Tuesday, 28 May 2013

VINTAGE: Bears in Bar Harbor

Life has been extra busy since we've been pushing harder with our store, so after I've done all my work I'm finding it increasingly challenging to get driven enough to do anything extra on the computer. So blogging has taken a hit, again. The last couple of days have been spent scanning, researching and working my way through a couple of hundred vintage postcards we picked up a couple of weekends ago - even a couple over 110 years old and never used. 
I thought I'd share with you one of my favourites that I have on hand - this gorgeous vintage linen (named so because they have a rag content to them) Curteich postcard which was published in 1947, postmarked in 1949. One of the things I love in particular about linen postcards (popular between 1930's to 1960's) is the richness of their colours and their texture makes them extra special. I could probably bore you all to sleep with some of the postcards I've come across lately, they intrigued me immensely.

Whenever I work on vintage postcards, it always make me remember how much of a shame it is that we don't mail postcards like we use too.

Wednesday, 22 May 2013

VINTAGE: 1966 Bangs and Dazzle Do's

We ended up watching a rerun of what was a network adaption of The Temptation's Motown career on VH1 Classic last night, so while I have my The Supremes, The Comodores and The Temptations LP's lined up on my record player, I thought I'd share with you a really cool hair styling magazine I picked up at the weekend from the same era.

I may I love 1960's music especially Motown, but the fashion and style is a couple of years after my favorite decades, so i'm hoping it finds a lovely new home via etsy. All the images come from the Fall 1966 edition of Hair Trends, a magazine which featured styles by Revlon to Vidal Sassoon which you can see in the final image. All the images are filled with such immense glamour, not only through the hair styles but additionally the make up.

While the styles certainly aren't as "big" as the 70's, they are certainly statement making aren't they?!

Monday, 20 May 2013

LIFE: Blossom and BBQ's

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Michigan springs are pretty much the temperature of English summers, but after the cold winter I forgot just how warm it gets here. The bright sun and the warmth really sets off the blossoms which cover street upon street around these parts which is welcome after how bare the trees were just a couple of weeks ago. So yesterday with another day with temperatures in the mid 80's, we packed up our BBQ and took off to one of the state recreation parks not too far away and ate hot dogs with a lake view.

Perfect Sunday indeed.

Thursday, 9 May 2013

LIFE; Date Nights

Once a week, every week me and Joe have our date night. Going from being in an international long distance relationship for two plus years, to getting married and living together and getting into that routine like married couples do, it's important to keep the dating and the fun, and the together time happening. Date nights are our time, we take leave of our phones (for the most part) turn the computers off and rarely watch the TV (unless we're watching a film). It's us time. It's the time we never had together when we were in an long distance relationship.

Date nights don't have to be expensive, we don't need to impress each other we even break the rules and use vouchers and coupons for meals out. Typically we either go for a meal, try a new place to eat out or go to our old favorite sea food restaurant. Or just order pizza and pig out. We might go see a movie, curl up together on those dreamy new huge AMC reclining seats our local cinema has (seriously it's hard to get out of them they are so darn comfy) or we'll laze on the floor playing records with tea lights everywhere. Even our trips to the zoo our are date days - hence buying membership so we can go often. 

Last week was Iron Man and our favorite seafood restaurant eating out on the patio watching the people go past, tomorrow it's a visit to BD's and then watching The Great Gatsby, and then next week Star Trek (you can see a theme with blockbusters atm right?!). But the fun part, soppy as it sounds is spending time with Joe and remembering how darn lucky I am to have found him. 

We're always on the look out for interesting ideas for date nights so I'd love to hear what you all get up to! 

Wednesday, 8 May 2013

VINTAGE: By the People, For the People 1936-1943

When I came across a post on the Knitting on Trains blog showcasing some gorgeous prints uploaded by the Library of Congress, I just knew I'd be spending hours, if not days pouring over the libraries collection of vintage prints, photographs and images. It's only right to share, so over the next coming weeks and months I want to share some of them with you starting with WRP posters as they cover my favourite vintage eras - the 1930's and 1940's. I'm so excited to share these with you.

The Works Projects Administration (WPA) poster collection consists of over 900 of the original 2000 graphic, bold and diverse posters produced between 1936 to 1943 as part of President F. D Roosevelt's New Deal. With a mixture of lithograph, silkscreen and woodcut posters, they were designed to advertise cultural exhibitions, health and safety programs to travel and tourism in an America dealing with the remnants of the Great Depression. These posters were used in seventeen states including California  Illinois, Ohio, New York and Pennsylvania. While many of the WPA designs were created for the war especially aimed at women, they are worthy of a post just for those, so keep an eye out for the next set of prints.

Click through on any of the images for their source. 

Photographs, second annual exhibition, Sioux City Camera Club.
Iowa, published sometime between 1936 - 39

The Buckingham Fountain on Chicago's lake front - the "world's largest
and most beautiful illuminated fountain", published 1939
Visit the Brookfield Zoo - Illinois, published between 1936 - 38
Children's Drawings, Ohio 1939
Pennsylvania farming landscape by Robert Muchley, 1936 - 41
The United States First Foreign Trade Zone - Staten Island,
New York City, opened in 1937
These are only 6 of 900 prints they have online and I paritculary love the visit the zoo series of print they have within the WPA series. I could have shown you so many more so I encourage you to take the time to explore the prints on the Library of Congress website, there catalogue's are vast and certainly worth a visit. There's even some 1800's British cartoons uploaded too. Next up i'll show you some of the War Time WPA posters.

Monday, 6 May 2013

VINTAGE; In 1949

One of the finds of the weekend was this promotional photograph from Grinnell's a once famous organ and piano maker from Detroit. Established in 1882 as "Grinnell Brother's", they sold upright, baby grand and player pianos until they were declared bankrupt in 1981. Nevertheless by the 1930's Grinnell's were the suppliers for the pianos and organs in the annual Michigan Music Festival which claimed to be the world's largest piano recital which for decades had attracted more then a thousand participants. The festival was held  over the years between the State Fair Coliseum, Olympia Stadium and then the Cobo Hall until the festival was stopped in 1973.

The image I manged to find from an estate sale is dated to 1949, Grinnell advertising lines around the ring and row upon row of pairs of players line the hall floor. What I love most is the little girl in the foreground standing right before the railing of the balcony on which she stands. Even though we're seeing her figure from behind, she appears so captivated by the piano playing before her, and her dress, well that seems extremely pretty. It makes you wonder who she is, and even if she is still alive.

I can't wait to get this photograph framed and up hanging on my wall. 

If you're intrigued by the Grinnell story I came across this great resource from the Historic Detroit website which gives more insight in the history, photographs of their buildings from around Detroit, and later the social changes which ultimately sealed the fate of Grinnell's. 

Thursday, 2 May 2013

LIFE: Ask Me Anything - Part 2

So it's time for the more lifestyle responses, you can find the answers to part one - the more vintage based ones here. So here we go!

So many things you write about and say on twitter remind me of ... well ... me. So, I want to know, are you a Libran? 

Yes, yes I am - very much a librian through and through. Although I often feel I get rather ranty and carried away when I get headed about a certain topic on twitter which is often about politics, maybe I should, maybe I shouldn't, but it feels better getting it out of my system! 

How did you and Joe met?

Surprisingly you ask this, because I actually don't think I've ever mentioned how me and Joe met on my blog which is a little strange seeing I've blogged only a couple of months longer then I've actually known him. We - like many these days met online and neither of us were looking for love at the time, but we got chatting and I realized even just through msn and emails and so on that he was one special kinda guy and 9 months later we met up and that was that. Aside from explaining the truth to the visa people - they rarely bat an eye when you mention finding love online, we have numerous tales to describe how we met to others - to some they don't "get" the meeting online and falling in love lark so we just mention meeting at university or through work or something along those line. But yeah, he is one of the best things to have ever happened to me, he's a very special soul. 

What's the hardest thing about moving? And does it get easier? Did you settle in okay or was it a bit of a shock? 

Moving to the US was and still is a bit of a shock, more then I would have ever considered back in the UK - it's more cultural and political attitudes that are the shock more than anything and just having those "wow i'm in the US" moments. One of the hardest things was detaching myself from all the material things I grew up with and having to choose what to leave behind - I shipped some important things over before moving but all I brought with me was a suitcase and a backpack. Weirdly I felt sad about all the books I left behind, but luckily the most important things - the childhood teddy, photographs and a lot of the items from my memory box I manged to bring. As you reestablish and create a life for you in your new place it does get a lot easier - but there's moments that catch up with you and you stop and think. I feel very landlocked living in the US - even though I live in the Great Lakes region the sea feels very far away and the whole vastness of the US is very daunting at times and even though I've been around the south east of Michigan to Chicago and Pittsburgh I feel like I haven't seen anything. 

Top five things to do in Detroit?

I could fill a top five in just places to go and eat in and some of these places are in the suburbs as well as say downtown but it's hopefully a good mix.

My first would be to visit Belle Isle where you'll find America's oldest aquarium which is getting a new lease of life and there's nature parks and museums alongside great views of both the American and Canadian river fronts. Secondly to take a walk along the Riverwalk which runs along a good stretch (and is increasing) along the Detroit River - it's one of the few cities globally which doesn't have a road running along the river so it has great wide footpaths and gardens and also a nature park. Speaking of parks we have some great Metroparks out in the suburbs my particular favorite being Kennsington - you can hire boats, go for walks and feel like you're in the middle of nowhere. Back in Detroit if you head to Greektown (they also have a shop in Royal Oak) you must pop into the Astoria bakery which makes the most divine and incredibly huge desserts and cakes - you'll be a kid in a candy shop because you won't know what to choose! Lastly the Henry Ford museum complex in Dearborn is a great place to visit - they have everything you would ever want to know and see about American history and culture. 

Now Catherine asked a great load of questions about moving and life in the old USA so i'm going to break them all down!

What's the food you miss most?

Some days it's proper fish n chips, other days it's quavers or tartar sauce (US version tastes horrid) to pickled onions - luckily one of the closest stores has a good section of "English" food in their import aisle so I don't have to live without my brown sauce or decent tea bags. I use to miss naan bread but I got to baking my own so you kind of make do and mend. Proper sausages are certainly lacking over here though. I know a lot of British people have a dislike for American baked beans over Heinz but I have to say I do prefer my American sauce of baked beans


What's the biggest cultural difference between the USA and the UK you've noticed?

I would have to say it's probably between the gun debates and laws and religion. We all grow up very isolated against guns in the UK and here it's your born right to own one for that day when the government is going to turn on the nation and take all your rights away (i'm being serious people really do think that). And sadly every time a horrid event happens like Newtown it's never the time to talk about gun control and then the next event happens and it's still not the right time. I have a hard time working out why you'd feel the need to own a gun, I just don't think they solve anything but there you go. Secondly with religion it's a much bigger deal here and it's unsettling how much of a role it has in politics - I did write a big post about the religious differences between the UK and the US which explains it in a lot more details.

What are people's biggest misconceptions about you as a British person? 

Hmm this is a toughie - I can't say I've come across many or not at least ones said to my face although questions do generally go along the line of "are you from London", "have you been to London" questions about the Queen. On wider example a some on the right side of the politics field would and do see the UK as a socialist country (they think the same about Canada). So we're all socialist because of free healthcare . There was a recent facebook debate with a local newspaper posting on facebook a local cities choice of changing a road layout to adopting more roundabouts and people saying how they don't want to be turning European because of such an action. It was an interesting, and somewhat funny debate.

Are there any words or phases people call you up on and have you picked up any American sayings?

A lot of the time people don't understand me and it has got to the point where I just make Joe order stuff for me. I don't say tomatoes the American way (as in the toe-made-o) and that calls people up a lot. I don't recall really picking up any American sayings aside from calling a garden a yard really, although me and Joe are rather multilingual in British and American English terms i'm rather stubborn in refusing to use American terms.

So there you go - hopefully you all know a little more about me and my world. As always if you ever any questions or ideas on topics you'd love my to write more about (be it vintage to migrating) feel free at any time to drop them into a comments box!