Wednesday, November 17, 2010

The Head honcho...

   I just found out (thanks to a random Facebook post I read) that this book about Edith Head was recently released. I'm pretty much in awe of her. When I am older, I will wear sunglasses just like hers. She is truly an iconic woman and I am continually amazed at the beauty she has created. Edith was one of Hollywood's premiere costume designers and worked at Paramount for 44 years (starting in 1925) before moving to Universal Pictures where she continued her working relationship with Alfred Hitchcock. She created costumes for movies such as The Ten Commandments, Rear Window, The Birds, Sabrina, All About Eve, Roman Holiday, A Place in the Sun, Breakfast at Tiffany's, and Vertigo (just to name a few!).  She was nominated for 35 Academy Awards and won 8 times-more Oscars than any other woman!  Anyway, I've hinted to hubby that this is what I would like for Christmas this year. I think he'll come through for me on this one. Last night when I brought it up I was ready to explain to him who she was. He stopped me mid-sentence and said he knew all about her. He proceeded to rattle off several facts about her career and in the process shocked the hell out of me. I guess I don't give him enough credit sometimes, because he's always proving he pays more attention than I'd like to believe! This book about Edith is also available but it's a few years old:
It was over $200 bucks brand new (!), but I'd be perfectly happy with a used copy for waaay less than that! Years ago I was lucky enough to pick up this little gem:

I'll leave you with my favorite Edith quote:

“Your dresses should be tight enough to show you're a woman and loose enough to show you're a lady.”

Thank you Edith, for giving us so many years of glamour and inspiration!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Sunset Magazine's wonderful books...

     Most of you out there have probably heard of Sunset Magazine and have seen the books they published over the years. They've put out books on every home improvement/western living subject imaginable. If you're ever in a thrift store, you've probably at least run across a Sunset BBQ book or (what some people feel is the bible of gardening) Western Gardening Book. Anyway, for my money, vintage Sunset books are truly the bibles of mid-century decorating and  DIY home improvement, and an incredible guide to the lifestyles of the time. They were geared towards the western part of the country and the company started out as a magazine that was provided on trains to promote the "West" at the turn of the century. At that time, the "wild west" had a bad reputation and they were trying to drum up interest in travellers from other parts of the U.S.  Sunset Magazine's headquarters is located in Menlo Park, CA-just a hop, skip, and a jump away from where I live in Sunnyvale. If you ever have the chance to check it out, it's totally worth the trip! They hold annual open houses that feature new ideas for green living, gardening tips, cook-offs, and so much more.

    My hubby got me hooked on collecting the vintage Sunset books a few years back. He already had several different books that had belonged to his dad, including my personal favorite "Japanese Gardens". We always see them at estate sales and thrift stores and the best thing about them is that they're cheap! You can usually pick them up at garage sales for 50 cents and I've never paid more than a dollar for one anywhere. I buy what I don't already have but if I do already have it, I'll buy it again if I find the older edition. My goal is to have the oldest editions of every book since most of them date from the 50's and early 60's. Here's two I found on Sunday at the aforementioned "umbrella" estate:

I already had this one but it dated from the 70's-this edition is 1960 and is absolutely amazing inside. They feature cabins from the woods to the desert to the beach and even show you how to decorate the interior. I also found this:

Again, I already had a newer version of this one but the cover was different. This one dates from 1960 as well. Our house was built in 1959 so I like to keep the editions closest to that time period.  For the most part, I just look through the books and drool over the amazing yards or lanais. Some of the projects in these books are extremely ambitious but I love that everything was written so you can do most of them yourself with minimal skills.

One last find at the "umbrella" estate:
Incredible pale blue and silver lurex gloves! Of course they don't fit me but they're going to make a great birthday gift for my friend Melissa (who doesn't read this blog so I'm not giving anything away!) in a couple weeks. I'm pretty sure they'll fit her, and if they don't she can add them to the fabulous glove collection on the wall of her bedroom.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Sometimes you just have to walk away....

     I found this vintage yellow umbrella with built-in(!) table yesterday at an estate sale. I figured they wouldn't let anyone buy it as it was in the ground, but the woman running the sale said it was for sale. Johnny and I hemmed and hawed about it for a good half an hour but ultimately decided we a: didn't have a place for it in our yard (as mentioned in one of my earlier blog postings, I already have two turquoise umbrellas exactly the same, minus table) and b: we were already running late for an appointment we had to make. We just didn't have time to disassemble it, go home, get the truck, and then drop it off at home. Unfortunately we had to take it home with us that day if we were to purchase it. The pool at this house was an amazing mid-century shape AND they had the matching yellow fiberglass pool slide! Johnny was pretty obsessed with bringing home the slide too, but again, we just didn't  have the time.
    As someone who is forever committed to re-using and re-purposing and saving gems like these from the landfill, it literally broke my heart to walk away. But sometimes you have to do just that: walk away. It's harder to leave some items than others, and let me tell you, this was super tough for me. It sounds silly, but I was depressed for hours afterwards. I may stop back by the house tomorrow to see if it's still there but I'm not going to hold my breath. R.I.P. fabulous 60's fiberglass umbrella with built-in table. I was happy to have met you!