Friday, July 31, 2009

NEW! Elegant Embroidered Ribbons

NEW & BEAUTIFUL … Elegant wide decorative ribbons are now in!

These wonderful ribbons are 4-inches wide and are all wired. Perfect for making gorgeous bows, adding decorative accents, wrapped around ribbons or as trim for just about anything.
There are Parisian-inspired embroidered fleur d’lys done in gold metallic threads on black and a shimmering golden burgundy.Embroidered floral vines meander through these wide ribbons with bright red and lustrous blue backgrounds.Or select our lovely red ribbon with golden bees embroidered into the ribbon. The crafting and decorating possibilities are endless.The coup d'├ętat are embroidered ribbons with golden threads, sewn in sequins and beads. Can’t you just envision these in dozens of crafts and sewing projects!All are now in stock and available by the yard.
Prices range from $7.95 to $11.95 per yard.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Vintage Bride & Groom Wedding Cake Toppers

Vintage bride and groom wedding cake toppers have been, and still are, a fascinating and whimsical collecting field. These little figurines show so many emotions -- some seem so happy, others a bit skeptical, and we have seen a few that look down right scared! Customers love to look at the extensive selection we have in our shop. There's quite a bit of history displayed in the fashions and accessories incorporated into these little works of art. Whether these are bought as gifts for weddings, engagements and anniversaries, to start or add to a collection or just for old times sake, there is a bit of happiness that accompanies every one of them.

Wedding cakes have been around for centuries but cake toppers did not take hold until the 19th century. Bride and groom toppers started appearing in the latter part of the 1800s, with commercial products first advertised in the late 1890s. Early examples were made of molded or sculpted cake icing. Through the years we have seen toppers made from virtually every conceivable material. As cake decorations, bride & groom toppers reached their peak popularity in the 1950s. Our selection stretches across the years from the 1920s to the 1970s.

This little wedding party is a wonderful cake topper set from the 1920s or 1930s. They are made from pipe cleaners all decked out in ribbon and lace. The faces and the flowers are made of celluloid. While this may have been sold as a complete set, I believe these were available as kits that were assembled and personalized by the baker or someone in the wedding party.

Here is another wedding party of little blonde bisque dolls dressed in crepe paper outfits. This style was popular in the 1930s, with or without the crepe decorations.
Another pre-WWII set was this celluloid bride and groom with the minister. This one includes its original box. She's decked out in lace and crepe, as are the groom and the minister. These are small and fragile, as the very thin celluloid was easy to crush or dent and was flammable as well!This trio of more traditional cake toppers are all made of porcelain. The left couple is from the late Art Deco era (c1930). The one on the right is a bit later, probably c1940. The center bride and groom are from the late 1950s or so. Note that the lacy veil they bride in the center is wearing is real. Many mid-century examples have not only real veils and silk flowers, but some have dresses made of fabric, probably from the same fabric that the real bride's wedding dress is made from.Here are a couple of collections that have examples from the 1930s to 1960s. The materials vary from porcelain, to pottery, to plaster and even chalk. Note the lower photo where the flowered arches are included.I love this young couple. They look a bit surprised! This is probably from the 1960s or 1970s. They are made of bisque (unglazed ceramic) and actually stand a bit taller than most of the brides and grooms that we have. Cute!Whether you are looking for bride and groom cake toppers for gifts, for your collection or to decorate your wedding cake, we always have a great selection.  Check out our online shop.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Summer Blooms

The flowers in our yard have been absolutely glorious this year. Begs the question: When is a rose not a rose? Well, in our garden, it could be a fuchsia or zinnia, marigold or lily, petunia or johnny-jump-up. We love them all.

Our area, here in the western foothills of the Santa Clara Valley on the eastern slopes of the Santa Cruz Mountains, the warm (hot) days and cool nights make so many plants very happy. BTW: This area was home to excellent vineyards and fruit orchards before the sprawling Silicon Valley took over. Here's a sampling of our beautiful bloomers.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

2nd Saturday: July 11th

Los Gatos was filled with energy and excitement this past weekend with our second 2nd Saturday event. With over 140 businesses participating, this was the largest business event we have had in our little town. There was music and refreshments, special events and special sales, and the Town of Los Gatos and the Chamber of Commerce sponsored a raffle for visitors who gathered stickers from at least five shops. (The prizes were some free dinners, free unlimited parking in town and more.)Richard Katz, bagpiper and Irish flute musician, played a couple of sessions in front of Vintages during the afternoon. (See our earlier article about Richard on this blog.)
All in all, lots of energy, lots of customers and a fun day. We will do it again on the second Saturday of August -- August 8th. Come on over and see us.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Vintage Wooden Children's Blocks

Remember these? I do!

Crafts, Ribbons, etc.

What are crafts made of?

Ribbon and paper and pieces of wood
Whatever it takes to make it look so good.
Die-cuts and lace and flowers too,
Held together with wires and glue.

A feather or two and a dab of glitter,
Makes anything look a little better.
But what really sets it apart
Is a piece of the crafter's heart!

Here’s a gallery of some of what we have for crafters at Vintages.
Click here to see more of the ribbons available at Vintages.

Kanzashi: Japanese Hair Ornament

Kanzashi is a traditional hair ornament that was worn by Japanese women in the Edo and Meiji Periods, i.e., 17th through 19th centuries. A variety of styles developed, from sticks to combs to heavily ornamented pieces of hair jewelry. These kanzashi were part of the high coiffured hairstyles common at the time and were worn mainly by brides and geisha. In more recent times, the well-dressed Japanese business lady has adapted the kanzashi as an ornament to add elegance to their rather staid business suits.

These long, slender ornaments can be beautifully displayed in frames or as part of an ikebana flower arrangement.

We are fortunate to have found a few of these gorgeous 19th century hair ornaments over the years. This first one is intricately handmade with delicate silver leaves and dangling birra-birra chains of coral beads and silver bells. The flowers are also carved coral beads and the fluttering gold butterfly is supported by a spring.
Even older is this colorful kanzashi made to look like a twig or branch. The branch is covered with hand-beaded seed pearls and leaves of carved jade. The flowers, which are attached to the branch by silver wires, are carved coral lotus and an amethyst chrysanthemum.
The last of these is a wonderful, large tortoise shell flower attached a tremblant on a spring to the hair comb. The workmanship is fantastic.
An interesting side note: One of our customers, an elderly Japanese lady, told us that when she was young, her mother explained to her how to utilize the long, pointed prongs of her kanzashi as a weapon to hold off unwanted advances!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Victorian Jewelry: Bar Pins

The reign of Queen Victoria in England covered the longest period of any modern British monarch -- from 1837 to 1901. The British Empire expanded dramatically in her time and reached the point of being the greatest power in the world, both militarily and economically.

Victorian jewelry was very reflective of the tastes and trends of the era, with the transitional Georgian designs of the early years, the expansive excesses of the middle years, the subdued elegance of the years of mourning after Prince Albert’s death and the elaborate jewelry of the industrial age of the late 1800s. The late-19th century also experienced three significant design trends: Aesthetic Movement, which presented art as a goal unto itself – Art for art’s sake --; Arts & Crafts Movement, which rebelled against the industrial revolution by emphasizing intricate, hand created designs; and Art Nouveau, which featured jewelry designs built around nature – butterflies, beautiful women and flowers.

There was a lot of symbolism in Victorian jewelry. How much jewelry a lady wore, as well and how she wore it, made a statement of both position and sentiment. Mourning jewelry, usually black in color and made of or containing hair of a loved one, were symbolic of the late Victorian period. Lover’s knots, DEAREST & DARLING pins, Love Tokens and Remembrance jewelry are just a handful of themes common at the time.In browsing through the many Victorian era photographs we have, I was drawn to the many different ways women of the late 1900s wore pins at the collar. These were there not just to hold the collar or scarf in place but also dress up the outfit. I saw cameos and brooches, picture pins and bar pins, and a chatelaine or two. Vintages has a nice selection of Victorian jewelry, and quite a few lovely bar pins, so I thought I would offer a small gallery of photos and pins for your enjoyment.For the most part, these are gold or gold-filled metal, some with lovely stones (both real gems and Victorian paste) and others with intricate designs of applied metal, etched or hand-chased motifs. Please click on any of the jewelry photos for more information. Enjoy!

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