One of the first times I hung out with Tina Vines she showed me books and pictures of vintage chain stitched rodeo suits, and she told me how much she wanted a machine, and wanted to learn how to chainstitch. A mere two years later and Tina is chain stitching up a storm, and I’m amazed at how quickly she has mastered the art form. I’m always inspired by people with passion who go and actually do the things they love, and Tina is one of those people. She just opened an etsy shop where she is selling her beautiful one-of-a-kind handmade chain-stitched purses.
When Tina told me she wanted to make me a clutch, and it could literally be ANYTHING my heart desired, I had to take some time to mull it over. It’s overwhelming the possibilities!!! Should I get some cute 50s style kitschy lambs, because Mary Had a Little Lamb? Should I have poppies and the state of CA? Frankenstein and Bride of Frankenstein? Lizards to remind me of my boyfriend? What IS the purse where if I saw it, I would want it crazy bad??? Mid-falling asleep one night it came to me; LIPS and HANDS!
I think my love for hands and lips in fashion all started with Elsa Schiaparelli.
Through Schiaparelli I learned of the influence and collaboration between surrealist artists and fashion designers like her work with Salvador Dali. The impact art has on fashion, and vice versa – it’s a powerful and joyful thing. Take for instance the hand earrings Pablo Picasso gifted to Frida Kahlo, that she wore and immortalized in a self-portrait.
The Victorian era loved hands.
And when there was a Victorian revival in the 1920s/1940s, hands appeared in loads of jewelry, fashion and objets d’art.
1920s art deco celluloid cigarette cases
No hands but Lips and Eye! – 1950s cosmetic bag
It’s become my favorite vintage motif. If this Dita Von Teese designed dress came in my size I would’ve bought it in a heartbeat.
So I came up with a sketch of my design and sent it over to Tina including some of the above inspiration photos.
And, Tina nailed it.
1940s rayon novelty print dress: Alameda Vintage Fashion Fair
Clutch: Vines of California
The purse is made of a sturdy felt with a pearl snap closure. Tina even embroiders her initials on the back of the purse. I will love it FOREVER! I can’t recommend her purses enough, they are truly special works of art! She has a bunch of awesome designs in her shop right now, and you can always ask her for something custom.
Go get your hands on some.
I have a couple posts in the pipeline for this blog, but wanted to do a quick comedy update. After taking some time to focus on moving, I’m out trying to remember my jokes and doing quite a few shows this month. Come out if you can!
For the first time EVER my monthly show Shit Creek is happening on a Friday! You can get tickets here.
San Francisco is losing another vintage gem, a place I had never ventured to before I heard of its closing – the Empress of China. The doors close on 12/31/14, so if you are in the area, I strongly recommend a visit.
Here is a picture of the “Rooftop Garden.”
The lounge has sweeping city views including the lovely Coit Tower.
I first came to the Empress for the Charles Phoenix Retro Holiday Slideshow a couple weeks ago. I met my friends Tina and Andrea for the show.
I opted to dress in an Asian-inspired Christmas look, featuring this amazing 1940s hand painted/beaded blouse.
But, I had to work the evening of the show so I had to split right after and I didn’t have enough time to see the restaurant/lounge which features decor that has been there since it opened in the early 1960s. So I organized a cocktail meet-up with some fellow comedian friends prior to the last comedy showcase of the year at the Punch Line. It was the perfect excuse to hang out with comics, celebrate the end of the year, and say good bye to the Empress.
This is indeed how it still looks; peacock feather sprays on the columns, gold filigree above tufted leather booths, and amazingly elaborate Asian chandeliers.
I’m kind of in love with that floor.
When you first walk in to the lobby, there are photos of celebrities and politicians who have visited the Empress. I don’t know who this woman is, but I loved seeing her wearing a gorgeous turquoise squash blossom necklace and cuff.
And possibly the best photo of all is this one of Jayne Mansfield with the owner.
Here’s the gang:
I took the opportunity to wear my newly acquired 1920s kimono. I brought in vintage to trade at Mercy Vintage in Oakland. I tried on this kimono and it was freakin’ amazing, but I thought I should spend my trade credit on something more practical/sensible. A week later after thinking about it constantly, and having DREAMS featuring it, I went back and got it. I think it was the right move. These pictures don’t do it justice, but it is stunning. A work of art!
So, goodbye Empress of China. You shall be missed! Are there any other vintage SF gems I have yet to see and appreciate before they disappear?
Merry Christmas everyone, and Happy New Year!
The Vintage Pinball Style event was a success! It really was so much fun. Here’s a little round-up of some of the #vintagepinballstyle photos on instagram from users @tina_vines @galaboutmidtown @brighteyedco @likeatreeinthedesert @duetvintage:
Tina and Derek of Golden West Sign Arts surprised us with a hand-painted show card for the event!
I wish I got better photos of the exhibit, as these were just taken with my cell phone and they were taken before the exhibit was completed, but it gives you an idea of what it was like. I was just ecstatic to share my vintage in a museum. It’s like a vintage collector’s dream!
We transformed the room into a vintage boutique, and I have to say it looked damn cute.
The vendors at the event: Brittany, Tina, me and Andrea.
Andrea got some great pics of me singing with Nick Stargu, officially confirming that I’m a rock star!!!
I got a wee bit drunk : )
Andrea and Elisa being accidental twins. See Elisa’s blog post on the event here.
IN CONCLUSION: Total blast. I’m hoping this will become a biannual event. Thanks for coming, and if you missed it, don’t do that next time! : )
I hope all of you fellow Americans had a lovely Thanksgiving. I spent it in Sebastopol at my Aunt’s house, where she lives across the street from a field of grazing cattle. I can’t think of a more scenically appropriate place to spend Thanksgiving!
The vintage purse and bakelite clamper watch are early Christmas presents from my boyfriend, they were pieces that were being sold by my friend at my Vintage Pinball Style event. So I totally got first dibs, muahha ha ha! And surprisingly my boyfriend said, “That’s a cool purse,” before he even knew I had put it aside for myself.
It was my first time out in these Poetic Licence shoes, and I couldn’t be happier. I definitely chose the right colorway, they will match so many of my outfits. Plus, the low heels make them great for work and walking around town.
The acorn brooch was my grandmother’s and it’s become a Thanksgiving tradition to wear it along with my 1940s felt leaves hat. I’m pretty sure I’ve worn this hat on every Thanksgiving since I acquired it. It’s pretty much the most perfect hat for Thanksgiving.
1950s autumn colors floral dress with rhinestones on the neckline and back: scored it at a friend’s clothing swap party (Thanks Rita!)
1940s brown jacket: Skirt Chaser Vintage at the SF Vintage Expo
belt: from a F21 dress
1940s felt leaves hat, yellow bakelite initial ring: ebay
Bakelite clamper watch, purse, lapis deco ring: gifts from my boyfriend
Poetic Licence Whiplash oxfords c/o
Have a great holiday weekend!
If you’re friends with me on Instagram or Facebook you’ve probably seen my posts announcing the latest event I’m producing. It combines almost everything I love in life: Vintage Fashion, Comedy, Music and PINBALL! I’m so excited and I hope all you Bay Area/Northern California vintage-loving ladies can come.
Tickets are only $15 (grab some here) and includes all day access to the Pacific Pinball Museum in Alameda, CA where 100+ pinball machines are on freeplay (no quarters needed!), a vintage fashion fair from 1pm-5pm, a Comedy Stylings stand-up comedy show at 8PM, and a 60s Dance Party at 10PM with DJ Derek See of Derek’s Daily 45 (check out his blog, it’s awesome).
Can you believe the dress I’m wearing above was once a smock apron? I turned it into a dress! Also, please note the amazing art on that pinball machine. Any vintage lover will go gaga over all the amazing art on these machines, from the back glass to the game board, to the sides of the machine… they are works of art!
Tina snagged this 1940s set you may remember from this post. But many more 40s era clothes, including some knit sets will be for sale at the event. Including this super special one from one of my favorite posts ever!
The fashion fair coincides with the Museum’s current Pinball Style exhibit. Clothing and accessories ranging from the 1930s to the 90s will be for sale, from the personal collections of 4 stylish women, including 2 Etsy sellers (one being Bright Eyed Clothing Co), one being me! All that leopard above will be for sale. Including almost the entire outfit from this post, and the most perfect Thanksgiving dress EVER seen in this post. AND the most amazing super rare 1940s hand knit ice skating dress that Tina modeled here (in a total babely fashion, I must add):
So please come play, dance, laugh and shop with us on Saturday, Nov 22. It’ll be so fun! More info and tickets here.
When I started stand-up I knew of Joan Rivers and admired her, and when I saw A Piece of Work in the theaters, I became a true fan. What an incredible woman. When she died it stung in the way of knowing that we lost someone grand.
That day she died I thought about her iconic style, her comedic legacy, and I had an idea. I wanted to do a tribute show where all the comedians on the show had to wear feathers and huge statement necklaces and tell filthy, filthy jokes. The show Feathers & Filth: A Tribute to Joan Rivers was born.
I really put my heart into planning the event, and was so happy in the way it turned out. Members of the San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus opened the show with a couple musical numbers, and Margaret Cho made a short tribute video. Fashion Police writer Ronn Vigh and I did a mock Fashion Police segment. He told jokes that he wrote for the show, and I told the jokes that were rejected in front of a slideshow of celebrity red carpet photos. And all comedians got dressed up and performed. It was so fun. At the end, in front of a slideshow of Joan, we had a curtain call with the song “Quiet Please, There’s A Lady On Stage” playing, the song Joan requested to be played at her funeral. A portion of proceeds from the show benefitted Joan’s favorite charities God’s Love We Deliver and the Elton John AIDS Foundation. The photographer Red Scott who takes photos for my tumblr Comedy Stylings was there to capture the event, and I’ve been posting the photos over there, but wanted to share a few here.
Me with Ronn. Here are my outfit details:
1930s blue ostrich feather capelet: SF Vintage Expo
1990s Silver sparkly gown: gift from a friend
1920s era rhinestone headpiece: ebay
vintage Polly of California heels: ebay
Pearl necklace, silver teardrop earrings: thrifted a long time ago
Drag performer and stand-up comic Pippi Lovestocking wore a vintage Dior dress.
Deborah Norville said at Joan’s memorial service, “To all of you here—and to those who loved Joan: Go out there and make people laugh. DO something. Say Something. Wear something that makes someone else chuckle,” she explained. “Take a video, put it on Facebook with the hashtag: #JoanRiversChallenge”
She added, “Honor our friend by going out there and making someone laugh, so that the laughter Joan Rivers lived for—never dies.”
We love you Joan! For more photos from the event please go to Comedy Stylings.
Sorry for the rhyming post title, had to do it. One of the perks of my day job is I can sometimes get free tickets to cool things, and last week it was tickets to see Dita Von Teese at the Fillmore in San Francisco! Gal pal Tina was my date and we planned our outfits over quite the number of back and forth texts, as girlfriends do, of course! At first I was going to wear a newly purchased handpainted 40s blouse:
But then I realized I needed to find a way to show off the piece from Dita’s Von Follies lingerie line that I splurged on last year during a Cyber Monday sale. A little look through my closet and I realized a 70s Alfred Shaheen gown can show it off and cover it up at my whim. Added a 40s tilt hat, black eyeliner & red lipstick, and sensible heels for walking and standing and I was good to go.
70s Alfred Shaheen dress: NOS from Freestyle Exchange in Sacramento
“Her Sexcellency Dress” by Dita Von Teese’s Von Follies via Asos.com cyber monday sale
40s tilt hat: antique store
Peeptoe heels: Ross or Marshall’s
Velvet purse: thrifted
And Tina wore her amazing bow blouse she found at the Vintage Expo.
It was a spectacular show with sparkle overload! Dita’s costumes and sets were just incredible. It was the first high-budget burlesque show I’ve ever seen, so yes, it kind of blew my mind. Not to mention that now I want to wrestle the MC Murray Hill for his job. Seriously that is my dream job! If you plan on going to a Dita show, please ask the venue ahead of time if the show is seated. I assumed it would be seated, but the entire show was standing room only! I felt sorry for some of the attendees who got dressed up to the nines with high, high heels. My toes were going numb towards the end of the show and I was wearing a mere 2 inch heel! But besides that it was thrilling to see Dita live, I recommend it.
Alameda is a quick 10 minute drive from my house, and for how close it is I don’t go there often enough. But I recently spent a couple days out there, and really wanted to share what a fun weekend trip it could be for someone who lives out of town. And for vintage lovers, it’s an absolute paradise of art deco flower shops, and beautiful victorian houses, and home to the largest antique fair in Northern CA. Step one, plan it out so that you visit the first weekend of the month so you can attend the Alameda Antique Fair, which is always the first Sunday of every month, but more on that later.
FRIDAY NIGHT: Pack your vintage dirndl and trek over to the German Restaurant & Bar Speisekammer for a delicious Hefeweizen and listen to some sweet tuneage. Every Fri night they have live music with no cover, and with vintage-friendly bands who play western-swing, ragtime, blues, or jazz. The last time I went was on Valentine’s Day and saw fellow East Bay vintage ladies Tina and Elisa.
SATURDAY: Grab a classic diner breakfast at Ole’s Waffle Shop “Since 1927”
source – Disclaimer: I have never eaten here, so I can’t vouch for the food, but I can vouch for its CUTENESS QUOTIENT!
Take a stroll on Park St which houses several packed to the rafters, completely crowded and dusty, multiple level antique stores. Which, come on, are always the best to roam and sift through. But there are some cute boutiques on the street, too, including the extremely fun Rocket Reuse which houses everything I love in life: books, music and vintage! Be sure to try something on in the dressing room that opens with an old phone-booth door.
Get a break from shopping and head over to the Pacific Pinball Museum. The $15 admission gets you all the pinball you can play ’til midnight. They have games from the 30s and up, multiple rooms, and they’re always rotating the 90 machines they have there with the 400 they house in storage. My top picks are Fireball for its spinning plate in the middle of the board, Oribtor 1 for its craziness (the ball moves erratically and it isn’t from magnets!), Black Rose for its added video game element, and Black Knight for its double deck/multiple flipper action. Get your hand stamped because you’ll need a break in between so much fun pinball playing, and oohing and aahing over all that awesome pinball art.
All that standing up playing pinball has got your legs aching for a break. Why not take in a flick at the beautiful art deco Alameda Theatre?
This theater was designed by the same architect who designed the gorgeous Paramount Theater, and was renovated in 2008. Even if your choice movie isn’t in the main (original) theater, spend some extra time feeling glamorous in the lobby.
Is it dinner-time? I suggest local SF chain Burma Superstar, right around the corner from the Theater on Park St. The pumpkin curry I recently had there melted in my mouth! Now go back and play pinball for dessert!
SUNDAY: Wake up bright and early and head over to the Alameda Antique Fair.
Bring cash, comfortable walking shoes, a wide-brimmed hat and lather up in sunscreen even if it looks cloudy. Sadly every time I’ve gone to the fair I’ve managed to get a weird looking sunburn. Small price to pay for amazing vintage! Like this recent haul:
My other strategy is to put figurative blinders on as soon as I walk through the gates, and walk all the way to the back of the fair, to the last row of vendors. It’s hard to not stop, but trust me, just walk all the way to the back. I’ve found that some of the better vendors with good deals are in the back (maybe it’s cheaper booths?). And also this way you can make sure you see everything at the fair. They have a wide selection of food trucks available, and a shuttle bus.
You’re probably wiped out by all the vintage visual stimulation so relax with a cocktail at Forbidden Island tiki lounge.
And there you have it! A really fun vintage-y weekend in a really cute town. I’m looking forward to exploring the area more and more with lots of pinball in the mix! Let me know if you have any more Alameda destination suggestions.
I finally had a weekend at home this past weekend and had one of those Sundays where I was in my pajamas until the afternoon, lazing about reading a graphic novel (Bone, and totally enjoying it by the way). Then I tackled some DIY projects I’ve been meaning to do for some time now. Like hemming a pair of rayon shorts from the 90s that have a very fun 40s-ish cowboy novelty print:
And making a necklace from vintage brooches and buttons! Meet the Three Amigas:
The story with this is that I found one of the brooches at an antique store back in March 2013:
And once upon a time I was trolling ebay for wooden brooches (the way other people play candy crush, that’s me on ebay) when lo and behold I saw a listing for two identical sombrero ladies to the one sombrero lady I already had. The idea for a necklace was born!
I then discovered wooden sombrero shaped buttons, and found a listing of those on ebay that happened to come with a few painted Mexican-themed buttons. Now, in addition to finding all the decorative pieces, I had to think about the type of chain. I bought 3 versions of black plastic and metal chains, hoping to find one that mimicked the bakelite and celluloid necklaces we all love from the 40s. But I wasn’t satisfied, and couldn’t find the right chain! Fast forward to Sunday when I had my sewing/craft chest open while I was hemming the shorts, I saw all the parts to this un-made necklace and thought, heck. Let’s just try this with what I got. And actually, it worked out better than I imagined!
While researching how I could do this, I found these brooch converters. They’re pretty ingenious, though kind of expensive. I didn’t end up ordering them, but it’s neat to know they exist.
I ended up using a 7mm chain I got from Delish Beads on Etsy. And although the chain wasn’t as chunky as a 40s celluloid version, the size actually worked in my favor because the links are small enough to hold a brooch pin in place. I simply pinned the brooches onto the chain! It works really well and it’s easy to take off if I ever just want to wear one of the brooches as a brooch. The sombrero buttons got jump ring’d onto the chain, and the smaller buttons I actually sewed onto the chain, which I might change eventually by gluing a loop onto the backs.
Voila! That’s how my Three Amigas necklace was born. I might try setting up a plain chain necklace for sporting other brooches as pendants whenever I feel like it!