaid a number of times before so I know the feeling of having to spend more then you want on a dress you know you will never wear again. Also, none of my girls are really into vintage so this was a new area for them. I wanted to make sure they were happy and comfortable.
    • Cost - Another difficult one to figure as I had to purchase several different vintage dresses. I was able to resell the ones that didn't work and two of the girls kept their dresses and reimbursed me. So actual out of pocket was around $150.
  • Originally I had someone scheduled to style hair the morning of the wedding. Long story short, that plan didn't work out so I styled my own hair plus my five bridesmaids. It saved us money but added to my stress big time.
    • Cost - I'm going to say $20 because I know I bought extra bobby pins and hair spray.
Total Cost of Attire - Approximately $700

Reception Decor
  • Lighting - Patio lights purchased at half price at Rite Aid, some strands of Christmas we borrowed from a friend and others we already had. 
  • Paper Lanterns - Purchased by my sister for my bridal shower and reused for the wedding reception.
  • Bunting - Made using scrap fabric from my stash and leftover lace from my wedding dress. I had lots of help making these!! There are lots of tutorials on the web for making bunting. It's really easy!
  • Chalkboard Seating Chart - The large chalkboard we used for our seating chart was borrow from one of my recently married bridesmaids. My sister wrote all the names. Thanks Stephanie!! :)
  • Centerpieces - These were the most fun to create. All but a handful of the items used came from either mine or Cori's vintage collection of stuff.
  • Tea cups and Tea -  Sourced at yard sales, flea markets, antique shops, thrift stores etc. We had lots of friends keeping their eyes open for colorful cups and saucers too. If you plan on doing something similar, plan ahead. It does take some time to accumulate the number you need. As it turned out we had more then enough so I'm using the extras as decor in my new kitchen. :)
  • Tin signs - We purchased four different tin signs at a local craft and farmers market. Each one is a reproduction of a vintage image. They are now hanging on the wall at home. You can find similar ones here.
  • Family Photo Table - Table was provided by the venue and we brought the table cloth. We decorated the table with "found items" - vintage gloves, hankies, and other wedding-y odds and ends. Next to the table we placed four family wedding dresses. The lace you see on the table is actually a detachable train from a 1930s wedding dress. I purchased it at a vintage trade show. Sure wish I knew what happened the dress! 
  • Sparklers - I blame Pinterest for this! The Forth of July was just around the corner at the time I decided I wanted a sparkler send off. So I figured, no problem, sparklers would be use to find. Wrong!! On July 5th there was not a box to be found! But luckily the Vermont Country Store came to my rescue. This was the perfect way to wrap up the evening. 
Total Cost for Decorations - Around $200 and that's estimating on the high end!

Some of you might recognize the vintage pattern booklets in the background from this post.
  • Wedding website - You can set up a free wedding website, when you create an account, using The Very helpful for both you and your guests for sharing hotel information, driving directions, etc. 
  • Save the Dates - Cropped a photo from a vintage magazine and used the free version of PicMonkey to create the card. We printed them at home.
  • Invitations - We used the monogram template found here, and printed at home. This particular template had response cards too. The invitation template seemed a bit plain so I used PicMonkey to jazz it up a little and add some color. Ribbon and buttons for trim from Joann Fabrics.
  • Menus - The background image for the menus came from The Graphics Fairy, again I used PicMonkey to edit, and had them printed at work.
  • Programs - Reused part of the invitation template and created the programs in Word, printed them at home. Ribbon and buttons from Joann Fabrics.
  • Table Numbers - I can't seem to find the template I used for our table numbers but if you do a web search for "chalkboard table numbers" you will find plenty of options. 
Total Cost of DIYs - About $50. I was able to print most everything at home or at my office which provides color printing.

  • We are so very fortunate to have friends who love taking photos and videos, and are darn good at it too! And it doesn't hurt that some of them are professionals. (457 Studios and Kris Jarrett Photography and Media Production.) We have more wedding photos then we know what to do with! lol! But seeing how much of the day is a blur I guess that's not a bad thing. Word of advise. Don't skimp on these two things. It's worth the extra money and you will be glad you have them.
    • Cost - We received a special friends and family rate so I wont can't disclose the final cost. 
  • Venue - Our venue was the historic Park McCullough House. I huge draw for us was that all rental fees are used for the upkeep and management of the house, carriage barn and grounds. Things like tables and chairs were also included which was a big plus. You can find out more about holding weddings and other events here.
  • Food - By far the most expensive part of our day but worth it. Pangaea was awesome to work with and really helped make our day special.
Total Cost of Venue and Food - These are two areas where I don't feel comfortable disclosing final costs. I will say, though, that by choose to get married on a Friday as well as keeping the guest list small (just under 100 people) we were able to save quite a bit.

Each wedding is going to be different  but I hope this post was helpful and inspiring! It you would like to see more photos from my wedding please visit this post.

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?
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