May 2015

All posts in the May 2015 category

Modern Makeup part 3:

Published May 28, 2015 by AntiqueMystique1

In my first two blogs I discussed the trends between Victorian and Edwardian era makeup and fashions. In this blog I’m going to focus on modern makeup and give some helpful hints that I used in the past in a pinch when money was extremely tight. This consisted of my [then] makeup:

1. Wet n’ Wild black eyeliner pencil. This was not only inexpensive back in the 80s/ early 90s, it was also standard for any girl to have. Unlike nowadays, Wet n’ Wild used to be made here in the US. Oh, and there was no black lipstick back then either. Wet n’ Wild did make black nail polish back in the day and to achieve that ‘black lipstick’ look melt down an eye liner pencil and apply it then use a little bit of dark colored eye shadow to set it. This won’t help the black eye liner last very long, but it did help with smudging. I wouldn’t recommend using this outdated method at all since burns on the lips could result and pose a problem.

2. Covergirl eye shadow (light/ medium blue). I still held onto my last eye shadow compact which was produced sometime in the early 90s. There wasn’t much selection for a fair-skinned gal such as myself and blue was the only color I’d buy/ use.

3. Avon lipstick samples. My mom at one time had an entire makeup bag full of these little freebie lipsticks. My favorites were “bandana red”, “salmon pink” (more of a pale pink) and peach colored. The lipsticks were itty bitty about the size of a nickel.

4. Covergirl powder compact. I didn’t know exactly what shade matched me best in these days, so I went with two options: a.) the least expensive powder compact and b.) the lightest shade which was ivory.

5. Mascara – whatever was cheap. There wasn’t a whole lot to chose from back then. Certainly there wasn’t any volumizing, thickening, or long lash formulas that I was aware of.

I used to buy my makeup at Osco Drug store (now defunct). It was kind of like a K-Mart store back in the 80s/90s. Nowadays, I shop at Dollar General for makeup or if there’s a dollar store, I would highly recommend going there where everything’s a dollar. Not to sound like a cheap skate, but when getting started, these stores can do in a pinch.

Why I never spend a boat load of money on the more expensive brands like MUD, Kat von D, Sephora, Urban Decay, etc.:

Why spend $65 for a single makeup brush from Sephora? Why spend $57 on one eye shadow pallet by Kat von D? Not trying to down these makeup manufacturers and I’m sure their products are far superior to the common drug store makeup, but to me its all about price. I may sound very cheap when opting for the less glamorous makeup (and likely doing myself more harm than good) since the less expensive products are *cheaply mass produced*, but Anywho, I believe you get more for your money.

I doubt there’s much difference when it comes to heavy metals, minerals, shimmers, glitters, mattes, colors, etc. A company might pledge not to use any harmful chemicals in the making of their cosmetics, but there are repeat offenders none the less. Just as if they go on to claim they don’t do any animal testing, but seeing that we (the consumer) aren’t there in person to see this, who’s to say. I’m sure I have a TON of makeup that was tested on animals, but I’d never know since I’m just a consumer. A package might state in teeny letters “not tested on animals” and “cruelty free makeup”, but its just a statement that might not hold any merit.

Then there’s the liquid foundations, and from what I’ve seen in the last year or so, a lot of them contain Titanium Dioxide which has been classified in Canada to be a possible carcinogen to humans. See here:

I suspected that Titanium Dioxide was a certain heavy metal, likely that came from the ground and its very difficult to evade. It’s in everything from food, plastics, toothpaste, paint and so on and it’s a first that I’ve seen it turn up in liquid foundation. It’s also in a lot of sunscreens as well. It was nearly impossible for me to find a liquid foundation without Titanium Dioxide in it. But I had no choice. My selection was spf this and Titanium Dioxide that. Well, I don’t plan to turn into a sun-loving, beach-lounging, tanning type of woman anytime soon. In fact, when I can do so, I prefer to be a homebody. And when I go out, I don the sun block, a hat, pants or if its hot outside, leggings, t-shirt and shoes. I’m not an open-toed sandal or flip flop gal.

And again buying cheap doesn’t leave much room, if any, for finding a good quality sun block that doesn’t have harmful chemicals. I checked with the Environmental Watch Group before going on my search for a reasonable sun block and came up empty-handed.

And speaking of sun block and SPF’s, anything higher than 50 spf will increase sun burn and skin cancer like Melanoma, for example. I only found this out by happenstance when overhearing two women conversing about it in a check out line and one was a cosmetologist.

Also, I will be blogging about natural hair washes and how to keep your hair soft. I’m making a concerted effort to live as naturally and healthy as the Lord and my budget will allow and that includes eliminating common items such as toothpastes, shampoos and conditioners, deodorants that contain aluminum which can be absorbed through your skin, perfumes, or at the very least, limiting how much is used. In the cosmetic industry if it states “fragrance” on the bottle this is a red warning flag according to the Environmental Watch Group and this sneaky vague ingredient can contain anything potentially harmful.

Thanks for reading and keep checking back.

Victorian era beauty Vs. Nowadays: beauty, makeup, fashion Part 2:

Published May 27, 2015 by AntiqueMystique1

It’s no surprise that the throughout the Victorian and Edwardian eras fashions changed. And then it really changed by the Roaring Twenties. And through the Thirties, forties, and so on…
And what is there nowadays for women?

Beauty-wise we are hounded, and practically ‘shoved’ into buying beauty creams, toners, day cream/ night creams, Oil of this-and-that products, and even faced with generic knock-off versions of the expensive brands. And if you’re not ‘in the know’ then you’re seen as being in the dark and shamed to a degree.

And as the years went on we women are now becoming more aware of the hidden chemicals in these beauty lotions and makeup even sunscreens that can pose potential health risks after a long term use thanks to website: EWG (environmental watch group) that gives ratings and known chemicals and toxicity levels in beauty products.

Why then do we still rush out to buy that name brand of whatchamacallit?

Is it because that supermodel on TV is touting it as the ‘must have’ or to ‘die’ for product that will win you not one, but several boyfriends beating down your front door? Or it will promise to give you that age-defying look that men go crazy for and next day their begging you to marry them?

Or could it be just to sell their product and nothing else?

Our society is so obsessed with beauty and always has been. The only thing that hasn’t changed about it is most of these products do very little, if anything, to follow through on their false promises. Maybe even that wrinkle and age-defying serum that’s now in vogue won’t be a year from now and if it contains retinol, back off! This stuff can be harmful. It’s side effects are many! But the beauty industry doesn’t list any of these red flags on their products. And I did some research into this as well and found it here:

That’s if you’re into reading about it.

So, what’s next for the beauty industry? And I don’t want to see where it’s all heading. I think I know.

For the past several months I did some comparison ‘window shopping’. And I even submersed myself in the current beauty and fashion trends as well. I’m not looking to buy anything I see that looks better on that Twiggy mannequin in the shop window than it would on me personally. And that skeletal plastic figure donning those skinny jeans? I do own two pairs but have to wear a belt with the… ahem, *hip huggers*. They’re not real jeans that come up to the waist and it’s no wonders I loathe hip hugging jeans. They’re just way too tight and don’t fit me properly.

And ya’ know, we had a very similar type of skinny jeans back in the late 80s/ early 90s and I feel it’s a rip-off of my generation.

Guess jeans might have come and gone with their ‘acid-washed’ look, but at least they still had plenty fabric in the crotch and behind that didn’t ‘ride’ up or feel like they were going to fall past your hips. And the leg area tapered at zipper ankles. Perhaps you might be way too young to even know what I’m talking about. Or maybe you do remember and are lucky enough to have a stash of door knocker earrings tucked away in your beloved jewelry box too.

Before I go too off track here, what do jeans of the 80s and skinny jeans of today have to do with skirts and bodices of bygone eras? Nothing, except pants weren’t readily worn by women until the 1940s. Until then, women continued to wear dresses, skirts, and blouses that seemed to fit their figures a lot better and covered more. Today’s fashion is sadly for a ‘one size fits all’ small younger society. Or the one size up that’s way TOO big and baggy or shrinks when you wash it. And nearly all of it is made in China made from inferior fabrics and bottom of the barrel cotton and polyester (recycled plastics, pretty much).

I’m not sorry but… ‘one size’ does not fit all.

What I loathe most is buying new clothes. I hate it more than walking out in midday heat with nothing more than a bottle of water on my person and a tiny backpack to go ‘find’ some second-hand clothes that will actually fit me properly.

I hate today’s fashion trends because there’s nothing left to the imagination. And long gone are shapes, styles and tailor-made for women of all sizes, statures (I add this in for all the short and petite women). And originality has been picked clean. In my eyes it’s now a hodgepodge of ‘Grunge’ aftermarket upchuck (no offense to the truly passionate of Seattle Grunge, I just couldn’t ‘get it’), paisley print 70s comebacks, 90’s ripped and shredded jeans and put into a huge blender, press the ‘grind’ button and pour out the contents.

If jeans were super ‘skinny’ back in the late 80s/ early 90s like they are now do you think my parents would have turned me loose at the mall with their hard-earned money to burn? Heck no!

Parents were a lot more strict and less compromising than they are nowadays. And the thin look I see a lot of people emulating is just unnatural. I say this because maybe the Lord made me in his image. I don’t have that athletic frame or toned abs or six pack. I don’t even have the ‘average’ online dating ‘ideal’ figure that men expect women should have (as a last resort).

And forget ‘supermodel’, I’m a far cry from that category and can’t compete anyway. I don’t even fall into the obese category. I’m naturally hour-glassed, but in no way ‘skinny’ by any stretch of the imagination (and no, I don’t reek havoc on my figure in a corset, thank god). I’m just that ‘regular’ woman that has trouble finding clothes that fit right without putting everything on display for the whole world to see.

And the beauty industry seems to be jumping on board and pushing off their cosmetics, beauty creams, lotions, perfumes, lipsticks, nail polishes and eye shadows that have questionable chemical ingredients, it makes me worried to even make myself beautiful for a single minute.

Sure corsets were damaging to a woman’s figure back in the day. It not only squeezed in the waist, but also pushed the organs out of alignment, gave a bend to the spine and thankfully the “S” form it produced was gone by 1910. However, women still had more years to endure in a corset. And by the Twenties, women were shedding those constrictive whale-boned contraptions completely.

And nowadays corsets are making a come back being (again) promoted as giving the modern woman that ‘supermodel’ appearance that will make her more sexy and enhance her figure. Although views are mixed and some think its disgusting and unnatural to see a twenty inch waist woman strolling around. Once upon a time, having a waist over 16 inches was considered ‘fat’ by Victorian and Edwardian standards.

Now fast forward to the fashion of today.

I find whats expected of a woman’s makeup and fashion to be unflattering and I must be honest about this. This is coming from a thirty-something woman. Even in my teens and twenties I would have found today’s fashion quite boring that severely lacks originality. Nowadays there seems to be only a few categories society expects women to depict: super model, Goth, EMO, punk, having our breasts and rears spilling out of short shorts and sheer v-necks comprised of thin distressed fabrics. And better pray you’re not uploaded to a “people of Walmart” 😦  segment.

Holy Mackerel I had a difficult time preventing my purple straps from taking center stage every time I took a step in a bright neon-green v-neck today. I see it all the time, women showing their bra straps under tanks, tees and what-have-you and that’s fine if they’re happy wearing that out in public.

And me? Nope. I don’t want or need the hassle today’s fashion is causing me. I constantly feel I must adjust my attire every five seconds in a distressed t-shirt that’s so sheer and too clingy that it makes me feel like I’m wearing next to nothing.

I also hate that t-shirts are now marketed toward provocative and that’s all fine and good so long as you’re an adult and don’t mind the attention it brings with it. And if you’re content dressing like that, to each their own, I always say.

But don’t they make regular t-shirts aimed at a more conservative group of women anymore? I begin to think not. I was literally surprised the shirt I donned today actually belonged to my grandma and it was something recent (not outdated or anything). Not even as a teenager would I have been caught dead or alive in a nearly see-thru v-neck shirt. Why? Because I had to sport that one ‘rock n’ roll’ t-shirt twenty-four hours a day. Not only that, it covered me—heck, I practically swam in that particular shirt. And it was black and went great with a pair of favorite pair of torn tapered-leg jeans or jean shorts. 🙂

Do I have to look like the ‘modern’ woman that’s depicted on TV nowadays? Thankfully no. I’m very thankful that I don’t have any disposable income to waste on Ugg boots, Louis Vuitton, Valentino (I doubt the late, great silent film lover, Rudolph Valentino had any stake in this whatsoever), etc. And I see Guess is still a leader in unattainable fashion just like it was marketed back in the 80s. And that’s awesome. Back then, I didn’t have parents that could buy me clothes off the rack at the Brass Buckle. I had parents with a more practical income.

I was thrift-shopping before it was in vogue. If you were a teenager caught dead in a thrift store picking over a used section of no-name brand jeans and shirts by your peers you would never hear the end of it in school. You would be the poster child that practically screamed “Welfare!” And why the two seemed to be confused with each other back then, I have no idea. It was once seen as the absolute embarrassment that followed you until the day you a.) dropped out of high school or b.) graduated. Either way, thrift store clothes shopping was the only thing when big box stores like Walmart weren’t found in every city. Sure, we had one of those too, but they didn’t sell much in way of ‘get me by’ clothes back in the day. Walmart (as I remember) was still much like a Ben Franklin’s and didn’t even have a grocery department yet.

So thrift store ‘hauls’ it was. I assume ‘haul’ means what you bring back home and finding some awesome stuff. We just called it bargains. We had paper bags stuffed with clothes, mostly second hand and not once did I ever turn up a pair of Guess jeans. Those acid-washed jeans just didn’t turn up and no teenager in their right mind would turn loose of a pair.

We had Chic jeans, Wranglers (yuck!) and Levi’s which would do, but they weren’t *expensive* enough to get you into the ‘popular’ cliques in school. Oh, and then, there were the preps. The smug-attitudes and I’m better than you are because I wear all name-brand clothing. My parents make a six figure salary and yours don’t… so, nanny-nanny boo-boo…. Give me a break. But that’s how it was back in these days. The more income your parents had to throw away, you were practically untouchable.

Heck, for a price, you could even have so-and-so do your home work for you. Pop quiz? No problem your rich parents could buy your way out of that and some of my peers actually bragged about how ‘smart’ they were being able to get whatever they wanted when they wanted… it was almost rock star status in Jr. high and so unfair… like, yeah… totally uncool. :/

And the fashion trends weren’t skinny jeans back in the 80s or early 90s. T-shirts were tucked into the waist band, then pulled slightly so it overlapped the waist band. Socks were scrunched and jean hems rolled and tucked. Shoes were always exclusively expensive high tops and Converse hi-tops weren’t even a running second… and they didn’t come in third or fourth… they were the very bottom of the social pecking order. The top name brand shoe of the late 80s/ early 90s Reebok, Air Jordans, etc.

And it comes back to haunt me even now years later. I’m totally outdated. I no longer sport the rock n’ roll t-shirts I was once proud to wear. Though I have stored a few original shirts away for safe keeping. As a teen, I tried to emulate a ‘preppy’ look, but really sucked at it. I was an imitator. The boys laughed at me and I was the butt of all their dumb blonde jokes. The girls sided with the boys—yeah, it was tough being a teenager and trying to ‘fit’ in anywhere in society.

Then again, I was never popular and was quite glad I didn’t have that careful image to maintain. I could just throw on whatever and be out the door ready to learn what again? Whatever mind-numbing, ass-backwards subjects public schools twisted around to fit their criteria. And no, I was not an honor roll student. I wasn’t even considered gifted in way of academics. I didn’t fall in with the nerds or geeks.

In these days we didn’t have a clique of Goths or EMO’s running a muck in the halls of Jr. high. We didn’t really have outcasts announce their arrival although I’m sure there were several of those. And the loners were you’re typical introverts that read magazines and books and listened to their Walkman cassette players full blast before and after school on the bus, and sometimes, they’d try to pay attention in class.

And even back then I might have blasted through my Aqua Net super hold hair spray like no tomorrow and donned nothing more than blue eye shadow, pink lipstick and maybe some black eye liner. I didn’t feel the pressing need to run out and stock up on this lipstick or frivolously blow a large amount of dough on a single eyeshadow pallet. Back then, I didn’t have access to makeup primers or setting spray and didn’t know they made them since I never saw them in the makeup departments. I used hair spray to set my makeup. I didn’t even know liquid eyeliner was invented and marketed until just this year.

Stay tuned… oh, and thanks for reading, as always. 🙂

Victorian era makeup part 1:

Published May 27, 2015 by AntiqueMystique1
Gibson Girl

Gibson Girl

How many makeup choices did our ancestors have? Practically zilch compared to nowadays. In this first part series I’m going to focus primarily on makeup and how the women of yesteryear achieved their beautiful elegant looks. I’m no fashion expert, let me start off by stating. Also, I don’t hold a degree in cosmetology or even as a hair stylist. In fact, my blog on the earliest inception of ‘makeup’ as a whole, and beauty regimens might bore you to tears. And then again, some of these beauty regimens might even come with considerable hidden dangers, that are thankfully, no longer used today. We have much worse hidden dangers.

The number one asset a Victorian or even Edwardian woman had at her disposal was—you might have guessed it; her natural beauty. Oh, sure there were beautifying products on the market to enhance the eyes (think in terms of Visine eye drops), only the ones I discovered could cause a woman to be blind.

What was such a big deal about putting these old-fashioned eye drops in the eyes? It was once seen a sign of physical attraction to have big pupils. And these eye drops could not only cause blindness as a result, but a large majority of the beauty industry in its infancy came without too much concern over health or safety. And sadly, the same still rings true in today’s beauty industry and products that over saturate the market with heavy metals, carcinogens, lead, and other toxicities the leaders in the beauty industry won’t tell their customers. Why? It’s bad for business.

Going back to that refined, over-decadent Victorian and Edwardian eras where women were corseted wasp-waist figures and expected to be mother, housekeeper, cook, maid, physician, seamstress and entertainer to guests. Oh, and she had to look her very best even if she was having one hell of day five days out of every month. Nope, playing the ‘hormone-enraged’ card wouldn’t get her a day to herself back in these times. Edwardian and Victorian women were supposed to grin and bear it.

Does that mean their mascara-smeared crying eyes on any given day was to be expected too?

They didn’t have mascara as we think of it. Again, going back to my great grandma (who had a wealth of makeup knowledge and some of her own makeup she hung onto from her Flapper days of the Roaring Twenties), she told me makeup was a lot simple and there wasn’t much of it. She also told me girls in her generation guarded their makeup like gold. It was at one time that scarce to purchase.

But how about in her mother’s day (my great, great grandmother’s)?

Looking over the family photos (Yes, I do have pictures of my ancestors and not too many great, great grandchildren in my generation can say they have pictures of theirs), my great, great grandmother relied on her natural beauty. The picture I’m thinking of was taken in 1907 when she and her husband arrived from Hungary. Even though the picture is black and white, its not difficult to tell she wasn’t wearing any makeup, if any at all.

So, what did they have/ use in the Victorian and Edwardian eras?

If anything (and this is if they were rich), they might have had a lilac-colored type of eye shadow and for their blush they would have pricked their finger and rubbed in some blood. No joke. That’s even how the lower classes of Victorian and Edwardian era women would apply blush before there were a billion trillion kinds that now boggle the mind. But makeup as we know it today, would have shocked and horrified our ancestors. Makeup was once regarded as a stage actor and prostitute thing—thus the very idea a Victorian and Edwardian woman would sink to their levels of depravity was frowned on at one time.

Okay little Miss “fashion” expert of bygone days, what else did the Victorian and/ or Edwardian era woman have at her disposal to make themselves more beautiful?

Other than their natural beauty, they were bombarded with all kinds of quackery products that sprung up. Often times, these did more harm than good and left behind a lot of empty promises to the consumer.

The Victorian and Edwardian look of the day was pale skin. No sun bathing or ‘golden-baked’ tans, either. And forget that trip to the tanning bed, that would have been a major ‘No-no!” The ‘fragile’ and dainty appearance was in vogue. Also, there was no lipstick, however, dyes could be bought and aimed more at the brunettes, but this was more centered around the makeup industry in the U.K. and not here in the U.S.

Cosmetics didn’t see their day until about the early Teens into the Roaring Twenties. My great grandmother explained to me they had eye liner/ mascara that was ‘brushed’ on. She told me the applicator brush resembled a miniature tooth brush and they would have to melt the mascara before they applied it.

Can you still get ready in fifteen-to-five minutes? Oh, wait, you still need to style your hair with a heating comb. No lie. They had heavy combs that they’d heat over a tiny gas-fed, open flame contraption that sat on a dresser. Now lets get even more complicated. Forget your twenty-five watt light bulb. Try styling your hair and applying makeup by the light of a kerosene lamp… yeah, it’s no brighter than a single candle and very hard on the eye sight over time.

Now say you’re in a rush—and I mean major get round and go—you’d still have to start the fire to cook your breakfast, and suppose your Victorian and/ or Edwardian husband was up at five and needed to be out the door by six? In these days, women very seldom, if ever, needed to work out of the home. Most tended to household routines and went to the market maybe once a week, at best. Sometimes they would have their food delivered to them and took out a line of credit.

Oh, and don’t forget about the ‘child’. If you weren’t rich enough to have maids or butlers, you’d be doing all this yourself. And your husband would likely be the demanding “Where’s my sausage and eggs and coffee?!” type of man. He would work to buy you the beautiful things you, as a woman back in these days, required. Being a woman had never been so tough and literally hard. It was even harder if you were a farmer’s wife and still had livestock that depended on you, hungry mouths to feed, and that of your husband as well. And with it all makeup evolved over the years.

By the Twenties, women began to have a choice (not many). They had one shade of lipstick which was ‘oxblood’, a very dark shade of burgundy, one shade of dark red nail polish, some face powder and blush. Poor women of the Twenties still relied on the old standby of pricking their fingers and apply a drop of their own blood to use in place of blush.

A Flapper was? Essentially a young woman who smoked, drank, danced, gambled, used profanity in speakeasies, (very unheard of for a woman back then), engaged in risky behaviors, congregated with the opposite sex. Flappers were like any young person and the original ‘Flaming Youths’ of their generation and really set the stage for future generations to follow and blaze a trail of their own unique individualism, expressionism, creativity, beauty all while daring to push the envelope.

Hairstyles of the Twenties were extremely different than the swept up Gibson girl. The Twenties had bobbed-looks (think of Louise Brooks, for example), and Finger wave hairstyles were all the rage. Eye shadow consisted of a dark green almost turquoise hue. Perfume manufactures were also a huge hit and wish I had some of my antique Atlantic Monthly magazines handy to reference back to exactly what brands of best-selling perfumes were back then. I don’t want to drive Channel No. 5 into the ground, although it was a unisex perfume and did get its start in the Twenties thanks to Coco Channel.

And long gone were the wasp-waist corsets. Flappers donned the first ‘bra’ that cinched in their bosom to reflect a more flat-chested ‘boyish’ figure. They wore their panty hose rolled down exposing their knees and donned Mary Jane heels. Their skirts were shortened (although not dramatic like today’s short skirts) and the dresses were made of crepe, almost sheer fabrics. Their mothers and grandmothers would have worn the stiff neck, leg-o-mutton sleeved bodices and long skirts with granny pointy toed boots. And cloche hats (bell-shaped) fit like a helmet, worn close above the eyebrows and covered the ears.

The styles and makeup were changing with the times, and as time marched on, so did makeup and the beauty industry, in general.

Hidden dangers in your China Cabinet Part 2: Depression and Vaseline glass; natural Uranium glass and why it glows under black light.

Published May 24, 2015 by AntiqueMystique1

Depression glass was produced and given away sometimes in sacks of flour and other goods during “the dust bowl” as known as, The Great Depression that lasted from 1929 through 1935. It was the longest, darkest and uncertain time for the US and elsewhere from what I’ve read. And some depression glass can be hazardous to your health.


Well, if it glows under a black light, (think in terms of Vaseline glass, for example) it will contain radioactive materials, especially uranium which was procured naturally and in the latter part of making Vaseline pieces in the 50s, ‘depleted’ uranium. Why then did they make glass using radioactive metals back then? Where they crazy? Again, more than likely what we know nowadays wasn’t always taken into serious consideration health-wise until sometimes it was too late. If you ever read of the man who literally killed himself overtime by drinking massive quantities of radium that used to be available to put in your drinking water to cure all ails, then imagine what some exposure to radioactive materials can do your organs and body over time as it leeches into your food and drink from uranium glass?

I’m not writing this blog to give anybody nightmares or turn them away from purchasing that ‘gotta have it’ piece for their Vaseline/ depression glass collection. In fact, most of our ancestors never got cancer from eating and drinking off of depression and Vaseline glass. There are some very gorgeous pieces of depression glass out there. Some of it drastically reduced in price because it’s quite plentiful to turn up.

For a while I collected pink depression glass and one (yikes) yellow depression glass snack plate. After I quickly learned about its natural radioactive history, I parted ways with it. And yes, you can still be exposed to small doses of radiation even when the depression and Vaseline glass is locked up in a China cabinet. I also collected a few pieces of carnival glass too. However, since I’m still doing extensive research on that I like to find stuff out on my own, but the help is greatly appreciated all the same.

I downsized my carnival glass and the only pieces I have are a sherbet cup, Indiana thumb print candy dish, and marigold iridescent candy dish that never sees any use. Why do I allow these pieces of glassware to hang around? They’re pretty. Ah, yes, the depression glass salt and pepper shakers: uranium-laced salt and black pepper, no thanks. I’ll stick with Tupperware. I remember my great grandmother hoarded depression glass, carnival glass and some Vaseline glass like there was no tomorrow. And I remember walking by the card tables she displayed the glassware on and hear the ‘rattling’ and clanks of the dishes resound with a fragile echo. From wall to wall China cabinets were stuffed (and items stacked) neatly with such glassware. A few salt dishes and other glass refrigerator containers took center stage. I let my great grandmother tell me all about the depression era and when a certain piece of glassware was produced. Now my great grandma did go by collector price guides whereas I never rely on them.

I always thought, “It might be worth something to somebody, someday.” I really didn’t care what price to stick on any antique past or present that I’ve sold. As long as it goes to a good home and the buyer is happy, that’s all that matters to me. Thanks for reading and please keep checking back.

Antique Huck Towels: what are they and when were they originally produced?

Published May 23, 2015 by AntiqueMystique1

huck towels

“A wha—?” you might ask yourself.

A ‘huck’ towel. I had to scratch my head and re-READ the price tag. Yes, it was a ‘something- something’ towel and it was clearly antique. Just how far back did that piece of linen and others a lot like it date back to?

1800s-1900s and maybe some early 1920s thrown in the mess. And a mess shoppers will make when scrounging for hand-tatted scraps of lace and/ or remnants of tea-soaked dollies to pass off to the unwary customer as an ‘antique’, ‘vintage’ or plucked from some Edwardian/ Victorian woman’s trousseau (wedding chest).

I seem to recall I was just a twelve-year-old kid when dollies turned up in droves appearing really ‘yellowed’ and it wasn’t from the age of the particular yarn or fabric used in most cases. Way back then I seem to remember there was a popularity for antique linens, tea towels, lawn-cotton garments to be given the Nestea plunge back in the 80s, thus ruining the antique fabric while destroying any re-sell value it might have had otherwise in future terms.

If it looks to yellow in appearance and the dollie and/ or lawn cotton garment feels sturdy otherwise, who knows what the seller might have done to it to give it that ‘antique’ look. Thankfully though this didn’t happen with the antique linens and Victorian era guest huck towels I bought one piece at a time. And some were a dollar per linen. That’s more like it.

It wasn’t the price that had me leery, it was their bright white appearance that kind of caught my suspicious eye. They appeared ‘too new’ to be antique, I thought. There was the average pin hole, common rust and/ or regular stains from use, and some snags on the hem, but the damask pattern and Irish knotted frayed ends made me begin to wonder about their legitimacy.

And lastly, I’d never heard of a huck towel, ever. My grandmas never spoke of them although they did have a lot of ‘tea towels’ hanging out in their kitchens. I even have a several vintage tea towels in mine, none I don’t believe were made before the late Twenties/ early Thirties.

I know, I know… [sighs]. I’m not supposed to be adding to a downsizing process, rather omitting it completely. Like so many others out there I’ve collected a LOT of stuff since my childhood. I also had family dump their unwanted belongings on my doorstep even after I have told them politely and repeatedly “I don’t have room!”

There were times I wanted to chuck everything curbside because there was a severe lack of storage room in my place, put a sign on it that stated “free” and be done with it. And several times I have done that very thing.

I asked myself, “Do I really need these huck towels?” and “Will I actually use them?” and if so, then what for?

Going back to the Victorian era (again!… aw, man…) or thereabouts to the Edwardian (the overly-opulent era) just for good measure, ‘huck towels’ and ‘guest towels’ were predominately displayed for guests in the Victorian home (average income likely upper middle class or rich, probably). I’ve read stories where these antique huck towels were there just for looks. Kind of like when your grandmother’s mother would jump all over you for mistaking the tiny rose-scented decorative Avon soaps by the sink to be the ‘only’ bar of soap in sight to wash your hands with. Yeah, it was like that more than likely with these huck towels or pretty close.
Before I returned to purchase anymore huck towels as always I did some research to inform myself (the prospective shopper). Antique huck towels can be simple, ornate, extravagant and embellished with cut-out designs, needle work, etc. They can have knotted fringe on the end or hemmed. They can have inserts of tatted lace, patterns or damask designs. They can also have a splash of ‘red’ color as well and these, I’ve learned probably will date back to the 1800s, at the very least and/ or early 1900s.

Other research I did on the ‘history’ of the antique huck towel let me know I got a darn good deal!

“One-hundred-and-sixty-five dollars for a single huck towel in far worse shape?! Forget that.”

Again, it’s only worth as much as the person is willing to pay for it.

Personally, if anybody can make a living off of their asking prices (I tend to refer to it as price-gouging in some cases), then may they have the very best and quit their day job. Or if they’re a retiree, then may they have much success in their golden years. It’s hard to sell even a lug nut from a Yugo on eBay for fifty dollars yet alone, an antique huck towel with a minor storage flaw for $165. Yet sold they had. That person must be laughing all the way to the bank.

I hopped on over to evilBay thinking I might have a lucrative way to make a sideline business and was wrong. Antique huck towels only sell for $2.50 and up and nothing much beyond $35 with a drastic reduction in price. Why? The economy is so bad off and people are pulling in the reins on their frivolous purchases and just making do with what they have.

To whoever makes huge money outside of eBay with fancy online privately-operated shops, I wish they’d write up some ‘how-to’ tutorials on opening a successful antique huck towel business. The likelihood they’d happily give away their trade secrets is nil. Same goes for the antique lace snippets, fabric pieces, lawn-cotton items, etc.

Oh, well. One can always dream and in the meantime snap pictures. Thanks for reading and keep checking back.

When cats adopt…

Published May 20, 2015 by AntiqueMystique1

Not a litter of kittens. When cat’s adopt people its seldom, if ever, anything newsworthy. I was coming out of a nine year relationship that had more heartbreaks than I care to shake a stick at. I was also going through the emotional upheaval of trying to figure out where I wanted to live and how soon I could fly the coop again. I really didn’t have this event in my life planned out on the ‘what-if’ notion crap would eventually hit the fan like it had.
I don’t remember my first transition of living on my own that overwhelming. In fact, I didn’t really celebrate my [then] new freedom like some young women might. I didn’t drink. I didn’t smoke or party. I was a night owl, but burned the midnight oil quietly since I lived in a tri-plex. I had neighbors that were noisy at all hours day and night though.

I always swore I would not be a ‘cat’ lady and wound up getting a cat when I first lived on my own. Her name was Crissy, and oh, man, if ever there was a cat that was emotionally needy twenty-four hours a day, this cat would have taken the prize. After two weeks or so of being the center of her universe for this needy cat, I put an ad in the paper offering her to another home. So, she was adopted by a total stranger and I never owned a cat after that for many years.
The sweetest (and most unbearably) heart-wrenching event happened some few years later when I resided in Colorado. When cat’s take to one person that’s one thing. When you bottle raise a two-week old kitten abandoned by its cantankerous mother, that teaches you the true meaning of patients, ‘parental’ responsibilities and bonding.

“Pork chop” was his name and he was the kitten that beat all odds. He suffered an eye infection that damaged one of his eyes. The winter was absolutely horrendous this year I recall. And to make an incredibly long story short: Pork chop died after being hit by a car. I was so distraught over his death. I swore up and down I would never own another cat after that. It tore my heart out to bury him.

“You never forget the ear-piercing wail of a kitten meowing at the top of his lungs demanding attention.”

Pork chop did not like being ignored. He hated it. He loved only two people: me and my ex-boyfriend, but mostly he adopted me as ‘his person’. I bottle fed that tiny kitten every morning, noon, and night. The am feedings—were rough on me. If you never had a baby, then this will give you a very good crash course in parenting for the beginner. Those am feedings were the hardest on me. I would get up extremely exhausted and warm up the kitten formula over the stove, then it cool down, fill another kitten bottle and feed Pork chop. And out would come the claws and you had to wear work gloves. His claws were very sharp like tiny razors.
Then he would want to curl up and take a nap. I remember the nights he’d sleep sprawled out on my lap. I’d work at the computer and he would sleep for an hour or so. I grew emotionally attached to the kitten and we formed a bond. And I swore I’d never own another cat.

The day Pork chop passed away, (I didn’t find out until evening) ruined me. He had come a long way and fought a struggle few kittens probably do only to lose his life in a flash. Having pets is an emotional investment and the time we share with them is all too brief in some cases. I loved Pork chop and would pack him around the house with me. He hated it though whenever I’d leave. He’d meow non-stop in a shrill until I returned home. Pork chop and I remained inseparable until the tragic day he lost his life. He was shy of a year old and cute as a button!

Years passed. My relationship went to heck in a hand basket and I returned home. I struggled emotionally and financially to collect myself. I was pretty much teaching myself how to do things, and most importantly, learning to cook. I’m no Betty Crocker that’s for sure. However, I do give it my best.

And the night I moved into my tiny one-bedroom something inhaled the mashed potatoes I pitched on my garden’s compost pile. In fact, I caught the startled gray and white cat hissing at me, guarding that last piece of potato. Since I had no cat food on hand, I returned with some table scraps and dumped them, then waited and watched. This went on routinely for three years until the cat suddenly out of the blue one cold winter day quit hissing at me and purred.

She had warmed up to me and having existed out in those elements since whenever, made her an extremely tough cat. Again, I reminded myself, “No pets.” I didn’t want to become emotionally attached, always worrying about the ‘what if’s’. My new fur ball was street and people smart. She ran fast and stayed gone whenever she didn’t recognize somebody.

During the cold spring of 13’ I was again putting myself through college with the help of FA and learned that it depleted my savings super fast as well. I also remember I couldn’t qualify or had missed the deadline to apply for energy assistance. Therefore, I kept the heat turned low just so the pipes wouldn’t freeze. I relied heavily on a heating pad to keep my feet warm and layered on the clothes and blankets. My cat claimed my house as ‘her own’. She was just nice enough to let me be her live-in servant and during this particular cold snap, she wanted inside.

She looked over one hunched shoulder, eying me. I had proceeded to close the screen door and my heart sank. I couldn’t leave her out in the snowy weather. The temperature was below freezing. I didn’t know how this cat made it as far as she had before I moved in the neighborhood. Cats are resourceful and very adept living through any circumstances. And I simply couldn’t fathom who would move and not take their cat with them.
I opened the door and let her in. She knew the layout extremely well and rubbed her face and whiskers over every object. I dubbed it “showing the love” and she seems happy with that. She eventually licked my fingers, I suppose in cat language this is a sign of acceptance, or ‘ownership’, maybe even contentment. Never before her had a cat licked my fingers except for Pork chop. And from that cold night onward, me and my cat weathered the good with the bad and are two peas in a pod.

Ouchy! That hurts and other antiques that’ll really stick it to you: Hat Pins, a primer.

Published May 19, 2015 by AntiqueMystique1
hat pins (variety)

Ouch! That’s a sharp collection.

Hope you’re updated on your tetanus shot just in case. This blog I’m focusing solely on my all time favorite antique: hatpins.

Why are they so intriguing? You can’t just have one hat pin (or hats, for that matter).

Hat pins were produced as far back as 1832, and when bonnets were the ‘in-fashion’ hat pin popularity really began to take off and remained so throughout the early part of the last Twentieth century. In 1908 laws were passed here in the US limiting the length of the hat pin because there were fears that Suffragettes would use them as a weapon.

In 1910 ordinances were passed that required all hat pin points to be covered. The poor woman would use a piece of cork, and perhaps an affluent woman would have used something more ornamental. Hat pins fell out of popularity by the mid-Twenties.

Hat pins… now there’s a light weight item to collect. Also, the length of hat pins could range anywhere from 6” on up to 18” inches. This was so the Victorian woman (think of the Gibson girl) would use the long hat pins to secure their hair pieces and hat in place to their heads. Back in the day the swept up look was in vogue. Hair pieces were how a Victorian and Edwardian woman styled their hair.

My great grandmother and my dad’s mom collected hat pins. Between them, I don’t know how many they had. I was fortunate enough to be given some of my great grandma’s hat pins before she passed away and others are mourning hat pins and belonged to her mother, I believe. Since neither of my grandmas are here, I can’t ask for clarification.

My hat pin journey took me to Colorado. I fell in love with this one certain hat pin (era unknown), but the price would make you faint. The antique store was asking $275. Yep, for one hat pin with an inset emerald jewel, filigree gold-like top with tiny dangle pearls. It never occurred to me if I could have taken a picture of that hat pin. It was locked up in a tall standing China cabinet. It was more than I ever wanted to pay for a hat pin, but sure was beautiful. Time passed by and the same hat pin remained a staple in the store. I don’t know what the fascination with it was or why I liked it out of several others in the cabinet. Perhaps it stood out the most.

I began collecting hat pins in 2006-07’. The eras vary, earliest probably from 1900’s the latest being 1930s-40s. The designs are ‘no frills here’. Most of the tops are made from porcelain. And a few colorful hat pins.

How much should I pay for a hat pin?

That depends on how much you think its worth. If you think $275 is a fair price, that’ll be what you’ll pay. If you think no more than $9 is a better deal (and you plan to re-sell them) you might be surprised what you’ll get out of them. I would recommend always doing your research before listing any hat pin, this way you can sell it for a reasonable price and not be taken advantage of.

I’m no expert on hat pins. In fact, I would likely caution against wearing them, but the choice is entirely yours to make. I would be afraid of losing a family heirloom, personally. But if its something that came from an estate sale and you have plenty of these, then wearing them occasionally would be okay.

What style of hat goes good with hat pins?

Avoid the baseball caps. I would recommend shopping around for a vintage hat. Cloche hats are more of a Roaring Twenties style and ‘bell-shaped’. A wide brim hat might work or even a porkpie hat too and some of the Sixties pill box hats might be an option. I didn’t think much of the Thirties hats. I had two of them, one black velvet, the other rust colored and fit on top of the head and didn’t offer much in way of covering.

What type of hat pin holders would I recommend?

Oh, boy. They come in all shapes, sizes, colors, floral patterns, ceramic, porcelain, metal, celluloid, etc. And the makers will vary as well, so you’d have to shop around would be my best advice.

Never use a salt shaker, really?

Well, from an online article I’ve read by one hat pin collector, they bypass the salt shakers like a plague. And it’s all just a matter of personal preference. I use antique salt shakers to hold my hat pins. Hat pin holders were once the impossible dream of ownership because most were expensive. I always said I’d never pay more than a dollar for an original hat pin holder. I have a lovely one with chips and lots of character. I don’t get uptight if the hat pin holder has flaws. The likelihood it would be that one high dollar item that accidentally gets knocked off a shelf would be probable, at best. That’s why I don’t invest too much in antiques (in general) either because of the ‘breakage’ and fragility concerns.

Hat pins… they turn up. The least expensive hat pin I’ve seen to date was $29. But I still feel this way more than I’d ever want to spend. What’s the real value of a hat pin to a serious die-hard collector, however? Priceless. Thanks for reading!

Tonsil stabbers and Chowder: more silver plate silverware, part 2:

Published May 17, 2015 by AntiqueMystique1

I know… where’d I come up with a title to my second installment of silver plate silverware? The antique store, of course. The term ‘tonsil stabbers’ is new to me. I heard this while paying for a previous set of silver plate forks a while back and it made me laugh. Then I thought, “That’ll make an awesome title for my blog.”

And how does ‘chowder’ play into all this? Do I have a hankering for clam chowder? Nope. And since I can’t tolerate the taste of sea food 😦 anymore, I’m not even sure if I’d like clam chowder or be able to stomach it. Again, I was doing my usual research after I bought some big spoons and more tonsil stabbers for .29 cents each. And they stuck it to me with tax since I didn’t have a discount card. Total… drum roll, please… comes to $3.58. Ah… okay.  Well, its been another productive day. I didn’t get around to cleaning and polishing these until an hour ago (it’s late, by the way). I know I’m stepping out of my cut off time frame, but eh, can’t have everything be from the Teens. The end result is beautiful! If you’d like to find out more about silver plate and identify it, I’d recommend this book.

silver plate silverware

Silver plate silverware cleaned.

silver plate silverware

chowder spoons, tea spoon, forks. Silver plate.

Hidden dangers on your dresser: celluloid.

Published May 17, 2015 by AntiqueMystique1

celluloid rattle and comb.

I snapped a picture of a celluloid comb and a baby rattle in a local antique store today. I can take a guess that the baby rattle is likely from the early 40s since they banned celluloid here in the US around 1944-45 due to it being extremely volatile. The small comb might be a little earlier, perhaps. Why then, do I own celluloid? I keep just a bare minimum of it around. Celluloid is beautiful, no doubt. At least I think it looks pretty and there’s more color choices than just the common ivory ‘cream-colored’ celluloid. There’s also Tortoise shell designs and pearlescent patterns. Once or twice I’ve seen some stunning emerald, pale yellow, and pink pearlescent celluloid dresser sets. For those that might be new to collecting dresser sets they may contain a comb, hair brush, hair pin receiver, hand mirror, dresser tray, perfume bottle holder, button hook, nail buffer, picture frame, a silent butler (used to sweep away dust from a surface and often contains a hand-held brush and dust pan), clothing brush, celluloid hair pins, hat pins, etc.

Whew! I really went a little celluloid slap happy couple years back before I knew of its hidden danger. It’s also flammable as well. Celluloid is made of camphor and nitrate and it was produced before the invention of plastic from about 1885-1915. It was a cheap alternative to ivory and very easy to mold and dye. And it was once touted to be ‘tough’ to a certain degree. Even Edison Amberol 4 minute cylinders have a blue, sometimes lavender-blue hue to them and the outer surface was made of celluloid. The Amberol cylinder’s core was made of plaster thus making handling and reaming these cylinder records quite an exercise in extreme patients.

Plastics were invented sometime in the 30’s. I got that little gem of knowledge handed down to me from my great grandmother, the one who lived in a museum—ah, I mean house. What else did I see today? Oh, yeah, I saw two tiny celluloid dolls no bigger than an inch in height. As cute as they appeared, I passed them by.

I’ve dumped quite a bit of stuff on eBay and some antiques. I’m in the process of downsizing and trying to save up down payment money for a home. It’s a tedious process and very slow going. If anybody’s interested in celluloid and where to find it, I’d suggest your local antique malls or eBay, Esty or Ruby Lane antiques. I’ve never seen celluloid turn up in thrift stores or second-hand stores. And if it does, then it’s usually that high dollar item locked in a glass display case. Thanks for reading! 🙂

Creepy antiques part 3: Plaster Cherub Plaques

Published May 14, 2015 by AntiqueMystique1

This story takes place in 2006 when my [then] boyfriend’s mother decided to have a garage sale. However, it wasn’t just one person selling their unwanted stuff, it involved an entire neighborhood. I contributed a lot of my own stuff to the sale and managed to short-change myself out of forty dollars, but that’s not creepy. This is why there should always be two people present when selling stuff at a garage sale. The stuff donated was massive, and in the mix of things, names get jumbled, who owns what is Greek to me. I had my pen and paper and the initials on some of the price tags was so tiny, it was difficult to read.

Two nights before the sale was due to start I had bought three wall plaques made by a company called ‘Putti”. And these three cherub plaques were gold painted plaster and embossed on a red velvet inlay. And the farmer that sold them to me said he just got done wheeling and dealing for a major antique barn haul from a family that hoarded everything in their barn. This story didn’t sound out of the ordinary.

I brought the plaques home and began to gently clean them because they had been residing in an old barn since who knew when. The date these Putti cherub plaques were produced was likely from the 40s/ early 50s. While I was cleaning them, a very odd—and I do mean– cold impression swept through my being. I tried to shrug it off figuring I had worked hard getting things ready for the upcoming sale and was tired.

One cherub played a trumpet, the other a harp and the third, a violin. Their expressions almost seemed mischievous in an evil sort of way instead of being ethereal or ‘heavenly’. I proceeded to clean off the layers of grime and cobwebs (ewww!) without disturbing the gold-washed finish.

The more I delved into this little project, the more my senses alerted me that something wasn’t right with these cherub plaques. That little voice of reason was practically screaming for me to quit what I was doing and get these plaques out of the house, pronto!

The cold impression I perceived quickly turned into a sense of deep grief, sadness, ill-tidings and gloom almost like when something bad’s about to happen only without an eerie soundtrack playing in the back ground. It was those kinds of feelings. Normally I don’t ignore my feelings and this time I did, for a while at least. The plaques were left on the table overnight. I assured myself it was just my overworked imagination and I’d have a different view after breakfast.

Well… I still received the same deep sense of sadness, gloom, ill-tidings and grief– a lot of that emanating from these otherwise harmless-looking ‘cherubs’ as I did the night before.

I really didn’t know what possessed me to buy those cherub plaques and wish I had snapped a picture of them because they were seriously creepy in appearance. Rather than slap them up on eBay and list them as “haunted”, I decided to send them to the trash early the next morning. I didn’t know who owned these cherubs plaques until the next day. I caught the farmer bringing in another haul and setting it up for the garage sale in a building across the street. I asked him who owned the cherub plaques under the guise I was interested in the provenance (history of the items).

The farmer just chuckled and unloaded a galvanized wash tub, laundry dinger (primitive hand-held laundry agitator), and a few more ruined antiques that the weather, mice, wasps, spiders and time destroyed and then he said to me, “Oh, I forgot to tell you those plaques belonged to a family who were in the funeral home business for many generations. Their family goes way back to the 1850’s and they never parted with anything.”

Now you tell me. I thought.

I thanked him for his time and we proceeded on with the garage sale. I never did see any other plaques like those 3-demensional cherubs and was quite thankful I never ran across any again. I have no idea if these particular plaques were haunted as the information of exactly ‘who’ owned them was never disclosed. But knowing that they came from a family-owned funeral home was in itself creepy. It took a while for the creepy feelings to go away in the atmosphere, and when it had, I was so relieved. So, in closing, be very careful what you buy at garage sales. Thanks for reading! 🙂