Friday, November 30, 2012

The Skinny -- Artistic Inspiration

We Blackbird girls are very visual people.  We love art, advertising, magazines, movies, videos...OK, just about everything you can look at and be inspired by.  We have so much artwork that our walls are full, and what's more is that we have stacks stored under our beds, tucked away into corners, and shoved into just about any place we can find, all of it being saved for that day when we miraculously acquire new wall square footage.

I've talked before about how we get inspiration from art -- and that some images seem to stick with us for some reason.  Well, we're also classic movie fanatics.  Robert Osborne is our hero, and TCM, our idea of heaven.  The image above was found on Hoodoo That Voodoo, a great Tumblr site with the most fascinating fashion and female images I've ever seen on one site.  I loved this lady instantly, and had to find out some of the backstory. 

First, it's for a movie called, obviously, Mademoiselle Modiste.  It was a silent film made in 1926, directed by Robert Z. Leonard.  The film was based on the operetta by Victor Herbert and Henry Blossom, first performed in 1905.  It's about a girl named Fifi that longs to be in the opera, but her boss at the hat store where she works discourages her from her dreams.  Fifi is a fantastic hat seller, so why would her boss want to lose the star employee to the opera? Oh, and there's a forbidden romance.  (Of course, there is.)  The operetta was very successful, having an initial run at the Knickerbocker Theater for 202 shows.  It was even revived for the stage in the 1970s and 80s.  The film with Corinne Griffith is, sadly, lost.

Corinne Griffith, known as the "Orchid Lady of the Screen", was a silent actress that was considered the most beautiful of the bunch.  She was nominated for an Academy Award for her role in "The Divine Lady" in 1929.  She was wildly successful -- until talking pictures came along.  Alas, her voice was very nasal, and her first talkie was a flop.  She made one more picture, but after that, retired and became a successful author.  She wrote eleven books, had two bestsellers, and one was even made into a movie with Jackie Gleason.  She had four husbands, one of which was the owner of the Redskins football team.  She wrote the lyrics to "Hail the Redskins" -- the team's fight song.  She has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 1560 Vine Street. 

 To see her in action, I found this great clip on YouTube.  Check it out:

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Bonus -- It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas...

Although we like to try new things in our window displays, the Christmas window at Collector's Antique Mall is always, at its core, based on tradition.  The tree, while it looks different each year, will always be in the same location -- partly because of practicality (that's where the one outlet is) and partly because that's where the Christmas tree goes.  And it will always be a green tree with not-for-sale ornaments, mainly because it's just too freakin' hard to get that particular ball on the very tippy top right (no, my right) branch for Betty Lou -- especially when you have to navigate through all of the merchandise on the floor under the tree.  But hey, we did lobby for colored lights last year, and we got them!

However, just because it's traditional (sometimes a four-letter-word to us, if you know what I mean), doesn't mean it can't be different.  Last year we went for a 1930s kitchen setting, and this year, we felt a wee bit Scottish.  We rounded up all the plaid we could find and threw it in.  Tartan bunting on the tree, tartan tins, plaid get the idea.  We also found a little Scottish man-doll in a kilt.

I made a wreath, and accented it with broken vintage brooches and earrings.  And we found some cool deer pieces in the store:

We went for some vibrant gift wrap wallpaper, and a gorgeous wooden dresser.  FYI, when we see furniture like this, the Blackbird girls say, "That is some 'good wood'."  Also, notice the men in kilts on the wall.

So, Merry Christmas everybody!  (whew, glad this window is done...I need to do some shopping now...)

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

On the Radar -- Bright Tribal

I've been finding myself drawn more and more to the look of tribal patterns.  I, of course, love ikat and suzani prints/weaves (who in the world hasn't been in love with them for the past few years?), but this spring, things are getting a little looser.  That's when I really love design -- when something gets trendy for a while (like ikats and suzanis) and then, a few years later, it gets reinterpreted.  Reimagined.  Design takes over an old idea and comes up with super fresh and bold looks. 

We Blackbird girls love our home at Etsy, and we really embrace that culture of handmade/vintage over mass production.  I can also tell you that when in comes to buying for myself -- I am pretty picky.  I fall in love easily, but it has to be TRUE LOVE before I buy it.  I love all the tribal things I've seen, but when I purchase it, then that's a good sign.

I found this designer, Layla Amber Handmade Creations, from England on Etsy, and I HAD TO HAVE her wooden feather necklace.  What does it have?  A fresh take on a tribal pattern...  Here's a similar brooch from her shop:

So I started looking.  Lo and behold, it's happening everywhere for spring!!  Natural leaf bracelets with playful spins on tribal prints:

Mara Hoffman, Spring 2013

Fun, bright prints!
MSGM, Spring 2013
Even for the home!

From City Girls Decor on Etsy

Geometric and graphic!

Coaster from

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Junk Love Monday: BBBBakelite

We don't collect Bakelite. We just happen to own some items made from it, and occasionally dream of a house full of Bakelite radios and drawer pulls. It's actually pretty easy to find, especially if you pay attention to plastic handled flatware. But finding good, real, quality Bakelite is not as easy. And, unfortunately, it tends to be quite expensive. That doesn't stop us from dreaming, though. So this week, our junk love telescope zooms in on Bakelite treasures that we covet.

Of course, the best Bakelite is in jewelry. Bracelets are pretty easy to find, although some colors are definitely more desirable than others. Pins and necklaces are generally more sought after. Everybody needs a Bakelite sombrero brooch!

Bakelite Sombrero Brooch
AgoObjects on etsy

 Some carved pieces are definitely better than others, but the quality is easy to see. We've all found those Bakelite "dogs" that you have to squint at to pinpoint where the eyes are. But, sometimes, the pieces just sing to you, like this fantastic vintage Halloween bracelet:

Vintage Celluloid and Bakelite Halloween Charm Bracelet
craftingfool2003 on etsy

For the black-hearted:

Vintage 40s Bakelite Heart Brooch - Black
BakeliteArts on etsy

 Or, the Holy Grail of Bakelite jewelry, the cherries:

Vintage Bakelite Cherry Necklace
wasabirose on etsy

Or, for those who love the Bakelite rainbow:

Art Deco Bakelite Multi Color Disc Brooch
slapmefabulous on etsy

There are also some pretty fantastic Bakelite radios and clocks out there.

PRICE REDUCED Vintage Fada 1000 Butterscotch Bakelite Radio: working condition
vintagebitsblitz on etsy

Bakelite Art Deco Westclox 1930s Purse Clock
yesterdayrevival on etsy

We've also come across an electric fan with Bakelite blades:

1940's Metal-Bakelite Electric Fan Metallic Green
thelittlebiker on etsy

Buttons and buckles are a great way to get color variety:

antique 1930 bakelite yellow butterscotch belt buckle with rhinestones
FrenchFrouFrou on etsy

22 Vintage Bakelite Buttons in Mixed Colorful Colors
Mauibeadworks on etsy

This is a great desk set:

GLASS INKWELL with BAKELITE Lids plus Two Dip Pens and Nibs
KnickknackFlashback on etsy

Another Holy Grail, this Bakelite and bead purse:

1940s Mind Boggling Bakelite & Cobalt Carnival Beaded Handbag
worldmarketproductio on etsy

And, of course, drawer pulls, knobs, and game pieces:

6 Bakelite Vintage Buttons Grab Bag - Antique 1940s Game Cubes
AddVintage on etsy

SALE Get a Handle on It - Vintage Bakelite Hardware - Vintage Bakelite Handles
becaruns on etsy