Thursday, 28 February 2013

1916 and Railroad Postcards

A little unknown side to me (at least unknown on my blog) is my love for trains - for riding them collecting memorabilia about them and model railroads. One of the reasons why we need a house of our own is because of all the model railroad trains and gear we own that we have no room to make use and use them in the apartment. So when I found these two vintage railroad postcards I knew I had to buy them for myself and add them to my collection, luckily they were only 50 cents each, but what's even more surprising is what I learnt while scanning these postcards. 

Now i'm not too sure of the train nor the engine featured in this postcard but what's exciting it that it was postmarked October 19th, 1916. While the penned author narrows their name down to the initials G. A. B, it was dedicated to their "dear friend";

"Will write a letter at school 
Rensselarville, N.Y
Oct. 16, 1916

Dear Friend; - We arrived here about 1:30. Did not have any trouble. Everything worked fine. My pocket book was (...) all right. It wasn't very cold tonight not as cold as Sat. Passed a motor (...) on the (...). Be sure and write a letter tonight. Tell me if you have any time.
Your friend
G. A. B"

Reading unfamiliar 1910's handwriting isn't the easiest but you get a general lovely sense of the note, of someone going back to school, a note about the weather and sights along the way. Everything we'd now sadly not give a second thought to when we type out a text message.

The second postcard probably dating to the same era shows the flagship locomotive of New York Central's Empire State Express No. 999 - credited at the time as being the "most famous train in the world" as it was the world's first high speed passenger train.

Rather more then a note or a postcard this card remembers a dinner meal on this particular train - each item from cantaloupes to the potatoes, tomatoes and pickles marked and remembered. I love the notations "Great huh" and toothpicks. 

But what's even more special is what I learn when researching the Empire State Express using that infamous free encyclopedia - this train was detonated to the Chicago Museum of Science and Industry - a museum we visited on our trip to the Windy City. I, yes little old me had not only seen this locomotive in person, but i'd actually stood on it.

Yeap that's me.

Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Blogging When You Have Nothing to Blog About

Blogging can be evil at times, you blog a little less each week, you get a decreasing amount of views and comments which ultimately leads you to blogging less and less. Then you get to the point where i'm at and you wonder about giving up completely. I've been blogging for four years - i've had loads of things to blog about, but since the drama of moving to the USA and the completion of the long distance relationship i've always felt i've run out of things to say or that because i'm not here, people don't want to hear what I say.

I'm not fashionable, i'm not into make up, I'm into vintage not because Cath whatsherface Kidson made it fashionable, I was into it way before then, I love my music playing from a vinyl record but I'm just as happy listening to Trivium and Machine Head after listening to Motown. I'm too much of a contradiction that I don't think people can relate to me as a person or to where I am both geographically and in my life. I know you're meant to "blog about what you like" well I did on Monday with the 1920's magazines which I thought additionally my readers would - apparently not. All makes me just want to pack it all in.

This year i'm 27, I'm busy with Hook Stitch Treasure in it's numerous forms, we're saving our pennies for a mortgage and hoping to buy a house this year, I'm married. I don't have countless nights out getting drunk to blog about, Saturdays are estate sale hunting days (and my blog posts about what we find go down like a lead balloon) and this endless, snow filled winter Michigan is throwing at me leaves us going out around the state less and less. Then again i'm in Detroit and well, not many people care to read about that place either while I'd love to write more about Detroit and Michigan but then I think "what's the point?".

It feels like I need to apologise for being grown up and settled, for my love for proper vintage and for where I live. Because it's not fashionable, because i'm not fashionable.

And I don't want to do that. 

Not at all.

So I don't know what to do.

Tuesday, 19 February 2013

Old photographs in old books

In the bindings of old books you can find some treasures - some hand written notes, old advertisements holding pages to old photographs. This bear chap was found in an old vintage 1940's photography book I picked up and what a chap he is. I wouldn't have liked being so close to snap that photograph but it makes you wonder where, when and who captured this great image.

Wednesday, 13 February 2013

Latest Compact Additions

From left to right - top collage - London souvenir compact by Stratton, Engraved Elgin American square compact, scalloped shell compact by American Beauty, blue-green leather bound vintage powder compact produced by Elgin American - book shaped, possibly a former perfume compact with green stone. Bottom collage - Wadsworth gold, red and black book shaped compact, Dixie Deb miniature silver rogue compact, very old and early double compact for powder and rogue - leather bound in the shape of a book. 

It appears I haven't mentioned my vintage powder compacts for a fair while - in fact I started a blog purely about them but that occurred at the time my shops were growing and now I can't get into it. So here we go. These eight vintage compacts - a mixture of single powder, double powder and rogue, rogue and just a perfume compact have all been gifted by Joe for my birthday or estate sale finds. Hopefully I'll get around to posting more in depth about them all but they too look good as a college together. 

Compacts have been a little easier to find at estate sales - but then again they are either priced perfectly (really cheap or bang on) or unrealistically over charged. The same sadly can be said of etsy - they are over charged within an inch of their life. As someone who has just one off 60 compacts you get a feel for their pricing and in the last year there has been a vast increase in compacts on the online market. But unless your a collector you don't really know their true pricing, just because their old doesn't necessarily mean they can be expensive especially when they aren't even in a fair condition. With crackling enamel, broken or missing, blurry mirrors, damaged patina etc sadly too many people are asking perfect prices for them. That is not to say there aren't compacts out there that aren't worth paying lots for - even into the hundreds - but you learn to know which these days. 

The same can be said for any collection - get aware of the market, what the pricing should be like and you'll find yourself making better judgement in what you buy, from where and for how much. 

Monday, 11 February 2013

Finding Your Home

In recent weeks we've decided we're going to be saving up for our first place. Yey for no more renting, annoying loud neighbours, landlords that ask for more money and do less and more room for our finds. It's all happened alongside me rethinking my views on my homeland and we're I see my future. 

Once upon a time I had envisioned us perhaps settling in the UK. Yet this is pretty much an unrealistic possibility. The Torries have effectively curbed any of our chances of returning - they've drastcially altered the requirements for spouse migraton into the UK if you're married to a non EU citizen. So we'd basically never be able to afford to move back (when I say that I'm not joking - we'd never have the monetary requirements for the amount of savings they'd want us to have). But there probably wouldn't be a country to return too. What finished it off was the plus of some people sharing facebook statuses calling for the UK to get a backbone - cull progressive liberalism and end migration - oh and for take over of the BNP. I don't want to belong in a country like that. I'm somewhat ashamed that people don't care to stand up to what the government is doing to their country  and especially to the NHS.

Don't get me wrong the US has it's issues - there's things I don't agree with - like guns and the lack of gun control, I dislike how influential religion is when it comes to politics, issues with (the lack of) women's rights and the attitudes by the right towards homosexuality and gay marriage. 

In two years the UK will be heading to the voting booths, but in two years I can additionally apply for US citizenship. Granted if and when your granted citizenship I don't have to denounce my UK citizenship but the more I think about it, and the more I compare to how things are in the UK the more I want to be settling at this side of the pond. Does this make me sad, a little, more angry at how the UK treats it's expats - and until it changes said attitudes I don't want much to do with it.

Saying that its going to take us probably a year to save up so I can't say farewell to these horrid walls until then. 

Friday, 8 February 2013

Rosa Parks

Rosa Parks Bus

Until I moved to the US I knew nothing about the women named Rosa Parks. A women who changed the future and rights of African Americans. On December 1st in 1955 at age of 42, Rosa bordered a Montgomery city bus on her journey home from work as a seamstress. After sitting herself behind the 10 seats reserved for white travellers (remember America was highly colour segregated at the time and transportation was always one of the most volatile areas for segregation) the bus began to fill. When a white man stepped on board, and following the standard segregation practice the bus driver instructed all the four blacks sitting behind the white section to give up their seating so the man could sit. Rosa refused, she's later quoted as saying "I knew that I had the strength of my ancestors with me".  

Yet she was arrested and convicted of violating the laws of segregation being fined $14 for doing so. From the shadows of the incident local civil rights activists initiated a boycotting of the Montgomery bus system - their leader a young Baptist minster - Martin Luther King, Jr. Considering 75% of all riders in Montgomery were African American were black this then posed a serious economic threat to the bus company. This bus boycott marks the beginning of non-violent mass protests in support of civil rights in the USA - Rosa Parks being the mother of the freedom rights movement. She died in Detroit in 2005 aged 92 and you can see and sit on the actual bus in the Henry Ford museum here in Dearborn, Michigan which I did back in November 2011. Her birthday is always marked and now she has a freedom stamp in her honour. 

 The Rosa Parks Forever stamp - image taken from the USPS website.

Tuesday, 5 February 2013

Vintage Greetings

So how many of us actually remember, or bother to that matter to send birthday cards yet alone postcards?! That's why I find particular delight in these vintage postcard greetings. Often they were sent just like we would (or did) send birthday cards but additionally just to offer best wishes. They were often embossed and had gold detailing and many feature a sweet little quote. Luckily all these were blank and in a great condition - hopefully their messages of best wishes will follow with them to their new homes. 

All these postcards are currently up on my etsy store here along with many other vintage postcards.