Thursday, November 7, 2013

Giving Thanks vintage style …

For the northern half of North America Thanksgiving has come and gone by mid-October but for the southern half it is fast approaching late November. The mystery of why this similar celebration sits more than a month apart in Canada and the US has as many folklore reasons as the celebrations has traditions. 
click here for nostalgic fun finds
Regardless of how or where you celebrate the nostalgic memories of a large family feast always spark memories of the days past and those little special reminders of a great time of the year.

The vintage kitschy simple household items that come into play on a family holiday weekend are as revered today as they were back in the day.  

over 50 groups to choose from
Perhaps not as dear to the pocket book as they were then still many collectibles are sought after by those recreating the nostalgia and the love of a traditional thanksgiving dinner back in the vintage-loving day.
A special platter or serving dish, a hostess table set and special linens all made the dinner celebration table sparkle.
great selection of vintage linen

For the hostess a dress-apron, a cherished recipe or a surprise new one, welcoming treats for the guests and even a brand new outfit made the day complete.   

Today’s hosts and hostess delight in creating that nostalgic occasion and any vintage lover will tell you it is far more exciting to discover at a yard sale the very same platter dished up at their Grandma’s  back in the day than it is to pop into the kitchen shop at the mall to grab one.  

mid century mod at Thrifty Diversions
Likewise to pour cocktails from a vintage bar cart steeped in sentiment. Recreating a day to remember for future young family members is as important as heaping on the reminiscence of the many family celebrations past.
click for more vintage barware fun 
Whatever the family occasion and tradition bring out the ‘best’ of table service but remember that it is not always the finery but rather usually the simple everyday treasures that are the best reminders of the passing of traditions on generation to generations, dinner table to dinner table, Thanksgiving to Thanksgiving.
all tinware on sale 
 Surround yourself and your guests with what you love and has meaning, it does not have to be the very same special carving set of your grandparents, but rather one the same discovered in a great thrift store find tale to tell is often twice as fun.

Celebrate with vintage love,

ps don't forget to record the celebrations vintage style! 
check out the vintage cameras at Inktiques

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Vintage Melmac a summer trending find ...

(this is an updated repeat as it seems that MELMAC is as hot as ever this summer!)

click to check out over 50 groupings of Vintage MELMAC for sale

When the trend to vintage campers, boler trailers, airstreams, teardrops and more became the fun thing I knew it was only a matter of time till people restoring the retro camping gems would shift their focus to collecting all the decorator goodies to make their look complete inside and out. I started stock piling Melmac almost 10 years back filling bin after bin as friends thought I was crazy.

click pic to view
click pic to view listing
By the time the hot retro trend showed up I was ready with wonderful collections and near full sets collected a piece at a time. In the summer of 2009 I packaged it in delightful groupings and I sold it as fast as I stocked my antique store shelves with this colorful dishware. My online stores still feature a great selection although it is getting harder and harder to find first hand and the prices have skyrocketed. Melmac will be one of those items I am happy to say I was ahead of the trend on! 

REGAL Sears Warner Spekcaled ware
With a history back to the 1930’s the use of melamine particles to produce hard plastics has led to decades of popularity for what became trademarked Melmac household dishware. Many manufacturers produced melamine products but the Melmac brand carried the highest standards and quality control. By the 1970’s it declined in popularity as Melmac was limiting to modern kitchens and was slowly replaced with stone and earthenware that could go from the freezer to the microwave or oven, and then into the dishwasher.
click the pics for listings

In its heyday hardly a magazine household advertisement or full spread decorating feature was complete without some version of Melmac featured in the images of life back in the day. It is fun to thumb through vintage magazines and old catalogues and discover the many patterns and displays of Melmac.

click the pic for listing

For your best collecting value look to find only those pieces clearly marked MELMAC on the bottom. Prices go from the pennies to the hundreds so know your market and whether reselling or reusing enjoy your collecting!


Wednesday, May 29, 2013

“Another bride another June another sunny honeymoon...”

Still topping the wedding charts is the entire vintage theme. Whether regal elegance of an era long passed or the simple home tradition, a vintage wedding is a hot ticket to a perfect day. The tradition of something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue (and a sixpence in her shoe), strikes a nostalgic chord at a vintage wedding. An old aunt’s dress, a borrowed veil, a family treasured bride’s string of pearls, are just the start as guests are greeted with historic treats and old fashioned favorites making a vintage wedding a day to remember. 

Along with the vintage theme of nostalgia comes the biggest of traditions, June Bride, a loved old Bette Davis movie title from the 1940’s and a popular song title back in the 1950’s. This most celebrated of wedding months is thought to go as far back as the Romans and the festival honoring Juno, the goddess of marriage and childbirth in the month of June. Couple that with Celtic calendar celebrating the summer solstice and what was called the honey moon and it seems the perfect time to tie the vintage-knot.

ALL Vintage Wedding on sale - click to shop!
I too was a June bride, just barely squeaking in on the 30th only one year ago and I too had a vintage wedding. Not in an intentional themed party sort of way, but more in a happenstance happy little notice barely planned event after a comical eight year engagement. The rare opportunity to have most all the family in one spot on what was to be a camping at our cottage family birthday celebration weekend turned into a surprise short notice family wedding. Our cottage, being more of a rundown century old shack in a tiny dusty town in the middle of the southern Canadian Prairie was the perfect backdrop for a vintage (not by intent) themed wedding. Of course being in the business of vintage everything we own at the cottage has a certain theme, that of old and used, so couple that with a light hearted family weekend of keeping it simple and you get a vintage wedding that rivaled the likes of those who plan for a year for what we pulled off in ten days.
(Read my last year’s entry here, Man of my Thrift Store Dreams).

Suffice to say with a first anniversary just around the corner, the global vintage wedding theme has grown even more popular and has brides-to-be scurrying in every nook and cranny and thrift stores, looking for not only that perfect wedding dress but also a suiting cake-topper, silk gloves, a vintage hat and a retro going-away-dress to change into post ceremony, custom hand written invitations, charming table toppers and kitschy serving pieces to dish up a family style reception meal, charming old photo albums and guest books  and so much more.

vintage jewelry keepsake
It is as if there is a draw to make the day frozen in time. The way to remember it always may be to keep it timeless and a vintage wedding theme does that in spades.

Happy thrifting!

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Vintage Stationery posting new interest ...

Vintage Birthday fun

Collecting does not just have to be about displaying and seeing one’s collection. In the old-is-new trends of late using your collection, sharing it, living with it has never been truer than when it comes to vintage stationery.
Retro Party Invites

Nothing is more on trend than discovering a perfect vintage card for that thrifty-loving friend. A simple baby announcement on a sentimental old card or a cocktail party on a mad-men retro hot invite reworked for your occasion are now half the fun of the event. A vintage loving bride to be should have that perfect vintage card to go with the occasion as should a not well trendy friend needing some get well cheering up.
Get Well Greetings

Vintage cards are not only perfect for sending off in that old-fashioned mail-a-letter way but also make for sweet instant framed art and are a scrap-bookers dream in creating the ideal page of memories. Whether incorporating the delightful retro images and period true phrasings into multimedia projects or using the retro themed ephemera to honor a timeless worthy occasion, vintage stationery is fast taking the spotlight.
Holly Hobbie Vintage 

It seems with the web-savvy instant messaging quickness of news spread these days that there comes with that an offsetting desire to slow it all down and strive for personalizing the important events and vintage stationery is fast taking the lead in sending off a good old-fashioned greeting for any occasion.

Visit DearNellieStationery for over 100 vintage stationery items!

Happy thrifting,  

Friday, March 22, 2013


check out the many vintage patterns at WritersCraftToo 

In this fast paced generic excessive over-consumerism world it is nice to discover that a simple hand made family heirloom is as treasured as ever. I do think the resurgence in the trend to handmade, to craft with love, is part of our social push back on enough is enough and a draw back to what is real. Plastic, fake, disposable, meaningless are all grating terms that are eroding away our social history not only as a culture but as individuals and as families.  I know in my own vintage shops that there is increasing demand for the old traditional crafting, knitting and needlework patterns. Along with every purchase comes a story of memories of those early baby gifts made with love and of wanting to recreate that nostalgia through vintage patterns and methods. Many are making new family heirlooms like those few that survived the past to see the future but mostly gone now, sad victims to our throw away culture

I recently had the thrill of my welcoming into the world my first grandbaby. Baby Jakobi, son of my second son Joel, is pictured here wearing the very pram set his dad wore home from the hospital knit by his late paternal grandma. Tucked away for over two decades, this little treasure is more than just yarn it is a link to a paternal history and a meeting that will never happen. Jakobi's passed great grandma made this in anticipation of his father's arrival and her excitement to be gradma was knitted into every stitch. The memory for his family on that side of my long divorced past is still a treasure to my grandson regardless of what went ary over time.
 It is a family treasure, an heirloom from the past every bit as much as the future heirlooms I myself knit for Jakobi in the blanket and hat that wrapped him as he took his journey home from the hospital only a few days old, or the little knit socks and sweaters that keep him cosy. The same will be true of the next blanket I am getting ready to lovingly knit for my next grandchild to come later this fall. That baby will also be blessed with my older son Kyle’s heirloom pram set now three decades in the waiting for his next generation and all knit by the same passed paternal grandma.

Knitter extraordinaire, Bonnie Zink, author of the Blog -  Stitching in Saskatoon, shares a fond passion for the love of knitting heirlooms and vintage patterns. “I was gifted my Grandmother's patterns and have been busy carrying on the tradition of gifting knitted treasures for the newborns in my world. The whole process of creation takes me back to when I was a kid and watched her expert hands create knitterly hugs for the sweet babes. I love vintage!"

patterns at WritersCraftToo 
Many creative crafters share Bonnie’s passion regardless of their art form. Sewers, quilters, crafters, knitters, crocheters, tatting and more are many of the skills now finding a way back into popularity and the hearts of the families again honoring heirlooms. It is not only about the end creation it is about the skill set and the knowledge passed down grandmother and mother to daughter, aunt to neice and even now mother to son with many mens' quilting and knitting groups surprisingly popping up. Textile art is not about women anymore than the construction trades are only about men. It is a whole new world out there but the good news is that the love of the simple family gifts, the hand made, the treasures is back in a big way and hopefully here to stay.

Thank you for visiting my many vintage online shops but especially my crafty vintage supply shop, WritersCraftToo, where one can find a great selection of vintage patterns, yarns, supplies, vintage knitting needle bracelets and even wooden sock stretchers from back in the day!

Happy THRIFTING! Michelle

Saturday, February 23, 2013

“So here of course, is the image that forms the reason I contacted you in the first place …”

Life often has a way of showing up and taking you where you least expect. As I was writing a Blog update for my LandlockedCottage blog about how vintage finds often bring with them their stories from the past as they move through to the future, a wonderful story came my way via a shopper at one of my vintage shops. It seemed that the women was passionate about the suitcase, hat and dress she was searching for as they represented the story of her mother. We shared a few emails back and I came to hear of her story and to my delight she even shared a stunning black and white photo of her mother arriving on a transatlantic flight to her new Canadian home and sporting the very case she found in my shop. Well as stories go this is a great one and although it is long I promise you it is well worth the read. It will take you on a wonderful personal journey of one family and yet it shares the common theme of the importance of simple items and family treasures we hold dear. Whether they are passed down or we rediscovered them again in a great vintage find, these items remind us where we came from and who we are.
Please enjoy Manuela’s story of how her family came to be and why her great vintage find was so very dear to her memories …

“When I look at vintage photos of my young parents on their journey to Canada, what astounds me is how sophisticated and stylish they were. I could easily have been convinced that they were children of wealthy parent given how polished and elegant they appeared. In fact, my father was a machinist who later became an iron worker, and my mother had worked in a butcher shop in Berlin.
 Humble immigrants from humble beginnings.   
 They had met as teens on a rare hard-earned weekend ski expedition in the Bavarian alps. My mother lived in Berlin and my father in the outskirts of Munich, in the small town of Freising.
  He used to ride his bicycle up into the alps with his skis strapped on to his backpack of mountaineering supplies. My mother had saved every spare penny for her first ever ski excursion and had arrived with a girlfriend by train. In post war Germany, this distance both culturally and geographically would be akin to someone fro Labrador meeting someone from Texas at a rodeo in Houston at the tender age of 15. My father spotted my mother and purposely mowed her down on the slopes for the sole reason of meeting this gorgeous blonde. My parents fell so in love that weekend, corresponded by mail for the next three years while meeting up only a few times. Three years later, both only 18 (my mind boggles!), they made the momentous decision to immigrate to Canada to try and build a better life, make money and hoped to eventually  move back to Germany. In Canada not only did they have no family, friends or contacts, they also spoke not a single word of English between them and carried a sum total of $50 savings as they landed in Canada to start a new life. How unbelievably brave they seem to me.
And so it was, that just four months later my parents decided that they would not return to Germany but instead make Canada their permanent home and formalized their love in a humble wedding. There were only two guests, and the honeymoon consisted of a shared lake-side cabin for two nights.
Even on the rocky shores of a provincial lake, my mother still managed to look like a million bucks and capable of convincing the photo that she was lounging somewhere in the south of France rather than the middle of Manitoba! 
 My mom and Dad adopted me, their only child, eight years later and they remained the happiest, most loving and affectionate couple I have ever known.

So here of course, is the image that forms the reason I contacted you in the first place … 

This photo represents so much for me, it encapsulates so much of what both my parents stand for. Dignity, sacrifice, diligence, self-reliance, love, partnership, gusto, joie de vivre, confidence, hard work, more hard work, and then working just a little harder still … and the idea that presenting yourself in the most polished fashion possible represents a public declaration of self respect. They never had to verbalize these sentiments to me. It wasn’t necessary. It was evident in every single action they ever undertook.
As a little girl, long before any of this became a part of my understanding of my parents, I saw this picture and thought of my mother as a glamorous, world-class movie star. No matter that she worked as a cleaning woman for years. Regardless of what my mom did to make a living to my eyes Grace Kelly had nothing on my mom. Today, I feel this even more strongly now that I understand that not only did she now own so much as a tube of lipstick, but she put herself together on a budget of pennies and looked every inch the beautiful woman she was. This photo allows me to look at my mom through the eyes of my dad, who knew that she was the most beautiful women in the world. He always saw her that way, right up until the very moment she died last year, after 54 years of marriage, while my dad lovingly held her hands.”

Thank you to Manuela for the loving story of her parents Judy and George, and to others who share their wonderful stories of how my vintage finds become their treasures!
To read more on the simple vintage lifestyle and how great finds find me please visit my LandlockedCottage blog.

Thanks for visiting!