Friday, November 16, 2012

The Skinny -- We're Thankful...

Image by Anne Taintor, Inc.

We love a holiday.  Any holiday.  As long as we get to celebrate by eating good food, and decorate with cool vintage finds, we are happy as can be.  But Thanksgiving holds a special place in our hearts -- from family drama (um, please don't mention that thing to so-and-so...) to dessert smorgasbords (hello, I need carrot cake!) to turkey sandwiches the day after (must be white bread, with mayo and pepper), we love it all.  At the heart of it, we're both of us very strongly rooted in our family traditions.  We have large families, and though they have shifted and changed through the years, there are certain things that are steadfast and unchangeable.  And for that -- we are thankful.

So, as we all get ready to gorge ourselves on our holiday feasts, we Blackbird girls thought we would share a few interesting facts about the holiday known for ginormous turkeys and pumpkin pies.  You may be surprised about what you will learn...

Screen print by McCaffrey, 1954
  • The idea of Thanksgiving as we know it comes from a woman named Sarah Josepha Hale. Hale was editor of Godey's Lady's Book and penned the "Mary Had a Little Lamb" nursery rhyme. She spent 40 years writing letters to anyone who would listen, fighting for a national, once-yearly Thanksgiving holiday. Especially during the years culminating in the Civil War, she saw the holiday as a way to unite the nation.
  • On October 3, 1863, President Abraham Lincoln finally listened to her and issued a Thanksgiving Proclamation that declared the last Thursday in November to be a day of "thanksgiving and praise." For the first time, Thanksgiving became a national, annual holiday with a specific date.
  • In 1939, Thanksgiving was going to fall on November 30. Retailers complained to President Franklin Roosevelt that this date cramped their sales by only leaving 24 shopping days until Christmas. They pleaded with him to push Thanksgiving up a week earlier. When FDR declared his Thanksgiving Proclamation in 1939, as had become the tradition of presidents, he announced the date of Thanksgiving to be Thursday, November 23 -- the second-to-last Thursday of the month.
  • Whereas President Lincoln had started the Thanksgiving holiday as a way to unite our country, this date change tore us apart. Confusion and anger ensued, and sales didn't really change that much for the better.  So, on December 26, 1941, Congress passed a law that stated that Thanksgiving would forever be on the fourth Thursday of November. 

  • In 1953, Swanson started creating T.V. dinners because it needed to find something to do with the leftover frozen Thanksgiving turkeys.  Put it in a frozen meal package!
  • Green been casserole was created over 50 years ago by Campbell's soup for it's newest cookbook.  Now, Campbell's sells around $20 million worth of cream of mushroom soup, most likely for people to make the casserole.  
  • The first Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade was in 1924, and included 400 employees marching off from Convent Avenue and 145th Street in New York City. They borrowed live animals from the Central Park Zoo to walk in the parade with them.

 Have a Happy Thanksgiving, ya'll!!

*Info from and 

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

On the Radar -- Honeycomb

Colored honeycomb from France.*
Nature is the eternal inspiration for design.  Almost everything we, as humans, make, somehow references the perfection of nature's design.  Bees are so incredibly interesting, from their little monarchies to their honeymaking.  The photo above is not really a good thing -- bees in this area of France have been making this colored honey because they are gathering residue from M&Ms containers in a waste facility nearby.  The resulting honey is unsellable for the beekeepers, and it's not good for the bees.  Even so, this is nature and man designing together somehow, creating beauty that is so complex, yet so elemental.

Bees and honeycomb patterns can be traditional, or they can be translated into modern items.  Forever popular, this is not really a trend, per se, but rather some new takes on an old design. What's old is new again, right?

This is the first image that caught my eye -- honeycomb in copper lacquer:

Tom Dixon, from Elle Decor Nov 2012

And here's the next one, two pages later in my Elle Decor.  I immediately said, "Oooooooohhh..."

Arteriors Pendant Lights

Art installation by Aleksandra Zee:

My shameless inclusion of Alexander McQueen**, with the 2013 line, inspired by bees and beekeeping:

And finally, just to prove our point that vintage is just as relevant, here's some lovely glasses from Etsy:

From Sweet Potato Jack on Etsy

*Photo from
**We're going to have something McQueen in the blog about 95% of the time.  We LOVE him and his line, if you can't tell already... And his work (as does his successor's, Sarah Burton's) always inspires us.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Junk Love Monday: The Little Ten

Last week, we shared our favorite large antique malls in North Carolina. This week, we dish on our top ten smaller antique and vintage shops in our home state. Once again, in no particular order, here are our favorite smaller destinations for a junk fix:

1. Deja Vu, Asheboro NC
Run by two of our favorite antique dealers, Carol & Ernie Pollard, this shop has a perfectly cultivated selection of cool and chic. You can find a cowhide chair, a 6' high mirror, and French lithographs alongside rugged outdoor furniture and vintage signs. Plus, there is a bakery right next door!

2. Beggars & Choosers, Pittsboro NC
Great for Mid-Century lovers. This shop also has a bargain basement, as well as vintage clothing and jewelry upstairs. Plus, it's right up the street from the legendary S&T Soda Shoppe, where you can get a Cherry Smash and a sandwich for lunch.

3. Black Dog Emporium, Lexington NC
This shop is on Main Street. It is small, but has some great dealers who specialize in a wide range of items. You can find vintage medicine bottles, old radios, books, a little bit of clothing, and some great housewares. There is a great ice cream shop on the adjacent corner.

Here is their Facebook page:

4. Heirlooms Antiques & Decor, Asheville NC
This is in Biltmore Village, and the people are so nice. We like to go to the BBQ place nearby, hit this shop right after lunch, and then move on to one of the larger Asheville malls that is just a few miles down the road.

5. The Old Hardware Antiques, Cameron NC
This is a small multi-dealer antique mall, and the historic Dewberry Deli is downstairs. Apparently, we like shops that are close to food, especially if there is ice cream and/or cookies involved....

6. This Old House Antiques, Cameron NC
This shop is a feast for the eyes. It is small, but packed to the gills with stuff. We showed up 15 minutes before closing, and still ended up with three boxes of junk. Plus, it's right down the street from the Dewberry Deli....

7. Hong Kong Vintage, Charlotte NC
Another Mid-Century mecca, with an emphasis on vintage clothing. In a very cool neighborhood, with a very nice website. We didn't look for ice cream this time, but there probably is some. Our radar for sugar is top notch.

8. Design Archives, Greensboro NC
This place is part vintage, part art shop. You can browse booths of 1950s cocktail ware, followed by displays of local art, and they have an entire wing of vintage clothing. Cheesecake is to be had right across the street! Mmmmm....

9. Black Mountain Books, Black Mountain NC
My favorite used bookstore. I could spend hours here. Plus, it's a great place to get custom library stools. There used to be an ice cream shop across the street, but it closed. However, there is a chocolate shop! Book shopping makes truffles taste even better. Trust me.

10. Timeless Treasures, Southport NC
Lots of interesting items, and surprisingly, not too beach-oriented. There are several other small shops nearby, but these are a little more specialized (especially vintage quilts). And (drumroll, please), you can eat at the Pharmacy Restaurant a few doors down!

Go where we go! Keep them in business! Plus, we can almost guarantee a sugar high at some point during your trip.