Friday, February 28, 2014

Photo Friday: Style to Spare Edition

Good morning!

Here we are again, kids, with the weekend stretching its welcoming arms to us! But it wouldn't be the end of the workaday week without some vintage photos here at She Was a Bird, and these are some doozies, if I do say so myself. This flickr user's account features TONS of photos of her mother, who has got to be one of the most stylish women I've seen in the course of my Photo Friday flickr trawling. Take a minute out of your morning coffee break and see what I'm talking about.

Folks, check this gal OUT.

I can't get over what a palpable sense of personality you get from these snaps. Here's the mother as a teen wearing menswear in thirties', with all the panache and button-cuteness of someone in a comic strip. See how her hat is completely tilted to one side, those high-waisted sailor-cut pants, and the vest (the VEST) in the photo on the right. Don't you just want to do a portrait of her? Five years before Katharine Hepburn was creating a stir in Hollywood running around the backlots with her willowy frame draped in slacks, and around the same time as Dietrich was genderbending in a men's eveningwear, here's just a civilian, non-celebrity girl in some American town with enough sass and class to compete in the same league. I DIE. Have you seen anything this fashion forward in a small town outside of Idgie Threadgoode? I haven't.

What's interesting about this selection of photos is how you can see this woman's style evolves over a period of ten or fifteen years. To the right in this photo, the mother is wearing some fantastic Bonnie and Clyde looking sweater-and-thirties'-skirt combination, with another hat clamped securely to only the western hemisphere of her sweet little head. To the left, you can see her a few years later dolled up in formal wear and still just as pretty as a picture, red lipstick, and her hair in a permanent. Two sides of one fabulous coin!

As the forties' arrive full force,  the mother loses none of her fondness for  hats and pairs them with these two stunning ensembles. On the left, a wide brimmed hat secured around her chin by its ribbons, an all white dress punctuated by dark colored buttons, and white sling back, peep toe pumps.  On the right, a skirt-and-jacket combination with a Breton hat in front of a lonely looking farmhouse. I love how she uses contrast in her outfits to make a big visual splash. Notice how her hair is rolled into pretty curls and waves, which get even more dramatic in the next set:
The hair on the right! Her friend's victory rolls on the left! My scalp is veritably stinging with jealousy. One thing I thought about, going through these photos, is how by modern standards, ANYONE in a dress/heels/hair done/lipstick on is "dressed up". Keeping that in mind, consider, in a world where the standard minimum included all these now-extreme dressing points as de rigeur, how difficult it would be to be a woman who particularly stands out as well-dressed. I wonder what little details of quality or style that our lazy 2010's eyes miss when we're combing over old photos for vintage inspiration. While this woman's fierce fanciness is plain as the nose on your face, I wonder if there are photos I haven't given a second glance that people alive in that time period would have regarded as "really somethin'". #foodforthought

Below, with friends. See how the woman on the right in the photo on the left is wearing a drapey, almost artist-smock like jacket. Maternity wear, possibly? Or just a loose cut? I want the coat and hat on our lady in the right hand photo so much...will have to consult what I already have to try and recreate this look.

Last but not least, this is the photo that initially piqued my interest, because of the little girl's leopard print coat (!!!!!!!) and elfin snow cap. Pinch me, I'm dreaming. When I went back and looked at the rest of the user's black and white photos, however, man was I glad to see all the wonderful outfits in this lady's back pages.

So! What do you think? Which outfit do you want to steal in its entirety? Any stylish members of your family that stood out from the herd even when the herd was uniformly well dressed? What are you looking forward to this weekend? Let's talk!

That's all for today, but I'll catch you kids on the other side of the weekend. Stay warm, be good, and I'll see you then! :) Ciao for now.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Our Modern Maidens (Joan Crawford, Douglas Fairbanks, Jr., Rod La Rocque, 1929)

Good morning!

The weekend's in sight! I hope you all are enjoying the week-- my day brightened up with Warner Instant Archive's inclusion of Our Modern Maidens in their online streaming service. YAHOO! The sequel to Our Dancing Daughters, this movie is the second film in the Charleston-mad phase of nascent star Joan Crawford's career at MGM. Released in 1929, if you are looking for style above substance (and who's kidding, sometimes I am), this picture is a jazz baby romp through late twenties' youth culture worth checking out. 

First off, folks, meet Billie, freespirited daughter of a banking scion, rich and fancy free, as played by Joan Crawford. JC, incidentally, went by "Billie Cassin" before she settled on Joan Crawford as her professional name grace รก a fan magazine naming contest, and looks almost unrecognizable in her short bob but for those flashing, huge eyes:

In an opening I would have pegged as too over-the-top Fitzgeraldian in a modern movie doing the 20's, but is apparently completely authentic in this contemporaneous movie, Billie and her cohorts are drunkenly drag racing in these two open top Packards. Racing through the backstreets towards a late train that will take them back home from their weekend revels, the gaggle of sheiks and flappers stop as their favorite song comes on the radio for an impromptu dance session by the side of the road. Because this is the twenties', man, people are crazy! The movie features a musical soundtrack and integrated sound effects but no talking dialogue but for a radio announcement. The character dialogue is delivered in intertitles. It's still the strangest thing to watch movies from the cusp of the sound era, because while they're doing their darnedest to keep up with the trends, how ghostly is it to see these black and white actors pantomime silently as car horns go off in the background, car engines cough to life, and dance orchestra music floats through the air?

The plot follows Billie's plans to land a diplomatic post in Paris for her beau, future-real-life-husband Douglas Fairbanks, Jr, by exercising her feminine wiles on unsuspecting ambassadorial big wig Rod La Rocque. Starting a flirtation with one guy to get something for another guy seems like about the worst course of action you could take because, hey, how could people get hurt with a surefire scheme like that? La Rocque falls for La Crawford but hard, and JC gets her man his spot in the French embassy. However! In the meantime, as DFjr thinks he's been thrown over for his better established rival, Doug implicitly commits an indiscretion during a thunderstorm with Billie's naive blonde best friend, Kentucky (played by Anita Page and yes, that is her character's name). Doug wears this dark stain of shame on his virtue all the way to the altar with Billie. But how can he tell! It would ruin Kentucky's reputation! And Billie, for her own part, starts to have misgivings about throwing La Rocque over for baby faced Fairbanks! Angst! The narrative culminates in one of the most beautiful art deco weddings you will ever see on the screen, but the victory of getting hitched and going off to Paris rings hollow for the couple as they each fairly broil under the heat of their misgivings.

Plot? Paper thin, in all honesty, but you get the feeling throughout that the whole dramatic exercise is really just an excuse to bringing some of those John Held illustrations of flappers to life on the silver screen. Who's complaining? The sets! The costumes! The Jazz age! That's what we're really here for, and you get that in heapin' helpin's in Our Modern Maidens.

One interesting thematic element in this movie is its updated wardrobe contrasted with its outdated morality. A puritanical sense of virtue being inextricably tied to purity or virginity is the one solid theme going in the movie, and ain't that a headscratcher to a twenty-first century audience.While the 1929 hemlines are high and the bootleg liquor flows like water, the penalties for breaking social code by having premarital sex are as serious and real as they would have been in 1629. Spoiler: poor Joan takes the fall for Doug in the last reel after Kentucky spills the beans about their night of romance. By announcing publicly that she's the one who lost her head that night and can't possibly be a fitting wife for Doug, Joan has her out from the marriage but it costs her dearly. As she makes her grand exit among the shocked rice throwers alone down the cathedral steps, you might as well pin a scarlet "A" on her cocoon fur coat right there for the level of ostracism she receives from her formerly "forward" minded social equals. The poor girl moves to France to escape the tongue wagging/lashing going on surrounding this perceived ethical misstep!

Similarly, in Our Dancing Daughters, Joan loses her beau to a less pure-hearted, but more artful gold digger of a girl who casts aspersions on Joan's (not spotless, but intact) reputation. Joan has to go through all manner of martrydom for her "loose" behavior to get her boyfriend back by the end of the picture-- in spite of living by the social code, just people TALKING about whether or not you're fast is enough for you to lose traction with a possible mate. Some cultural revolution if everyone's dressing new but thinking archaic. And is there no room for a mistake in this culture? I guess not if people find out!

In one dramatic exchange, former good-guy La Rocque corners Joan as they're alone in his cottage on a rain soaked night, who rebuffs his relatively explicit advances. The scene is heavy with the image of a bed and the threat of being unchaperoned with a full grown male turning into an ugly scene. LaRocque tosses this line off after Joan wriggles from his passionate embrace:

She manages not to cave to the gorgeous RLR's advances, but heck of a lot of good that does her. He runs off, heartbroken, to his cabin in the Argentine, which frees her up to marry Doug, but does she even want to anymore? Oh, it's all so complicated. Later movies like Norma Shearer's The Divorcee and A Free Soul would tackle extramarital sex with less draconian penalties for those who didn't play by the rules, but it's funny, even in a frothy little concoction like these flapper movies, how heavy handed and SERIOUS moral transgressions are in the over-arcing sense of the story. ((end rant)) 

Now let's look at some superficial things (the good stuff!): sets, clothes, and more clothes. Like its predecessor, Our Modern Maidens is OVERSTUFFED with crazy, no-way, "People do not actually live like this" art sets. Look at these two scenes from I think Billie's house: 

Yep, totally attainable. That is, if Cecil Beaton's handy to rework your entire house like some deco dreamscape. I do love the idea of almost-Depression era Americans coming from their modest digs to see these cathedral ceilings castles of the modern age. Give 'em glitz! Give 'em glamour! Give 'em their ten cents worth!

One of the things the box synopsis and other reviews I've seen kept mentioning was Douglas Fairbank Jr's onscreen imitation of John Gilbert, John Barrymore, and his own famous father. They weren't half bad, but I wasn't blown away either. While John Gilbert was reduced to a lot of tango'ing, smoldering, and smiling (which he definitely does in equal parts) in DF's imitation of the actor, and Fairbanks's Fairbanks was helped a long a great deal by his filial resemblance to said swashbuckler, the really good one in my book was his Barrymore. Or, specifically, Barrymore as Mr. Hyde in his famous Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Take a look at the side by's really pretty good!

Last but not least, these wedding ring ads ran in Photoplay in 1929 as a tie-in with Our Modern Maidens. And did you know, Joan and Doug themselves had married two months before the movie's August release date that year. They divorced four years later (Anita Page didn't have anything to do with that one, though). They look happier in these stills than they ever did in the movie!

Anyway, definitely worth a look if you're hankering for twenties' entertainment and flappers galore. I might suggest Our Dancing Daughters a little over this, but bookended, they're as much an interesting look at some of the social constraints of young moderns as they are their clothes and activities. Note: I am very biased because I would watch Joan Crawford in anything, but wasn't it exicting to see her here at the beginning of her career as a bonafide s-t-a-r?

So! What do you think? Have you seen this or any other old movies lately? What movies are out there that you've seen stills/pictures from but never gotten around to seeing? Are you a Joan fan? How do you react to her wildly different appearance in her twenties' movies versus other stages in her career? Let's talk!

I gotta get going, but I'll see you back here tomorrow for Photo Friday! Til then.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Chatelaine Pins (1930's-1940's)

Good morning!

Whatcha know, kids? It's Wednesday, middle of the morning, I'm already ready to go home already! Lots of things to catch up on in the workplace today, but what would a midweek workaday be like without a little vintage sunshine to soak up? More jewelry to tell you about today. Yesterday, I was looking up...I can't remember, but something completely unrelated to today's post (vintage gold charms? Lockets? Something?) and came across a listing for this "sweetheart chatelaine". As I end up doing a lot of times (you know you do, too!), I fell down the rabbit hole of looking up jewelry with the keyword "chatelaine".

Wanna take a look with me?
Now, technically, none of these are really chatelaine pins in the original sense of the term, which, according to this antique jewelry glossary, referred to:
An ornamental clasp worn in daytime at a woman's waist, attached to a belt or girdle, with a hook-plate from which are suspended several (usually five, but up to nine) short chains terminating with rings or swivel catches to which are attached various small objects for daily household use.
"Chatelaine" means, literally, the mistress of a chateau (nice work if you can get it!) and the position of being both responsible and fashionable seems to have given birth to the idea of a piece of jewelry with practical pieces attached to it by chains and loops (keys, tiny tools, etc). The real deal, 18th and 19th century pieces would be more utilitarian than decorative, though could be both. You can see versions of this accessory on Mrs. Hughes in Downton Abbey and in the 20th century, on Joan Holloway on Mad Men with her famous gold pen :

However, it looks like the term has also been appropriated to describe forties' brooches that are connected in two pieces by a chain. Some of these look similar to sweater guards, some might actually BE sweater guards), but as it is, hold secure in your heart the knowledge that you can find all manner of adorable, KILLER costume jewelry on Ebay by using the search term "chatelaine pin". I was dying over some of these. 

Another sweetheart piece, this one linking forever the hearts of "Lucille" and "Jim":
But the ones that REALLY caught my eye were the crazy novelty ones. Collectibles being what they are, i.e. collectible, these range in price from like $10 to up into the upper three digits. I like to think of celebrity vintage enthusiasts like Dita von Teese and Courtney Love surfing the world wide web and snapping up some of the more expensive and truly stellar among these pieces. Won't someone open up a charge account for me like those kept women in the thirties' movies (Clark Gable in Possessed, I'm looking at you)? I NEED. THESE BROOCHES. IN MY LIFE.

Coro did their fair share of crazy chatelaine pins, look at this canary warily eyeing that perfect black cat:
And this is so surreal I can't even get over it. "Who's there?" Each time I see some clever elegant-but-decidedly-weird piece like this my little heart flutters:
Vintage Coro Pegasus Chatelaine Pin/Brooch Hand And Door Knocker Signed

For the music teacher in your life, and even already inscribed with the name "Babe" (how cute!) :
Vintage Sterling Chatelaine Brooch Treble Clef Music Note Rhinestones

I'm not sure why this lady bowler is so muscular, but I do like the midcentury-ness of someone being enough into bowling as to buy a pin to commemorate their hobby:
Large Chatelaine Bowling Brooch Vintage
I love thinking about this bird set pinned to a bright, tropical floral dress like some of the ones Trashy Diva does (I have yet to commit to one, they're so cute, but this kimono inspired forties' dress may put me over the edge). Wouldn't it be just the thing to add to a flashy dress to go out dancing at the Trocadero, secretly hoping Gene Kelly or Cary Grant would cast a glance my way?
Vtg Chatelaine Brooch Pin Birds Figural Gold Tone 40's 1940's
THIS MAY BE MY FAVORITE ONE. We were talking the other day about interior decorator/silent movie star Billy Haines, this reminds me of an iconic horse-head lamp that he made for someone or other's living room. What I love about the lamp is sure, it looks like a particular elegant example of but not that crazy of a lamp you would get anywhere nowadays-- in the late forties' though, what a CRAZY and NEAT thing this would have been! He was famous for taking sculptural pieces and turning them into one of a kind lamps, which makes me cast a scavenger's eye over my own weird knickknacks that might be just waiting to be wired for electric light...ugh! The pin though! It is just perfect.

1940S Retro Horse Red Rhinestone Chatelaine Pin Set

Terrifying, occult, Rosemary's Baby lookin' king and queen here from Trifari, but I can't lie, I still think these are great. I feel like novelty jewelry, for the most part, is so ham-fisted/lame has to be not only a figural tiger necklace, but a neon and black and white poka dot figural tiger necklace, because the tiger alone was not enough of a statement. What's great about these kooky vintage pieces is how they manage to look grown up and crazy at the same time.
These cherubs are asking you the same question Huey Lewis would like to know...."Do you beLIEVE in LOOOOVE?":

1940s Vintage Cherub Figuarl Chatelaine Cupid BOOK PIECE Brooch Pin Jewelry
And last but not least, ARE YOU KIDDING ME. If this wasn't almost $800, I would have this. I am now trying to decide how it would be possible to DIY something like this out of plastic toy cowboys and Indians. This was made as a tie in to Cecil B. DeMille's 1940 movie Northwest Mounted Police, starring Gary Cooper. I die. I actually die.

Cecil B DeMille NW Mounted Police Chief Big Bear, Texas Ranger Chatelaine Pins
Anyway, I gotta shake a tail feather, but let's talk! I bought a pin like one of these auctions for considerably less than it listed for here, which do you think it was (it's not the cowboy one, I wouldn't even hide that from you)? Which pin is your favorite? Have you ever seen any like this out in the wild? What weird search terms have you come across lately that taught you a lesson about vintage terminology? What exactly do I have to do to get a chateau around here? You got thoughts, I wanna hear 'em! :)

That's all for today, but I'll see you back here tomorrow for more vintage tips and quips. Have a great Wednesday! Til then.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Charms and Earbobs (More Flea Market Finds)

Good morning!

Thanks for all your kind comments on my china cabinet! I am still livin' for and lovin' it, but it was great to hear feedback from you guys. I'm working my way backwards in terms of what I got at the flea market this weekend--these finds were actually from Friday. I almost never go to the flea market on its first day, but I happened to have the afternoon off and was curious to see what kinds of things are there when everybody else is at work. Turns out, about half the vendors, and a lot of curious people who also don't have work on Friday. About half as many stalls were set up as they would be on Saturday, but I think that was more owing to the crazy unpredictable weather this spring has sprung on us than any particular trend in flea market set ups.

Anyway! Look what I got:

This charm bracelet was in the Antiques Alley building in a booth that always has the most amazing, ENORMOUS vintage costume brooches and necklaces, and is ALWAYS running a 50%-60% off sale. Which means that the prices are already marked as about twice what they should be, but hey, I like even the illusion of a bargain. And with the prices half off, how was I going to ignore it! Plus, the guy running it was super nice. This bracelet was marker $40, so ended up being $16 (not bad, not bad!). I passed on another bracelet with buckle-sized scenes of Paris on it (too corroded, and it was $10 more), but that old "TREAT. YO. SELF." weekend voice whispered in my ear and I bought it. Look at all the crazy little charms, too! I have five or six charm bracelets, but never one where the charms are so densely packed they jingle loudly as you type or adjust your glasses. I love that sound!!

Closeups of some of the charms:

There are thirteen in all (lucky me), and include in this photo a sterling collie dog, a globe-like bauble, a shriner's fez, a round pendant marked "I Love You", this weird Santa medallion, and a lady Mason's Eastern Star charm dated "11-16-76" on the back (I guess her initiation date ? Or when she married a Mason? Who can say?). The shriner hat and the dog were the main reasons I was sold on the bracelet, besides its bargain basement price. I couldn't find anything with a similar number of charms and of this quality for under $35, so maybe the booth guy's original price wasn't far off the mark! Because I can't add, I was in the throes of misery for a good twenty minutes after buying this as I thought the price on it was $35 and that I had overpaid by two bucks...later in the car, trying on my trinket, I saw the $40 price tag and went "OH, duh, that price was correct." Why do I always think people are out to gyp me? The high anxiety of second hand buying sometimes wreaks a little havoc on my delicate psyche. Being a pennypincher, I am ALWAYS on the lookout for how I could miscalculate and not have the bought the right thing for the right price! C'est la guerre, I guess!

Round two:

The charm with the monogram almost looks like a little "L" and a big "H", doesn't it? Which would be my initials now that I'm married! Upon further inspection, though, it looks like it might be a "LFC" instead (Bob Barker sad trombone music). There's the outline of possible a school house? Two, count 'em TWO horse charms, a round charm marked "Popp's Ferry School 1966-1969", a Beta Sigma Phi key charm, and a graduate's cap. Popp's Ferry is an elementary school in Biloxi, MS, which makes me wonder if it was once a high school, or if the person who had this charm bracelet taught there rather than attended that school from 1966-1969 (that would make the school house make sense, too!). I'm trying to decide if I want to detach some of these charms and add some of my own, or just keep the crazy kit and caboodle as it is. For now, I am so enjoying rattling around the library with these tinny little clankers on my wrist!

Earring wise, I bought these four pair for $2 apiece, and aren't I pleased with myself:

SO! MIDECENTURY! I dug through a tray in one of the sheds for a good ten minutes comparing ones I liked and picking through ones I didn't, but all of them were great, really. The ones in the bottom right hand corner are my favorite because I think the black and the little atomic-ish rhinestones will go well with practically anything, but I've only worn the gold and the pearl-and-rhinestone ones so far (the latter I have on at work today, along with the charm bracelet...blinging it OUT). The best though, is that the earrings in the upper left hand corner are part of a set with a necklace, which put me out a whopping six additional for eight bucks, I got a bonafide set of aurora borealis costume jewelery! Take a look at this bizarre Instagram selfie I took after the flea, doesn't it look like something arty from an old Life magazine circa 1968? All I need is a black light poster behind me and the words "THINK" or some such in bold print at the bottom:

I have been looking for a set like this for awhile now-- I have a pair of heavy clip-on earrings that are a cluster of these kind of rainbow-stones, but it wasn't until I spent some time window shopping on ebay that I learned there's a term for this kind of rhinestone, which is "aurora borealis" (after the northern lights). Also, I learned that I was not going to be able to buy these online-- any time a seller knows the name of something they're selling (ie "Paul McCobb designed design" or "Vintage Schiaparelli MARKED earrings"), you know that drives the price up by about TWICE. And if you can't search by what it's actually called, it's like finding a needle in a haystack to grab something you want for a price you can afford! You can read more about the history of the jewelry treatment process (which involved Christian Dior going to Swarovski crystals to create something, well, "new" to go with his New Look designs in the early 1950's) here and here-- I was fascinated by the back story on how these gorgeous things came into being! And now I can wear them with a little bit more knowledge in my head about them, which you know just feeds my nerdy little heart. :)

Bonus: photo of my shadow and my dad's shadow across this old Pepsi-promotional restaurant sign... I would like a fifty cent "milk shak", but no slaw, thank you. I liked the letters (and the missing ones, too!) as much as the sign itself:

Ok, ok, enough about me-- how about you? Do you collect costume jewelry of a particular kind, or are you like me where anything goes as far as whatever your magpie eye spies goes into the collection? What's the best "score" you've made recently? Are you more into bracelets, necklaces, or earrings? I feel like earrings and bracelets are far easier to wear for me than necklaces, but it changes, and Lord knows I will not pass up a good bargain on a good piece no matter what my inclinations.

Gotta get back to work, but have a great Tuesday, and we'll talk tomorrow! Take care of yourselves, and I'll see you then!

Monday, February 24, 2014

Weekend Finds: HellllLLLLOOO Kroehler China Cabinet (1950's)

Good morning!

How was your weekend? I hope you were out enjoying some of the sunshine and good weather we had Friday, Saturday, and Sunday-- you KNOW where I was...the flea market! As was everybody else, and they momma...that place was crammed packed full of people on Saturday! On Friday, I dropped by just to spin my wheels and picked up some baubles and trinkets I'll show you tomorrow...Saturday, I apparently just lost my mind and bought, on the spot, right there in Shed 2, a 1950's blonde wood china cabinet. 

Check! Her! Out! Folks!

My dad and I were making the rounds of the sheds when he went over to take a better look at a china cabinet I'd seen the day before with a matching sideboard. "Did you see this?" he asked, already taking a look at the sliding glass doors with their notched handles. I hadn't even gone over to it on Friday, figuring the sideboard went with the cabinet, and both were probably out of my price range, but today the sideboard was sold, and the china cabinet remained, and didn't it look even better than it did the day before. "Look at how little it is!" Pappy said, pointing out the unusually diminutive size of the cabinet. Maybe this was originally to fit in a little dinette-style kitchen like I have? Or an apartment? At any rate, it is both shorter and slimmer than most midcentury china cabinets I've seen in real life.

The kicker was when Dad opened the long drawer and we saw this stamped into the wood of one of its panels:

Um, YES?! Kroehler ("say Kray-ler", its forties' and fifties' ads mentioned beseechingly in their bylines) was a Chicago based  furniture company that was TOP O' THE HEAP in the midcentury. While I'm mainly familiar with their couches (see this ad that is making me cry, or the series of sofas I wrote about in this post and this post), this was no average stick of furniture! The asking price on the tag dangling from the drawer pull was $225, and the man running the booth said he'd take $195 as he watched us oogling and ogling, in our best non-committal way, the different working parts of the cabinet. I don't know if you can see them in this picture, but the whole thing sits on tiny, atomic-slanted legs, and the drawer pulls are just adorable. Dad: "That's a good price, but it just depends on whether you want it or not." Me: "You think it's worth two hundred bucks? I'm asking, because any time I spend more than like $20 on something it's gonna bother me like maybe I was suckered or being foolish." Dad: "No, it's a solid piece of furniture, if you want it, I'd say it was worth that." I approached the dealer, still feeling the pang of despair from an earlier encounter in the antiques shed, where my hopes of acquiring a fifties' western fringe shirt were cruelly dashed by the man's not-budging price of $50 (and my unwillingness to pay more than about twenty dollars for it). "You couldn't do any better on that cabinet, could you?" I asked. He looked at it for a second and said, "I could do $175." Really, I wanted to pay $150 or less, but heck, fifty dollars off his original asking price...AND I was going to buy it either way....I'LL TAKE IT! We negotiated how to get the thing out of there and where to pick it up, and the dealer wrote us a pickup pass.

I spent the next forty minutes nervously walking around the fairgrounds, looking at other things, trying to quell mounting fears. I knew it was a good price and it was a great piece, but the buzzing in my head wouldn't stop after forking over about 90% of my bankroll. Would the china cabinet fit in the space where the baker's rack currently sat? Was it wider than it looked? What if the yellow clashed with the paint in the kitchen? How were we going to get my dad's truck up to the shed? Would we try to move it and realize the construction was way more fragile, sixty plus years down the line, than it had been when it moved off the floor room in the early fifties'? What if we got back and the guy was actually gone? We picked it up with little to no trouble after grabbing lunch at Nuvo Burrito, and had it in the house and ready to be loaded up with goodies not long after. I'll show you for yourself how well my dad and I eyeballed and judged the size of it, in this side by side comparison of what my kitchenette looked like Saturday morning and what it looked like Saturday night:

Not bad, huh? The second photo is a panoramic view of my kitchen, which doesn't weirdly veer off in the right in real life-- I just haven't got the hang of the technology yet! Here's a more static photo, again, demonstrating how much more ROOM and how much classier the joint looks with the addition of this china cabinet:

The hulking microwave you see in the before baker's rack photo is now down at my grandma's house-- she had a smaller one she wasn't using, so I brought that one up to go on the counter under the cabinets. The aluminum/wax paper/paper towel holder is awaiting being mounted to the wall in a different place, but other than that-- ALL the items that were on the baker's rack to begin with have found a happy new home in the china cabinet! I worked like a turk (something my mom used to say all the time...see the unexpected origins of this phrase here) to clean the whole thing out and get everything to rights before dinner, and I can't lie, I kept coming into the room and admiring how well it had turned out the rest of the day! As for the baker's rack, we collapsed it into its original, disassembled state to store until such a time as I have a big enough kitchen (or formal dining room, please, vintage house gods, hear my plea), and wah-LA! That's it!

While I was taking way too many pictures of this one item, I thought I would show you some of the things inside the cabinet, just for kicks:

I bet you recognize some of these things from previous blog posts, if you're a frequent flier here at She Was a Bird! There's a set of chartreuse planters from the forties' or fifties', a cup from the Texas Centennial in 1936, that little deer planter from the Shawnee Pottery Hendersonville sale, my Bee Gees lunchbox, and some Ben Siebel pieces from an estate sale and Goodwill (I never use them, but it's because I just love looking at them enough to own them), and a desk basket featuring Raby Castle (from this post).

This opens into a long, large drawer for table linens and napkins and placemats (so! fancy!) and even more storage in the bottom (where I hide my blender and other kitchen implements out of sight).

My vegan-is-as-vegan-does cookbook collection (Skinny B Ultimate Everyday Cookbook is the best I think), and a tequila bottle shaped like a little calavera type thing that my friend Anna brought as a gift to my engagement party last year (the tequila is gone, but how cute is the bottle?!):

I almost didn't buy that needlepoint because I was in a "being good about not buying things" phase. Aren't I glad I have feet of clay and unexpectedly weak resolve sometimes!

So! What do you think? Money well spent? Doesn't it look so much more put-together than the baker's rack? I was totally all right with that part of the house until this dreamboat sailed into my life and shook things up! Do you have a china cabinet? What kind of gewgaws and what nots do you decorate it with? There's actually a plate rail on the back of the top two shelves behind glass, but I'm still deciding if I want to mix it up with plates or just have what I have in there, because I like it very much as it is! What did you see out at the flea market or out in the world this weekend? Let's talk!

That's all for today, I gotta go grab my lunch while I can, but you have a fabulous Monday, and I'll see you back here tomorrow with more finds! Til then.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Photo Friday: Pages from the Scrapbook Edition (1910's- 1920's)

Good morning!

Well, we survived the storm! Matthew and I spent a good part of last night in the front room of my house with the lights out, watching the rain swirl up in billowing gusts out the living room's picture window. Not the best place to be if the storm really DID turn into a tornado, but how could we pass up front row seats at the main attraction! Trees shakin', winds quakin', I ain't fakin'-- there was a lot to see out on our residential street. The lights  flickered a few times, and the weather siren on top of the Inglewood Methodist Church was wailing, but overall its bark was worse than its bite, and after righting some patio chairs that took a wind waltz last night, we're none the worse for wear. Am I glad, too!

In celebration, I'm going to drop by the flea market this afternoon and see if I can't bring home some goodies. But it wouldn't be Friday here at She Was a Bird without some pho-tos. These album pages came from a flickr user who had uploaded a TON of family photos from the same time period, but something about the whole page being intact in some of the scans drew me to these over the loose leaf snapshots.

Take a look! I'm hitting the streets, but I'll see you Monday! Wish me luck. Til then. 


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