November 27, 2014

A perfect day of antiquing and beach visiting in Parksville

Outfit details

1950s red hat with black trim: eBay
Sparkly gold 1940s style sunglasses: Canadian Tire (this past summer)
1930s green plastic beaded necklace: Independent vintage jewelry seller in Okanagan Falls
Red knit shrug: Fairweather
C. 1940s hand painted wooden dogwood brooch: Yard sale find
1950s white gloves: Gift from a dear vintage loving friend ♥
Black and red apple print repro dress: Hell Bunny (purchased at New World Designs in Vancouver)
Carved plastic plastic rose stretch bracelet: Thrifted (Value Village, if memory serves me right)
Skinny black belt: eBay
Vintage Saks Fifth Avenue black patent purse: MK Retro
Black seamed nude stockings: eBay
Red patent faux leather pumps: Payless
Lip colour: MAC Russian Red
Nail colour: Essie A List

Photography by Tony Cangiano (antique + thrift store photos later in the post taken with a cell phone, all others with a Canon DLSR)

It is genuinely hard to believe, as I sit here and type this, that not one, but two months exactly has passed since the photos in today's post were shot on a sublimely sun-kissed afternoon in late September. Fall, that most visually poetic and beautiful of seasons was just beginning. Now however, if you look outside at least, it’s as good as gone.

In fact, we had our first snowfall here this week as Tuesday transformed into Wednesday, and it felt all the more fitting because as the lovely barrage of tiny white flakes came whizzing down, Tony and I were hard at work sending out everyone's matches for this year's Vintage Secret Santa gift exchange. If you haven't received an email with your match yet, please check your spam/junk and deleted messages folders, as well as your achieves, in case you accidentally moved it there as soon as it arrived. If you're 100% certain that it's no where to be found, then please email me right away with your first and last name, as well as the email address that you used when you signed up, and I'll send it out to you again on the double.

Back though to two months ago. We were knee deep in our fabulous Vancouver Island vacation and had set aside a day to travel somewhat north from Victoria (our home base for the trip) to the enchantingly lovely town of Parksville. Along the way we stopped at numerous antique stores that dotted the highways and filled the small towns between Victoria and Nanaimo, and Nanaimo and Parksville, our final destination.

Much to my unending delight, Vancouver Island is teeming with antique stores. There's a handful of vintage clothing, jewelry and collectible shops as well, especially in Victoria (the largest city on the island), but it's antique stores (which, as most tend to these days, have oodles of vintage collectibles in them, too, not just 100+ year old pieces) where Vancouver Island truly shines.

One of my very favourites that we stopped at that day is called Chemainus Valley Antique Centre and in the photo below I'm standing outside of it (intentionally) beneath a sign that says "antiques". I feel as though I have an invisible one of those floating around over my head all the time, so it was only fitting that I posed with a real one for a change. :D

A large three story building comprised of stalls from a multitude of different vendors and overseen by two charmingly lovely gentleman, Chemainus Valley Antique Centre is the sort of old school jewelry, collectibles, and furniture filled paradise where one could easily spend a whole day - if not a week - savouring and checking out every last nook and cranny. Unfortunately, we had to make hay while the sun was shining, so to speak, so I only got about half an hour there, but that was ample time to find a few great treasures for my Etsy store and a totally OTT 1930s/40s wide brimmed burgundy hat for myself, which I'm sure will star in its own outfit post one day.

Since returning home, I've scoured the web, and (much to my surprise) it doesn't look like the Chemainus Valley Antique Centre had any kind of online presence, though their address and contact information can be found in Yellow Pages type directory sites, if you're headed to the Island and would like to pay them a visit, too (which I can't recommend highly enough that you do!).

Before embarking on our trip, a few people had strongly recommended that if I visited Parksville, I should check out the large two floor SOS Thrift Store located there. Though, again, I didn't have much time (we were there on a Saturday and they weren't open terribly late, so I probably got about 25 minutes to see as much of it as I could), I did power through and pick up a couple of items.

This thrift store had been suggested to me by folks who said it would be sure to have vintage items, and it did, however...for the most part they weren't interspersed amongst the general merchandise. Instead they were housed in locked glass cases and priced on the high end of the retail scale, so I didn't even contemplate purchasing any such vintage offerings (there was mostly jewelry, First Nations handicrafts, records, knickknacks, and the like; I didn't see any vintage clothing at all that day).

This isn't the first time in recent years I've run into the same kind of situation when it comes to vintage items and thrift stores, but I must say, I was a bit bummed that this large community oriented thrift store had opted to go that route, too. Oh well! At least I can now say that I've been to one of the province’s biggest thrift stores and that I took a quick photo outside of it after it had closed (below).

Before making our way to both of the Parksville's jaw-droppingly stunning beaches, the first of which we shot the snaps in today's post at, I also visited a small Salvation Army store, which was very pricey (they had the highest prices I've ever encountered at a Sally Ann before) and had almost no vintage, save for a couple of costume jewelry pieces that I snapped up as gifts for two friends of mine that I knew would really like them.

So between, the two, I wouldn't say that I was wowed by Parksville's thrift stores (there may very well be others that I didn't visit and I therefore I can't speak for those ones), but thankfully the antique shopping en route as well as the majestically gorgeous beaches and views of the mighty Pacific Ocean more than made up for it. In fact, Tony and I both agreed that Parksville's beaches were not only the most breathtaking, but each of our favourites that we'd ever been to anywhere in Canada as far as oceans go.

There was a magic to that afternoon. Though not terribly warm, the sun was abundant and powerful, tumbling down on us and the sea alike, which is made glisten as though it were peppered with lashings of diamonds. We lingered long and walked hand-in-hand across the soft, damp sand as the almost primally appealing scent of salt air tickled our noses and brought smiles to our lips.

I had craved a visit to the ocean’s shore for years and this one did not disappoint in the slightest. On the many long and bitingly cold days of winter that lie ahead, as the snow piles up outside our walls by the minute (literally!), I know that I will think back to this wonderful day in Parksville and be warmed by its memory as much as I was by the happiness it imparted in the moment.

November 25, 2014

Vintage Holiday Shopping Guide: Gifts for Jewelry and Accessories Lovers

Ho-ho-holly and ivy, can you believe that we're precisely one month away from Christmas? That we are and with such a milestone countdown date being reached, it's time to kick your Christmas shopping and gift giving into high gear.

As such, my sweet friend, it means that it's time (yay!!!) for another fabulously fun and festive edition of Chronically Vintage's annual Vintage Holiday Shopping Guide. Past entries featured gifts for travel lovers, gifts for children, gifts for home decor lovers, and vintage stocking stuffers ideas.

Just as I selected last year's travel theme based on an important aspect of my own life (that, in September 2013, I took my first vacation in several years), so too have I opted to base the theme of 2014's Vintage Holiday Gift Guide on an exciting new part of my life this year: opening my Etsy shop last May.

While you will definitely find a few items from the shop highlighted amongst the twenty-five entries in today's post, it is more the theme of what my store started out (and continues to, though other categories such as vintage clothing, hats, and ephemera have joined the team there in the months since May) selling: jewelry and accessories (including vintage gloves and hats) that are at the heart of this holiday gift giving idea filled post.

Like many people, I'm a huge fan of vintage jewelry and accessories. I almost never wear an ensemble - even when I'm taking Annie to the dog park - that doesn't include at least a couple of outfit "extras", which really, I adamantly believe, are integral to the success of most looks. Jewelry and accessories tie an outfit together. They can be subtle notes or bold expressions. They speak volumes about your tastes in fashion, are instant conversation starters, breath new life in tried and true outfits, can serve as the jumping off point for a whole ensemble itself, and are so easy to collect, wear and adore. Plus, most also have the added bonus of working still no matter if your size changes over the years, something that can rarely be said of most garments.

There are countless types and styles of vintage jewelry and accessories, and one post could never encompass all of them, but that isn't the point of today's festive entry. No, instead it is here to provide you with ideas spanning from the sophisticated to the adorable to the practical, all of which will appeal to a wide range of vintage and non-vintage jewelry and accessory lovers alike. As  always, I've kept an eye on budgeting here. The sky is the limit when it comes to what items in this vast category can cost (Cartier panther ring, Hermes scarf, Charlotte Olympia clutch, or Patek Philippe watch, anyone?), and while Christmas can be a time to be generous, it shouldn't break the bank for you, or anyone else, in the slightest.

In fact, as appealing as a mere list of gorgeous pieces of jewelry and great accessories would be, amongst such items in today's post, I've intentionally tried to source unique storage, cleaning and maintance, and display options that are the sort of thing any fashionista or collector is bound to adore and get practical use out of.

These ideas are very handy if you have to be pondering what to get your Vintage Secret Santa holiday gift exchange partner (note: I'll be starting to email out matches for this fabulously fun present swap today, so be sure to keep an eye on your inbox for my email), especially if you happen to know that they're a fan of old school jewelry and accessories (and really, who amongst us isn't?).

Grab a mug of your favourite roasty-toasty holiday beverage, a Christmas cookie or two, and a pen and paper (or note taking app) and get ready to add some great ideas to your holiday gift giving list this year - as well, perhaps, as your own Christmas wishlist! :)

 photo VintageChristmasGiftGuidepostheader2014_zps69d92aea.png

1. Give the gift of Bakelite this holiday season in in a vibrant, beautiful hue that Santa himself would most definitely approve of. Solid crimson coloured and tested to be absolutely genuine, this beautiful vintage red Bakelite Bangle is just the thing to go with holiday outfits all season long, whether worn alone or as part of a daily stack. It's cheerful, classic and super Charismas appropriate. $34.00 from Chronically Vintage on Etsy.

2. If like me, you go gaga for elegant shabby or glam chic decor, than this beautiful metal jewelry or coat rack is for your. Featuring five hooks and available in a wide range of colours, this timelessly lovely storage rack is ideal for everything from necklaces to scarves, belts to bracelets. $27.00 from Willow Grace.

3. A rare and immensely beautiful piece, this art deco era 1930s/1940s pave set clear rhinestone and silver tone metal vintage menorah brooch is truly the perfect Hanukkah (or Bat Mitzvah) gift for anyone on your list this holiday season. $44.00 from Chronically Vintage on Etsy.

4. Make a beloved friend or relative’s holiday season extra fashionable with this awesome, and very beautiful, vintage style Winterwood Mini Top Hat that is handmade by Australian milliner Tanith Rowan. Her products are (I have the honour of owning one, so I can speak first hand here) superbly well crafted, highly detailed, and so very stylish! $85.00 from Tanith Rowan Designs.

5. What would a holiday gift guide full of vintage jewelry and accessories be without a super festive offering like this swoon-worthily lovely (and very well priced) 1950s green sparkle lucite Christmas tree earrings be? $11.00 from Sanne's Vintage Jools.

6. Without a doubt one of the most beautiful elements of the holiday season is making and/or purchasing homemade gifts to give and when they come from fellow members of our vintage loving community, this act becomes all the sweeter! If you're hunting for some seriously charming, affordable and entirely mid-century approved brooches, snoods, hair accessories and similar offerings, be sure to check out fellow vintage blogger Brittany's Etsy shop, Wacky Tuna Vintage, where she sells all kinds of great handmade accessories like the uber cute 1950s inspired blue chenille brooch shown here (which is a very wallet friendly $13.00)

7. Earrings are one of those fabulous accessories that most women adore and wear often (be they for pierced or non-pierced ears), yet housing them can be quite the quandary, especially as a person's collection grows. Enter one of the loveliest earring storage ideas I've ever come across: the Little Book of Earrings, which has multiple pages to efficiently wrangle dozens of different pairs of earrings into one spot. $36.99 for a large sized earring book from Amazon.

8. Cinch belts are a staple ingredient in nailing all kinds of great mid-century looks, yet finding genuine vintage ones from the era can be tricky. Fear not, Blue Velvet Vintage has come to the rescue and offers several different colours of vintage style stretch belts that any yesteryear fashion fan is sure to adore and wear often, all for just $12.99 each.

9. If you're looking to give a gift that is both deeply beautiful and immensely practical at the same time, than these enchantingly romantic 1940s reproduction hand knit gloves are just the ticket. They're expertly crafted, sweetly feminine, and perfect for the whole year 'round. $25.44 from Miss Beta Knits.

10. I'll never, so long as I live, fully get why detachable collars fell out of vogue. They're affordable, stylish and tons of fun, while - most importantly - giving you the ability to make one dress or blouse look like multiple garments. One of my favourite sources for vintage inspired detachable collars is Etsy shop Contrapunt, which is based out of Spain. They offer lots of great options on the detachable collar front, such as this nautical ensemble perfect navy blue and white rickrack sailor collar for $22.00.

11. Whether you're shopping for a vintage jewelry newbie or a long standing collector, Judith Miller's Costume Jewelry is a gorgeous, photo filled look at the some of the most popular styles and brands of the twentieth century. I own (an earlier edition of) this stellar vintage jewelry tome myself and it be my top choice to give, if I was shopping for someone else who also enjoyed books on the subject. $17.61 from Amazon.

12. This holiday season, bows don't have to just be on your gifts, they can also be on the ears of one of the lucky recipients on your holiday gift list care of this fabulously fun pair of vintage gold tone bow hoop earrings, that act as a celebratory note to any ensemble the whole year through. $14.00 from Chronically Vintage on Etsy.

13. If you've got jewelry fans on your holiday shopping list who love to travel, then the thoughtful gift of a jewelry roll like these lush, subtly belle époque looking beaded velvet beauties is sure to be a hugely appreciated present. $36.18 from Plum and Ivory.

14. A vintage or vintage reproduction (as is the case with this marvelous offering) lady tie is something that's been on my fashion wishlist for an age and a half now. Perhaps this year will be the one when Santa finally gets my memo. :D If you'd like to delight the vintage lover in your life with one of these great mid-century accessories, then pop on by Flapper's Girl's store and check out the lovely selection of handmade lady ties she has available, such as this Christmas perfect green and white polka dot version with lace heart appliqués. $22.00 from Flapper Girl.

15. Know a vintage lady who is planning a winter woodland wedding? How about a lover of nature, deer or wildlife in general? Than this fabulously elegant and charmingly lovely 1940s/1950s Melissa buck and faux bois vintage compact is for them. It is in stellar shape and comes complete with its original powder puff. $45.00 from Chronically Vintage on Etsy.

16. If like me, you or your gift recipient has highly sensitive skin and/or prefers all-natural products, then Sparkle Bright's jewelry cleaning products are for yourself or them! Made from all-natural, non-toxic, non-corrosive, and biodegradable ingredients, this company's range of products is just what any jewelry fan needs to keep their skin, the environment and their jewelry all very happy. I'm personally a big fan of their All-In-One Jewelry Cleaner Kit, which includes six great products and a lovely carrying/tote bag, which sells for $37.95.

17. You've heard me speak highly of The Best Vintage Clothing in multiple posts over the years, but did you know that this leading independent vintage seller also has a fabulous Etsy shop? It's true, they do, and they've been upping their inventory game there this year with gorgeous old school offerings like this Christmas or New Year's Eve party perfect beaded gold 1920s Whiting and Davis evening bag that any fashion lover is sure to go weak in the knees for. $75.00 from Best Vintage Ever.

18. Perhaps it's just me, but I always associated monogrammed items like these sophisticatedly beautiful personalized metal purse hooks with the holiday season (I think it goes back to all their monogram-able items that appeared in the Sears Wish Book when I was a little girl). $13.98 from Gifts For You Now.

19. The gift wrapping is practically done for you when you give one lucky recipient on your holiday shopping checklist this wonderful pair of vintage deadstock stockings from (sadly now defunct) Canadian department store, Woodward's, which come in their original packaging. $18.00 (for both pairs and packaging) from Chronically Vintage on Etsy.

20. Even if the vintage glove fan in your life's collection exceeds what can be housed in one small receptacle, a timelessly beautiful antique wooden glove box like this carved version is still a fabulous decor piece that can be used to house a few particularly favourite and/or most frequently worn pairs. $24.00 from Ryoko's Vintages.

21. If ever there was a time of the year when we need the reminder that's front and center on this beautiful illustration by talented artist Lorena Balea-Raitz, the Christmas season is it. Featuring two of any stylish lady's favourite accessories, a tube of fire engine red lipstick and a classic pair of sunnies, this great print is just the thing to jazz up any wall - very much including one's closet, if so desired. $26.71 for a 5.8" x 8.3" print (larger sized available) from Lorena's Ink Designs.

22. Few items are more traditional or tied to Christmas than a beautiful wreath, be it in real pine, faux greenery or even jewelry form, as in the case of this timelessly pretty vintage rhinestone wreath brooch. $15.00 from Red Garnet Vintage.

23. Unlike quite a few books on the subject that have been penned over the years, The Bakelite Collection by Matthew L. Burkholz and John Hylton is still in publication. I don't own a copy yet myself, but it's very high up on my reading wish list and from what I've heard from other Bakelite fans, it's one of the best titles on the topic of vintage Bakelite jewelry around. $53.96 from Amazon.

24. Paging all art deco lovers and their friends, this show-stoppingly gorgeous, winter hued c. 1930s rhinestone, blue glass stone, and silver or rhodium plated bracelet is for you. Stunning as the day is long, perfect for all kinds of holiday seasons parties and year round glamorous wear, this is the kind of vintage verging on antique piece of jewelry that becomes an instant family heirloom and unendingly beloved treasure for any old school bracelet fan. $105.00 from Chronically Vintage on Etsy.

25. If you want to ensure your place on someone special's "nice list" for a lonnnngggg time to come, then a pair of these vintage inspired, seriously awesome leather and fur fur trimmed Alpine winter booties from Miss L Fire is sure to the trick. Available in modern ladies sizes 36 to 41, and in four colours/colour combos. $210.00 from Miss L Fire.

{Please on the link in the description below a specific item to be taken to its photo's respective source.}

Accessories and jewelry make for a perfect gift for someone who may just be starting out on their journey into vintage, every bit as much as for the wearer/collector who has been enjoying such items for years or decades already. Many styles - such as pearl jewelry, black patent purses, and solid coloured scarves, for example - are eternally classic and will find favour with folks who rarely, if ever, wear vintage as much as with those that live for it.

Though this post does focus mostly on items for women, this category is not restricted to us gals in the slightest. Vintage jewelry and accessories spanning the spectrum from cuff links to bow ties, hats to rings and and of course that most classic of Christmas present for Pop, ties, are all excellent choices for the chap in your life. Some of the sources in today's post stock items that geared to towards the Kris Kringles in your life, and on your holiday shopping list, as much as they are to the Mrs. Clauses out there, so be sure to click through on the links to find out what (some) of them have in that department.

Rarely does a holiday season roll by where I'm not hoping that I'll find a specific vintage accessory or piece of jewelry that I've been eyeing in my stocking and by the same token, I truly adore it when my friends and family send surprise vintage gifts my way. The same is apt to ring true for the vintage fans in your life, too, and I wholeheartedly hope that today's Vintage Holiday Shopping Guide post will help you find the ideal gift for every vintage jewelry and accessory fan on your list.

Which of these items would you most like to find under the Christmas tree or in the glow of the menorah this holiday season?

November 23, 2014

Flickr Favourites: November 23, 2014

{McCall's February 1947 ~ SaltyCotton}

{Lost ~ Vibeke Sonntag}

{J.Paul & sons Mannequin Parade 1949 ~ Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums}

{Hotpoint Customline ad ~ tikitacky}

{Pink and black from McCall's, December 1952 ~ Page}

{Ukiah's palace hotel (desaturated) ~ Jane Marie Cleveland}

{The Redhead in Pink! ~ Lucy Fan}

{Untitled ~ Kitten Lover}

{Hedy Lamarr on the cover of Photoplay, May 1944 ~ Silverbluestar}

{Inside a Pink Poinsettia ~ Janine Russell}

{All images above are from Flickr. To learn more about a specific image, please click on its title to be taken to its respective Flickr page.}

A month and two days are all that separate us from Christmas at this point in time. For my dear US friends south of the 49th however, first there is the joyous event that is Thanksgiving this coming Thursday. A day of feasting, family, and football. Here in Canada, we celebrate our Thanksgiving Day in the first half of October (on the second Monday of that month), so we have to wait the aforementioned thirty-two days before we can indulge a scrumptious holiday turkey meal again.

Festive preparations are already underway for many however, as we shop for gifts, mail cards, hang decorations, attend holiday parties and plays, go hunting for a tree, festoon our homes with glowing lights and brace ourselves for the oh-so-long months of winter that lay ahead.

As vibrancy drains from the outside world once more, I'm in the mood for one of my favourite colour pairings, grey and pink (two hues that are often seen in November’s earthy palette), so I shone the spotlight on them with today's selection of Flickr images.

November blew in on an arctic-y wind here in Penticton, with temperatures several degrees below the season norm most days, and as such fall - my absolute favourite season - ended even more quickly this year (effectively, I kid you not, on Halloween night). In turn winter will feel all the more lengthy as a result – because, let's face it, the likelihood of an early spring here in Canada is next to nil.

The same rang true for many across the world and if one thing can be said in favour early snowflakes, icicles, and retreating mercury, its' that a premature winter does really help put you in the mood to welcome and celebrate Christmas and the other fabulous holidays that last few weeks of the year house.

First though, I hope that all of my US friends have a marvelous Thanksgiving this coming week and that we each get at least a week or two more of autumn's serenity (even if its weather has long vanished) to recharge our batteries with before hopping (Santa hat adorned) head first in the Christmas season.

Speaking of which, if you haven't done so already, please don't forget to signup for (and share about) Chronically Vintage's first annual Vintage Secret Santa. There are two more days to do, then I'll begin sending out everyone's gift exchange matches via email (if you haven't received your match by the 30th of November, please let me know). Things are going awesomely on the #vintagesecretsanta front, with about 200 people having signed already.

This is really going to be such a fun, fabulously festive way to further delight in the merriment and generosity of the season for everyone involved and I sincerely appreciate how many of you are taking part in it!