August 31, 2013

Looking back at August 2013

 The last day of August, eh? My goodness, how did we get here so quickly? Was it truly quick? Am I asking too many questions? :) Perhaps, but that's okay, it's the end of summer and with the school year kicking off for many soon (if not already, depending on where you live), it's a rather good thing to have an inquisitive mind, if you ask me.

There were moments of this month, much like the past couple, that felt as though they'd drag on for eternity, but over all, I'd say that it felt speedier than June and July. One could sense the season winding down, much like way certain amusement park rides slow down before they come to a complete halt.

Living in the arid, sizzling hot corner of Canada that we do (I know, my dear foreign readers, "sizzling hot" and "Canada" are not two words that typically go hand in hand, but I assure, you there are parts of this country that give the Mediterranean, Australia, South America, and toastier areas of the USA a run for their money at times), summer isn't quite over yet. We've had temps up to 30C as recently as four days ago, and we'll likely continue to see the realm of the mid-20s for much of the coming month.

Despite July housing my birthday, I think I liked August better (even though there were a few really rocky days mid-month). It was a whisper cooler, saw me able to get out of the house at least three times that I can recall, and even included a wee bit of vintage shopping in Vernon (which, sadly, like most places in the Okanagan, doesn't have any dedicated mid-century vintage clothing stores, but it does have plenty of shops that carry vintage and antique collectibles, housewares, and to a lesser extent, jewelry), so it's always a joy to head up that way and check them out.

I didn't buy much though, because I was (and still am) really trying to save ever last penny for our super exciting upcoming road trip to Calgary, Alberta in less than two weeks time.

My goodness, I haven't found myself looking forward to something as much as I am this trip in many, many years. It's been so long since we last took a holiday, and even the three that we have been on in our nine years together (we didn't take a honeymoon), were all work trips for Tony (that I tagged along for), so this will be our first official, non-work trip ever together! Tony's every bit as eager for this to happen as I am, which just ups my own excitement level all the more.

{Three very big, very enthusiastic cheers! In less than half a month, we'll be zipping over the Rocky Mountains and on our way to Calgary, home of the world famous Calgary Stampede (held every July), where these lovely 1940s lasses hailed from. It's been a decade since I was there last and I am beyond champing at the bit to return again for a few days. Image source.}


There's still several days to go until we depart though, so before the suitcases come out of storage and the packing commences, let's take a little while and recap some of the wonderful going-ons that transpired here on the blog front this month.

Much as with July, August was jam packed with posts spanning a wide array of topics. I launched it off with my (still very much ongoing) search for winter snow and ski clothes, a hunt that I hope I'll have some good luck with while in Calgary, a town notorious for its chilly, snow filled winters.

We looked at a super easy trick for securing a pin back brooch in place; took a gander at some beautiful vintage B.C. beauty queens, and discussed a few of the more eyebrow raising comments about my vintage style that I've received over the years in a post called Strangers say the darndest things.

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Four outfit posts sprang to life this month, including one in which I sported and reviewed a dress from online UK clothing seller, Brag Vintage. My favourite outfit post of the month definitely goes to day we spent at this year's Peach City Beach Cruise classic car show, in which I sported my most beloved 1950s frock for the first time online (an image from which appears above).

I also kept my passion for all things verdant going strong in last weekend's Sorry, Kermit, but sometimes it is easy being green, and I waxed poetically over the stunning local landscape in Enjoying Penticton in all its glorious summertime beauty, while sporting a palette of red and white.

In addition to these posts and the usual fare, such as Vintage Fashionista Friday, Flickr Favourites, and a tasty vintage recipe - this time for summertime heat beating 1940s watermelon salad, some other highlights of the month included a fascinating look at the history of tennis wear, a stellar online resource with more than 7,000 vintage images, and a fabulous giveaway this week for your chance to win any vintage hat you'd like from Blue Rose Vintage (it's still on, so be sure to enter today, if you haven't yet).

As well, I had the great pleasure of interviewing two of Chronically Vintage's newest blog sponsors: Rebekka from the awesome etsy shop Bloomers & Frocks, and Rochelle from the absolutely beautiful, inspiration filled vintage sewing blog, Lucky Lucille. We also shone the spotlight on a third (thoroughly terrific) blog sponsor in a post devoted to thriving etsy vintage jewelry, fashion and household goods shop, Maejean Vintage.

Elsewhere on the web, I was honoured as can be when Lolly, from the wonderful UK based vintage reproduction clothing site Lolly Doll asked if she could interview me for her company's blog in a post called Meet Jessica Cangiano of Chronically Vintage. She sent over some really great questions and did such a lovely job of capturing and summarizing what my blog and I are all about. This isn't the last you'll be hearing of Lolly Doll and Chronically Vintage joining forces either - keep your eyes peeled in the fall for our next (fashionable!) collaboration.

My lucky winning streak when it comes to blog giveaways continued into August, I'm super happy to say, when I won a lovely vintage scarf from etsy seller Moon Walk Vintage, that the fabulous blog Va Voom Vintage was very kindly offering readers the chance to call there own. The scarf hasn't arrived yet, but I'm sure that as soon as it does, I'll start wearing it and you'll likely see it here in one more future vintage outfit posts.

While my mind is very much on our upcoming road trip, that certainly doesn't mean it's the only thing in I have in the works for September. In the coming weeks, as summer and autumn exchange places, we'll delve into the history of the saddle shoe's extra clean cut cousin, white buck shoes; I'll review the book 1940s Fashion: The Definitive Sourcebook (as per the many Instagram and Facebook requests that poured in when I started sharing some images from it there), put together a vintage fashion themed alphabet in honour of the return of the school year, and start blogging about our trip to Calgary shortly after we return home, to name but a few of September’s posts.

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{There is such a fabulous sense of a fresh start to September. I've long likened it to a second New Year's, and love the renewed vigor it brings with it - perfect for hitting the books once more, raking crunchy leaves, or just nestling in at home and starting work on all those projects you didn't quite get to while spending 24/7 outdoors this summer. Welcome September and welcome fall, I've missed you both something fierce! Image source.}


I'm looking forward to September for a multitude of reasons. Yes, certainly our fun little vacay is one of them, but there are scads of others as well, spanning everything from the new crop of local pears and apples to the return of a nippy breeze in the air, bringing cold weather sweaters back into rotation. There’s also starting to decorate for (Canadian) Thanksgiving and Halloween - and of course, one can never, ever forget the stunning autumn palette that nature starts decking herself out with as fall approaches and then barrels into full swing.

These in between the season days house a magic all there own, and while part of me will be a bit sad to wave farewell to summer in the coming weeks, I'm also massively eager to embrace every last, stellar element of September and autumn. First though, I've got an open road to hit, a beloved city to revisit, and some vintage and thrift shopping to do in good, ol' Calgary! :)

I truly hope that you each had a marvelous, enjoyable, and very happy summer. Here's to the start of September, the return of pumpkin spice everything, and a whole lot of fun this fall!

August 30, 2013

Vintage Fashionista Friday: August 30, 2013

Vintage Fashionista Friday blog graphic for Chronically Vintage photo VintagefashionistaChronicallyVintag.png


{Schooldays and hair bows go hand-in-hand like pencils and erasers, no matter if one is in kindergarten or part of the collegiate crowd. This charming green bow barrette is sure to see your locks through from September to June in timeless style. $8.25 from etsy seller Neon Love Designs.}

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{Few things are more iconic than apples when it comes to the start of a new school year, so why not greet this one with a beautiful little pair on your ears with these marvelous vintage red enamel earrings? $24.00 from etsy seller Junquegrl Jewels.}

{Though the mercury might still be bubbling away, in matter of weeks (or even days, depending on where you live), chances are it will be time to bust out the knits again and settle in for a season of cozy vintage sweaters like this classic blue number from the 1950s. Fits up to a 40" bust/waist not specified. $42.00 from etsy seller BombshellShocked.}

{Get right back into the school spirit with as much enthusiasm as a whole team of vintage cheerleaders when you wear this fabulous 1940s football themed dangle brooch. $29.95 from etsy seller A Magnificent Mess.}

{I absolutely adore a good mid-century plaid skirt and this wool 1950s gem from Pendleton is no exception! Vintage size 18, fits up to a 33" waist. $50.00 from etsy seller Peach Tree Vintage.}

{This past April I chatted about Ten of My All-Time Favourite Scents, and should I ever do a second edition of that post, it's likely that the smell of freshly shaven pencils will make the list. I'd be hard pressed to sharpen this rainbow of1950s/60s beauties though, instead I'd use them as pretty decor pieces on my craft desk. $24.99 for ten pencils from etsy seller Pezzaz.}

{Start the school year off right by brushing up on your spelling with this lovely 1940s textbook entitled Refresher Speller. $4.75 from etsy seller Vintage Antique Lane.}

{Sharing the spotlight with penny loafer and bucks, saddle shoes - like this fantastic navy blue and white pair - are amongst the most well known and beloved vintage schooldays shoes of the mid-twentieth century. Grab a pair of your own with care of UK seller Rocket Originals who offers the pair seen here (as well as several other saddle colour combos) in modern ladies UK sizes 3-8 for £75.00.}

As it has for so many the world over for ages now, the morning immediately following Labour Day always ushered the school year back in when I was a youngster. I can recall vividly always hoping each year that Labour Day would fall toward the end of the first week of September, instead of the beginning, as it ensured a few more days of cherished summer vacation.

I loved school and didn't dread returning, it's just that I was also exceedingly keen on spending my days at the beach, playing in the long, dry grass of our backyard, picking cherries from our neighbours trees, staying up late around the fire pit at night roasting marshmallows, jumping through the sprinkler, and myriad other things that made summer so incredibly awesome to us when we were knee high to a pair of water wings.

This year, much I'm sure, to the chagrin of a whole new generation of school kids, Labour Day falls on September 2nd, meaning that school will commence once more, bright and early, on the 3rd. As this the last Friday before that happens, it seemed like the perfect time to devote an edition of Vintage Friday Fashionista to a charming schooldays inspired look, which is sure to appeal to you whether you're hitting the books again yourself, sending your wee ones back to class, or simply recalling the excitement of schooldays long past.

No pattern evokes thoughts of vintage student garb more than plaid, and the pairing of a classic plaid skirt with a sweater (or cardigan and/or blouse) is a look that was hugely popular, in particular, from the 1940s on up to the early 60s (as seen in the great still from the 1943 movie Young Ideas pictured above).

It's a long I've always enjoyed it, too, going right back in time to when I was in high school and would sometimes skittle off on my lunch break to the thrift stores that were located down the same street (my high school was/is on Main Street), and pick up 1940s and 50s plaid skirts like this for a couple of bucks a pop. Sadly, those days are no more, but I still love this look just the same and enjoy recreating it as summer gradually slips into autumn and the weather dictates knits, wool, and tweed of all kinds once more.

Today's Vintage Fashionista is named Arlene, in honour of one of my all-time teachers, Mrs. Arlene Kuben, who taught me during forth grade. She was a sweet, kind-hearted, lovely lady, who very much struck me as embodiment of the classic, good natured, caring educator, fitting in just as easily in the early 1990s when I was in her class, as she would have at any other point in time.

As we sit here on the second to last morning of August, the world and weather still feel far more like they have their feet firmly grounded in summer. Young beach goers are frolicking in the lakes as I once did (day in and day out), the scrumptious scent of barbequed meat lingers in the air from weeks of dinnertime grilling, and one can still buy fresh peaches and cherries at the plethora of local fruit stands.

Soon though, with the same speed with which the morning after Labour Day used to arrive, autumn in all its golden hued glory will be here, and the ebb and flow of another school year will be second nature will be second nature once more. Much as I adore fall, I'm not rushing it out the door quite yet - at least not until I hear the first local school bell chiming in the distance come September 3rd. 

August 28, 2013

Enter to win any vintage hat you'd like from Blue Rose Vintage

Last Saturday I featured what has to be, bar none, one of my most flower adorned, eye-catchingly delightful vintage hats ever in this post (a photo from which appears below here as well).

A swirling, glorious garden atop my head, this hat is the kind of topper that steals the shows, in the best kind of way and I adore having a few hats with such sublime magnetism in my wardrobe. This particular beauty came by way of a stellar online seller who specializes specifically in vintage hats: Blue Rose Vintage.

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As I mentioned in Saturday's post, the splendidly nice folks at Blue Rose Vintage contacted me earlier in the summer and asked if I'd be interested selecting one of these vintage chapeaus to feature on my blog. I was touched and thrilled that they were interested in working together, and couldn't say yes quickly enough. I selected the topper that I did because I'm still trying to actively up the amount of green in my wardrobe, but there were many other contenders in the running for my selection as well.

It's scarcely a secret that I love and frequently wear vintage hats (a topic that I really delved into when interviewed by Kathleen Lisson from That's a Pretty Hat last year about my passion for collecting and wearing hats). They've appeared numerous times in my vintage outfit posts here, and are a favourite component of many of the looks I've put together in posts such as those in the Vintage Fashionista Friday series.

A hat is both a work of art and a catalyst for emotion and individuality. It can be sweet and simple, wildly bold, quirky, reserved, sophisticated, playful, enigmatic, daring, enchanting, cute, dramatic, or just about anything else one can possibly imagine, depending on its design, how its styled in the scope of an ensemble, and the person sporting it in the first place.

Sometimes when I post photos of myself wearing a hat, or discuss the topic of hats here on my blog, I receive comments in which people say that they like/love hats, but are wary of trying to wear one themselves. I get that, believe me I do.

In today's day and age, hats are not the fashion mainstay and integral element of an outfit that they had historically been for hundreds of years. A lot of people who were born from 1960 onward, and especially those born in the 80s or even more recently, may have had little (if any) experience wearing a fashionable hat before and it can be intimidating to picture yourself walking down the street in a beautiful hat when no one else around you in wearing one these days.

I believe firmly in wearing what you love however, no matter if others are doing it to or not, and highly encourage anyone with an interest in hats to try one out. It doesn't have to overly fanciful by any means. Pick a classic vintage hat style, such a beret, fedora, tilt or platter hat, in a neutral hue and wear it with one of your absolute favourite outfits, that you already feel confident in. This way you'll be more inclined to not feel as self-conscious while bopping around town, your workplace, school, wherever you may find yourself in your lovely topper.

Chances are, the more you wear hats, the more you will come to adore and feel comfortable wearing them. Believe me when I say that vintage hats are like potato chips, it's exceedingly hard to stop at just one!

Many of us in the vintage world already know this point well however, and find our shelves, walls, and closets teaming with a bevy of old school chapeaus, which we gleefully don at every turn.

This is the camp I'd place myself squarely into, and as such I truly loved getting opportunity to select a hat from Blue Rose Vintage, an online boutique shop that began life offering all kinds of vintage fashion offerings two years ago, but quickly developed into a specialized seller of quite simply, and wonderfully, nothing but fabulous vintage hats (like the examples, all from Blue Rose Vintage, peppered throughout this post).

Their offerings span a wide range of decades (think 1900s - 1970s), depending on the current listings, are reasonably priced in today's market, expertly curated and photographed, and are made up of an inventory that's updated on a daily basis all year round, meaning you could potentially find a new vintage treasure for yourself every time you visited Blue Rose's elegantly lovely website.

Today I'm delighted to be teaming up with Blue Rose Vintage to bring one lucky reader the chance to win any hat they'd like from this awesome vintage hat seller's inventory.

Please note that that the winner will select the hat they want to receive once the contest has wrapped up and the winning name has been drawn, simply because of the revolving nature of Blue Rose's offerings.

How to enter

You may enter however many of the following ways you would like, with one entry per method, up to a maximum of nine different entries in total.

1. Post about this giveaway on your own blog, including a link back to this Chronically Vintage post and
Blue Rose Vintage's website. Leave a comment here letting me know all about your lovely post.
2. Comment here telling me one or more of the reasons why you love vintage hats.

3. Like Blue Rose Vintage on Facebook.

4. Post about this giveaway on Facebook, including a link back to your post in the comments here.

5. Pin any of Blue Rose Vintage's offerings to any Pinterest board you'd like, including a link back to the pin in the comments here.

6. Follow Blue Rose Vintage on Tumblr.

7. Follow Blue Rose Vintage on Twitter.

8. Tweet about giveaway on Twitter, mentioning @BluRoseVintage and in your message. Post a comment here with a link back to your tweet.

9. Subscribe to Blue Rose Vintage's Quarterly Newsletter (signup is located at the bottom of their homepage).

Please make sure to leave a separate comment specifying each of the ways in which you entered this giveaway, so as to increase your odds of winning.

This contest is open between today (August 28, 2013) and Friday September 6, 2013, with the winner being drawn using a random number generator the following day and announced in a blog post here shortly thereafter. It is open to winners worldwide.

♥ ♥ ♥

A vintage hat is truly is a special element of one's outfit, whether you wear yesteryear styles or are more of a modern style maven, and it's wonderful that we have specialized online boutiques like Blue Rose Vintage available to us 24/7 to shop for classic, beautiful vintage hats (especially if, like me, you happen to live somewhere with exceedingly few vintage shops in your area).

I know that I'm going to treasure my green 1940s floral hat for many years to come and hope that the lucky winner will adore the hat they select every bit as much.

Thank you very much to Blue Rose Vintage for this marvelous giveaway, and to all those who enter for the chance to win any hat they'd like from Blue Rose's gorgeous selection of vintage toppers. Best of luck to everyone!

August 27, 2013

Vintage sewing, rescue dogs, and 1940s reenactments: getting to know blogger Rochelle from Lucky Lucille

In my experience, whereas in the offline world one is routinely introduced directly to someone new by a person they already know, this happens far less online. I'm not talking about discovering another blogger via a post on the site of a person you follow, I mean having someone specifically go out of their way to tell you, "Hey, I think you'd like so-so and because...", or, "Have you meet Ms. Blogger, I think you two would hit it off splendidly", or something to that extent.

Last winter, in her wonderfully nice comment on my post about becoming a wig wearer, Tasha of By Gum, By Golly personally recommended that, if I didn't know her already, I visit the blog of a fellow full time wig wearing, vintage adoring gal by the name of Rochelle.

Being a total wig newbie at the time, and only one of an exceedingly small number in the vintage community that I'm aware, of I was deeply touched by Tasha's suggestion and made an immediate beeline over to Rochelle's beautiful blog, Lucky Lucille. Here, not only did I discover a fellow wig wearer, but a kindred spirit with whom I shared a great many interests and similarities, from adoring the 1940s to being a pet (but not human) mama, crafting to a passion for yesteryear catalogs.

In the months since then, I've had the great pleasure of following Rochelle's blog and in turn having the honour of her following mine. We've chatted about wigs, for sure, but also many other things and it was with no small amount of joy that I welcomed her last and her blog, Lucky Lucille, as one of Chronically Vintage's new sponsors in July.

This month I interviewed Rochelle, chatting about everything from WW2 reenactment events to rescue dogs, and today I am thoroughly delighted to bring you that very interview. I hope you'll enjoy learning more about this inspiring, awesomely talented woman and her fantastic blog as much as I did.

Your blog and your sewing both embody such a tremendously lovely sense of the hardworking resourcefulness and creativity that so helped to define 1940s, what are some other things that you feel define you and your wonderful website?

One of the best compliments I ever got was about my honest and humble writing style. I'd like to think people keep coming back to my blog because they enjoy what I have to say, as well as what I'm wearing. Oh, and of course, Lucille has a fan club all her own!

What came first: your passion for vintage or your love of sewing? (Or did they spring to life around the same time?)

Well they are two passions that I kept entirely separate for a very long time. I didn't mean to, I just didn't really realize I could essential sew my own vintage until recently! (It's so nice to have a 1940's dress that I can throw in the washing machine!) I grew up in a home with a sewing machine, a plethora of black and white movies, and a Bing Crosby Christmas album playing every December, so those paths were bound to merge at some point in my life!

Are there some things you wish you’d known when you started sewing when you started out that you know now?

I wish I had a better understanding of what makes a garment fit well, and how to implement those changes for a more successful sewing project. I have SO many dresses sitting in my closet that I love as a project, but do not love as a wearable item. You live and learn!

What are some of your favourite fabrics to sew with?

Hands down it's cotton, cotton, cotton! Any kind of cotton. It's practically all I use and I'm not ashamed of that. It's such a versatile fabric and I'm convinced there's a type of cotton out there for any sewing project you could imagine. In fact, a friend and I are hosting a vintage cotton only sewalong right now.

To date, what are three of your favourite items of clothing (or accessories) that you’ve sewn or knit for your wardrobe?

Definitely my WWII era Marian Martin dress - that will always be one of my favorite dresses. I also love my self drafted swing skirt, and a pair of 40's trousers that I sadly broke the zipper on and have yet to replace. I should really get on that because I wore those pants all the time!

What would be your dream project (vintage or otherwise) to sew or knit for yourself?

Oh goodness, if I had an ounce of talent at knitting I would definitely knit a heavy duty 1940's "boyfriend" sweater, or some kind of color work project with cute animals. My dream sewing project would involve my own line of sewing patterns. ...I'm working towards that actually ;)

{Image source: Sears and Roebuck catalog, fall 1942}

Aside from sewing, knitting and blogging, what are some of your other creative pursuits and hobbies?

Well I'm a big nerd so I enjoy reading epic fantasy novels, watching period piece films, and bowling hehe! I also really love snowboarding (it cured my seasonal depression!). I've also started digitizing some of my 1940s periodicals and making them available as downloads. Some of these magazines are just too good not to share! I'm working on restoring the "War-time Manual For Housewives" now.

Your personal fashion style is so understatedly, classically beautiful and evocative of a patriotic 1940s gal, what are some of your key wardrobe musts for those looking to take your sartorial lead?

Definitely a classic 1940's shirt dress! That's a piece that is truly timeless and translates very well from vintage to modern. I don't think shirt dresses will ever, ever go out of style.

Lucille, your immensely cute rescue dog, is a key player on your blog (and of course in your life). Do you find that she influence your style and/or what you blog about?

She certainly influences me in the sense that I live by her example. Before I rescued her she lived a very sad, hard, life but you'd never know it by her attitude now. She doesn't hold a grudge against humanity when she has every right to. She LOVES people and is generally an extremely sweet, happy-go-lucky pup. Her breed also faces a fair amount of adversity but she doesn't know that. She is what she is, and I am what I am, and we're happy as such. Dogs just take life one day at a time, and always stop to smell the flowers :) We can all learn something from that attitude.

You and I both share a passion for adopting rescuing animals and the importance no-kill shelters. What are some things that you wish more people knew about shelter animals and why it’s so important to consider adopting an animal from a shelter when looking to add a new pet to one’s family?

Oh boy, I could talk all day on this subject! I went to school for Vet Tech and also worked in a shelter, so this is a subject very dear to me. A lot of people think people give up their pets because there is something "wrong" with them. But the truth is, many people give up house pets who are well loved and well trained simply because their situations change and they no longer have the means to care for them. The majority of shelter animals are not bad pets. They just got dealt some bad cards.

You should go into a shelter with an open mind and talk with the staff about the right type of pet for you. I swore up and down that I was going to rescue a male greyhound, but walked out with a little white and brindle pit bull instead. She's the dog who won me over, she's the perfect dog for me, and now I can't imagine my life without Lucille. In her case, ending up in the shelter was the best thing that ever happened to her.

When you rescue a pet, you save two lives: The life of the pet you adopted, and the life of the pet who got to take its place at the shelter. Also, when you pay adoption fees, you help save more lives by supporting the shelter and allowing them to purchase vaccines and other resources for the animals still waiting for their forever homes. There is a fine line between rescuing and hoarding though, and with 5 misfit cats and one dog (a low count of pets for me!) I'm cutting it close haha! You can't save them all, but you can definitely make a difference.

You’re a fan of 1940s reenactment events (awesome!), what are some of your tips for those who are looking to get into this fun activity for the first time?

Start going to events dressed in period clothing to get a feel for what it's like, then try to join a reenacting group! It's always more fun when you can make new friends when starting a new hobby, and joining a group gives you the perfect opportunity to do that. Not to mention, a group leader can offer you guidance when putting together your impression (which is sort of like a character). Keep in mind that not all reenacting impressions are military.

I joined a group called The Paper Dolls and we do home front impressions specifically (think Rosie the Riveter and the Women's Land Army!). Do as much research as you can, and do your best to be authentic. Reenactors honor veterans and civilians by representing them as accurately as possible. It can very disrespectful to show up at an event and not represent the time period correctly.

You’re transported back in time to 1940s for an hour with a hundred dollars (in 40s money) in hand to spend however you like. Quick! What do you buy?

Well considering there was rationing going on during the war, and you might not be able to buy whatever you wanted even if you could, I'd still try to order pretty much one of everything from the women's section of Sears and Roebuck!

{Image source: Sears and Roebuck catalog, spring 1942}

Five words that you feel describe your life right now would be?

Great new things to come :)

Thank you very much for this marvelous interview, sweet gal. I adored getting to know you ever better, as I’m sure my readers did, too.

Rochelle and Lucille can also be found across the web on the following sites:

♥ ♥ ♥

I will always be grateful to Tasha for introducing me to Rochelle, and in turn to Rochelle for helping to answer some of my wig related questions during those early days of life sans my real hair, as well as for each and every email, blog comment, and lovely social media interaction we've shared since. Wigs may have brought us together, but a great many other things have helped form a shared point into a meaningful friendship.

Believe me when I say, you are bound to adore her Rochelle's fantastic blog. It is chalked full of awesome how-tos and patterns, finished sewing and knitting projects, old school images, endlessly adorable photographs of Lucille, and myriad other things, amongst which, we can all find something in common with this creative, beautiful vintage loving lady.

August 26, 2013

More than 7,000 vintage ads at your fingertips

It's scarcely a secret that - like many of you as well - I wildly adore vintage ads and images. Be they for use here in blog posts or my own personal inspiration, rarely does a day go by when I don't spend time peering at yesteryear ads (and, fairly often, pinning them in the process).

I love the artistry, the workmanship, the creativity, (at times) the quirkiness, the immense variety, and the sense of how life was perceived (if only from a marketing standpoint) of early and mid-twentieth century advertisements. Many were illustrated by some of the foremost artists of their day, whereas others continue beautiful photography, and some are little more than text, but those words usually speak volumes both for the product in the ad itself, and for how the company behind it viewed their audience.

In today's world we're constantly bombarded with a seemingly unending array of ads across all manner of media channels, but back in the 1930s or 40s, for example, less of these channels existed (TV was in its infancy and the internet as we know it today was still decades away) and so marketers often relied on print ads as their most powerful and important way of reaching a broad demographic. I think that this point is part of the reason why so many vintage ads were so effective, and why they continue to appeal to many people to this very day.

In the hunt for vintage Christmas images to use here last December, I ran across something that I don't encounter all that often any more (having years of online ad hunting experience under my belt, that is): a new (to me) source of vintage ads.

This isn't just a wee little roundup, or even a modest sized one, we're talking about a full on Aladdin’s cave of old school advertisements, care of the fine folks at Duke University. Their Ad*Access website is an amazing digital collection of more than 7,000 vintage ads that are free to be viewed by anyone, and most of which are available for personal use (they have a copyright information page, if you need more specifics regarding terms of use).

At present, the ads in this hefty online collection span the years from 1915 to 1955, and are primarily centered around five categories: radio, television, transportation, beauty and hygiene, and World War II. According to the collection's about page, the "advertisements are from the J. Walter Thompson Company Competitive Advertisements Collection of the John W. Hartman Center for Sales, Advertising & Marketing History in Duke University's David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library".

For the first couple of days after I discovered this site, I spent as much of my free time as possible, pouring though the bevy of fascinating, entertaining, and sometimes just plain old practical, ads it houses, yet only began to scratch the surface of viewing all 7,000+ that appear there.

Over time I plan to check them all out, especially since I'll then have a solid knowledge of exactly what the collection contains, and thus can (hopefully) call to mind an ad I saw there that would be perfect for a future post while I'm putting it together.

Beyond the blogging side of things though, it's just plain fun to pursue so very many terrific 1910s-1950s ads (like the elegantly beautiful Elizabeth Arden advert from 1936 pictured below) in one handy-dandy spot.

I hope that you find Duke University's Ad*Access digital library as fascinating, helpful, and enjoyable as I did - and that you unearth an ad or two (or five hundred!) that you can use for your own vintage image related purposes, too.

Happy advertisement viewing, my dears!

August 24, 2013

Sorry, Kermit, but sometimes it is easy being green

Perhaps more so for vintage fashion lovers than for adorable frog puppets, though. :)

Outfit details

1940s green floral hat: Blue Rose Vintage
Faux pearl stud earrings: Claire's
Pearl necklace: Birthday gift from Tony ♥
Green 1950s dress: etsy seller
Sam Kay Designs
Cream c.1940s gloves with smocking detail: (I think) eBay
Brown faux alligator purse: Le Chateau
Nude seamed stockings: eBay
Brown faux alligator peep-toe heels: Gift from a dear vintage loving friend ♥
Lip colour: MAC Diva

Photography by
Antonio Cangiano

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As you may recall from numerous posts throughout 2013 already (such as this one, and this, and also this), I dubbed green my colour of the year and have been having a ball ever since, both wearing and buying more of this hue for the past eight months.

I've loved getting to know green better, pairing various shades together in the same outfit (as in this spring time look), better getting to know which spots on the verdant spectrum work well with my skin tone, and enjoying the many fantastic colour combinations that one can create with green at the helm.

Today's outfit however, does not feature green plus a rainbow of other colours. No, in a move that I believe the dear aforementioned Mr. Frog would wholeheartedly approve of it, it all but sings and dances a jig in the name of green, with supporting roles being carried out via earthy brown and soft cream accessories. I look at it, and feel as though it exudes a certain spirit of summer – alive and bright, and so wonderfully tranquil.

I've had this lovely 1950s dress for the better part of two years, but I don't wear it all that often because there's a fair bit of excess fabric in the bust area (Jayne Mansfield I am not in that department) and each time I do sport it, I find myself thinking that I should probably sell it to someone else whom the universe was more generous with in the bust giving department. But then I see it's gorgeous, sage meets jade meets blue spruce hue, remember why I feel in love with it in the first place, and can't quite bring myself to say good bye yet. Perhaps one day I will (in all seriousness, if anyone is interested in it, feel free to email me for the price and/or size measurements), but for now it's chilling contently in the ever-expanding green section of my wardrobe.

One thing that I'm definitely holding onto for keeps is this fantastic 1940s flower covered green hat. I love toppers like this that are decked out in a florist's shop worth of blooms. They're fun, cheerful, and so redolent of the bountiful nature of spring and summer. This beautiful hat came my way as a review gift care of the wonderfully nice folks at Blue Rose Vintage, a recently new-to-me website devoted solely to selling vintage hats.

Lifelong vintage hat lover that I am, I was absolutely thrilled when they contacted me to ask if I'd be interested in selecting a hat of my choice from their inventory, which is updated with new listings on a daily basis. In the coming week, I'm delighted to say, you too will have the chance to add a chapeau from Blue Rose Vintage to your own wardrobe, because we're going to be holding a giveaway for the chance to win the hat of your choice from their beautiful offerings in just a few days (on Wednesday the 28th).

I've loved getting better acquainted with green through the year. It's a colour I've discovered, humbly, often works well with my pale skin tone, auburn/red hair, and eyes which are themselves green. As we inch ever nearer to autumn, I'm sure that I will continue to shop for, and wear, plenty of green, but I know that the change in the seasons will mean a pull towards certain other colours, too (for instance, I've recently become enamored in a whole new way with purple). As such, it seemed only fitting that while the summer's glistening, sauna-warm sun was still steaming down, I decided to don such a generous helping of this peaceful colour.

Because, as the title of this post says, if there's one thing I've learned this year, it's that being - or moreover, wearing - green can be pretty easy, especially when you've got splendidly fun yesteryear chapeaus like this one to propel your outfit choices. Who knows, maybe all Kermit needed to lessen his troubles was a fantastic green vintage hat of his own!

August 22, 2013

We're Alberta bound!

   This piece of heaven that I've found
Rocky Mountains and black fertile ground
Everything I need beneath that big blue sky
It Doesn't matter where I go
This place will always be my home 

It is, with no small amount of elation, that I write today's post. You see, my sweet dears, for the first time in many years, Tony and I will soon be embarking an exciting multi-day trip. As you may have likely deducted from the title, as well as from the lyrics above that come from Paul Brandt's song, Alberta Bound (not to be confused with Gordon Lightfoot's 1972 classic of the same name), we're headed over the Rocky Mountain covered boarders for the gorgeous province of Alberta.

Calgary, Alberta, to be exact. This is a city that I know and love dearly, having resided there myself for a little over two years in my late teens. A thousand lifetimes worth of experience happened to me in that short span, in the shadow of the Saddle Dome, Calgary Tower, and those stunning Rocky Mountains themselves, towering majestically off in the distance.

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{A circa late 1940s/early 1950s view of downtown Calgary, AB looking southwest from Crescent Heights east of Centre Street. Though the view I knew when I lived there was a bit different, whether decades ago, ten years past, or today, the skyline is instantly recognizable to anyone who has spent time in Cow Town, as the city is sometimes lovingly referred to, before. Image source.} 

I left far less by choice, than by circumstances beyond my control, and for a good many years afterwards, I missed Calgary with the sort of yearning and embedded love that, hitherto, I had only ever felt for a small number of people – I didn’t know it was humanly possible to miss a place so very much. Life moved on and so did I, but I never forgot this rugged, bustling, amazing city, and vowed to return one day (and hopefully many more times after that).

Now, almost ten years since I last called Calgary home, Tony and I will be packing up the car and headed that way for a few days in mid-September, for some extremely needed R&R, as well as plenty of fun and oodles of vintage, antique and thrift store visiting!

I know the bones of Calgary inside and out, from Stephan Ave to Kensington Village, Olympic Park to Chinook Mall, but I'm sure a fair number of things have changed in the last decade, and I'm really looking forward to experiencing what the city looks like and has to offer today.

On that note, though I have been doing plenty of online research into the topic recently and come up with several names already, if you happen to have any recommendations when it comes to vintage, antique, thrift, secondhand or consignment stores that you love because of their mid-century offerings, I would be delighted to hear them anytime.

Traveling, even for a relatively short road trip, presents a substantial number of challenges to me due to my health (a topic I discussed in greater detail here), but sometimes - with a ton of advance planning - facing our challenges in life can bring us immeasurable rewards, and I truly hope that such rings true for this exciting holiday.

We'll be staying at a wonderful hotel with a kitchen (a must because eating out safely is almost impossible for me due to medical reasons) near the airport the whole time, taking our car (which does not have a big trunk at all, so strategic planning and a maximum of one moderate sized suitcase each will be a must), driving straight from Penticton to Calgary, and working on a bit of an itinerary, though few things will be set in stone - it's so much more fun to just go where the (chinook) winds blow you sometimes. Tony has never been to Calgary before, though he probably feel like he has based on how much I've told him about it over the years, so this will an extra fun first for him.

I'll be chatting more about the trip as our departure date draws nearer - and you'll definitely hear tons about it once we get back. I'm so exciting already that some nights it's hard to fall asleep, but I must because, I need all the strength and energy I can get for when the big day arrives, less than a month from now, and we head out on the open road, Alberta bound at long last!

August 20, 2013

Enjoying Penticton in all its glorious summertime beauty

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Outfit details

Red and white polka dot hair scarf: eBay
Strawberry earrings: Handmade by me
Vintage red beaded necklace: gift with purchase from an etsy seller
1980s does 1940s/50s novelty print dress: eBay
Red skinny belt: eBay
Vintage raffia straw and bamboo handbag: Yard sale find
White vintage bangle bracelet: Value Village
Red and green bangles: Forever 21
Red and white peep-toe wedges: Payless
Lip colour: MAC Russian Red

Photography by
Antonio Cangiano

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Canada is known the world over for its notoriously bone chilling, snow laden, icy street filled winters, and while that reputation is more than a little bit justified, I have long felt that we also deserve to be know for our incredible summers as well. Granted, some parts of the country experience longer, better and less humid summers than others, but from coast to coast, the country springs to life in the most profoundly lovely way from June to September, and few places exemplify that better than the Okanagan Valley where we live.

I know, you might think I'm being a touch biased, but having lived in cities in both the prairies and Eastern side of of the country, too, as well as a number of different parts of British Columbia (from the Carbiboo to the Lower Mainland), and also outside of Canada, I can tell with the deepest of convictions that there is no where else in the country - and quite possibly the world - that I would rather spend my summers than here in the Okanagan.

Our town of Penticton is hugged lovingly on both sides by sage brush covered hills and sandwiched squarely between two large lakes, which make for some of the best inland swimming and sunbathing you could ever hope to find. This corner of Canada is as close to a desert as one is going to come across anywhere in this country (much as it looks the part though, it is technically a semi-arid shrub-steppe) and the dry, sizzling heat that accompanies such a landscape is a huge part of the reason why the Okanagan has long been one of the most popular tourist destinations in North America.

When I lived elsewhere, I pined for this kind of summer. It was in my blood, and nothing else - no matter how pretty and pleasant it might have been - could quite compete with the resplendency of this season in Penticton. Though the heat can knock the wind out of my sails sometimes, that would happen anywhere the temps climbed into the 20s (Celsius) and higher, so the Okanagan is not to fault there. In fact, I actually find it's dry heat infinitely easier on me than the stifling humidity we experienced for each of the six years we lived in Toronto.

From beaches to peaches, lakes to wakes (behind boats, I mean) I cannot get enough of summertime here. While autumn is technically my favourite season, and I do love the chill of winter and spring at times, I daydream about summer all throughout the rest of the year and love when I have days on which I'm able to get out and let the nourishing amber sun warm my skin and soul alike.

On one such recent day we stopped by Rotary Park down at the east end of Okanagan Lake and grabbed these subtly windswept shots after I'd wrapped up with a doctor's appointment. Medical visits, no matter how many I keep tucking under my belt, are always stressful and unnerving for me, regardless of what transpires during them, so afterwards I typically either want to go straight home or to someplace very serene. Few spots calm my nerves and put my mind at ease more than the beaches here, so Rotary Park seemed like the perfect spot to spend a little time.

We shot in three areas of the park, and I love each one. I've never used such a large tree trunk as a backdrop before, nor, I think, have I posed in front of one of our town's few public flower beds. You've seen Okanagan Lake before a number of times, but it never grows old - if anything, it just gets more gorgeous and endearingly wonderful with each passing year.

My ensemble might, in colder months, channel a certain December 25th vibe, but against summer's stark, warm sky and verdant backdrop, it makes me think more of a garden than Christmas trees, and the light hue of the white dress really helps keep a bit of the heat at bay.

As we sit here right now, hard as it is to believe, autumn is technically just thirty-two days away. I'm eager for its arrival, but am also keen on holding onto summer for just a while longer still. I want a thousand more days with weather as perfect as this, especially because those winters we're so widely well known for the world over live up to their rap - and then some!

Fall and winter and if we're lucky, some semblance of a spring, will happen of course, as they always do, and no amount of wishing will affix summer in place forever. Yet even when the mercury gets frostbite once more, I'll still have photographs of days like this, coupled with the thought of summer's distant return, to keep me nearly as toasty as I was on the beautiful afternoon when we took these lovely photographs.