Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Using Vintage: Sending USED Christmas Cards and a Winner!

This has been the most fun I've ever had sending mail.

Not too long ago, I used a vintage birthday card (that had already been used) for my mother's-in-law birthday. I left the original signature in the card, and signed ours near it...weird? Maybe so, but it brought a smile, because someone none of us knew also had a part in wishing her a happy day. It's a card with a bit of history included.

I mentioned on my Instagram post of the process that I don't think I will ever send a "new" Christmas card again, because some of the cards I've sent this week have included the original letters that were sent with the cards the first time (most dating back to the 1940s and 1950s). What a treat it will be for my friends to get them in the mail! I might even manage to convert a few into this little vintage sector of mine.

Let's start a trend together! I have tons of vintage Christmas cards. Really, that should read TONS. I've put a few in my shop and plan to list more, but I was wondering how I could show you that it's ok to send a used vintage card and not just cut them up for the images. (I wouldn't recommend reusing last year's cards, however.)

I've pulled my favorites from my big drawer full, and this is what I am doing with them. You can do the same, or put your own twist on this little project!

Add a family photo:

(Could you just die over the cuteness of ours this year? I'm so proud of her.)

Add our signature or name (then I drew a little arrow with the word "and" pointing to the original signature of whom none of us know):

(After I did this, I decided another option would be to cut Christmas card stock and write the message on there to include WITH the card instead of writing directly on it. However, writing on the card itself almost makes it like a circle journal. Don't you think so?)

Seal with a vintage Christmas seal (here is one of my favorite sellers of vintage seals):

Stamp with vintage postage (from my shop) if you have it, or stamp with the limited edition Rudolph stamps from this year! 

Would you send one, too? I think your friends and family will like them. At the end of the season, don't buy those cards on clearance...buy vintage instead! If you stick around here with me, I'll show you where and how. Happy mail!

P.S. Our winner for the awesome pencil sharpener is Huson T. Send your mailing address to me at feedthebirdies (at) gmail (dot) com and I will forward it to the company to have your sharpener mailed out! Thanks for playing along, everyone.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

[Giveaway] Win a Classroom Friendly Pencil Sharpener

I'm a huge fan of using Ticonderoga pencils; they are the best of the best in my opinion. It's also hard to find a sharpener that will sharpen a good pencil without that sharpen...break...sharpen again...break...frustration. And, for that matter, I'd prefer a vintage inspired sharpener, too!

With this Classroom sharpener, you get the best of both worlds. Isn't it cute? It comes in several colors and the design is perfect for vintage lovers and for school supplies lovers in general. It would make a great gift for your favorite teacher (*clears throat*).

Enter to win one of these beauties below. Pretty awesome with Christmas coming up, right? If you don't use it, I know someone who will! :)

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Use Vintage: Frame a Vintage Mickey Mouse Book Page for Disney Lovers!

I've collected several very old paper mat frames for framing photos or using in my journals and collage work. But, a little bell rang in my head the other day and I found a new something to display in them!

I'm working on a Disneyland gift for a dear friend in California; she wanted something for her home that she could display.  I have a vintage Mickey Mouse book from the 1920s that is coming apart at a rapid rate, so I just have pages left to share. Hello! Put a page in one of the old folders and it can be displayed with any kind of Disneyland memorabilia, even current pictures taken in the park!

I don't believe it's any surprise that I had to make myself one, too, to put next to our own family picture at Disneyland last Halloween. I wish we were there to trick-or-treat this year, too, but this will do for now. I used another page in my gold frame behind our photo so Minnie would be smiling on us. Isn't she cute?

Do you have any old ephemera you would display like this? Old postcards would be darling in a frame next to a recent trip to the same place. Print your photos and visit my shop if you need some neat travel ephemera to display along side them!

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Teacher from the 1950s: Vintage Square Dance Skirt

I haven't posted much about outfits on the blog, but my Instagram has tons of pictures of what I've been wearing to school this year. I thought it was high time you get a detailed description!

Today was a fun dress-up day at school, even though most days are dress-up days for me anyway. We are celebrating Red Ribbon Week and the theme is western music. I pulled out the square dance skirt and all the extras!

Here's what I wore:
Dressing like this makes me feel like a million bucks and it sets the bar high for everyone else. I've always been in this niche, and it's awesome to have the clothes to dress that way as well.

If you need help finding pieces to wear, let me know! I'm great at scouting estate sales but I also have found some fun companies to by vintage inspired shoes, clothing, and accessories. If you've got a few minutes, check out the companies above and also take a peek at Doll Me Up Darling (this is my favorite skirt from there) and Heart of Haute (I love their tops). Coco and Duckie (I just ordered these) have great shoes, and, of course, Miss Henny Penny lists vintage clothing and accessories all the time from our adventures! We love finding things for you.

Happy Wednesday, y'all!

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Reading Vintage Magazines: Good Housekeeping, May1958

If you follow me on Instagram, you'll notice my posts that frequently feature my love for vintage magazines. I would much rather read a Better Homes and Gardens from the 1950s than I would a modern day publication. The vintage magazines are a history lesson, a flashback of sorts to a lifestyle I'm infatuated with, and a way for me to learn how to mimic the fashion and home life that I adore.

In my Tonight's Reading blog posts, I'll share with you more than just the cover of the magazine. You'll get a lesson in history, a surprise and a giggle from the graphics and jingles in the advertisements, and an exclusive peek into the articles that I read from them. How does that sound?

Ready? Our first reading is an issue of Good Housekeeping from May, 1958.

The most noticeable ads in this issue marked the popularity of wash and wear clothing. I love that the institute at GH not only provided examples of new wash and wear clothing to buy and try, but how to launder each type. Did you know that you could purchase a wash and wear suit for men? All it would require was a touch up with the iron if you followed the wash and dry settings and instructions. You also were advised to launder frequently, as build up of stain and soil could ruin the fabric and make it harder to clean. Wash and wear was truly meant to be just that...wash, wear, and wash again while you own it! Here's a neat video about how cool it was to "wash and wear."

Did you know that highway billboards were frowned upon and most cities did not allow lots of advertising, if any, on major state highways and turnpikes? How interesting! We see billboards all the time trying to persuade us to stop here or there, buy this or that, and even rent your own billboard for your own advertising. The Ohio Turnpike, in particular, signed a covenant with the owners of property in which the seller of property around the turnpike could not erect billboards on the property that he chose to keep. Families wanted to focus on the peacefulness and tranquility of travel rather than be distracted by busy billboards (1952). In 1957, it was found that in 241 miles of the turnpike, only 7 billboards were present! Wow!

It seems that some things never change. Of course, being a teacher, I had to read the article, "The Soft Curriculum," written by a former teacher. The article focuses on a "crisis" of sorts that education was focusing more on softer subjects, such as home economics, sales, and agriculture, when instead the focus should be on more mathematics, Englsh, and science course work. The article claims the standard for education at that time was very low and that to succeed, we needed to step up the game in the classroom. I believe that is pretty much the same idea we are still hearing now...although in my district, I think we are keeping up very well. It claims that the US is "scandously" wasting its human resources. Interesting. I hear you, Dr. Bestor.


The feature article I chose to share is about someone I haven't paid much attention to lately, and honestly, I'm not even sure it's still a column in the newspaper! Dear, Abby, started as a column in a San Francisco newspaper by Abigail Van Buren, born as Pauline Phillips, and, yes, the letters are real! Yay! Did you ever wonder that? Little did Abby know that she would be scooped up by a syndicate and spend her days with more letters than she thought she could possibly reply to.

Dear, Abby: Our daughter-in-law was married in January. Five months later she had a nine-pound baby girl. She said the baby was premature. Tell me, can a baby this big be that early? 

Dear Wondering: The baby was on time. The wedding was late. Forget it. 

I didn't realize that people of all ages wrote to Abby in the beginning, and most letters are so funny that it's hard to believe they aren't made up; but, they are real. Kids that were miserable with their parents rules and teens that were worried about telling secrets would write in for help from Abby. Even in the 50s, nothing was off limits, including relationships.

Dear Abby:  I'm 19 years old and not very experienced, but my mother told me to be careful of men with mustaches. Is there any truth in this?

Dear Anita: Yes, she's right...and also be careful of men without them. 

Sadly, Abby died last year at the age of 94 from what is believed to be Alzheimer's.

Quick Tips and Facts from 1958 (all quoted from Good Housekeeping, May 1958):

  1. Never use a makeshift ladder someone has nailed together from boards and materials-at-hand. 
  2. An average weekly income for manicurists is $50 to $65, including tips, but it could go as high as $90 or $100 in, for example, a top-priced hotel barbershop in a large city.
  3. If you are going to watch TV westerns, you need to know the vocabulary to go along with it, such as "tree a town." Also known as "hurrah a town." Tearing a town apart and making the folks therein hide out. Not always done by outlaws.
  4. What's so special about a Rolls-Royce? 
    1. You can't buy a Rolls that is completely factory new. Each car has been given a thorough, 4000-mile break-in before leaving England.
    2. Most American automobiles carry a 90-day guarantee. A Rolls is guaranteed for three years.
  5. If you are a young mother: To cut your baby girl's bangs evenly: with an eyebrow pencil and using a tape measure as a guide, draw a straight line across her forehead. Comb her hair over her forehead. Then, holding the scissors close to the skin, cut along the pencil line. 

And, there you have it! A quick peek into a year you may not be able to recall or that you didn't live through. If you'll join my email list by adding your email to the box at the top of my blog, you'll get an exclusive high resolution scan of an advertisement and a recipe published in this issue sent straight to you in my next newsletter! The images in old advertising are always a conversation piece and make great and unique art for walls and journals and scrapbooks.

Have you read a vintage publication lately? I'll see you next time with a new issue!

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Use Vintage: Accessories for a Man Cave

Sometimes it's hard to get a man on board to pick for vintage, or for any kind of decor for that matter, right? My husband is very patient when it comes to what I use to decorate our home, including what I hang on the walls or place on shelves. His only gripe is when I yank a piece of furniture out from under him. Haha! (That just happened a week ago.) Man Crates, asked me how I would decorate a man cave, and of course I said, "Vintage!!" So, here we go!

I've been looking through my vintage collection from estate sales and visits to thrift shops to see what might be an easy fix for the man that wants a masculine touch in his man cave (AKA living area if you have a small space), but also allows his lady to match colors and styles, specifically vintage, in our case.

For his end table, a vintage Popular Mechanics is just about right for anyone. Ha! Look at that. This issue is about making your home a show place! Perfect for his lady to scan through as well. Vintage melmac ash trays are great for catching car keys and his pocket contents.

If he has a drink or two on occasion, these 1960s cocktail glasses and a recipe booklet make a fun decor piece that will strike a conversation or two. And, you could also frame a few old labels from liquors in these vintage gold frames.

Decks of vintage playing cards are neat sitting on the coffee table, which, in our case, is a vintage army trunk.

Blankets in the room don't have to be pink and rosy; you can find old afghans at many estate sales and they come in all kinds of colors! Or, if you prefer, old 9-square quilts are a favorite at our house.

For the walls, a paint-by-number can fit any taste, especially since they range from mountain scenes to puppy dogs to pretty ladies salsa dancing (although a bit feminine, it can still work for a man).

If he likes to travel, you can't go wrong with old postcards or brochures from the 40s or 50s of his favorite places to visit. They would look swell in a frame or just laying in a piece of vintage pottery on the coffee table.

Fishing ephemera would be a hit for many men as well! 

I chose most of these things because they will not only appeal to your man, but to the ladies as well. Vintage fits any personality, because there will always be memories.

These can also be easily transitioned into your vintage room for your guy! Let me know if you are working on a man cave of your own and what you choose! This would be a fun link-up if you'd like to leave yours in the comments! See you next time!

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Nifty (and Thrifty!) Ways to Use a Butter Dish Lid

I couldn't pass up these two butter dishes at an estate sale this weekend. But I couldn't find the bottoms, either. Still, as pretty as they are, I started thinking of all kinds of ways to use the lids as storage in my paper room and in other areas of the house. (I always need storage options.)

If you are a paper crafter, use it to store old labels or washi tape. Washi tape fits perfect in a re-purposed butter dish lid!

If you are a hostess or a cook, use it to hold your favorite recipes and they are handy to reach for.

If you are a seamstress, rick rack packages fit perfectly in a butter dish lid!

Here are a few other ideas:

  • fill with four or five cookies and wrap in cellophane, tie a bow, and give to a friend that needs them!
  • place sugar packets in them for a tea party (thank you to our reader, Amy, for that one!)
  • use it for a place to drop your keys or change on the counter
  • and, if all else fails, put little pats of butter inside (If your family is as excited about yeast rolls as mine is during the holidays, they won't be noticing the bottom is missing.) 
I also think of using it as packaging and pretty Christmas hostess gifts and all kinds of trinkets you could hold in a small receptacle like these. 

Do you bring home things with missing pieces sometimes? Don't overlook them when you're out and about. I bet in a few seconds you can find something to put in it. Happy thrifting! 

P.s. I just updated the shop with some vintage Christmas cards and other fun things. I also have the loot from a math professor's estate coming up!