Friday, November 13, 2009

Where I've been all this time...

It's clearly been a while since my last post.
As some of you may be aware my brother Adam "DJ AM" Goldstein passed away in August.
For the past 2 months my husband and I have been spending most of our time in LA which is on the other coast
from our home in Philly. It's been a crazy time with a lot to do, but our primary focus has been pulling together the
eBay auction of my brother's sneaker collection.

Over the past 10 years my brother has amassed a collection of sneakers totaling close to 900 pairs.
The collection is amazing and contains a lot of rare, vintage and otherwise really cool pairs.
Sneakers are not generally in my realm of knowledge, so doing this project has taught me a lot and I can now distinguish a Dunk Low from an Air Force 1 or a Jordan IV. Fortunately we've had a ton of help from Adam's sneakerhead friends!

Aside from collecting, Adam had two great passions in life. One was clearly music, but the other that people may be less aware of was helping other addicts to get sober. I have been so touched by the stories from countless people I've met and heard from who have expressed how much Adam had impacted their lives. For those of us who were close to Adam there was only one option for what to do with his sneaker collection - despite a comment I read online from someone who suggested that Adam would have wanted my mom to take and preserve the collection... :)
We established the DJ AM Memorial Fund for the purpose of continuing Adam's work in recovery in his name.
All of the proceeds from the auction will go to the memorial fund.

While all of this has meant putting my life and my business on hold for a bit, there is no question in my mind that I'm doing what I'm supposed to be doing right now. As much as I miss working on my website and working with vintage I know it will be there for me when I get back. Fortunately we have fantastic friends who are supporting us at home. Special thanks to Megan from Art Star for mailing out my orders every week and helping to field questions about measurements and shipping costs. Thanks to her help my website is very much up and running. Despite not being able to add new products, there are still a few thousand things on there, so there's plenty to pick from!

If you'd like more information about the DJ AM Memorial Fund you can visit his page on the Creative Visions Foundation website.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

The Hallway Project

About 6 years ago my husband and I bought a former auto repair shop (basically a shell) that we would convert into our house and his studio. At the time I was working as a visual merchandiser for Urban Outfitters, so in the planning stages of designing the house we accounted for the usual amount of storage two people would need. We thought it would be nice to have an extra wide hallway that would just be empty space. Since the floor plan is so open, an empty resting place for your eye seemed like a good idea. Fast forward to a few years later... I now have my own business which I run from home owing to the fact that we have a lot of extra space. You know - the space that was originally intended to be the nice open empty space. Oh, I already filled all of the out of sight hidden spaces ages ago. I have what was a one car garage filled with clothes that aren't on my website, and the big loft over my husband's tool room filled with clothes that are on the website, and housewares & accessories crammed into every nook and cranny (in a very organized manner...). The hallway stuff is stuff that isn't vintage that I needed to keep separate. Stuff in the "other" category. Since space when confined between walls is in fact finite, I had nowhere else to go with it all except for the extra wide hallway.

So, for the past several years the hall has housed at any given time: several rolling racks of clothes, cardboard boxes of hangers, cardboard boxes of t-shirts, various other junk that I'm "going to get to really soon" (or not), and whatever else I couldn't find a home for. At one point we ordered 2 really awesome red metal cabinets (on wheels!) from a school supply place. They worked great to hide some of the mess, but they only took up 6' of an 18' hallway leaving me plenty of room to pile stuff at the end of the hall, which did not become invisible as much as I hoped it might. We needed a plan for the entire hallway that would look clean, minimal, and most of all hold lots of stuff.

We didn't want anything too tall that would feel imposing, and we thought white would be the best choice since there would be 16' of it. Ideally the cabinets would have been around 42" high, but they ended up being a little higher. We looked around a lot and as is often the case, we ended up with Ikea. There really aren't a lot of choices when it comes to affordable modern furniture when you need to buy a whole wall full of the same cabinet, and happily we found one there that fit the bill. A single cabinet was too short, so we had the idea to stack them. By adding bumpers under the feet, we were able to raise the cabinets on top by just enough to fit the orange storage boxes down the center which is awesome! It added a ton of extra space for jewelry, accessories, and other small items. The labels on the front are key to preserving my sanity. Did I mention I am forbidden from putting anything over, under, beside, near, or otherwise in the exterior vicinity of these cabinets?

Take a peek inside!

We moved the red cabinets into the bedroom. Our original intention for this whole project was to build a closet against this wall. When I looked up some plans, I realized we'd be about an inch short in depth to be able to fit hangers, so it was time for plan B. I'm much happier with plan B anyway - closets are so boring... (I didn't think to take the before picture of the hallway until after I moved the red cabinets into the bedroom - sorry).

It was about 11 pm when we moved the cabinets into the bedroom and when I was about to get in bed I realized there was no way I could sleep looking at work stuff. I've resisted putting anything to do with work in the bedroom - not very romantic and bad Feng Shui I'm sure, so we got the idea to put waxed paper over the windows to hide the stuff. Since it comes on a roll we could easily roll out enough length to double it, and we had just enough to cover all the doors. The doors are metal, so we used magnets to hold the paper on. I think I'll probably look for something a little more opaque and not so easily wrinkled (maybe rice paper?), but it did the trick for now.

As for the rolling racks, I was able to rearrange some cabinets in a storage room to put two 4' hang bars on the wall which can hold the stuff that used to be on the rolling racks. They're double hung, so I'll need a ladder to get to the top row, but this is all stuff I only need to get to a few times a year.
So six days from conception to finish it's all done, and thankfully I have a lot of empty space left over so it should be a few more months at least until I start complaining about needing more room ;)

Friday, August 21, 2009

Dress Update

I recently finished a big dress update on the site - with more to come soon...
I have so many dresses right now that in order to keep myself from going insane, I decided to divide the update into several manageable sized parts. I'm giving myself a break in between lest I should actually become (Gasp!) sick of dresses.
And by break I mean I'm switching to another category for a change of pace which this week was necklaces.
So, dress update part 1 is complete, and I used a new style of photos which I think are really fun. I decided to theme out the dresses using backgrounds that were suited to the style and print, and I made mini lookbooks for the different themes. I hope you like it!

Into the Woods

On the Road

Desert Dreams

The Country Club Set

A Day at the Beach

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Recent Finds

Since it's been that kind of same old same old around here, (you know the kind that makes you feel like the most boring person alive when you talk to someone you haven't seen in a while and they ask you what's new and you rack your brain and can think of absolutely nothing to say...) I thought I'd share some photos of some recent flea market finds. I have done absolutely nothing this summer that is remotely summery, except for almost weekly flea market trips that are somehow supposed to be (and sort of are) compensating for the lack of a vacation, or for that matter any activities that might resemble something one would do on vacation. I thought I went swimming once, but now I'm pretty sure that was actually last summer. There's still a little bit of time though. Maybe I can actually plan - and take - a tubing trip on the Delaware.

On to the finds...

As you can see I still have a thing for owls, but they have to be just the right kind of owl. Deer are always a favorite as well. The doe-ier the eyes the better. The handbag was given to me by a friend of a friend who thought I would like it and boy do I ever! It has an appliqued mermaid scene behind plastic with sequins, beads and shells. It's amazing!

I love paint by numbers pictures, but they have to have great colors and be painted well. This one, my husband informed me, is Portland Head Light. He would know. He's totally obsessed with all things Portland (and Maine), and if it weren't so cold there he just may have convinced me to move. But I have a very small comfort zone which is basically 70-74 degrees, so we just go visit. The watercolor on the table is one of a couple of portraits I picked up. I love how the eyes are really close together and that it looks like a yearbook photo. I have to find the right frame for it.

I found this box that I only knew was Catholic and cool looking. Upon returning home (and with the help of Google) I learned is called a Viaticum or a Last Rites Box.
It's made of oak, and the glass is reverse painted, with chalkware figures inside. The bottom has a door where they would keep the pieces used to administer the last rites. The front has two metal pieces that would have held candle sconces, but those are missing. Apparently the boxes would be mounted inside the wall, but this one has a wire on the back so it can hang. I thought it was a pretty amazing piece!

Friday, July 24, 2009

New look on the website!

I guess I could start every blog post apologizing for the lack of keeping up with blog posts, so maybe I should just make this apology a catch all for the rest of time.
I've been super busy with working on redesigning some aspects of the website (the page layouts and photos in particular) and I'm really pleased with the changes so far. Of course it will be a long process that will involve lots of incremental steps as I update the different sections. Being super anal, I will try not to let it drive me crazy that everything isn't going to match for a while (and probably a long while), but hey, what can you do 'eh?

So the first section to be updated with the new design is women's lingerie (and not the slips - I added those pre-change). I hope you'll check out the new look. Feel free to let me know what you think. Of course, feel free-er to let me know what you think if you like it :)

Here's a sneak peek at what I'm working on now. I love enamel flower pins! The colors are always fun and the shapes are so pretty. I also have a bunch of sweet little animal pins - there are lots of poodles, woodland creatures, owls, and other cuties. They should be up in the next few days.

And for a quick Etsy 5 A Day update...
For those of you who read my last blog post you'll remember that I challenged myself to list 5 things a day on Etsy for the month of July. I gave myself 5 freebie days of which I've used 2. I have had to rely on relisting items on a few of the days which I was trying not to do, but since I'll sometimes sell an item quickly after relisting it, I've decided to consider it valid. I now have close to 200 items in the shop with somewhere around 80 of them being brand new listings in the past 3 weeks. It's been a great motivator - although admittedly there have been a few days where it's been tough to make the time. I have one week left, but I'd really like to establish a regular routine to include it in my schedule (not that I actually have a regular routine...).
I'll make a more complete report at the end of the month.
Did any of you take the challenge? How's it going for you?

Friday, July 3, 2009

The Etsy 5 A Day Challenge

I've been wanting for a while to dedicate a chunk of time to developing my Etsy shop. So far I haven't been able to stick with it on a consistent basis for as long as I'd like, listing a bunch of items at once and then getting caught up with other things. I'm always struggling with where to focus my energy, trying to find a balance between my website, Etsy, Astro Vintage (and formerly Orphelin), eBay (ugh) and in-person events. I've always had a toe in the water with Etsy, and have wondered if I put my whole foot in if it would pay off. So, it's experiment time...

Since I find it's easier to reach a goal if you tell someone (or everyone) about it, I'm declaring my goal right here on this blog.

For the rest of the month of July I'm going to list 5 things a day in my Etsy shop.

Now, I'm not crazy and I don't like to set unrealistic goals, so I'm building in a feature that gives me 5 days off of my choosing when other factors in life may interfere with my plans. And since today is July 3rd and I just came up with the idea, the first two days of the month won't be included. Yup - I'm making the rules here... That leaves 29 days (minus 5 freebies) for a total of 120 items. That doesn't sound so hard. The point is to list every day and not do 20 in one day. It's part of the experiment. If I don't need the freebie days I won't use them, but a girl needs options you know.

Feel free to join me if you'd like and take your own Etsy 5 A Day Challenge.
And wish me luck!

Monday, June 15, 2009

Vintage Tea Towels...

...or dish towels as we may call them here in the States. I guess it all depends on how classy you're trying to be. Anyhow - I love 'em! They're basically a blank canvas roughly 16" x 28" and the variations are endless. There are so many great designs out there and since many of them are signed it's possible to develop a love for a certain artist, (but that would be so limiting).
I'm drawn to ones that have bold colors and quirky illustrations, but some are just plain beautiful.

These are a few of my favorites from the recent update I did on the site.
The fondue one is hilarious beginning with "Choose from well hung beef...". How can you go wrong with a dish towel (or a recipe for that matter) that advises choosing well hung beef?!

One of the most well known artists who designed tea towels, hankies and other linens is Tammis Keefe. She also designed under the name Peg Thomas. Her prints have great colors and really nice illustrations mostly from the 1950s. There's a Flickr group dedicated to her work.

I found this Peaches & Cream towel on Etsy and I absolutely love it! You can find it along with other great linens at Uncle Bunk's Trunk.

This is a detail of another beauty I found on Etsy at Call Me Jasper.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

2nd Street Festival

We're having our last scheduled event for the season and it's next Saturday June 20th!
The Popped Music Festival is being held in conjunction with the Northern Liberties 2nd St Festival bringing you a day of free music and lots of local vendors. 2nd St will be closed from Germantown Ave to Green St for the event.

We'll be setting up shop in the back of Art Star Gallery & Boutique which is located on the festival corridor at 623 N 2nd St, Philadelphia PA (just north of Spring Garden St and a short walk from the Spring Garden El stop). We'll be there all day from 11-8.

We're bringing loads of men's and women's vintage clothing for the event including dresses, skirts, tops and western shirts. We'll have snacks and mimosas (21+) too.
So stop on in when you're making your way down 2nd St on what's guaranteed to be a fun day.

Hope to see you there!

Friday, June 12, 2009

Astro Vintage is Open!

Yes, that's right folks... Astro Vintage is officially open for business!

This is a photo of the new front room.
The front room incorporates more women's clothing with loads of dresses, skirts, aprons and shoes, plus housewares, barware and kitchen stuff. The back room has an expanded men's section, as well as more women's clothing, housewares and linens.
Monthly art shows will be coming soon.

The hours right now are:
Monday, Thursday, Friday & Saturday 11 am - 7 pm
Sunday Noon - 6 pm
Closed Tuesday & Wednesday

Astro Vintage is located at 720 S 5th St Philadelphia PA
(just South of Bainbridge St and a few blocks from South St)
(215) 922-0483

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

When one door closes...

...another opens! I'm super excited to bring you the news that the sad closing of Orphelin Vintage has a happy ending. At the eleventh hour, a longtime customer of Orphelin and Funhouse, and avid vintage collector decided to take the plunge of entrepreneurship and is reopening the shop as Astro Vintage! The focus will be a little more boutiquey with more clothes, a bigger men's section, and rotating art shows every month. There will still be lots of housewares, wall decor and fun stuff too, plus more jewelry and accessories. Happily I'll still be consigning there! Please excuse the lack of blog posts lately - it's a huge undertaking to change over a shop, and this one has a lot of space to fill... The transformation is in the works and is coming along swimmingly. (I've always wanted to use swimmingly in a sentence). I'll post some pictures once the new set is complete. The target open date is this coming Saturday June 6th. I'll let you know the rest of the details once I have them.

Monday, May 11, 2009

National Wear Your Apron Day

Today is National Wear your Apron Day! It's held on the day after Mother's Day as a way to celebrate the funness (is that a word?) of wearing aprons. Wear your apron to work, to the store - wherever you go today. I love the format of aprons and how they can be so incredibly creative with not a whole lot of fabric, and a relatively simple design.

We just completed a major apron update on the website with almost 50 new aprons.
This is a sampling of some of the ones we've added. You can find all of them in our apron section.

Here's an amazing one that was too stained to sell, but I'm happy to keep it for my own...

There are lots of great vintage style handmade aprons out there. Here are a few that I love.

This one is the Juicy Fruit Reversible Apron from Head Bitch in Charge on Etsy.

This is the Turquoise Dreams - Gothic Rose Sassy and Chic Apron

and the Not So Plain Jane Sassy and Chic Half Apron
from Sassy Apron on Etsy.
I love the colors and patterns together.

Happy Apron Day!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Trenton Avenue Arts Festival

We're really excited to be a part of the Trenton Avenue Arts Fest again this year. It was so great last year, we got a double space. That means we can bring twice as much stuff! The event has over 120 vendors this year with a huge variety of artists, crafters, music, food and of course the Kensington Kinetic Scuplture Derby. Last year's derby was a 3 mile course pitting human powered bicycle sculptures against each other. Most people wear costumes, and the creations can get very elaborate. If you haven't been before, it's a great time!

The event is Saturday May 16th from Noon - 5 pm (sprinkle or shine, with a severe weather raindate for Sunday May 17th). It's on Trenton Ave between Norris and Frankford Ave in East Kensington on the edge of Fishtown. Trenton Ave is a very short walk from the Berks El stop.

Here's a photo of my space from last year.

And a photo of my friend Paul's bike from last year from the Kensington Kenetic Sculpture Derby website.
The photo was taken by Inna Spivakova

Friday, April 24, 2009

Orphelin is closing. Sniff sniff...

It is with great sadness I report to you that as of May 25th, 2009 Orphelin Vintage Boutique will be closing its doors. (Insert sobs here.)
Orphelin took over the old Funhouse space at 720 S 5th St
in Philadelphia just under a year ago, and has been a great place to find an eclectic mix of vintage clothing and housewares from numerous vendors and local artists. Tara has decided not to renew her lease in June. (Wipe away tears.)

But there is a bright side - at least temporarily... Most of the store is on sale for 20% off, and selected furniture pieces are as much as 50% off!

We have a LOT of stuff there including tons of dresses, tops, skirts, shoes, bags, pants, housewares, knickknacks and loads of art! May I suggest this giant black velvet unicorn painting measuring a whopping 27" x 40"?
(I need to give a shout out to my friend Sue of Giant Dwarf
for spying the unicorns for me - that's right, I currently have not one, but TWO of these babies.) But seriously, please come down and support Tara this last month, and score some great vintage goodies on sale. The shop will be open Thursday - Sunday from noon to 7 pm.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Spring Skirts - Sneak Peek

The other day I went on a buying trip in search of some Spring goodies and I found about 40 awesome skirts perfect for the sunshine days ahead. If you shop the site you may have noticed I have a thing for fun prints, and I'm happy to say I found some great ones. I took a photo of the whole rack (since the colors looks so pretty together) and I pulled out a few of my favorites.

One of my favorite labels is Vested Gentress. Their prints have a vaguely Lilly Pulitzer feel, only they're more quirky. The fabrics are hand screenprinted, and the colors are country club preppy. These are a few I found recently.

You may have noticed too that I have a thing for quirky appliques and animal prints. Not like leopard and zebra print (although I do love a nice leopard coat), but actual pictures of animals. I seem to find a lot of frogs. I've also recently come across an abundance of kissing animal skirts including camels, snails, turtles and whales.

This turtle skirt is amazing! It's made by Katasha's Unusuals which is another label I love to find. The prints are always really fun!

I'll be bringing all of these skirts (and more) to my sale at Art Star the first weekend in May.

Vintage T-shirt Update

We've just finished an admittedly long overdue t-shirt update on the site.
We added close to 70 new ones including funny tees, iron-ons, rock tees, tourist tees and more! Here are a few of our favorites. You can go here to see them all.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Trunk Show at Art Star

So, it's only a few weeks away and I'm knee deep in new vintage clothing for our "once in a while" Trunk Show at Art Star.
I went on a major buying trip yesterday and got loads of great Spring clothes to add to my already overflowing inventory of goodies. I'll post some photos once I get everything checked in and sorted. For now I wanted to let you know to mark your calendars for the event which will be Saturday May 2nd from 11-7, and Sunday May 3rd from 12-6.

I'll be taking over the back room and turing it into a 2 day vintage boutique. I'll have racks and racks of dresses, skirts, tops, aprons, jackets, blazers, western shirts, and more. There'll be stuff for the guys too, so don't think you need to stay home fellas! I'm also bringing shoes, jewelry, belt buckles, sunglasses, housewares, knickknacks, kitsch and whatever else I can fit in a few truckloads. Light refreshments will be provided.

Art Star is located at 623 N 2nd St in Philadelphia PA.
See you there!