I’ve been so busy lately gathering and pricing inventory for my space at the antique mall. With the holiday season just about in full swing, I’ve been on a major mission to get as much over there as possible. I doubled my booth space at the beginning of the month, which means I have room for furniture and larger items, in addition to all the smalls that I’ve got stockpiled in my basement studio. Because I don’t always unpack boxes from estate sales or auctions right away (sometimes it’s seasonal stuff, or maybe it’s items I’m working on building a small collection) it makes for a fun surprise when I rediscover things later on.
Case in point: this box of vintage ephemera and 19th century primers that recently paused me in my tracks. I got totally lost in them. Poof, just like that, an hour was gone before I looked up to realize it. I think these books are so beautiful and the lessons are simple and sweet. Long before graphing calculators, laptops and class websites – just a wonderful little book filled with beautiful illustrations, practical plans and life lessons to tie up with a string and tuck under your arm.
I thought you might enjoy a little peek inside. I paired them with a few faces from my vintage photo collection that I thought could be the very kind of kids who used these books in the late 1800s.
Aren’t they lovely?
Wishing you a happy Wednesday!
Meet Clara Rockmore (1911-1998), the world’s greatest Theremin virtuosa. In her early years, she was a violinist – the youngest to ever study at the Imperial Conservatory of Petersburg, Russia. Sadly, she was forced to abandon the violin in her teens because of bone problems that resulted from malnutrition.
Enter, THE THEREMIN.
That’s LEON Theremin, the man behind the machine.
WHAT THE HECK IS A THEREMIN, ANYWAY?
Developed in 1920, the instrument is controlled without physical contact by the player. The controlling section usually consists of two metal antennas that sense the relative position of the player’s hands and control oscillators for frequency with one hand, and amplitude (volume) with the other. The electric signals from the theremin are amplified and sent to a loudspeaker.
One part melancholy, one part spooky. Totally unique and beautiful.
The theremin was used in movie soundtracks such as Miklós Rózsa‘s for Spellbound and The Lost Weekend and Bernard Herrmann‘s for The Day the Earth Stood Still and as the theme tune for the ITV drama Midsomer Murders. This has led to its association with a very eerie sound. Theremins are also used in concert music (especially avant-garde and 20th- and 21st-century new music) and in popular music genres such as rock. (source: Wikipedia)
David Grey’s We’re Not Right, Sufjan Stevens’ In the Devil’s Territory, Led Zeppelin’s Whole Lotta Love, Soul Coughing’s 4 out of 5, and The Pixies Velouria all feature sounds of the theremin. And for squeaks and giggles, here’s a cat playing around with a theremin. YOU’RE WELCOME.
But really, let’s listen to the master at work.
This past weekend, I decided to tackle a project that scares the ever lovin’ bejeezus out of me. Ok, maybe I’m being a little dramatic, but seriously? I have been wanting to do a big gallery wall in our living room for forever and I had the stack of hoarded and unframed Etsy prints to prove it.
I know there aren’t really any real rules when it comes to this sort of thing… follow a grid pattern, go random, mix and match frames, choose a color story or theme… whatever floats your boat. For some reason, when it comes to the hanging of stuff on the walls, I’m frozen. I imagine myself hammering a bunch of nails in the wall and then stepping back and hating it. I decided I was being ridiculous and it was time to stop pinning images of other people’s gorgeous gallery walls and start hammering my own up already.
So I did it. And what better time to jump into a project like this than when I’m already up to my ears in work! Remember folks, big ol shop update is coming Monday.
Anyways, that’s how I roll apparently. I gathered all my frames (man, did we have a lot of frames in the basement!) and found my stash of prints (man, did I hoard some art!) and used a roll of brown paper to cut the size + shape of each frame so that I could get the layout just right without pounding a zillion holes into the wall.
I’ll share some photos of the finished project as soon as the sun comes back out. It’s grey out there today! Thanks to my new colorful gallery wall, I’ve got color inside!
As promised, here’s another little peek into the big shop update I’ve been working so hard on!
There will be lots of beautiful vintage coats, dresses and hats!
And cameras too.
I guess the theme this go ’round is pink and jade. If I could only get my hands on that striped dress on the cover of that record, le swoon!
The Nags Head pennant will be included in the shop update on November 3rd along with about a dozen other vintage pennants!
I’m hard at work on a large (and might I add rather awesome) shop update scheduled for Monday, November 3rd.
Here’s your first teaser… THERE WILL BE CAMERAS!
I mentioned that this update will include some wonderful collections of vintage goods so get ready! Tell a friend! More sneak peeks to come soon…
Life feels busy. I often fall into the trap of thinking that I just can’t wait until this phase of being extra busy passes, and things calm down again. But really, stuff always comes up. Kids are active. They come with field trips and school fund raisers and dirty laundry and homework. There are work trips involving cross country flights and bathroom renovations and out of town guests. There’s never ending yard work and cars that need to be cleaned out and trips to the grocery store. There are wildcards like dentist appointments, 20th high school reunions, sick relatives and weddings. It’s best to just accept it: THINGS ARE NEVER NOT BUSY. Life throws stuff at you every day. You better be ready for it.
The studio search continues but since I last wrote, I ended up doubling my space at the antique mall. The timing was perfect – right before the holiday season and all. So I’ve been keeping myself plenty busy getting lots of new inventory prepped and ready to bring over on the first of November. Additionally, I’ve been working hard on a giant Etsy shop update, tentatively scheduled for November 3rd. One thing all online vintage sellers are familiar with is the fall and winter light chasing game. Yes, the days are shorter, but also the light is just different. (Hence the photo studio search) The good news is that after 5 days of crazy rain + foggy days last week, I scored sunny days over the weekend which meant nice bright light for shop photos. I’m babbling on (I think I’m out of practice after not blogging for almost the whole month!) but the point is: Giant Shop Update is in the works and things are looking really good for 11/3. Get ready for teaser images to start coming at you this week. I’ve got a lot of great inventory collected and I’m parting ways with a few of my own most treasured collections. It’ll be a collection of collections! Lots of great stuff.
I baked my buns off over the weekend. I lost count but somewhere around 5-6 dozen cupcakes for my son’s school. I also roasted a butternut squash, made a chicken stock for soup this week and caught a little cold. On top of it all, both kids had a friend spend the night (see? Busy.) So suffice it to say, our house was noisy but it smelled great.
I’m off to pick up a chair. I scored a pretty vintage sofa + matching chair set last week for a steal and I can’t wait to share it with you. Dreamiest color, y’all.
Have a great day!
Something exciting: I’m on the hunt for a studio space to rent. Historic charm is a plus, but I’ll totally settle for a clean, simple light filled space. Somewhere I can shoot photos for the shop and not worry about constantly creeping on our living space, which I’ve only been doing for the last decade. Vintage dealers who work at home know exactly what I’m talking about.
Wish me luck! I’ve got to get out of my poorly lit basement!
Denim jacket season is here, can I get a whoop, whoop! I love this kind of outfit because it requires little thought and it’s totally comfortable. I could wear a variation of this every day with no complaints, it’s that easy. Of course you can always count on me to pattern mix, even just a little bit.
In other news, I am exhausted, guys. And it’s MONDAY :: queue maniacal laughter :: Chinese take out for the win. TGFCT!
denim jacket, Gap + chevron dress, thrifted + vintage mother brooch, antique mall + handbag, Orla Kiely (my favorite every day bag!) + leggings, Target + booties, Seychelles. These boots were my very favorite boots last year and I just spied a cheetah version !!! Meow, they are calling my name.
This post contains two affiliate links! I think I get a couple pennies thrown in a bucket if you should purchase one of them. Certainly not enough to pay my mortgage, but maybe someday it’ll help to offset the server + hosting costs associated with running MSC. I use these links sparingly and would never recommend anything I didn’t think you’d like!
Hi friends! I’m happy to be here with something new today. I think that one of the best things about the internet is making friends + creating like minded communities. I absolutely love to work with and promote small businesses, so I’m super excited to kick off this new series doing just that. From time to time, I’ll be featuring some fine folks and small business people here in a little getting-to-know-you feature I’m calling SHOP HOP. These posts are not sponsored, so you can trust that the shops I choose to share with you are ones I truly love!
First up, I’m so happy to welcome the lovely ladies from Free Kittens Vintage here for a little chat. Enjoy!
Mollie and Annie! So excited to have you ladies here. My first big oh-so-important question: When were you bit by The Bug?
MOLLIE: My dad was a big yard saler and trash picker when we were really little, and then my mom got hooked, so he took on the curmudgeonly “Do we really need all of these rocking chairs?” role. But my mom and I went every weekend to nearly every sale listed in the small town paper. Sweet old men and women selling us vintage textiles in tidy bundles, jars of things, beautiful glassware and pottery, and of course the occasional rack of beautiful clothes. We always shopped at thrift stores out of necessity (there were six kids in the house!), and I remember a brief stint of feeling ashamed about second-hand clothes in middle school (kids can be so mean about clothes and trends!) but then going through my grunge phase in high school and taking thrifting back up with a melancholy in-your-face attitude. The Salvation Army in our town had Trash Bag Day once a week on which you could stuff a trash bag of clothing for ONE DOLLAR. Every vintage thing came home with me, I’m pretty sure. I have always just hated letting anything that is beautiful languish at the thrift.
ANNIE: My mom has always been really into antiques for as long as I can remember and she always took us antiquing with her. When I was a teenager, I really got into thrifting since the prices were so great and finding vintage amongst all the piles was so thrilling. I’ve been hooked ever since! Maybe 15 years?
JENNY: Same deal for me! I have memories of being about 13 years old and going antiquing with my mom. I tried on this amazing vintage blue velvet cocktail gown and I was hooked. Just like that.
Tell me a little about your shop!
Both of us have been thrifting for ever and one of the sadder thrifting situations is having to leave behind a beautiful garment because it doesn’t fit you or anyone you know. I mean, one can only buy so many pieces of beautiful clothing with no intention of ever wearing and no way of really storing such a collection. So, triumphantly buying and then selling vintage was the perfect solution to both keep us thrifting all the pretty things without guilt. We opened up last November with a local vintage pop-up collaboration before we started our Etsy store this past January. The name came up when Mollie was helping Annie come up with cute phrases (such as “Free Kittens”) to paint on some kid t-shirts for a craft show. When the time came for us to name the vintage shop, we both loved that phrase. And we think that the idea of affordable vintage that has been beautifully curated by real vintage lovers kind of has the same, irresistable appeal as a basket of furry, free kittens. Interestingly, we do get occasional messages on Facebook asking us if we still have any of the Free Kittens available.
JENNY: I love it! How funny that you get requests for actual free kittens! I think deciding on a name is so hard. I’ve been known to take three weeks to name a pet! When I started this blog last October, I almost gave up because do you know how hard it is to buy a domain in 2014?! H-A-R-D hard. Every little combination of words I would feel excited by with was taken. And then one day just after Christmas, I was washing our “good china” and I had the plate flipped over to read “Mikasa” and I was like BING! Ran to the computer and happily found Mikasa Su Casa was available. I loved that it was a little tip of the hat to something vintage, as well as a nod to my Panamanian roots.
What era do you love most?
M: I love housewares, textiles and furniture from the 1930s through the 1960s. I love the 50s and 60s for clothing, and I do always check for 70s high-waisted, denim bells on the jeans rack even though it’s a fruitless search. One thing that I love about the 50s and 60s is the impeccable stitching and design. Most pieces that I find from those eras were machine or handmade by a very competent seamstress, and whether she worked in a factory or made it at home, it was done well and with pride. That becomes harder to find as things began to be sent overseas to be made, so it’s hit or miss for me in the 80s and 90s.
A: Oh, that’s a tough one, I love midcentury housewares and furniture, but as far as clothing goes, I usually gravitate to 70s and 80s since they seem to flatter my figure best. I love any kind of vintage blouse that actually buttons over my bosom, but especially ones that have dots on them or secretary bows (the other name makes me blush).
J: This is no surprise, I’m a pretty die hard mid century gal. As for clothing, I love the way a 50s fit + flare style dress works on me and I obviously love me some Danish Modern furniture and design. Lately though, I’ve been smitten with some things from the early 1900s-teens, like vintage ephemera and such. Little calling cards and pretty books and photographs. There’s something so beautiful about the tiny details in the artwork, the colors and type.
I’m curious about your hunting process. I’ve always worked alone so I’m a little jealous of your partnership!
We usual thrift on our own because it’s easier to just pop-in while running other errands, but we do love a good Memorial Day 1/2 off plunder of our favorite Goodwills in town. Estate sales are fun to do together, too. And we do hit up the by-the-pound thrift (affectionally dubbed “The Pound” between us) together because it’s super fun! and also because alone we do not have the upper body strength to dig through the mountainous heaps of sweatpants from 2002 to get to the real gold underneath and in between. Mollie does all of the photographs and does the Etsy shop maintenance: creates the listings, replies to convos, and the bookkeeping. Annie beautifully packages the pretties and takes them to the post. She is also a stain-be-gone genius and removes Joan’s red lipstick stains from secretary blouses and Betty’s coffee splatters from afternoon skirts. We try to conquer the measuring tasks together, and there have been long evenings of ironing and steaming in preparation for pop-up shops and vintage parties.
J: Oh man, what I wouldn’t give to have someone tag team the measuring with me. Sometimes I pay my 13 yo to help me power through a big pile when I’m working on a larger update and that speeds things up quite a bit!
When you walk into a thrift store, what section do you hit first? I almost always hit either the dress rack or the housewares section first, and then there’s a pretty regular order to follow.
M: I do a quick bop around the store and try not to get distracted or over-stimulated by all of the treasures I’m sure to find. Then I settle in and swing by housewares and furniture, shoes and bags, and then dive into the clothes: a clean sweep down the dollar rack, then on to dresses, blouses, skirts, and kids clothes. I usually only have short pop-ins, but sometimes those are the very best.
A: I usually check the shoes because they are in the front, then dresses because they are the most exciting, then housewares and then blouses, then whatever else I have time for. I’ve gotten pretty good at scanning and picking out patterns or styles that might be a vintage style I’d like.
J: I used to have this method where I would literally slide every hanger, looking at every piece on the rack. And now I’ve gotten so lazy (Ahem! I mean, so skilled!) that for the most part, I just quickly scan with my eyes. Over the years, it’s become pretty easy to pick out a vintage piece based on colors, patterns and textures – even if you are only able to see whatever slice of the garment is peeking out from a crowded rack – I’m sure you guys know exactly what I’m talking about!
Do you have a best/favorite find story?
M: That’s actually really hard. I think that I really get excited about the thing that I’ve just found and I think, “This Indian embroidered dress is the best thing I’ve ever found! This stackable yellow Kartell chair is the best thing I’ve ever found! This vintage Le Klint hand-bent plastic lamp is the best thing I’ve ever found!” I also just love, love LOVE a good deal, a steal, a bargain, a miracle find. I really don’t know if anything else sends me walking on cloud 9 like that.
A: Hmmmm, the by-the-pound Goodwill clearance center is usually the best. You walk in and all those big bins of cast aways are there waiting for you to start digging through them for treasure. There’s so much awful stuff that you feel like you’ll never find anything good, ever, then all of a sudden you catch a glimpse of something that might be really really awesome, and it turns out that it’s a tiny, gold wool coat from the 50s with darling buttons, a beautiful tag, and fur around the collar, and its in perfect condition. AND you have a daughter that will fit in it a couple years. The best part is it only costs a few cents because you went with your best friend on a Sunday everything is half off. So you go home with a giant bag of things and when your husband sees it you can tell him it only costs $5 for everything.
J: I know that feeling well! Of course I have had my crazy finds over the years: a catherineholm bowl for 55 cents, a beautiful Lilli Ann coat for $6, oodles of 50s + 60s Wonder Books from the kid’s book bin for 25 cents a pop… the list goes on. I’m so with you girls – VIVA LA THRIFT LIFE!
Thanks for being here today, Mollie + Annie! I loved chatting + getting to know you more.
A LITTLE BIT MORE ABOUT MOLLIE + ANNIE:
Mollie Greene lives in a sprawling mid-century house on a hill and in the trees in Greenville, South Carolina with her handsome photographer husband, Aaron Greene, and her four darling chidren Henry, Jude, Lola and Dot. She spends her days teaching her kids, cleaning her house, and taking pictures with her Leica. By night she occasionally blogs, but mostly makes pretty things from paper for her Etsy shop, Royal Buffet, and sometimes she writes paper craft books like the self-published Make & Do (2011) and Sweet Paper Crafts (2013) published by Chronicle Books. Her house is full of snacks, music, curiosities, pretty collections, books and quite a few things that have been stashed away until the baby stops wildly exploring everything she can get her dear little chubby hands on. She loves the thrill of the thrift store, the hunt, the excavation, and the high she gets from strong coffee and a thrift cart full of midcentury prizes. She’s worn vintage clothes since high school, lots of eyeliner sporadically, and thinks secretary blouses, pleated skirts, and mexican dresses look best on her bod, especially when paired with modern clothes like skinny jeans, or some always-awesome Doc Marten boots.
Annie Koelle grew up in Buffalo, NY and loves snow. She now lives in Greenville SC, down the road from Mollie Greene and her party house and she thinks it’s a good place to be. Her husband, Chris Koelle, is an amazing artist, who pays the bills with illustrations, draws awesome botanicals in his spare moments, and is her favorite guy: she wouldn’t trade him for the world. They have two children, Marshall, the lego lover who is six, and Pearl, the walking baby doll who is two. She loves them both to the moon and back. In her heart and her brain she is foremost a painter and thinks about painting seventy-five percent of the time. When she is cleaning, she thinks about painting. When she is outside, she is painting clouds in her head. When she is taking a walk, she is looking for paintings. But thrifting is a pretty good distraction: she can thrift and not paint in her brain. She loves working vintage into her home, most of her walls are white so she can switch her collected beauties around without too much clashing. The truth is, she doesn’t have a huge collection of vintage clothes since she can’t wear too many: her butt and her boobs kind of get in the way, but she can usually find a pretty blouse that fits to wear with a pair of good jeans and some vintage shoes to strut around in. She doesn’t mind the curves and is so glad that these days, we girls don’t wear girdles!
FIND THEM ELSEWHERE:
Pop on over to Free Kittens for a visit! M + A are kindly offering MSC readers a 10% discount through 10/8. Use discount code MIKASASUCASA at checkout!