June 29, 2012

My favourite spring 2012 vintage yard sale finds

The second hand gods have been on my side so far this year, which is especially appreciated after years of having pretty much zero luck in terms of finding vintage items at the yard sales I hit in the Toronto area (don't get me wrong, I'm sure there are plenty of good pieces to at sales there - especially if one has a car and can get to lots of sales, it's just that we didn't live downtown, or have a car then, and the garage sales in our area where usually filled with nothing but beat up household goods and very worn out children's toys).

While I haven't unearthed any New Look Dior dresses for a dollar (ridiculous pipe dream, I know, but a gal can always hope!) or found too much in the way of vintage fashions so far, I have had a fair bit of luck with finding sundry other old school items, all of which (I feel) I got for a total song.

In fact, I've had so many good finds throughout May and June that I debated splitting this post into separate ones based on categories of items, but as I have a lot of posts that I want to get up over the next couple of weeks, I opted to go with one heavily image filled post instead.

While I'm not always feeling well enough to hit the local yard sale scene each weekend, we (by which I mean my two awesome partners in crime, Tony and my mom) have been able to get out a few times, and have found some terrific pieces - not only vintage ones, but household items that we’ve each been in need of (from an extension ladder that would usually sell for at least $300, that we got for $10, for my step-dad, to a huge, timelessly lovely ivory hued serving platter that I was sorely lacking for holiday meals that cost just me a mere $3.00).

For the purpose of this post however, I wanted to focus on some of my favourite vintage and vintage appropriate (as in the shoes) items, and so below, grouped in a general sort of "like with like" fashion, allow me to share some of the delightful items I've been swapping my hard earned pocket change for over the past two months.

Vintage book Modern Household Encyclopedia

The Modern Household Encyclopaedia ~ $0.50: While I’m somewhat selective in the types of vintage books I collect (generally speaking, I like to them to have to do with cooking, fashion, beauty, home decor, etiquette, or household management), I do always keep my eyes peeled for all manner of old school reads, no matter the topic, and will buy anything that speaks to my heart – and jives with my wallet. This particular title is a good sized tome from the 1940s stuffed full of handy household management tips on everything from removing crayon stains to pest control.

The American Woman's Cookbook edited by Ruth Berolzheimer vintage 1950s cookbook

The American Woman’s Cook Book ~ $0.50: As I strongly suspected at the time, I already own a copy of this classic 1950s cookbook, however, for fifty cents, I was willing to take the gamble, on the off chance I didn’t have it. As I don’t need two copies (and don’t believe in taking apart vintage books that are still in good condition to use for craft projects), I’ll likely hold onto this copy to include in a giveaway or pass along as a gift.

1950s 1960s vintage cookbooks recipe booklets

Various vintage recipe booklets ~ $0.25 each: I adore vintage recipe booklets and have amassed a fairly good collection of them over the years, but there are always tons more out that that I don’t have – including all four of these ones from the 50s and early 60s, each of which I purchased for just a quarter.

Vintage 1950s recipe cookbooks booklets

Various vintage recipe booklets ~ $0.50 each: Not quite as an inexpensive as the four little cookbooks above, but still a good deal in my opinion. I especially like the 1950s peanut recipe book, it has a lot of yummy ideas in that I’m eager to try out (and perhaps post some of my faves here, too).

Vintage recipe booklets cookbooks Liquefier recipes

Jet Blend Liquefier Recipes & Food for the Body, for the Soul ~ $0.10 each: Picked up for a mere dime a piece, both of these books are in fairly good shape for their age and I especially love that the liquefier (blender) recipe collection was issued by a company I’d never heard of before that was located in the neighbouring city of Kelowna (vintage pieces with a locale connection are something I adore collecting and always keep an eye out for).

~ Below are six vintage sheet music books that I picked up for $1.00 for the whole lot. Much as I wish I could, I don’t play a musical instrument, so these 1910s – 1930s books were bought more to use as a jumping off point for vintage playlists or just to display and enjoy around the house. ~

Everybody's Favourite songs vintage sheet music book

The Witmark Theme Song Dance Folio vintage sheet music book 1920s

Francis and Day's 39th annual man playing piano Edwardian 1900s vintage sheet music book

(Someone cut a very specific sized piece out of the cover of this one at some point – I wonder what they needed it for?)

Francis and Day's 39th Dance and Piano Album Edwardian 1910s vintage sheet music book

The Gem Dance Folio for 1929 vintage sheet music book

The Gem Dance Folio for 1929 No 2 vintage sheet music book 1920s

Antique 1906 Italian-French dictionary ~ $1.00: In early June, on what has to be one of the coldest, wettest late spring days I’ve ever experienced (we could see our breath!), we bundled up in our rain gear and hit the garage sale circuit in spite of the unpleasant weather. While many sales were cancelled, a few remained open, including a large semi-estate sale held by an elderly gentleman in Okanagan Falls. His wife had passed away and though he didn’t flat out say he was planning to downsize, we all assumed as much passed on the volume and selection of items he was selling.

Amongst his offering was a folding table covered in vintage and antique books. Most were novels, but there were a few others that caught my eye, including tis beautiful scarlet hued little pocket dictionary from the early 1900s. Though the cover is falling off and the rest of the pages are in fairly rough shape, the fact that it's Italian (much like my beloved husband) drew me to it instantly. I got the fellow to bring the price down a couple of dollars and so was able to purchase this 106 year old dictionary for just $1.00. As such its now the the oldest book in my library and a special treasure that reminds me sweetly of Tony and his first language (Italian).

Vintage Learn How To craft sewing book by J and P Coats and Clark's Thread

Learn How Book (from J & P Coats and Clark’s Thread) ~ $1.00: A charmingly illustrated 1940s craft book with tips and projects for fans of crocheting, knitting, embroidering, and tatting. 

Bing Crosby Merry Christmas record vintage music

Bing Crosby Merry Christmas record ~ $0.50: I love Bing Crosby and I adore Christmas music, so it was a no-brainer that this wonderful record teaming with holiday classics was coming home with me.

1953 biscuit tin from Queen Elizabeth’s coronation ~ $3.00: I’ve always fancied myself to be something of an anglophile, and like so many lately, have been totally swept up with the Diamond Jubilee festivities, so it was with great interest – and surprise – that I spotted this tin, during the very week that all the celebrations were being shown on TV no less, at a yard sale earlier this month. The seller, a lovely older lady named Betty, was asking $5.00, which I felt was too high, so by bundling the tin with some other items, I was able to drive its price down to $3.00. I’m thrilled that I did, because I now have my first piece – vintage or modern – of royal memorabilia.

Vintage glass pharmacy medicine bottles

Vintage glass medicine/pharmacy bottles ~ $1.00 and $2.50 (smaller bottle): During our first day of garage saling of the season, at two separate spots (a church sale and flea market, respectively) I found these charming clear glass vintage pharmacy bottles. I’ve always had a soft spot for vintage medical items (my very first vintage purchase, when I was barely nine years old was a 1930s first aid kit complete with all its original supplies), so when I saw these two bottles, I knew I was destined to start a collection that morning.

Cute pink and blue vintage lamb holder kitschy, made in Japan, image 1

Cute pink and blue vintage lamb plant holder ~ $0.25: Like many of us, I love adorable, kitschy mid-century household items, yet actually don’t own too many pieces, so I was thrilled to find this super cute little lamb holder at an indoor flea market that’s held annually at the local curling club. The hole in its back isn’t very large, but you could get a tiny plant or some craft supplies in there if you wanted to. For now, I’m just displaying it as is.

Milk glass vases, narrow bud and wide

Milk glass bud vases and milk glass planter/large vase ~ $0.25 each: I’ve always been a big fan of milk glass, but prior to finding these four pieces at the same flea market that the cute lamb above came from, I only had one little bud vase. Now I’ve got enough for a little grouping on a shelf or to pepper around the house in various spots – yay!

Vintage souvenir from Holland pink Dutch girl figure ~ $1.00: I fell head-over-heels in love with this darling little Dutch girl in her precious pink dress, blue hat, and classic clogs the moment I saw her. She needs a gentle cleaning, but is still in terrific shape – complete with her original tag. I’m not an expert on such souvenir figurine by any means, but would peg her to be from the 1950s, based on the overall design and fonts (and aging) on the tag.

Cute vintage doghouse piggy bank coin bank kitschy puppie, image 1

Adorable mother and baby puppy dog vintage coin bank ~ $1.00: Not just preciously cute, but also very practical (and something I was in need of to help me save up money for future yard sale outings!), this sweet coin bank is in really good condition over all (I’m pretty much certain the two dogs would have had a metal chain linking them at one point, as in usually the style with such pieces, but other than that everything in tact) and brings a smile to my face every time I look at it.

Georgian 1700s painting pring, two children, vintage art

Framed print of a Georgian era painting of two children ~ $6.00: Though this pieces is not vintage (let alone 18th century!), having always been a major fan of the Georgian era, it beckoned to me instantly and as I was able to knock the price down from $10 to $6, I was thrilled to bring this timelessly beautiful piece of art (and its lovely frame) home to hang on our walls. (The name of the painting isn’t listed on the back, does anyone happen to recognize it?)

Vintage rose embroidered cream table cloth dipstych

Rose embroidered vintage tablecloth ~ $3.00: I’ve been looking to find a beautiful vintage tablecloth for some time now, but hadn’t stumble upon one that really caught my eye until, at the same garage sale that I got the vintage Coronation tin at, I found this stunning rose embroidered number. It’s smaller than the size of my dining room table, but that’s ok, because I’ll just place it over top of another similarly hued cloth when I use it to ensure the whole table is covered.

Vintage 1940s 1950s 1960s handkerchiefs collection image_1

Lot of 1940s, 50s, and 60s handkerchiefs ~ $3.00 (for all): From the very same seller as the rose tablecloth and Coronation cookie tin came a plastic bag full of lovely little vintage handkerchiefs. Prior to buying these handkerchiefs, I only had about four in my collection, so it was such a boon to suddenly add about 25 more in one fell swoop. All but a couple are in great shape and a few are so pristine, that I wonder if they’ve ever been used. I’ll definitely be using some myself, both for their intended purpose and as pocket squares, hair accessories, and (with the very largest) tiny neck scarves.

Two Pyrex red vintage fridge dishes

Two red Pyrex fridge storage dishes/bowls ~ $1.00 for both: I was doing a happy dance in my head when I spotted these two vintage fridge storage dishes, as I’ve been hoping to find some Pyrex all garage sale season long (I’ve owned vintage Pyrex before, but at present didn’t have any at all before these cherry red bowls came along). Though they’re missing the glass lids they would have originally come with, I love them all the same and may put them to use in my craft room to house buttons or other small supplies.

Vintage mid-century atomic novelty print serving platter

Mid-century atomic novelty print serving platter ~ $2.00: Ever since we moved to Penticton we have been entertaining more often (thanks to living around family and friends again), we’ve been throwing dinner parties and barbeques, which means that it really helps to have plenty of good sized serving dishes, bowls and platters on hand. This delightful blue, yellow and green atomic print platter – that I’d peg to be from the late 50s or early 60s – is big enough to use for a small dinner party, but at the same not so large that I can’t whip it out any ol’ night of the week when it’s just me and Tony. Gotta love that!

Vintage 1950s Kromex copper pink aluminum spice jar set

Set of Kromex pink/copper coloured spice jars ~ $5.00 (for all eight): Found at the same garage sale as the atomic print platter and cute doggy coin bank above (and the three brooches later on in this post), this set of Kromex spice jars is one of my favourite finds of the year so far. I’ve always adored 1950s Kromex pieces and was elated to score all eight of these spice jars at the same time. Though the original spice rack/holder in missing, that didn’t deter me from nabbing them up in a heartbeat! Now I just need to find some of the matching vintage copper Kromex pieces – like the cookie jar and canister set – at other yard sales to go with them.

Vintage pink and green plastic tulip salt and pepper shakes ~ $0.50: Though I don’t collect them per se, I’ve always been a fan of cute salt and pepper shakers – especially vintage ones, so when I spied these pink tulips (which need a little wash, but are still in great shape), I felt it was high time I got some summer plastic shakers that I can use all summer long when we have people over for barbeques.

Deluxe Dial-O-Match 1950s food slicer (mandoline) ~ $5.00: It was the box, in such pristine shape for something that’s 55 years old that I almost wondered if it was a modern piece with retro style packaging at first glance, that instantly drew me to this classic 1950s food slicer. There was a chap who was eyeing it too, so I nabbed it up as quick as I could and was amazed to see that the item inside looked almost as new as the box itself.

I’d venture to guess that it was only used a few times and then stored in a dry, heat controlled environment for the next few decades. The asking price for double what we paid, but Tony (who’s a killer negotiator) got it down to just $5.00 – I would have paid that for the box alone!  I don’t plan on using this slicer as a.) I have a modern mandoline and b.) there’s a bit of rust on the blade, but I am displaying it (stored in the box) in my kitchen, out of direct sunlight, and hope that I can help it survive for at least another five decades!

Vintage 1950s white classic hat bow netting

Vintage white netting and velvet bow adorned hat ~ $3.00: Found at the same sale as the Edwardian Italian-French dictionary, this timelessly lovely white 1950s hat is the first I’ve found at a yard sale in many years. It’s in absolutely wonderful condition and is the sort of perfectly elegant piece that works with countless outfits (especially during the spring and summer), and which will never loose an ounce of its stylish vintage appeal.

Vintage costume jewelry brooches pins eyeglasses pearl maple leaf

Vintage gold tone brooches ~ $1.50 each: As you may recall from this post on the subject, I’ve recently started to collect and wear vintage brooches in a major way, which means that I view every yard sale and flea market I go to as a potential source of vintage costume jewelry pins. At a sale in May (where a number of other items in this post also came from), I picked all three of these lovely brooches, each of which I was able to buy for just a dollar a piece (a big shout out to my wonderful mom, who found the cute little eyeglasses one before I – or someone else, there were lots of people pawing through the same table of jewelry – spotted it).

Vintage 1920s 1930s shoulder straps for slips and lingerie, replacement bra straps

1920s or 30s ladies slip or lingerie straps ~ $2.00: In remarkably good shape for being 80 to 90 years old, these beautiful pale pink straps could be used on anything from a handmade nightgown to a store bought bra that was in need of some mending. For the time being though, I’m just displaying them as is in my craft room, as I don’t know if I can bring myself to use them after they survived in tact, on their original card, for so many years.

Brown 1930s inspired vintage appropriate shoes, image 1

1920s/30s style brown “x” strap shoes ~ $2.00: As many of you may recall, I have a devil of a time finding shoes that fit, so no matter where I go, I’m always on the prowl for pairs that are vintage appropriate and which actually fit me comfortably. These brown heels have are fairly modern (I’m thinking maybe 1970s), but have a great flapper-int0-Depression era vibe to them that will be perfect should I ever need to put together an outfit based on those years, or simply to ingrate in with some of  my day-to-day 40s and 50s pieces.

Brown vintage appropriate Naturalizer eyelet shoes, image 2

Brown Naturalizer lace-up shoes ~ $1.00: Another modern pair, but ones that I feel I easily weave into my mid-century causal/sporty/outdoors looks. These classic, sturdy shoes fill a much needed spring and autumn footwear gap in my closet, and will, no doubt, be lived in pretty much all year round.

Vintage Leathermaster train case suitcase luggage

Brown and beige Leathermaster train case (suitcase) ~ $2.00: At some yard sales, the sellers label every last item with a price, at others just some, and others still, there’s nary a sticker in sight. It was at one of the latter sort that I spied this vintage Leathermaster train case, and couldn’t rush over to ask the seller quick enough how much they wanted. “Make me an offer!” Said the cheerful seller, and so I did, for $2.00, and she accepted on the spot. Thus, I now have my first ever vintage train case, which I love to pieces and plan to use as actual luggage when I travel and as storage around the house the rest of the time.

Sneak peak of found relatives vintage and antique photo collection, image 2

Lot of vintage and antique photographs ~ $20.00: It might shock some of you to learn this, especially given my unending love of vintage images, but prior to earlier this month, I did not own a single vintage photograph (a few postcards, yes, but even the few old photos of my own relatives that I have are photocopies on paper, not originals).

I almost can’t believe that myself, but it’s the honest to goodness truth.
I’d be hoping, yet remaining realistic, that I’d find a few vintage photos this summer that I could afford to bring home with me, and just about lost my footing when I spied a bag of vintage and antique (late Victorian to early 50s, with most being 1910s and 1920s) photos at the same sale that the antique dictionary and white 1950s hat above came from.

I asked the seller – a German, I believe, elderly man who was selling hundreds of items that day – how much the photos were. He said a dollar a piece, which wasn’t unreasonable by any means (they’re almost all in acceptable to very good condition), but I wanted the lot (of, I’d guess – haven’t counted yet – at least 40), so I mustered up my most confident voice (I don’t like to let my shyness come through when I’m bartering) and offered him $20.00 for all of them. He thought for a moment and then agreed to that price.

I had to contain my mile-wide smile, because I was over the moon elated about suddenly acquiring my first ever collection of found relatives. I plan on scanning all of these vintage photographs (some of which have writing, photographer’s markers, and stamps on the back) in the near future and will definitely share many of them here with all of you in coming posts.

♥ ♥ ♥

Woo-hey, I told you there was going to be a lot of photos! Smile

I hope that you enjoyed seeing these pieces, and would love to know what your favourites are. I've had a blast gathering (and bartering for – I try to bargain with just about every thing I buy at such locations) each of these wonderful little treasures and can't believe the luck that I've had this yard sale season.

Thankfully, unless (goodness forbid) we get the rainiest July and August on record or my health decides to be extra uncooperative, I'll continue to scour and search all summer long and look forward to sharing more vintage garage sale finds with you as the season progresses.

Wishing you all oodles of luck as you tackle the yard sales, flea markets, and estate sales in your own neck of the woods this summer, sweet dears!

June 27, 2012

Celebrate Canada Day with a scrumptious 1950s maple syrup and bacon French toast sandwich

To be perfectly clear up front, today's vintage recipe is not exactly the world's healthiest one, but it's the sort of easy-peasy, deeply appealing dish that's warranted in the name of great celebrations and holidays, and so as we barrel towards Canada Day on July 1st, it seemed like the most fitting time of the year to share it with you.

Less a detailed recipe, as an add featuring a thoroughly delicious way to use maple syrup, this 1950s breakfast idea sees crisp slices of bacon sandwiched between two slices of homemade French toast, all of which is doused liberally in maple syrup.

Yep, told you it wasn't exactly as healthy as an apple. That's ok though, most of us can squeeze a special meal into our lives every once in a blue moon, and if you're like me, you tend to hold onto those kinds of treats for the most important days of the years.


1950s maple syrup ad Maplewich bacon French toast maple sandwich, Chronically Vintage recipes
{Marring the delectable sweetness of maple syrup with the salty, aromatic pleasure of bacon, this vintage breakfast sandwich recipe is sure to become a beloved family favourite. Vegetarian bacon can be swapped in, of course, for the pork version if you're not a meat eater. 1950s Vermont Maid maple syrup ad via clotho98 on Flick.}

Not the least of which, I'm sure, is because I'm a born and breed Canadian, I positively adore Canada Day! As a youngster it fell right after the school year ended and ten days before my birthday, making it the absolute marker of the start of summer vacation. There on July 1st with so much of the season still ahead of us, Canada Day made it seem, if only as briefly as a celebratory firework's burst of luminous colour, that summer was going to last forever.

As we'd gather for a picnic, backyard barbeque or beach party, donned in red and white, often with maple leaves painted on our cheeks, there was an unmistakable sense of patriotic pride, enthusiasm, and joy that spread like wildfire across the population, and which - then as now - I could never get enough.

We sorely lack holidays in this country, if you ask me, and loving special events as I do, it's no wonder that July 1st has always been one of my favourite holidays of the year. Whether with a breakfast such as this fabulously tasty 1950s one, or a plethora of other wholeheartedly Canadian culinary options (salmon steaks, buffalo burgers, butter tarts, Nanaimo bars, Saskatoon berry jam, Okanagan peach pie - you name it!), I always go to town (or sea, farm, orchard, etc!) in the kitchen for this marvelous summer celebration.

Whether you're a proud flag waving canuck too or just a fan of our vast, beautiful country, I hope you'll join me this week as we get in the spirit of Canada day on Sunday, with help from a mouth-wateringly awesome vintage maple syrup breakfast sandwich recipe. It's nothing short of swoon-worthily delicious, eh! Smile

June 25, 2012

What I wore for an evening with Johnny Depp

...Depp's new film, Dark Shadows, that is.


Pink and purple vintage dress, cardigan, hair flower, Jessica Cangiano image_3


Pink and purple vintage dress, cardigan, hair flower, Jessica Cangiano image_6


Pink and purple vintage dress, cardigan, hair flower, Jessica Cangiano image_1


Pink and purple vintage dress, cardigan, hair flower, Jessica Cangiano image_2


Pink and purple vintage dress, cardigan, hair flower, Jessica Cangiano image_4

Outfit details

Prescription eyeglasses: (frames) Venus Eye Design V-12
Pink, purple, and yellow hair flower: Arden
Silver hued heart stud earrings: Claire's
Dark pink cardigan: Value Village
Purple 1970s does 1940s jersey dress: etsy seller: Ma Ptite Chouette
Larger purple bangle bracelet: Forever 21
All other bangles: etsy seller Me She Designs
Lip colour: Cover Girl Outlast Lipstain in Wild Berry Wink 440

Photography by Antonio Cangiano

♥ ♥ ♥

My relationship with vampires never veered into pop lit territory (save for a brief encounter with Anne Rice when I was about 13, and of course, Bram Stoker's classic), instead I've always preferred my ashen skinned undead as part of the overall package of Halloween.

Like most rules however, there's exceptions to this point, and one of them is when I hear that a certain Mr. Johnny Depp has a new movie out in which he plays a vampire who's unearthed for the first time in 200 years only to find he's suddenly smack dab in the crazy days of the 1970s.

It had been a long time since I last went to the movies. Try as I might to peg exactly when then was, I can't seem to. I'd say at least 1.5, but maybe as many as 2 to 2.5 years ago. When I heard that my local movie theater (where I saw many a film as a youngster) was slatted to be closed shortly (a new, much larger one is being built in a different part of the downtown area) however, I knew that I had to visit it one last time - so long as I could get my health to cooperate long enough.

Fortunately such was a the case one cloudy, rain drenched weekend evening recently, so Tony and I met up with my mom and step-dad and headed down a familiar haunt. It was a very pleasant treat to find ticket prices considerably lower here than in Toronto, and also to settle into a quaint little screening room comprised of just a few rows of seats on both sides of a single aisles. We all ended up adoring the film and agreeing that it's one we'll definitely have to watch again come this Halloween and many Octobers thereafter.

The rain was still pouring down when we left the theater and the sun had all but vanished, so we headed back home (after a quick stop by Dairy Queen) and there Tony snapped a few quick photos of me in our dining room. I was really touched when earlier in the evening Tony said that he loved my hair (and generously sized hair flower), and that he continued to shower me with compliments all night long.

This purple dress is just about as comfy as a vintage frock can possibly be. The classic jersey fabric is simultaneously loss fitting and figure flattering, making it an excellent choice for periods of being seated for a long time, such as at the movies, on an airplane, or while taking a road trip.

Earlier this spring I found this cute plumy-carnation hued cardigan at Value Village with the original tags still on it (I got it for about 1/10th of the original asking price, plus a further 30% off that thanks to a coupon I had - hard to beat that!), and it too is wildly cozy and perfect for a night spent inside a room where one never knows what the AC is going to be up to.

I hope that you sweet gals don't mind my attention grabbing title post today. I'm not usually one to do such things, but as it really is an extremely rare treat for me to get out and head to the movies, so seeing Johnny's new vampire film almost is as exciting for me as an evening spent with the actor himself (*almost!*).

If you haven't seen Dark Shadows yet and are a fan of comedic horror flicks (with an awesome camp factor), I highly recommend this movie - it's really one you can sink your teeth fangs into! Smile

June 23, 2012

Saturday Snapshots: June 23, 2012


"It is never too late to have a happy childhood." ~ Tom Robbins

{Three fashionably attired 1940s ladies stand, charmingly, from shortest to tallest in front of a wonderful wood-paneled car.}

{The year was 1931 and this young gal (who's peplum blouse would be entirely in fashion this season) was all smiles as she posed with a roadside fruit stand in the shape of a big orange located in Placerville, California.}

{With summer now officially underway once more, I couldn't let the first Saturday Snapshots of the season roll past without including at least one fantastic vintage beach shot. This particular image was taken on the sandy shores of Rockaway Beach, New York, in 1950.}

{Looking, every one of them, as though they could have just walked off a Hollywood movie set, a beautiful couple and their new baby pose for a studio portrait in this captivating image from the 1930s.}

{Classic saddle shoes, a velvet collared coat, and a darling little dog all add extra interest to this lovely 1940s image.}

{Happy party goers dance the night away in fashionable dresses and smart suits. I wonder if there was a live band or if they were tapping their toes to some of the hottest records of the day?}

{A young 1940s gal stands in front of the open door of a sedan, her headscarf and classic attire - completely unbeknownst to her at the time - inspiring generations of vintage loving gals for the rest of time with her sweetly pretty look.}

{Like countless youngsters over the years, this darling little 1950s fellow and I both had red tricycles when we were growing up.}


{From the ruffled pinafore dress to her beautiful smile and sparking eyes, this 1940s gal is the kind of woman you just know you could have been close friends with.}


{While the photographer may not have intended such, there is an interesting quality to the way in which the two babies here are positioned directly in front of their grandparents, starkly highlighting the passing of time as one budding generation emerges and another takes quietly takes a backseat on the journey of life.}

{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.}
♥ ♥ ♥

Several years ago I stumbled upon today's quote by American novelist Tom Robbins and was instantly, soul-grabbingly impacted by how deeply it resonated with me. Like a good number of people, I find that my childhood was often a strange paradox of sorts. There were beautiful, happy times - moments that I look back on and wax poetically over, and then there was the other side of the coin. The dark, terrible, frightening, awful days that I wouldn't wish on my worse enemy, and which will linger with me like eerie specters for all of my days.

I do not like to dwell on negativity and sadness, and know that there are plenty of people out there who are also survivors of their own traumatic upbringings. In my early twenties I found myself drawn to elements that captured some of the youthful spirit of my long lost girlhood. I collected dolls and various other toys, coloured much of my world pink, and let a part of me that had grown old too soon experience youth once more.

This, I've come to learn, is by no means uncommon and many young women today, even those who had excellent, cheerful upbringings often enjoy reliving some of their childhood passions as they venture into adulthood.

While I still love toys and many of the things I did as a little girl, these days I no longer feel quite the same need to surround myself with a world focuses quite so much on these elements. I know that they are a part of me and who I am, no matter if I collect them still or not.

Recently I was setting up and organizing some craft supplies in my basement with my mom and in the course of our conversation, I said something along the lines of that, "while I'm an old soul in my ways, another part of me feels still feels like I'm 13". This was more confessional than I realized until the worlds left my lips, as I'd been thinking for many years that I was the odd (wo)man out for feeling this way. Much to my surprise and delight, my mother replied by saying, "that never goes away, I feel the same way, too".

I believe that through circumstance or choice, some people do loose touch with their inner child, but have come to realize over the years that many more - like myself and my mom - do not. I just didn't know for sure until that point that there were others adults who still felt like part of themselves had always remained a childlike in some ways.

Whether one is ten, thirty, sixty, or a hundred, I adamantly believe that it's a positive thing to keep our inner children alive and having a blast. This doesn't mean we should act immature of course, but rather that there is is no need to shake off ever last vestige our youth in order to thrive as adults. In fact, I'd say that retaining some of who were were as a children is an essential part of enjoying our grown-up years.

So, sweet friends, if your own youth was something quite distant from a bed of roses, and you've often wished such had not been the case, I encourage you to take Mr. Robbins' words to heart. Say hello to the kid still residing deep inside of you, and create the the kind of life for yourself nowadays that you would have loved to have lived as a child.

If you need any help, just come look me up, I'll be the adult on the swing set in the pink dress, reading an old Nancy Drew book.

June 21, 2012

The return of silence

Life is noisy and chaotic, a cacophony comprised of layer upon layer of modern and ancient sound alike. Having lived in large cities for much of the past decade, I had at once developed the ability to filter out certain ever-present noises and yet also become acutely aware of others.

Tucked twenty-three stories above the world in Toronto, one might have thought that we'd be free of most of the sounds of the urban jungle, affected only by the tinkerings, comings and goings, and parties of our neighbours, but such was not the case at all. Perched directly above the busiest highway in all of Canada (the 401), our cement tower could scarcely block out a dog's bark at ground level, let alone the incessant stream of harried traffic that hurried past every moment of the day.

There are many elements of city life that I love, but noise pollution is not one of them. Even in other metropolises I'd called home over the years, none had come close to being as clogged with constant sound (at least on my respective streets) as our home in Toronto was. Some days you might find that you barely noticed the honks, tire squeals, whoosh of vehicles, and loud pedestrians, on others - especially if your nerves were frayed or you were ill - you'd find that every last pin drop seemed to be magnified tenfold.

In this deafening environment I yearned for a great sense of peace, for air that was still and sweet, placid and busied only by the rustle of the breeze through a leafy branch. It was with no small amount of joy then that I embraced and relished the fact that our new home is located on a street so hushed, especially at night, that at times it feels as though the whole neighbourhood has taken a vow of silence.


Ansel Adams, Winter Sunrise, Sierra Nevada, from Lone Pine, California, 1944, vintage nighttime photography

{Precisely the sort of uninterrupted, grandly wonderful quietude I missed intensely for many years before returning to the Okanagan Valley earlier this year. “Winter Sunrise, Sierra Nevada, from Lone Pine, California, 1944” by Ansel Adams.}


This quaint street (which, having coincidentally lived on it many years ago, I already knew was sublimely serene) has but one lane of traffic coming and going in each direction. It winds it way a tad past our home and continues onto a small retirement community and a golf course, two of the most tranquil places one could ever hope to have as their neighbours.

As the evening grows later and the heady, passionately lovely scent of honeysuckle wafts through the air, I find myself almost moved to tears as I venture outdoors and am embraced by calmness.

A few cars still mosey about, somewhere in the distance a sprinkle plays its tell tale "tis-tis-tis" melody, and the little creek right across the street babbles gently. A black and white cat tiptoes across the grey pavement still enticingly warm from the afternoon sun, and a child scurries past in the blink of an eye on their bicycle, but that is it, and as the night grows older, the quietness that permeates this lovely parcel of the town will only intensify.

There are many blessings in life, but I've come to realize over the years that few are as powerful, captivating, and thoroughly important as being granted (even if only once in a while) the gift of silence all around you.

Alone with my thoughts, the early summer heat, and the creek's exquisite lullaby, I am filled with the sort of joy that stems straight from the soul and which can only be matched by the immeasurable beauty of this renewed discovery of serenity itself.

June 20, 2012

Not your run-of-the-mill 1940s potato salad recipe

Today, the summer solstice and the very longest of the year, has always been one of my absolute favourites. I find there is a powerful energy and sense of excitement that flows through its every moment, and rarely is there a year that I don't stay up until at least midnight so as to experience every last moment of this fantastic day. 

From now until late September, we're under summer's sway again. It's hot, piercingly bright, sometimes languid, sometimes manic days of vibrancy, excitement, vitality, and - quite often - meals that are so simple, perfect, and unfussy as to scarcely warrant a recipe.

Cold cuts, platters of freshly picked and sliced (undesirably delicious) fruit still subtly warm from the tree, generously sized green salads bursting with a rainbow's worth of hues, leftovers of all kinds eaten straight from the fridge, Italian ice, garden gathered produce, and of course all of the sublimely enticing fare that comes part and parcel with barbeques, cookouts, and picnics.

In the case of the later, one of my favourite dishes to make and bring along is potato salad. Aside from my mom's fantastic recipe that I grew up with, I rarely make exactly the same potato salad twice. As with my pasta salads of the season, I like to use whatever is to hand and that I think will marry well together. Sometimes I opt for German style potato salads, others I smoother my spuds in a creamy dressing. At times fresh mint, a few peas, and olive oil are all it takes, or maybe the opposite is true and I pull out all the bells and whistles.

There's really no right or wrong when it comes to potato salad, so long as your 'tatoes are well cooked (but still a bit firm), and you ensure any dish with eggs and/or other highly perishable ingredients is properly refrigerated at all times (other than while eating, of course!). Over the years I've tried everything from an idea I came up with for pizza potato salad (fabulous!) to several vintage recipes culled from the web and my collection of mid-century cookbooks.

Most have been quite nice, though I do sometimes find myself further jazzing up those from the 30s, 40s, and 50s (and/or scaling back the copious amount of mayo in their recipes). Today's recipe from 1945 for Chef's Potato Salad is already guised up quite nicely though - so much so, that some folks may wish to remove various ingredients (forgoing the canned lunch meat will make it vegetarian, for example).

Vintage 1945 Chef's potato salad recipe 

{Toss everything but the kitchen sink into this yummy 1940s potato salad recipe, it's a great way to use up leftovers and cut down on the amount of time spent over the kitchen stove. Vintage recipe scan via Eudaemonius on Flickr.}

Whether you try it out as is (I'd use low sodium lunch meat, if possible, as the salt and cheese should already be salty enough) or play around a bit, this is an excellent summertime dish that can just as easily be the star of the show (aka, a meal unto itself) as a highly enjoyable side dish at a party, backyard feast, or picnic.

I'd be tempted to skip the canned meat, increase the cheese a little, trade the celery for sliced gherkins (a perpetual fave of mine), and toss in a small handful of fresh chives or parsley. You could also introduce tomatoes, leftover meats, tuna (or another seafood), nuts (almonds perhaps), or some fresh-off-the-cob corn.

Dishes like wonderful 1940s potato salad are not meant to be overly serious or formal affairs, they're fun, filling, versatile summertime meals that work every bit as well today on the first day of the season as they will right up until autumn starts on September 22nd.

Have a blast this summer, sweet friends, no matter what you cook, where you go, or how you spend your gorgeous sunshine filled months!

June 19, 2012

The kind of outfit I usually wear to go thrift store shopping

...or anywhere in which trying on a fair amount of clothing is highly likely to occur.

Blossoms on the tree, blossoms in my hair vintage photo shoot, Jessica Cangiano, image_5

Blossoms on the tree, blossoms in my hair vintage photo shoot, Jessica Cangiano, image_1

Blossoms on the tree, blossoms in my hair vintage photo shoot, Jessica Cangiano, image_6

Blossoms on the tree, blossoms in my hair vintage photo shoot, Jessica Cangiano, image_3

Blossoms on the tree, blossoms in my hair vintage photo shoot, Jessica Cangiano, image_8
Blossoms on the tree, blossoms in my hair vintage photo shoot, Jessica Cangiano, image_2

Blossoms on the tree, blossoms in my hair vintage photo shoot, Jessica Cangiano, image_9

Blossoms on the tree, blossoms in my hair vintage photo shoot, Jessica Cangiano, image_7

Blossoms on the tree, blossoms in my hair vintage photo shoot, Jessica Cangiano, image_4

Outfit details

All hair flowers: Arden

Vintage Aurora Borealis glass bead necklace: from etsy seller Little Women Vintage

Sky blue sweater: Cleo (this sweater is a bit big in the torso for me, so I usually fold it in the back and hold
its revised shape in place with a belt)

Royal blue faux leather belt: unknown

Light blue 1950s gloves: etsy or eBay

Vintage black velour pencil skirt: etsy seller Lady Kitschener's Vintage Emporium

Nude seemed stockings: eBay

Black pumps: Payless

Lip colour: MAC Russian Red

Photography by Antonio Cangiano

♥ ♥ ♥

Spring was fairly late in arriving to our little neck of the British Columbia woods this year, but once it did finally grace us with its presence, countless blossoms and blooms began springing up around the neighbourhood. From luscious lilacs to charming tulips, pussy willow to whatever (I'm by no means an arboriculture expert) the gorgeous fuchsia hued blossoms were that grew on this tree that's located on the perimetre of our condo's front yard (does anyone know what type of tree this is?).

Knowing how short lived most start-of-the-season flowers are, I wanted to ensure we snapped some pics out in front of this tree before it's vibrant dark pink blossoms disappeared (this being the first year we've been at this house, we didn't know that tree was going to blossom and were thrilled when it did), so we did just that recently before I headed out on a day of second hand clothing shopping with my sweet mom.

While I utterly adore such days, they are quite tricky for me because I really need my health to be in a certain spot before I can even entertain the idea of doing something (which is for me) so physically demanding. Every now and then the universe cut me a break though and I do happen to have a day (or at least part of one) where I'm able to go out and spend a few hours trying on clothes at my town's various second hand and consignment shops.

Whether I'm going to such stores or am shopping for garments elsewhere (such as the mall or a big box retailer), I've learned over the years that you'll save a fair amount of time and continue to look fairly un-rumpled throughout the day if you stick with relatively simple garments that are easy to get on and off - and which don't stand to do too much damage to your hair (as you whip them over your head time and time again).

More often than not my thrift shopping day outfits consist of a simple neutral hued a-line or pencil skirt (worn with or without hosiery, depending on the season - in these shots I had nude seemed stockings on), a comfortable thin to medium weight sweater or cardigan, a camisole or full slip, and a sensible pair of shoes.
I generally forgo my usual bangle bracelets in favour of closer fitting stretch or clasp ones and/or vintage gloves (as I don't want to risk losing a bracelet in the process of trying clothes on), and keep the rest of my accessories fairly streamlined and close fitting, too (think stud earrings, princess length necklaces, and only those brooches in my collection with the sturdiest of fasteners).

When it comes to my hair I like to keep things somewhat low key, too, as a fancy or fussy updo can all too quickly get mangled as you're taking clothing on and off over your head. Sometimes I'll wear my hair curled and piled on my head in such a way as to channel Betty Grable, other times I'll use a headscarf paired with faux Bettie bangs, and quite often I'll stick with loose waves (care of my hot rollers) and a roll or two. Hair flowers on clips are pretty resilient usually, so one or more (or four in this case!) can be a terrific way to inject a bit more interest into an otherwise fairly plain vintage inspired look.

If you're not in the mood for a skirt and sweater however, another look I've sometimes donned for days like this is a basic vintage (or vintage appropriate) shirtwaist dress (again with a cami or full slip underneath so that you have that there ready and waiting for the you as you try on clothing). The buttons here can slow you down a bit though, but over all it's still a pretty quick garment to hop in and out of. High waisted trousers or jeans, too, assuming they're quick to slip on and off, can also be a good option for a day or fast paced thrift store shopping.

While we didn't unearth any actual vintage items (not rare at all, last time's awesome discovery of two 1950s hats is a rarity these days around these parts), I did pick up a few lovely vintage appropriate cardis, sweaters and tops, plus a stellar pair of shoes in a classic 1940s style that I've been hoping to find for ages now.
As such  the day was definitely not a bust at all. My health held up while we were shopping, and most importantly, I got to get out for a while and spend a terrific afternoon with my mom, which is always the very best element of our days spent thrifting together.