Saturday, March 28, 2009

Let it snow, let it snow.....

It's Saturday, March 28 and we've got over 6 inches of snow on the ground with more coming down. Below you can see a photo of my notorious VW Beetle. Note that the shrubs that appear to be so near are normally about 5 feet up in the air rather than nearly brushing the side of LeBug. It's a very heavy, wet snow. We can use the moisture. That's an upside if it

So, today it's going to be snug and warm in the house with no possibility of me getting out in this. It is still coming down out there!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

DRESS CLIPS - redux - What they ARE!

I was just informed by someone over on Bonanzle that they did not even know what a dress clip was!

WELL! Here are a few back photos:

That lever on the back lifts up and it's "loaded" with a curved piece of flexible metal inside that holds it taught when it's closed.

Dress clips come in all types - metal, plastics, Bakelite, rhinestones, you name it!

Another similar mechanism is called a Fur Clip or Pin Clip and it's similar to the dress clip:

The fur clip mechanism sometimes has a c-closure that one or both ends can be inserted into.

When you see a patent for one of these, it generally is referred to as a "pin clip" for the obvious reasons. It's got pins and it clips (or clamps) down. It's spring-loaded in a similar fashio to the dress clips.

Dress Clips-The Dilemma of HOW TO WEAR THEM!!!

Recently I have listed quite a few Bakelite items at STUFF. This time I included some authentic vintage-made earrings including a very rare pair of true End of Day Bakelite ones, a few dress clips and some newly created from vintage stock earrings as well.

Very rare True End of Day Bakelite Earrings
True End of Day Bakelite = a minimum of THREE DISTINCT COLORS

As I list dress clips I am all too painfully aware of how difficult many people find dress clips to be: to sell and to figure out appropriate ways to wear them.

Unsigned Bakelite Dress Clip

If you will go back and take a peek at some photos from the glamorous old days of the movies - 1930's, early 40's - you may notice that there are an awful lot of dress clips being worn in various ways.

For example - you can clip one onto a sash at your waist - or even onto a regular belt if it's not too thick.

You can clip one onto an Omega and wear it as a pendant.

Rare, Resin-washed Bakelite Palm Trees Dress Clip

Or try clipping it on the pocket of your jeans.

Pocket of a blazer? Check!

Apple Juice Carved Bakelite Dress Clip w/Plastic & Metal Embellishments

Tie a pretty ribbon around your neck, tie a pretty bow and clip one on at the center of the box as a pendant - or turn the bow around to the back and clip over the center front and wear it at almost any length your little heart desires!

And here's one of my personal favorites that most people never think about - you can use a safety pin from the back side of your jacket or blouse or dress, slide it in and out with enough of the pin showing on the front that you can slip that clip portion through and clip it on there - just wear it like a brooch! Then, of course, close the safety pin on the back side and no one will know that it's not a "regular brooch".

Got a pocket on your skirt? Another good place to clamp a dress clip down.

Worried about losing your dress clips? I know a lot of people worry that they are not secure enough. Well, just get out a little tiny safety pin and pin the back securely where the safety pin can not be seen and there you go!

If you have any other suggestions on how to wear dress clips please drop me a line either through my blog or via my shop: Stuff on Bonanzle!

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Bakelite Testing Redux: Primum non nocere aka: First, Not To Harm!

Good Saturday Morning to all!

This morning I was listing a few small Bakelite items in my booth "stuff" on Bonanzle

There are a lot of people who consider me to be quite the expert on the subject of Bakelite. I do know more than many but I'm certainly not on the same level as some true experts. I've simply got a lot of experience - good and bad - in having learned how to tell what is and what is not Bakelite. It's been well over 25 years since I bought my first piece of Bakelite. Once I got hold of my first pieces, I was hooked.

During my foray on the net this morning looking around for one of those very clever lists of cutesy names that we love to employ in our descriptions of vintage Bakelite colors, I discovered, quite to my chagrin, that there are an awful lot of blogs, personal and purportedly professional web pages and discussions in various forums that are dispersing a whole lot of downright mis-information on this subject.

The thing to remember whenever you are going about research as to what material you have, always remember: Primum non nocere or First, Not to Harm.

That alone - if you will only take the tiniest bit of responsibility for your actions and stop to think for even a moment - should translate quite readily into this:

Do not ever under any circumstances do a Hot Pin Test on any item for any reason.


I will elaborate just a tiny bit more: If you think you are very stealth and it does not matter, that you did it on the inside "where no one can see when it's being worn", try to sell it to a serious and knowledgeable Bakelite collector without disclosing it.

When they discover that you sold them a piece of jewelry that has had the dreadful Hot Pin Test done on it, you should expect to be forced to accept a return, give a refund and never have the privilege of doing business with that collector again.

It is a huge deal with collectors. I know none who will buy pieces with HPT marks unless they are priced at about 5¢ on the dollar of their value and it's one they are really desperate to have in their collection - and even then, they will do so with great trepidation.

Very important to understand: That HPT mark devalues the item as much as 90% when it's done and it can never be undone.

Some other points I would like to make to you if you are a relatively new Bakelite collector:

If you are not really an expert, do not buy from anyone who does not offer you a 100% money-back guarantee that they are selling you authentic Vintage Bakelite. If you buy something you think might be Bakelite, contact me if you can't figure it out. I'll be glad to help you try to learn how to make an honest evaluation.

Making purchases from a reputable seller is essential for investment quality items such as better vintage Bakelite items.

We'll talk more later on about some of the things to avoid when shopping for items to add to your Bakelite collection!

And always remember to stop and think before you buy. Learn how to accept personal responsibility for your purchases if you are in too big a hurry to read a description. Ask questions. Read books, talk to other people. Verify your "facts" before accepting them. Keep asking questions if you are not sure.

Just because you read it on the internet does not necessarily make it right. But, please: trust me on this one - the hot pin test is a really bad one. That's a fact!

Newly listed Bakelite at Stuff on Bonanzle:

Sunday, March 8, 2009

About that buggy VW Beetle.....

Just in case you were wondering if I ever got the vintage Beetle going, the answer is yes, of course I did. The thing about a good old fashioned vintage VW Beetle is that almost anyone - including me - can work on one and many times not even get their hands dirty.

That is what happened with mine. Something simple.

Long story short - it was a blown fuse and it's fixed now. Running like a top. Getting spectacular gas mileage. Parking in those little tiny spots in the parking lot where two duellies are parked on either side, over the line - with room to spare.

I'd forgotten how nice it was to have a small car.

Of course, it would be much better if it were a Z-3 convertible or a 300ZX but I'll live with this for the time being. You buy what you can find that works at the time - - - - when you don't want to be deeply in debt in the middle of a world-wide financial "situation".

Am I right?

Friday, March 6, 2009

Having a HUGE 25% off sale this weekend-celebrate with me!

Good morning to all out there - wherever you are! I'm sitting here with a cup of expresso, and a bag of home-made chocolate chip cookies that I really have no business eating at all, let alone early in the morning. Sets a bad precedent for the rest of the day, huh?

I'm weak. What can I say? They are so good with a hot cup of coffee!

I just set up a 128-item Bonanza for 8 pm PST Sunday in my Bonanzle booth.

The Bonanza is for 25% off on the 128 items but I'm also offering from now until the end of the Bonanza - 10% off on all Stamp sheets - just drop me a message if there are any that are not offering OBO (or best offer). They are supposed to be but I might have missed one or two!

Why, I've even offered my Peacock feather new old stock Whiting & Davis and Art Deco lady New Old Stock Mesh bag at 25% off!

AND a bunch of Fenton glass like this dealer sign:

And this vaseline glass shoe by Boyd Art Glass:

And even this fabulous and highly collectible piece of from Richard Nixon's second term - Sterling Silver by Mark J. Scearce for Wakefield-Scearce Galleries in Shelbyville, Kentucky - a nip cup (or nipperkin) :

So - come on by and say hello. And don't forget the stamps at 10% off.

Like this sheet:

Have a WONDERFUL WEEKEND! Hope to see you soon at STUFF ON BONANZLE!

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Whine over. Feeling better. Let's talk about jewelry & collectibles!

I felt a lot better after I whined ad nauseum earlier today about my motor vehicle difficulties. Sometimes we just have to let a good whine take over, get it out, get over it. Done. Hope you take it as it was intended - all in good fun. Because truthfully, it's really been pretty funny and my friends and I have gotten a bunch of good laughs out of it. Well, except for that one person who said I was stupid to not buy a brand new $30,000 vehicle "because of all the incentives". Yeah. Great incentives. Do you want to make that monthly car payment for me? I did not think so.

Even though I've had vehicle difficulties I managed to get around to a few interesting sales this past week. One of them I attended with my friend, Bob - who's been driving me about since I sold my vehicle. We were supposed to go to an auction, were running late and he in
formed me that I'd failed to mention to him that one of our favorite local estate liquidators had a good sale going.

We allotted ourselves about 10 minutes and rushed over to the sale. Walked in, first thing I found were these two gorgeous channel-set crystal necklaces. One in pink and one all clear crystals:

This iconic style of necklace was made popular in the 1980s by Chanel when her house bought a boot-load of Swarovski crystal necklaces in various colors and styles (some with alternating rectangular and round channel-sets) in the longer lengths so you can wrap them around and around. The Chanel necklaces bear a tiny little golden, round hang tag on the back with her logo, a copyright symbol and the date of 1981. They authentic Chanel ones are highly sought after by Chanel collectors - for good reason. They are gorgeous. But, you can also get the same look by picking up the unsigned, similar ones such as those shown above.

Side note on those Chanel necklaces: Be wary of any that do not have a nice, bright gold, perfectly smooth, perfectly round Chanel tag on them. There are tons of them out there with a phony Chanel tag that is somewhat rough, almost an antique gold and not quite round at about 1 o'clock. These phonies are found frequently on a certain auction site. If you are wanting an authentic Chanel version of this necklace please learn how to identify the phony tag from the real one so you do not get ripped off by the fakes. There are tons of them out there and many people seem to be completely clueless that they have been taken in by a phony - because they seem to be giving positive feedback for their phony necklace purchases..

Whoops, I digressed again. Back to the estate sale story.

I ran through all of the bedrooms, grabbing this and that and wishing I had more time to shop. There were a lot of interesting things. I found a vintage unlined Pendleton jacket hanging in one of the closets on a Christian Dior hanger. Have NO idea what came on the Dior hanger and had no where near enough time to go through the four closets full of clothes to find out. DARN!

Passed on the linens, a vintage alligator bag with a damaged corner on the bottom. Sad.

I then headed over to the south wall of the back bedroom to a big pile of handbags. Most were fairly decent, all leather, medium quality bags. Nothing exciting. Then I saw a small black buttery leather one hiding under a big straw. BINGO! A 1999 Coach Martini Flap: it had my name all over it! The perfect small bag and in almost perfect condition! Time to get out the small wallet to use with that great find!

My friend was standing at the check-out station twiddling his thumbs when I roared out of the hallway back into the living room. His look: Decidedly impatient. I told him I needed to make a fast fly-through to the dining room and kitchen. On the dining room table was a big pile of silver plate and this one little piece of Sterling - a nip cup by Mark J. Scearce:

And, it's dated to Nixon's second very short term in the White House so that's GREAT - a short run on that particular date mark. A gorgeous piece of Sterling! If one is collecting nip cups from each and every presidential term of office since FDR, and you've been missing out on a Tricky Dick II, here you go!

After checking out on the estate sale, we roared on over to the auction site. Bob found a great cabinet that was a good "blend" to the rest he has in one area of his house displaying his rather extensive collection of top-marked restaurant china. He had another appointment to meet someone about buying another collection of something else he collects across town so he left me to bid on the cabinet for him. And I snagged it for a great bargain price. The joy of country auctions in mid-week!

After he returned from his appointment we decided with regret that we were not going to have time to bid on any of the other treasures that were all over the place in various boxes in the back yard, loaded up his cabinet in another friend's pick-up, got it in the house, sat and visited for a while and then set off on our trip to go buy That Darned Bug!

Hopefully in another couple of days I will once again be singing the praises of the fun-to-drive Beetle and be over my whiney rant from it having the audacity to fail me before it even got to it's new home.

Take a peek at the links above to see the other goodies I've recently listed on Bonanzle.

Time to go eat the freshly baked chocolate chip cookies that are cooling in my kitchen. How do you think I get Bob to drive me all of the places I want to go?

Speed dial, he answers, I announce, "Fresh baked cookies". Basically he's "twist my arm that's enough" when it comes to home-baked soft and chewy cc's with special dark chips.

When I do not eat them all before he can get over here, that is.

The Vintage Car Whine.....or What was I thinking when I bought that vintage Beetle?

Hi all!

I've been fairly busy and away from my computer more than I would like over the past couple of weeks because I've been looking for a "daily driver". That, for those of you who have always just sashayed down to the new car lot of your choice every 2-3 years, picked out all of the fabulous new features your little heart desires and selected the single most delectable color being offered to compliment your eye color and/or favorite Prada bag, means I've been going through the more stressful version of automobile buying - looking for a used car that is in decent shape that is also CHEAP. You see, I'm determined to not go into debt for a car right now. Not in THIS economy, right? Smart, right? Yeah. Right.

Do not think for a minute that I think that buying new cars every 2-3 years is a bad thing because it's not. I'm just trying to be careful and watch my pennies. I also have a couple of other projects that I'd rather be working on - like the restoration of my 57 Chevy and getting new windows in my house. Not necessarily in that order.

I still have the same considerations you new-car buyers do: Can I carry a brown bag with this car? Sure - brown is a neutral it will go with every thing. Is it going to clash with my fave vintage Ilie Wacs cashmere coat? Heck no - everything goes with a navy cashmere!

I sold my van about 10 days ago. The day I sold it, I found what I thought would be the perfect car: a used but extra low-mileage Miata convertible. Girls, it was red. What more could a girl ask for? Aren't we all supposed to love driving red convertibles? No? Ok - not everyone lives in a perpetual second childhood like I do. Personally I love a nice sports car. A red convertible sports car is my idea of one of the more perfect types of motor vehicles on the planet. Perhaps the Miata is not the ideal red convertible - perhaps even a BMW 5-series would be better but the price is right on the Miata - it's clean and well-cared for - looks good to me! But, I'm digressing.

So, I've decided I am going to take the Miata and then the guy with the Miata that only had 65,000 or so miles on it changes his mind in the middle of the deal and decides he can not part with his baby. Do we blame him? I think not but it was a grave disappointment for me. I was already feeling really self-satisfied - found something cute and inexpensive FAST. My friend, Leslie had already started visualizing us driving around with the top down and our hair blowing into a big mess with a WHO CARES? attitude because we were in a fun little red convertible.

Sigh.......and RATS!

Now, I'm totally without wheels. YIKES!

Because I'm now depending on a friend's kindness to take me to garage sales, estate auctions, the grocery & drug store and because my friend can most certainly not be expected to chauffeur me to the mall to go on the much needed search for the perfect pair of flats to replace that pair of Pappagallos that I scraped a huge chunk of leather out of while I was cleaning out the van before selling it, I am now in "rush" mode on buying a car. Any car. It just needs to RUN. Put some cheap wheels under me fast!

I get to the hard searching after losing the Miata and can not find anything cute and fun that has less than about 185,000 miles on it. A week passes. I'm stressing more every day. There is nothing but ugly old beat-up sedans with high miles and broken air conditioning, shredded interiors and head-liners hanging down around your shoulders priced at $2000 above dealer retail because it has "great wheels" on it. One vehicle had four windows that were taped up because the regulators were all out on them. A $2000 repair on a car that I did not even like. You can't even go through the drive-thru at Freddy's to get a concrete in a car like that. HELLO!

Have I mentioned that people seem to think that 200,000 miles is "low miles"? Are they living in the real world here? Please! My personal favorite was the one with 289,000+++ miles on it that you could not even drive across the street. And bad tires. And an interior that could not even generously be described as "fair" condition.

So, finally, I get a line on this not-so-main-stream offering: a 1968 VW Beetle that has had a lot of really righteous upgrades by it's current owner. Aftermarket add-ons to keep the windows from freezing over in the winter. Brand new seat covers, new carpet, new MP3-CD-AM/FM installed artfully hidden in the glove box. It's definitely not something I am really looking forward to driving for a long period of time BUT it is a great vehicle to drive around town for a while until just the right vehicle comes around. And the price was right. I am remembering the red one I had back in the 70s. It was so much fun to rip around corners in - you can park in between a pair of duellies at Wal-Mart without a care. It's easy to steer, stop, and cheap to keep. Good deal. Let's go!

We get in my friend's car and head down to look at the car. We drive it, we like it, think it's an OK deal. The owner is serving in the United States Air Force and he's obviously a smart, caring guy - he's someone I feel comfortable buying a used car from. We sit down and visit with him, he's so great we both agree we'd sure enjoy it if he gets transferred to our city so we can see him from time to time - he's a smart, interesting, nice guy. He shows me all of the things he's acquired to help with finding the necessary parts if something goes wrong or if I want to keep it a while and dome more restoration on it. It's all organized well in notebooks, boxed up in the trunk. It's a good deal. We do the exchange of Benjamins and the title transfer.

I get in the VW, friend gets in his Buick and we head back home. We stop for gas. No problem. Everyone in the lot at the gas station comes by, pets the Beetle and asks what year it is. People are passing me on the highway and giving me the thumbs up, smiling, enjoying seeing my ripping down the interstate in my newly acquired bug. I'm thinking 'what to name this one?' - the last one was Herman the German. This one is baby blue. Needs a more girly name. A guy driving a totally hot vintage GTO convertible pulls up beside me, give me the thumbs up, "right on" nods, all that, I give my version of the head nod/thumbs up commending him on his excellent vehicular choice as he roars around me and exits the highway.

We make another stop on the way home, endure more Beetle petting, questions and one man comes over, gives me his lecture on the art of making a turn in a VW Beetle. More questions, one girl did a swoon over the hood and proclaimed her undying adoration and life-long and very heart-felt desire to own one of these fine shiny versions of German engineering brilliance.

I'm feeling lucky. I buy a lottery ticket thinking that if I win, I might be able to survive without ever working again on the proceeds from a $179million dollar jackpot (less Uncle Sam's and the Lottery Commissions cuts) and that I've been so fortunate to find this cute vehicle that I will enjoy for a month or two while I'm looking for a better vehicle that I'm on a luck roll and the lottery jackpot is probably in the bag. I'm thinking that since they've lowered the price by about $2,000,000 on my dream cottage overlooking the ocean, I might even be able to afford to move out there on the edge of the world and rock back on the terrace watching the QEII coming in and out of dock. I'm feelin' GOOD!

I had realized at some point that I'd left something in my friend's car so I called him on my cell at a stop light on the way into our home town telling him I'd stop at his house before getting on home. He asked me to do something on his computer for him, we did all that, I head out, he waves 'bye' to me at his side door & I toddle across the street where the adorable little vintage bug is parked looking so charming and nostalgic.

Get in, fasten the seat belt, press down on the clutch, put the key in, turn it.


No click. No nothing. The lights come on nice and bright but: What the $*(!^%(@& is going on?

I tried to think of what I could be doing wrong. After about 2-3 minutes, I see the light pouring out of the door of my friend's house as he's realized that something is wrong.

It makes no difference what the banter was at that point. He goes back in, grabs a jacket and the keys to his car and runs me home. We make plans to go to an estate sale the next morning and address the car problem then - when it's light outside.

Next day it's 8 degrees wind chill factor. Decide it is way too cold to deal with the bug.

Saturday, we propelled ourselves to OKC to an antique show, shop, eat Italian. Get back to his house and discuss the situation with the VW ad nauseum - come to no conclusions.

A friend comes by to take a look at the VW and declares it a piece of cake to repair - it's GOT to be a short in the wiring or the ignition switch - a really easy fix.

I agree. Have chatted with the former owner and he concurs. Car still sitting out in front of the friend's house. Looking cute.

Maybe tomorrow.