Thursday, December 20, 2012

Vivienne Westwood is so rad, part 2

As promised, more Vivienne Westwood for your Thursday viewing pleasure.

Harris Tweed, autumn/winter 1987–88, Sarah Stockbridge photographed by Declan Ryan

Harris Tweed, autumn/winter 1987–88, photo by Cindy Palmano

Vivienne as Margaret Thatcher, photo by Michael Roberts for Tatler, 1989

Les Femmes, spring/summer 1996, Guinevere photographed by David Sims

Grand Hotel, spring/summer 1993–94. Linda Evangelista photographed by Steven Meisel, Italian Vogue, 1993

Always on camera, autumn/winter 1992–3, photo by Gilles Bensimon

Anglomania, autumn/winter 1993-94

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Vivienne Westwood is so rad.

I don't know why but there's one particular library sale that I can always count on for a high yield of awesome art and fashion books. I love art and fashion books. Is there just one person donating them to this library? A cultured, moneyed person who frequents museums all over the world and can't resist the impulse buy of the $75 exhibition catalog? And then a decade or so later is like, what was I thinking buying this five-pound tome celebrating a Vivienne Westwood retrospective at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London? Let me just give it to the library, which will turn around and sell it for a dollar.

Well, thank you, whoever you are, for this pristine copy of Vivienne Westwood by Claire Wilcox, first published in 2004 (this edition is 2008). Flipping through the pages, I feel my old fashion copywriting vocabulary returning with a vengeance: Behold her busty punk-rock Marie Antoinettes and sly equestriennes and rejoice! My pictures of these pictures don't do them justice, but I'll still share more this week.

From Pagan 1 collection, spring/summer 1988. Harris Tweed jacket. "I wanted my outfit to look like a girl dressed like a man with no trousers on."

Pagan 1 collection, spring/summer 1988

From Nymphs spring/summer 2002. Photo by Alexei Hay

Pagan 1 collection, spring/summer 1988. Photo by Cindy Palmano

Cut and Slash, spring/summer 1991. Photo by Marc Hispard, from ELLE Brazil

Grand Hotel, spring/summer 1993–94. Christy Turlington in tartan photographed by Mario Testino

Monday, December 17, 2012

Things I didn't buy: barbershop quartet edition

I was pleased to see a closet full of barbershop quartet outfits—rainbow sportcoats and pork pie hats, wowsie—because who isn't pleased by the thought of a barbershop quartet? Needless to say, I didn't buy them.

I didn't buy this Breuer chair because the estate sale folks knew what they had (eight Breuer chairs in excellent condition) and priced accordingly. Besides, eight more chairs and my house will really start looking like an auditorium, or at least a random-vintage-chair showroom.

I don't know why I didn't buy this little Calvin Klein scarf. That typeface! Oh well.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Object lesson: the disappointing parakeet-training record

Let this be a lesson to all estate salers and thrifers: When buying a record, always look inside the sleeve to determine (a) if the record is there; (b) if it's in decent condition; and (c) if it actually matches the sleeve. I was obviously so excited when I found this Hartz Mountain Parakeet Training Record that I thrust my $2 at the salesperson without performing any of the usual checks. Which is why I'm now listening to a scratchy rendition of Mel Blanc doing "Woody Woodpecker and the Truth Tonic" instead of hearing a flock of precocious parakeets chattering amongst themselves.


I suppose it was worth buying just for this frame-worthy cover. I love the tagline on the top of the record sleeve: "Let your parakeet teach himself to talk!" Like, why should you have to teach the bum? Put down the cuttle bone for two seconds, you lazy bastard, and wrap your beak around a few rudimentary vocabulary words!

Rosetta Stone for Budgies—what a fine idea. If only I'd had a copy when I got my childhood pet parakeet Sinbad. Perhaps he wouldn't have remained a mute. Well, I digress. I've told the sad story of my dumbstruck bird here. I'm probably better off with my zebra finches, Flute and Midge—a pair of misanthropes who have zero desire to chat with you or even look at your face. Wonder if they would enjoy listening to Mel Blanc do Woody Woodpecker...

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Paperback of the week: Sexy Heloise

Just when I thought I had every volume of sexy ’70s Heloise, another incredible paperback turns up in someone's musty garage. Check out this hot mama, multitasking Enjoli-style. She looks so smug, and deservedly so—not many hausfraus look that fine in short-shorts.

You may recall that Heloise, the silver-foxy purveyor of syndicated household hints in your local newspaper (if, in fact, you are familiar with newspapers), is a homegrown heroine here in San Antonio. Her books are ubiquitous at garage sales and goodwills, but I don't often run across this series published by Pocket Books in the 70s. Love.

Monday, December 10, 2012

What the children got: the ongoing saga

In honor of my younger magpie's sixth birthday today, I bring you the latest accounting of their estate sale scores. The Native American outfit, above, is completely awesome. The tomahawk is not lethal, but she can now add "archery" to the skills section of her resume.

The older child insisted that I buy this copy of Trudy Phillips, New Girl. I applaud its darling cover, but I'm reasonably certain she's never going to read it.

This box of beads and sequins was a straight-up bribe, purchased to buy me a little more time at the infamous Owl Estate Sale. No one has touched the beads since I bought them—though they HAD to have them at the time—but I expect one day they'll meet their fate in a vacuum-cleaner bag.

I must confess that I was the one who bought this Lite Brite, without any nudging or nagging from any small child. I wanted it! I've wanted it for, like, 35 years. That commercial was irresistible. I don't know why my parents never gave it to me, but I rectified that wrong when I found this Lite Brite in the back of someone's closet. The box is beat to hell, but the lites are still brite. Don't we all just want our children to have what we didn't have? Happy birthday, kid.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012


Yikes, it's really happening. Alea iacta est. I dropped off a booth request form at my local antiques/crafts mall a little over a month ago. I didn't expect a response anytime soon; for reasons I can't quite explain, I was kind of assuming they'd never respond. But they did. And they forced me to make a snap decision on the phone, when I was one glass of dry rose into my Saturday night, which led to my signing a lease on Monday and snapping photos of a 3-by-4-foot stall walled in on three sides by white pegboard. And wondering what the hell I'm going to put in it? And where can I get some supercute pricetags? And how do you hang shelves on pegboard? And—inventory?

Last night I started dragging stuff out of closets. Things I've bought at estate sales cuz I couldn't resist how cheap they were even though I didn't especially want/need them. But mostly stuff from my house in Brooklyn that I couldn't bring myself to get rid of when I moved but also didn't feel right in the Atomic Money Pit. I'm thinking my little booth is going to look a lot like my Brooklyn house, writ very small.

One of the oddities that emerged from the closet was a taxidermy deer foot thermometer. I remember really cherishing this item; it had a place of honor on a bookcase. Now I find it gross. But it caught the eye of my younger packrat child who started clamoring for it immediately. The older one was repelled: "That's just sad! The poor deer. Sell it!" The younger one was outraged: "No, no! Let me have it! I don't have one of those!"

Oh, child. I can't sell the deer-foot thermometer because you don't have a deer-foot thermometer? I sense trouble on the horizon. I don't think some people are ever going to be able to visit mommy's little store, which I expect will be full of things we don't have.

I am so selling that deer foot thermometer. If there's a market for it, of course.

Monday, December 3, 2012

More things I didn't buy: George Bush edition

I didn't buy this cute owl needlepoint because it came too close on the heels of the Mother of All Owl Sales, where I didn't buy nearly as many owls as I probably should have. I'm owled out. No, I don't mean that. I love owls!

I didn't buy this fine example of amateur art: Portrait of the Young Rodent in his habitat. Is it a neutra? A groundhog? A prairie dog? Whatever he is, he's really swell. Why didn't I buy him?

I did not buy this George and Laura Bush calendar cuz, duh, it's from 2007!

Friday, November 30, 2012

More eye candy from the etsy shoppe

It seems I'm taking the easy way out with today's post, throwing up a few eye-delicious scans from vintage decorating books now on sale for totally reasonable prices at the Thingummery etsy shoppe. You'll have to cut me some slack. Since returning from our Thanksgiving holidays in NJ and NYC, four out of four family members have been struck down by a virulent, take-no-prisoners stomach bug. Some people haven't been in school for days. Some people missed important work meetings. Some people—people who are also suffering from a cold—haven't been able to go running or send out birthday party invitations or think up clever posts for this blog. Some people are missing the estate sales today, and those people never miss the estate sales on Friday.

But those same people are managing to add new listings to the shoppe every day, including children's books, including books that have been celebrated on this very blog like this one and this one, back when some people were feeling more clever. Wishing you a weekend free of saltines and everything else on the B.R.A.T. diet!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Before there was Evite

I do love me an adorable vintage greeting card, thank you card and party invitation. I realize that, like most things I admire, they've grown increasingly obsolete. But in the case of Evite et al., I don't think technology has really improved matters. Half that shit gets filed in the junk folder, or you're bombarded by follow-ups and reminders. It's kind of annoying. Though I do get the appeal—no one RSVPs for children's parties around here—so maybe several hundred follow-up emails does improve the response rate.

Whenever I'm at an estate sale I make a beeline for the home office in hopes to find some cards, and the best thrift stores usually have a stationery section. I've amassed a fair amount of old-school invitations—too bad I hardly ever throw any parties!

In less than two weeks my younger daughter will be celebrating her sixth birthday with a roller-skating shindig. The rink provides invitations, which I haven't seen but I'm guessing they're not too exciting. I could dip into my stash of vintage invites, but it hurts me to think of 23 vintage cards sent home via backpack mail ending up, unopened, in 23 trashcans. At least I assume they'll be unopened—how else to account for the inevitable lack of RSVPs?

Monday, November 26, 2012

More things I didn't buy: four-star general edition

I did not buy anything, including these three items, at a recent estate sale for a four-star general, mostly because by the time I got there, it was way too picked over and still too rich for my blood. Military estate sales are a big deal in San Antonio, being a military town and all, and generals are obviously the biggest draw. Those fellows get around. Ahem. As we've been reminded by recent scandalous behavior. That aside, I'm always struck by the unused toiletries at estate sales; something about an Irish Spring-lathering late 4-star general seemed especially poignant. Do you think Petraeus uses Irish Spring? Personally, I always loved the Irish Spring commercials, but the product is much too drying for my sensitive skin.

I didn't buy this heavy, ornate organ because thanks to Lindsay, I have enough underplayed organs idling in my house and garage. I did snap this photo for his benefit, though.

This general—or his wife—had a serious passion for shelling. They were all over the house. Many of them were very, very expensive (dude had a gorgeous fan of black coral in a huge shadowbox for $600). There were price guides justifying the prices, and I'm sure they were all justified. I didn't buy any of these shells because, well, I've already sounded off on the controversial topic of purchasing someone else's shell collection here. Basically, it smells like cheating—not like the fine, fresh scent of Irish Spring.

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