Friday, October 31, 2008

Gothic Splendor

Katie over at Katiedid just posted a hauntingly beautiful post about Douglas Little, Modern Alchemist and Purveyor of Curious Goods. He created a Gothic Fantasy for the pages of the November 2006 issue of House and Garden magazine, and for the windows of Bergdorf Goodman in 2006. I had to share some photos below of the striking Bergdorf windows. You can see all of the windows here:

I love everything by Douglas Little, founder of D.L. and Co. He is most well known for his unusual and fragrant candles, in addition to other curious objects. He is also a decorator/designer and stylist extraordinaire. Love him!

Photos courtesy of

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Trick or Treat?

Have a frightfully fantastic Halloween!

Photo: Vintage Halloween candy containers & lanterns; courtesy of

Friday, October 24, 2008

What Does it Take to Get the Good Stuff?

Friday is a big estate sale day. People line up at the crack of dawn (some camp in their cars overnight) to get first pick when the sale opens.

Today there was a huge sale in the Bay Area and numbers were passed out the day before to reserve a spot in line. One of my fellow antiques dealers (name withheld) paid $400 to someone in line to purchase their number. That's right. FOUR HUNDRED DOLLARS! This allowed the gentleman to be number 20 in line, as opposed to number 75, or say, 124. The question is, did he find any treasures? I heard that he bought a couple of small things, but really. Is this funny, or have antique dealers gone too far to find a treasure? Perhaps I should get a second job standing in line at estate sales and selling my numbers. Just a thought.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Let's Bring Back...

I recently stumbled upon this post from Lesley Blume at the Huffington Post. She has a column called "Let's Bring Back." I thought I'd make a list of my own (below). What would you like to bring back?

1. Dining car travel. Oh, the Golden Age of Travel. Elegant meals served with fancy dinnerware. What a way to travel.

2. Letter-writing. Almost a lost art. Yes, the internet has enabled us to communicate instantly, but there is so much beautiful letterpress stationary out there and letter-writing is so personal.

3. Hats. On men and women. They are so chic and don’t you just love the photos of men at the ballpark sporting their fedoras and derbys?

4. Women’s gloves. So classy. I remember as a child in the 60’s, shopping with Mom in downtown San Francisco. You had to wear your white gloves and Mary Janes. Women looked so stylish.

5. Handsome luggage. Wouldn’t it be nice to sport a little train case and not see hundreds of black suitcases at airport baggage claim? Perhaps the old variety is difficult to transport, but isn’t it chic?

6. Full-service gas stations. Men with their little hats happily coming to your car to fill up your tank. What a luxury.

7. No sneaker rule. Don’t get me wrong, sneakers are comfy and great for exercise and walking, but I don’t like going to a nice restaurant or theater and seeing 75% of the people looking as if they just left the gym.

8. Old-fashioned architecture. Art Deco signage, skyscrapers with ornate, classical exteriors. Gorgeous brass elevator panels in lobbies.

9. Wood-carving. Bring back and preserve the lost art of carving by hand.

10. Phone calls. I may sound like an old fogey, but it’s difficult trying to respond to text messages and e-mails. It’s so difficult to type on that little phone pad! I love to spend time just chatting on the phone with a friend. It’s actually quite relaxing don’t you think?

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Vintage Political Collectibles

With the Presidential election less than 3 weeks away, I thought it would be fun to blog about collecting vintage political memorabilia. There were so many different collectibles including pinback buttons, ballot boxes, bumper stickers, matchbooks, umbrellas…even cigarette packs!

The value of political memorabilia, like most collectibles, is based on condition, rarity and popularity among the collecting public. Most popular to collectors are items for the very famous presidents (Lincoln, FDR and Kennedy) and the infamous (e.g. Nixon).

George Washington wore the first political button in 1789 at his first Inauguration in New York. He, and many present, wore buttons, but these buttons were clothing buttons made of brass and proudly reading "G.W.-Long Live the President", modeling the phrase "Long live the King." Clothing-type buttons continued to be used by citizens in a very young United States, often times with the name of a hero like Andrew Jackson conservatively placed on the reverse side of the button.

A “Gold Water” six-pack. (From “Campaigning for President,” by Jordan Wright)
“Johnson Juice,” the counter to “Gold Water.” (From “Campaigning for President,” by Jordan Wright)

One of the best coffee table books on political memorabilia published this year is “Campaigning for President: Memorabilia from the Nation’s Finest Private Collection,” by Jordan M. Wright. In his years of collecting, which started at the age of 10 in New York, Wright has amassed more than a million pieces of campaign memorabilia items from the first George W. to today’s less-heralded version. Now that’s a large collection! You can purchase the book here.

A great resource to purchase memorabilia is from Ron Wade, who has been selling political buttons and rare historical and Presidential memorabilia since 1972. You can check out his site here. He has a fantastic selection from current campaign to nineteenth century items.

Have fun and remember to vote on November 4th!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Have You Seen This?

I stumbled upon this entertaining website called, "The Living Room Candidate" which features Presidential campaign commercials from 1952 to current. They are quite entertaining. Many of them very civilized, some not. In any event, it's fun entertainment. I LOVE any old commercials. Click here and enjoy!

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Pimento Cheese Spread

Why haven't we heard of this on the West Coast? Apparently this is a traditional Southern comfort food that hasn't caught on in many parts of the country.

I just returned from visiting family in Nashville, and just about every market and cafe/bakery has this delicious spread.

This last time I was in Nashville I had a grilled pimento and cheese sandwich and it was the best thing I've ever tasted! Not the processed variety, but the real "made from scratch" mixture with fresh cheddar cheese, pimentos and mayonnaise. I googled "pimento cheese spread" and found hundreds of different recipes to choose from. Do any of you have a favorite recipe? I'm obsessed!

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Vintage Vogue Magazines

Vogue, November 1968

On Friday I was at an estate sale here in the City and was prowling around the garage. A fellow antiques dealer had stumbled upon stacks of vintage Vogue magazines from the 1960's. He let me look through them and wow...just gorgeous! Why were fashion magazines so much classier back then? Just look at some of these covers! The first image (above) is the cover of the November 1968 issue which I looked through. I love the photo of Verushka with an armful of blue enamel bracelets and baby snake rings. Great match with her blue eye shadow!

Vogue, December 1968

Vogue, January 1962

Needless to say, I was disappointed that I hadn't discovered these magazines first! The good news is that the web site, Paper Pursuits, has a huge selection of vintage fashion and design magazines, print advertisements and sewing patterns. They list the contents in each issue and show photos of some of the pages. Check them out here. I may have to buy some issues...

Vogue, May, 1962

Vogue, April 1963

Vogue, rare addition of Audrey Hepburn, November 1964
All photos courtesy of

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Rachel Ashwell's New Shabby Chic Blog

For those of you who love Shabby Chic, you'll be excited to visit Rachel Ashwell's new blog. Some lovely photos and stories. You can check it out here.

Photos courtesy of Rachel Ashwell Shabby Chic Blog

Cecil Beaton Fabric

I was thrilled to find out about the Cecil Beaton fabric collection available at Liberty of London. Beaton, the famous British photographer, costume designer and diarist had a keen eye for all things fashionable.

I am in awe of his artwork and have a small collection of his first addition books. Now what a treat to be able to purchase his fabric and wallpaper. All of the designs in the collection are reproductions of Beaton’s original work from 1948 and produced by Beaudesert in England. They are checks, florals and stripes on silk, cotton and wallpaper. You can see them here.

Photos courtesy of & Harper's Bazaar