Thursday, June 30, 2011

A New Edition to the Family

The bicycle family, that is!

Here at Chez QT, we love our bicycles. I ride my bike for exercise several times a week, often pulling behind  a trailer for my kids. You may recall last Friday's post about the new trike I got for my youngest:

 I have two vintage balloon tire bikes which I absolutely adore:

Hers- my "daily driver" a Mercury, made by Murray. It's basically a 1990s re-issue of the 1946 Westfield Crescent.

And his- a red Sears Spaceliner, c.1960. 

I never pass up an opportunity to acquire anything vintage bicycle-related! So when my mom got a brand new Trek, I immediately asked if I could have her old bike, a 1960s Schwinn Suburban.

My mom put many many miles on this bike. And at age 71 she still thinks nothing of packing up and going 10+ miles on her new bike. 

This is my first geared bike (it's a 10 speed) since I was in high school. I rode it around in the yard for quite a while yesterday trying to get the feel for shifting gears again. It's a little bit slippery, and I'm not used to the handbrakes either. But it's a nice comfy road bike and I plan to take some longer rides with it. Once I add a basket to the rear rack I might even be able to take it grocery shopping- probably a 10 mile round trip.

Thanks, Mom!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Sunday Outfit Post: Swirl (now with photo!)

This is my one and only Swirl dress. I bought it at a tiny little antique shop in Corning, NY that had a single rack of vintage dresses. It was marked, "Vintage housecoat, $9". I think I ran some of the customers over taking it to the register. (I also wish I had bought the 1950s taffeta evening dress they had for the same price, but it didn't quite fit me and I didn't have my etsy shop yet.)

It's a pink cotton seersucker with embroidered cherries on the top. I'm also wearing some white peeptoes that I had forgotten about until the other day when I was collecting some more stuff for the shop. Love it when that happens!

Behind me is my first canning project of the year- 8 quarts of rhubarb. I also made a rhubarb pie, but that was gone before I thought to take a picture of it. I had close to 25 pounds of rhubarb to do something with!

Friday, June 24, 2011

Flea Market Friday: sTrike my fancy, Vintage Tricycle!

As I sit here writing this indoors while the rain is pouring down, it seems an unlikely day for yard sales! Yet, a couple hours ago we returned from one of the best yard sale days ever. This morning we originally intended to do a little thrift shopping to stock my etsy store. We did do that eventually (and it was a total bust) but got sidetracked at a few yard sales. And am I glad we did! 

The best score of the day was this vintage trike we bought. Ain't she sweet? It is not a reproduction. I'll tell you the price at the end of the post so you get there without having to call 911!

Whoever had this when it was new didn't play with it much, that's for sure!

It's a "Foremost" brand from JC Penneys- made by Western Flyer in the 50s or 60s. Just a couple scratches to wax out and it will be virtually mint. I think some bullet-shaped grips for it and a bell would be fun.

 Then we found this awesome chalkware wall plaque for my son's room. The frame is chalkware and the photograph insert of a hunter caught with his pants down is actually an 5x8 postcard, dated 1956. I bought it for $1 without really looking at the subject matter, but we all got a good laugh out of it when we got it home.

 Here it is with some of his other wall hangings in his room- fits right in!

This is the haul from the rest of the stops. The green frosted milkglass vase, the enamel ware bowl and the 2 tupperware canisters will end up in my etsy store. The FireKing loaf pan I'm keeping- it matches a casserole dish I got from my grandmother.  The red plastic box is full of vintage dime store plastic airplanes- just going by the aircraft type, there is nothing in there newer than the mid-1950s (For you Cold War buffs, a B-36, F7U Cutlass- two of my all time fave weird airframes- and Boeing 707 are the "newest".) 

OK, ready for the price? Ten dollars. :)

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Trash Picked Tuesday: MCM coffee table makeover!

A while back I did a post on this coffee table that my parents were throwing out. (Literally- it was at the curb and I trash-picked it from my own parents.) You may also recognize the country craptacular sofas that we got rid of by giving to my brother last fall. ;)

I had always liked it, but it was never very sturdy. The legs were always wobbly (I remember it being like that ever since I was little) and with the soft pine top, you could never get them to screw in tight. Plus, you can see how beat up the top was. 

Well, one night about 6 weeks ago the thing completely collapsed. Two of the four brackets that held the legs  just broke, and I could not find replacements at any of the big box home stores (big surprise).

So, now it was time for plan B. I searched the internet for replacement brackets and got sidetracked looking at some beautiful MCM coffee tables. Recognizing inspiration when it bites me on the foot, it occurred to me that hairpin legs would look spectacular with this top.

I found a little company in Ohio that makes nothing but hairpin legs in their shop, at I always try to buy American and buy from individual craftsmen and this was the perfect opportunity! They offer all different heights and finishes for their handmade hairpin legs, and the price is very reasonable. I ordered a set in natural steel and it arrived within a week.

I couldn't have been happier- they were perfect, and I knew the would be a lot sturdier than the wobbly original legs. Now I just needed to make the top beautiful again. 

After completely stripping the top and applying at least 8 coats of stain with a high gloss finish, I am very pleased with the result:

It is rock-solid- no chance of wobbling ever again!

My dad was over last night for a little belated Father's Day get together and was blown away by the table he had bought 40 years ago from a little craftsman in New Hampshire. We got him to write the name of the town and the date he bought it on the underside. As my brother and cousins will attest, it's something of a tradition for my dad to write the purchase date of things he buys on its owner's manual, so we thought this was pretty cool.  (As a bonus, you can see how we attached the legs!)

This coffee table will go back upstairs with our new MCM-inspired sofas, so watch for that post in the future.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Sunday Outfit Post

This is one of my favorite dresses. It's a 1970s vintage waitress-style dress, but with a very 1940s feel. The shoes are canvas wedges which are so comfortable- I wear them with everything. The bracelet is red, white and blue beads, strung in a confetti style- I forget the name of this type of bracelet, forgive me!

I actually took this photo on Thursday for my son's Kindergarten graduation. I wanted to wear something that was different from all the other parents but still classy and summery. I'm the only retro mom there and believe me, I get funny looks from some of the PTA moms. They're such a clique in this school; thank goodness we're going to a different school next year- I just can't stand some of them. I'd be curious to know how some of you handle people like that; it's obvious that I don't fit in and I don't want to! :P

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

My view on things...

This is for those of you that commented on my backyard view in my outfit post ;)

Nice, huh? That's our garden and my washline as well as our "porch swing" in front of the barn. The patio view would be off to the left of the picture- nothing but open fields and trees. If you look real hard you can see a double rainbow...

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Raising Kids (and other crops ;) in the garden!

We are big into gardening here at Chez QT. When we moved in 9 years ago, one of the very first things I did was to get out a shovel and break some ground for a small kitchen garden. Well, almost a decade later it has turned into much more, and is now a family affair!

We strongly believe in sharing the workload! Our kids would much rather help out in the garden than watch TV, even on a dreary and chilly day. They just want to be outside all the time, and if they can work on a project, so much the better. 

If anyone is pondering the meaning of life or just not feeling very satisfied about their existence, do some good, hard, manual work. The feeling of a job well done with your own two hands is something that I want my kids to appreciate, starting now. Sitting on your butt playing video games (not something we do, ever) will not produce the feeling of accomplishment and satisfaction of work. Get outside and work play in the dirt!

Jayson is fixing a bluebird box, while Jay is preparing the garden for planting at our cabin. Jayson is 6, and can be trusted to use hand tools like a hammer and pliers. He has a great mind for fixing and solving problems, and will spend hours doing this type of thing. 

This is farther north than where we live, so the seasons are a little behind.

 Even Kate wants to help. Of course, the rototiller is not actually on but it's the principle of the thing... She helped by putting the dead plants and weeds in the wheelbarrow.

The rhubarb is going full blast and the strawberries are up.

Make your mark in the earth!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Sunday Outfit Post

I hate taking pictures of myself, but just to prove that I do in fact wear vintage clothing I'm going to try to do outfit posts more regularly!

The dress is the one I picked up last weekend at Reading's WWII weekend for just $10. The red and brown stripe goes all the way down the front. The button detail at the top is adorable- too bad I didn't get a closer shot. The shoes are spectator oxfords from the 1980s in tan and white and the bracelets are bakelite. I have lots of bakelite in yellow, red and brown, so I can really wear a lot with this dress! I just got my hair cut in a 1930s fingerwave style, but the humidity was really making it frizz. I've found that to be a problem as I have gotten older- my hair is getting curly when it used to be stick-straight!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Thrifted Thursday: They say I'm a dreamer...

But I'm not the only one! How many times have you looked at beautiful vintage linens and realized they were not made for a modern-sized bed? We Americans like us some big beds these days and vintage linens (or heck, the vintage beds themselves) are just too small for queen or king mattresses.

Up until the 1970s, one full or two twin size beds were the norm in the master bedroom, and when you're shopping for vintage bedspreads, sheets, etc. that's the most common size. I happen to have a love affair with vintage chenille bedspreads, and have a decent collection, but I've never found one that actually fits our queen size bed. (Go ahead and picture a sweet vintage full size bedspread on a queen bed with all the blankets and sheets hanging out around the bottom, because I have been there and done that!) Heck, I even have more than one crib-size chenille bedspread; thank goodness I have a little girl who loves that stuff, or it might have become a sofa throw.

So imagine my surprise when I stopped into one of my favorite (and often over-priced) thrift shops on Monday and found a queen size 1940s vintage chenille bedspread! And it matched my master bedroom colors, was in very good shape and was 50% off at only $9.00! Score! (Usually they price these at about $40-$60; don't know why this one was so cheap!)

As you can see, the pattern is not real gaudy. (I know others like them, but I just can't warm up to the brightly-hued peacock spreads- too flashy for me.) It has blue, green, rose and yellow colors, which go with our color scheme perfectly. The pink lamp was featured here, and the carpet is an identical shade of green, as well as some blue accents elsewhere around the room. I'm not a huge fan of the style of the bed and nightstands- they were my husband's before we met. Unfortunately, they are very good quality and I don't expect them to wear out anytime soon, despite my best efforts! ;)

So, vintage queen size bed linens are out there, at least (maybe not King- I don't think that size was very common until recently) if you are willing to wait and hope!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

WWII Weekend 2011 Wrap up

Wow, what a great weekend this was! Every year is a blast, but this year we actually had great weather! Usually it's either wet and muddy or hot and humid. But for a change it was sunny and in the 70s- perfect!

I dressed like a defense worker/ female aircraft mechanic (I hate calling it a "Rosie the Riveter" look, because it's just a stereotype, but that's essentially what it was.) I wore my Freddie's of Pinewood gray overalls, a blue chambray shirt, saddle shoes and my hair in a bandana. It was a good look, and very comfortable! Sure beats my usual stockings, girdle, heels etc! It was also a bit serendipitous- I picked up the shirt for 75 cents (brand new Eddie Bauer!) at a thrift shop the night before. It was perfect- a darker blue chambray fabric that matched the period fabrics I was emulating. And my pocketbook was a metal lunchbox.

I have to say that I was asked to have my picture taken as "Rosie" more than I ever had been before when I just wore a 1940s dress. I'm sure it helped that I always had at least one child in tow, and they were dressed in vintage as well- people took their picture a lot. My daughter wore a blue feedsack dress with buckle shoes and my son wore overalls and Converse sneaks.

Some reenactors and vehicles. If you have never been to this event, imagine this scene x100 and you will begin to get an idea of the scope of it.

Me at the controls of a Curtis C-46 Commando transport. This is one of the most unheralded aircraft of the Second  World War- a workhorse of the China-Burma-India Theater, flying "the Hump" over the Himalayas. A good friend of mine spent the war as a crew chief for one of these based out of India, and I have done several speaking engagements with him and a program based on this aircraft. So needless to say this was a thrill for me to finally get to see one up close. Like their counterparts, the C-47s (Douglas DC-3) some of these are still flying everyday in Haiti and Alaska.

The stars of the show- the only flying B-29 in the world and a B-17.

B-17 taxiing. Unlike a lot of other air shows, you can really get up close to everything here.

If you've never been to Reading Pa.'s WWII weekend, make your plans now for next year- June 1,2,3 2012!

Friday, June 3, 2011

Flea Market Friday: Mid Century Modern furniture bonanza! (Part 2)

I promised some photos of the new furniture all staged at my brother's place. And it only makes sense to  combine it with a long-overdue update on how things are going with his new house.

First, here's the sofa that I couldn't photograph last week. Pure 1940s art deco style- and it looks like it spent most of its life under one of those plastic slipcovers. $10. No kidding. Now in his spare bedroom; I think it looks pretty good with a $6 pair of 1960s yard sale lamps.

Here's the kitchen/dining are with the new hutch. Remember these chairs? Thank goodness they're still holding up, because it might take us a while to find a matching Broyhill Saga dining table and chairs. And be like me and do your best to ignore that frilly monstrosity of a chandelier...and help me convince him (he's reading this) that he should swap it out with the flying saucer lamp I got!

Here's the hutch all filled with some of his kitschen stuff. Some of this stuff was also bought at the same yard sale we got the furniture. Doesn't everyone need a souvenir tray from Florida? ;)

The buffet server fits this spot perfectly! (You can see the fake fireplace from Tuesday's post through the doorway.)

That MCM candleholder is made by Lenox (can't seem to ever find the right size skinny tapers, tho) and the ceramic plate is actually a divided dish with olives around the edge. I have a similar plate with cherries around it that dates from at least the 50s.

And finally, the living room.  It's very much a work in progress- we just put down the area rug and have yet to install the drapes and pictures. Those of you who have been to Chez QT may recognize the sofas- they used to be here until we got new ones last fall. The coffee table is trash-picked (by me). Stylistically, there's nothing great about it, but for a bachelor it has an important feature- the top lifts up to dining height. I didn't get a good picture of the gigantic console we bought for his TV, but let me say I'm glad we got the biggest one we could find....

Of course, you all recognize that Major Award in the window-it's not just for Christmas anymore! (That was a housewarming gift from yours truly ;)

Thursday, June 2, 2011

WWII Weekend 2011- Be there!

Just a quick note to let you all know that this weekend the mother of all WWII shows will be held in Reading, PA. I have been going for at least the last 15 years and this is the high point of my vintage year. Do Not Miss It if you are anywhere close by!!!! More info here:

This year, the only flying B-29 in existence is there. I saw this plane years ago and then it went off the show circuit for several years and is now back- I can't wait to see it!

I'll be there on Saturday for sure- going to get my tickets today. I think I will be wearing a 1930s feedsack cotton dress with a red/pink/green floral print and a wide-brimmed brown hat. Of course I will have the 2 kids and my husband with me as well. Say hi if you see me!

Here are some photos from last year!