Friday, December 23, 2016

Xmas 2016: Gangster Snowmen & Psychedelic Butterflies

As a devout collector of vintage Christmas, this time of year is always fun because I can freely display the year's latest treasures.

In general, I'm a traditionalist when it comes to the holidays, but I'm always on the hunt for something that's unique, quirky or irreverent. The great thing about vintage Christmas items is that, for the most part, they were mass-produced, unless you go way, way back. The challenge with lights and glass ornaments is they're highly breakable, so to find these intact becomes rarer as the years go by.

In a previous post, I photographed my mini light-up gangster snowman (a cool Brimfield find from this past summer). I placed him in my hallway next to the "Chairman" gangster snowman. This no-nonsense duo I'll leave out through the winter.

This is the original box he arrived in:

Also in my hallway: my annual "Fantasy Tree" with 1940s fluorescent lights. This year I acquired the psychedelic glitter butterflies at Brimfield for a great bargain price.

As you wander further down my hallway (think bowling alley that ends in an "L"), there's a vintage 1940 chandelier. This year I purchased new red Christmas tree shades from Ballard Designs. I added the mini green glass ornaments.

In the kitchen, I placed my musical Santa head on a glass tray with pine cones surrounding him. The Santa was a gift from one of my aunts last Christmas. He dates from 1973 and plays Jingle Bells when you turn his head -- SO much fun!


My living room holds the most decorations, partly because it's the largest room in my place, and its red, gold and pink color scheme makes it an ideal backdrop for Christmas decorations.

The green card says, "Put the jingle in your bell,
the merry in your Christmas,
the fa in your la-la-la.
Just don't get your tinsel in a tangle."

This year's live tree is, once again, imported from South Windsor, CT, and smells GREAT!
I had originally planned to use C-9 outdoor lights, but decided I didn't have enough to fill the tree, and they would burn too hotly, even on a dimmer switch. So, I used C-7 lights instead, in primarily red and yellow to complement the living room colors. I also used tinsel to add to the brightness.


The pair of large window candles I found on eBay. When I was looking at them online, I thought they were C-9 size, but they're actually larger — the flame bulbs are 25 watts, normal lamp fixture size. I think they're sort of rare. I don't recall ever seeing candles this large at anyone's house, at least.

There are at least a few vintage ornaments on the tree that are new this year, including these...

Even my front door received a decor lift with this frosty swag I found at Home Goods. I added the four silver and gold glass clusters.

Naturally, in addition to decorating for the holidays, I also enjoy wrapping gifts. It's another opportunity to express myself creatively. I found a few sheets of vintage gift wrap to make it even more fun. I'm guessing they date from the 1960s...


May your New Year be peaceful and vintage happy!


Friday, October 14, 2016

Halloween Pumpkins & Other Roundish Things

During the bewitching month of October, it's fun to change up the decor, replacing beach towel slipcovers with animal print throws. Or, light blue, yellow and white with grey, black and orange. And tiny fairy lights with a new variety of votive candles.

I recently discovered a group of antiques shops in Norwood through a coworker, which I'd never visited before. The selection isn't stellar, but I did find this pair of glam pillows to spice up my Victorian-style parlour...

Glam pillow in wing chair.

Center jewel close-up.

Single button tuft on back of pillow.

I believe they're silk, but I can't be sure. There's no label or tag on them.

As I've done for the last two years, this year I decorated for Halloween, with a majority of decorations placed around my living room.

I do believe in spooks, I do believe in spooks, I do believe in spooks.

This year's new additions include the three light-up jack-o-lanterns from Lowe's.

I think the one inside the fireplace looks especially spooky...

In the kitchen, I decorated my three-light wall sconce, changing out the white bulbs with orange ones, and adding two glittery orange butterflies and black and orange ornaments.

There are also two Halloween trees — a black one in the living room and a silver one in the office...

I had this tree up last year. This year I added the Christopher Radko striped ball ornaments and larger bell-shaped ones.

This one features orange mini lights (not lit here) and black, white, orange and purple mini ball ornaments.

In addition, I placed this large harvest wreath on the outside of my front door. This I'll leave up until I decorate for Christmas.

Happy Harvest Season!

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Brimfield, September 9th: Treasuring The Day

The final Brimfield Antiques Show of 2016 proved to be a hot one – and the deals were hot, too! I did bring a shopping list with me, but didn't take it out of my bag even once.

One of my main goals was to find my sister's birthday present, which wasn't too difficult (it helps that she's easy to shop for). In addition to a flower-patterned drinking glass, an orange and black beaded necklace and a goldtone kitty slide bracelet, I found this kitty-in-a-basket cookie jar...

Cookie jar front
Cookie jar back

This piece has no markings on it, but after doing a bit of online research, I learned that it was made by the American Bisque Pottery company of West Virginia (in business from 1919-1982). In its heyday it was a competitor of the famous McCoy Pottery Co.

Some online vintage sites identify this cookie jar as a Hull piece, which is doubtful because most Hull pieces were/are very clearly marked. The online sites also date it anywhere from the 1930s to the 1950s. To me, it looks 1940s – sweet, innocent and whimsical. It's quite heavy with some crazing on the inside bottom, but no chips, and a genuine bargain at 10 U.S. dollars.

The piece was cold painted, which means it was painted after being fired and glazed. This is why a lot of the paint wore off over time. Apparently, some of these had paper labels on the bottom, which may explain why it has no surface markings.

Every so often, people (mostly dealers, as well as friends and acquaintances) ask me, "What do you collect?"

The answer is really anything and everything, but this Brimfield definitely involved finding and buying items to add to existing collections. I didn't plan it this way. It just happened.

So... I ended up with more vintage tablecloths, neckties and Christmas items, as well as Blondie/Debbie Harry memorabilia.

The first purchase of the day was this Florida tablecloth, faded to vintage perfection, with no stains on it. Another bargain at $15.

Florida vintage 1950s? tablecloth, approx. 48"x48".

Detail of southern Florida.

Love the Gasparilla pirate ship and the Key West fishermen.

Next, more skinny neckties from a large booth where everything was $1 each...

The red one has a cool scripty "M" on a random part of the tie. There are no labels or markings on the back.

The blue patterned one has a label and two markings on the back...

Cool original store label sewn onto the back – most likely dates to 1950s.

Di Tucci® was probably the fabric house/brand name.

"Auteuil" is printed onto the silk.
The word is French and may refer to an area of Paris?

And, as a longtime Blondie fan, I couldn't pass up a cool "Debbie" poster and an Autoamerican wall calendar from 1980-1981...

Debbie Harry 15" x 32.5" poster backed with foam cor.
This looks like it's from a 1979 Heart Of Glass TV performance
with Debbie wearing the Stephen Sprouse one-shoulder dress with matching scarf/veil.
Autoamerican wall calendar.
Measures: Approx. 9" x 13".
I'd never seen this piece before – maybe it was a
freebie at some record stores back in the day?

This must have been an interesting graphic design challenge –
how do you make it readable in this format?
It's actually not important, is it?

The bottom says, "The Album CHE 1290  Produced by Mike Chapman   Direction: ALIVE"

Finally, Christmas comes early this year...

Hard plastic light-up "Sno Man" in its original box – probably 1950s.
Love how the illustration makes it extra clear that it's electric.

Made in Pawtucket, RI.
I've seen many examples of this exact snow man on eBay and Etsy as a candy container.
I think the light-up version is much rarer.

This Christmas I'll display the mini-me snow man next to the larger gangster snow man I already have.
I'll call them Big Pat and Skinny Joe. 

Every Brimfield show I see fun, unusual items (often oversized and carnivalesque) I've never come across before, in addition to some unforgettable displays. Here's a sampling...

Open wide and say, "Ahhhhh."

You deserve a break today.
All hands.


Put the needle on the record, put the needle on the record, put the needle on the record.

Santa Now Entering Harley Davidson Country.

Yes, Brimfield 2016, it was a very...