Repurposed Vintage and “Inspired” Findings
July 10, 2011

 A new interest lately has been creating adjustable rings using vintage clip-on earrings and other jewelry findings.  I always love the super gaudy, huge beaded and rhinestoned vintage clip on earrings, but not only do I have pierced ears, I also have really tiny lobes and those things tend to look gargantuan on me.  So I found another way to use them!  I’m much more of a cocktail ring type of girl myself, I think most of the time larger jewelry looks better on fingers than it does on ears.  I have more of the vintage earring rings I haven’t photographed yet, I’ll post them as soon as I do.

I also came into these really great disc brooches with beads and velvet, that had come apart from their backings. with a little imagination, I was able to turn them into some pretty fabulous cocktail rings! I really love these,  and it’s going to be hard to part with them, but I’ve just listed a few of them on etsy if you’d like to take a look at some more pictures.

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The Sexy Librarian Fanclub
July 9, 2011

click to view larger!

Some of my most coveted collected items belong in my vintage glasses frames collection. I started this stash a few years ago, but have always been completely obsessed with vintage frames. I can spend literally hours looking at frames online. After much lamenting and google searching, I bought my first pair of black lenses from a website* called Allyn Scura around 2004 or 2005. Those trusty “female Buddy Holly”s lasted me up until a few months ago.   I recently became eligible for eye-care insurance again, and came into a little money after receiving a settlement from my car accident, so I treated myself to three new pairs of frames from Hollywood Vintage in SE Portland and took them to my eyedoc to get filled.  The process is surprisingly simple!

Anyway, vintage frames have always been on my radar at antique stores/expo, junk shops, and garage sales.  All of the frames pictured above came in some form of second hand, with the exception of the ones I have prescription lenses in.  (In general the frames that I collect are used/have someone else’s magnifiers installed, while the ones I wear are NOS, or New Old Stock. This means they are vintage, but technically “new”, as they’ve never been used. Such a label comes with a much higher price point, and less stranger’s face grease.)  I kept my old frames in a cigar box, and brought them out to show friends, but the box started to get beat up and soon I had too many frames to keep it closed. Displaying collections (see: my take on the Wunderkammer) is something that is really intriguing to me, and I think is often what defines the thin line between collecting and hoarding.

I had the idea for this elaborate glasses display for quite some time – it took a bit of reworking my ideas, but the end result I think is pretty damn rad. This was a project I ruminated on for a while, and then went to my dad with my ideas. My dad is the kind of guy you can ask to construct anything, and in 10 minutes he will come back with an intricately designed plan. He is also a huge inspiration in the sense that he can make something out of literally anything – or nothing.

This case actually started out life as a somewhat unfortunate looking display box for “trinkets” that I bought at Goodwill, and used for a while to store “random crap I’ve crocheted”:

The frame and top shelf have this awesome bevelled edge, which was the main reason I thought this would be the perfect body for a glasses display. The weirdly shaped-and-spaced guts were added in later I believe, specifically to fit someone’s collection.

I didn’t take any production pictures, but over the course of a few weekends, we worked on the box. Dad cut a new back piece that was thicker than the original plywood, and we covered it with a thin piece of foam plus purple velvet.  It took us a while to figure out what kind of hangers to use for the glasses so that they would be evenly spaced and float away from the back of the frame to get dimension, but that wouldn’t distract from the display. Eventually we decided to use electricians wire, which is copper and coated with a thin plastic covering. I wrapped each peg in purple yarn, and added a dot of purple hot glue to cover up the end, so that they all matched the backing. The electricians wire was also a pretty genius choice because I can bend it to meet the specific needs of each pair of glasses – some need to hang higher, or have their pegs wider apart, and this allows me total freedom with that.

We ended up keeping in the top shelf, partly to help stabilize the frame, and partly because I loved that edge and didn’t want to get rid of it. I am thinking about adding a little mirror to the top, because now that the frames are displayed they just beg you to try them on and fluff up your bouffant. I also want to use the shelf to display vintage glasses accessories like the little rhinestoned pin you see in the first pic, or glasses that won’t hang up. I wanted to display my bespectacled spaghetti poodle (1st piece of a new collection???????) on top, but the shelf turned out to be too narrow so she’ll just have to be satisfied with chilling close-by.

you can’t tell, but she’s winking!

*                    *                    *                    *

Another website I absolutely love to browse is Vintage 50s Eyewear on Etsy, which gets updated once a week and each frame is more fabulous than the next.

Click here to view my favorites on Etsy – unfortunately I can’t sort them to only show my favorite frames, but if you flip back through the most recent 10 or so pages you will see a ton of frames that I couldn’t stop drooling over. Most of them are now sold, but I like to keep them in my favorites to admire back on, and swoon over, every few months.

*I’m not necessarily a huge advocate for buying online, as vintage frames are often quite eccentric – and a good fit (both size-wise, and shape) is important, but I was able to pick a relatively simple style for my first pair and my optometrist helped me to choose from the two measurements available on the site. It helps that they have a decent exchange policy, which is something I would definitely recommend checking out before buying anything of the sort online.  But keep in mind, trying on a TON of different styles and knowing you have many great, fitting choices is half the fun of getting new glasses!

Aunt Trista’s Works of Art
August 17, 2010

up til last year, this was my bed.

My Great Aunt Trista was a very talented crafter, and I’m proud to say I get some of my tastes and talents from her. We have many of her handiworks in our christmas decorations, including tiny crochet snowflakes like these (not my image) which she would pin to a board and coat with glue to stiffen, and these wonderful ornaments. A few years ago I pulled them out of seasonal boxes and decided they were too beautiful to only be seen once a year. Here are two ways that I displayed them in my room: tied to my canopy bed, and tacked above a high doorway in an old dorm room.  I’ve tried to recreate the ornaments, which she made by covering styrofoam balls with silky fabrics and pinning old jewelry, trims, and sequins to, but I couldn’t get them to look nearly as good as she did. She made so many ornaments that she was able to give many out to my dad’s entire family, as well as decorate her own tree entirely. As I get older I’m really sad I wasn’t able to know her more closely growing up, she passed away when I was young and I only have a few memories of her at holiday parties. She was a very talented and classy woman!

two other really great things she made: framed “scenes” of vintage jewelry formed to look like bouquets of flowers. She had a collection of jewelry to die for, I believe she went to garage sales and scavenged for old jewels. The great part of these kinds of projects is that you can use broken or old jewelry and repurpose it, giving it new life. I have this vague memory of going to someone’s house, it may have been her or maybe not, but I remember in the doorway a framed piece, 3-4 feet tall, and it was in the shape of a Christmas tree.. made entirely of old brooches. WOWW!