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Getting Smart with a Smaller Wardrobe

7/30/12

During the past few days, we've been packing up our clothes, kids toys and various things to put into storage. Since we'll be spending the next 3 months with my sister in law, we need to pack light until our permanent move in November. I, especially have to be good and narrow down my ridiculously large wardrobe!

In sorting through my over 100 dresses (I know, right?) I thought about the women of the 30's-50's. They generally didn't own 100 dresses because they were smart, frugal and knew how to change up the look of one dress with many different accessories. This article from The Women's Home Companion 1953 was a great inspiration to me. I paired it down to only my comfortable, practical clothes and left out one fancy dress just in case. Accessories are great for tight spaces because they can easily fit in my train cases, hat boxes and little nooks and crannies without being a bother to anyone.

 Having space to sprawl has certainly spoiled me and has allowed me to neglect some of the clothes that I have stashed away in the back of my racks and closet. Through necessity, I'll become more creative with my clothes and will get a chance to wear some of the things that I would have otherwise overlooked. It's funny but crummy situations always seem to yield some really exciting, fun moments, don't they?

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7/28/12


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Friday Fashionistas: Elizabeth Taylor

7/27/12

how to dress like Elizabeth Taylor





elizabeth taylor fashion color

Happy Friday to everyone!! I don't know about you but I am SO happy that Friday is finally here. There's something wonderfully refreshing about the beginning of a new week. Tonight, we're having dinner with family and figuring out all of the logistics of our upcoming move-in.

We talked to Olivia about moving and thankfully, she is very excited about the prospect of a new house. All week, my car has been acting up and I thought I had a leaky radiator so I've been driving around, putting extra coolant in every single day.

My father in law is a mechanic and he's coming over to replace the water pump this morning. When the shit hits the fan, I am always reminded that I am very blessed to have supportive and helpful family and friends!

 "You find out who your real friends are when you're involved in a scandal." Elizabeth Taylor



 Anyway, on to Friday Fashionistas. Elizabeth Taylor has been my inspration this week. This lady was always getting into trouble, was the subject of many scandals and through it all, she remained poised, elegant, and drop dead gorgeous. I can't imagine the strength of character that it took to get her through rough patches and still be able to provide a pleasant face to the public.   Although I usually share some fun facts for each Froday Fahsionista, I thought I'd share some of her quotes of wisdom instead :)





"I feel very adventurous. There are so many doors to be opened, and I'm not afraid to look behind them."- Elizabeth Taylor

 

                      "I've been through it all, baby. I'm Mother Courage." - Elizabeth Taylor


The problem with people who have no vices is that generally you can be pretty sure they're going to have some pretty annoying virtues."- Elizabeth Taylor


  "I am a very committed wife. And I should be committed too - for being married so many times."- Elizabeth Taylor



BLOUSE    |   PENCIL SKIRT   |   CINCH BELT    |    BROW POMADE

At the Farm

7/26/12



Every year, we pack up the kids and meet my mother in law, sister in law and her family at a little bed and breakfast/ farm in Southeast Missouri. The farm is owned by a friend of the family who rents out the two houses and small rustic cabin to friends for weekend vacations throughout the year.





The farm has a beautiful spring fed creek, newly built barn for weddings and events. They provide hayride tours of the property, outdoor fires for making s'mores and a fully furnished country home for relaxing. There are trails to walk, wildlife to see and the nearest town is miles away.

We always stay at the farm house by the creek, which is over 100 years old. It has a tin roof, porch swings, adorable country kitchen and cozy attic bedrooms.



 It was a beautiful weekend. It rained on Saturday morning so we sat on the porch watching the kids splash in the rain while we listened to the "tink tink tink" of rain on the tin roof. I knitted while my sister in law crochted.



After the rain, we splashed around in the creek for a while. Pj caught a wild (non poisonous of course) snake. Look at that! He plucked it right out of the water!

My 50's Swimsuit

7/25/12



Thank you to all of you for your comforting, sweet comments on my last post. Everything seems like it's looking up and while things will be rocky for a while, I think we'll be in a much better place by this time next year. I am so blessed to have all of my friends and family and wonderful readers to support me and advise me. I was driving to my mom's house the other day, almost in tears and The Beatles Obladi Oblada came on the radio. I took it to heart, toughened up and realized that the fab four are correct! Life goes on....

After years of talking about it, I finally made a swimsuit. I love all of the vintage reproduction suits but my goodness, they are expensive.

I used this perfect 1950's style swim suit pattern from Mrs Depew.



 I found aqua blue swim fabric from Hancock Fabrics. It came together beautifully in the time it took to watch Down With Love and Pineapple Express. I did have to make some adjustments to fit my "extra architecture"  as my funny husband calls it. I sewed in bra cups, shortened the halter strap just a tad and shaped the cup to fit and support my bust. I used a metal zip down the back and added red piping and little cherry red buttons. The pattern instructions were very easy to follow. I think I will make another in green to match my 50's swim cap.


I hope to make a matching sunhat and beach bag too!

Blog Break!

7/19/12

Hello everyone!
 Well, there's been a major family emergency and I have a whole lot of work to do so I will be taking a (hopefully) short blog break- maybe a week or so. I probably won't be able to respond to many emails or facebook messages during the break so please bear with me. I'll be back as soon as I can. In the mean time, please do check my blog roll for some of my favorite reads and I'll be back with more details later on....

How to find vintage in small towns

7/18/12


I hope you all enjoyed my photos of the small towns I visited.  I scored some amazing bargains this weekend but only after a lot of hunting.  This post is very long and photo heavy but there were too many pretty things to share!
 
 Many small towns have very limited opportunities for commerce and when it comes to vintage, these people have been living a life of make do and mend for generations. That's good for us because it means that they rarely throw anything away but also makes some vintage items scarce because they have been repurposed.


What to Look For
 Clothing and Linens
When the nearest fabric store is many miles away, small town and farm women didn't hang on to their dresses in the 30's-50's. What was once a dress became children's clothes, aprons and quilts. Curtains and other household linens were cut up and repurposed into new items. So, if you manage to find a vintage dress in a small town, it must have been very special to someone! At Forever Antiques, they have a beautiful selection of Victorian clothing and accessories.


 
In the towns that I visit, there are always beautiful handmade quilts, feed sacks, embroidered tea towels, tablecloths, aprons and other kitchen and dining room linens. On rare occasion, I have found a vintage dress but they are usually pretty expensive because sellers know how rare and precious they are when you're in farm country. This weekend, I did find a 60's dress and coat set in the back of a barn. I also found a few 60's blouses, girdles and a nightgown.


 So, although you'll have to root through a lot of modern clothes, the vintage is out there. Just keep digging. The little places that I traveled to had loads of vintage chenille bed spreads at affordable prices, so keep an eye out for those as well!


Accessories
Accessories such as handbags, hats and jewelry are much easier to find. However, shop owners tend to charge a lot for anything that sparkles. Rhinestone jewelry would have been quite a luxury for a woman working on the farm or for a small  town housewife. Vintage hats, umbrellas, early plastics and purses are usually much more affordable. I found this carved black bakelite bangle and green bakelite screw back earrings at Jackson Corner Vintiques in Farmington, MO. The shop owner was kind enough to offer me a deal so I got both for $15!

carved bakelite bracelet and green bakelite screw back earrings

Paper Items
Magazines, patterns, needle books, craft booklets and newspapers are plentiful in these little places. While chatting with an antique dealer (who had been in the business for over 60 years) he told me that due to Missouri's climate, we have some of the most well preserved paper in the country.


I've seen Victorian era magazines and newspapers that look like they were just published. So, if that's your thing, you'll love visiting the Midwest. Since small town women had to be frugal, they took very good care of sewing patterns and  craft books, often lending them out to other ladies to reuse. Newspapers are less common but just think about all of the practical uses for newspaper. When I was a teenager, I helped my dad remodel houses on the weekends. While tearing down a wall in a very old house, I found it full of newspapers from the 1910's. The previous owners needed some extra insulation, I guess.

Home Decor and Kitchen wares
I find some of the cutest and cheapest home decor and kitchen wares in small towns. Those old wooden handled utensils and extra dishes were often stored in barns and attics, forgotten about for decades. As furniture and kitchen things are uncovered in old buildings, they are being sold at garage sales and flea markets.Here's my 50's clock radio, star burst leaf wall clock and 1940's crochet handbag at Forever Antiques- all for a bargain total of $13.


Where to Shop
Finding the goods is easy but finding the places to shop is much more difficult! You probably won't find a vintage clothing store in a small town but flea markets, garage sales, auctions, antique shops and junk stores are good places to look. 


Before you go- check out a map of your planned route and see if there are any places to stop in the towns along the way. Use google keywords like "vintage" "antiques" "antique mall" "junk shop" "flea market" along with the name of the town. If you find a phone number, it's always a good idea to call ahead to see if they are still in business and check store hours. I live in the Bible Belt and many businesses are closed on Sundays.

Find a Map- Some antique malls along major highways have maps of other antique shops in the area. Look at the checkout counter for these maps and brochures. If they don't have one, the cashier may know of other places in the area. 


Talk to the local people- Small town people (especially here in the Midwest) love to chat with visitors and are always happy to share information about their home town with people passing through. They know all of the back roads, best places to eat and neatest shops to visit. If you stop at a flea market, gas station or diner, chat with the patrons or workers to get more information.

We stopped here on the road- in comfy flip flops and no shoes for my sleepy dude

Tourist Information Centers- Even rural areas have tourist information centers. We love to stop in and pick up some brochures for my scrapbooks and ask about places of interest in the area. Learning more about the town's history might help you to figure out the story behind your vintage finds or lead you to a unique destination.

And Sometimes.....

Critters- Part of country life is dealing with critters. When things are stored in barns and flea markets are set up in an old parking lot, you never know what you're going to find. For example, look who I found in a 60's housecoat. Isn't he cute?!

This little flea market was set up in a very old storage unit with clothes on racks in the gravel. So, things like this are bound to happen. Pack clothes in tied up plastic bags and when you get home, give them a good shake and toss them in the wash, just in case! 

Hagglers, Wheelers and Dealers- Some prices are firm but in my experience, price tags are usually negotiable at junk shops and flea markets. My 60's dress and coat didn't have a tag so when I asked about it,  the guy gave me a great deal of $8 for it. This 50's clock was $4 but the lady decided to give it t me for $1 because the glass face had to be reattached.
 
If the price is quoted too high or if an item is expensive and damaged, it's usually acceptable to ask if they are firm. Always offer a fair price for something, though because it's polite and it's good to support small town economy. I've found some people that love to haggle and they expect others to do it too.

Chatty Odd Folks- We've met all sorts of interesting and strange people on our journeys. That's part of the fun! In the country here in Missouri, it's always nice to sit a talk with a perfect stranger for a few minutes. Some people will share their life story with you but it sure makes for a memorable trip.

Dig Like you've Never Dug Before-At flea markets and junk shops, be sure to bring your flashlight and work gloves because things aren't exactly organized. Items are tossed in boxes, crammed into little shelves and even wadded up in trash bags. While shopping in the country, I rarely wear anything too fancy because this kind of shopping is all about utility. Here I am in flip flops, jeans and one of Pj's t-shirts at Fred's Bargain Barn in Cherokee Pass, Missouri.

Small Town Life

7/17/12


This weekend, we went on a little road trip to Southeast Missouri. As much as I complain about my boring state, it really is an amazing place. Although much of the land is littered in dilapidated barns, rusted pick up trucks and abandoned buildings, there's something quite beautiful about it. This area was settled in the 1800's. The land is rich in minerals so many of these towns survived on mining and farming. While the population is very small and some might look down their noses at "simple country folk", the people here are kind and hard working. One thing I love about living in the Midwest is that the people here are often shockingly outgoing and find an excuse to talk to any stranger that crosses their path. Once while at the local Walmart, a local lady had me help her pick out the flowers for her daughter's wedding!  That's the Midwest for you. Here's a peek at small town middle-America.












 Stay tuned tomorrow for my post on how to find vintage treasures in small towns.











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