Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Elkhorn Antique Flea Market - Last One of the Year

Anyone that sells at an antique market knows that there is a lot of work involved. You spend days preparing for each show, then load up, set up, rise before dawn on show day, sell and then break it down, load up again and head home.  This year, I teamed up with my friend Kathy of Heritage Antiques to sell at the Elkhorn Antique Flea Market in Elkhorn, Wisconsin. Having someone along that laughs at the same things I do makes the effort half the work and twice the fun!

This past weekend was the last show of the season at Elkhorn.   There are four shows a year here, with 400-500 dealers selling only vintage and antique items, along with a few select growers bringing in seasonal produce.  There are no knock-off purses, office supplies or t-shirts here.  This is one of the best shows in our area and Nona & Skip of N. L. Promotions do a great job of running it.

Sunday was a beautiful early-autumn day and there was a good crowd of buyers from the 7:00 a.m. opening right up until closing at 3:00.  Small inexpensive vintage items were snapped up.  Hats, which normally do well for us, were not as popular this time. The smart brown wool 40's number went to a vintage-savvy college student. It looked great on her.

Vintage theatre marquee letters were my best sellers.  One  lady purchased the initials of her four children to hang over their hat & mitten cubbies in the mudroom.  Some folks spelled out their last names.  Others purchased their initials to hang over a doorway. 

The favorite 'brings a smile' sighting of the day was these two ladies wearing marching band Shakos they had just purchased.  I've never been a fan of the red hat thing, but I could potentially get into wearing a Shako now and then...aren't they fun?


The only bad thing about selling at Elkhorn is that there is no time to shop there....maybe next year we'll find a way to do both!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Marquee A B C - Letter Love

Letters. I love letters. Not love letters, but alphabet letters. Tiny typeset letters, initial brooches, Scrabble tiles,and letters from outdoor signs. There's something pleasing about rummaging through a random pile of letters and finding just what you are looking for.

Perfect for decorating, letters make an easy statement. Spell out your family name on the mantle. Gift a friend with their initial. Hang words that have special meaning to you like " faith", " beach", or "love" above your doorways. A stairway wall is the perfect place to hang your family's initials. The possibilities are limited only by your creativity.

Recently I was fortunate enough to acquire the letters from the marquee of the old Esquire Theatre in Milwaukee. The Esquire was on Wisconsin Ave in downtown Milwaukee from 1947-1981. It was torn down to make room for the Reuss Federal Building. Fortunately someone had the foresight to rescue the marquee letters and store them away in the loft of an old garage. Here they sat for the past twenty-eight years, neatly stacked under the eaves. With my van loaded down I brought them home and cleaned them up.

Made of cast aluminum, they are 10" tall. There are two colors; a solid
beachy-blue, and two-tone with a seaside aqua outlined in that same beachy-blue. I can't wait to pull out the two-tone letters S E A and hang them near my assemblage of fishing floats & sea shells. We have plenty of letters to share and will be offering some of them online and at shows in the coming weeks.

If you are an avowed letter-lover, subscribe to our blog, (see the link at top right), and in the comments section describe your favorite way to re-purpose old letters. Tell us what state or province you're in. On Sept. 28
th, one person in the U.S. or Canada will be randomly selected to receive the letter of their choice;  we'll ship it to them as a gift from us!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Research Tools: Vintage Catalog - Sewing Patterns

Vintage catalogs are a valuable resource often overlooked when building a reference library. Take this Ideal Patterns catalog, for example. It showcases sewing patterns for Spring & Summer, 1918.

The obvious value of the information in this catalog would be for collectors of sewing patterns. Early patterns were not all dated when issued. A complete collection of pattern catalogs would allow the collector to reference the date of issue.

Vintage catalogs added to your library are useful in other ways. Using the example of this pattern catalog, we get valuable insight into the fashion trends of 1918. We can see that skirt lengths were rising, baring the ankle a bit. Collars tended to be wide, and proportions were generous. Hair was swept up providing support for the hats which were still an important element of Edwardian style. French heels were popular. The cover of the catalog even shows us what sort of vehicles were driven in 1918. It's easy to see that this catalog has value far beyond researching pattern dates.

Furniture, clothing, hardware, toys, farm equipment and more were all sold via catalog. When you are on the hunt for antiques & collectibles pick up old catalogs when you find them. You'll get a glimpse into history, further your understanding of an era and have one more tool at your fingertips for future research.