Friday, March 22, 2013

The Skinny: Walter Beach Humphrey

Walter Beach Humphrey was an American artist of the early 20th century who specialized in magazine and book illustrations. He did cover art for Liberty, The Saturday Evening Post, Collier's, Elks, and other major (and not so major) magazines of the 1920s and beyond. He was best known for Colonial and American Indian images, starting from his Dartmouth days, but many of his most beautiful illustrations featured women. He showed a bit of Art Nouveau influence in his earlier female forms, especially with the long hair and flowing garments (which still managed to be skimpy),  but his work in the 1920s epitomized the new ideal for women--slender figures, new necklines and hemlines, and shorter hairstyles made them appealing from a fashion standpoint. Faces in profile gave them mystery. Their elegant necks gave them timeless beauty. These ladies are classy, and if they have a bit of attitude, it's almost a here-and-you-missed-it moment.There isn't much information available about Humphrey, because he lived a pretty calm life, but I thought he could ring in Spring for us....
Spring is looking for a good time...
And she seems to have found it--Spring gets a little frisky....
A political cover for Collier's
Sexy tan lines are quite suggestive....
Beauty and the beast? Hahaha
Near and dear to our hearts, a lady to reads instead of cleaning
1920s Liberty magazine
1920s Liberty magazine
1920s Liberty magazine

Thursday, March 21, 2013

On the Radar -- Coming Full Circle

Cardboard pendant lights, available here.
OK, I know I'm late.  I should have done my post yesterday.  But I went junk shopping yesterday for the shops, and I had a really good day!  I can't wait to get the stuff processed and out for everyone to see!

Yesterday continued a trend I've noticed in my life lately.  I've actually been having a really good week this week.  And that got me thinking in a circular fashion when it came to the trend post.  My life has been full of circles lately.  Circles that are completing themselves.  The giant nature window we just did has been on the window idea rotation for a while, so it finally came full circle.  One of my best friends just told me he's moving back to the state this summer -- another circle closing.  And good old-fashioned karma came to my corner of the world a few days ago.  I'll leave that alone, but let's just say I'm content at this moment. 

So here are some new circle design inspirations for you to drool over.  They make me want a whole new house to decorate!

By StudioLiscious.  Available here.
Tie-dye sunburst pillow from ABC Carpet and Home, available here.
Rika Platter from Crate and Barrel, available here.
By Georgiana Cristea.  Available here.
Circle Ikat fabric from Spoonflower, available here.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Bonus -- Supersized Nature Window

Dandelions! (check out the sky background!)
So, we've had this dream to do a window with huge nature elements for a while -- specifically giant mushrooms.  It's finally happened!  Yay!

We always try to think of things a little differently for Liberty windows.  That's what we call the windows that coincide twice a year with the Liberty Antiques Festival in Liberty, North Carolina.  The mall gets tons of traffic during those weekends -- people from all over the southeast make the store an add-on to their Liberty trek -- so we like to make it count!  In Blackbird girl-ese, "we're doing the Liberty window" translates to "we're doing a super-crazy-quirky-oddball window."

Add to this the fact that Collector's Antique Mall is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year, and we knew the first Liberty window of the year had to be giant-sized, off-the-wall crazy.

Mushrooms and wooly worm (we call him Philbert)
This was a giant build for us.  We had to make soooo much time in our schedule to get the parts together, and then find room to store the ginormous pieces and parts.  The large mushroom cap started as a big umbrella, layered with papier mache, screen, tape, etc.  It's over 6 feet tall, with a span of probably 2 1/2 feet.  It was delicate, it was fussy, it was time-consuming -- but it ended up looking fantastic!

The worm is faux fur sewn into a tube, with a newspaper and wire armature inside.  We roughly taped off stripes and hit it with orange and yellow spray paint.  We used landscaping burlap on the walls to cover the peg board (mainly because it was natural looking, and well, we already had it!).  The "grass" was made from laminate flooring underlay we had leftover from our house.  It was a foam-y plastic material.  We spray painted it all different greens, using up odds and ends of paint we had leftover from different projects.  Once dry, it rolled up easily, and I cut freehand blades right before we installed them.

The sky was made from two thrift store white sheets, spray painted with pale blue paint.  We just kept the paint very splotchy and misty to mimic clouds.  Once installed under the lights, across the window, the sky just came alive!  I wish the photos could capture it -- it really looks like a blue sky!

The dandelions were a happy accident!  We knew we wanted to do some flowers, but what kind?  When we came across a box of 3000 drinking straws at a Goodwill for $3, it all fell into place.  The center of the puff is a decorative ball from a craft store, and the straws were hot glued to it.  Some of them were left as they were, and some were clipped to make a frilled tip.  The dandelion flower is a straw hat with layers of yellow crepe paper streamers, cut into petal shapes.  The stems are slim PVC pipes, covered with green crepe paper streamers.  For even more whimsy, we hung frilled straws from the sheet sky, to look like floating dandelion fluff!

In our window world, we imagined that someone would want to picnic under a giant mushroom, so we merchandised with springy, picnic themed items.  A vintage quilt in yellow and turquoise, combined with turquoise glassware, stacks of picnic baskets, and insect themed finds completed our dream.

What do you think?  We're really excited about it!  It's in the running to be considered our favorite window... AND we have 2500 straws left. Hmmm...

Monday, March 18, 2013

Junk Love Monday: Love Cuts Like A...

Paper cutter. I know we've written about office junk before, but I recently acquired my third and fourth vintage paper cutters (and we know that makes the collection official!), and I'm still feeling the buzz of infatuation. I love the look of them, plus I actually cut paper fairly often, so they are functional. There's nothing quite like gripping that handle, lining up that piece of paper, and savagely lowering the blade to make that delicious swishy-cutting sound....And that moment of suspense, when you barely have time to wonder if you remembered to move your thumb completely out of the way? Priceless.

So, here is my ode to paper cutters. They look great sitting on a shelf, they make fantastic risers for other junk, and they earn their keep anytime I need to cut 500 business cards (yes, this has happened).

Oh, paper cutter--I love your stripes!

Vintage Tabletop Wooden Paper Cutter
From RootedInVintage on Etsy

I have a miniature Kodak cutter, and so can you!

Mid century Kodak film trimming board  - camera school tool vintage photography office paper cutter advertisement industrial commercial
From MidCenturyProps

I have two sizes of green paper cutters (they match!). There's nothing like stacked paper cutters in graduated sizes....

RESERVED for MrChubby Vintage Paper Cutter . Industrial . Office Supplies. Premier Photo Materials Co.
This one sold on Etsy

This label is from a letterpress paper cutter. I don't have one, but I'm a sucker for office equipment made in Chicago. Don't ask me why--I've never even been to Chicago.

Vintage Challenger Cutter

My Ingento cutter might be my favorite. It cuts the best, and the logo is cool.

Vintage Ingento No.2 Paper Cutter  Wood and Cast Metal
This one sold on Etsy

Milton Bradley made board games--and paper cutters!

Vintage HUNTER Green Milton Bradley Co. Paper Cutter
From aniandrose on Etsy

And next on my list--a roll paper cutter. I want to cut big striped paper!

Vintage General Store Paper Roll Cutter / Industrial Paper Cutter
But this one sold on Etsy already:(