August 27, 2009

Dog Days of Summer

Caniculares dies, said the ancient Romans of the hottest and seemingly longest, most drawn out days of the year, in their Latin tongue. The term for these scorching days hailing from the presence of Sirus, the “dog star”, which is most visible in the night sky during the summer. Clearly humanity has been labelling the high noon phase of summer for ages; we now know such times of the year as dog days. They are those days that become drowsy weeks of perpetual warmth, the longing for autumn, winter – anything but the present heat consuming one’s mind.

There is a beauty to such sweltering days, as I’ve touched on before on the pages of this blog, singing the praises of the wondrous elements of summer that really cannot be replicated anytime else (for those who live in four season climate). Something else besides beauty and nostalgia lives in such languid, boiling hot days, too, or more aptly perhaps, in their name: inspiration.

In this case, the inspiration behind this post is a merging of the last few immensely sizzling days (or weeks, depending on where you live) or summer mixed with vintage images and items featuring the term's namesake, dogs!

Yes, puppies of all sorts are on the agenda for this post, so prepare yourself for an onslaught of cuteness, an overload of adorableness and more doggies than you can shake a stick at (which of course said pups would want to go fetch, anyways!).

Flickr yielded up a pack of both fashionable (such as magazine spreads and the perpetually lovely Audrey Hepburn) and cuddly dog themed images from the 40s and 50s, some of which I compiled into the following inspiration mosaic.

{1. Audrey Hepburn, 2. Vintage Coloring Book Puppy Dogs, 3. 1950's fashion, 4. dog apron, 5. A Girl and her dog, 6. Ken-L-Ration ad, 1950's, 7. Puppies! Book cover, 8. lots of dogs " Mister Dog ", 9. two dogs and a lead, 1930s, 10. Junior Bazaar Cover 1954, 11. Dog on the swing about 1959, 12. pooch, 13. Rummaging through the American Fantasy.}

While the poodle may reign supreme when it comes to the most popular pup of the 50s, the truth is that, then as in now, a bounty of dogs adorned all manner of things during the mid-twentieth century. Below is a selection of such items ( please note, all prices are in US dollars) which are sure to have you sitting at attention, ready to go retrieve any one of them for your own collection :D

{As if spun from fine sugar, this delicate looking gold toned poodle brooch would look so fantastic on array of sweaters, cardigans, blouses and coats. $22.00 from etsy seller Paleorama.}

{A snugly pair of spaniel pups poking out of hat boxes grace this beautiful red vintage apron. Each of the dogs has a bead and a sequin on its eyes for an extra dose of whimsical charm and sparkle. $34.00 from etsy seller Maiden Rapture Vintage.}

{“What happened, Lassie? Did Timmy fall in a well again?” Where would the 50s and 60s – not to mention poor Timmy - be without the world’s most famous collie? Add a dose of Lassie’s timeless heroism and gentle nature to your bookshelf with this classic Little Golden children’s book from 1956. $7.00 from etsy seller The Bakers Daughter Too.}

{Take one look into those immensely soulful eyes and tell me this isn’t just about the cutest piece of cocker spaniel pottery you’ve ever seen in your life! Made in Japan and hailing from the 50s, this pair of pups is actually a plant holder, but you could certainly use it on its own as a decoration or fill it with anything you fancy. $25.00 from etsy seller Anne’s Accumulations.}

{A spunky trio of red terriers top this vintage celluloid pin, reminding me ever-so-adorably of the famous children’s storybook character, Clifford the Big Red Dog. $16.00 from etsy seller Carmen and Ginger.}

{Scottie dogs were another extremely popular breed of pup during the 40s and 50s, both as pets and on all manner of fashion and decor items, such as this folksy pair of wonderfully cute wooden bookends. $28.00 (for the pair) from etsy seller Dovely Sells.}

{Sitting atop a backdrop of wheat hued gingham, oodles of adorable golden cocker spaniels call this vintage “semi-circle” skirt home. $46.00 from etsy seller Maiden Rapture Vintage.}

{Cocker spaniels also seem to abound on items from the middle of the twentieth century, the apron above and this charmingly sweet pin-up print from a vintage calendar (entitled “triple threat”), both feature these playful, friendly pups. $15.00 for etsy seller Paprchas}

{The focus is on Lady in this colourfully and prettily illustrated 1954 Disney children’s book featuring on the most beloved cartoon dogs of all time. $4.25 from etsy seller Vintage Vice’s Paper Emporium.}

{This sweet little pup looks as though she could be anything from a golden retriever to a cocker spaniel, something about the shape of the ears even reminds me of an Irish setter. Whatever breed she’s supposed to be, she is cute as can be would make such a nice little decorative figurine anywhere around your home. $5.99 from etsy seller Vintage Delights for U.}

{Where would a roundup of vintage doggy themed pieces be without an authentic, straight from the 1950s poodle skirt? This beauty features a white poodle on a gold leash set atop a solid navy blue background of lightweight denim, and would be absolutely perfect for any lover of full, circle or poodle skirts! $45.00 from etsy seller Sally Marie.}

{While at first glance this wonderfully illustrated vintage tin looks like a can of dog food, it is in fact a coin bank! So novel and fun – and in pretty good condition, considering its age, from the look of things. $18.00 from etsy seller Souvenir.}

{Puppy themed pins were clearly quite in vogue during the 40s and 50s, in putting together this post I came across at least 10 on etsy alone, and am sure that eBay and other vintage jewely sellers would yield plenty more. Up for grabs here is a trio of silver and red hued poodle brooches that would take best in fashion show any day! :D $28.00 from Planet Claire Vintage.}

{The cuteness factor that's present in this delightful pair of vintage salt and pepper shakers is through the roof! Seriously, I don’t think I’ve ever seen cuter puppy themed S&P containers in all my days. $19.99 (for the pair) from etsy seller The Toad House.}

{Cheerful silver-grey poodles sporting adorable red bows adorn this vintage linen tea towel, which the seller describes as being in very good shape. I don’t think I could bring myself to use this as an actual towel (it’s survived this long, why tatter it up now?), but I would be happy to hang it in my kitchen as a decoration. $22.00 from etsy seller Call Me Jasper.}

{A second puppy themed, tie-waist apron – this one sporting beautifully hand cross stitched poodles – rounds out our trove of vintage dog themed items. $10.00 from etsy seller Vintage Paper Girl.}

Dogs have always been a perennial favourite theme, they appear in scads of classic (and modern) paintings, play lead or supporting roles in movies, books, and TV shows; and have truly been one of man's - and woman's – best friends for countless years. The star Sirus inspired the ancients to call the toastiest days of summer “dog days”, but there’s no reason why an adorable vintage pup can’t find its way into your wardrobe or decor all year round.

Whether you have a lifetime of treasured pups to recall fondly, are a first time dog owner, or simply adore animals of all sorts, it’s handy to know that vintage pieces bedecked with pups (often at very reasonable prices) are easy to chase down and even easier to fall in love with – just like a real dog!


  1. Oh I adore dogs, loved this post sweetie.

    My favorite piece was the cocker spaniel skirt, loved it. I really like the pin-up picture too. Really nostalgic post, thank you :)

  2. What a lovely post, dear Jessica! But you know, Nora really doesn't need to buy any doggie trinkets cos she's got me! Aah!!

    Have a great weekend!

    xx Lola:)

  3. Jessica, first thank you for letting me know I'm a winner!! I love the timer!! I am so excited! I love your post and am so glad that I found you. You take me back to when I was younger and love the things of the past. Like your post today. I love it! I love the poodles, the pins, the books and I even have a plastic squeaky dog I got as a very young child. Thanks again for always bringing a smile to my face!

  4. What a sweet post! I have such a soft spot for furry creatures. Those books remind me of a childhood favorite... The Pokey Little Puppy. And I'm so tempted to by that poodle apron.


  5. Hey Jessica. Those doggy items all are so cool. I really like them and I'm more a cat guy. After a summer of mostly rain, we've had a few weeks of hot and humid weather. I hope you have a great weekend. Take care. Cheers!

  6. Oooh, you always find such wonderful things. I especially like the salt and pepper shakers!
    -Andi x

  7. I love the salt and pepper shakers!!! Puppies are the best :-)

  8. Please forgive that I don't speak english very well.
    I discovered your blog a few time ago and i like it very much.

  9. Gorgeous post today! I am a huge dog fan. Loved the poodle pin. Totally gorgeous. I am also a huge Scottie dog fan, so I loved the Scottie dog items.

  10. I've been running around like a (been at some Rooster Parties recently!)...I mean like a chicken without its head! trying to catch up on my blgo reading...and i really thought I left you a comment here already?

    oh dear...maybe it was a thought that I didnt follow thru with. so..

    Congratulations to Tracey! I love all your doggy finds. And Audrey Hepburn is one of my favorites!

    Blessings & Aloha!

  11. @ Dustjacket Attic, I absolutely adore dogs, too!!! That cocker spaniel skirt is so charmingly fantastic, I agree.

    @ Nora & Lola, ooohhhh, you darling girls always make me chuckle and smile ear-to-ear! :)

    @ Tracey, you're are absolutely welcome, my sweet friend! Thank you in tern for your deeply lovely comment. It touches my heart to know how much you enjoy my posts and the sense of nostalgia they inspire.

    @ Simply Colette, I have an absolutely huge soft spot for furry, feathered, finned and fuzzy creatures of all sorts, too! I loved The Pokey Little Puppy as a child as well, thank you for reminding me about it, honey.

    @ Keith, thank you! I love cats and dogs, both appeal to different sides of my personality and have been beloved pets throughout my life. At the moment I have a darling kitty (named Stella), who is the apple of my animal loving eye. Do you have any pets?

    @ Andi, thank you, honey! I just adore those S&P shakers, too. In fact, if I was going to order just one thing from the items in this post off of etsy, it would have been them.

    @ Madame De Paname, merci! Don't worry at all about your English, darling. I can understand you perfectly and thank you very much for your lovely comment.

    @ Amanda, thank you so much, darling gal! I love your Scottie doggy post, you found some really stellar items! (Everyone be sure to pop by Amanda's fab blog and check out her recent puppy themed post!)

    @ Personalized Sketches and Sentiments, thank you for your comment, honey! I've been hearing reports from various blogging friends about Blogger having some commenting issues lately on all manner of Blogger sites, so it's possible you did try to post earlier and it didn't come through for some reason. I'm sorry about that if it was case. Luckily this one went though! (Hope you're able to have a more relaxed and tranquil weekend, sweet dear!)

    Thank you each very much for your "pawsatively" wonderful comments on this puppy themed post! :)

    Wishing you all a beautiful weekend!!!
    ♥ Jessica

  12. @ Kathie, I just adore the S&P shakers, too! They are so immensely cute, I'd be afraid to use them and would just display them decoratively, I think :)

    Tons of hugs & happy weekend wishes, sweetie!
    ♥ Jessica

  13. A friend put me in touch with your blog - it's super gorgeous!! Those little china doggies are my fave!

  14. Thank you for including my doggie brooch in your post! (I just happened across it) I tend to hoard my great doggie finds and am actually ready to do another "group listing" of some truly awesome vintage doggie pieces, especially Scotties! So keep watching, THANK YOU!, best wishes for your improved health and keep up the great work on this wonderful blog!