Monday, February 21, 2011

Vintage Lucite Purses

Long ago...when I was about 20, I spotted a clear, boxy purse in a local antique store, with a simple flower carved into the lid.  It was hard plastic and I was immediately taken with the look of the was old, but modern looking, it was streamlined but funky looking, outrageous but functional and I knew that I had to have it.  But how?  Those were the days of poor... no $48.00 to buy this thing that I wanted so badly.  Groceries yes, rent money yes, funky purse no.  What to do?

Well, I knew that I had a 1940's telephone gossip bench that my mom really liked.  I loved sitting on that comfy bench, talking, talking, talking to my friends (pre cell phone days).  But, if my mom was up for the trade, the purse would be mine.  So, I proposed a swap...she got the bench, I ended up with the purse, and an enduring lucite purse passion was born.

I have been collecting lucite purses for many years now.  I also collect other types of vintage and antique purses, but the lucite purse is my favorite.  I never tire of looking at the fantastic shapes, the boxiness or the roundness, the smoothness and the quirkiness.  They really are amazingly constructed.  So modern looking, yet our grandmothers carried them.  The late 40's to the early 60's were their time, but the real heyday was the 50's.

If you are interested in a little bit of history, check out these sites:

So, last weekend, I found two golden confetti lovelies in a Monterey antique store.  If you are ever in the area (Monterey, CA) and want to go antiquing, this place is of my favorite local shops, The Cannery Row Antique Mall.

If you want to see more lovely lucite, scroll down to view a few more of my favorites...

So much fun!
Have a great week...

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Antique and Vintage Valentines...Show a Little Love!

So, tomorrow is Valentine's Day and it made me want to share my old Valentines with you.  The cards and images were collected over many years, not because I am a huge lover of this holiday (although it is nice), but because I can't resist the beauty, whimsy, engineering and with some cards, the sense of humor, that is displayed.

Several of the cards have the loopy old writing of the original giver and the fading penmanship clearly speaks of a different time.  A time when it was not a Bic pen and the Hallmark store, but a fountain pen and the local druggist with a soda shoppe counter.

When I think of how the cards must have been lovingly kept for years and years by someone who thought it worth their time to keep a card safe, I can't help but speculate on what might have happened.  Maybe the card was something special, given by a loved husband, a first boyfriend, a lost love.  Maybe it was a card given by one best friend to another.  Maybe these people ended up married.  Who knows.  But then, that is one of the pulls for me with old I really don't know the history of the item, except for what I can look up in books.  I don't know the real life history, but can imagine a past life, can speculate on what might have been....making up imaginary lives for the beautiful, old items I find.  Oh, I love to speculate and imagine.  If you've never imagined a life for one of your finds, try it....and see where your imagination takes you!

For the most part, the older cards are very delicate, especially the three dimensional ones.  I would love to display them year round, and have in the past.  But as the years go by, I am aware that light, dust, and just about everything else is working to recycle my beautiful valentines back to nothing.  So, I pull them out every once in a while and display them on my mantle in February, enjoying the little bit of old fashioned love they bring into my life.  Then, I carefully pack them up, and put them back into a box, to be stored in the chaos that is my craft room....waiting for next year to bring them out again.

On the back is written to Hazel, from Myrtle.

This sassy gal has eyes that move all around and a leg
that pivots up and down!
There is a date written on the front that says 1927.

This little girl is too precious for words!
The balustrade swings open for a 3-D effect.

The card with the birds, in the background, was the first old 
valentine I ever bought.  It is dated 1910 on the back and 
says: From Lucile Swenson, To Jerry Ginger.
I bought this card 13 years ago to go on top of my wedding cake!

Does the little girl in the right hand valentine look familiar?  
That's Shirley Temple!


Sunday, February 6, 2011

Let Me Introduce Myself:

I am a lover of junk.  I use the term junk in the most affectionate sense, knowing that it can carry negative connotations, but not for me.  One of my earliest memories is of a second hand store somewhere in San Jose, CA I think...and I am holding a baby blue, puffy jacket with a fake white fur collar.  I want it so badly and I am begging my mom to buy it for me.  My mom was a big believer in play clothes, clothes that were played in versus worn to school.  Hand-me-downs and second hand clothes were perfect for playing in the yard and neighborhood (I grew up in the country).  Well, my happy ending is that I ended up with the beautiful blue coat...and a lifelong appreciation for old stuff.

I can now be found on weekends, hitting the local circuit of second hand, thrift, and occasionally antique stores in search of wonderful old stuff.  It is a search, a hunt, a fantastic adventure to see just what I can find, never knowing if it's going to be a total bust, or if I will unearth something that I just cannot live without.

I am also an equal opportunity "old stuff" collector in that the item doesn't really even have to be old.  I mean, don't misunderstand me here...I love old, kitchy, vintage stuff the most.  But, I also find many a contemporary discarded skirt, purse, pillowcase, or tablecloth that I cannot and will not live without.  It may be a last summer's skirt that someone got tired of.  It will happily find a new life in my closet.

I think the real thrill of thrifting or junking is the unknown.  I can go to any big name store and find a great selection of jeans or linens.  But in a thrift store, you just never know what you're going to run into.  It may be a great pair of Banana Republic jeans or a linen card table set from the 50's, embroidered with the suits of the cards.  I would buy both, by the way...and have!

I hope you enjoy your own junky journey and will spend the time with me here on my thrifty adventure.