Given to my Great-aunt Adore, by my cousin Nancy Harbin, 1955. I was not even born yet!
Given to my Great-aunt Adore, by my cousin Nancy Harbin, 1955. I was not even born yet!
A very Merry Christmas brings!
Vintage Card from Rust Craft
I took the above photo last week at the market I attended, and was planning to use it as yet another example of how it’s often best to just leave stuff alone. I know next to nothing about vintage costume jewelry, but I do think that the combined value of all the stuff that went into making this tree would greatly exceed the $130 asking price.
This was a huge fad in the 1960s into the 70s. Take all of Granny’s old, out of style costume baubles and glue them to a board in the shape of a Christmas tree. Display it for several years until you realize it is beyond ugly and then put it in the closet where you rediscover it in 2011 and try to peddle it as mid century art.
I know some of you are going to say you like it. Okay, I’ll admit that it does have a certain charm that would be greatly enhanced if these were actually MY grandmother’s jewels. Still, please let me make my point: sometimes it is best to just let well enough alone.
I went on a quest to find more of these to use as example, but my feeble search phrase, “Pin Christmas Tree,” led instead to Christmas tree pins. Suddenly the clouds lifted and I was delighted by a nostalgic trip to a mid 1960s jewelry counter. One of the advantages of having been in the world for 56 years is that I’ve got some darned great memories. One of them is Christmas shopping in the 60s. In one particular year, around 1964 or so, my mother let my older brother and me pick out a Christmas pin for our teachers. I can remember how hard it was to pick, as even our little home town department store had a large selection. It was a very popular gift of the time, and I can imagine that teachers in the 60s amassed a huge collection of them.
And that is reflected in the abundance of them in antique store, flea markets and online. On etsy alone there are over 1000! It would be very easy to get hooked on these, as most are very inexpensive. I’ll share a few I really liked, in all price ranges. Click on the caption to go to the sale page.
O Christmas Tree – Vintage Christmas Tree Brooch
Vintage Gold & Rhinestone Christmas Brooch Pin
Retro Christmas Tree Pin with Pink, Blue & Green Stones
Silver Toned Eisenberg Christmas Tree Pin
O Christmas Tree Vintage Christmas Tree Brooch
Vintage Silver tone Rhinestone Christmas Tree Brooch
Vintage Corocraft Cristmas Tree Brooch
Like witches on switches across the sky…
Collectors used to say that you could collect an item cheaply until some fool writes a book about it. That’s what happened to me with Halloween and Christmas collectibles. Back in the Golden Age of Collecting (for me, the 1980s) these Halloween noisemakers could be found in thrifts and flea markets for $1 or even less. I bought all of them I ran across, and used them to decorate for the un-holy-day. Then a book came out and that ended that. Today they start at around $20 each.
That’s okay, because I have enough to do me. I enjoy getting them out once a year and raising the roof. I used to take them to school with me to show the kids. They were pretty much amazed to hear the stories of how we as kids went though the neighborhood ALONE making a little noise, collecting candy, and generally having a fun time. It sort of punctuates how much the celebration of Halloween has changed.
But these tin noisemakers predate my own childhood. By the 60s we were into plastics, and you can see two of these 60s era decorations in one of my photos. The images are really great with everything from a sexy witch popping out of a pumpkin to a downright scary devil.
I think the devil images are the most interesting. Karen at Small Earth Vintage posted some family photos showing a kid wearing a costume with a very scary devil on the front. She was right when she pointed out that you’d not see a kid wearing Satan’s image today! Isn’t the whole point to poke fun at the things that are scary? Instead of today’s thinking – that to wear the devil on your costume means you are a satanist – wasn’t it a lot cooler when it meant you were thumbing your nose at him?
Is there any feeling like going to the mailbox and finding a package with your name on it? And then you look at the return address and realize the package is not something you ordered, it is from a friend. I can’t think of anything that could create a holiday feeling any faster or more completely.
Yes, quite unbelievably, a friend actually sent this wonderful box of vintage wrapping paper to me. Amanda, who lives in Vermont and who runs a greenhouse and sells vintage clothing knew I’d love this, and she was right of course. Even though I’ve never actually met her, Amanda is a good friend.
This is probably the most unexpected side-effect of blogging and having an on-line presence. For close to 15 years I’ve been meeting people online who share my love of vintage clothing, and who are interested in carrying on a conversation about it. In my “real life” I’m hard-pressed to find anyone who will sit still long enough for me to go on and on about the wonders of Harris Tweed or Vera Neumann, or any other topic that just tickles my fancy.
So I’d like to thank Amanda for the lovely gift, but I also want to thank all of you who take the time to read The Vintage Traveler, and who make such thoughtful comments. This is such a fun part of my life, and I appreciate having you with which to share it. So many of my posts are directly inspired by the comments made here and by what I find on your blogs. I know the word is terribly over-used in regards to online activities, but I do feel like there is a sense of community.
Lately, I’ve worked toward narrowing the focus of my online activities. It used to be that an adequate online presence was a blog and a Myspace page. Today, the choices are simply overwhelming, with twitter, facebook, tumblr, Flickr, Pinterest, Linkedin, google+, not to mention all the online sites for just fashion people like Independent Fashion Bloggers. It just gets to be too much.
I’m glad that I’m not trying to make a living off The Vintage Traveler. You do realize that there are fashion bloggers making in the six figures from their blogs. To me that is just astounding. They have relationships with fashion companies, relationships that are highly sought after and coveted. Turns out the latest buzzword in blog marketing is influence. How influence is measured is a very tricky thing, but several websites like Klout claim to be able to calculate how influential your online presence is. The higher your influence, the more companies want to “work with” you.
I’ve decided I can’t worry about my influence scores. I can see that we in our vintage community influence each other, and seriously, that is simply good enough for me.
So keep adding those great comments, and don’t forget to leave a link to your own blog. I always visit the sites of new commenters, and try to leave comments too.
I bought this box of ribbon candy for my husband after he spotted it in a catalog and recalled how his grandparents always had a box at Christmas. Ribbon candy seems to have made a bit of a comeback lately, probably more for its lovely design than for its taste. I’ve seen it featured this year dangling from the Christmas trees in several style and how-to blogs. And that’s great, because I hate to think of this traditional 20th century treat as passing into obscurity. And because this is mainly a holiday candy, I’m sure many families have stories associated with it. And here is ours:
My mother was 13 in December, 1944. My grandmother was in the new hospital of our little town, having given birth to my Uncle Neil. Every day after school my mom would walk from her school to downtown Canton to see her mother and the new baby. For some odd reason, after centuries of women giving birth at home, it was somehow determined that a week-long hospital stay was now necessary.
One day in mid December, when Mama arrived at her mother’s room, Mamaw was waiting for her with a dollar. She handed to her daughter in a hurry, with instructions to run to the Company Store, as a rumor was going around town that there was candy to be had.
I can just picture my 13 year old mother running the three blocks to the store, as she (and no body else in the country!) had had any real candy in several years. To her delight, there were boxes of ribbon candy, and though people were mobbing the counter, she was able to get her hands on a couple of boxes. It was a happy day for the Bumgarner children, and for my grandparents as well.
My mother had a life-long sweet tooth, and I can’t help but wonder if the absence of it in her late childhood somehow stuck with her – that even after candy was plentiful again she never lost sight of how very special it was. I just hope that in our lives of plenty, that we all take the time to appreciate the specialness of the gifts we’ve received.