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

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Pumpkin Decorations Tutorial Round-up + Giveaway Winner

I love decorating with faux fall leaves and pumpkins this time of year.  I'm not into scary Halloween decorations so when I find unique pumpkin decor I'm all for it.

Here's a small round-up of tutorials I like:

Ric Rac Pumpkins via Eddie Ross

Stamped and Decoupage Pumpkins via Ink Stains

Vintage-inspired Pantyhose Pumpkin via Shabby Lane Shops
Sequined Pumpkins via Making Lemonade

And finally, thank you to everyone who entered the House 8810 giveaway. The lucky winner of the kitchen towels and menu planning pad is:

Commenter #29, Roxanne K!

Have a great (and crafty) weekend everyone!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Vintage Cookbook Inspiration

By the way, don't forget to enter the vintage-inspired kitchen towels & menu planner giveaway as it ends this Friday!
I haven't felt like cooking in what seems like ages.  And thus I haven't shared any recipes.  The weather is finally starting to become crisp enough in the evenings to inspire me to turn on the oven. Fall is one of my favorite times of the year for cooking, as root vegetables are plentiful and the season just calls for hearty casseroles, soups, and roasts. 

 I was thumbing through my cookbooks the other day for some new ideas when I rediscovered my copy of Betty Crocker's New Dinner for Two Cookbook from 1964.

I've actually never used it! Yet this cookbook is a gem.  It has recipes broken into regional favorites (such as the East, the Southwest, Midwest), seasons (so there is a menu for fall), quick dinners, dinners for company, thrifty dinners, and tips and tricks.  There are a great variety of recipes here, from Minute Steak to Lobster Tails.  How did I overlook this cookbook?

Doesn't this roast pork look yummy?  It's the perfect fall menu , as apples are at their prime and squash is in season:

 Some of the menus contain a helpful timetable:

Why don't ALL cookbooks have schedules?  And all cookbooks should have charming illustrations too:

I think it might be fun to try a mid-century recipe or two and let you know how it turns out.  What are some of your favorite fall recipes?

Monday, October 10, 2011

Madison Avenue Monday: Shades of Fall

It's finally starting to feel like fall in my neck of the woods, so for some creative inspiration today I thought you might enjoy this fashion spread from Vogue Knitting, Fall-Winter 1969 issue:

Saturday, October 8, 2011

House 8810 Kitchen Towels & Menu Pad Giveaway

Have you ever visited a house that has so many fun and cool things that you never wanted to leave?  Welcome to House 8810.

House 8810 is a fab little online shop that specializes in really unique vintage-inspired items that probably don't exist anywhere else.  Go and visit.  I'll bet you will leave with a smile on your face! 

Here are couple of the new holiday items that I really like:

Felt Halloween Masks

Turkey Serving Platter

There are so many retro-cool items at House 8810 that I had to find out a little more about the place.  I did an interview with Alison Scully so we could learn just a little more about the inspiration behind the shop:

SH:  Is there a special significance to the name "House 8810"?

House 8810:  House 8810 is a house. A house that makes everyone feel welcome and at home. We want the items purchased from our shop to help our customers make their house become the house they’ve always wanted. 

SH:  You have a lot of cute vintage-inspired items in your shop.  What  types of items typically catch your eye?

House 8810: Items that have a certain nostalgia, things that make you go “I remember we used to have one of those” or “those remind me of my Grandmother”. We also like things that have a sense of humor to them. We want our customers to be able to make a purchase, put it in their homes, smile and get warm fuzzies every time they see it.

SH:  I have a feeling that you all are the crafty-type.  Are there any crafts or hobbies that you enjoy?

House 8810:  Between all of us here at House 8810, there is a TON of creativity. I love to sew. Others are great photographers, quilters, chefs, you name it, someone at House 8810 knows how to do it. Having people with such creative backgrounds really helps make House 8810 such a fun shop. Thank you so much for the support of House 8810 and offering a giveaway on your great blog!

SH:  Thanks so much for offering this giveaway to my readers!  We appreciate it.

Be sure to check out the House 8810 blog and like them on Facebook. And to stay in the loop about new products be sure to subscribe to their Twitter account.


I also want to thank House 8810 for being a new sponsor of Serendipity Handmade!  I'm so happy that they are giving away a couple of wonderful items for you to enjoy.  (You have no idea how much I would love to have these myself!).  Aren't these Berries Jubilee kitchen towels super-cute?

And do you need a hand with planning the meals for your upcoming holiday party?  Look no further than this great Planning the Menu pad:

To enter, visit House 8810 and leave a comment here with the name of your favorite item by 11:59 Pacific Time on Friday, October 14th.  Sorry, entries are limited to the U.S. for this one.

If you'd like extra chances to win here are some additional options.  Leave one additional comment for each action:

  • Become a new follower by Google Friend Connect of Serendipity Handmade
  • Like Serendipity Vintage on Facebook
  • Follow Serendipity Vintage 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)
Please be sure to leave your email address in your post or in your blog profile so I can contact you.    

The winner will be chosen by random number, of course, and announced on October 15th.  Best of luck!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

The Skimp: 1974 and 2011

Did you watch Project Runway last week?   Like so many others, I really loved Bert Keeter's sleek color-block mini dress that was produced for Piperlime:

 As you may know, Bert designed in the 1970s so he was well-prepared to meet the design challenge to create a modern look inspired by 70s fashion.

Bert also worked at Halston, the designer who revived the mini-skirt and introduced what he called "The Skimp" in November 1974 for his Spring '75 line.  The raised hemline was big news (read all about it in New York Magazine, December 1974) and gave women another option apart from peasant skirts and maxi dresses. McCall's even produced pattern #4600 in 1975 called "The Real Halston Skimp":

via the Vintage Pattern Wiki

While watching that episode I kept wondering why the judges were making such a huge deal of the little cord belt with silver tips that Bert made to accessorize his dress, as though they had never seen one before. 

I also kept thinking that I'd seen something similar in my pattern collection.  So I dug through part of it and found Vogue Couturier Design 1170 by Belinda Bellville:

via the Vintage Pattern Wiki because I was too lazy to digitize my copy

Clearly this simple A-line silhouette was a popular design choice in the mid-1970s. I'm certainly not trying to stir up any sort of controversy by sharing any of this, by the way.  Bert's look was indeed modern (color-blocking! wide v-neck!) and truly did update a classic 70s look. 

I just have this compelling need to point out to Nina and Michael that the cord belt with the silver aglet tips is not a new idea -- these were mass-produced in the 1970s.  Neither was the flowy A-line silhouette in jersey fabric.  Regardless, Bert  made a fab little dress and it's already sold out!  I think we'll see some knock-offs soon.

In other news, we have a My Memories Suite giveaway winner, chosen by random number: commenter #4, Gustosa of Gustosa Giveaways!

Stay tuned for another fun giveaway coming up soon....

Monday, October 3, 2011

Madison Avenue Monday: Be Lovely to Look At

From McCall's Needlework and Crafts, Fall-Winter 1953

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Fabulous! FIDM Museum Acquisitions Exhibition

I stopped by FIDM a couple of days ago to see the Fabulous! exhibit and boy, was it named well!  My favorite adjective aptly describes this grand tour of Western fashion from the 1800s to the present.  Although I can number the exhibitions I have seen at FIDM on one hand, this one was by far the best and I think they may give LACMA some competition if they continue to produce exhibits of this quality.

I thought I'd share some of the amazing fashions that I saw, though these images will barely scratch the surface of some of the interesting items the museum has collected.  For example, there were two charming wax boudoir dolls from the early 20th century and some amazing (and rather nauseating) chapeaus made from avian taxidermy.

I wish that amateur photographs by everyday people were allowed, but alas, I've gleaned the following from the web to take you on this mini field-trip.

  photo courtesy Peter Wintersteller/abimages

A sumptuous reception dress with jet beads and lace by Charles Worth:

courtesy FIDM Museum blog
 Alexander McQueen's beautiful Peacock Dress:

photo courtesy Peter Wintersteller/abimages, via Nick Verreos blog

A silk jersey dress designed by Halston, the print is by Andy Warhol:


An extreme pair of men's platform boots circa 1972 or 1973:

courtesy FIDM Museum blog

Mae West's 10-inch platform shoes and her footprint
(she was quite short!):

via Nick Verreos blog 

And one of my personal favorites, a stylish WWII-era propaganda textile dress
made by a home sewist:

courtesy FIDM Museum blog

The dress was sewn from bright patriotic fabric that was produced as a fundraiser for the
British-American ambulance corps circa 1941 or 1942. To read it properly you would need would need to view the dress in a mirror. The fabric states, "There Will Always be an England":

courtesy FIDM Museum blog
If you're local, or will be visiting Los Angeles in the next couple of months, don't miss this exhibit.  I may just visit again myself!