Vintage Skills: Ironing

20 Jan

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Let’s talk about one of my favorite old-fashioned skills…ironing! (Note: I read a lot of Laura Ingalls Wilder books as a kid and have never gotten over my subsequent overly-romantic view of old-fashioned skills.) I understand that a lot of people “don’t iron” but I guess my question is, why? You can make ANY outfit look 110% better by ironing it. Want clothes to hang better? Iron them. Want cheap clothes to look more expensive? Iron them. Want to look more grown up and put-together, even in casual clothes? Iron. Want to feel productive and accomplished while watching “Downton Abbey”? Friend, pick up that iron. Want to work on those bingo wings? Iron! Want your sewing projects to turn out better? Seriously, learn to iron.

I actually prefer to use the Tennessee pronunciation of ironing: ahrn-nin. Every time I turn on the iron, I loudly announce to everyone within earshot that I am going to be ahrn-nin. It does not get old.ironing2 I’m not going to lie, ironing is tedious and boring, but it’s not hard! If nobody ever taught you to iron, it’s not too late to learn. Here’s what you need to get started:

1. An iron. A cheap one from Target or Wal-Mart is FINE. You don’t need fancy settings to get good results with an iron.
2. A gallon jug of distilled water. This is VERY important! Never put regular water in your iron. It will create mineral build-up and will cause your iron to sputter and not work well. Seriously–trust me on this! Your iron will last longer and work better with distilled water. You can find it with the bottled water at the grocery store.
3. An ironing board, although you can cover a table with a towel in a pinch. Available at Target or Wal-Mart, cheap.

Before you start, make sure that your iron is on the right setting for the type of fabric you are ironing. Cottons and wools will need a higher heat and a steam setting to get the wrinkles out. Silk and rayon don’t need as much heat. On your lighter settings, you won’t need steam. Just check the label on your clothes, and set the dial on the iron accordingly.

When you iron, keep the iron moving–don’t let it rest on the fabric for any length of time or you will risk scorching it or leaving an imprint of the iron plate.

Another tip: don’t pack your clothing tightly in your closet; this will create wrinkles. Clothing needs a little room to hang freely.

If you are reading this and thinking, “Oh, I use Downy Wrinkle Release and it really works just as well as ironing”…sorry, but no. It makes things look slightly less wrinkly, but not crisp and pressed.  The same goes for throwing something in the dryer with a damp towel…it’s only slightly better than not ironing.

Ironing is a skill; you will get better with practice. If your collars and cuffs don’t look great at first, keep at it! Pat yourself on the back for making the effort and tell everyone in the house not to bother you….you’re ahrn-nin!

With love,

Mrs. T

Collecting: Clarice Cliff “Tee Pee” Teapot

13 Jan

I love vintage western-themed china or dinnerware pieces. I have mentioned before on the blog that I collect Homer Laughlin china in the Mexicana and Hacienda patterns. This Christmas, Mother gave me a new addition to my collection–a teepee teapot. This 1950’s era teapot was created by popular English Art Deco ceramist Clarice Cliff for the Canadian tourist market.
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The body of the teapot is a teepee; the spout is an Indian chief and the handle is a totem pole (apparently. To me, it looks like some kind of weird monkey?).  IMG_1527 Here is a better view of the spout. The detail is really nice and the theming is very cool. From what we’ve been able to glean on the internet, this is a popular piece with collectors of both Clarice Cliff’s ceramics and novelty teapots alike.IMG_1528 Here is the stamp on the bottom. It was designed to appeal to 1950’s-era tourists to Canada who would purchase items to take home. I totally would have bought one, wouldn’t you? IMG_1531 The colors of the teapot go well with my Homer Laughlin, don’t they? I love this piece–it’s very unique! The only problem with being a collector of dishes is storage. There are so many dinnerware patterns that I would love to collect, but I mostly concentrate on jadeite and my Homer Laughlin. People are often surprised to hear that almost all the Pyrex I have found or picked has been for the booth; I do not keep very much of it, at all. I like Pyrex but I really like it all and since I can’t settle on a pattern or color as a favorite, and I don’t have room for a huge collection of it…I tend to send it on to the booth rather than keep it.

Thanks, Mother, for the great teapot! And happy collecting to all of you!

xoxo,

Mrs. T

And…we’re back!

11 Jan

Hi! This is what I wore today (1960’s cardi, Caro-Nan basket bag, Tatyana jeans). IMG_1522It was not as much fun as what I wore yesterday (Bathing suit, beach towel, coconut water in an actual coconut).
IMG_1517We are back from Liberia, Costa Rica where we stayed at the Four Seasons at Peninsula Papagayo–this was a work trip for the Mister.
IMG_1470 As you might have suspected, it did not suck. We also went to Nicaragua, which was very interesting. I enjoyed it very much. We saw the colonial city of Granada…
IMG_1474 This Nicaraguan city actually did look like a lot like my old-timey vision of what I imagined Costa Rica might look like. When we were walking around, I remembered that I had seen the downtown area before on an episode of House Hunters International! costarica2 That donkey and cart are still there, seriously. Okay, maybe a different donkey. IMG_1490We stood on the edge of a live volcano near Granada. The Mister insisted on getting way too close to the edge, of course.
IMG_1492 Seriously, Mister, that is not okay. Move away from the edge, Mister!IMG_1503We also went to another town in Nicaragua (Cateliena? Catelena?)…and there were several streets that had small, family-owned nurseries on either side that were very pretty. We also went to a museum and a Mercado…it was a busy trip from beginning to end. We are glad to be home in Tennessee, although we are not glad to return to the cold.

I’m seeing lots of end-of-year recaps and new year’s goals on other blogs. You know, I just love to read blogs and it’s fun to see the general upswing in interest in blogging that appears at this time of year. People have renewed energy and good intentions. I like that.

It’s so easy to get burned out on blogging, in my opinion. I mean, it’s often just stupid hard to find inspiration to write when the day-to-day stresses of work, etc. grind you down, especially over a long period of time. Once I’ve fought through a day of work and/or the Green Hills Kroger parking lot, I have nothing left for you people, sorry not sorry. And honestly? Sometimes, it seems like when you are blogging, you just are talking to yourself anyway, or in my case, an audience consisting of the Mister, my mother, aunt and mother-in-law. And I talk to myself enough. You should see me when I’m alone in the car; it is an ongoing, very animated conversation. (As my son says, totes craycray.) I thought for a long time that family members were the only ones reading my blog, and eventually when I had a job that took more and more hours of my week, my desire to write or take pictures of my latest vintage acquisition fell to the wayside. I felt vaguely bad about it, but I figured nobody would notice other than family (and they cut me a lot of slack)…until one day several months ago. I happened to be filling in for an absentee cashier at my job and was ringing up a sale for a nice lady whom I had never met. Out of the blue, she said, “I wish you’d update your blog.”  I was stunned. Strangers read my blog? I mean, I know it’s a public website and for strangers to read it is actually the point. I just never figured they were. I know that I have a site statistics page but I’ve always strongly doubted both it’s accuracy and my ability to interpret it correctly. But here was proof positive that somebody read it and what’s more, they liked it enough to say something about it to me, a total stranger. Wow.

I’m not always good at approaching strangers. Maybe you aren’t either? That’s okay. But as we move into this new year, I just really want to share this with you; your small effort could be the thing that pushes someone onward. So, if you like a blog? Maybe try to comment–not all the time, but every once in awhile.  I’m working on this myself. If you blog? Keep going. I love real people’s stories and ideas and style and humor and insight so much, don’t you? If you used to blog and you got discouraged and quit? Come back. Somebody misses the unique brand of “you” that you put out there. If you’ve always wanted to blog but you think nobody would read it and it’s all been done before? Be brave! Try it anyway. And if you talk to yourself in the car? Friend, you are totes craycray but you are not alone.
Here’s to a great 2015!
xoxo,
Mrs. T

Taking our act on the road…

3 Jan

costarica1So, the Mister and I are in the process of packing for a vacation to Costa Rica. I have never been there, so I am very excited. We are not actually fancy vacationers; this is a trip through the Mister’s work and we are going to spend time with clients of his company. And to have fun! Last year, the company sent us to Nevis, West Indies. It was the first time that either the Mister or myself had had a passport stamped in over 10 years.

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It probably totally looks like this, right? I tend to have a highly romanticized notion of what vacation destinations should look like.

Because the Mister and I have done so many driving trips in the last several years, I have gotten into the bad habit of packing every single thing I could possibly imagine wearing into my collection of aqua vintage Samsonite Silhouette luggage. It makes me sad to travel without this luggage, but the luggage itself is heavy and has no wheels, and I really need several pieces including the train case if I’m going to take it. Do you like/collect vintage luggage, and if so, do you use it for travel?
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This is the set I have (although not my actual set because I’m too lazy to haul it up from the basement and photograph it for you). I started buying the pieces on Ebay about 8 years ago…they are definitely more expensive now! You can still find them at estate sales pretty easily, but estate sale folks generally know that they have gained in popularity and price them accordingly. I love the color, the 1960’s look of them and their durability–the Mister worries about taking them on airplanes but I never do; they are very sturdy. If you are looking for a vintage set that you can actually travel with, there’s a lot of Samsonite Silhouette out there and it comes in lots of fun colors like red, bright pink and avocado green.
I look forward to telling you all about our trip!
xoxo,
Mrs. T

Christmas Recap

30 Dec

IMG_1400 So, in November I came to the conclusion that my life would not be complete without a pink phone. (FYI, we don’t have a landline so this would be a non-working yet still somehow still very essential-to-my-existence telephone.) I mean…I don’t know, you guys! The heart wants what it wants. I conveniently located one in a booth very close to my own booth in Gas Lamp Too antique mall in Nashville and took a picture and sent it to the Mister.

The Mister enjoys surprising me for holidays. That is to say, he does not actually appreciate being told what to buy me. However, I figured that he might make a special exception for this phone, which anyone could see that I just had to have. Because a 50-year-old pink, non-working phone is the obvious gift of choice for a 41-year-old wife and mother of two. I mean, I clearly needed one. Maybe more than one.

Being the Mister, he ignored my request for the phone, which I took as an indication that he was taking me very seriously and had very likely already purchased it. He is wiley, the Mister. But I am on to him.

A few weeks later, we were working on re-stocking my booth at the antique mall. I subtly suggested that we stroll by the booth where my pink phone was located…only to find that is was gone.

“You did buy it for me, right?” I asked. “Absolutely not,” he responded, “If you are waiting for me to get you that phone, you will be very disappointed. Or maybe I can get you one at the flea market?”  The last time the Mister bought me a phone at the flea market, he had a loud debate with a vendor about whether or not Dinah Shore was a lesbian (The Mister says yes, by the way), but still…Dinah Shore’s orientation is not something we discuss with strangers at the flea market with geriatric phone vendors! Although if the Mister is anything to go by, that is exactly what we do discuss.

“I feel very confident that you have somehow both purchased this phone and squirreled it away in such a way that I will never suspect that you actually have it. And if you have not,” I declared ominously, “There is always the flea market.”

“I’m not paying flea market prices for a pink phone.” FYI, the vendor of the Dinah Shore debate seems to be a nice man but he does charge a lot. He will throw the occasional free trumpet solo in with your purchase, which may or may not add value, depending on what you think of flea market trumpeters.

“Humph. You can’t fool me.” I rejoined, silently noting that there was still one flea market weekend before Christmas, and wondering if poor Dinah Shore would be rolling over in her grave, again.

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Well, Merry Christmas to me! I’m the proud owner of one totally useless pink phone and I couldn’t be more pleased. I hope that Santa Claus (or your very own version of the Mister) also brought you whatever your little hearts desired.

Love from,
Mrs. T

East Nashville Adventure

23 Dec

haulinoats

On Sunday, the Mister and I struck out for East Nashville for lunch and shopping. East Nashville is the hip neighborhood that gets all the press these days, and rightly so because there is a lot of great stuff happening there. I typically don’t get out there unless there is an estate sale because ugh, driving! And there is so much in my own neighborhood of Green Hills that I don’t really leave that often. Every time I see one of those tiny little old ladies who only drive their car (very cautiously) to go to the Green Hills Kroger on Senior Day, it’s like looking into my future.  The Mister took this picture of me in Haulin’ Oats, which is my friend’s store. She makes organic oatmeal in great flavors, and her store is decorated beautifully for the holidays.

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We also went to the Hip Zipper, where the Mister got a sweater and I found a scarf. Vintage clothing stores are hit and miss with me. If I buy vintage clothing, it’s generally from the flea market or an estate sale. They do a nice job here, though. By the way, the dress I am wearing is from Tatyana, and my sweater is vintage…it’s one my Granny bought herself in the 1950’s.

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We also got coffee at Barista Parlor, which was delicious. The Mister can go approximately 3 hours without coffee and then it becomes a problem. Barista Parlor is so ridiculously hip that it’s almost a parody of a hipster coffee shop. It’s Pinewood Social-level hip. I love their logo with the anchor on this cup. Why an anchor? It’s cute, though.

I’ve got to finish up getting ready for Christmas today, I guess…it’s almost here!

xoxo,

Mrs. T

December Flea Market Finds

20 Dec IMG_1378

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Me and my little elves (well, one is 15, so he’s not so little…) are just about ready for Christmas. No matter how old the kids get, they always seem to want to make sugar cookies with me. My red dinette table is the perfect surface for rolling out cookie dough.

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It makes the Mister nervous when I use my Jeanette measuring cups, but I can’t resist. What’s the fun of having them if you never use them?

It was flea market weekend and I made a quick pass through on Friday. Not a lot of vendors brave the cold weather, but I picked up a treasure or two…

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I was thrilled to find this glittery lucite box purse from the 1950’s…one vendor had it labeled as a jewelry box and it held a few pitiful bits of old sewing thread and buttons (what?? Sad!). These lucite handbags are kind of fragile, but so pretty and are very collectable. This one is already in the booth…it would be a great gift for a vintage glamour girl.

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I also found this really cool promotional measuring cup/drinking glass…it would have been a giveaway at Frigidaire dealers to advertise the new colors of their appliances. Turquoise and Mayfair pink? Yes, please!

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I’ve got several new cookbooks in…the Betty Crocker Parties for Children is from 1964 and the graphics and colors are so cute. I always try to keep a lot of Betty Crocker and Better Homes & Gardens…if you don’t have a Better Homes and Gardens cookbook with the red gingham cover, you need one…it’s a classic!

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I also picked up this really nice red and white nesting bowl set. It’s vintage, but doesn’t have a mark so I’m not sure who makes it. Please leave me a note in the comments if you can give me a clue? Maybe Fire King? I’m not sure.

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Here’s today’s result of yet another hair tutorial I found on Pinterest and thought I would try. Like most things on Pinterest, the hairdo tutorials always seem easy as pie when the person doing it is demonstrating it, but it’s not quite that simple when it’s you staring down a set of hot rollers.

And, that’s what’s new around here! Hope you are having a good weekend…Christmas will be here before we know it. I wish this month would slow down a little.

xoxo,

Mrs. T

9 Dec

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So…I’m not a big Black Friday shopper but like you, I get a lot of emails about sales and deals and whatnot. Talbots sent me a notice that they had everything 50% off with free shipping and that’s the kind of deal that gets my attention so I went and looked at their sweaters. Do you know who will never have enough sweaters? Me. That is your answer.

And APPARENTLY they created a special intarsia cashmere sweater commemorating the opening of their first store in 1947. Do you know who loves the 1940’s? Also me. Not to mention that I love Talbots enough to wear an image of their first store on an intarsia sweater. I loved Talbots in college, when it was 100% not cool because that was in the 1990’s and “grunge” was popular…photographic evidence indicates that I never noticed the whole “grunge” trend because I wore Cole-Haan loafers for pretty much the whole decade.

Talbots has a special place in my heart because I helped open the Hanover, NH store. I also worked at and then assistant managed the Chattanooga, TN store over a period of several years. I love selling preppy clothes! So…what sealed the deal on this particular sweater is that it’s a limited run of 300. There are only 300 of these sweaters for Talbots nerds to buy. Are there actually 300 of us?

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I don’t know but I am #7. The seventh biggest Talbots nerd in possibly the world and I have the intarsia sweater to prove it.

Whatever y’all are, be a good one. #7 at least.

xoxo,

Mrs. T

P.S. Thanks Mother for the sweater! Love you!

It’s beginning to look at lot like…

30 Nov

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First Christmas sweater of the year time! This one is from the flea market…an embroidered 1950’s era cardigan with pearl buttons for $20 that is in great shape. I bought it in the spring so it’s my first chance to wear it. And yes, I do have kind of a lot of eye wrinkles for a 41-year-old person. That’s what happens when you are of English descent but grow up in Arizona.IMG_1282 This was my Thanksgiving centerpiece…roses were $4 for a half dozen at Trader Joe’s and the pretty vase is a flea market special…part of my green pottery collection. Tablecloth was from a Belle Meade area estate sale and was $7.IMG_1277

This is our dining room table all set for Thanksgiving dinner…the china is Spode Jewel from Mother, the silver is from the Mister’s grandma and we put up the tree so that our Thanksgiving company could enjoy it. The tablecloth is a tad short, but c’est la vie. We hadn’t ever put in the leaves to expand the table so we didn’t know it would be too short beforehand.purpledressThis is me today…getting alterations done to my dress for a friend’s upcoming wedding. The dress is from Tatyana here in Nashville, and Anna is their in-house alterations person who is helping me. My friend specified a dark purple dress for bridesmaids. There is lots of sparkle to detract from eye wrinkles. Tatyana is a fun, retro-inspired dress store downtown, and they carry sizes up to 4X…it’s for everyone, and I like that.

Hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving!

xoxo,

Mrs. T

Flea Market Finds: November

24 Nov

The Mister and I went to the flea market on Friday…it’s been a really, really long time since I went on Friday, and hey guess what? That’s totally the day to go because it is not crowded–at all!–and all the best stuff is there. Huh. It had been so long that I had totally forgotten all about that. But, I have Fridays off now, and starting in 2015, I will have all the days off because I am leaving my day job and returning to being a mom/wife/antique booth nerd on a full-time basis. Very excited about that stuff. Anyway, the flea market…

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So, the Mister’s jadeite quest continues…we only ended up with this restaurant ware cup and saucer because it was kind of a puny month for jadeite, otherwise he totally would have bought more. The cup has a pretty shape, doesn’t it?

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I got two pairs of early 1950’s pajamas, one satin and one rayon, and this beautiful aqua silk and lace gown from favorite vendor…$10 each. They are deadstock, with original paper size tags attached. Never washed, never worn. The dealer pulled them out of an attic in their original gift boxes. I have since washed and ironed them and all three are beautiful…and my size. So, these are not headed to the booth…I’m going to keep and wear them. See why Friday is the day to go to the flea??  The lace on the gown and one set of pajamas is very high quality and all of the fabrics are very nice. These may be pre-1950s, especially the gown and satin pajamas; I’ve seen a similar pajama set dated to the 1940’s on a vintage clothing site but I’m just not the most knowledgeable about vintage clothing so I’m not sure.

Before I had my booth or did a lot of shopping at flea markets and estate sales, I would wonder how people found “the good stuff”–really nice vintage in great condition, at great prices. And I really think that they answer is that you have to get out there, a lot, and you have to spend a good amount of time going through piles and racks and booths and asking questions. It never hurts to be friendly to a flea market vendor and it’s always good to tell them what you are looking for–they may start sourcing it just for you.

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This Pyrex cutie IS headed to the booth…the light shining through it makes it look a bit worn but it is actually in very nice shape. Oh, Pyrex. I still like Pyrex but in the last three years the prices have risen steadily and the availability has decreased as more and more people have started collecting.  I don’t necessarily like charging the prices I’m currently charging for it in the booth, but because I’m paying more than ever, I’m charging more than ever. Pyrex still has the most narrow margin of anything I sell.

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Pyrex aside, I’m buying a few fun things to put away for a future spring/Easter booth update…I love basket purses and this little cutie with the plastic flowers is adorably 1960’s. The tiny flower pot is McCoy.

The November flea market is one of my favorites…did you get a chance to go this month? What did you get? If you aren’t local, I hope you are finding fun things in your area.

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