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I’m Louise. Blogger. Wife. Designer of TruLu Couture Veils + Accessories.  If you’d like to know more, check out my bio.

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Entries in Vintage (13)

Wednesday
Feb222012

{Product of the Week} Crowns, Tatting and Flowers

Right before Christmas, I got a call from one of my aunts. It’s not an aunt I normally talk to on the phone, so I was super surprised when I saw her number flashing on my phone. She called to let me know that she was bringing a bag of old lace to my mom to bring to me when she saw me over the holidays.

Old lace? Hello? You have my attention! When I asked about where it had come from, she told me lots of it her grandmother had made. MADE. Lace. Her grandmother. Like, super old shit. We’re not talking vintage, we’re talking honest-to-goodness antique.

What I got was a giant bag full of all kinds of lace, edging from old fabric, trim – truly a mixed bag. Lots of it was tangled, held onto old postcards with steel needles, some rusted through the fabric (insert extremely unhappy face here), assorted doilies. I went through the majority of it with my mom, ooohing and aaahing over certain pieces, wondering if other pieces could be cleaned. I knew it would be a huge under-taking and I attacked it when I got back from the holidays. I’m still not 100% finished sorting and cleaning it all, but I’m pretty close.

embroidery

Holy gorgeous silk embroidery!

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There’s a lot of tatting in the bag. Do you know what tatting is? It’s a kind of lace made by hand, back in the day. It’s almost like super-duper-mini crochet. Patterns can be incredibly detailed and the lengths I have are stunning. I’ve been able to clean just about every piece back to its original beauty.

Soooooo, some pieces are too short to do much with, but there is enough of one style. Lookie:

tatting

And do you remember this vintage goodie I found that was a total mess? It's a beaded cotton crown from the 1930's.

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Oh my God, you guys? It totally got all pretty-fied.

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Can you believe it? It’s such a beautiful little crown! Every single bead is in tact. I added a new buckram underlining and lined it in a pretty slub-weave silk. I’ve turned it into a headband that ties on with ribbon versus the original elastic thing. Now that’s I’ve got the length of tatting cleaned, I think the two will look perfect together! I do believe I have enough to make a 75” cathedral length veil. Dudes! First of all, I’m probably freakin’ nuts. That’s 12.5 FEET of hand sewing teeny tiny tatting onto tulle. Just shoot me right now. But you know what? It will totally be freakin’ worth it when it’s done!!! I can't wait!

And the flowers? Oh, the flowers. I found this amazing resource…..an old silk flower factory out of New York. It’s long been shut down, however, they have gobs of silk petals in pristine condition, meant to be made into gorgeous flowers, but never got there. And now I have them! What fun! I also found some other flowers that are soooooo pretty.

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I simply cannot decide which thing/color/style is my favorite. So many pretty things, so little time!

Wednesday
Sep282011

Local Loveliness

I was touring around Etsy yesterday TRYING to find something cool for The Candyman for our second anniversary, which tradition says is cotton. We are following tradition. I don’t want to get something predictable, like a t-shirt. Or clothes of any sort. I want something cool and yet it can’t be over $50 (budget, budget budget). I found this killer Dias de Los Muertos quilt wall hanging thing, but it was WAY over the limit. *sigh* Any ideas would be more than welcome…

Anyway, I started shopping under the “local” function and ran across a very cool vintage shop cleverly called ReInVintage. It has 15 pages of things that I simply love. Perhaps you will too!

For the brides:

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Early 1900’s iron, rope and silk purse. $88

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Vintage white gloves with scalloped edge detail. $24

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Vintage kitten heels. $30

Pour moi:

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1930’s Black, yellow and silver dress with suede waistband. $385

(I ‘d wear it sans petticoat)

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1950’s De Lisa Deb Heels, $64

(And yes, I think I just might wear these with that dress! Though in reality, prolly not unless I want to cut my toes off to fit into them!)

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Vintage handbag, $28

(Perfection!)

I just love when I can shop (window or otherwise) local, don’t you? What’s your favorite local haunt? Share the link if you are so inclined! I love exploring new finds. Of course, local does not have to mean Charlotte in this instance. Share your local love worldwide (that’s right, T30SB is in 150 countries! WOOT!).

Friday
Aug122011

It's Dior, Baby.

Last time I went to see my parents, my mom and I went out and about in their little Southern horse town. Main Street, USA, has a strip of small stores of mostly over-priced goods and services for the equestrian tourists who visit the area. It’s cute and it’s fun though and my mom and I hit up the antique mall to dig around for TruLu Couture goodies.

We had wandered the whole store (it’s pretty big, lots of little consignment vignette-based interior boutiques) and followed the 25% off signs to a small room on the upper level, accessed by a low-ceilinged, tight staircase. I found a hat that I wanted. It was totally overpriced at $79. I left it there and we went back to our shopping.

The problem is that I couldn’t stop thinking about that damn hat. Why? Because it was vintage Christian Dior. DIOR! The hat was in such a state of disrepair that I could not justify $79 for it, nor 25% off $79. Still, I couldn’t stop thinking about the damn hat. So when I saw my parents this week, I asked my mom to go back to the shop with me to see about negotiating a better price.

Imagine our dismay when we couldn’t find the hat. Boo. I did some more digging and saw some hat boxes further back on a shelf, nearly inaccessible because of all the shit piled on the floor.

The first box was this odd purple chenille number. Pass. The second box held this baby:

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Hat4

I found out (after a little help from Google) that William Silverman was a hat designer in the late 1950’s. The green Russian tulle is in pretty good condition and the flowers are pristine. Definitely will take this apart and make it into something else! I got this for about $18 (25% off $25) and I thought it was a good deal.

We found the original hat I was looking for too! It was just hiding. Check it out!
Hat5

Hat6

Hat7

It’s in pretty bad shape. The leaves and smaller flowers have been attacked by silk eating moths, but the larger flowers have been spared. It’s stained. Clearly repairs were attempted, shown by the large stitch taken right through the label. But it’s DIOR!

Then I found yet another hat amongst the pile of boxes:

Hat1

Hat2

Another Dior hat! Score. This one is in better shape than the other, but still needs a little tender loving care. I don’t think the flowers are silk, but I could be wrong. The center little puff balls are pale blue and I think they are wool felt. We’ll see after I start with the clean-up process.

The coolest thing was that I got all three hats for $85! It was sort of funny though because I started doing the negotiations in my head on the way to cash wrap, focusing in on value of the item, the state of disrepair, the store’s mark-up and my mom was sort of chattering away to me the whole time. I told her I needed to negotiate alone and I realized that I needed that in my job too. I’d send out any other staff members so I could focus on my deal. I probably could have low-balled the lady and gotten another $5 to $10 off the price, but what I paid was pretty fair.

So excited about the hats!

This quick little trip home made me realize something: I’m not as alone as I sometimes feel in this endeavor. While I was there, my dad showed me photos of vintage goodies from local shop that I might be interested in. He just stopped in because he wanted to help me find vintage stuff. There was a bag with some vintage crocheted trim and a scrap of vintage eyelet fabric that my mom gave me. It‘s stuff that a lady from her sewing circle brought to her for me. Why? Because my mom told all her little old Southern sewing circle ladies to bring her vintage stuff they didn’t want. The Candyman got me a really expensive dress form for my birthday. My parents gave me one of their laptops so I could get out of the house to work on occasion (or at least out of the corner of spare bedroom). There are blog friends who have purchased and promoted TruLu Couture for me. My cousin sent me AWESOME goodies from Lina G’s for my birthday that can be made into glorious lovelies (these, I think I’ll keep for ME!).

So while I may be working by myself, I am certainly not doing this alone. For this I am so grateful, but clearly forgetful of in times of distress or when I’m simply overwhelmed.

Thanks to everyone for all your support! I am one lucky girl. I mean, with all that AND Dior? Come on!

Happy Weekend.

Tuesday
Aug092011

Vintage Wedding Hair

Ever since I started focusing on vintage materials for TruLu Couture, I’ve come across some interesting facts. This, coupled with the recent addition of Mad Men to Netflix streaming, has kept me in a mind-flurry of vintage everything. Something I didn’t realize is that hair dryers weren’t invented for personal home use until the early 1960’s! Could you image? I remember when I was little wearing a plastic cap that had a hose connected to it that was attached at it’s other end to  a machine that looked like a small sized vacuum cleaner. It was the hair dryer. I remember my mom piling my wet hair up into the shower-cap like head gear and I would immediately fall asleep to the warmth and white noise the contraption made.

What would we do without our flat irons, ceramic heat blow dryers and limitless supply of “product?” I shudder to think of such things. It makes sense now when you think of the date-refusal cliché of “I have to wash my hair tonight.” Seriously, without a blow dryer, that shit could take all night long to accomplish. GAH.

So if you’re planning a vintage-style wedding or if you’re wanting a retro-inspired updo, here’s some historical pics and modern versions to compare them to…

In the 1930’s, women were wearing their hair in soft finger waves, a very feminine and contrasting approach to the boyish bob of the rebellious flappers of the 1920’s.

Actress Mary Pickford circa 1930’s.

Actress Mary Brian circa 1930’s

The 1940’s saw lots of pin curls and up-do’s. The chignon made it’s debut. Western women generally wore theirs up high, adding a mountain of curls on top of the head (think Lucille Ball). East Asian women wore theirs low at the nape of the neck, as it was easier to wear hats with a smooth crown.

After the war, “Victory Rolls” were all the rage. “Victory Rolls” were originally the name for a fighter plane maneuver and women adopted the term for the rolls of hair to celebrate victory in WWII.

Actress Lynn Bari circa 1940’s

imageActress/Singer Lena Horn circa 1940’s

imageVictory rolls, late 1940’s

1950's hairstyles emphasized traditional gender roles. Women's hair was long, curled and high maintenance. Glamour was all the rage and women attempted to achieve a look that implied “domestic goddess” with the impression that all household chores could be accomplished whilst still looking stylish. Yeah, right. Not without a big ol’ bottle of Prozac.

imageActress/Princess Grace Kelly, circa 1950’s

imageActress Elizabeth Taylor, circa 1950’s.

1950’s Glamour

So do you want a modern version of some of these vintage styles? OK, here you go:

imageVia From Me to You.

imageVia Hot 1940’s Hairstyles

imageVia From Me to You.

imageVia Diva by Design

imageVia 100 Layer Cake.

 

imageVia A to Zinnia’s.

 

imageVia The Wedding Co.

 

imageVia Tiger Lilie Salon

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Via Luv in the Mommyhood.

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Via Ruffled.

I actually did my hair in a little vintage style when The Candyman and I went out to celebrate my birthday Saturday night (which we did last night too – I’m a lucky girl!). I basically created my own little faux bob, following the tutorial from ……love Maegan.  I wore it with an old Free People 1950's-esque dress (though I'm boycotting them now), a wide black leather belt with cool harware detailing and platform stappy heels with similar hardware. I think it looked cool! But anyway, if you don’t already follow Maegan, you should. She kinda kicks ass and is a DIY queen. I wish I had a picture of my hair to show you! It really looked cute and was fairly easy. I just let my hair go naturally curly, unlike Maegan who hot rolled hers, I think.

Anyway, I’m loving these vintage hair looks for weddings, or for just dressing up! Thoughts? Do tell.

Tuesday
Jun282011

Vintage Décor, A How-To Guide to Find Stuff

If any of you brides are like I was, you’re constantly thinking about your décor, how everything is going to come together….IF it’s going to come together. You live with this low, constant hum in the back of your head that you know are all the details trying to sort themselves out, whirling around in a slow churn as you go through your every day routine of work/eat/plan wedding/sleep. That stuff? That buzz? That’s the shit that gives you those wedding nightmares of having no dress, no groom or like me, no reception venue! Aaaaah! I think that’s about when I started blogging…..but I digress.

Hopefully I can help.

Sometimes when I’m talking about wedding décor, I reference the same crazy things over and over – like adorning each cute favor with an antique key. I don’t know why I choose this icon, probably because at one point in time, I saw antique keys as a favor and thought they’d look really cute as part of our tablescapes and really had no idea how to find them, nor the time to do so. Antique keys are going to be the example I’m going to use for how to find good vintage décor stuffs. This can be applied to Mason jars, hobnail milk glass, mismatched floral china teacups…whatever you want/need.

If you’re an on-line wedding planning gal like most brides are these days, use the internet to your advantage. You’ll need to do a smidge of research first.  You could say that about everything you purchase for your wedding. Yes, it’s a total pain in the ass, but welcome to the real world. Sometimes, you’ve gotta practice due diligence. But I think the process I have outlined here will help.

Now, I’ve found vintage skeleton keys ranging anywhere from $.75 to $20 each. Look for the average price. I found that the average price for vintage keys is between $3 and $5 based on several different resources. You’ll want to pay $3 or less, but only if you’re going to buy in quantities. If you only need a few, pay the asking price but no more than the top range of your average price. Make sense?

Let’s assume you need at least 50 assorted keys. You might need to buy from a myriad of places, so keep that in mind. Here are a few places to start:

First, look at Three Potato Four. This is a very cute, very cleanly laid out online shop of cool vintage goodies. They even have a wedding section!

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Their keys sell three for $12. Not bad…..but we can do better.

Next, hit up eBay and Craig’s List:

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I found these on Craig’s List in Charlotte for $20. There are 14 keys here so that means they are $1.43 each. However, it looks like 3 or 4 of them are kinda like “junk” keys, so that means they are more like 1.80 or so. Best thing about this is you can offer $15, maybe pay $18 and get them down to about $1.60 each.

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I found these on auction on eBay for $21.50 (so far). These are great looking keys, and there are 24 of them. That puts them at $.90 each! SCORE! However, it’s bidding item, so the price might go up.

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I found these under vintage skeleton keys on Etsy. These are $14 for 8 keys, so $1.75 each. Not bad, but no so great either.

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Then I found this very cool site, called Kennedy Hardware where you can buy a gross (144 pieces) of six keys for $108.00! That’s only $.75 a key and all in one shop!

The bummer about all these online options is that those costs do not include shipping. The gross amount above is $14 to ship, so changes the each price to $.84, which is still the best so far.

Now, if shipping is eating into your budget, you need to start hitting up some thrift shops and flea markets. Save yourself some time on the thrift shops and call ahead and ask if they have them. For flea markets, plan on comfortable shoes and ALWAYS carry cash. I attended the Metrolina Antique Show in April (going again on Thursday!) and found vintage keys for $3.00 each. I didn’t ask for bulk prices, but definitely would have. Let the dealer know up front that you want to buy a lot. Tell them how many and let them quote you first. Here’s how I negotiate: first, know how much you want to spend walking into the situation. If your budget is $1 a key, plan for that. Know that if the asking price is $3.00 a key, you probably won’t get that $1 unless you’re buying A LOT. The trick is figuring out how desperately the dealer wants the sale. When I negotiate in bulk, I start with half the asking price, knowing I probably won’t get it, but will expect 25-30% off the original cost. Some people get really pissy when you negotiate. It’s OK, let them. You’re working on a business deal, not becoming besties with the dealer. You just need to be willing to walk away, and perhaps eat some crow and come back and pay what they’re asking if you realized too late that you low-balled them. Again, if you look at it as a business deal (which they should), then there won’t be any hard feelings. It’s best to shop the whole market first, taking either physical or mental notes of the pricing at different stalls. Once you do a full sweep, go back to the places with the best prices and see what you can negotiate.

Also, check out estate sales in your area. If you Google “estate sales” plus your area of residence, some helpful links will pop up. These are definitely more of a hunt and peck kinda thing, but sometimes pre-sale pictures are up and you can see some of the stuff for sale. Please note that estate sales aren’t like garage sales. They are generally run by a company specializing in them and the prices aren’t always negotiable. Just an FYI if you go this route, but it can’t hurt to ask. Also, vintage stores generally accept negotiations, especially now in this ailing economy. Some clerks don’t have the power to offer lower prices, but most do. Again, the worst someone can say is no.

Now, if you don’t care if they are actually vintage or just want some look alikes, then start with shopping under “Supplies” in Etsy versus “Vintage" and like these at Oriental Trading Comapny.

Wondering what to do with skeleton keys? Here’s some inspiration:

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Source for all of the above.

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Source

Fun stuff, right? So what are you trying to find at the right price? Is it keys? Milk glass? Wooden crates? Did you find a hermit living above his mother’s garage who was willing to part with his collection of San Francisco themed snow globes for your SF style wedding? Do tell.