Thursday, October 31, 2013

Halloween Home Decor

I truly failed at decorating my house for Halloween this year. It is my absolute favorite holiday and I barely lifted a finger to let my house reflect that. I even failed at pumpkin carving, which is something I thoroughly enjoy. I bought 5 pumpkins to be carved, but they all rotted. I didn't buy them well in advance, which would give them the opportunity to rot before Halloween. I bought them just last week. We discovered that three of them were rotten on the inside when we cut into them. We gutted the other two, but as it got late, we decided to hold off on the carving until the next day. The next day turned into the next day and the insides developed black mold. Epic fail, all around.
I did, however, manage to create one space in my house that has holiday spirit. It is where my decorating began and unfortunately ended. I think it looks awesome and I'm at least happy that I was able to get one thing right this year. I am tempted to leave it like this year round. So, I thought I would get one last post in for the holiday before it is over. I'd like to share the little corner of my house that was lucky enough to receive the Halloween treatment.

I originally had a grotesque-looking, disembodied, plastic finger sticking in the phone dial, but my kids thought it made a better toy than a decoration and now I can't find it. Also, it would have been awesome if I had an Alfred Hitchcock book or movie cover, "Dial M for Murder" to put next to this phone.

My Mom used this picture for Halloween decor when I was a kid.

I've been on the fence about selling these books. I'm glad I haven't yet, because they make for great decorations.

I know that these "decorations" aren't anything spectacular, but it's all I had the time to do this year. I still think it looks pretty cool and it's the first thing you encounter when you walk in my home, so it sets the mood nicely. Hopefully next year I'll have more to show and I can make my house look really spooky. And next year, there will be pumpkins, even if I have to buy a whole pumpkin patch to make it happen!

Right before posting this, I found the finger! 

One redeeming quality about my meager Halloween decorations is that nearly everything shown is vintage! The books, the phone and even the piano are all 20 yrs old or older. The spider and the skull lamp are from the late 90s, so they are almost there too. 

Friday, October 25, 2013

Haunted Vintage

Some believe that a spirit or energy can attach itself to objects. I'm sure most of you have heard old ghost stories about this topic. I specifically remember one that my cousin told me about a wiji board that was possessed. She told me that her Mom threw it in the garbage and the next day, it mysteriously ended up back in her room. Her mom threw it in the garbage a few more times all with the same result. Finally, she burned it in a fire pit in the back yard. She thought that solved the problem and they would never see the wiji board again, but it still came back. This story frightened me immensely when I was a kid. I didn't know it at the time, but that was one of those urban legends. But, is it possible that physical items can be possessed by a spirit?
There is a show on syfy, called The Haunted Collector, that explores this subject. A group of people travel around seeking items that are reportedly haunted. Some of these items are then put in The Zaffis Museum of the paranormal. Another widely known case of this type of phenomenon is the story of Annabell the haunted doll. Reportedly, a demonic entity had attached itself to the doll and displayed strange paranormal behavior often negative in nature. Eventually, world renowned demonologists, Ed and Loraine Warren were called in to help the people effected by the doll's activity. Read the full story here. Another paranormal show, Paranormal State, investigated a case that believed an evil spirit invaded their house from a voodoo doll. For someone like me, who frequents estate sales, buying items that belonged to a recently deceased person, the idea of their spirit being attached to said items is frightening.

Annabell the possessed doll

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Domo Arigoto Mr Roboto

While it may be a little too late in the game to order any costumes online, I still wanted to share my robot-costume treasury list. I would like to add that most of the clothes in the treasury list are vintage items and there is still enough time for one to find costumes from the thrift shop. And if I could offer a little bit of advice: don't just stick to the Halloween section of the thrift shops. Keep an open and imaginative mind and scour those shops from the sweater sections to furniture to toy aisles. You might find something extraordinary in a place that you might not initially think to look.

Like I said, I was late in the game making this costume treasury. I wish I would have thought of it sooner, because I am pretty sure I would have ordered some of these things for my costume this year. However, there is always next year and I will still have this treasury to look back on and be inspired by. Hopefully, I'll remember in time. And I hate to admit it, but I kind of hope some of this stuff is still available. I mean, don't get me wrong, I hope these wonderful shop owners get some sales, but if I'm not able to get one of those amazing robot helmets next year, I will be pretty sad.

And without further adieu, I present you with:


click on the pic to see the full list

Now, the possibility of purchasing these items in time for Halloween may be slim. However, don't be afraid to send a message to the shop owners about faster shipping. Some of them might be able to accommodate, but don't be mad if they can't. 

Would you like to a robot for Halloween, but feel like you don't have time to get the costume together? Never fear! You can whip one up in no time and still impress your friends. Seriously. Just google home made robot costume and search through the images. You will soon see how easy it can be.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

I Promise

I vow, with my whole heart, that I will never ever do an "upcycle" project that will ruin the integrity of a beautiful vintage item. I will never paint wood that should not be painted. I will never destroy a book to make a trendy house decoration. Books should be read. I will never paint a globe, so as to not see the land divisions of that particular time. That is a part of history and history should not be forgotten. Also, I find that shit really interesting. I might chalkboard paint something, because chalkboards have always and will always be cool. However, I will not chalkboard paint a mid century dresser with dove tailed drawers. I won't melt records into bowls... Actually, I have done that, but to be fair, I did listen to the whole thing and it really wasn't anything to brag about on facebook or anything and I was pretty sure that no one else would be yearning to hear that particular record, so.... yea. I might fuck up some records every now and then. Just know that I will make sure to give the record a fair trial before I cut it up and make a purse out of it. I'll never bastardize a designer dress or make a shitty skirt out of a perfectly excellent vintage t-shirt.
I'm giving this vow, because with the power of the internet, idiots are out there blogging about how they re-created a vintage piece, copying another shitty blog who destroyed a perfectly built hutch and painted it into a trendy nightmare, thus ruining the finish and patina that the item was intended to have. It kills me sometimes that people will paint an item to be look "shabby chic" when in reality, if you think an item "needs" to be painted, then it probably already is "shabby chic". Sometimes, re-paints are necessary. And sometimes they stray far from it's original finish and look really cool, but what happens when every skillfully carved victorian dresser is painted silver long after the silver trend is over? Do you strip and re-paint it? Re-store it? Long to have a blonde wooded dresser the way they were made back in the day?
Here is the long and short of it folks. I think the 80s are a good marker for when the manufacturing business changed. True craftsmen of quality goods were pushed aside to make way for a more "economical" business model. Meaning that, manufacturers wanted to save money by using the cheapest materials possible and pay the least amount of money to hire people to make said products. And now we have pressed wood entertainment centers that fall apart after a couple years. Dresser drawers break the minute you put away your sweaters and and hastily sewn seams unravel after minimal wear. This has become the norm. This is what its come to.
When your grandpa says, "Back in my day, people used to care about what they built. They would take pride in it and make it beautiful. A piece of art." He's speaking the truth. Everybody's grandpa has said that, in so many words, at some point in time. Or our dads or uncles... They've all said it and they're all right. "Back in the day", shit was built to last. And last it did. Except for maybe cars. Cars have come a long way in their available safety features. They may not always look as cool as they used to, but I got to give it up for science and research on that one. And big up to engineers who designed my car so that I would have better chances at getting from point a to point b safely. But, in the general sense of the term, these general goods that we use on a daily basis, are being manufactured to fail. The older items, however, were built to last. Grandpa, Uncle, Daddy, Brother was right.
So, when I see some of these bloggers out there posting upcycle projects that destroy genuinely good vintage pieces, I can't help but cringe. Don't get me wrong. I love a good upcycle project, but not when it destroys the integrity of a well-built piece of history. Please, crafters, do your research on things before you chop them up and paint them! Make sure you're not ruining the value of something by changing it. Think about re-storing things to their original grandeur first, before painting it a trendy color that will be out of style next season. By all means, don't stop fixing things up, don't stop upcycling. Don't stop saving things from going into a landfill. Just please make sure you do your research first and consider preserving vintage rather than changing it. They don't make these things like they used to and if too many people jump on the upcycle band wagon without the proper knowledge of the things they are potentially destroying, pretty soon we won't have anything left.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Geeks Don't Like To Be Called Geeks

Recently, I decided to re-watch the tragically short-lived tv series, "Freaks and Geeks," while I edit etsy listings. I can't believe I forgot how incredible the clothes were during that time. A transitional stage in fashion, where the hippy bohemian style was beginning to fade out to make way for the mid and late 80s day glo, ruffles and big hair. BEFORE the day glo and aqua net came, there was a sweet spot of fashion that is often underestimated. That's the pocket of style I'm inspired by right now.
In order to get myself out of a lousy mood the other night, I decided to scour the interwebs and immerse myself in pictures of the fashions of the late 70s and early 80s. I was particularly focused on middle school and high school styles, so I began my google search with class pictures from then. Let me just share what I found.

These sweaters are perfection and tons of knee high socks in various colors are on my wish list.

Check out that sweet yellow suit the girl in front is wearing.

Plaid pants! And those knee highs.

This family makes me smile.
Plaid pants and legit white boy afros.

and speaking of legit afros

Stripes and bell bottoms and long hair don't care.

That sweater!

Of course, let's not forget what got me thinking about this wonderful time in fashion, in the first place.

The geeks are my favorite. Especially Bill.

I've been coming across these velour button up shirts quite a bit lately and I could not be more happy about it.

the stripes

jean jacket. army jacket.

Sport these styles and you will most definitely.....

be cool