January 31, 2012

Ten of the UK's best vintage reproduction clothing sources

After a month filled with much online vintage shopping (or at least a ton of virtual window shopping and a bit of buying) ,as I go about trying to fill in many of the gaps in my wardrobe, it seems fitting to wrap up the very last day of January with a post that ties into that fact.

On the other side of the giant pond, the fine folks in the UK know a thing or two about vintage reproduction clothing. In fact, I'd tentatively argue that the UK has more vintage repro clothing sellers than the US, and certainly more good ol' Canada (which is woefully lacking in this area).

For those vintage fashionistas who live in the UK and elsewhere in Europe, I'd imagine that this must be ultra handy and a great way to regularly update your closet with excellent old school style threads.

So long as we're willing to face somewhat steep exchange rates however, those of us outside of Europe can often avail of the products such UK vintage reproduction retailers offer online. In the past couple of months I've placed my first ever (but very long anticipated) orders with two such sellers, and had sparklingly wonderful transactions with both.

As such, I decided to put together a list of ten vintage reproduction clothing sellers, including the two I've ordered from myself (Freddies of Pinewood and Heyday Vintage, both of which had excellent customer service), as I know many of you are also continually on the prowl for good quality reproduction/vintage inspired styles from our favourite mid-twentieth century decades.

Here then is a roundup of ten terrific vintage reproduction clothing sellers from the UK. Happy wish list making and online shopping!


Big Beautiful Barbara Brown: Offers a wide selection of 1920s - 50s reproduction garments, plus some rockabilly wear, and even a handful of 60s and 70s styles, too. Vintage inspired pieces include high waisted trousers, playsuits, skirts, tops, suits, dresses (such as the darling ruffle sleeved Flirty Thirties frock pictured above), and shorts. Most items are available in an assortment of different types fabric and/or patterns in a wide array of sizes, and are made on a per-order basis.


Dolly Dagger: All sorts of delightful vintage inspired and rockabilly styles abound at this fun site, which houses skirts, jeans, dresses, sweaters (like the wonderfully cute Nautical Nancy sweater shown above) shoes, stockings, swimwear, coats, purses, jewelry, hair accessories, and much more.


Freddies of Pinewood: Known the vintage repro loving world over for their top-notch selection of both women's and men's denim (such as the classic side button jeans shown here), Freddie's also offers customers shirts, jackets, capri pants, overalls (dungarees), and accessories.


Heyday Vintage: Housing a roundup of really lovely 1940s and 50s inspired dresses, trousers, tops, and suits, Heyday is one of the vintage world's most loved sources of reproduction sites. I recently ordered their Fleur wrap dress (named after, and model by, well-known vintage blogger Fleur from Diary of a Vintage Girl) in the English Rose on white pattern and cannot gush about it enough!


Lady K Loves: To quote the homepage of this site itself, Lady K Love features "high quality clothes for rockabilly gals, pin up chicks, and kool katz". While many styles do channel an alluring pin-up vibe, others such as the 1940s inspired Rosie trousers shown here, have a somewhat more "every day" feel to them.


Puttin on the Ritz: With a name that instantly evokes images of chic, fabulously fashionable vintage nightlife, this high end vintage reproduction clothing seller offers a striking array of beautiful dresses, blouses, jackets, skirts, trousers, suits, coats (like the timelessly pretty April in Paris coat pictured here), eveningwear, and accessories, as well as a selection of garments for gentlemen, too.


Revival: With areas devoted to styles from the 20s, 30s, and 40s, plus swing dance and men's wear, too, Revival's assortment of old school inspired clothing and shoes is sure to provide you with a few new must-have items. If ever I wanted to tap into my inner 1920s flapper gal, I'd be highly tempted to pick up Revival's vibrant red Tango Dress shown above.


Tara Starlet: Boasting a highly pretty gathering of feminine vintage inspired looks in the form of dresses, tops, skirts (such as the wonderfully wearable Victory Skirt shown here in red and white houndstooth), playsuits, party dresses, bottoms, suits, outerwear, accessories, and more, Tara Starlet's pieces are just the ticket when you're in the mood to mix demure and alluring.


20th Century Foxy: Chocked full of pieces spanning looks from the 30s to 60s, this site is a vintage reproduction clothing lover's dream and includes items as diverse as crinolines (aka, petticoats, like the ruby red number shown here) to knitwear, hosiery to shoes, dresses, headwear, hair flowers, separates, coats and much more.



Vivian of Holloway: Undoubtedly one of the web's best known vintage reproduction sellers, Vivian of Holloway's inviting selection includes a bounty of dresses, tops, skirts, trousers, and accessories (such as snoods, jewelry, flowers, belts, and petticoats). I'm particularly smitten with their pinafore trousers in blue denim highlighted in the image here.

♥ ♥ ♥

This list certainly does not cover every last seller (be they a company or individual) who is currently producing vintage inspired garments in the UK, but it's a great jumping off point if you're looking to do some overseas shopping.

As time rolls on, I hope to shop with all of the sellers listed above, and would absolutely love to hear about your own experiences with these (and/or any other) online UK vintage reproduction sellers.

Oh, and should any of you happen to be, or know of, Canadian repro sources for 40s and 50s garments, definitely feel free to spill the beans!

January 29, 2012

A fascinating, photo filled look at Alberta’s rich history

Before hopping into the main topic of today's post, I want to take a moment to thank you all for your recent blog comments - very much including those that were left on Friday's "Hey, it's OK" post. No where on the whole of the internet, do I know of a sweeter or more supportive group of people than those I've encountered in the vintage blogging sphere, and I truly appreciate all of the thoughts and encouragement you share with me through your lovely comments.

As many of your may recall from last summer's post in which I chatted about about a new Flickr group I'd started called Vintage Canada, being a proud maple leaf loving Canuck - who's also positively wild about history - I have more than a passing interest in anything that combines my adoration of the past with my home and native land.

Thus, when I discover a new (to me) Flickr stream with images pertaining to Canada's history, I just about leap out of my seat with joy! Such was the case about a month ago when, much to my delight, I found that the Glenbow Museum, located in Calgary, had a stream all its own. While not every image in it is vintage, a good chunk of them are, with many pertaining to the history of Alberta and/or the prairie provinces in general.

While my love of Canada and history is scarcely a secret, what some of your may not know is that I actually spent more than two years of my life (late teen years) living in Calgary, Alberta and that my love for this amazing city is, to say the very least, off the charts. I adore Calgary with a passion that, before living there, I honestly did not know it was possible to have a for a city.

I'd be ecstatically happy to live there again one day, if possible, but if not, then I'll just continue to visit whenever the universe permits and to keep those flames (subtle Calgary hockey team reference intended) of passion burning bright by studying the history of this majestic prairie city through sources such as the Glenbow Museum's Flickr stream.

One need not hail from Alberta or even Canada for that matter, to enjoy the photos and illustrations in this Flickr stream though. So long as 19th and 20th century history tickles your fancy, you're bound to discover many images that interest and inspire you in this engaging collection.

While I could easily post every last one of the vintage images from this stream, I've whittled down today's select to fifteen of my favourite images from the Glenbow Museum's Flickr stream to share with all of you.

{Attracting early settlers to Western Canada was an ongoing job for the Government of Canada that lasted for many decades during the 19th and early 20th century. Posters, pamphlets and other literature geared at prospective settlers, such as this wonderfully illustrated one from 1930, often pictured Canada as a land abundantly rich in agriculture prospects and excellent harvests. Over time millions would come to call Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba home, many of whom would indeed farm its vast, golden lands for generations to come.}

{Life for early settlers on the prairies varied a great deal, ranging from unbearably hard to prosperous and highly worthwhile. It was not, generally speaking, well suited for people who were not afraid of a great deal of hard work and dedication - previous farming experience certainly helped too, but wasn't strictly necessary.

In this absolutely darling image from 1912, we see a young woman named Miss Thorsen sitting in the yard of her family's homestead (in Wetaskiwin, Alberta) with a group of adorable chicks and puppies. The appearance of the yard (including a wooden fence), would indicate to me that the family was doing at least relatively well.}

{Families who settled out west often arrived with just the barest of necessities and farming equipment, especially if they were immigrants. As such, children who grew up on the prairies commonly had to come with creative ways on their own to have fun without a lot of toys available. In this heartwarmingly sweet image from the 1910s, we see a group of young boys, sporting cowboy hats, who have done just that by riding each other as horses.}

{While many who settled in Canada's middle provinces hailed from Eastern Europe, immigration officials were eager to bring in people from elsewhere in Europe and around the world, too. As such immigration literature was published and widely distributed in many languages, including Gaelic, which this colourfully illustrated invitation to the prairies from 1907 was printed in. As with many images hoping to attract foreigners, this image attempts to convince immigrants that they'll have a better, much more prosperous life in Canada than the one they'd been living in their homeland.}

{The call to "Go west, young man" attracted thousands upon thousands of men from Canada, America, Europe, and other parts of the world who decided to try their luck at ranching, farming, and homesteading in Alberta. Often these young chaps were single men who arrived without a wife, mother or other female relative to help run their homes, and as such needed to fend for themselves on the domestic front. Case in point, this image of rancher George Pocaterra from Longview, Alberta doing his own laundry in the snow outside his cabin in the 1900s.}

{Long before the days of aviation, and at some points in times even railway travel, reached Western Canada, exploration took place on horseback or by foot. In this thoroughly captivating image from 1914, we see a cowboy, along with his trusty horse and dog, standing on Burgess Pass, British Columbia, as he survives the vast stretch of land before him.}

{Aware of the fact far more men than women were settling the west, and hoping to create long term settlers out of family units, the Government of Canada issued immigration literature, such as this sweetly illustrated booklet from the late 1910s, that was geared specifically towards women.

Often single women of the time were encouraged to find work as domestic help, both in rural and residential areas (and were lead to believe that  in doing so it would not be hard for them to soon find themselves with many male suitors and a potential husband), which may be why we see a lady making a pie in this lovely Edwardian image.}

{Those who's grandparents or great-grandparent's grew up in the prairies may be all to familiar with tales of how they walked to school for "ten miles each way in snow up to their waists". So long as one doesn't toss an "uphill both ways" in there, much truth remains in such statements, as youngsters who settled with their parents in the prairies did often have to walk long distances, in all kinds of weather conditions, to reach the nearest school house. In this image from the 1910s however, it would appear these rugged youngsters (from Springfield Ranch, near Beynon, Alberta) are enjoying an afternoon of sledding, not trekking off to school though.}

{As someone who has lived in Calgary, I can tell you that it certainly does get its hefty share of snow each year! However, this rarely deters locals from making the best of a chilly situation and enjoying the snow via winter sports. Here we glimpse a group of young women, from the Central Collegiate Institute, who did just that back in 1915 by taking part in one of Calgary's local ladies hockey teams.}

{While many struggled significantly to eek out a living from the dusty prairie soil or the streets of Alberta's blossoming cities, others were able to not only make ends meet, but to grow wealthy from the farming, ranching, and industrial opportunities that Alberta held. As such, many merchants were available to cater to the needs of such well-to-do clientele. While I do not know if all of these dolls and other toys belonged to the three little girls in this immensely cute 1920s image, it certainly looks their parents were able to spoil them heavily at Christmas time.}

{Though hockey and ice skating were certainly much loved pastimes for early Albertians, they weren't the only winter/snow sports by any means. Skiing was another highly popular outdoor activity, made all the more enjoyable by Calgary's close proximity to the Rocky Mountains. In this lovely hand-tinted lantern slide image from the 1920s, we see a man and woman out partaking in a day of cross-country skiing at Banff National Park, as they take in the stunning view that this part of the country offers all who visit.}

{Recognized the world over a symbol of Canada, Mounties (Royal Canadian Mounted Police) were an integral factoring in helping to keep the peace amongst prairie settlers and city dwellers alike throughout much of Alberta's history. In this photograph from 1933, a group of uniformed Mounties has gathered from a Christmas banquet in Edmonton, Alberta.}

{Cuteness flows like the Bow River through this immensely darling 1930s image of a group of young dancers, in their matching sailor costumes, from the Alice Murdoch Adams dance school in Calgary.}

{Throngs of busy holiday shoppers make their way through the crowded floors of the Bay Department store in Calgary, in this great slice-of-life shot from around the end of the 1920s. One can't help but notice the many fur collared coats and winter boots, which speak of the intensely snowy Decembers that Calgary faces most years.}

{Long before Will and Kate toured Alberta, other members of the British royal family were keen to spend time in this prairie province while visiting Canada. In 1951 Princess Elizabeth and Prince Phillip did just that, and their journey through Alberta brought them to the Calgary Exhibition and Stampede Indian Village, where they interacted with a group of First Natation's People sporting traditional costumes.}

{All images via the Glenbow Museum's Flickr stream. To learn more about a specific image, please click on it to be taken to its respective Flickr page.}

Many years are covered in the images above, which follow Alberta from its days as the wild, unsettled west to a land with thriving metropolises like Calgary and Edmonton just a few short decades later.

It is impossible for me to pick just one favourite image, for each speaks to me of Alberta, its hearty people, and all that it took to help mold, shape, and develop Western Canada. Many too, remind me of my own, albeit much more modern, experiences on the province’s golden prairie soil.

If you're on Flickr and haven’t done so already, be sure to follow the Glenbow Museum's stream. It's a trove of invaluable, deeply engaging and historically fascinating glimpses back into the history and culture that helped shaped not only Alberta, but Canada, into the tremendously wonderful nation that it is today.

January 27, 2012

2012's first edition of "Hey, it's ok"

As I lay in bed recently, the prospect of sleep a million miles away, I was struck by the fact that at the moment I feel like, in some regards, I'm straddling the dived between heaven and hell (proverbially speaking, of course).

There is so much awesomeness on the horizon in my life right now and such a great deal that I'm excited and hopeful about. At the same time though, for past couple of weeks I've been going through stuff on the medical front that, to put it mildly, can only be called barbaric.

There's really never a good time for medical flare-ups and new problems to arise, but right now, with less than a month to go until our moving day, is really not a stellar time for this.

Nevertheless, I do not go down without a fight and believe strongly in perseverance and positive thought, so as best I can, I'm trudging through these hours. Allowing myself a few tears or an exasperated sigh when needed, but also remembering and trying to focus on all the reasons I have to smile.

{Call me an eternal optimist, but I like to believe that ultimately heaven wins out. Utterly darling vintage angel and demon figurine photograph via MissConduct on Flickr.}


That late night thought, and the symphony of emotions I've been juggling lately, made me think  though that it was time for this year's first edition of the occasionally occurring Chronically Vintage post series called "Hey, it's ok" (if you're not familiar with the series, be sure to check out the first two posts from last August and October, respectfully).

There are so many big worries and problems that come our way all the time, and as such I strongly feel that it's vital to not get to hung up about the smaller concerns that appear frequently, too. This series of posts is all about the universe (or least yours truly) granting you permission not to sweat the tiny things - especially if there's something massive troubling you at the moment, too.


*Hey, it's ok*


...if you're still eating your way through the leftover Christmas cookies in the freezer.

...to ruthlessly clean out your feed reader list from time-to-time.

...that you still love - and actively use - your record player, VCR, or retro boombox.

...if you're parenting style is the polar opposite of your own parents.

...for you to make a conscious effort to carve out some much needed "me time" for yourself at least once a week, if not daily.

...to secretly delight in the extra curves you develop if your weight increases a little.

...if you don't watch the evening news very often. Sometimes the last thing any of us wants to hear or think about is more bad news.

...to rush outside in your rain boots and jump in puddles, like you used to a child, after a big downpour.

...that you can't name three new songs that came out last year, but could list at least twenty-five of them from the 40s and 50s off the top of your head right now.

...to do whatever you need to bring the joy you deserve into your life.


♥ ♥ ♥

Life isn't always a bed of roses. Sometimes even on the sunniest of days you can spot a grey storm cloud poking its head out over the horizon.

The important thing, the really critical point however, is to cut yourself some slack, hold onto hope, and keep looking for ways to improve whatever is troubling you. I fully understand that this often much easier said than done, but it's rarely flat out impossible.

So while the forces above and below continue to duke it out in own little world, I'll try my hardest to do just that - and hope that if something heavy is troubling you right now, sweet dears, you'll be able to do the same.

January 25, 2012

Two wonderfully fun vintage cream cheese tea party recipes

There is something about the often dreary, bitingly cold nature of mid-winter that begs for moments of extra special merriment to help shake off the doldrums that can accompany January.

One of the quickest, and surely most elegant, ways I know to do just that is to hold a tea party. Such a gathering can be as large or an intimate as you like - it can even be a party of one, just for yourself.

A few beautiful vintage cups and saucers, a freshly ironed table cloth, and a pretty frock are all you really need as your jumping off point for a wintertime tea party - aside from the snacks and beverages of course.

Tea parties are not designed designed to fill guests up to the extent of a buffet or multi-course meal, especially as they commonly take place between lunch and dinnertime. By the same token though, you certainly wouldn't want you friends' stomachs to rumble, so a selection of small, inviting, delicious foods is a must.

Today's vintage recipes are for a grape, pear, and cream cheese salad, as well as for delightfully chic – and splendidly cute! - carrot and cream cheese sandwiches that are rolled up and adorned so as to resemble the shape of lilies (this recipe would be highly fitting for an Easter gathering, too).

{Help chase away the monotony of winter with this charming pair of vintage tea party recipes that come by way of tattered_lost on Flickr.}


In addition to the recipes above, and a lovely array of freshly brewed teas, coffees, and hot cocoa (this is still January after all!), you might want to serve anything from scones with jam and clotted cream to macrons, petit fours, lemon bars, or indicial sized bundt cakes. Offer guests a range of savoury and sweet dishes, to help ensure everyone's tastes are well accommodated for.

Then, sit back and enjoy the company of good friends and lively conversation, as Old Man Winter pounds away outside. You're warm, happy, and snug as a bug in a rug at your beautiful tea party, which can't help but up lift one's spirits and help remind us all that spring's triumphant return is just a few short weeks away.

And if that isn’t worth raising a teacup over, I don’t know what is! Smile

January 23, 2012

Joyful vintage Chinese New Year wishes!

Unique amongst the animals used in the classic Chinese zodiac as being the only one that is mythical, the dragon begins its reign with today's arrive of the Chinese New Year.

Though I'm not Chinese myself, like many people, I enjoy celebrating this winter festival nevertheless and have long delighted in watching dragon parades, fireworks shows, and other festivities that were put in by the local Chinese communities in B.C., Alberta, and Ontario. (Not to mention whipping up a tasty Asian inspired feast to further celebrate this special day!)

{A cute youngster holders what appears to be a string of firecrackers in front of the mouth on a large dragon costume in this fantastic vintage Chinese New Year's photo from 1937. Image via carbonated on Flickr.}

Like each of the one dozen creatures assigned to the Chinese zodiac, the dragon appears once every twelve years. It is said that those who are born in the year of the dragon are often ambitious, passionate and successful risk takers who are not afraid of challenge or change.

While I wasn't born under the sign of the dragon, there's something quaintly charming about extending to those same traits to the type of year that one hopes lies ahead, as well as to how they carry out their own lives.

Metaphorically, I'll soon be taking to the skies like a dragon to travel across the country and settle in British Columbia, all the while tackling change and challenge with passion - and I hope - a great deal of success.

Likewise, I hope that this brand new year in the Chinese calendar will bring success, happiness and positive change into each of your lives too, dear friends.

Here's to a fabulous year ahead for all of us! Gong Xi Fa Ca!

January 22, 2012

Totally psyched to have a basement of our own

Basements, as a general subject, might not be the kind of thing that reeves up most people's engines - at least not in the way that a dazzling kitchen, freshly renovated powder room, or stunning garden might.

I admit, as a whole they're usually not my absolute favourite corner of most homes (in part because the largest spider - if it wasn't a tarantula it was darn near close - I ever saw was in a basement when I was a little girl), but that certainly isn't to say that I dislike them either.

So long as they're dry, well ventilated and properly finished, basements can be fantastic places. Thus is not the case for all underground portions of homes though.

Prior to moving into our current apartment, my husband and I lived in a rather dark, nearly window-less basement (the tiny windows that were there had bars on them, which yes, I know is illegal - we didn't put them on, the homeowner did long before we moved in) for over two years. It was, to say the least, a less than wonderful experience.

When we moved into that kind of environment, we did so believing that we would only be there for a few months (max!). Little did we know that events would play out in our lives that would end up keeping us there for much longer than anticipated. When the time came at long last to move, we wanted to get as far away from dank, depressing basements as was humanly possible, and so our house hunting lead us to a high rise apartment.

This home, while far from perfect either (oh the horror stories about this building I could tell you!), was a huge improvement over our previous abode here in Toronto, and for all it's shortcomings, it has served us pretty well for the past three and half years.

Now though, as many of you know, that time has come for us to move once more. Not just from this apartment building, but from Ontario. We're headed to my home province of British Columbia and to a house, that at long last, isn't just one floor.

Finally, in a charming condo, my husband and I are going to have two floors and a basement all to ourselves. This point, as you might imagine, makes me more than a little giddy!

The basement in our new place isn't massive, but it's not super tiny either. It has plenty of room for me to create a dedicated craft space, as well areas for storage, and a washer and dryer (after years of not having laundry facilities in our home, I'm beyond thrilled about that!!!).

Though the paint (and floor colours) are not the same, and there are some other differences in certain respects (there won’t be all the woodworking and DIY equipment, for example), over all our new basement (as I've seen it in photos and videos), looks a fair bit like the 1940s one pictured below.

{Industrious and attractive, this wonderful basement from 1947 is bursting with creative possibilities and plenty of space for everyone in the household to partake in their favourite hobbies, much as our new basement will allow us to do as well. Image via saltycotton on Flickr.}

To me moving into a house with a basement, the rest of which is also ours to occupy is symbolic of how we've come over the years. Are we moving into a mansion? Goodness, no, but as I sit here now, a little over a month from our moving date, I can't help but feel like this new home is every bit as significant and meaningful as if we were.

So, dear new house basement, I look forward to our impending meeting and the fact that you are the foundation upon which our whole home - and much of our home life - will be built.

January 20, 2012

An engaging Life magazine look at yesteryear fashion shows

As the quest to stock up my wardrobe with some painfully needed vintage essentials continues, I find myself digging deeper and deeper around the web for budget-friendly clothing sources. In the process of doing so, I've also encountered some completely charming sites that tie into the subject of old school threads, but which are not actually selling them.

Case in point, I recently came upon a thoroughly captivating slideshow on the official Time magazine website that includes more than thirty photographs of vintage fashion shows. This is the sort of lose-yourself-in-wonderment-of-it-all grouping of images that inspires and enthrals vintage fashion lovers like us to no end.

Long before the days when (most) fashion shows turned into three ring circuses full of clothes that few people would ever actually wear outside of a costume party, and where those seated in the front row mattered more than the cloths parading down the runway, fashion shows offered real world women (albeit often ones of means) the ability to view the latest and most exciting new styles that emerged each year.


As some of the photographs (like the one pictured above of a 1950s model sporting an elegant fur coat) in this stellar round-up demonstrate, fashion show patrons were (often) not only encouraged to interact with the models, but to touch and admire the clothing firsthand (as, designers of the time rightfully felt that this would better help customers decide which garments they'd like to order for themselves).

I think there was something to markedly more appealing about fashion shows of the past, which often put the focus on the clothing itself, instead of on the designer's flights of fancy (or ego!), atomically priced  designs, scarily thin models, or over-the-top publicity stunts. This isn't to say that I'm jaded when it comes to all modern fashion shows (or that I think all of them fall into the same modern camp), rather that the "real world", attainable aspect that shows of the past held appeals to me infinitely more.

Whether you're shopping for vintage clothes, looking for wardrobe inspiration, or simply love seeing fashionable images from decades gone by, I hope that you'll enjoy this beautiful assortment of Time magazine fashion runway images as much as I did.

Wishing you each a fantastic, marvellously stylish weekend, sweet dears!

January 18, 2012

Two quick and easy 1950s cold weather Campbell's Soup recipes

Before launching into today's tasty vintage eats, I really want to thank everyone who weighed in on my quest for hangers earlier this week. You've helped me narrow down the options and I hope to find a good deal on the types I'd most like to stock my closet with in the near future. Thanks again, you fabulous gals, you, I absolutely appreciate you impute!

On this end, amidst a week of pounding winter winds, we've been fighting off cold and flu viruses right, left, and centre around our house. The mister fell prey first, coming down with what seemed to be a cold at initially a couple of weeks ago, yet morphed into a flu last week (and he's still very much battling it off.) So far (knock wood!) I haven't succumbed to anything that harsh, but I do have a mild cold of my own.

Not the end of the world by any stretch of the imagination, but not exactly fun either - especially while we're trying to pack (and pack...and pack) for our upcoming move. It seems that as each day draws closer to our moving date in late February, there are fewer and fewer hours in which to accomplish everything we hope to do - not to mention a rather tricky scarcity of available room in which to stack boxes (it wasn't until we started packing everything up that my husband and I realized just quite how much we'd carefully displayed and stored our possessions vertically in our little apartment!).

Between flu bugs and hectic days, we likely won't be cooking to many three course dinners (or even two course meals!) for the next little while. Couple those factors which the biting cold outside and weeks like this practically scream out for quick, hearty comfort foods that can be whipped up with store cupboard staples.

For decades now people have been turning to canned soup to help them get a speedy, tasty meal on the table and while some gourmands may turn their noses up at canned soup, I think there is a great deal to be said in favour of this tried-and-true staple.

I have a soft spot in my heart for all vintage Campbell's soup ads (they often delightfully cute, wonderfully homey, or surprisingly chic), so today's pair of vintage recipes is delivered in the form of a Campbell's ad from 1958.

While one recipe ("Souper Scramble") is geared a bit more towards breakfast, it can just as easily be the star of the show at lunch or dinner, too (pair with a crisp green salad, toast points, or baked potatoes to help really fill everyone up).

The second recipe is one of those endearingly fun mid-century casseroles that sees canned green beans being partnered up with condensed soup. In this case though, it's not the more traditional mushroom, but instead chicken noodle that come together with the beans, as well as cooked chicken meat and egg noodles, for a hearty, ultra simple dish that is sure to please dinner-goers of all ages.

{Economical, filling, and absolutely spot-on for days when time is of the essence, these two vintage Campbell's Soup recipes are terrific to have in your arsenal of last minute meals. Image via Charm and Poise on Flickr.}


Of course you can swap in any brand of soup you like here (or alter the recipes so that they bypass store bought soup and are made from scratch). Growing up I was a big fan of Heinz, too, especially their tomato soup.

These days it's trickier for me to find gluten-free premade soups here in Canada, but various brands offer a few varieties (Campbell's Tomato with Basil and Oregano, Chicken with Rice, and Chicken with Wild Rice, for example, are all currently gluten-free and the second two can easily be used instead of chicken noodle in this 1950s casserole recipe, as can gluten-free pasta), so I can often alter vintage recipes like these to ensure I'm still able to enjoy them.

I grew up in a family who loved both canned soups and homemade ones alike, often using the former in all manner of lunch and dinner recipes. As such, I'll never eschew condensed soup - after all, if it was good enough for Andy Warhol to immortalize, it's definitely worthy of a spot in my kitchen cupboard.

January 16, 2012

Hunting for really good clothes hangers

Did you know that in the US alone, since the late 1800s, clothes hangers have been awarded over 200 different patents? Neither did I until I started researching this everyday workhorse of the wardrobe world, but it turns out they have - and many more designs have existed around the world for ages (some sources cite Thomas Jefferson as having invented a forerunner of the modern wooden hanger).

For as long as humans have worn clothing (unless everything they had was carried on their person at all times), we've needed places in which to store our duds. From chests of draws to towering wardrobes, footlockers to suitcases, clothing - which gives us so much and asks so little in return - always needs someplace to live when not being worn.

At some point (I suspect fairly early on), modern man (or woman!) came up with the idea of a closet, and the rest, as they say, is history. Few of us these days are without at least one closet in our homes, and most have several. Some closets are designed solely for shelves, but most intended for clothing have a bar (or multiple bars) on which we lovingly dangle our wardrobes.

The closet that I have at present is, to say the least, on the pocket sized side of things! From the bar to the shelve to the space on the floor, I've carefully crammed as much into that itsy-bitsy bit of space as I can - which is all the more reason why I'm thrilled about the fact that our new house is going to have a larger (slightly walk-in!) closet.

While I won't be giving a Hollywood starlet a run for her money in the closet department anytime soon, I'll joyfully take any increase in clothes storage space I can get - especially because I've already got more clothes, shoes, and accessories than my current closet can house.

One thing I picked up on ages ago is that, generally speaking, the less bulky your hangers, the more you're able to comfortably fit onto one closet bar. At the moment we're using a mixture of wood and plastic hangers, most of which were picked up from Walmart, Zellers or Canadian Tire. They're perfectly fine hangers, but most of them could be a little thinner, if you ask me.

{While I don't want to contradict myself, if I could find a stash of super cute 1950s plastic hangers like these darling children's ones, I might just be willing to give up some closet bar space for them Smile Image via galessa's plastics on Flickr.}


I've also grown rather fond of the idea of all of my hangers looking unified and completely matchy-matchy (in a nod to said starlet's closet, which - at least the ones I've seen in magazines - often tend to have rows of perfectly matching hangers). As such I thought it was high time I started testing the waters in terms of what's out there on the hanger front.

Unfortunately, living in Canada, we don't have the abundance or array or organizational, department, or big box stores that the fine folks in the States do from which to shop for hangers, but there are still some options. That said, on top of the three chains mentioned above, there are handful of spots at which to find hangers including (but not limited to) Winners, Ikea, Home Sense, and Bed, Bath & Beyond. Based on my online research last week, the latter has the largest selection, hands down.

As much as I love frilly, girly, padded hangers (think back to those floral print ones that were all the rage in the 80s and 90s), if you’re aiming to save closet bar space, they are not the best choice for your primary hanger (though it's a good idea to usually have a few padded ones on hand for particularly delicate or otherwise special garments that you might not want to rest on plastic, flocked, or wood hangers).

Instead, when space is at a premium, you'll probably want to go with slim line or ultra hangers, which are generally made from plastic (that's often covered in a soft flocking to help hold garments in place). It's these svelte little sweeties that I'm thinking may very well be what my closet (in both it's current and future state) is longing for.

Before plunking down any cold, hard cash on new hangers though, I'm thoroughly curious to know what kind all of you use (and/or love the most) in your closet.

As I know many of yours are too, the bulk of my wardrobe is comprised of vintage pieces, so I'd never opt for metal or anything with the potential to harm my clothes. I need to keep my budget in mind, but am ok with paying a little more if the quality is really top top-notch.

So, my lovelies, please let me know what sort hangers you adore most. I’ll be here, hanger-ing out for your replies Smile, and will let you know which ones I decide to go with in a future post .

January 14, 2012

Saturday Snapshots: January 14, 2012


"It's faith in something and enthusiasm for something that makes a life worth living." ~ Oliver Wendell Holmes

{One is drawn in instantly to this captivating image of a sophisticatedly dressed 1950s woman who has stopped to have her portrait painted on the street. Neither her eyes nor her mouth is smiling, yet her subtly sombre tone likely has more to do with that fact that she wanted to convey a sense of seriousness in the end image that the artist was whipping up on the spot.}

{Looking rather akin to one of those adorable little girl's birthday cakes in which a Barbie doll is housed in a large frosting covered circular cake, here a young woman pokes her head out from a towering mountain of pink layers as she cruises down the street as part of a 1938 summertime parade float.}

{There is such a sense of sweetness, of young love, and the prospect of the shimmering futures that lay ahead of them radiating from this lovely image of 1920s era couple posing on a classic wooden fence.}

{Looks like we're got a budding fashionista on our hands here! In this heartwarmingly cute colour photo from '55, we get to peak in on Kathy (the wee lass) as she holds up a pretty new plaid dress that she received on Christmas morning - and speaking of nice frocks, I rather like the eye-catching bright pink number the woman behind her is sporting, too.}

{In a photograph that looks as though it could have set the groundwork for a Norman Rockwell painting or the cover of Boy's Life magazine, four kids take advantage of the picturesque autumn weather of 1958 to paddle their canoe serenely across the water - darling little daschund pup in tow.}

{And speaking of dogs, here we see a particularly adorable one being clutched by a 1930s woman (ballerina Helene Kirsova), who also - for whatever reason - is also grasping a bottle of ketchup at the same time. I love her whole look - the cozy winter coat, jaunty neck scarf, timelessly perfect handbag - and the fun quirkiness of this delightful shot.}

{Though I must say, over all, we're being treated to a much kinder winter than usual here in Toronto, I'm still longing for the balmy days of summer and the return of jacket-less weather - a point that no doubt helped draw me to this charming image of a lovely redheaded gal sporting a blue two piece on the shores of Lake Michigan back in 1944.}

{Few things can hold a candle in the cuteness department to a cheerful baby, especially when they're perched in a comfy looking highchair and sporting a sweet little cotton gown like this healthy, happy youngster named Hilda Smith was in 1952. Image used with kind permission from the R.A. Gibson Collection on Flickr.}

{In a scene many of can relate to this wintery mid-January week, a young lad squints against the stark glare of the snow in this charming slice-of-childhood life photo from 1961.}

{There's a sense of artistry to this intriguing 1950s shot which I suspect was not intentional at the time, yet shines through as we look at it now decades on. The dramatic lighting, turned backs, row of shapely gams, and array of fur wraps all add up to something richly alluring and timelessly beautiful.}

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

♥ ♥ ♥

Of all the ongoing series of posts on Chronically Vintage, bar none, Saturday Snapshots was always my favourite. Yet I don't doubt for a moment that some of you, dear readers, may not even be familiar with this particular post (in which ten real world vintage images are coupled with a poignant quote). For you see, the last edition of Saturday Snapshots appeared all the very long way back on November 27, 2010.

Nearly fourteen months ago, yet it in so very many powerful ways it feels like a decade, perhaps even two have lapsed since the chilly November day when I last composed a post in this series. To say that I have missed gathering vintage images that speak to my soul, inspire my daily life, and teach me of the past, to pair with someone's meaningful thought about a particular faucet of life, would be a phenomenal understatement.

Silly though it may sound, I've pined to create a Saturday Snapshots posts for many months now, but held off, promising the act of doing so to myself as a way of celebrating the New Year. With 2011's Vintage 365 project now behind us, there is more time and greater energy to devote to posts such as this, and so, ecstatically, I sat down this mid-January evening, eyes smiling like shooting stars, to revive a treasured posts series.

Civil War vet, Supreme Court Justice, and markedly intelligent man, Oliver Wendell Holmes' words so eloquently and succinctly sum up one the key ways I've always tried to live my own life - just as I suspect a great many people have throughout the ages.

So often we make life unnecessarily complicated or lose sight of the simple joys around us, and as they vanish from our line out sight, so too do our enthusiasm levels often plummet sharply. Holding onto faith - in whatever or whomever brings you comfort and fosters a sense of hope - and greeting each day with vim is one of the finest gifts we can give to ourselves, especially when things may seem intensely rocky or bleak.

Make these points cornerstones of your existence and you'll find, as I have over the years, that when all is said and done, the highs will always outshine the lows.