Friday, October 12, 2012

The Skinny -- Halloween Party Games

Written by E.O. Harbin in 1950

In all of the various and sundry items we Blackbird girls are drawn to, there is one small (but ever growing) collection we have that has been born out of two other collections -- the cookbook and cocktail collections.  It just seemed like a natural extension to start picking them up when we see them, but then, that's really the excuse to buy something 99.999% of the time.  Today, I'm talking about vintage party books.

We don't really like parties, either one of us.  They sound like fun in the abstract, planning stages, but when it comes to the actual entertaining part -- we'd just rather go junking!  But we LOVE the idea of elaborate cocktail soirees, divine dinner parties, and fun, game filled get-togethers.  Eh, maybe one day some of my vintage cocktail shakers will actually get used to make drinks for a crowd.  But until then, we thought we could share some festive Halloween activities and games with you, our readers, from a great book in our collection called Gay Parties for All Occasions, written by E.O. Harbin in 1950.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

On the Radar--Lace Love

Fall 2012 Runways
Lace is one of those classic things that never really goes away.  It shows up on every season's runways.  But this year, with the forces of what we've already discussed here -- classic Hitchcock women and yet another Victorian revival -- lace is having a strong comeback because of its timelessness and elegance.

Tadashi Shoji Fall 2012
The varieties of styles are endless.  It can be handmade, machine made, laser cut -- it is both technologically current and traditionally old-old-school.  It can be used all over or as just as accent.

When I worked in Product Development, we were always playing with different ways of introducing lace like patterns.  It is hard to balance out the sugary sweetness and daintiness of the pattern, and I think that this year, designers have gotten it right.  In the hands of some, lace has more graphic punch, like Alexander McQueen's fall offerings.  But with others, they have found how to embrace the sweetness in a more hard edged way, like this Tadashi Shoji gown.

Alexander McQueen, Fall 2012

It's showing up in fashion accents as well, such as these nail tips from Joy Cioci's show:

And you know how we feel about Country Living.  They had lace decorations for Halloween!

Country Living, October 2012

Country Living, October 2012

Monday, October 8, 2012

Junk Love Monday: It's Black and White

It's no secret that the Blackbird girls love color. We shudder at the thought of a room with white walls. Red, teal, aqua, navy--our house looks like a Skittles factory exploded. But we also love the graphic, stark contrast of black and white mixed in with our rainbow.

The Pizio collection.
It started at a pottery show. We went specifically to visit one of my favorite clay artists, Stacy Lambert. We got to the show five minutes before the doors opened, and somehow, Stacy was already sold out. I stood there, wavering between denial and disappointment, trying to ignore the pounding in my head (you try driving 45 minutes to buy something that no longer exists by the time you get there, and see what kind of headache you end up with), when I happened to glance at the next vendor down. The pounding in my head traveled south to my heart, and I knew it was love. The table was filled with black and white pottery--owls, crows, gnarly trees...and, thanks to Leanne Pizio, a new collection was born: sgraffito.
Leanne Pizio's pottery chicken heads

We both purchased pieces, and by the time we placed them on the piano at home, knew that we had to have more. It seems like just yesterday that our collection was such a baby (only 3 pieces!), and now it has grown into a beast. We just call it The Pizio. It has grown from the piano, up the walls, across the house, and wormed its way into any available space it can find. We have allowed it to acquire color (we love the aqua!), but the majority of it is black and white perfection.

It was only after we had been collecting the Pizio pottery for a few years that we started to notice vintage sgraffito.  For two people with very little restraint, this is bad news (in a good, good way). We have a lot of conversations that start with "If we had a bigger house...," and this is one of the reasons why. If we had a bigger house, we would not only own every single piece of Leanne Pizio sgraffito that we could get our hands on, we would own every piece of vintage sgraffito we could find.

Marianne Starck for Michael Andersen Pottery, 1950s

Marianne Starck for Michael Andersen Pottery, 1950s
Marianne Starck for Michael Andersen Pottery, 1950s
And, if we had a bigger house, and it happened to be in the Czech Republic, we would want it to look like one of these:

Exterior of Schwarzenberg Palace, Czech Republic

Czech Republic, Sgraffito Exterior; photo by Paul Harris