My collections

Compacts/aprons/shoes/etc. from my personal collection

Compact jackpot.

On Friday, my friend Amy emailed me a photo of a compact/vanity set she saw while out poking about at Antiques on Elm.

Amy thought I'd like this. (photo by Amy Janine Coleman)

Amy thought I’d like this. (photo by Amy Janine Coleman)

BEAUTIFUL. It’s a Shari Langlois set…originally it held powder, rouge, lipstick, and perfume, and there was a glass lid in matching pink Depression glass that would have covered the whole thing. While this set is missing the perfume and the lid, I still had to have it – the details on the powder and rouge compacts are simply stunning.

On the bottom of both compacts, you can read the Langlois New York hallmark.

On the bottom of both compacts, you can read the Langlois New York hallmark in an elegant script.

Lately I’m on a crown kick. How could I pass up this bejeweled beauty?

While exploring Antiques on Elm, a shop I’d never visited before, I found two more treasures that simply had to come home with me: a Girey compact with its original box and an Evans carryall that will be perfect for Easter.

In a recent post highlighting my Evans collection, I lamented that my carryall is missing its lipstick. Well, this one isn’t! Everything in this carryall is intact…the comb, lipstick holder, and powder puff are all accounted for. And while I’ll admit that I’m typically not a fan of pastels, this piece feels Eastery to me. It will work nicely with my blue Heart of Haute Milan dress.

So pretty and springy!

So pretty and springy!

I rationalized treating myself with these nice finds as a “congrats on your new job” celebration. Not that I need much of an excuse to buy compacts.

 

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More vintage aprons

My vintage apron collection is growing! Last time I visited my mom in Connecticut, she gave me two lovely aprons that belonged to Memere. We think she made them both by hand.

I love, love, love this.

I love, love, love this.

I love red and adore polka dots. The rick-rack and piping pull everything together. So cute. The next one is more of a smock:

Bright fruit print against a polka dot background.

Bright fruit print against a polka dot background.

It’s summery! It’s eye-catching! It’s definitely one of a kind. Whimsical, if you will.

A view of the back.

A view of the back.

Detail of the zany pattern.

Detail of the zany pattern.

These two aprons join the others I’ve received from the wonderful Lisa Kiner and my mom. I still need to figure out a way to display them, although as the collection grows to include more patterns and colors, I imagine the display will become more… schizophrenic? Eclectic? It will be something, all right.

An incredible Evans find

My mother-in-law is starting to understand my taste.

That’s very cool for a variety of reasons. Mostly because it means I’m important to her and she wants to choose gifts I like. But it’s also awesome because she volunteers with her church, which holds rummage sales as fundraisers.

She gets to see the rummage before it goes on sale.

When she saw this bag, she thought of me.

Gorgeous vintage clutch

Gorgeous vintage clutch

Another angle...

Another angle…

She called and tried to describe it over the phone, but I’m extremely visual and had trouble picturing the bag she was talking about. What I did get: It was old and had an interesting closure. She offered the people running the sale $10. They gave it to her for $4. She did some research when she got home and felt guilty that they gave it her for so little. Then I started feeling better, because it meant I would feel less guilty if I didn’t like it.

The elegant Evans emblem, hidden inside the purse.

The elegant Evans emblem, hidden inside the purse.

Then she told me it was an Evans. The odds that I wouldn’t like it plummeted. Evans made some of the compacts I love most…their styling and craftsmanship captivate me. Even their logo is striking.

My mother-in-law cautioned me that the interior of the bag had some holes in the cloth lining, and there were two small dings in the leather on the front. To a certain extent, things like that make me feel like it’s OK to actually USE my vintage items – I’m not putting an intact collectible at risk of losing its value, I’m simply continuing to make use of an item that already has a bit of wear and tear.

Yes, the interior shows signs of age. But I'm the only one who will see that.

Yes, the interior shows signs of age. But I’m the only one who will see that.

Inside pockets for lipstick and a compact.

Inside pockets for lipstick and a compact.

While the compact that probably came with the bag originally didn’t make it to the rummage sale, there were still some goodies inside:

Even more treasures inside: lipstick tube, change purse, and comb.

Even more treasures inside: lipstick tube, change purse, and comb.

 

Bow and basket weave clasp

Bow and basket weave clasp

The lipstick holder has the same basket weave as the bag’s clasp. It’s obviously never been used. So cool. And I love the blue jewel at the tip. I’m not certain of this set’s age, but I’m looking forward to doing some research to see what I can find.

Display shelves

A long time ago, I mentioned that I didn’t really have a good way to display my compacts…they were just sort of scattered willy-nilly throughout my office. I started building some shelves with old drawers I found in the loft over our garage, but got stalled when it was time to figure out how to hang them.

Drawers from the loft in our garage.

Drawers from the loft in our garage.

Fortunately for me, Tim stepped in and decided to surprise me while I was travelling for work. He came up with a way to connect and hang the shelves in a way that captured the juxtaposition I was going for. I like unexpected contrasts…something rustic up against the industrial, or something rough and unfinished paired with something polished and ornate. It’s not for everyone.

The drawers had traces of BRIGHT PINK. Which I hate. So I sanded them down and stained them with a black stain that let traces of the wood grain peek through.

First pass with the stain.

First pass with the stain.

Tim cut some smaller pieces of wood for me to put inside the boxes to create more shelves. I stained those, we nailed/glued them in, it looked great and then….

They sat in the garage for months.

I got distracted. Fortunately, Tim decided that shelf-finishing was a great way to entertain himself while I was traveling for work. I returned from my trip to find beautifully completed shelves. Yay! He used copper plumbing fittings to connect the shelves.

My finished shelves!

My finished shelves!

They fit nicely in a corner next to my bookshelves. We live in a Cape, which has sloped ceilings in some spots that can make it tough to fit things in, but these work perfectly.

A close-up of the fittings.

A close-up of the fittings.

I love the way the compacts fit in here...there's enough room to stand them up or set them flat.

I love the way the compacts fit in here…there’s enough room to stand them up or set them flat.

Tim put a bit of a blue stain on the edges of the middle shelf. It’s subtle, but I like it. Sorry the photos are a bit dark – the light in my office is tricky and it’s tough to photograph. Overall, I’m really pleased with these. I like the hint of rawness in the shelves in contrast to the polish and delicate appearance of the compacts.

Consignment finds

Yesterday afternoon I was fidgety and decided to go for a drive. While I started off intending to hit up the usual antique stores, I changed my mind once I got close and decided to try the local consignment shops instead.

Good call.

At Second Avenue Consignment, I found the flour and sugar containers from a Beautyware canister set. I’d love to find the matching coffee and tea containers, but for now, the flour and sugar canisters work just fine.

I also saw a mid-century tea cart that I would have snatched up in a heartbeat if it weren’t for one teeny little detail…

Striking tea cart.

Striking tea cart.

It’s pink. I HATE pink. Sigh. I know some other vintage lady will love it. If you’re in the southern New Hampshire area and reading this blog, I think it was marked $49. You’re welcome.

I left Second Avenue with my canister set and headed next door to Twice As Nice Consignments, but didn’t find anything there. I got back in my car and headed toward Milford, thinking I’d check out the New Hampshire Antiques Co-op. Then I saw a sign for a barn sale. Whoo-hoo! I parked, got out of my car, and was greeted by these beauties:

vintage kitchen cabinets

vintage kitchen cabinets

Here’s a closer look at the pattern on top.

Red kitchen cabinet tops.

Red kitchen cabinet tops.

It may look familiar if you’ve been a regular reader. You may have seen it here. Or here. Or in any one of several other posts I’m too lazy to track down right now. That’s right. It matches my table. (Forgive the color difference of daylight vs. no light. They’re the same color. Really.)

My table.

My table.

As much as I loved the cabinets, I didn’t buy them. Mostly because we have no place to put them.

I did, however, add a new compact to my collection:

Washington, D.C. souvenir vanity case by Elgin American.

Washington, D.C. souvenir vanity case by Elgin American.

I love the deep burgundy of this vanity case. I didn’t have any souvenir cases in my collection, and this one is pretty and in great shape.

Basically, I drove around, saw cool stuff, and entertained myself for three hours. Good deal.

Fantastic finds

I had a really good trip to Connecticut last weekend. My dad and I both made some sales at the derby bout on Saturday night and we had a good time cheering on the teams. We talked a lot about music and books and writing, and he loaned me a few books. Which is good, because I read FAST and always need something lined up to read next.

Vanity set

Matching mirror and vanity jar. I love the pattern.

On Sunday, I met up with my mother. We went through a dresser on the second floor of her house and found all kinds of goodies: a vanity set, a plastic apron with a pretty rose print, a Bliss compact in the original presentation box, some vintage eyelash curlers and lipstick samples…amazing.

Bliss Compact

Compact styled by Bliss. The E. A. Bliss Company was in Meriden, Connecticut…where my mother lives.

But my favorite piece is this little watch ring: It’s marked Rexton, but I haven’t been able to find anything about it online. Fortunately, Tim and I have a fantastic jeweler who deals with watches and lots of estate jewelry, so I’m sure I can learn something from him. And get the watch properly repaired. It runs when I wind it, but loses time. It’s such a pretty piece and fits my little finger so perfectly that I know it was just waiting for us to find it so it could get some use.

Rexton watch ring

Rexton watch ring. Not sure if it started life as a regular watch or was always a ring.

Today Tim and I are taking a day off and heading to the beach. I love the beach, and we almost never go…I’m thrilled. We’re celebrating our anniversary this weekend, so we’ve got plans to do all sorts of things we both love but almost never do. I’m looking forward to it.

Off to go pack for Salisbury.

Quick catch-up

So I haven’t been blogging much lately, mostly because work has been STARK RAVING MAD and I’m too cooked to even think when I get home. I’ve also been trawling the internet lately on a compact-buying spree, which has turned up some lovely Volupte carryalls. I’ve also been trying to figure out how to make some kind of fabulous compact display out of reclaimed materials. I found some old wooden boxes in the loft over our garage. They’re pink, but I can change that. I also plan to raid my mother’s house when I go to Connecticut in a few weeks, as I’m positive she’ll have a few things I can use. Wish me luck. In the meantime: my lovely new carryalls, which I have no place to display:

Volupte carryalls

My two new Volupte carryalls.

The hot, humid weather has me wearing lots of light-weight cotton dresses…The Vintage Traveler  has a lovely series of blog posts on Swirl dresses, the ultimate in summer style. While I don’t have any Swirl dresses (yet), I love wrap dresses, and I’m definitely on the hunt.

More exciting news: My employer is holding a family day at Canobie Lake Park tomorrow. Since Tim can’t make it, I’m bringing our niece, Grace. This will be my first time hanging out with Grace without other family members. She’s an awesome 14-year-old and a really talented writer. I am a huge fan of talented writers of any age. Also a fan of employers that pay for their folks to ride amusement park rides as opposed to banging away at a keyboard during traditional work hours. Pretty good stuff.

The amusement park thing got me thinking about the origins of the parks. I grew up in a town with an old amusement park, and Tim used to work at the now-defunct Whalom Park. I’m interested to see how Canobie Lake compares. Look for a post on old amusement parks in the near future.