Vintage floral scarf: Yard sale find
White rose stud earrings: Claire's
Green 1930s beaded necklace: Jewelry seller in Okanagan Falls
1980s does 1940s yellow dress: eBay
Large green Bakelite bangle: Yard sale find
Thin green and red Bakelite bangles: Thrifted
White plastic vintage bangle: Probably either thrifted or from a yard sale
Red vintage purse: etsy seller I Love Vintage Stuff
Red and white stripped wedge sandals: Payless
Lip colour: MAC Russian Red
Photography by Antonio Cangiano
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Every time I slip on this wonderful 1980s does 1940s, the classic 1980s hit "Walking on Sunshine" from Katrina and the Waves always pops into my head and put a big smile on face. I love yellow, but own very little, as most shades of it tend not to jive well with my colouring. Luckily however, I've found some shades on the lighter and darker spectrum that do, including this warm mustard hue, which just makes me adore this dress all the more.
These snaps were taken back when the sizzling summer light was still out in full force and one could easily wear short sleeves well into the evening. In fact, it was a shoulderingly hot day where the sun overhead really did seem to match the frock I was sporting. Tony and I had been out running errands for much of the afternoon and I was pretty darn knackered by the time these snaps were taken, but luckily that fact didn't show on my face as much as I'd worried it might in the moment.
Unlike last year, which delivered an absolute bumper crop of yard sale treasures (as you may recall from this post and later this one), 2013's season teetered on the edge of being dubbed dismal. Now, granted, I wasn't able to make it to quite as many as in the previous year, but those that we did hit between April and September were typically very small and lacking in vintage. At first it seemed like my only noteworthy find of the season would be a great pair of brown vintage appropriate wedge sandals (seen here) found in the late spring, but as it turned out, there was indeed to be a second highly memorable score.
Like many a vintage fan, I adore Bakelite, but I own very little of it. My only pieces to date being either wonderful gifts or (super occasionally) thrifted finds. Whenever I'm at a yard sale (or anywhere else with vintage/second hand items), I keep my eyes peeled for Bakelite, having heard so many awesome tales over the years from other vintage gals of the pieces they've scored for bargin basement prices at garage sales and flea markets.
At a yard sale where a chap was selling a mixture of vintage and newer items located just one street over from the house where I lived for a few years as a child here in Penticton, I began hunting through a multi-drawer box with various costume jewelry items in it and stopped dead in my tracks when I spotted the large marbled green bangle seen in the photos above here. I quickly gave it the good, ol’ rub and smell test. Nothing turned up, but it had the right weight and colouring (and no seams), and my gut instinct was screaming that it was Bakelite.
Naturally, excited as I was, I played it cool as a cucumber and casually asked the fellow what he wanted for the bracelet. He hummed and hawed for moment and tentatively tossed out a price tag of five dollars. As much as I suspected that I was holding vintage Bakelite, just in case it wasn't, I wanted to land a really good price and countered with three. One glance at his expression told me I'd gone a little too low, so in the next breath I shot back with $3.50 and a smile, and moments later was walking merrily back towards the car with my gorgeous green treasure in hand.
I rubbed and I rubbed, then my mom (who was with me that day) rubbed, but neither of us could call up that glorious Bakelite scent. "It's Bakelite, I swear", I kept saying to her as we drove off to the next sale, and later that day when I got home, handed the bracelet to my wonderfully strong husband to rub, and then sniffed again, I was proved right. A few seconds under Tony's powerful fingers and the piece sang with that distinct formaldehyde-esque scent, and I beamed ear-to-ear with happiness.
It took many, many years of patience and diligence, but I had finally found vintage Bakelite at a yard sale! None of the other sales we hit throughout the rest of the summer delivered further Bakelite or particularly special finds (a small number of cute little trinkets and costume jewelry items, but that's it), but thanks to this marvelous verdant bangle, the season doesn't feel like it was a bust in the slightest.
In fact, it will always stand out as one of my favourites. Finds like this don't come along these days in 21st century small town Canada (well, at least not in my small town), and one can only guess how long it will be before another yard sale offers up a Bakelite gem like this again - if luck strikes twice at all, that is.
Eternal optimist that I am, I like to think it will, and that I might even score my next Bakelite bangle for less than $3.00! :)