Saturday, December 29, 2012

History Lesson: Press On

Letterpress has enjoyed quite a revival over the past few years. So what exactly is letterpress and what makes it so special? 

In a nutshell, letterpress printing is a very old method of printing in which the words (type) and/or images are raised above a non-printed area. This is accomplished by cutting a printing block out of wood or various metals, then coating the remaining raised surfaces with ink. The prepared block is then placed into the press and pressed against the paper. 

Letterpress printing gives the printed piece a 3-dimensional effect by pushing the ink into the paper.

The oldest method of “relief” type printing, letterpress was the most successful and most common form of printing until the 1950's when it was replaced by more efficient, high-speed methods.

Advertising letterpress set, Vintage Lancaster

Letterpress baseball collection, Oceanside Castle

News Gothic condensed letterpress, 6 Cats Vintage

Wood letterpress collection, BMT Vintage

Today, you can find a myriad of vintage letterpress supplies and type pieces on Etsy that are great to collect and display, or use for creating new pieces that utilize this historic method of printing.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Trend Watch: Emerald Green

The color gods at Pantone, the global authority on color, have declared emerald green (PANTONE® 17-5641 to be exact) to be the color of the year for 2013.

Ombre rhinestone clip-on earrings, Reconsitutions

 “Green is the most abundant hue in nature – the human eye sees more green that any other color in the spectrum, “ said Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Color Institute. “Symbolically, emerald brings a sense of clarity, renewal and rejuvenation." A perfect choice for the start of a new year! 

Even before its designation as the “it” color of the year, emerald has been steadily rising for several seasons, especially in the fashion world.  

Green Depression glass bowl, Hound Dog Digs

1950s short sleeve tee, Ginny & Harriot

According to Pantone, "The color of the year selection is a very thoughtful process. To arrive at the selection, Pantone quite literally combs the world looking for color influences." 

An abundance of wonderful emerald hued goods can be found on Etsy, so no need to comb the world over to find your emerald treasures!

Silver bamboo earrings, KUKLAstudio

Emerald Green Purse. Lady Yesterday

Felted slippers, Svetusha

Vintage dish, Vintage Crapola

Saturday, December 22, 2012

History Lesson: Just My Type

Until the dawn of the computer age, the constant clickety clack of typewriter keys was part of the mid-century office landscape.

While the concept of a typewriter dates back to at least 1714, the Sholes & Glidden Type Writerwhich began production in late 1873, was the first commercial typewriter to appear on the American market  (in 1874). 

The first Sholes & Glidden was very decorative with numerous painted flowers and decals. It looked similar to a sewing machine, due partly to the fact that is was manufactured by the sewing machine department of the Remington Arms Company. 

The odd-looking machine typed only in capital letters and introduced the world to the QWERTY keyboard which is still with us today. While Sholes & Glidden had limited success, its successor, the Remington, soon became a dominant presence in the industry.

Antique 1906 Remington Standard, Bygrassdoll

While basic typewriter functions remained the same throughout the years, the designs, colors and special features changed and grew with the times. 

The Oliver Standard Visible Typewriter, Lucca Bales Vintage

Olympia Progress typewriter with German keyboard, Anodyne & Ink

Olivetti Lexon 80 typewriter, Artyfactz

I'm sure these early typewriter companies could not have imagined that their machines would one day be stripped of their keys to make jewelry, collage art and scrapbooking projects!  

Antique typewriter keys, The Old Time Junk Shop

To start or add to a typewriter collection, Etsy is a great source for finding these relics of a (noisier) time gone by.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Vintage Addiction: Shiny Briteness

I am an addict. There I said it. Isn't that the first step toward recovery? Well I’m addicted to Christmas, so I’m not really looking to enter into a 12-step program just yet.

Now, when I say I’m addicted to Christmas, I mean the good ol’-Bing-Crosby-singing, multi-colored-fat-bulb-stringing, mercury-glass-ornament-hanging-on-a-tinsel-tree kind of Christmas!

Shiny Brite ornaments, Snapshot Vintage
Over the years I've fed my addiction by buying more ornaments than I could ever use, specifically Shiny Brite ornaments.

So what is it about Shiny Brite ornaments that make them so intoxicating? Maybe it’s that they remind me (and a lot of other folks) of a time before plastic cartoon character ornaments, blinking LED lights and large red and gold lamé bows.  Shiny Brites are the essence of a nostalgic Christmas.

Floral Shiny Brites, This That & Christmas
The simplicity of their design, the worn patina and faded glitter blend together to make the perfect ornament.

Back in the day, these little gems started their life as unadorned glass orbs, were hand-decorated, then machine lacquered at one of four Shiny Brite factories. The inside of the ornament was coated in silver nitrate giving it a shiny and bright look. Get it? Shiny Brite!

Production limitations during World War II forced the elimination of all “nonessential” metals in the manufacturing process, so Shiny Brite ornaments produced during this time have a cardboard cap and no hook.

Stenciled Ornaments, Vintage Biffann
After the war, whether it was a bell, teardrop, pine cone, indent or classic ball shape, these ornaments sported a shiny metal hook and crinkle cap emblazoned with “Shiny Brite, Made in USA.” This is a good way to establish the age of your Shiny Brite ornaments.

By the early 1960’s, demand for glass ornaments was surpassed by “space age” non-breakable plastic decorations and Shiny Brite could no longer compete, eventually closing their doors for good in 1962. 
Shiny Brite Christmas Bells, Mary Beth Hale

Lucky for all us addicts out there, a great number of Shiny Brites have been lovingly preserved and are for sale on Etsy, ready to start their second lives creating fond Christmas memories for a whole new generation.  

Classic Red Shiny Brites, The White Pepper

Monday, December 17, 2012

EVE Team Finds: Industrial Decor

Looking for a last minute holiday gift for the hard-to-buy-for friend? Consider a timeless piece of industrial decor! 

Made of materials that are built to last such as steel, chrome and iron, objects of this particular style convey a sense of history while maintaining a metropolitan look that blends well with today's modern decor.

Antique dress form, funretro
Casters and bells, What's New On the Mantle

Schools, libraries, offices and factories - places where we grew up and our ancestors worked. These are among the sites from where much industrial decor has been salvaged. These places give the pieces history and sentimentality despite the oftentimes hard & mechanical materials of which they're made.

Vintage school desk, 86 For the Home

Industrial table fan, Ani & Rose
Lucerne dairy crate, Mary Beth Hale

Water pump, Tangle and Fold

French fry cutter, Happy Swoon Vintage

Metal box & key, Wretched Shekels

Not all industrial pieces are salvaged antiques - many of today's newer handmade items are industrial-inspired and make unique gifts.

Bookends, Orange Door Cottage
Newsprint flask, The Hair of the Dog

Steampunk necklace, Professor Sprocket

Train station clock photograph, parrjosh

Friday, December 14, 2012

A Hot Day's Work: Antiquing In Central Florida

Front porch of a shop at Renninger's.
When it comes to antiquing, I've been high and I've been low. I call quite a few places home in this world, yet for all the antique shops, thrift stores, yard and estate sales I've been to I find that nothing quite compares to treasure hunting in central Florida. There aren't street-corner card-table antique dealers like you may find in downtown Montreal and there aren't barns and cellars waiting to be picked through like you'll come across on Long Island. You will, however, find Renninger's Antiques & Farmers Market in Mount Dora (about 30 miles north of Orlando) - a veritable makeshift town of vintage treasures. 

You'll know you're on the right track once you get off the Florida Turnpike and find an increasing amount of hand-painted signs advertising gator jerky and boiled peanuts. Ahh, the American south. Though your blood may boil in the omnipresent heat, there are dozens of indoor & outdoor shops to spend endless hours in. The real thrill of it is that you'll feel like you're on the back lot set of an old Western movie with many of the shops designed to look like general stores on a small town Main Street. 

Side street at Renninger's.

Within the shops, some of the items are organized on tables and shelves while others are merely piled onto the ground in giant heaps. It's up to you to accept the challenge and dig for buried treasure! Oftentimes you'll find something wonderful hiding under all the dust & grime so be prepared to get your hands dirty. Just remember to bring your hand sanitizer, your sunglasses and your adventurous spirit, and you'll be in for a fun day of antiquing in the good ol' South. 

Treasures just waiting to be found.

Antiques for sale!

Antique carousel horses fill one shop owner's trailer.

Hundreds of Ball jars line one seller's tables.

Beware the dust & splinters!

Just another day in paradise.