Sunday, October 30, 2011

Friday, October 28, 2011

Who IS the Ivy Man? Victorian Estate Sale Vintage Finds

It's always funny what one can find in an old, forgotten house. Shirts that had gone unnoticed for decades reappear nearly as fresh as when they were sewn in long-gone Southern mills. For example, this attic held dozens of Early 60's cotton dress shirts that the gentleman of the house, no doubt, needed on those long, hot days before air conditioning. When I went through the dusty chest that held them, I was reminded of Don Draper pulling starched white dress shirts out of a drawer to freshen up after lunch. I should have grabbed more but I only kept the two that were unused in their original packaging. -Stuff gets pretty dirty after 40 years in an attic!
This wonderful shirt fits me beautifully. It's from Abercrombie & Fitch. But this one was made in England back in the 1950s or 1960s and sold from the OLD A&F when they only had three ancient locations in New York, Chicago and San Franscisco.

I also picked up this cotton 'regulation' shirt but unfortunately its sleeves are too short. The jeans are really quite special. They are vintage Wrangler 'Blue Bell' women's jeans from the 1940s I would guess. They brought back memories because there was a Blue Bell factory near my hometown in Virginia that closed years ago.

They are wonderfully worn but are in really sturdy condition, ready to be worn. Before these could make their way to Japan, my Daughter L'il Bean discovered them and tried them on. Well, they fit her absolutely perfecty. So, as a Dad, what could I do? I gladly handed them over.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Autumn Weekend Getaway

Less than an hour from Pinehurst Number Two lies a small forgotten village with a golf course and a quaint 'Donald Ross Era' inn and clubhouse.

Lying just a couple of miles from the Inn in which I stayed, the state park contains both scenic views and handy boating docks and camp grounds.
A view like this within an hour of Pinehurst #2? Impossible!
Unfortunately, the 1930s era pool complex is closed for the off-season.

Oh, there also is a few very large lakes as well as a very large national forest. And, no, I'm not going to tell you the name of this secret place.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Victorian Estate Sale Finds

Now, THIS is what an estate sale should be like! I went to an estate sale located between Durham and Raleigh in a rapidly developing area near the interstate. This was one of those time-travel estate sales that keep me coming back. The stately old Victorian was a 'home place', as we say in The South. It looked pretty much as it looked in the 1950s, even the 1930s. The main floors were decorated the way your grandmother would have decorated if she were from a prominent family in the Old South. The attic was dark and spooky. -Just the way I like it!

I found this chintz fabric that must have in the living room many years ago. It's linen and is made up of muted, time-worn floral patterns. I think it's awesome and would be great when used to update a piece of furniture or even made into clothing.
I found these in the basement. They are wooden spools from long, long ago textile mills. I got the box for $3. Not bad.

Pardon me for not showing some of the main prizes pulled from this estate sale but I'm saving them for my upcoming vintage clothing post!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Waxing Nostalgic: Angelus Shoe Wax Polish

I just received a shipment of a few cans (or 'pots' as the Brits say) of shoe polish. It's Angelus Shoe Wax Polish and I'm expecting big things. I'd never heard of it before and found out about it while looking for another, even more obscure, English wax polish.

Carr Day & Martin (or 'Day and Martin' on old cans) is an ancient English brand that can apparently be found online under "Hens Teeth and Other Extremely Rare Things." I came across a couple of trial-sized cans at an estate sale and thought that I'd give them a try. Well, I applied a coat to my beat-to-hell Gokey Chukka boots and was amazed at the results. Wow, what a hard shine that appeared on my desert-thirsty, undernourished workhorses.  I was hooked.

I can assure you that, if you want some, you will have to purchase it from the U.K, Spain or  Australia from a tack shop that carries Carr Day & Martin horse grooming products. -Seriously. So, until I can fully devote my time to attaining this, let me recommend another brand.

Angelus shoe polish, or 'Angelus Perfect Stain Shoe Wax No. 400,' was created in 1907 and the contents of your can will be exactly the same as in 1907. -How many brands can boast that? It contains a mix of Carnauba wax, bee's wax and other propriatory stains, waxes and oiles. -One thing I've learned. This kind of heavy Carnauba wax mixture is to my liking. It's not like my previous favorite (and probably yours too) Meltonian. Meltonian is kind of a pigment-rich creme that goes on easily with a rich color. I've found that going with Angelus provides a dense, hard shine that can actually cover leather cracks in worn-out shoes.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Allen & Son BBQ

I recently visited a shrine to Eastern North Carolina style barbeque. Although technically in Chapel Hill, its location couldn't be further from Brie n' Chablis Franklin Street. Sitting along side the country road going to Hillsborough, it's easy to miss.

But get of your car and you will have no doubt that succulent pork is nearby. The aroma of hickory-smoked barbeque is so unearthly that Allen & Son should really charge cars $2 just for the privilege of sniffing what's being slowly cooked out back.

That first sniff is like a mind-altering drug. Burning leaves when you were a kid. That campout with the magical fire you huddled around. The eons of men hunting and gathering in the fall during harvest time. These experiences flash through your mind with that first whiff.

Allen & Son Barbeque's stash of hickory firewood. The importance of this cannot be overstated. Slowly smoking meat over real hickory coals adds a depth to the flavor that cannot be realized with spices, rubs, etc. As a matter of fact, the more you smell and taste this fast-disappearing barbequing style, the more you realize that much of the injecting, marinating and rubbing of meat is an attempt to make up for the fact that natural gas btus can never achieve the magic of wood smoke. 

Sunday, October 2, 2011


I've found a great source for my favorite old barbershop aftershaves. I've been going through my Lilac Vegetal like mad, so it's great to have a fresh bottle of Pinaud Clubman's most famous (infamous?) scent. It's relatively easy to obtain, unlike another favorite of mine Pinaud Lime SEC cologne. Lime SEC is very citrusy and addicting. Combine it with Florida Water to give it added depth or to make it smell less like Pledge furniture polish.

I decided to try Stephan Bay Rum since it's another old-time brand like Pinaud's Spice Island Bay Rum and Superior 70 Bay Bum. It's OK but it goes on a little 'soapy' and the Bay oil content is pretty low.

So, what's my new source for this and some other cool stuff? -I may get around to sharing it in a future blog and I'm keeping it a secret for now!