Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Weekend Picking in Raleigh - March

The picking has been tough over the winter but, with spring here in Raleigh, I hope to find some cool junk at yard sales, at the flea market or at estate sales. Here is some stuff that I’ve come across recently.

I didn’t buy the old bike but I thought that it had a good look. It is boy’s bike from the 1940s and if you’ve been watching American Pickers on History Channel, you know that boy’s bikes are much more valuable than girl’s bikes. Kinda rough shape for me though and I thought the $125 price tag was a little rich for my blood.

The compost bag shown below, on the other hand, was priced right at five bucks. It's got great graphics and came fresh out of an old ag. supply place in Eastern NC.

I came across this box of 1950s sign letters from PA and had to get a few. At $10 each for the words ‘sand’, ‘fish’ and ‘dine’, I couldn’t pass them up. They extend out from the wall so you get this cool three-dimensional effect when they’re hung.

This enameled steel gas pump sign is probably from the 1940s and its got its pluses and minuses. Its in kind of rough shape but on the other hand, I think that I can clean it up a little. The most important thing about it is that it has a Native American motif, which should make it much more desirable than a generic pump sign.

These odd green objects are enameled steel lamp shades that illuminated signs, probably during the 40s or 50s. They were pulled off a roadside sign in Hemingway, SC and, at $8 for the pair, I couldn’t pass them over.

I love antique advertising and I thought the mid-century graphics on this beer tray were great. And the red/orange and cobalt color combination is about my favorite. At $30, I thought that it was worth it even though the condition is not excellent (slight paint oxidation on the face of the tray).

The Hawaiian print shirts came out the attic of an executive moving to the beach. They were in great shape from the 50s/60s and, at a buck apiece, I snapped them up. Unfortunately, their medium size didn’t fit me but they’ve since found some good owners.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

St. John's Naval Academy Croquet

Remember that movie where the likable band of misfits banded together to overcome the odds and compete against the fit, straight-laced, conformist team from the glamour school? –All cocky in their uniforms and Ray-Bans? I saw that one too. What if I told you that that epic conflict reenacted itself every year around this time? But instead of lines like “nerds, nerds, nerds”, “drop and give me twenty” or “Bushwood – A Dump?” there was friendly competition and swing dancing with women in sundresses? It’s true and you too can experience it –in Annapolis on Saturday, April 17th.Last year, a large festive crowd gathered on the front lawn of St. John's College in Annapolis as the students from Saint John’s, dressed as bearded, horn-helmeted Vikings, rose up and defeated the not-mean-at-all Middies from the U.S. Naval Academy in the 27th annual quest for the Annapolis Cup. The score was 4-1, but even if you were cheering for the Away Team (as many no doubt were) the good weather and garden party atmosphere made the score pretty irrelevant. And Hoover didn’t even need those 10,000 marbles in the least. Check out the video of the proceedings -http://www.stjohnscollege.edu/events/AN/croquet.shtml

Monday, March 22, 2010

Ugly Lamps

The kicker is not that dealers bring these lamps to sell at the flea market. It's that they sell.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

English Shirt, Irish Heart

With apologies to Morrissey, I had to title this entry 'English Shirt, Irish Heart' in honor of today, Saint Patrick's Day. I found this beauty a few days ago and I said to myself, "this is an awesome shirt and it would be killer for St. Pats." Well, it didn't make the cut today but I did wear it to church the other day. It really stood out among the navy suits and white shirts. Judging by the attire, you'd think that I was a member of a Shaker congregation. The heavy drinking gives it away that we're not.

The pocket square is a Chapel Hill square from Alexander Julian on Franklin St. to honor The Tarheel's big win over Bill N' Bitch in the NITs. -Ha!

Oops, the vintage silk Rivetz of Boston tie is from England too. I'll drink an extra pint of Guiness to make up for it.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Barbershop Aftershaves: Clubman Products

Why write about an aftershave that has no advertising budget, no cool ads and no celebrity endorsements? Because when you think of it, what is more trad than mildewy old golf locker rooms with communal urinals, barber shops with $10 haircuts or your granddad’s medicine cabinet? You could always expect to find Pinaud Clubman grooming products in these places. Sure, the bottles are no longer glass and the formulas may not be what they were 75 years ago but I always feel just a little manlier splashing on Pinaud Clubman Lime SEC aftershave even if does smell a little like Lemon Pledge going on.

Need more evidence that Pinaud Clubman products are trad? Let’s examine their signature scent ‘Lilac Vegetal.’ Its violet color and delicate decanter don’t resemble most other dimestore aftershaves that are named after woodcutting tools and come in motor oil bottles. That’s good. Second, it was originally formulated in the 19th Century by the French perfumer Pinaud for the Hungarian Calvary. Hungarian. Calvary. Third, it proudly proclaims that it smells of Lilacs while not claiming to make you a chick magnet. Fourth, It’s called ‘vegetal.’ While I’m not sure what that means, at least it doesn’t smell like V8 (although smelling like a pitcher of Bloody Marys at the office could get you that devil-may-care rep you've been going for).

Legend has it that it alone is stocked in the member’s locker room at that Holy Grail of preppiness, The Everglades Club.

Yeah Skippy, Clubman is preppy enough.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Affordable Mission -School House Furniture

You could call it ‘Econo-Mission.’ I sometimes refer to it as ‘school house’ design. It is that utilitarian design found in schools, universities, libraries and offices in the late 19th Century up to the Mid-20th Century. Picture your Grandfather’s prep school football coach’s office in 1938.

My favorite examples have clean lines yet are well built of oak or other hard woods. I find that it is a good substitute for Arts and Crafts or Mission furniture that, while beautiful, has become rare and very expensive in the last two decades.

School House is very practical because it was built by skilled American craftsmen. Much of it was made here in North Carolina but it was also made in many other states like Indiana and Michigan. Because it’s so solid it can be heavily used and abused.

These furnishing can be used in many different ways in many different rooms of your house. It goes with sporting antiques like old team pictures and rustic furnishings like antique fishing gear really well but it can also be paired with country furniture like a dining room table. It even goes well with industrial interior design like old drafting tables and hung antique engineering blueprints.This look has been popular with the big names in retail furnishings for a while now. However, with a little looking, you can get a real antique piece with patina and history for less than what you’d pay buying from a catalogue. Also, the school house antique piece will he made out of real American hardwoods, not made in China out of who knows what kind of young wood.