Sunday, February 27, 2011

Trailer Trad Attire: Yard Sale Wide Tie Bonanza

I went to a really good yard sale the previous Saturday where I picked up some cool stuff, primarily a big handful of the 1970s silk wide ties that I am so fond of. This yard sale was held on a very nice street in a very nice part of town.
Ironically, these yard sales are usually some of the worst yard sales in terms of finding good stuff because affluent people (particularly middle-aged couples and younger) didn't get rich by giving things of value away. In addition, either the wife or her friends are often 'interior decorators' or 'interior designers' so anything any good is snagged early on and never reaches the yard. Either that or the house is full of five year old trendy 'decorator-look' decor that has become tacky and must be disposed of and replaced (by more fun shopping!) with the current trendy look.
But this sale was different. This seemed to be an old Raleigh family that 'got' it. The son was cool to everybody and gave people amazing deals. He wore a threadbare Barbour 'Husky' jacket (the quilted style with diamond stitching) and drove a beater Ford pickup and has a farm out in the sticks.

It's funny. A middle-aged guy with the same jacket (newer) from the neighborhood showed up and ingratiated himself by dropping the right references ("You know him...he went to UNC"). A bright-eyed young blonde also did the same thing to the parents. "Hiiiii...we are new to the neighborhood, etc." The contrast between this family and these other folks from that neighborhood was palpable.
The father was distinguished but relaxed and pleasant to intruders (like myself) pouring over the accumulation of a life's experiences. I hope that he understood that, as I was pulling out these old ties with glee, I was showing my appreciation for his family's style and old-school class.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Trailer Trad Living: I Bought A Bike!

I'm going to ride around town on a HUGE IRON TRICYCLE!
For those who follow Trailer Trad, I'm sure that this is the type of ride that you'd expect me to buy. -Nice folk art but not very practical for use as a commuter ride.
Again, a nice crusty ol' gent of a bike. But not something practical to ride around Raleigh on. -Afterall, the most classic of all TRAD (American, anyway) bicycles is named after my town!
Here it is. I bought it 'Trailer Trad Style' meaning used, rusty and dusty. -And cheap. I paid more for the new rear tire and innertube than I paid for the whole bike.
I must say that it cleans up pretty darned nice! Solid construction and Shimano innards make me feel pretty good about the purchase. I lashed down a vintage Swiss Army rucksack onto the back for a makeshift pannier. -I say that the burgundy paint job and the green rucksack look pretty solid together.

"I Don't Want Fop Dammit! I'm a Pinaud Clubman Man."

Friday, February 18, 2011

Trailer Trad North Carolina: Raleigh's Mecca Restaurant

You wouldn't expect to find a gem of a restaurant like Mecca in Downtown Raleigh. But there it is, largely unchanged since the 1930s. Solid service and good food provided by the same family ownership should help to insure that this landmark place will be around for years to come.

Mecca Restaurant has been a fixture in downtown Raleigh since Nicholas Dombalis started the business 1930 and has been in its present location on Martin Street since 1935. It remains strikingly unchanged. There is a framed portrait of F.D.R. hung next to the stove exhaust hood that has, undoubtedly, been there since The New Deal. The menu has carried on largely unchanged since the 50's as has some of the staff-often Dombalis family members. Mecca is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner and the fact that the food really is good is a bonus.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Trailer Trad Collecting: Winter Picking

These Mid-Century beauties were designed by the Norwegian designer Eero Saarinen for Knoll and won a MOMA award for industrial design in 1969. They have their originial 'IBM Blue' tufted fabric and probably came from IBM's Raleigh corporate offices. Whereas the Knoll Executive chairs tell of North Carolina's high tech recent history, this tobacco drying basket richly illustrates its agricultural past. In wonderful condition, the basket held curing tobacco leaves that were eventually traded in the bustling tobacco trading town of Rocky Mount. The basket has its super original blue paint and stenciling from the 1950s or perhaps earlier.

This set of arm chairs is not everyone's cup of tea but they are probably great investments. Manufactured by the French firm Thonet in the late 70's or early 80's, these chairs are deceptively valuable. Famed for their expertise in 'steam-bending' hardwoods, Thonet made these Oak chairs with great lines while being very light, yet sturdy. These are just some nice framed prints made around 1970 for sale in Aspen Co.
I found this Flexy Racer at an estate sale a couple of months ago. I cleaned it up a little bit and liked how it turned out. Most guys remember Flexible Flyer sleds but how many of you remember these gnarly contraptions? -If you rode one, you probably don't remember much because bumps and bruises assuredly came with this ride. -Probably wouldn't make a 'A Safe Toy for Kids' list today!
This is a really cool chair. With its turned walnut arms with immaculate black upholstery, it looks and sits great. I picked up this nice quilt at an estate sale this past weekend. Made in the 1940s in Duplin County NC, it boasts great colors and vintage fabrics along with pretty good quilting technique. The color of the 'field' is a nice maize yellow with plenty of blues and other nice colors used in the squares. I think that I am going to be brave and try to clean this one myself by running it through the delicate cycle with some mild detergent and then air-drying it on a clothesline. Should turn out pretty good.Everyone loves the old-time steel lawn chairs from when they were kids. These were a pretty sound pair that I was able to buy 'right' at a yard sale. They are from the 1950s or earlier and would be comfortable to sit in with an ice cold glass of lemonade!

I picked up this little table made out of spools at the flea market. Considered folk art, spool tables and spool shelves illustrate how people used to recycle things to reuse or, perhaps, to sell. I thought that this table had character due to its original black paint and circa 1900 thread spools.

Trailer Trad Attire: Can A Pair of Pajamas Make A Man Cry?

Get a load of these remarkable pajamas. On my picking travels, I came across a few pair the other day. These are no ordinary PJs. New, unworn old stock, they were made in England by a firm named W.M. & Co. in 1955. I'm not really a Pajamas Guy. -Too confining and hot for me. For example, I bought a great pair of Swiss PJs and, although they are very nice, I never got into the habit of wearing them. I have worn my new 1955 English pair every night. What's just as amazing is their condition. Soft and perfect as the day that they were made in that English workroom, they feel absolutely amazing on. Their mattress-ticking pattern is about perfect too. Plus, they fit and I'm not a small guy.