Saturday, November 28, 2009

Vintage Style Files-- 1970s Disco

My husband and I are going to a 70s-themed costume party/birthday party tonight...specifically, a 1979-themed party, since that's the year the birthday girl was born. After doing some digging to find out what was going on in pop culture in 1979 (is it more 70s disco? more early 80s punk? etc) we determined to work the disco angle. He's going very over-the-top Studio 54 glam...aren't I lucky to have a guy willing to dress up in skin-tight sparkly pants and a faux-fur vest? I think I am! My outfit is a little less shiny than his, but definitely still bright and colorful!

So, in honor of all the truly fantastically awful fashion I expect to see tonight, I thought it might be fun to search Etsy for some 70s style! Here's what I found!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Weekend Run-Down

Wise Owls

I had a very long work-week last week...7 days in a row, to be exact! So I was terribly excited to have a nice weekend. It was sunny and warm-ish both Saturday and Sunday...I don't remember too many other weekends in late November when I've been able to wander about in a dress, light-weight cardigan, tights, and boots without freezing my behind off! So that was nice. In addition to enjoying the weather, this weekend I:

*hauled around 3 cameras (two Polas and a digital) but didn't take a single photo outside the home
*met, with my husband, two of our friends for a lovely brunch
*took a vintage dress to the seamstress to be hemmed from ankle length to knee
*went to four estate sales and purchased several small lovely things for the vintage shop
*went to our local Japanese food market to stock up on my favorite thing ever, liliko'i (passion fruit) juice
*experimented with a new photo style for items listed in the vintage shop
*didn't cook even once
*decided I loved a set of two mini vintage owl figurines (seen above) far too much to sell them and let my husband talk me into keeping them (not that it was too hard to do!)
*rocked out to "Safety Dance" in the car
*wore cowboy boots one day and motorcycle harness boots the other
*dyed my hair, with my husband's kind assistance
*fell asleep watching cartoons on the couch with my husband and my kitty

Not bad for just two days, eh?

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Big shop update!

After two days of running about to thrift shops and estate sales, we've found a lot more items for our shop! I'm really quite happy with a lot of our finds! Please, go check it out! Here's a small sampling of some of the new treasures you'll find:

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Vintage Repurposed...Why I Love "Real Simple"

I just finished reading the current issue of Real Simple magazine, and, as usual, I have multiple dog-eared pages. Recipes I want to go back to, useful looking websites, helpful tips...all of these are the norm. But this month's issue also contains holiday recipes that look divine, a holiday gift guide (which I love in any magazine, but especially Real Simple!) and ideas for homemade gifts...DIY presents! What fun! Some of the DIY ideas were easier than others, but the one that really caught my attention was the Sugar-Bowl Candles project.

Image from Real Simple November 2009

It's simple enough. Just find some thrift-shop sugar bowls, buy soy candle wax, and follow the directions for making candles. And this simple project repurposes something lovely and makes it into a real one-of-a-kind gift. Orphaned sugar bowls are unlikely to be of much use to most people...unless you happen to find the one that matches and/or completes your vintage tea set. Not likely!

Keep in mind, too, that this is a versatile project. They show it with sugar bowls as an example...but you could just as easily apply it to orphaned creamers, or tea cups, or even tea pots! I frequently see lovely tea cups in thrift stores and antique shops and wish that there were at least 2 in the same pattern available so I could justify buying them. But now, here's a great use for all those times when you find just one!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Style Icon -- Sophia Petrillo

Picture it. My living room. This morning. An old episode of "The Golden Girls" is on TV. Blanche, that meddling flirt, has just completed a make-over on sassy Sicilian Sophia Petrillo, dolling her up in a tight red dress and making her take her glasses off. And a light bulb goes on over my head. Just what was so wrong with her style before the makeover, I wondered? The vintage wicker purse, the big glasses, the stylish cardigans and blouses and dresses, oh my! She may have been the oldest of the ladies living in that house, but her get-ups were generally much better than some of the crazy things Blanche and Dorothy came up with! (I recall a lot of shapeless blouses, often in metallic fabrics....)

So I decided to see how easily I could reconstruct the iconic Mrs. Petrillo using finds from Etsy! The wicker and bead purse being the most recognizable item, I started with that first. Sadly, I didn't find anything that was a near-exact replica, though I did find multiple wicker purses that were cute cute cute! Probably the closest I got was this beaded wicker purse from VivDelight:

I then went looking for a pair of those big framed glasses she wears so proudly. Those were a bit easier, with multiple options. Probably closest would be this pair from maijutzeler:

Shoes were next. I don't recall Sophia's shoes as well, so I opted for these gold snakeskin shoes by VintageEyeFashion...low heels with some cool detailing to them, but nothing crazy!

Then came the really fun part! The outfit itself! I paired a sweet pink-and-brown plaid skirt from Thrush with a pale pink tie-necked blouse from allencompanyinc, and topped it off with a lovely cream cardigan from prettylittleworld!

And there you have it! Sophia Petrillo, reconstructed! With the possible exception of the crazy-big glasses, all of the pieces would slot nicely into the average gal's modern wardrobe, either worn together or separately! And perhaps instead of big retro glasses, you could try big retro sunglasses!

Keep in mind, there were other options for this style icon reconstruction, of course! Multiple tie-necked blouses and dresses, other wicker purses, other cardigans...Etsy is just a treasure-trove of vintage finds!

Monday, November 16, 2009

A Gift Guide

I love the Gift Guide section on Etsy. It's so fun to browse through the items, many of which are related to each other only by the vaguest of themes, and see how they all fit together. (It's also a great way to find new shops!)

I decided to play a little game with our shop. None of our items are in the Gift Guides right now (which I know because of the lovely and terribly useful Gift Guide Search on Craftopolis), but I think a lot of them would slot nicely into place in some of the themes currently being showcased.

So, here's OUR Gift Guide, inspired by Etsy's!

For the Holiday Fashion Guide, how about this lovely green enamel brooch? It reminds me of a poinsettia and would look smashing pinned to your warm cashmere cardigan or the bust of your red dress!

For The Person Who Has Everything....I bet they don't have a creamer/sugar/salt/pepper set, shaped like a pair of grumpy owls!

When buying for The Fashionista, why not consider a lovely pocket watch pendant necklace? They've been all over the style blogs and the shops lately, but this one is the genuine vintage article, not a repro!

Any Home Chef is sure to need a big collection of trivets for their hot dishes. These cast iron elephant trivets will certainly add some personality to the cooking experience!

Got a Girlie Girl on your gift list this year? She's guaranteed to love this delicate pastel pink brooch!

And last but certainly not least...know any Gardeners, windowsill or otherwise? Then you know that one thing gardeners always need are planters! We have a wide variety of those on offer, but might I suggest this bright yellow Haeger planter? The holes provided to convert it into a hanging planter make it versatile and the color makes it cheerful!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

So Very Happy

This is nothing to do with vintage, but I've always loved this print by dazeychic and thought it would make a nice thought for the weekend!

It's a bit goofy, but also so true, isn't it? Have you ever seen a bird with a french fry looking anything other than purely happy? I sure haven't! It can be hard to cultivate that sort of pure, visceral joy...the kind that has nothing to do with thinking and everything to do with feeling.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Vintage Resources....Sale Finders

It's pretty easy to find Salvation Army and Goodwill stores year-round, and garage sales are a dime a dozen in the summer time. But digging through all the plastic contemporary junk on the shelves at the Salvation Army and Goodwill can get tiresome, and garage sales are far less common in the colder months...with good reason! Why would anyone want to sit outside on their driveway shivering in the snow just to make 50 cents here and 10 cents there? So what is the intrepid thrifter to do once she's bored with the Goodwill and unable to garage sale-hop?

Why, visit flea markets and estate sales, of course! Both are (for the most part) inside, and (for the most part) year-round! Of course, finding estate sales in the winter isn't quite as easy as finding garage sales in the summer...driving slowly through random neighborhoods looking for signs is likely to be a waste of effort.

But never fear! That's where the intrepid thrifter can turn to a wee bit of research! CraigsList is your friend here, of course, but as with anything, we want to move beyond the most obvious site into the specialized ones. My favorite is the Estate Sale Network. It is a nation-wide listing of estate sales. The estate sale agents themselves list their sales, usually including pictures of the types of items available so you can tell if it is your sort of sale or not. Nothing worse than driving out to a sale only to find loads of junk...and not the good kind of junk, either!

There is a similar site,, that includes garage sales as well as yard sales and estate sales. I've personally not used this one yet, but it seems useful as well and I'll definitely be checking it out to see what kind of listings are up during the winter months when garage sales are less common.

What are your favorite resources for finding the sales?

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Vintage Collections: Cameras

I'm sure that the collecting instinct must be in the genes. My dad has huge collections of old fly reels and pocket knives. My mother...well, she has at one time or another collected tea pots (the uglier the better), Santa Claus figurines, Mr. Peanut memorabilia, polar bear figures, and McCoy pottery, among other things.

And I have my own collections growing. As I've aged, I've gone through different stages. I collected fossils. Then I went through a turtle figurine phase. Wade figures. Small silver-toned jewelry boxes. Vintage rhinestone brooches. Now I'm up to owl-shaped jewelry, ceramic squirrel wall-hangers, and vintage film cameras. (There are other things, such as skeleton keys, old wooden alphabet blocks, and interesting old hand-embroidery, that I always notice but have so far managed to resist purchasing, ha!)

I thought I might share some of my favorite things with you, since I have so many and they tend to just sit on shelves looking pretty for me and my husband. Today, it's cameras! Oddly enough, I think old cameras are terribly photogenic. I say oddly because, of course, cameras are supposed to TAKE the pictures, not be IN them, ha!

Eastman Kodak Family
Three Kodaks...a Duaflex II, a Hawk Eye, and a Brownie.

A Polaroid Highlander 80a

A Kodak Duaflex I

This Is Photography
My Duaflex II again, this time with some friends!

My new baby
A (non-functional, sadly) Polaroid SX-70

My New Baby
And last but not least, my newest baby, a Yashica Mat 124G!

What sorts of things do you collect? I always love hearing about peoples' strange obsessions with ephemera from days past. Sometimes, people are totally in love with things I'd never even think to collect!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Vintage Repurposed

While there's nothing like the thrill of finding a lovely vintage piece in perfect or nigh-perfect condition, there's also a lot of fun to be had in repurposing or otherwise reworking a piece that has promise. I love seeing someone post a photo of a beat-up old piece of furniture that is chipped, maybe discolored, but still has beautiful lines, then post a photo of the same piece of furniture transformed into something amazing with just a little elbow grease, a few coats of paint, and maybe some fabric.

I collect those types of DIY projects whenever I see them posted. Maybe eventually I'll even have time to do something with one of them!

Here's a fun one I just found! All you need is an old jewelry box with drawers, an old book or three, and you can go from this: this!!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Vintage Style Files -- Capes and Ponchos

One thing I've seen popping up a lot in stores and on fashion blogs lately is the cape or poncho. Some with arm holes, some without, the cape can be a great topper when paired with skinny or straight jeans and heeled ankle boots. I even saw cape styles in Target recently! But why buy a reproduction of this vintage style when you can find the original?

I've been searching Etsy to find the perfect vintage cape, and I found way too many choices! Here are some of my favorites....

Monday, November 9, 2009

New Shop Items

Added some lovely new items to the Etsy shop last night! Please, go check 'em out!

Saturday Antiques

One of the perks of running a vintage shop on Etsy is that you have an excuse to spend your weekends poking around in thrift stores, rummage sales, and antique shops. This weekend, we did two of the three.

There was a church rummage sale right down the road which we hit before even going out to breakfast! It was pretty small and was mostly peoples' basement junk. I did, however, find a pile of old embroidery patterns. There are seven with the days of the week and a pattern of a little Dutch girl doing various chores, intended for use on towels; and also a few other images of the little Dutch girl sans day of the week. Just $1! I've added them to my collection. Perhaps I'll scan them in and upload them at some point. Vintage embroidery patterns are always fun to share!

After eating, we drove up to a big indoor/outdoor antique show. My parents were there, too...I guess thrifting and antiquing run in the family! We managed to find multiple items for our Etsy shop. Lots of owls, for some reason! But also a very cute set of salt and pepper shakers shaped like a squirrel and a big walnut. Since I love squirrels so much, it's going to be hard to sell those!

But my real find this weekend was a new addition to my vintage camera collection...a Yashica Mat 124G! And this one, I want to actually shoot with! I'm not sure if she works or not, but she seems to be in lovely condition and she was so, so inexpensive. They often go for hundreds of dollars on Ebay, and I got mine for $25! Isn't she pretty?


Hello! We are CJ and Katy of the Etsy vintage shop Retail Therapy Retro. We decided it would be a good idea to start a blog just related to our shop, instead of having it sort of shoe-horned in with our other blogs and suchlike.

We are a happily married couple who decided one day that since we spend so much of our time poking about in thrift stores and antique shops, it might be fun to start a vintage shop to share all the wild, wonderful, and often very unusual things we run across!

We started the shop over a month ago now, and we've already had some success with sales. But really, the most fun part of it all is picking out the items!

This blog will likely feature not only the items we have added for sale, but items we have added to our own personal collections, and items we didn't buy but wished we could have!

Hope you enjoy the ride!