How I deck my hallways

The gifts have all been wrapped, the cookies have been made, and the house has been decked out with amazing Christmas kitsch. Now I can write a merry little blog that takes you on a tour of all of my vintage holiday treasures...

Remember Santa is watching... and dancing. Plastic, flocked and fabulous!

Here is my tree.
I am not such a purist that I only decorate with vintage. It is decorated with a crazy combination of new and vintage ornaments. I think it looks so cozy and captivating. (if a tree can actually look cozy) Folks that visit say they love looking at all the different ornaments on my tree. I could tell them a story about almost every ornament.

I do have some great vintage ornaments on my tree. My hubby has given me most of them over the years. This one cracks me up. Santa as the bubble boy.

Check out my new tree skirt. I have been asking for a vintage tree skirt for a few years for Christmas. I guess Santa wasn't sure which one to get so I bought one for myself this year.

How swell is this Lefton Japan candy tray? It is way too cute to fill with candy because you wouldn't be able to see the little painted Santa faces.
So how do you fill your china cabinet? I have a bit of a bulb bonanza going on here...along with a few other bits and bobs. Some may say overkill, but I say festive.
I have a few vintage Shiny Brite Stencil Ornaments of my own that were given to me from a family friend one year. I like to give them pride of place amongst the tinsel and "vintage look" mica houses.

Do you love Shiny Bright ornaments too? You could get your own set from The Unique Bird to display next year in your home.
Click here to see the listing.
You may have see some little Santas just like these for sale in my etsy shop.
They are vintage Japan cocktail picks! I bought a few for myself too while at Brimfield. If you would like to pick these up to stuff in someone's stocking next year you might want to check out this listing. Click here to see!
Sitting on top my cabinet are these two snowmen that I got from the hubby a few years back.

I think this one looks kind of drunk...and it's not even New Year's eve!

"O" how sweet is this angel candle holder. I see her on my kitchen window sill. I hope to find the "J" and the "Y" someday while on one of my treasure hunts.

I have always wanted one of these little angels and was giddy when I picked her up at a tag sale in Dayton a few weeks ago. Sadly she lost one of her wings. I think maybe she had a bit too much eggnog.

The perfect way to display my Haeger planter is with a poinsettia. I am so happy I haven't killed my pretty plant yet. It just has to last until our New Year's Party. (fingers crossed)
I framed a vintage paper ornament/ greeting card that I also got at that tag sale and was very pleased with the results.

My make-shift cork board tree is also decorated with amazing greeting cards/ornaments by Norcross New York U.S.A. I have similar group listed for sale in my shop. I have also trimmed this ribbon outline tree with vintage metal curtain tie backs. (those things are very useful and nice to look at!)
This is another new addition, she is plastic and flocked to perfection in her lovely blue dress and shiny gold paper wings.

Doesn't this plush red and white deer put a smile on your face? (kind of like the smile he is wearing on his face)
Here is a crafty little creation that I devised to display our holiday cards. I used to just tape the cards to strips of ribbon that I hung in my entry way, but the cards were always falling down. So the hubby and I had a little brainstorm and came up with a nice magnetic system that I can re-use every year. Did you notice the lovely vintage fabric bows? I had to spice them up.
Here are two pillows that I had started to make for myself that are made using my favorite Christmas fabric. Too bad there were no little elves that finished them while I was fast asleep. Maybe they will be finished for next Christmas. You know what they say, "God rest ye merry Gentlemen because the women have too much to do!"
I hope you have enjoyed the Christmas Kitsch tour and I hope that you have a Very Merry Christmas and I wish you all the best in 2010!!

Girly giving some props

Hi all! Garage Sale Girly is back again.
I know It's been a while but I have been a busy little birdy posting new items on my web page for the holiday season.

I am going to brag a little about my super smart sis right now, so bear with me while I give her props.

Recently my sister Katie, one of the Specialists at Cowan's Fine Art Auctioneers and Appraisers, attended a Daguerreian Society Symposium in Philadelphia. I have to admit to being a bit jealous.

For those of you that were not in Mr. Thom Meyer's photography class at Fairmont Highschool, you might be interested to know that the the daguerreotype was the first practical form of photography invented in 1839.

They are having a big American History auction in December at Cowan's that not only contains many historical photographs but also a historical nugget. Here is a little YouTube video, that my sister is starring in, to plug one of their lots, from the California Gold Rush, in their upcoming auction.

As you my have heard, I love a good back story and tracking down the history of an object. I love getting the inside scoop about the the historical items that they have at auction.

Katie also recently wrote an article titled "Props add value to historical portraits". This article talks about "the early images of often unidentified individuals do not draw as much interest or money at auction, unless, of course, the sitter is posing with a prop...In many cases, props not only add historic value to early photographic portraits, but also increased monetary value."

This article got me thinking about all of the vintage photos that I have hanging around my house (many of my father's side of the family) and the "props" that appear in the photos. The photos that I have may not have any historical value but they do make me smile every time I think about what the heck they were doing. That is what makes them priceless to me.

"Go fish" is what I would title this photo.
The man in the center is my great grandfather George and he apparently had a good day out on the lake.

This is a favorite photo that I have of my Grandpa Bob and Grandma Jean. The props in this photo would indicate to me that this was taken around Christmas time. I know, I should be an expert.

This is not a family photo. I found it at a flea market. My hubby & I couldn't stop laughing when we picked it up. Seriously what the heck is going on here? The prop would be a tall wooden pole. The inscription at the bottom says "at home Aug. 4th 1918". I think I need to get the History Detectives on this case.

I recently discovered this photo while going through one of my Grandpa Bob's old photo albums. This picture also brought a smile to my lips. Who was this domestic goddess? This woman is posed with her props, the oven and the pie, and is apparently no relation to me that I know of. I later discovered the inscription on the back of the picture that reads "Trixi in the kitchen with the pie she didn't bake". HA! That part made me laugh out loud.

This is also one of my Grandpa's photos featuring the front of their department store "Lockwood's" in Jamestown, NY. I wish I knew enough about cars to date this picture, but from what my father told me this photo was the store's original location on Third and Cherry and it later moved to Fourth and Cherry.

This photo shows my Grandpa Bob (on the right) standing in front of the camera department at Lockwood's. Please notice the props in the window, an Argus camera display.
My Argus.
I have discovered these are quite common (produced between 1940 - 1954) but that doesn't make me love it any less.
I have accumulated a few props of my own, like the ones in the window of the camera shop above. I am not really sure why or when it started, but the hubby and I have accumulated a pretty good collection of vintage cameras that decorate our home. Not only do they look awesome, but I love showing them to my father and asking him about the history of the pieces, because he always seems to have the inside scoop. Maybe he knows so much about cameras because growing up he worked in the camera department at Lockwood's and later went on to work as a camera buyer for Elder Beerman's department store. He even met my mother while working at a camera store in Dayton, OH.
That will be a story for another day...

This is another one of my little lovelies.
The Whitehouse Beacon made in the 1940's.
I can be quite a nuisance with these things. They can be found all over my house.
This is the Kodak Pony 135 c.1950.

You oughta be in movies...
This is the Revere- Eight model 77, 8mm movie camera from 1949.
I found this website that has loads of vintage 8mm movie cameras for sale. I have never purchased from this site but It is a great place to get some information on them.
We found film in this one...
I wonder what could be lurking in those photos?
The Flash Brownie was Made in the U.S.A and was orignally sold for $6

Here are a few that the hubby got from his father.
This one is very special to us. A very close family friend gave it to me and the hubby because she knew that we had a few vintage cameras and we would love it and take care of it as she did.

The back story on her "Hit" camera was that, while on vacation in Washington D.C. with her parents, she was disappointed that they had a camera and were taking all of the pictures. They bought her this mini camera on the trip and she used it for years. As exciting as it was to add another vintage camera to our collection, we were also touched that she gave us this tiny memory from her childhood.
Look how little it is!! You know me, I love a good back story! We will never part with it.
While flipping through the December 09 issue of Teen Vogue I found something in the "Gift Guide" on page 168, that I thought was really cool...
It's an actual new film camera that is styled to look vintage. You can go to to check it out .
and then I discovered these in a recent Urban Outfitters catalogue.
One of the cameras is a Lomography camera and the other is a Vivitar camera that is digital yet looks vintage. Both are sold at
But if you are looking for the "real deal"
I also have a few actual vintage cameras that I will be selling on my website.
Now you can decorate your nest with a few vintage cameras of your own that you bought from The Unique Bird...
The Brownie Junior Six-16 was produced between 1934 and 1942

the Keystone 755EF- c. 1960
These two haven't been listed yet...but keep your eyes peeled!
This one is titled, "Smile for the camera" and is currently available for purchase online just click here for details.
The Mark XII is in really great shape with it's original box, instruction manual, and flash!!
Thanks for sticking through this wild thought process guys.
I had quite a few things that have been blogging up my brain and it feels good to finally get it out!!

The hills are alive with the sound of Kenmore...

Ca-chunk, ca-chunk, ca-chunk...
These are the sweet sounds that have been ringing throughout my home for a little over a month now.
I pulled this old girl out of her relaxing retirement and have to admit that her return to a regular work schedule doesn't please her.

I have been sewing away on my vintage Kenmore Ultra Stitch 12. If my memory doesn't fail me, somewhere between 1982 and 1985 my mother got this machine. This is one solid piece of metal. This is a very good thing due to the fact that there is a long history of klutziness in my family. It would take a lot to injure this machine and it is so easy to use. It is no wonder I found a few of them listed on ebay for quite a chunk of change! (who knew?)
It got some use while in my mother's care but it had no idea what it was in for when I absconded with it for four years of design school. After college it helped me to sew my wedding dress (that was it's last big assignment) a few hems here and there, and quite a few masterful mock ups during my design career. It is a new day and my new career has created a need for this old girl to get back to big business. This machine aids me in creating a bevy of repurposed goods for my website.
I can honestly say we (me and the sewing machine) have been as busy as little birdies sewing vintage fabric wine bottle wraps.

This is where my story takes an interesting turn.

Not all of the fabrics that I use to make my creations come in easy to use folded yardage. Where is the challenge in that? I wanted to share with you the various back stories behind the fabrics that make up these unique gift items.

Do you remember the part in the Rogers and Hammerstein film The Sound of Music when Maria makes play clothes for the Von Trapp children out of the drapes?
This is one of my favorite parts in the movie. My subconscious must have filed away these scenes for future inspiration.

In a recent article on Rachel Bilson in the November 2009 issue of Lucky, it shows that she and I are on the same page about this scene from the movie.

"My favorite part in The Sound of Music is when Julie Andrews makes the children clothes from drapes. Proof that inspiration can come from the most unlikely places." Rachel Bilson
The more I thought about it, there were other films, that I loved, where this resourceful trick of making drapes into clothes was put to use.
Scarlett dawns a beautiful drape dress to visit Rhett while he is in jail in the 1939 film Gone with the Wind.

More recently in the 2007 movie Enchanted, Giselle makes herself some dresses using Patrick Dempsey's drapes and even a throw rug.

This brings me to my projects. I may not be creating lovely clothing from drapes but I am repurposing them into wine wraps that are as cute and unique as they are functional.

These are my awesome mid- century barkcloth curtains. When I bought them a few years ago I had hemmed them and there was some left over fabric...
I used some of the left over fabric to make the base of this wrap.
Just call me Maria Von Trapp. (or Girly Von Trapp)

Another pair of curtains I picked up.
The colors in this print are so amazing that I am continually inspired to use this print in different way. It's a good thing that there is so much yardage in a drapery panel.

Voila! I just added a vintage plastic slider and a quirky ditsy floral and the curtain has a new life! (Hopefully a really great one at some fab party)

I often buy large boxes of fabrics & remnants at auctions never knowing exactly what I will find. In one particular box I found quite a few unfinished sewing projects. This box included what appears to be the top portion of a dress. It was fully lined too! Since there was no way I was going to be squeezing into this one, it has been deconstructed and repurposed.

Ta da! Even the bow on this one came from another curtain panel that I had purchased at a flea market.
Another partially completed project that I found in the box at an auction.

now finished!

You may remember this dress from one of my previous blogs. It was an amazing garage sale score and I had no idea what I was going to use it for when I purchased it.
I know now.

This apron that was probably worn by some lady stuck at home cooking and cleaning away.

Now it is fit to go out and about.

This is another dress that I bought at a garage sale and was made from feed sack cloth.

It is now featured as a bow on one of my recent adds for the holiday season.

This vintage Christmas table cloth...

Is now hoping to table hop!
Please don't despair. None of these pieces were in perfect condition when I purchased them. They tend to have some "condition issues" and I long to make them into some new again instead of sitting there with holes or rust stains.
I hope you have enjoyed my little version of E True Hollywood Stories on some of my product.
Till next time, it a wrap!