Thursday, April 29, 2010

Shop Update- Finally!

I've been a busy little seagull this week prepping for my first weekend at Artists and Fleas, but the booth is finally ready and now I have an update for the shop ready. This week features lots of pretty, feminine cottons perfect for spring. I have a BIG update planned for next week, it's a surprise (I've been curating this particular collection for 8 months now!) but I'll give you a hint: it's going to coincide with fleet week here in NYC. Anyhow, enjoy these pretties for the time being:


Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Resurrection- How to Raise Vintage From the Dead Part I


☀As a teenager, I wanted to be a fashion designer when I grew up and create a line of vintage reproductions. When I got to college, I changed my mind and became an art history major with the intent of becoming a restoration artist. Now that I am all grown up, I find that my job has oddly become a combination of both these two fields of study.

Those of us that handle vintage for a living will understand what I mean. Finding perfect, unused and powder fresh vintage is not impossible and is a real treat when it happens. However, most of it needs laundering, mending, stain removal- sometimes it just needs to be shocked back to life!

This post is a hard earned lesson full of trial, error, and tears. It's part one of a series on restoration techniques that I am slowly learning to master. Today, I will teach you how to handle and unleash a secret weapon that if used correctly has magical powers. If used incorrectly, it can cause complete and total devastation. It is called Oxy Clean.

Oxy Clean comes in many forms, but I always buy the scent and irritant free powdered form in a big huge bucket. In my experience, it's the only one that works. So go buy some. Ok, now that you have it, here are the rules:


Oxy Clean works amazing on natural fibers like cotton and linen, and cotton poly blends.


☠☠NEVER☠☠ use it on silk, wool, rayon, nylon, polyester, acetate, or viscose. It will either not work at all or completely melt and shred your garment to oblivion. Honestly, I pretty much only use it on cotton to be safe.

Bright colors, especially solids in cotton almost always bleed or run. Vintage dyes were not often colorfast they way they are now, and Oxy Clean tends to exacerbate the problem. Bleeding can be minimized by soaking your load in cold water, and adding a cup or two of distilled white vinegar to your load. Always soak bright colors and prints by themselves or with similar colors.

☠ Watch out for collars, trim, and details on cotton garments in contrasting colors. Example: navy blue dress with a white collar (I just ruined one this week). This type of garment is usually NOT a good candidate for a soak. ☠

------HOW TO USE IT---------

Dissolve your Oxy Clean and vinegar in a little bit of tepid water. Fill up the remainder of your basin or washing machine with cold water. I generally use one giant scoop that comes with the container per two gallons of water. I soak garments in my machine; usually I fill it for a medium load and add 5 or 6 scoops, which will clean about 6 garments. The higher the ratio of Oxy to water, the stronger the potion!

Add your garments in and gently swish them around, making sure they are completely submerged. Every four hours or so, give them a gentle swish. Usually 24 hours of soaking does the trick quite well.

Once the soaking is done, thoroughly wash out your garments by hand in cold water, or run them through the gentle cycle if they aren't fragile. I prefer washing by hand to be safe. Oxy Clean takes a good deal more washing out than a normal detergent, so have patience!

Drip dry garments from a hanger. You can roll them up in a towel to get excess water out, but never ever wring your vintage! If the garment is fragile and becomes heavy with water weight, just lay it flat on a towel to dry as hanging it might cause the shoulders to shred.


♡♡♡All of the bright pretty cotton you see hanging above was formerly a faded, yellowed, yucky mess. With some patience and Oxy Clean, they are now all perfect, bright as the sun and ready to be worn. ♡♡♡

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Our City Hall Wedding

My husband, David and I have a long history. We met in gym class my freshman year of high school; he was a sophomore. At the time, David was totally punk rock and I was a combination on punk and rockabilly (come on it WAS the 90's!). Anyhow, I asked him to go to winter formal with me and he said no because he was trying to get this blond girl to go with him instead! I only mildly resented him for it since I found another boyfriend to distract me really fast.

In gym class, I also met the girl that was one of my two best friends in high school, and they started dating. They actually dated until David went away to college! Throughout their relationship, we became really good friends. We always liked each other, but never gave dating any serious thought because of our situation. When David went to college, he broke up with my former best friend. She and I moved in together, but it didn't work out and we drifted apart. In the mean time, I stayed in touch with David.

A couple years later, after playing tag between respective relationships and studying abroad, we finally settled into a relationship. I was always wary to date him seriously because I knew I would never be single again, and it would risk one of my most valued friendships. Five years later, I am so happy that I took the risk. As it turns out, I gained a best friend rather than losing a good one.

Here are a few snapshots from City Hall, taken March 12. We are planning a larger family wedding on July 31st this year in California with our families, but I wanted to share a few pictures with you. Everything I am wearing is vintage, of course, except the shoes which are by Modern Vintage (they make great repros).








Thursday, April 22, 2010


I read this article today, which got some really mixed feelings from readers and the people that it targeted. The topic of this article is the feeling of inadequacy that one feels when we continually try to stack up our own lives against others. These "others" can be direct competitors, friends, family members, or strangers. Well, actually in a sense they are all competitors when we compare ourselves to them.

The author has some good points. It is true that the internet provides the perfect backdrop to showcase a well-edited life, business, style and home. Note I said well-edited. We get to pick and choose what people see and they do not see. Call it censorship, call it curating; it is indeed artificial. Those of us who make a living out of this so-called censorship very well understand what we are doing. We understand that readers do not want to spend time looking at pictures of our dirty dishes, and we understand that customers do not want to see the dusty basement that their 200 dollar dress was dug out of. It is indeed artifice, and it takes talent and creativity to devise.

I understand the panicking that ensues when we view the success of others and our lives don't look as organized, aesthetically pleasing, harmonious, creative, or even meaningful. Everyone else appears to have better clothes, a tidier house, a more perfect party in their sunlit fairy tale garden. There are sellers with more sales, better photos, more publicity, better blogs, more followers et all. It is painful to pay attention and painful not to. Whatever it is you envy, there is someone who looks like they are doing it better.

But somehow I can't fault people for this type of artifice. Some have it built into their DNA to seek out beauty and improve upon it by transposing their view of it onto a canvas; that canvas could be cotton, it could be a jpg, it could be layers in Photoshop, it could be the film of a Holga, a set of organic paper notecards. Trivialize this sort of craftiness all you want, but you can't judge what is and is not creativity. Competition is also built into our DNA too; we are proud of our achievements and individuality so we feel the need to validate ourselves through the approval of others. Everybody feels inadequate when they see someone else doing something better, even the people who are the best at what they do. Life is short, we want to do everything, be everyone and be remembered for something. So yes, when other people envy our lives we are usually secretly pleased. When we do something really well and get recognized for it, we feel good. People are born with primarily selfish motivations in spite of our ability to preform tremendous acts of altruism.

I can't fault people, including myself for struggling with jealousy either. It's biological motivation to thrive. It's an intellectual form of Darwinism. However, it's no more than this, really. Jealousy is an urge, an impulse, and a feeling that can be contained (dare I say controlled?). It is too easy to LET yourself feel like shit over the success of others. It takes practice and a lot of retraining, and there are days when you relapse worse than Whitney Houston. But there are some things you can do to help (at least this is what works for me)! For example:

- Unplug from everything for as long as your schedule permits to focus on something else you enjoy. Get off of Twitter, don't look at other people's Etsy shops, and don't read any blogs. Don't turn on your TV, don't read a fashion magazine. Go grab a book, a coffee, go get a pedicure, take your kids or dog to the park or just go for a walk! Do something that does not force you to be creative, but that is relaxing.

- Spend some time with your husband, best friend or mom doing something you love that's non-competitive.

- Remind yourself of all the reasons you are lucky. Sounds obvious, but if you do it often enough it really does work!

- If your house really is filthy, go clean it. If you haven't been to the gym in six months, actually go. Stop making excuses and procrastinating, and you'll feel a lot better.

- Put your head down and just work. Focus on your own product, your own personal taste, and your own gut instinct. Stop peeking around so much and remember that you started your hobby/ Etsy store/ product line because you enjoyed it. Be weird, be outlandish, and be yourself. Just don't get pissed when you find other people starting to copy YOU!

- Go do something nice for someone else!

Basically, when you feel yourself getting into a jealous rut, distract yourself from those kind of thoughts. Eventually it won't just be a band-aid for those feelings, you will actually feel them a lot less. I hope this wasn't offensive to anyone or made no sense at all. I just felt like chatting since I mostly just post pretty pictures. And in the spirit of an editing-free world, here is a mildly unflattering picture of me in my pajamas while writing this post:

Monday, April 12, 2010

Gorgeous Girls in Greedy Seagull Dresses!

Seeing photos like the ones below make me love my job even more than I already do. Three of my lovely customers were kind enough to send me pictures in Greedy Seagull dresses- I just love the way they all styled them! Pretty much nothing makes me happier than seeing a pretty girl in a pretty dress, and knowing that I provided them makes my little seagull chest all puffed up with pride and swagger. Check out these gorgeous ladies:


This is Ally, in a wool 30's number. What a smile, she looks like she's straight out an Elvgren calendar!


This is Dolly Dahl, who wore this 40's cotton dress to VLV this year. I'm so jealous the dress got to go and not me. How cute is she, seriously?


And last but not least is Solenn, who hails from France. Check out her blog, Tutti Frutti Vintage to see how she styled it, and peep her other awesome vintage finds.

Thanks to all of you for letting me use your photos!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

This CRAZY Coat- Help Please?

I found this enigma today and want to do a little research before selling it, and was wondering if anyone had any pointers?

It's the heaviest thing I've ever seen- military issue, with Cyrillic lettering inside. It has two different types of buttons (both display the hammer and sickle motif). The bottom smaller buttons are the originals, and the shiny gold ones are later replacements. It's been stripped of any decorations/ insignia it once had, and was probably shortened due to the unfinished hem at the bottom. The rounded collar leads me to think it is 50's or 60's? It's lined in a thick canvas-like cotton, and has interior hook and eye closures. It's definitely been altered in several ways by whoever owned it last, but is still an incredible coat that would honestly keep you warm in Siberia!


Monday, April 5, 2010

Spring Has Sprung!

Spring has sprung, and my neighborhood has exploded with flowers! I have to say, it's pretty hard to stay inside and work when I go outside and see this: