Don’t miss out on the Spring Loop Giveaway I am participating in with Bpaperie, Field and Forest Designs, Miss Mary Margaret and Thistle & Thread Design through tomorrow night (3/21). Go to my Instagram feed (@meteorvintage) and take a look at my last post – the one with mini vintage collection you can win just by liking and hashtagging the photo. Easy!
Do you follow Meteor Vintage on Instagram (@meteorvintage)? Now, is an excellent time to start! I’ve teamed up with B Paperie, Field & Forest, Miss Mary Margaret and Thistle & Thread Design to bring you a Spring Loop Giveaway! Each shop will be offering you a chance to win a spring-themed giveaway item. It all starts with my feed at 11:00 a.m. EST this Friday, March 20th!
Last Saturday, I had plans to go to 20th Century Cincinnati, but a change in the weather made the roads too doubtful to chance the drive. Alex and I found ourselves in a part of Louisville we’d never been to before and I happened to see a sign for a flea market. I also saw signs for XXX DVD stores and strip clubs, but there seemed to be a lot of people parking and going inside this place despite the bad weather, so I thought we might be onto something. Well…
As I came to understand the nature of where we were, I started to wonder…
When I think of Flea Markets, I think of booths full of antiques, furniture and collectibles sold by people who have a pretty good knowledge of what they are selling. This flea market was one of the unfortunate “new” styles of flea markets. I wouldn’t even call it a “flea market” as much as I would an “indoor garage sale”. The kind of place that sells knock offs, brass knuckles and cheap cell phone accessories.
I have been to several such markets, and I’m not put off by them, but they are not places I’d want to go without my husband. Often, they are the sort of place where you feel like something bad might happen, has happened or will happen again. Being that I was still dressed for 20th Century Cincinnati (we decided against driving to Cincinnati only after we had checked out the roads), I became uncomfortable with the appraising looks I was receiving. In my skinny leg Levi’s, vintage cardigan and boots, I was overdressed to haggle – much less escape notice. I dislike the term, but it’s not uncommon for my husband and I to look like hipsters, so I wasn’t surprised when two young women passed us and I overheard one of them say to the other, “What do they think they’re doing here?” Why, looking for a deal, of course! <insert nervous laughter>
Finally, we found a booth of odds and ends that drew me in with a 1960’s/1970’s decoupaged, wooden box purse. Personally, I don’t care for those, but I figured it was a sign of other vintage items and I was right. Sitting next to the decoupaged purse was this pretty appliqued lucite purse:
I was lucky that this purse didn’t have any damage other than a few missing seed beads because the elderly, bowlegged cowboy who sold it to me began grabbing things from his booth that he deemed to be cracked or broken and started tossing them into a cardboard box. The sound of breaking crockery made everyone nearby nervous. As he grabbed and tossed, he mumbled, “…asked me if I fix things. I don’t fix things! I sell ’em!” Yikes. TIme to move along.
It was easy for Alex and I to make our way through the rest of the building because many of the booths were vacant or full of things we didn’t need. Just the same, if you want a tee shirt with a picture of Marilyn Monroe repping your favorite basketball team, tattooed and throwing up certain hand gestures, I might be able to help you out. Poor Marilyn….
We arrived at the end of the building and discovered several senior citizens set up here (away from the more raucous booths). Love their hearts! They were all grumbling about how little they sell at this venue. Alex said he read somewhere that booth rent for this flea market is $40 per weekend. Although you’re almost guaranteed traffic in a flea market, paying $160 a month to be tucked away somewhere would give me reason to consider moving to one of the antique malls in town.
Do you have any of your own uncomfortable-while-shopping-for-vintage stories? I’d love to hear them! Where wouldn’t you go? Email me your response or comment in the link below.
Several months ago, I found a dress similar to the following 1940’s navy crepe. The one I saw was hunter green and, if I remember correctly, it had a peacock feather design in sort of a glittery glue on the front. You know the saying, “If it walks like a duck…”? Well, it looked like vintage, it (probably) smelled like vintage…and I wanted to buy it, but I walked away from it. Why? It was one of those days where I was shopping with my husband, we’d recently been bickering about the vintage I buy (and usually can’t part with) because I wasn’t working much (if at all at that point considering it was around the time we found out we were moving), the dress was in the Halloween section and that added to my skepticism (was it really vintage or did it just look like vintage?). Plus, peacock feathers had been popular in recent trends. I was unfamiliar with the dress’s fabric. It had no tags whatsoever, so I couldn’t cheat and look up its label or what material it was made from. I tried to guess its age by looking at the stitching, but what I really needed was another vintage fashion lover to give me their opinion. Since then, I have seen several dresses online that give me reason to think what I had in my hand that day was the real deal…and I hate myself a little more each time that happens. My only consolation is that, no matter what the dress cost (and I don’t remember for sure, but I bet it wasn’t much), I made the decision I did because I (a) wanted to keep the peace with my husband, (b) I don’t remember it being my size and I knew I wouldn’t get around to posting it for sale right away and (c) I really didn’t have the money to spend on frivolous things at the time. Now, before you start thinking my husband is a big bully, think again. When you’re married, you have to consider your partner’s opinion of your purchases – especialy when you’re the one who isn’t working. My husband is a pretty easy-going guy and, if I’d really wanted the dress, he wouldn’t have put up too much of a fight, but that’s not something I want to take advantage of. I push the limit pretty hard as it is!
Confession is good for the soul.
What do you regret not buying when you had the chance?
Alex and I had our first date on January 28th, 2007. When Valentine’s Day came around it was awkward seeing as we’d only been dating a few weeks, but we made plans for a nice dinner out together. During dinner, I interpreted some of his actions poorly and, it’s a joke with us now, but we broke up for about 24 hours. We didn’t know it at the time, but our Valentine’s Day “curse” had begun.
I know we had at least one successful Valentine’s Day dinner together in the time we lived in Lexington, but the next one that comes to mind is another doomed occasion. We had dinner reservations in Midway, Kentucky and Alex became as sick as I have ever seen him. The poor man insisted we were going to keep our reservation and tried so hard to get ready even though he was shaking as he got dressed. We were in the car before I was able to convince him to turn around and go home. We intended to go to Midway sometime after that as a Valentine’s Day do-over, but the restaurant we wanted to try closed for good before we got the chance.
When we moved to Colorado, Alex’s first day at his new job was the day before Valentine’s Day. We had lived in Denver all of a weekend at most and there were no dinner reservations to be had. Instead, we found a nice area of town to explore and ended up having pizza for dinner. It was actually kind of fun. The service was good, the pizza was tasty and the atmosphere was quirky, but established (almost like this building used to be a bank?). So, there we were, in a new city, about to be married and having pizza for Valentine’s Day. We enjoyed it.
The next year, we joked that we wouldn’t have pizza for Valentine’s Day again and made dinner reservations at Deluxe, a fine dining restaurant just a few doors up from Famous Pizza. We arrived, ordered our meal, had a drink and an hour and a half later our waiter informed us that they had accidentally given our meal away to another couple. Do what?!? We told him to cancel our order and that we would be leaving. The restaurant comped what we had been served to that point and gave us a gift card to come back. Less than four months later, they were closed. We walked down the street and had Famous Pizza again.
Last year, to the amazement of us both, we had a successful Valentine’s dinner at Table 6. They sat us in a cozy room out of the way of the busy dining area. The decor was lovely with lots of little antique details, the wait staff were friendly, ready to assist us and the food was just delicious. Everything was just right and my hair, makeup and Emma Domb dress, if I do say so myself, were on point!But, it never fails… Several weeks ago we made reservations for Valentine’s Day at a local restaurant that’s on the rise. Tuesday night, Alex received a phone call from them telling us that they had decided to do a prix fixe menu for Valentine’s Day and that the cost, per person, would be $85. When Alex asked what the prix fixe menu would be like, he was told that the chef was limiting that information. Are you kidding me? To do this to couples who’ve made reservations with you this close to Valentine’s Day is just bad business and smacks of greediness. I cannot conceive of rewarding them with our patronage after a stunt like that. Due to their fabulous timing, now we cannot get reservations at any of the other places we considered. C’est la vie. We’ll wing it and I predict our day will be just as lovely as if we’d spent the ridiculous amount they are asking to fill their pockets with rather than ensure a repeat customer.
Welcome Back! How were your holidays? Alex and I relaxed as much as possible and we’re slowly but surely settling into Louisville.
My current thrift obsession is Bakelite, an early plastic used for everything from radio and telephone casings to kitchenware, jewelry and toys. There’s a trick to Bakelite identification (I use Semichrome polish) and the thrill of finding a piece at a thrift store fills me with a naughty sort of glee since I am a bargain hunter as well as a vintage one. If you are learning how to identify Bakelite through trial and error as I am, the thrift scene is more forgiving of your budget than an antique store is likely to be and you don’t beat yourself up as badly when you make a mistake. Sadly, Louisville’s thrift scene is rather spartan compared to what I became used to in Denver and the pickings have been slim – Bakelite or otherwise. That said, if you’re from Louisville and think there are any thrift or vintage stores I should check out, please let me know via comment or email. I will happily give you credit for your recommendations!
So, have you put together what today’s “I Spy” is about? If you guessed “Vintage Plastic” you are correct. Specifically, “Vintage Plastic Jewelry”. I thought I was becoming a fairly savvy vintage plastic jewelry shopper, but this Instagram post from Anne (@jarekwastaken) gave me pause:
Did you know about Lea Stein? I sure didn’t. A quick Wikipedia search taught me that Ms. Stein (1931-) “is a French artist and accessories maker.” Around 1965, her interests turned to plastic and she partnered with her husband, a chemist, to create a unique process of layering thin sheets of plastic, baking them and then cutting them into shapes. This description of Ms. Stein’s process reminds me of how croissant dough is “laminated”. To make croissant dough, layers of dough and butter are alternated, formed into shapes, baked and cooled – a difficult process that can take several days. In Ms. Stein’s case, the thin sheets of plastic can be thought of as the dough and the colors, textures and fabrics can be thought of as the butter. Instead of a few days, Ms. Stein’s process can take as long as six months.
Many of Ms. Stein’s works were created between two periods: The first being 1969 to 1981. This initial grouping is considered to be “vintage” and pieces created from 1991 to the present are considered to be “modern”. Bakelite is among the types of plastic Ms. Stein worked with in the vintage grouping. I don’t know about you, but thinking I might come across a piece that is a Lea Stein and also Bakelite makes it twice as much fun to hunt for these goodies. So, keep an eye out! Ms. Stein’s brooches are named (for example, “Ric the Airedale Terrier”), feature an inscribed clasp and each named design was usually created in more than one variety of color and/or pattern. Lea Stein brooches and bracelets are highly collectible and often sell for hundreds of dollars. Do you own a Lea Stein?
November saw Alex and I moving into a rental house built in 1951 that set my mid-century dreams into orbit. I was really excited to live in this house, but I’ve been thrown by the frequency in which something has leaked, been left dirty, damaged or not working properly since we moved in. It took four tries over the past two weeks to get the internet up and running for any consecutive amount of time and I am only now beginning to trust (so to speak) that we are back on the grid and able to get settled in without pausing for workmen to trample all over the place. I intend to touch on the move and (good parts of the) house more in future posts. To say the least, moving cross-country in November is not ideal and it was a far from genius move to pick a place in this condition as the one I wanted to be our home in a new town.
I want to thank everyone for your interest and support in 2014. In the new year, I want to continue to blog, not just about vintage – though that will always be my primary focus – but about my life, loved-ones, wellness and reflections. I’m looking forward to it and hope you are too. See you in 2015!
– Mary Beth
My Secret Santa gift arrived yesterday – all the way from New Zealand! I was so touched by the card and notes explaining each piece. I love it all! I hope my Santa will make herself known to me so I can thank her directly! Thank you, Jessica, at Chronically Vintage for hosting and organizing such a fun exchange. I really enjoyed putting together a gift for someone and anticipating a surprise of my own in the mail.
Halloween is almost here and one of my favorite things to do this time of year is watch scary movies. Though I enjoy scary films, not everybody does. A movie doesn’t have to be frightening to be enjoyed on Halloween. Here are two charmingly romantic films to get you in the Halloween “spirit”!
I Married a Witch (1942)
Synopsis: Wallace Wooley (Fredric March) is the latest male in the Wooley line, a line cursed by Jennifer (Veronica Lake) after she and her father (Cecil Kellaway) are accused of witchcraft. Centuries pass and Jennifer is resurrected to wreak havoc on the latest Wooley just as he is poised to win the gubernatorial seat and marry the daughter (Susan Hayward) of his chief political backer.
This was my first film featuring Veronica Lake and I loved every minute of it. Very cleverly done for the time period in which it was made. I can see why it made the Criterion Collection.
Bell, Book and Candle (1958)
Synopsis: Gillian Holroyd (Kim Novak) finds herself admiring neighbor, Shep Henderson (James Stewart). With some interference from her Aunt Queenie (Elsa Lanchester), Holroyd and Henderson are forced to interact. Queenie mentions a club to Shep called the Zodiac, where she wants Gillian to spend the evening with her. Shep later invites his fiancee, Merle Kittridge (Janice Rule), to go to the club with him and, as it turns out, Merle and Gillian are former school mates (as well as enemies). Using her familiar, Pyewacket (the first Siamese in film), Gillian casts a love spell on Shep. Despite her best (or worst) intentions, Gillian soon finds herself falling for Shep – a twist of fate that could spell d-i-s-a-s-t-e-r for a witch such as Gillian!
This is one of those films you’ll find yourself thinking about it long after it’s over. A quirky little film with an all-star cast, it’s one you won’t want to overlook.