Saturday, October 30, 2010

Winner: "All is Vanity" Giveaway!

I'll make this short and sweet!  The winner of the $60 gift certificate to is:

Congratulations, Sharon!

The early bird certainly got the worm this time!  I hope that you enjoy your gift certificate and your new vanity.  Thank you to all who entered!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Field Trip: LACMA "Fashioning Fashion" Exhibit

"Timeline" of white (light-colored) dresses showing the evolution
of women's fashion from the late 1700s through 1915
at the beginning of the exhibit

Today I went on a field trip with my sewing class to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) to see the new "Fashioning Fashion:  European Dress in Detail, 1700-1915" exhibit.  

We arrived an hour before the museum opened to the public and were fortunate to have a private tour.  According to the docent who led our tour, LACMA acquired 1,000 pieces of historical costume by purchasing the collection of two dealers, one in London and the other in Switzerland, who had been collecting historical pieces for about 25 years.  About 100 pieces are on display for this exhibit, and it will be many years, if not decades, before the majority of this collection has been seen by the public. 

A diaphanous dress by Paul Poiret, circa early 1900s

If you are a fashion designer or simply love historical costume don't miss this exhibit!  The garments themselves are beautiful, but the handmade fabric and lace textiles that the garments and accessories are made from are simply AMAZING.  The court dress below, owned by Queen Maria II of Portugal, originally had a 20 foot-long train, but the train was later refashioned by a subsequent owner to a length of twelve feet long.  The embroidery was done by hand with what must have been miles of gold metallic thread:

Court dress, Maria II of Portugal, circa 1845

Apparently, the museum curators thought that this was a mourning dress when it was first received because it is black.  However, they learned that it was not unfashionable in Portugal to wear black for court dress as it would have been in Europe at the time.

There were many unusual pieces in this collection, and I wish that I had taken my camera today.  (I had no idea that they allow non-flash photography for this exhibit!).  Along with the garments were many examples of undergarments, including paniers (side hoops) that were six feet long from end-to-end and are considered to be the largest on display in North America.  There were gorgeous beaded capes and hats (for both men and women), woven shawls from Kashmir India, an incredible whitework boy's frock, and several samples of Berlin wool work garments and slippers, including the exact sampler pattern featured here.  

For those of you who cannot make it to LACMA, enjoy this short video by David Wicall that will give you a taste of some of the lovely pieces in the collection.  For those of you who make historical garments to wear, at about 1:35 seconds note the two horshehair bustles and one collapasible bustle (it allowed the wearer to sit down!).  And don't miss one of my favorite pieces in the entire collection:  a man's suit embroidered with a dandelion motif (2:47).  Finally, a sweeping view of the court dress train above is at 3 minutes 27 seconds.

Finally, we stopped by Mood fabrics today and I almost lost my mind. I get a little crazy when I'm around all those beautiful fabrics because I want a little bit of everything. I restrained myself and came away only with this delicate wool mohair out of which I will make a simple shrug (I snapped these quickly before it became dark, so I'm sorry for the fuzziness):

I love the beautiful stitch pattern! The color is a lovely green and my quickie photos do not do it justice. More on my current sewing projects in an upcoming post.

Photos courtesy of LACMA and the Los Angeles Times.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Tomorrow's Vintage Collectibles: Disney Pins and official Disney Pin Trading

This month marks the official 10th anniversary of Disney Pin Trading, a hobby that began in October 1999 at Walt Disney World and is now available at every Disney theme park and resort.  Basically, collectors buy or trade Disney-produced pins that feature Disney characters, attractions, and other fun images. I happened to stumble into the world of Disney pins in 2004. I warn you: this hobby can become addicting really fast as there over 10,000 different pins out there to date.  After realizing this I decided to limit my collecting to only those times when I am actually at Disneyland (a rarity, thank goodness), because I mainly want to acquire Cast Lanyard / Hidden Mickey pins.

To start, read the Q-and-A on the official Disney pin trading site that will give you a general explanation of pin trading, and if you're heading to one of the theme parks, be sure to read the official pin trading etiquette guidelines as well.  I wear a lanyard when I go to the park; here is my 50th Anniversary lanyard with a few of my pins attached:

Disney Pin Trading pins come in three main types:  open edition, limited edition, and Cast Lanyard Series / Hidden Mickey.  Open edition means that millions will be made, and limited edition is self-explanatory.  Sometimes the pins are made in very small quantities, such as editions of 100 or 300.  Pins are gold-backed with a "mouse ears" pin closure and a "Disney Pin Trading" logo:

This is called a "spinner," as the teacups and the base spin independently.
Note that it was made in a limited edition of 1,000.
"Cast Lanyard" or "Hidden Mickey" pins are those pins that can only be obtained through trade with a Disney employee with a lanyard or hip belt of Disney pins.  They were called "Cast Lanyard" pins prior to 2007, and are now called "Hidden Mickey" pins because they have a silver mouse ears icon on the front of the pin making them easy to indentify: 

The silver Mickey icon can be found on each pin

Sometimes obtaining pins is simply a matter of serendipity(!), or being in the right place at the right time. I happened to be standing in the Tower of Terror line with a friend and we were handed the two pins pictured below by a cast member; the Tower pin is a Cast Lanyard pin:

I showed you a Disney lapel pin on July 4th this year. Although it is not an official Disney Pin trading pin, it is still special. I happened to visit a nearby Disney Store on September 11, 2002, the first anniversary of 9/11, and these were handed out at the door:

A source that you might find helpful should you want to start a collection is Tomart's Disneyana Guide To Pin Trading:

Tomart's is the official guide and it includes pictures of many, many of pins, including limited editions and some of the Cast Member Lanyard pins that have been available through 1999-2005 to help guide your collecting.  You'll also want to poke around online to find tips and tricks from other collectors.  Of course, I've got a few tips to share!
  1. You may have noticed a certain theme in my Tomorrow's Vintage Collectibles series.  By now, you should know to seek out limited edition items over mass produced items.  This is also true for Disney pins.   The fewer produced the better.
  2. If there is a Disney factory outlet store nearby be sure to purchase pins there for the lowest prices.  Many times you will be able to find limited edition pins that were produced in larger quantities (e.g., 2500) or pins that were produced solely for the holidays to add to your collection.
  3. On a related note, buy pins before you leave for a Disney park at the Disney factory outlet store to trade in the park.  Better yet, purchase the Disney lapel pins that aren't meant for pin trading to trade with Cast Members only.  I found that cast members will not refuse a trade with you even for the cheapest and most boring pin as long as the pin is metal and does not have a "clasp" or "brooch" style back,  and this is a money-saving method to acquire the coveted Cast Member Lanyard pins. 
  4. Pin trade early in the day.  Cast Member Lanyard / Hidden Mickey pins go fast.
Finally, here is one of my latest acquisitions.  It is limited to an edition of 1,000 and I had to have it, because anyone who lives in Southern California knows exactly what the phrase "June Gloom" means:

As it's been quite awhile since the last Tomorrow's Vintage Collectibles post, I hope that you found this one entertaining and informative.  Questions and comments are very welcome!

Tenth anniversary pin image courtesy of

Saturday, October 9, 2010

"All is Vanity" October Giveaway: a Gift Certificate to

Loving vintage beauty books as much as I do, I have always wanted to have my very own bedroom vanity to use when I need to "gussy up."  Naturally, a bedroom vanity makes me think of classic films, Hollywood starlets, and old Hollywood glamour:

Linda Darnell
Elizabeth Taylor

Would you like to have a bedroom vanity too?  Well, just in time for the upcoming winter holidays, CSN Stores has offered one lucky Serendipity Handmade reader a $60.00 USD gift certificate good toward the purchase of a lovely bedroom vanity at   Take a look at the vanity below; I love the retro styling of the aptly named "Glamour Girl" Vogue vanity:

To enter, leave a comment at the bottom of this post telling us the name of your favorite retro  glamour girl (or guy!).  Don't forget to include your email address, website, or profile link so I can easily contact you. If you do not contact me within 3 days of winner selection, I will select another winner.

You also have the option of additional entries to increase your chances of winning. For each action post one additional comment:

2. Follow Serendipity Handmade with Google Friend Connect in the right margin.

3. Follow Serendipity Vintage on Twitter and tweet or retweet about this giveaway:

Hollywood glamour! Win a $60 gift cert. to at @SerendipityVint #vintage #retro

4. Join the Serendipity Handmade Blog Frog community.

5. Like the Serendipity Vintage Facebook page.

This giveaway is open to readers in the U.S. and Canada, and will end at 11:59 p.m. Pacific Time on October 29th. The winner will be chosen by random number and announced on October 30th. Good luck all!

Thank you to CSN Stores for providing this gift certificate to Serendipity Handmade readers.  I received no other compensation and the opinions herein are my own. Images courtesy, BoP, and Inherited Values.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

A is for Apron, B is for Back-to-School

Dear readers, after months of recuperation I am slowly climbing back in the saddle, so to speak, in terms of blogging and the pursuit of craftiness.

If you read my post in July you know that I've been suffering from inflammation in my hands since the spring and it has interfered mightily with blog, shop, and crafting endeavors.  I want to thank you all again for your patience and understanding.  I still have to take it easy or suffer the consequences, so I'm not going to ramp up the number of blog posts just yet because I really want to do more crafting and shop maintenance as we move into the holidays.  Also, I am back-to-school:  my sewing class began last week, and this time I plan to work on my own projects and not allow myself to be distracted by the fun in-class projects my sewing instructor dreams up.

My latest creation:

Baker's Apron

I made this Baker's Apron, designed by Martha Stewart, as a birthday present for a friend using a really darling Alexander Henry fabric that I can't remember the name of (sorry!).  She loved it, I am proud to say.  By the way, the front panel is wide and the waist ties are a very generous length, making this a great apron pattern for women of all sizes.  I love the deep pockets in front and hope to make one of these for myself one day.

And yes, I am still working on the purse I showed you eons ago.  Perhaps I'll have that finished by next spring!

That's it for this week -- stay tuned for next week as I've got a fun giveaway to announce!