Wednesday, August 27, 2014

The Teacher from the 1950s: My Wardrobe this Year and Why I am DoingThis!

So, I've taken on a BIG change as far as clothing and my wardrobe is concerned, and cleaned out my closet to replace it with vintage! I have to admit, it was super scary taking out my go-to GAP cotton elastic-waist cropped pants and all those plain black t-shirts I wore on a regular basis (how boring), but I did it. I was determined to make a change, and I just kept on pushing.

Skirt is handmade, vintage croc bag, vintage Naturalizer shoes (what??), sweater from GAP, vintage brooch)

A lot of my friends ask why I am doing this, and here are my thoughts. I love vintage everything, and for the last ten years, that has been true and an ever growing passion, so I should and want to dress this way. But, as a teacher, one of our biggest struggles on campus has been dress code. If you look at the difference between what students dressed like in mid-century times versus what they dress like now, there is a huge gap, not only in what is appropriate at younger and younger ages, but the influence peers have on what they decide to wear. Right? If I can influence or inspire one girl on my campus to not only be herself, but to realize that covering yourself up is OK and it's actually very fun and attractive, then my job is done. If I inspire more than one, then that's just icing on the cake. You can be modest and still be pretty. That is my message. Plus, it doesn't matter what size you are!! 

(Skirt is vintage square dance from eBay, top from Heart of Haute, shoes from Salt Water, petticoat from American Apparel, waist cincher from Orchard Corset, hair flower is hand made)

I've been on a roll all summer, hitting estate sales from Wednesday through Friday and sometimes Saturday, hunting and picking and trying on vintage clothing from the 50s, mostly, to add to my collection. You guys, if you've never shopped estate sales for vintage clothing, it's so much cheaper than visiting a shop (although much more work). I found dresses for $2, and on one lucky day, came home with a black 100% cashmere full length winter coat for the same price...two buckaroos. I'll show it to you when I've had it cleaned and ready to wear.

Finally, about two weeks before school started, I posted for my friends to come shop my closet and then soaked, washed, and hung all my vintage and new "vintage" in my closet, and started choosing outfits to try. So far, it's been fun and it's always different, and most of my pieces match other pieces, so it's kind of like having Garanimals from way back when. Remember those? I'm happy to say my collection of vintage is getting rather hefty at a very small price.

First day of school with the kids back! This dress is one I made this summer from my grandmother's Butterick pattern from the 1950s. Fabric is "Enchanted" by Michael Miller. Bolero by Ann Taylor. Petticoat by American Apparel and waist cincher by Orchard Corset. 

A few of my favorite companies to buy "new" from are shown in these pictures. For undergarments like my petticoats, I recommend American Apparel (I wear this one with my shorter skirts) and ModCloth (and this one with my longer skirts-even though it is listed as "short" in the description). I also wear this from Orchard Corset. What a difference a little cinch can make!

For skirts and tops, I love Doll Me Up, Darling, and Heart of Haute. I've also been making my own skirts from fabric and from random vintage linens! Shoes at ModCloth and Salt Water Sandals (my fav right now for summer) are the best. I have these in black and silver and these in red.

Skirt by Doll Me Up, Petticoat is by Hell Bunny on ModCloth, shoes by Salt Water, waist cincher from Orchard Corset, belt is vintage and top from TJ Maxx.

If you want to follow my daily dress, I'm posting on Instagram every day and I also tag all of my photos with the companies I am wearing plus identifying the vintage I have found. My username is @feedthebirdies  and I am using the hashtag, #teacherfromthe50s on all of my posts. I'd love to be friends and see what you are up to as well!

Until Sunday, keep it vintage, doll! I'll see you then. P.S. Don't paper hoarding instinct has not gone away...and I will keep sharing that as well as estate sales, fun little updates and projects, and my house. Have a good week!

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Kickin' It Old School: Finding Report Cards and School Ephemera from the 1920s and Beyond

Hello hello! No excuses...but I'm here. :) It seems that since we only have about two weeks of summer before the teachers head back to school, that I find more and more vintage school supplies at estate sales. Plus, I'm planning to be The Teacher From the Black Lagoon 1950s, so I've been busy researching and reading old Better Homes and Gardens and etiquette books and collecting vintage clothing for ME to wear to school.  Wait til you see my OOTD posts. I'm so excited!

I've also started a new little business with my sweet friend, Katie, from school.  We now have a shop: Miss Henny Penny, where we hunt down the vintage and bring it to you.  There are exciting things happening with that right now...we are working on parties of the tell us the decade or theme...we bring the goods.

(teacher's hall pass for my room! yay!)

If you are in the DFW area, we will also have a booth at the Loot Vintage Market in September at Texas Motor Speedway!  WOOHOO!  We are super excited about that one, and don't you worry...Feed the Birdies will be there, too, with some swell papers. No way am I giving this up, or this little space. It will always be near and dear.

(I'll fight somebody if they try to take my Ticonderoga pencils. P.S. Didn't Mrs. Payne look nice in her school photos? She had two...what's up with that?)

It's a good thing I took pictures of these when I did. My cat threw up on them today and ruined the lot. Hmph.

Don't you wish report cards still looked like these? "George is a lovely student but..." He could use careful study habits to raise these grades, too.  What is he thinking? Uh Oh. Not a strong S.

I loved finding these old camp "reports" and the student's American Red Cross swimming card. I wonder what her bathing suit looked like? Very modest, I'm sure.

Then there was this school yearbook that I grabbed at the last second off a book shelf at an estate sale.  It is from 1922 and I really can't tell if it is college or high school.  I really believe it is college.  Here is Grace's picture; she must have cut out her beau. I wonder what that story was.

When I opened the yearbook I squealed like I had found money. It wasn't money. It was her report cards. From 1922-23, you guys. What a neat piece of ephemera. Look at her classes and her grades, and notice she took multiple levels at the same time (junior, senior).

Domestic Art and Domestic Science. Love.
Here is her senior class roster, although she was but a lowly sophomore when this yearbook was printed. Don't you love all of these names?

Here she is. Second row. Far right. From Hope, AR. And I guess that Zeb was her beau. Is that who she cut out of the picture? Oh, I bet it was. He must have really broken her heart that summer. 
They look much older than high school sophomores; I bet this is a college. It's also an agricultural college.

I still have so much to share. Lots of neat textbooks and elementary findings with really funny drawings. It's amazing what an abandoned box in a garage will allot you. Don't forget to dig! 

Tuesday, July 22, 2014


Just setting this up...what took me so long? You can follow me here. Be back soon!
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Thursday, July 10, 2014

Does Buying Vintage Linens Creep You Out?

Hi there! I'm over at Miss Henny Penny today, talking about how I choose linens at estate sales, and then what I do with them when I get home. Do old linens make your skin crawl? Do you wonder how to get the "smells" out? I'll tell you! Come visit us right over here.

P.S. Have I told you about Miss Henny Penny?  That is a new shop my friend, Katie, and I have started, that has everything vintage BUT paper. So, now you can find me in two places at once! It's vintage everything...but Feed the Birdies is still my paper place. Stick around!

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

My Vintage Mead Data Planner PLUS The Trapper Keeper is Back!

I bet you had one, and if you didn't, you sure did want one. Have you seen the articles around the interwebs about the Trapper Keeper coming back? I'm going to try really hard not to get in a scrimmage over one when they hit the shelves. My goodness, what teacher wouldn't want one?

But, about a month ago, guess what I found in a tiny white closet sitting on a shelf? An unused Mead notebook (Data Planner), and heavens to Betsy if it didn't have a cat on it.  I was giddy, squealed at my daughter a bit, scooped it up and hugged it tight until I got to the checkout. Sorry, this one won't make it to the shop. Sure, it's not a Trapper Keeper, but it reminded me so much of the one I DID have when I was a kid. And it snaps. And has cool folders inside.

Did you know that some schools banned the Trapper Keeper with the Velcro (when they transitioned from snap closure) because teachers didn't like the noise? They went right back to the snap.

A little bit of history about the notebook I found, the Data Planner: it is older than the Trapper Keeper and came out about 5 or 6 years before.  It included a calendar, pencil pouch, and schedule planner, and gray file folder pockets, and then has a clip on the back inside for a legal pad.  It's pretty neat.. AND mine HAS A CAT ON IT. I know how I'm organizing my classes this year. I bet the kids try to talk me out of it.

(Did you know that Mead made the Big Chief Tablet, too? It's right on the front, but I never noticed.)

Well, rumor has it that Target will carry the new Trapper Keeper when it comes out this month. That means any day now.  I'll race ya.

P.S. I've been on a new adventure these last few weeks.  I have an announcement to make in a couple days! Summer is good. :)

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Why You Should Read Vintage Magazines

Better Homes and Gardens is my top pick when it comes to buying vintage magazine issues. These three are 1956-58 and I pulled them out of a neat stack tied up with nylons in an old shed. They aren't in the best shape, but there are still lots of things to learn from them! Here's why you should buy...and read...old magazines. 
1. Design ideas. Even if you aren't a mid-century lover, you'll be inspired by tips and arrangements for your home.
2. The articles are very informative, especially if you purchase from estate sales like we do, and need to find out about details like dates, replacement parts, manufacturers, etc. (And then there are articles that are just plain FUNNY.)
3. Old magazines are a super cool history lesson. 
4. And you can see somebody must have cut some things from this issue for a school project, maybe?
5. The recipes. I've found Aunt Audrey's Puff Pastry and a pineapple salad recipe we've searched for, for a long time.
6. The ads and illustrations. Be they ever so sexist, they're still worth the giggles and the surprised look on your face! 
7. You can dream of owning a pink GE kitchen, for $35 per month. 
8. Christmas decor and gift ideas just got a little more nostalgic. 
9. The cars. I want a Nomad. 
10. And, last but not least, take the plans and patterns and create that decade, year, or childhood memory all over again. 

I buy most of my magazines at estate sales, of course, but you can also find them at antique malls, Etsy, or EBay. Others to look for are Family Circle and McCall's. Follow me on Instagram, @feedthebirdies, for my Tonight's Reading posts to see what issues I've read or will read. It's a fun little hobby! 

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

"You can see that Hitler had a grip on the people..."

I may have shown you a few of these before, but they are worth the repeat.  We were shopping at an estate in Garland and my husband bought an old drill from the garage.  In the box, in the owner's manual, wrapped up and hidden, were these pictures and letters. 

We've pondered the story of why they were hidden, and we are pretty sure these came from a French soldier that was killed and then a serviceman sent them home to his family. 

They are eerie and fascinating, and very much a thought provoking discovery. 

Finding things like this has made me much more interested in history itself.  They are real.

They tell a horrible story.

They depict the terror and the devastation of the war. I held back some of the more graphic ones out of respect for the men and women that lost their lives. 

We contacted the local Holocaust museum to see if they would want to use them on display, but we were told they would be placed in the archives. We decided to keep them. We have some of them framed and the rest stored with our own photos.  I suppose I should write the story of how we found them and place it with the pictures for safe keeping. 

Have you ever found anything of such historical value?  What would you do with them? We've sat in the floor and stared at them...trying to figure out each minute of what happened. We have negatives, too.  And two letters. The letters are about family and buying cigarettes, interestingly enough. But the "Heil Hitler" and the swastika are enough to rattle you to the core, no matter the message in the body. No wonder they were hidden.