Monday, November 29, 2010

Cavallini Paper, Rubber Stamps and more

Vintages has offered Cavallini's decorative papers, rubber stamps, gift tags and stickers for quite awhile. We have now added most of their products to our online sales site.
 Cavallini creates products that are both beautiful and functional. Whether it is a 19th-century butterfly print or a well-loved piece of ephemera, they pull from a vast archival collection for the perfect image. They print their products on high quality Italian paper. We appreciate the workmanship and attention to detail Cavallini puts into their line decorative papers, stamps and notebooks. You will too.
Cavallini decorative papers cover a wide array of subjects - from birds and nature, to Paris and London, to post cards and maps. These paper sheets are suitable for  framing, altered art, art projects, crafting, scrapbooking and, of course, gift wrapping. Their file folders co-ordinate with the decorative papers. We do not offer the decorative papers and file folders online, but we do carry a nice selection at the shop in Los Gatos.

Rubber stamps are packaged in decorative tins and include an ink pad. The stamps are excellent quality, something really necessary when creating artwork.
The labels, decorative stickers and gift tags are equally well-made and come in a wide variety of themes. We happen to really like birds and Parisien images, so we always have those in stock.
The notebooks are another great item from Cavallini.  We offer only the small notebooks online, but do have some of the others in stock at our shop.
Please visit us in Los Gatos, or online. We would love to have you as a guest.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Holiday Decorations

Christmas Express Train ($125)
HoHoHo ($9.95)
The Christmas Holidays seem to bring out excitement and creativity in just about everyone. Decorations, gift wrap, ornaments on the tree, lights strung across rooftops, nativity scenes on the lawn. Not all of it is high art, but every bit of it is from the heart. The bright colors, fancy garlands and welcoming wreaths support the spirit of giving that comes to fore in the Holidays. When it comes to Holiday Decorations, Vintages tries to add a touch of elegance, a bit of whimsy and new and different ideas to the Holiday decorating box of goodies.
Believe Garland ($18.95) • Glitter Wreaths and Garlands ($25.95)
This year we have silver and bronze garlands and wreaths, the new in colors for the season. But we have not abandoned the traditional reds and greens.
Handmade Gift Tags (starting at $1.75 each)
Here's a gallery of our Holiday Decorations in the shop. Come by and see the whole array of our Vintages Holiday.
One-of-a-Kind Handmade Santa ($119) • Silver Trees (from $17.95) • Bench ($125)
Metal Stockings (from $26.95)
Glass Trees ($19.95 to $32.95)
NOEL Ornament ($4.95)
A Variety of Specialty Ornaments (from $4.75 each)
Glass Ornaments ($9.95)
White Birds (from $8.95 each)
Holiday Ornament Candy Jars ($24.95)
Decorated Houses (from $29.95) • Gilded Votive Candles ($7.95 - $8.95)
Handcrafted Angles, Snowmen and Santas (from $21.95)

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Vintage Christmas Tree Pins and Holiday Jewelry

The Christmas tree has probably been the number one motif in costume jewelry over the years. They can be found made of glittery rhinestones, spectacular Austrian crystals, bright enamels, polished silver and even fine gemstones. They can be simple or baroque, modern or traditional, whimsical, glitzy or even weird! With so many facets to collecting these holiday statements, it's no wonder that they are such a popular collectible.

The fir or pine tree became a symbol of the Christmas Holidays back in the 16th century in Germany. The tradition was recognized by Martin Luther and eventually spread to the rest of the Christian world in the 18th and 19th centuries. 

Victorian Christmas Locket
The elaborately decorated Christmas trees of the Victorian times led women, and some men, to adorn themselves in bright jewelry with holiday themes. Victorian and Edwardian holiday jewelry featured cherubs and angels, bells and garlands, and later some trees. (The locket to the left is courtesy Morning Glory Collects.)

The rise in popularity of costume jewelry in the 1930s made it possible for the average lady to wear bright and beautiful jewels. Christmas tree pins became popular by the 1940s and reached a peak in the '50s and '60s. Every major designer of costume jewelry created a line of Christmas tree pins, pendants, and other jewelry. These were sold in all the department stores and the five-and-dime stores as well.

While there was a decline in the popularity of Holiday pins in the 1980s, the Christmas tree pin made a big comeback in the 1990s and can be found pretty much everywhere jewelry is sold today.
L to R: Eisenberg, Swaboda and Hollycraft Christmas Tree Pins
Major costume jewelry houses such as Eisenberg, Swaboda and Hollycraft (above) participated in the lucrative market. Some others just dabbled in it like Haskell, Carnegie or Chanel. Trifari has made Christmas tree pins for years.
These are Weiss Christmas Tree Pins with 6, 5 and 3 Candles, plus a Pair of Earrings

Maybe the most famous, and collectible, series of Christmas tree pins were made by Weiss. These trees came with different numbers of candles and had matching earrings. These are expensive, but having an entire set is the holy grail of Christmas tree collecting.

Wendy Gell Handmade Christmas Tree Pin
In recent years, a number of designers are making spectacular, one-of-a-kind tree pins. Wendy Gell's altered art pins, the Schultz's recycled Bakelite creations, and Clarke's whimsical Lucite trees. Lea Stein's celluloid acetate tree pins are a favorite of ours. These command high prices as serious collectors love them. Wish we had some of these!
L to R: Schultz Bakelite Tree, Clarke Lucite Tree and Lea Stein Celluloid Acetate Tree
Susan's Bottlebrush Tree Pin
 One unusual Christmas tree pin is this decorated vintage bottlebrush tree that has a pin-back on it. This one is from Susan's bottlebrush tree collection.

But, of course, most of us have more modest means and collect pins that are more traditional and less rare. Here at Vintages, we have a nice collection of Christmas Tree pins and other Holiday Jewelry. Most of our pins are available online, but some have not made it to the internet yet. Take a look at some of our inventory below, and check our shopping site for many more.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Extanded Holiday Hours Now 'Til Christmas

For you shopping convenience 
Vintages will be open 11-5 on Sundays until Christmas.
 Holiday Hours:
Tuesday-Saturday 10-6
Sunday 11-5

Also, we will be open on Mondays Dec 13th & 20th.

Pan Am China Clipper • 75 Years Ago • San Francisco to Manila

Seaplanes have always fascinated me. As a boy in Hawaii, surrounded by water, these flying boats held me in awe! Sometimes on the weekends, my dad would drive us down to the area around the Honolulu Airport, near Pearl Harbor, and we would watch the planes come and go. I especially loved it when one of the Navy's Mars seaplanes was around. These majestic machines were used by the U.S. Navy from WWII through the mid-1950s, mostly on routes from San Francisco to Honolulu.

The Pan Am Clipper was an earlier seaplane that launched the first regularly scheduled trans-Pacific 75 years ago. After a test cargo flight from San Francisco to Honolulu and back, the Clipper service started commercially with a 59 hour flight from San Francisco to Manila, making four stops along the way. The celebrated San Francisco to Honolulu flight took around 18 hours.

The San Francisco Airport's SFO Museum has an exhibit celebrating the China Clipper service that will be on view until early 2011. It's a gotta see if you like planes and pre-WWII nostalgia.

The San Francisco Aeronautical Society is also planning a "series of events commemorating the greatest milestone in air transport history."

Over the years the Clipper flights have spawned many collecting trends. Posters, in-flight memorabilia, Pan American Airlines items and postage stamps and covers, are several that come to mind. I have a nice collection of Clipper flight postal covers. Here is a small gallery for your enjoyment.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Holiday Happenings in Los Gatos

Los Gatos is always a busy town, and even more so during the Holidays. The "official" kick-off of the season is on December 3rd with the tree lighting on the plaza, but Holiday events start even earlier. 

Nov 26th-Dec 31st: Fantasy of Lights
Come celebrate the 11th Anniversary of "Lighting the Valley with Fun" at Fantasy of Lights, a drive-through holiday lights display spectacular at Vasona Lake County Park. The shows goes on nightly starting November 26th and continuing through December 31st at Vasona Lake County Park from 6-10pm.

Dec 2nd & 3rd: Homes for the Holidays
The Summit League sponsors this great Biennial Holiday House Tour.  The tour will feature three lovely homes in the Saratoga/Los Gatos area. The homes are decorated by professional interior designers and florists. Definitely worth seeing and the proceeds are for a good cause.

Enjoy a holiday tradition in downtown Los Gatos and feel the romance of Christmas past. Ride in an elegant horse-drawn carriage with a stately driver and horses wearing holiday bells. See the Los Gatos Chamber of Commerce for details.

Dec 3rd: Tree Lighting on the Plaza
Tree Lighting festivities on Friday, December 3th, start at 4:00 pm at the Plaza Park at the corner of Main Street and Santa Cruz Ave. (Actual lighting of the tree is at 6pm.) Santa arrives on a red fire engine at 6:01pm and stays at the park until 7pm. This time honored Los Gatos tradition commences the sparkle of the season as we power up the Christmas lights on the majestic 100-year old redwood in the center of the Town Plaza. The tree can be seen from near and far and has been a town tradition for well over 30 years.

The 54th Annual Los Gatos Children's/Holidays Parade is a great family event that captures the warmth of the holiday season each year with festive entries, musical wonders and plenty of cheer. Don't miss it! Saturday, December 4th, 11:00 a.m on Santa Cruz Avenue. Rain or Shine!  Stop by Vintages ... we have a great view of the parade. 

Santa In The Town Plaza Park Family Event, 11am-3pm.   Families, kids of all ages and dogs are welcome.

More Events
There are more events scheduled. Check out the Los Gatos Chamber of Commerce Community Event calendar. And remember, the fantastic Los Gatos Farmer's Market continues every Sunday morning in the Los Gatos Town Plaza. Stop by Vintages and say "hello" when you are in town.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Vintage Thanksgiving Post Cards

 Years ago, people sent cards and post cards for all types of events. Alas, email and other social media have replaced these in many cases. But we love the old post cards and greeting cards.  The sentiments may be schmaltzy and the images pastoral, but they were sent with love and good wishes. Here at Vintages we have hundreds of old post cards, including Holiday ones.  Here are some of the Thanksgiving ones we have.  Enjoy!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Lost & Found: The Art of Luis Gutierrez

Luis Gutierrez is a quiet, gentle man who has visited Vintages many times over the years.  In an article in, It's about ideas: Luis Gutierrez, artist, columnist Erica Gross captures a glimpse of Luis that I find familiar:

Luis Gutierrez draws, paints, and creates collages and assemblages.  He is an inveterate collector, picking up things he finds on walks, and going through stacks of old photographs at antique stores.  Many of his finds – old toys, found objects, and game pieces – become part of his work.  His home on a quiet street in Los Gatos is filled with his paintings and drawings, as well as treasures he’s acquired along the way.  He taught art at San Jose City College for twenty-seven years, where he encountered people from a variety of backgrounds.

The "Lost & Found" works are true folk, art stripped of pretense and making a simple, straightforward statement. The works range from mounted antique toys to hanging anatomical charts to old letters with interesting notes, stamps and penmanship. The two works shown here incorporate antique items that Luis found at Vintages.

Lost & Found: the Art of Luis Gutierrez opened on Nov. 13th and runs through Jan. 15th at the Axis Art Gallery in downtown San Jose.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Collections: Corkscrews

(This article was written for the November 2010 issue of The Quarterly Worme, the newsletter for the Canadian Corkscrew Collectors Club, of which I am a member. Hope you enjoy it.)

I never actually thought about collecting corkscrews.  It just happened!  Susan and I were in London back in the mid-80s.  It was a business trip and she came along so we could add some vacation time to the trip.  While wandering the backstreets near Shepherd’s Market one day, we wandered into an antique shop.  There it was … this beautiful object with a turned ivory handle and an unusual brush on one side.  Since we loved wine, the fact that it was a corkscrew also made it practical.  I bought it, thinking how great it would be to open a bottle of old Port with this magnificent corkscrew.
Three ivory and bone handled corkscrews from the late 1800s or so.  (L to R)
•    Bone handled corkscrew with a diamond cut shaft, an original brush and a Henshall button to help remove the cork.
•    This large ivory tusk corkscrew has sterling silver mounts and is from Tiffany & Co.
•    This ivory handled corkscrew is the one that started my collection back in the early 1980s

 A few days later on the same trip, we were in Edinburgh, heading up the road that goes up to the Edinburgh Castle.  I was digging through a box of stuff in this little shop and found an interesting little Pixie corkscrew.  Yep … I bought that one too, and my corkscrew collecting was inevitable.

Going back to my boyhood days, I was always a collector.  Typical boy stuff, like comics, baseball cards, stamps, etc.  Then a neighbor got me started on matchbook covers.  My collecting was put on hold as I grew up and got involved in so many other things.  But while the collecting bug may hibernate, it never really dies.  I still have the old stamp collection, and have added Hawaiian books, asparagus plates, tropical drink glasses and a few others, in addition to the corkscrews.

Selection of corkscrews from my collection, including Syroco corkscrews in the back, a variety of bone & ivory handled corkscrews, three lady’s legs and a celluloid mermaid in the front, plus some Limoges boxes with wine and corkscrew themes.
In the beginning I bought anything with a worm on it.  A lot of it was common, with the occasional quality corkscrew mixed in. There was not much to go by back then.  I got myself of a copy of Christopher Sykes’ corkscrew catalog, bought the Watney & Babbidge book on corkscrews and found a couple of auction catalogs.  Things got easier with the advent of the internet and the publishing of Fred O’Leary’s great book on American corkscrew patents (and many others that followed).  Then, in 1998 I heard about the CCCC (Canadian Corkscrew Collectors Club) and I was off!

My corkscrew collecting focus has narrowed with time – a natural evolution for any collector.  I have always been drawn to the decorative arts, so I found myself targeting figural corkscrews and corkscrews that had interesting designs, as opposed to patent variations, mechanical contraptions and advertising.  Not to say I don’t collect those, but they aren’t my focus.
Anri figural corkscrews and bar sets come from Northern Italy and date back to about 1912.
Through the years I have put together a nice-sized Anri corkscrew, bar scene and diorama collection, as well as a dozen or so Syroco pieces.  I am fascinated by the expressions on the faces of the Anri people.

Other areas I find especially interesting are ivory corkscrews (as well as bone, tusk and antler specimens), silver designs and perfume or vanity corkscrews.  Here, the decorative nature of the designs is the draw.  I have added a number of ivory and bone corkscrews, including among them a nice walking stick, a Tiffany tusk and a carved antler.
Three celluloid and silver 19th century German Lady’s Legs corkscrews.
Since I have narrowed my collecting focus and built a sizable (though not huge) collection, I find that I buy fewer items, but still get excited when I make that special find, when I spot a worm sticking out from the bottom of a junk box, or when I hear the call of an Anri barset that I don’t have.
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