Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas & a Happy New Year

Silent Night, Holy Night
It is Christmas Eve and it is time to wish you a Merry Christmas.  I hope that you are having a lovely holiday season.

Thanks to everyone who entered the Gingher Shears giveaway.  Some of you left some truly funny comments and I hope that you have better luck keeping your fabric shears away from your husband/boyfriend/children/siblings.  Thanks also to those who left me kind comments -- so glad that you enjoy the blog!

So here is a Christmas present for one lucky reader:
the winner of the Gingher shears is commenter number 60, 
Elizabeth Guerrero!

I will also update the Christmas Shadowbox Tutorial in the next couple of weeks to show you how I made the tiny nativity above.

I also would like to take a moment to thank those of you who reached out to me via email in the last couple of weeks.  We've had some ill family members; one of them was seriously ill but is doing well now.   Other surprises cropped up too, making this an incredibly stressful month.  So I will be taking a couple of weeks off from the blog and will be back on January 9th. 

Nevertheless, all of the beautiful moments of this season are a time for peace and love and joy.  A time for goodwill.  A time to be with family and friends.  I wish you and yours the most blessed and peaceful holiday season, and a wonderful New Year!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Christmas Shadowbox Tutorial

Re-purpose small gift boxes and old Christmas cards to make a 3D winter shadowbox decoration or ornament:

Group a few of these together to make a small display, or disperse them around your house to brighten little nooks and crannies.  This is also a fun little item to take to the office to bring some holiday cheer to your desk or cubicle.

You can also hang these on the Christmas tree -- just poke a hole in the top with a tapestry needle and use cord or ribbon to create a hanger.

I found this idea for a shadowbox ornament in an issue of McCall's Needlework & Crafts from 1981, but I'm updating it a bit to make it easier and faster, of course. You might have known that I save all of the Christmas cards that are sent to me, so I have plenty of options for a shadowbox.


  • Gift boxes in various shapes, sizes, colors
  • Christmas cards from years past
  • Construction paper, card stock, scrapbook paper, and / or scraps of wrapping paper
  • Piece of white scrap paper
  • Ruler and / or paper trimmer
  • Paper scissors
  • Craft glue
  • Pencil
  • Embellishments such as sequins, trim, lace, raffia

First, select your box. You can make these as large or small as you like.  For the project above I chose a shiny silver gift box so I didn't have to decorate it.  If you use a plain box you can cover it in wrapping paper scraps first as extra decoration.

 Taking the piece of scrap paper, trace around the bottom of the box (the deeper side, the lid is too shallow for this project). 

I used two cards to create the shadowbox above.  Select your background card (mine is a Suzy's Zoo card).  Now, using your scissors, cut out the inside of the squares on your scrap paper to create a "frame."

This will give you an approximation of how large to cut your background. Trace around the card with a pencil, and cut it out.

You will probably have to trim a tiny bit more off of each side so the background will fit inside of the bottom of the box. Go slow when cutting because you want the background to cover the entire back of the box with no gaps. 

My card is a rectangle, so I had some leftovers.  Save those to use as the sides of your shadowbox.   I also used a small piece of blue construction paper to approximate the sky, and some white scrap paper to continue the "snow" at the bottom of my shadowbox.

When you are done trimming you should have the following pieces:

Next, glue all of your pieces down with your trusty craft glue.  Glue the large background first, and then all four side pieces:

Next, cut your foreground image out of the second card.  I chose this little guy in a snowsuit from the Mary Englebreit "Winter Schminter" card.  Cut your image out with scissors or a craft knife.

Be sure to leave a little extra card underneath your image to form a tab. You'll use the tab to stand your image up when you glue it to the foreground (see the photo below):

Glue your image into the foreground of your shadowbox to create a three-dimensional look:

You're almost done!  Add embellishments as you please to the inside or outside of your shadowbox for that little something extra.  I used some tiny snowflake garland that I bought at the big-box craft store for this winter-scene shadowbox.

 *I've got one more shadowbox to show you.  I'll update this post as soon as I get it finished!*

This is an easy and fun project that I hope that you'll try!

Friday, December 9, 2011

Gingher Shears Giveaway

From me to you this holiday season....

 Gingher 7" Knife Edge Dressmaker Shears

Guess what? I was given these 7" Gingher scissors and I already have a similar pair.   I figure that 'tis the season of giving, so this is my holiday gift to one lucky reader.

I love my shears!  You'll love this pair too.

To enter:  just leave a nice comment!

Comments will be open until Friday, December 23rd at 11:59 Pacific Standard Time.
International entries are welcome.

Additional entries:
  • Become a new follower of  Serendipity Handmade via Google Friend Connect
  • Like Serendipity Vintage on Facebook
  • Follow me on Twitter and tweet about this giveaway (be sure to use @SerendipityVint in the tweet)
  • Blog about this giveaway (be sure to leave a link to the blog post in the comment) 
Don't forget to leave a way for me to contact you (like an email address!). Winner will be chosen by random number, as always, and announced on December 24th. Good luck!

Thursday, December 8, 2011


Sorry to be missing this past 10 days or so dear readers, but we've had a family emergency that hasn't yet resolved.

I do have a lovely giveaway for you which I will post tomorrow. I also am in the middle of a Christmas-themed tutorial for you, but I can't guarantee that I will get it finished and posted. I will try!

So....if posts are a bit spotty over the next couple of weeks, my apologies. I will let you know in the future if I need to step away from the blog.

Until tomorrow,

Monday, November 28, 2011

Madison Avenue Monday: Look Before You Lean

 I love everything about this look, from the design of the suit (McCall's 8623) down to the faux pearl costume jewelry:

From McCall's Patterns, Fall-Winter 1967-68

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Annual Thanksgiving Weekend Sale on Now

This is just a quick post to let you know that I am having my annual Thanksgiving weekend sale.

Receive 25% off everything store-wide priced above $5 this weekend
at Serendipity

Here's a sneek peek at some of the 1930s and 1940s new listings I am adding today:

These include sewing, embroidery transfer, and stamped transfer patterns.  

Hope you are having a great weekend and making some time to craft!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving

via Petitchef

What are you thankful for this year? 

As always, I am truly thankful for all of you who stop by and read this blog,
and for all of the wonderful comments that you leave here from time-to-time. 
I'm grateful for the friends that I have made by having this blog.

And although we ourselves or others we may know may be in need of some kind this year,
for today we can try to focus on what blessings we do have,
rather than what is lacking in our lives.  

I hope that you have a wonderful day full of love and laughter.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Madison Avenue Monday: Special Thanksgiving Edition

So while planning my Thanksgiving menu I ran across some recipes I've been saving for a while.  Aren't these perfect for the upcoming holiday?

In addition to your turkey, how about piping hot Spam Italiano?  Made with good Hormel ham!  Mmmmm.

magazine and date unknown

Perhaps you'd like to make some hot baked "Po-tunas" -- potatoes, stuffed with tuna and covered in cheese sauce -- on the side:

from Los Angeles Times Home magazine, March 16, 1969

Finally, how about some chocolate chip cookies topped with ice cream and...lemonade sauce.  Makes your mouth pucker with delight!

magazine and date unknown

I'm always tickled by what I find folded inside of vintage sewing patterns or tucked into vintage cookbooks or magazines.  Usually I call them "fortunate finds".  But not today!  Happy Madison Avenue Monday.  Make these if you dare!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Latest Sewing Projects + Latest Giveaway Winner!

I've squeezed in a little sewing here and there this week.  Finally, Simplicity 2936 has been altered and finished:

As I mentioned in my previous post, slashing the pattern to increase the bust created a Very Big Blouse in terms of the finished circumference.  So I had to take in the side seams by over two inches on both sides.

Although it's a little hard to see on good ol' Esme, I also curved the shoulder seams and took in the sleeve seam by about an inch on each side to shape the shoulders a bit better; now they are more squared and the sleeves aren't as full.  I really like the way it turned out and the silhouette is very flattering. I can't wait to wear it when the weather warms up again (which could happen at anytime knowing California weather). 

Thanks all who gave me an opinion about what sewing projects to focus on this fall. I've missed three weeks of sewing class for various reasons and although I've had this cut out since October I've only just started to sew the capelet from McCall's M5764.  This is View D, which is the view pictured on the model with collar, buttons, and belt.  So far I've sewn the darts and side seams:

I love this gray cotton tweed as it is lightweight and it has tiny little flecks of pale lavender and white.  I purchased it on my last outing to FIDM and it cost only $2 a yard (they are under new management so their prices have gone up by a dollar, still, they are one of the best places to shop for fabric in the LA area)!  I literally took the end of the bolt so apparently it was very popular this season.

Finally, are you ready for the giveaway winner?  Congratulations to...

 Commenter #12, Kathy Davis.  I hope that you enjoy your patterns Kathy!

I hope everyone is having a relaxing and crafty weekend.  Or are you cleaning the house from top-to-bottom in anticipation of Thanksgiving like I am?

See you here on Monday for a special Thanksgiving edition of Madison Avenue Monday!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Vintage Recipe: Chicken Caruso

A few weeks ago I mentioned that I was looking through my cookbooks looking for new recipe inspiration, and I found it in Betty Crocker's New Dinner for Two Cookbook:

I turn to the Betty Crocker cookbooks for straightforward, basic American recipes that tend to turn out well every time, though I usually need to embellish with a few more spices because I like my food well-seasoned. 

I decided to try out the Chicken Caruso recipe as-is because I figured that the combination of ingredients would be pretty flavorful, perhaps even worthy of an aria as the dish is named after legendary tenor Enrico Caruso.  And how can you go wrong with a dish that includes both bacon and cheese? Here's the scanned page from the book (it includes a few other recipes too):

The only change I made was that I used egg noodles instead of macaroni because that is what I had in my pantry.

Here's the final result:

Unfortunately, this dish turned out to be just so-so.  I really wanted this to be good (I love bacon!  I love cheese!) but I found the ingredients to be too tame or too greasy.  First of all, it was a pea-fest -- the one cup of peas really dominated the flavor of the dish, and even though I like peas a cup was way too many.

This dish could benefit from the addition of more spices; I think a pinch of red pepper flakes when sauteing the onion and green pepper would really boost the flavor.

I'm also not surprised that Americans have such a high rate of heart disease given dishes like this one -- bacon grease and the fat from cheddar cheese made this a fat bomb -- you can see from the photo how slick the noodles are.  And both the cheese and the bacon really weren't that noticeable because of the peas!

Still, I'm not ready to give up on this cookbook yet.  Dear readers, if any of you have made successful recipes from this book I'd like to hear about it!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Madison Avenue Monday: Bernat Worst(ed) Design

A Bernat crochet dress with embroidered flowers design from McCall's Needlework & Crafts:

Fall-Winter 1973-74
...I just keep shaking my head back and forth.  The look simply renders me speechless.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Meet the Artist Giveaway: Bee Wise Goods

It has been a while since I've featured an artist here at Serendipity Handmade, and I'm delighted to introduce you to the amazingly talented Gabrielle Krake of Bee Wise Goods.   

I had the opportunity to talk to Gabrielle about her artistic pursuits and inspirations:

Collette:  If you were an animal, which one would you be, and why?

Gabrielle: I love this question because there are days when I relate better with all of my animals than any people I know. I live in a downtown area but have opted to create a rural setting. Along with my four home educated kids, we have 10 chickens, 2 dogs, 2 chinchillas, 2 budgies, and a gnarly 20 year old cat.

Now if I include my own animal alter ego there would also be a large cat like a cheetah or puma because I am really intense, low emotion, move very rapidly in lots of short bursts and sleep 9-10 hours and very protective of those I love. :)

Collette: And domestic and large cats are very graceful and intelligent animals too, even if they do have a bad rep for being overly independent. Tell us a little more about yourself.

Gabrielle:  I'm formally trained as a sculptor, later a successful muralist and now a combination of the latter along with sewist, think tank and pattern designer, I have always turned one thing into another. Whether as a “noodlers” challenge to figure out all possibilities or to fully utilize the materials within arms reach, I use my ability to turn found objects into beautiful art.

I use new and repurposed materials such as fabric, wood, paper, cereal boxes, wool, string, yarns, maps and all manner of items found and turned to artwork and sewn items. Most of my items have patterns and turorials for the DIYer. 
I started learning to sew at age five (buttons on fabric and pillows for dolls) then worked my way into making most of my clothes, by high school I worked for my mom's outfitter company.  I went to college for an industrial design degree but loved sculpture so much that I changed directions. Sculpture didn't make me any money to repay student loans so I started painting murals.

When kids came on the scene, I was reduced to sewing at the kitchen table.  I built sets for a while and have basically learned as I went and taken every opportunity to grow and develop for the last 20 years, as a professional artist. 

Collette:  You have an amazing artistic background Gabrielle, and quite a number of interests!  How was Bee Wise Bags born? 

Gabrielle:  Our team of wonderful family and friends came together to develop a beautiful reusable product line and from this venture I designed and developed patterns for the DIY customer as well. Our goal from the beginning has been to take steps toward better consumer habits:
To Consume Less

To Reduce our Waste Footprint

To Be Wise Stewards of Creation

To Work as a Community to form a Healthy, Thriving Business

When we started our business in 2007 making reusable grocery bags, we held a contest with everyone we knew and picked the name by the most popular choice, but lo and behold we involved a lawyer (copyrights, etc.) and he found a grocery store in the Philippines that had the same name and thought it was better to leave Shop Wise in the far east and change ours. I did not heed his wise advice and kept the name for a year, got all our awesome web rankings, brand recognition etc, then changed it anyway....  So Bee Wise has been us ever since. Now we are Bee Wise Goods, Vintage, Notions, Art, Bags, Crafts, Gifts, and Stationery.

At Indie Made with some of her creations
 Collette: You sculpt, paint, sew -- what is the first craft that you remember doing?  What types of crafts do you enjoy designing and making now?

Gabrielle:  My mom recognized early on that I was creative and without direction I would waste a lot of her supplies. For a week straight I took spools of her thread and wound, strung, stretched it through my bedroom, the living room etc to create spider webs. I remember thinking they were really beautiful and I was proud of how intricate they were. My mom thought the first few were lovely as well, but as the week progressed and my floor to head height webs took over our house, she grew less patient, not to mention using every spool of thread she owned (it's expensive now and was then too). She put an end to it and told me to start sewing buttons on fabric or make small items for my dolls instead. So, at 5-6 I began my crafty life.
Making fabric flower hair clips, like the one she's wearing
Within a couple of years I was creating stuff and selling it to anyone who would buy it. I took drawings to my parents workplaces and peddled my artwork for a few bucks each, then I would set up a table in front of our house with dolls I made by covering bottles with every color of yarn, googley eyes, fabric, whatever I could find. If I could think of something sellable and creative I would do it.

I am pretty much the same now, I love making everything, my artistic focus is very wide. Not only do I make lots of little gift type things, I have two stores that carry all my recycled paper products, notions, small art pieces and a gallery that shows all my large artwork. I run with an idea until I come up with another one and then strike out in that direction. When I decided to start turning all my crafts into DIY patterns I struck gold for myself because I could make as many as I wanted but also offer it to other folks to make themselves.

Collette: What inspires you?

Gabrielle:  As I am sure you have gathered, EVERYTHING inspires me! But I am really loving the coolness of repurposing, upcycling all that stuff, especially since I have always done it and until the last few years it wasn't looked at as cool just weird. :) My latest inspiration is vintage soda pop, so on November 1st I'm opening a soda shop near my house. It's a terrific happy place!!!

Collette:  Thank you for the interview Gabrielle, and best of luck with the soda shop!


Gabrielle has generously offered one Serendipity Handmade reader three delightful and original PDF sewing patterns that are absolutely perfect for holiday gift-giving:
Elegant Soft Doll pattern
Doll Bed and Linens pattern

And one additional PDF pattern of your choice!

To enter:  head over to the Bee Wise pattern shop and leave a comment with your favorite pattern!  Comments are open until November 18th at 11:59 Pacific Standard Time.

Additional entries:
  • Become a new follower of  Serendipity Handmade Google Friend Connect
  • Like Bee Wise Goods on Facebook
  • Like Serendipity Vintage on Facebook
  • Follow me on Twitter and tweet about this giveaway (be sure to use @SerendipityVint in the tweet)
  • Blog about this giveaway (be sure to leave a link to the blog post in the comment) 
Winner will be chosen by random number, as always, and announced on November 19th. Good luck!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Madison Avenue Monday: Lightning Zippers

From a 1964 edition of a British magazine, most likely Pins and Needles

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Fashion Horizons: Planes and Starlets

I found this 1940s travelogue while poking around the web.  This short film, entitled Fashion Horizons, was sponsored by TWA and Paramount pictures and was designed to showcase up and coming Paramount starlets such as Mary Martin, Martha O'Driscoll, and the beautiful Esther Fernandez (though you will have to ignore how often the narrator references her Latina ethnicity -- I suppose it was a sign of the times).

The fashion is not-to-be missed! This film was also designed to showcase the new fashions of 1941.
There are some truly boring moments where the narrator discussed the features of the latest Boeing airplane, and some discussion of different sights to see, but short fashion moments are interspersed every few minutes in between so don't skip anything.

Most of the action takes place in Albuquerque, New Mexico and at the lovely Camelback Resort in Phoenix, Arizona (it is still in existence as a Mariott property).

Although natural fabrics were king, it is interesting to see how much more synthetic fabric such as rayon and rayon gabardine were used during the time period.

Two of my favorite outfits were the jersey patio slacks suit and the daisy patterned dress with pinafore ruffled sleeves (I just love the bright and cheery fabric!). Enjoy!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Guest Post: Thoughts on How to Be Vintage

Today we have a special treat: please give a warm welcome to my dear friend Jessica who is guest posting for us today from her wonderful Chronically Vintage blog. 
In this post Jessica talks about her personal style and her thoughts about how to really "be vintage". 
Of all the questions I'm asked pertaining to my love – and daily celebration - of the past, one of the most common is definitely, "How can I be vintage?".

This query, often posed with great earnest, as though I can see the asker whipping out a notepad and pen inside their head, is always one that takes a moment to answer. Not because I think it's a tricky question per se, but because I think it warrants a solid answer that comes from many years of blending the worlds of yesteryear and today throughout many facets of my life.

My Malcolm Gladwell approved response, the one that has flashed to my mind first on nearly every occasion I've been presented with this particular inquiry, is that a person either is or is not inherently a vintage lover.

That answer, however, may strike some as anything from trite to cute, glib to right on the money, and what I mean by it is that I've never looked at "being vintage", as something I have to work at. It is not an act, a game, or a passing flirtation.

From the earliest days for which I have concrete memories, I can recall being fascinated, enamoured, enchanted, and influenced by the years that occurred before my own lifetime. To me history only truly becomes a part of the ancient past when we stop integrating it into our lives. Being vintage isn't something I decide to be or not to be. I simply am vintage.

{Photographs, such as this immensely glamorous one from 1952 featuring a beautiful model in an equally stunning Dior dress, are amongst my very favourite ways to learn about the decades I hold nearest and dearest to my heart, and which I've longed turned to in my quest to know the past on a very personal level. Image via herecomestheskyon Flickr.} 

But what does that mean exactly? Well, each person who views themselves as a vintage lover surely must define this point on their own terms, but to me it means one who integrates the past (in my own personal case the years spanning the 1930s - 1950s) into their own life in a myriad of ways.

I do not despise or even dislike the present - or the years I've known thorough the last three decades, not at all. Though, I am the first to say that I'm fonder of many elements (not all, but quite a few) from the years that called the mid-twentieth century home.

Like many lovers of bygone days, I'm drawn to - and primarily wear - vintage fashions. Nestled in my modest sized closet one will find skirts and slips, dresses, cardigans, blouses, accessories, hats, shoes, and sundry other wardrobe items that were made during the 1940s or 50s (as well as a carefully curated selection of modern pieces that look very much as though could have been plucked from a department store during those two decades).

My hair and make-up both also adhere to the styles of these fascinating years, and throughout my house one will a selection of items - spanning the spectrum from vintage cookbooks to quaint little woven box housing a selection of authentic vintage sewing patterns that could easily have come from three generations ago.

{Retro Butterick B4918, reissued from the 1950s, is beautifully similar to the Dior gown above}.

Yet being vintage is more than just surrounding myself with - and wearing - the past, though these are certainly important components. For me it is acquiring a solid knowledge of the history, fades, trends, arts, foods, people, and nuisances of the decades I adore most. It’s understanding and appreciating the lives of those who so often exist now only in memories and photographs. There is no one book - or even ten books - that can teach you everything about a whole decade (let alone multiple decades), nor, really, should there be.

The past is meant to be learned as one goes through life, absorbing knowledge from books, certainly, but also from firsthand accounts, stories passed down through the generations. From trips to fact filled museums, second hand stores, plaques on historical building, old movies, art, black and white TV shows, photography, faded magazine pages, the lines of a classic car, internet sleuthing, song lyrics that one topped the charts, venerable homes with charming front porches, handwritten letters discovered in musty attics, in priceless heirlooms and ephemera that was never designed with the purpose of seeing the light of 2011.

It is this knowledge - which one gathers and expands thorough their entire life - that gives a person, I feel, the backbone upon which to build a vintage loving life. With it you are better equipped to seek and find the clothing, home decor, art, and other fascinating items of your favourite decades that you want to bring into your day-to-day world.

Not to contradict what I said earlier on, for I really do think that loving vintage is something that is at least partially ingrained, but one can become a vintage lover at any age. Though I started very young, you can pick up the past any time you like. It's always there, just waiting to be studied and appreciated, absorbed and treasured.

Having a deeply rooted adoration of vintage is a blessing, in my eyes, one that does not fall on everybody's shoulders by any means. It allows you to live beyond the confines of today, this year, even this decade. In choosing - or having the universe choose you - to be a vintage lover, you are making a pact with the past that you're going to celebrate it in the ways that bring you the most happiness every day.

So to those who are curious about “how to be vintage”, I say, quite matter-of-factly, " just be". Seek the past and ye shall find. There is no shortage of history to be researched and loved, worn, embraced and uplifted. Find the years or decades that speak to you the most, learn about and from them, while also filling your world, however much your heart desires, with elements from that era.

If you do, there's a very good chance that before you know it, someone, perhaps while admiring your gorgeous 1940s ensemble, might just stop and ask you how they too can be vintage.


Thursday, October 27, 2011

Fortunate Finds: Mod 60s Wallet by Don Loper of California

Thank goodness that this week has been a computer virus-free week because now I can show you this little find:

I haven't been out thrifting or to an estate sale in a while because I've been so good about de-stashing.  But occasionally I can't help myself.  Recently I stumbled over this very mod style, pristine and unused  wallet that I just could not leave behind even though I technically don't need it. 

The wallet is of leather, in an unusual red and bone color combination, with cream taffeta lining and separate compartments for currency, coin, and checkbook. How many leather wallets these days include a petite built in coin purse, separate leather checkbook cover (it's underneath the plastic credit card holder), and  a coordinating gold tone pen?

You see why I couldn't leave it behind.

This gem was designed and produced by Don Loper, under the Don Loper of California label.  Loper started out as a Hollywood costume designer for MGM in the late 1930s and  later, in the 1960s, designed for such luminaries as Ella Fitzgerald.  He is pictured with her mannequin shown below:

via damesofdialogue

Loper also tried his hand at interior design (in posh hotels like the Beverly Hilton), designed men's neckties, and during the 1950s and 1960s produced many lovely dresses under the Don Loper of Beverly Hills label, including the wool suit below:

via Twitpic

This next image is licensed, so you'll have to run over to Flickr to see Loper's amazing mod coat pattern from 1968.  Wish that were mine!  Here is a 60s-era mail order jacket  and blouse pattern that he designed as well:

via carbonated

Perhaps you remember the I Love Lucy episode entitled The Fashion Show that featured Don himself and his salon?  The one where Ricky nearly had a coronary after finding out how much Lucy spent on the dress? All of those hours watching TV as a kid did not go to waste because this episode introduced me to Don Loper!

via GregInHollywood

Finally, enjoy this short clip from the 1943 musical Thousands Cheer featuring Don Loper himself dancing with Maxine Barrat.  He's no Gene Kelly (one of the stars of the film) but it's a cute combination of fashion show and dance number:

Have you found any gems while thrifting or antiquing lately? Do tell!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Tomorrow's Vintage Collectibles: Disney Pins

I have been having computer problems for the last few days, so please enjoy this oldie-but-goodie Tomorrow's Vintage Collectibles that is very appropriate to the month of October, as every October is the anniversary of the Disney Pin Trading hobby.

For those of you new to the blog, Tomorrow's Vintage Collectibles are my thoughts about what may be destined for vintage collectible status in the future. 


Disney pins, like many things made by Disney, are destined to become collectibles someday.  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. Of course, you have to pick up the right kinds of Disney pins if you are hoping for them to have have value in the future.

October 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.

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 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

These are the pins that you really want if you are serious about collectibles.  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 of 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:

  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

  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 (smile):

If you are interested in Disney Pint Trading read the Q-and-A on the official Disney site that will give you a general explanation of trading, and if you're heading to one of the theme parks, be sure to read the official pin trading etiquette guidelines as well.

Questions and comments are very welcome!

Tenth anniversary pin image courtesy of