Thursday, January 28, 2010

Vintage Thingies Thursday: Butterick Home Catalog, Summer 1970, Part Two

Meet the ten designers for the Young America Creates series of patterns in the Butterick Home Catalog, Summer 1970:

The text reads, "...Who is better qualified to design for this generation than the young themselves?  With this in mind, Butterick joined Glamour and Celanese in a search for young talent." Perhaps you might think of them as being part of a contest that was probably one of the precursors to Project Runway.

The ten designers are John Mijatovich, John Nickleson, Oscar Esparza, Brooke Hunyady, Suzanne Wray, William McKnight, Marcus Ors, Gerald McMillan, Michael Frankenberg, and Jeanne Augey.

And here are a few of the patterns in the series:

And here are the ten winning looks as sewn:

My favorite look was designed by Brooke Hunyady, pattern number 5724 (fourth from the left).  I believe that I found Ms. Hunyady's website.  She attended Parsons, and I find it interesting that she has done quite a bit of photography and graphic design work in addition to fashion design over the years.

I haven't yet looked to see what all ten designers are doing today.  My question is, as it seems that they received their "big break" into the fashion industry in 1970, what are they doing now, forty years later? 

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

OWOH Giveaway Thank You

This is just a quick post to let you know that I am so touched by your kind comments about the scarf I am giving away for One World One Heart!  Although I'd love to send a personal thank you to each one of you, there are now over 115 comments at the time of this writing and the number grows each day.  Please accept this post as my thank you for your wonderful comments. You have given me cause to think about the crocheting that I do in a whole new way.

Cameras and computer monitors sometimes play "tricks" with actual color, and from reading some of the comments the scarf in my photo appears to be red on some monitors.  I would hate to disappoint anyone who would like a red scarf (red is one of my favorite colors too), so I want to let you know that the scarf was made with Patons Classic Merino Wool in Paprika.  If you click on the link and look at the color swatch on the Patons website,  the color still does not seem to be true to the actual yarn color, as on my monitor it appears to be bright orange. 

So, I'll do my best to describe the color.  To my eyes, Paprika is a very autumnal deep rust orange that is close to rust brown,  although it definitely has red undertones.  It's really a lovely color.

And come rain or shine, I'll will definitely see you here tomorrow for Vintage Thingies Thursday!

Monday, January 25, 2010

One World One Heart Giveaway!

Today the One World One Heart Giveaway begins!  This international giveaway event was organized by Lisa at A Whimsical Bohemian.  She began this event "to bring bloggers together from around the world who may never ordinarily meet. It closes the gap of the blog community and enables us to interact, discover new and wonderful people, and in the process possibly win a prize or many prizes along the way." I'm delighted to be a part of this event for the first time this year.  If you are new to my blog -- welcome!  I'm glad that you stopped by.

I am giving away a lovely handmade One-Skein scarf crocheted from Patons classic merino wool.  This stylish and feminine scarf is the perfect accessory for cold winter days:

For a different view, you can see a work-in-progress shot at my Flickr account.

This giveaway is open to everyone, and you don't have to be a blogger to participate!  All you have to do to enter is to comment on this post and leave your contact information, such as an email address or link to your blog.   The winner will be decided by random number and announced on February 15th!

Be sure to visit all of the other participants and enter their giveaways!  Good luck!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Rain, Rain Go Away!

The tempest that raged throughout all of Southern California has kept me pretty busy over the last few days.  First there were the ants.  All buildings in Southern California rest upon one massive ant hill.  Ok, I exaggerate, but battling ants is a common problem.  On Wednesday afternoon the ants were flooded out of their nests and began looking for higher ground.  They were literally streaming out of the cracks in the garage floor and many of those who had made it out of the underground nest simply loitered around, unmoving.  I have never before seen hundreds of ants stand still, as though they were marooned on a desert island waiting for rescue.  I was a little freaked out....  Luckily, I've been able to deal with the solitary ants that continue to visit the house, presumably looking for a dry place to hang out.

So after a long, wet drive in traffic on the rain-soaked freeway this past Thursday I was too tired to write a Vintage Thingies Thursday post (sorry!).  I was also distracted by the large puddle of water that covered half of my backyard.  Then came the sleet, and that is very unusual here, although that didn't last long.  The bright zaps of lightning and claps of thunder were also quite distracting. Happily, all is well at my house in the end, though I feel for others who have not been so fortunate.  All in all, this was a storm to remember, and another one is headed this way next week!  It's hard to believe, as today was cheerful and sunny, with puffy white clouds in a bright blue sky.

I thought I'd catch you up on a couple of projects that I've been working for the last few weeks.  First, I've actually been sewing a bit with my little Bernina, Heidi.  Yes, I've named her Heidi.  A few of you made comments awhile back and suggested the names  Helga, Helena, and also Heidi. (You all must like names that begin with the letter "H"!).  My husband cast the tie-breaking vote, as he suggested Heidi too.  I think it fits.    So I'm using Lotta Jansdotter's Simple Sewing to make two reversible aprons with some of my Christmas fabric.  I've sewn the side panels on the front and reverse sides.  In the photo you can see my pink Post-It note bookmarks (so many projects to make!): 

I've need to press the seams and the apron strings flat before I can move on.  Needless to say I've avoided setting up the ironing board for over a week now. 

I'm also fiddling with nylon crochet thread for the first time.  It's incredibly slippery, but fun to work with.  This is the body of a small, casual evening purse:

I'm actually working out my own pattern for the first time ever.  The body was made with a simple single crochet stitch.  I have several stitch encyclopedias and craft books and have been experimenting with different edgings, trying to figure out which one I'm going to use to decorate the flap of the purse that will also work well with the nylon thread.   I'll probably be working on this for some time.

The only good thing about rainy weather is that I feel like I have an excuse to stay in the house and craft.  As long as most of the ants remain outside and my backyard doesn't flood the next storm won't be so bad...I hope.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Craft Hope Project 6: Orphan Foundation of America Red Scarf Project

Quick post:  you may already know this, but I am way behind on my blog reading.  I thought that I was too late to help the Red Scarf Project last year, and I was delighted to find out that Craft Hope has partnered with the Orphan Foundation of America and extended the usual scarf project deadline from December to February 14th!   So we knitters and crocheters have another chance to help a college-bound teen who has emancipated out of foster care. If you knit, Vickie Howell has generously donated her Star Stitch Red Scarf Pattern for this project.  Visit the OFA Red Scarf Project page for links to more patterns. 

Knitted or crocheted red scarves can be delivered to:

Orphan Foundation of America
The Red Scarf Project
21351 Gentry Drive
Sterling, VA  20166

Just FYI:  like Hearts for Haiti, Craft Hope also has a shop on Etsy where all proceeds benefit Haiti through Doctors Without Borders / Medicins Sans Frontieres.  

With that, I'll see you here tomorrow for Vintage Thingies Thursday! 

Red Scarf Project logo courtesy of the Orphan Foundation of America.


Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Hearts for Haiti on Etsy

I want to thank those of you who purchased items from my shop over the weekend to help support relief efforts in Haiti.  In the end I decided to donate 100% of the sales to Oxfam America.  Although it was a small amount, every little bit helps.  I know that many of you have already donated to your favorite charities or through your places of worship, and may be experiencing a bit of "donor fatigue" with so many requests for help coming your way.  Even so, I want to raise your awareness about a very special Etsy shop:

Hearts for Haiti is a collective of Etsy shopkeepers who have donated items to raise money for Medicins Sans Frontieres/Doctors Without Borders.  You may want to take a look around, as there is a category for Vintage Goodies.  Theresa of Faerie Moon Creations has also listed several lovely limited edition necklaces!  So please, help spread the word.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Help for Haiti

I'd like to let you all know that I'm doing a small fund drive to help the survivors of the Haiti earthquake.  I will donate $5 to Oxfam America for every purchase made at Serendipity Vintage on Etsy or on the web at through this weekend.  Please help.

Photograph of a girl in Port-au-Prince courtesy of

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Vintage Thingies Thursday: Butterick Home Catalog, Summer 1970, Part One

Time has really flown by this past week, and I'm surprised to find that it's already Vintage Thingies Thursday again.  Today I present the Butterick Home Catalog for Summer 1970.  We'll be taking a closer look at patterns in the Young America series from this Catalog next week as well.  Today, I want to discuss the garment on the cover, as I am obsessed with the crochet fabric used to make the cover-up from Butterick pattern 5785:

Is it just me, or is it difficult to find ready-to-sew machine made knitted or crocheted fabric?  I haven't spent a great deal of time looking, but so far, it hasn't been easy to find.  As I had some business that took me into Los Angeles on Tuesday, I  decided to stop by Mood to do some window shopping. (And I also stopped by Canter's, for an extremely good pastrami Reuben on rye!).  It's fun to look at higher-end and unusual fabrics for inspiration. I found two lovely mohair knitted lace fabrics that weren't completely suitable for the cover-up, but would make lovely wraps. If only I had a swatch of the fabric used in this photograph, or a close up of the pattern, I could probably duplicate the stitches and make my own fabric.

I then drooled over the Swarovski rhinestone buttons, imagining how they might look as the closure for an evening bag or as part of a jeweled Christmas tree.  I made my way over to the embroidered ribbon and trim, and stayed there for quite some time while imagining what I might do with this French jacquard, and this one as well. 

Do leave a comment or send an email if you know about a supplier for ready-made crocheted fabric.  And if you'd like, take some time to visit some of the other Vintage Thingies Thursday blog posts.

P.S.  Project Runway Season 7 begins TONIGHT.  I'm so excited!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Vintage Thingies Thursday: Hagen-Renaker Miniatures

For today's Vintage Thingies Thursday I'd like to tell you about the little guys pictured in my Christmas post. They are vintage ceramic miniatures made by Hagen-Renaker:

Hagen-Renaker was founded here in Southern California in 1945, and today the studio and factory is located in San Dimas.  They began by making porcelain pottery, and first produced miniature animals in 1948.  They are probably best known for their larger and highly collectible Designer Workshop horses and also for the miniature and non-miniature Disney figurines produced from 1955-1960 after Disneyland opened.    Quite a few whimsical and interesting figurines have been produced over the last 60 years.  I would love to have some of the cool and rare black bisque pieces produced in 1959.  If you'd like to see more  Hagen-Renaker creations, visit their website or the Hagen-Renaker Online Museum that is curated by two private collectors / eBay dealers.  The Museum has many photos of rare vintage pieces you will not see on the official HR website. 

I personally prefer the miniature animals.  My little animals stand no more than 0.8 inches tall (that's less than one inch!).  Sadly, my current collection is as tiny as they are.  I've had these since I was a child, and although I had a few more of them, I have no idea what happened to the rest of them.  I know that I had one of the fawns...I have a vague memory of breaking it one clumsy day.  Anyway, the kitten pictured above is still being produced, but I believe that the teddy bear has been discontinued.  I also have a little piglet that is still in production.  He enjoyed being outside in the sunlight:

Contemporary Hagen-Renaker figurines are extremely easy to find, and the miniatures in particular are low-priced.  You can amass a sizable collection for a minimal outlay of funds, and you probably won't have to worry much about having enough space for your collection! 

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Resolutions...Changes...and Announcements

Every new year I make resolutions and most of the time I've abandoned them by the end of February. Not this year. This year I have only one resolution to keep, and it is a continuing commitment to simplicity and creating a more simplified lifestyle in terms of my time, my possessions, and my relationships.  It's not a new philosophy for me, as over the past few years I have been deeply influenced by the writings of Janet Luhrs and Elaine St. James, among others (I highly recommend their books.) Of course, the economic meltdown impacted us and just about everyone we know, especially here in California, which has helped to change the perspective of many. If there is a silver lining to the recession, it is that it is now easier than ever to ignore the siren call of rampant consumerism and become even more selective about what we buy and where we do our buying.

I have to admit that I love to shop, but I'm also trying to live more sustainably, so I enjoy going to thrift stores and estate sales to purchase everyday things that we need in addition to hunting for collectibles.  My husband joins me on some of these excursions, and together we've stashed away quite a number of books and collectibles. We were seriously talking about renting a storage unit early last year to house some of our collections, which is a screaming red flag that says, "You have too much stuff!"  Founding  Serendipity Vintage on Etsy was part of our plan to reduce the size of some of our collections, but not eliminate them completely.  And Serendipity Handmade allows me to share my collections with you instead of  leaving them in a curio cabinet or closet to be forgotten.

That said, I am happy to announce some upcoming changes to the Etsy shop.  Over the last few months that Serendipity Vintage has existed I've learned that I really enjoy bringing sewists and collectors in touch with patterns that they might not be able to find anywhere else (I think this speaks to the librarian in me).  I definitely want to devote more time to finding vintage sewing and craft patterns for all of you.  I also have a lot of patterns and other fun finds in my current collection that I think should go to another good home.  I love Etsy, but their fees are rather high considering the number of patterns, paper ephemera, and other items that I have to destash.  Therefore, I've decided to keep a small selection of patterns and other vintage goodies in the Etsy shop and post the majority of sewing and craft patterns in a new web shop at  I've got a few sewing patterns available there now, and more will come.  Be patient with me, as I haven't quit my day job and I don't want to stretch myself too thin!

I've also been doing a lot of thinking about the blog, and I've got a lot of things planned for this year!  I won't let all of the kitties out of the bag right now, but I will tell you about a new feature that will start this month called Tomorrow's Vintage Collectibles.  Having collected vintage and contemporary collectibles for so long I'd like to share with you some of the things I believe are very collectible and have the potential to be highly sought after in the future.  But of course you should also collect what you like, regardless of its potential value.  You'll also notice some changes to the blog's a work in progress too!

What are your Resolutions this year?  Are they craft-related, or personal?   And please let me know if you have other ideas or features that you'd like to see on this blog!

Friday, January 1, 2010

Happy New Year!

Welcome 2010! 

May you have great health, wealth, and happiness this year! 

Enjoy the January 1947 Universal Newsreel below as you take a look at two American new year traditions (in places where winter weather is traditionally fabulous!).  Skip ahead to 3 minutes 23 seconds for a charming look at the now-defunct Orange Bowl Parade that was traditionally held on New Year's Eve in Miami.  Then skip ahead to 7 minutes 20 seconds to enjoy some clips from the 1947 Tournament of Roses parade.  The dreamy theme for that year was "Holiday of Flowers."

Incidentally, 1947 marks the year in which the Tournament of Roses parade was first broadcast on local KTLA.  I grew up listening to Bob Eubanks and Stephanie Edwards host the parade, and KTLA is the station on which I watch the parade every year.

I have some exciting things planned for the blog this year...I will tell you about them in my next post!