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It’s October, so my Christmas list is well overdue.

Of course it is.

Santa is so demanding.

And, lest you think this is all a tad early, let me inform you that Costco has been Christmas-ing since August, yes indeedy.

There are entire aisles you can Deck the Halls in, wearing your flip-flops (we can’t generally wear flip-flops during the ACTUAL festive season in Canada).

There are buffalo-checked Christmas doo-dahs as far as the eye can see (I try my best to avert my eyes back to the free samples they give out at Costco, which it’s really important to keep one’s eye firmly upon so as not to forget the real reason we shop at Costco).

Buffalo check pattern

Photo credit: Spoonflower

Practical Man does not approve.

Of the Christmas doo-dahs, I should clarify.

No sirree.

He’s a free-sample fan, though.

What kind of Practical Man would he be if his favourite thing was not anything, preceded by or followed by the word, FREE?

He never eats the free samples – he gives them to me, like some kind of Snack Saint.  He doesn’t snack and did I mention that he’s kind of annoying, sometimes?

Lovely, but annoying in a Snack Saint sort of way.

Or, maybe Snack Santa.

But, festive flourishes (even with free snacks for his beloved) before a respectful observance of Remembrance Day (Nov 11)?  Now, them’s grounds for grunting and Rick Mercer-esque rants.

I don’t disagree.

It’s only October, merchants!  My Hallowe’en costume is barely out of my head and onto the sewing machine, yet.

But, Practical Man still wants my Christmas list early, early, early.

He’s not a huge fan of all the commercialism and forced gifting that comes with the season but, he does like to make someone happy.


“You know that I don’t go in stores after the beginning of November,” he warns in a Bah Humbug sort of voice.

Who cares about that when everyone knows that Santa doesn’t shop in stores?  Santa has elves making things in workshops and eating gingerbread, dontcha know.  They don’t shop at Costco (unless they are snackers, in which case, who can blame them?)

Ho, ho, ho.

Still, on account of their too early Christmas hullabaloo, I wonder if Costco has been listening to our conversations about overdue Christmas lists?  Like a George Orwell, big-brother-is-watching-you kind-of-creepy, Santa?

Oh wait, that’s Siri and Okay Google.  Neither of which we use and yet…

I’m feeling spooked.

Which would be fine because it’s nearly Hallowe’en:  the season of spookiness.


And what with my distraction about whether my non-Siri/Okay Google devices are listening to my conversations without my permission, it’s a bit difficult for me to think of what I want for Christmas.

Except maybe a vintage, Fisher Price hospital, complete with X-ray machine and working elevator.

Vintage Fisher Price hospital with all people and equipment

photo credit: YouTube

Because, every woman in her 40s needs one of those, right?

And peace on earth, wrapped in buffalo check flannel.

Except, not yet.

Because it’s wa-a-a-a-y too early for Christmas-y stuff.

So says Practical Man–and me.

But, not Costco.

Boo Humbug.





Today, there was an auction of the very best kind.

#1:  It was the kind of auction that allowed me to sleep in (I do love my 12 hours/night, y’know):

It didn’t start until a very civilized 10:00 am.

#2:  It was the kind of auction that was perfectly timed to finish up with all the stuff we were interested in before the rain started:

We were home in time for lunch and a rainy afternoon nap.

#3:  It was the kind of auction that was a mere 8 houses down the road:

It seemed like fate and Humphrey Bogart.   Of all the gin joints in all the towns in all the world, this auction was on our very own, country road.

Really, to ignore it would have been rude.

R.U.D.E., I tell you.

So, we wandered over–um, drove really, because hoofing it 8 houses back, not to mention through 100 acres of their windy lane before we got back to our country road with our auction treasures did not appeal–and settled in for the show.

I oogled the property, which had pastoral rolling landscape and a heritage, brick house.  It also had some lovely outbuildings made of antique brick.  The property is listed for a cool $899,000, so oogling was far as I was going to get to go with this charmer.

Accordingly, I oogled up a storm, surreptitious-like and trying not to salivate, as you do, even though officially, we’re downsizing soon.


The auctioneer stood in front of one of the brick barns, hooked up with a wireless mike, like some kind of rural Ontario Madonna.   He stammered in his everyday speech, but, he was flawless in his auctioneer chant-erooning.

I’m sure that’s a technical, auctioneer term, isn’t it?

auctioneer holding out his cane and wearing a straw fedora, in front of a crowd

B’dee, b’dee, b’dee, b’dee, who’ll give me b’dee, b’dee, b’dee $100.00 for this outboard motor, b’dee, b’dee, b’dee.  Only needs a pull string and….b’dee, b’dee, b’dee…a motor, b’dee, b’dee, b’dee.

Such a cool way to parlay a speech difficulty into a successful career as a professional chanter-ooner!

I loved his vintage-style straw fedora and cane.

I have lots of hats.  Maybe I need a cane for when I’m leading workshops at the university.  I could point and gesture like a pro if I had a cane.

B’dee, b’dee, b’dee, b’dee, let’s talk about some resume strategies and interview skills, b’dee, b’dee, b’dee.

Oh yes, I think it could work.

Our auction skills are rusty, having not been to one in a couple of years.  This auctioneer was making time, too, so you couldn’t snooze on the job, if you thought you might be a buyer.

No, sirree.

auction bidder ticket - #103

The giant, shiny maple syrup finishing pan that Practical Man had his eye on, went for a good deal but it was ever so lightning fast with the b’dee, b’dee, b’dee, and my maple syrup mogul hesitated.

No hesitating or dithering at this auction.  Dithering meant you walked away giant, shiny maple syrup finishing pan forlorn.


The only thing I really spotted on our initial walk-around that made my heart skip (other than the $899,000 property itself) was a Fed-Ex/food truck-shaped van (dreams of a mobile cupcake empire danced in my head) and, be still my heart:

a genuine, hang-on-the-kitchen-wall, talk-on-your-party-line, rotary phone.


vintage rotary phone with the receiver off

I usually see them when we’re touring house hovels that we don’t buy.  Like the one in Enterprise a couple of years ago.  And the one last week, that had the falling off chimney and disintegrating summer kitchen.

They make me want the house hovel–just because of the phone.

I’m sensible like that.

This phone wasn’t avocado green, robins-egg blue or 60s pink (that can be remedied with plastic paint, if I get bored some future Sunday afternoon) but, I figured its ho-hum colour meant the price would be manageable.  It was in among the “smalls” that Mr. Auctioneer was going through at break-neck speed.

B’dee, b’dee, b’dee.

Before we knew it, the phone was on the table, waiting for its turn in the limelight.

Before we knew it, it was being offered with a bunch of other stuff that got bundled in, because no one would bid on the stuff on offer, right before my phone.

But, but, but..before we knew it, we were the proud owners of (a smallish box of junk and) a genuine, hang-on-the-kitchen-wall, talk-on-your-party-line, rotary phone!

back of bidder ticket - reads: $2 for phone

We went all out at this auction, spending a grand total of $2.00.  Since we weren’t buying the $899,000 property, we figured we could splurge a little.

Back at home, we set about cleaning off the barn dust and checking out our purchase.  It was like new.

Even better, when we plugged it into a phone jack, there was a dial tone!

Even, EVEN better, Practical Man could call me on it!

off-white vintage phone rotary dial

That’s not our number, just in case you were wondering.

At first, it didn’t ring with that distinctive, brain-penetrating vintage ring, but when he opened it up, he found a disconnected wire and immediately fixed it, because that is what a Practical Man is best at doing:  making my strange dreams come true.

The 40-year old phone then proceeded to ring, like it was 1976 (the year it was made).




Really, it takes so little to amuse me.

Even, even, EVEN better, I channeled my inner tween self (in full disclosure, I was a tween long before the word “tween” was coined), put my index finger in the rotary dial and dialed Practical Man’s number.

Be still my faint-y heart.

Now, you might not get the thrill here.  You might be one of those people who have people on speed dial or voice-command, so you only ever have to push one button (or less) on your phone.

I am one of those people who loves to type (I rarely copy and paste, if I can help it) and I love, love, love to DIAL!

I can’t wait to dial the longest phone numbers I can come up with.


Can I call Australia?  Or, darkest Peru?

Someday, I’m pretty sure that there will be a giant auction at our house.  They’ll shake their heads and sell off all my vintage doo-dahs and Practical Man’s gizmos and gubbins (those are technical terms).

B’dee, b’dee, b’dee, b’dee.

In the meantime, for the love of all things vintage, please–as Blondie‘s Debby Harry used to sing–CALL ME!

The $2 auction purchase has been installed–where else, but where it belongs–and I can’t wait for our genuine, hang-on-the-kitchen-wall, talk-on-your-party-line, rotary phone to ring.


our new, vintage phone hanging on the kitchen wall

Copyright Christine Fader, 2016.  Did you enjoy this post from A Vintage Life?    Share on Facebook       Tweet

I had a run-in with The Nature today.

It tried to fool me with its sunshine and lovely temperatures.

And then, it attacked my ankles.

It’s my own fault, really, for not putting on the bug juice that Practical Man pointedly left out for me.   Perhaps it was The Nature’s way of evening the score.  After all, I was yanking and digging grass and weeds out of our flowerbed with some zeal.  That’s probably tantamount to a leg wax for The Nature.  And, it was much too warm today for me to sport my trademark out-in-The-Nature rubber boots.  Mocked by many, my rubber boots have prevented plenty of unjustified assaults by The Nature and I L-O-V-E, LOVE them. But today, I recklessly left them inside and trotted out into the great vampire bug, all-you-can-eat-buffet, brazenly naked around the ankles.

I hate it when things are my own fault, don’t you?

The flowerbed and I have called a cease-fire so I have time to smear myself with liberal doses of anti-itch goo (which is apparently flammable, it says on the label!) everywhere I can find evidence of The Nature’s wrath.  Note to self:  Do not use anti-itch goo while camping and then try to warm ankles by the fire.

Flaming ankles would be much worse than itchy ankles, even I can admit.   You may laugh but, I can’t be too careful.  I come from a long line of accident-prone people (including one person who cut herself, to the point of bleeding, on an onion bun.)

Flaming ankles are totally in the realm of possibility.

On the plus side, before I foolishly headed out into The Nature, we spent the morning wandering yard sales in Westport, a quaint waterside village nearby.  The whole town was having a festive time trading their own junk for their neighbour’s junk, because at a mere 10 or 25 cents for many items, “how could you lose?”  You apparently couldn’t because it was a phrase I heard repeatedly, as we wandered.

I found this and immediately had a crush:

pink punch bowl with cups

Everyone should have a pink punch bowl with nine matching cups, don’t you think?

And, at a mere $10, how could you lose?

Actually, $10 is less a crush and more a commitment for me.  So I hemmed and hahhed for all of three seconds and then someone walked by and said to her friend, “how could you lose?” and I took it as a sign.

You can’t mess with that kind of magic.

I’m not into pedigree, especially when it comes to old stuff.   I just like what I like.  But, I am curious about this.  It doesn’t have any maker markings that I can find.  It seems to have a sort of strawberry pattern to it and it’s heavier than depression glass, although similar in hue.  A search online yielded nothing that resembled it, so now I’m even more curious.  I doubt it’s valuable, I just wonder what vintage it comes from.

Here is what it looks like up close:

pink punch bowl pattern


The pattern is slightly raised and bumpy.

Not unlike my poor, poor ankles.

But, at least they’re not on fire yet.


Copyright Christine Fader, 2014.  Did you enjoy this post from A Vintage Life?    Share on Facebook       Tweet         You might also like my latest book.

I had  a birthday recently.

Hurray for cake!   It is always a good day when there’s cake.

That was a statement, not an opinion poll.  Please avert your eyes if you are cake-averse.

Also, I’m not sure we can continue to be friends.

Or cupcakes (yes, I love daisies AND cupcakes.   Combining them seemed only natural.)

Yes, cupcakes are CAKE (I love daisies AND cupcakes. Combining them seemed only natural.)

It was a fairly garden-variety birthday.  That is, not one of the “big” ones with zeros in them.   More like halfway to one of the big ones.

The Ministry of Transportation wrote to tell me that I owed them money for my license plate renewal.

Happy Birthday!

And my mother called to tell me that she felt old on account of my birthday.

Even though it wasn’t one of the big ones.

Sorry, Mom.

And, my friend, Freckles, (who is weeks away from halfway to her next big one) said Happy Birthday by asking me if I realized that it had been 30 years since we had first met.


This was somewhat distressing to me because I distinctly remember having pimples that day.

So then, I felt old on account of my birthday.

Not that old is bad.  I am a fairy godmother-in-training and I can’t wait to have silvery hair.  I think it’s magical and more conducive to spontaneous tra-la-la.

Maybe by the time I get to the next big birthday, my hair will be more magical (and less uncooperative personality disorder).

And, you wouldn’t know that I’m barely half way to one of the big ones by the way Practical Man tries to wind me up while we’re in stores.  He thinks putting the SILVER (geriatric) Vitamins For Women in our cart is hilarious.

I can’t believe we’re spending hard-earned dosh on vitamins in the first place–let alone gender-focused ones that target silly things like bone strength instead of helping me hide at least one of my chins.

Why not spend that money on cake, I ask?

Okay, so maybe that’s why.

Anyway, I like to retaliate for his vitamin gag by deviating from the approved grocery list.

I throw things in the cart when he isn’t paying attention.

Reckless things that aren’t on sale or for which WE DO NOT POSSESS A COUPON!

All is fair in love and shopping with your sweetie, especially when it’s your birthday.

Even if it’s not a big one.

Copyright Christine Fader, 2014.  Did you enjoy this post from A Vintage Life?    Share on Facebook       Tweet         You might also like my latest book.

Hands up if you think office chairs don’t have a lot of vintage style.

At least, not the ones you can find in your average medium-sized town for a medium-sized price.   But, I needed to find one because Practical Man has been fretting lately about my posterior.

I love a man who frets about my posterior and mine is apparently at risk.

I’m in posterior peril, if you will.

This is due to the fact that I am an old-school girl who types at lightning speed.   I need to do it in a chair, at a desk.  None of this lolly-gagging about on the floor with my keyboard in the air.  No sireee.   I am all about respect for the home row and that requires a chair.

This is the desk chair I have been using:

desk chair

Not glamorous but I liked its vintage nod and white colour

You’d think we’d have lots of chairs to choose from since I have what some might call an addiction to chairs.  They are one of the first things I gravitate to at an auction or flea market.  I have a rocking chair with no seat or rockers.  I have a tiny little child’s chair (even though we have no children).   I once made a flying leap from the car as we passed a yogurt shop that had incredible vintage-looking outdoor chairs.

Now, I try to avert my eyes as soon as they land on a fetching seatable specimen.  With their winning personalities and come-hither nature, you can see how an innocent person might end up with a herd of chairs.

Not me, of course.  Mine is more of a flock.

But to get back on point, desk chairs aren’t really chairs.  At least, not in a good way.

They usually contain way too much plastic (at least in the stores I can afford) and they look, to me, like giant orthotics sitting in a room.   Thus, I have been waiting for a beautiful vintage specimen to reveal itself to me somewhere.

You get it, don’t you?

My desire for something affordable, with chrome-y legs and a 1950-1970s industrial vibe?

Something straight out of a Mary Tyler Moore episode that could turn my world on with its smile?

Where-oh-where are you, my gorgeous retro lovely?


In the meantime (over the past several years), we have been using the aforementioned chair that I spied, abandoned and forlorn, at the side of the road on the way to work one morning.

Some people have rescue dogs and cats.  I have rescue chairs.

Practical Man oiled its bits for me and I made it marginally more posterior-friendly by sewing up a quick cushion with a vintage pillowcase.

desk chair with cushion

Slightly modified hard-as-a-rock chair

I can’t imagine why but, Practical Man is still not a fan.

Even I have to admit that after a few short minutes of writing, it is not a very comfy on the posterior, nor does it have anything resembling an ergonomically-supported back.

But, back-schmack.   I didn’t care until recently, when I was dragged, kicking and screaming to the dark side.

I was encouraged to give desk chairs a chance.

Harumph.  Not a vintage lovely among them.  They were all new.   As I trialed and tested, I asked the sales clerk why desk chairs were so universally ugly and never any fun colours or patterns.  Was it so hard to design something reasonbly-priced, comfortable AND fun?

Eventually, I stopped punishing the people making minimum wage and lined up with the other people at the cash.

new seat

This is the seat for my new chair. Are you weeping?

Was it my imagination or did we all have a sort of resigned, sorrowful look about us at our failed quest for a delightful desk chair?   I’m sure I’m not exaggerating to say that there was a general air of gloom as we all meandered to our cars with our ugly, ugly but very comfy chairs.

new desk chair back

New back. Ergonomic and blah, blah. Weeping, weeping.

Not for the first time, Practical Man and I set about re-inventing something as soon as it came out of its over packaging.

We got some vintage fabric out of my stash.

Stapling - getting ready

Getting ready to alter a brand new item from the store

With only a staple gun, some scissors and a dream, we set about re-upholstering the seat with it.

By “we”, I actually mean, “Practical Man did it while I supervised”.

I make a great tool nurse.

Stapling, stapling, stapling

It was stapled within an inch of its life

Then, we actually put the brand new and already much improved, chair together.

Underneath the chair

Assorted knobs and do-dahs to help with the ergonomic blah, blah, blah

It has more knobs and levers than the space shuttle.   I bet there were no attractive desk chairs in space, either.

Here’s the so-far result:

new chair

I want to dislike it, but…my posterior is a traitor.

The chair is oh-so-comfy and ergonomic and blah, blah, blah.

I’d still like to make a slipcover for the back.  But, I have a problem.

A looming sense of posterior peril, if you will, because:

  • Sewing a slipcover will require some time at the sewing machine.
  • The chair at my sewing table is a cute little something we found at the side of the road.

But, sewing while seated on a lovely-looking, albeit slightly uncomfortable vintage chair?


My husband, Practical Man, often has to pry a book out of my snoring, sleeping fingers.   I know fingers don’t usually snore but, I’m sure mine do.

It can’t be my adorable nose making all that racket.


We made our headboard out of architectural tin and for the entire drive home, Practical Man kept mumbling, “I can’t believe I just paid money for a rusty old piece of metal”.

Ever since I learned to read, it’s been the same story.   Me and a book, in a dimly-lit room, my nose literally squished against the pages as I strained and squinted to see the words from my secret spot beneath the covers.  I probably would have needed glasses at some point, but I may have hastened the process just a tad with my voracious attachment to 1970’s six-year-old’s I-Can-Read literature, like Pickles the Fire Cat, The Adventures of Jimmy Skunk and The Strange Disappearance of Arthur Cluck.

Not much has changed.  Right now, I’m reading Penelope Crumb (funny and touching children’s chapter book), and The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society (a wonderful book for grown-ups and ’40s vintage fans).

Perhaps it shouldn’t be surprising that my left eyeball hurts today.  What with the habitual reading before sleep ‘n all.

It’s been hurting on and off (mostly on) when I move it around recklessly–as in reading, driving or checking out Practical Man’s form on a tractor–since February.   Doctors are mystified but I don’t appear to be going blind, growing a brain tumour or developing Multiple Sclerosis.

In other words, it’s all good.

It just hurts.  But I can still see, for which I am grateful, since I have needed glasses (badly) since the age of seven.

And Practical Man looks darn good on that orange Kubota.  It might hurt my left eye to look, but I’d hate to miss that.   So I’m grateful for the vision provided to me by glasses and contacts.

But, like many, I’ve had a love-hate relationship with them.  After all, it was said that Boys Don’t Make Passes At Girls Who Wear Glasses.

Norman Rockwell's The Girl at the Mirror

My parents bought me this Norman Rockwell print when I was a child. Apparently boys weren’t making passes at her either.

At first, my affair with glasses was all good.  In fact, it started out rather glamorously.

Behold my Great Grandma Hildegard’s snazzy, sparkly horn-rimmed glasses when she held me as a baby in 1969.  They match her equally snazzy, sparkly earrings and brooch, of course.  Don’t you just love how eyewear gives an instant snapshot of an era?

Great Grandma Hildegard holding me as a baby with her fetching horn rimmed glasses

My great grandma Hildegard is a much-loved family legend…and very fashionable with her glasses.

But after that, things–spectacle-wise–started taking a definite turn for the worse.

My parents bought me fancy (and no doubt, expensive) glasses that darkened automatically in the sun but this was the mid-70s, so they didn’t lighten back up very well.  As a result, I had a vaguely Annie Sullivan look about me…even though with that haircut it was hard to look like anyone but a young Shaun Cassidy.


Me, at 8 years old with my glasses

And then there was puberty (bad perm and worse glasses).  Still look like Shaun Cassidy.  Remember the phase where the arms of the glasses started at the bottom of the lenses and then swooped up over your ears?  Apparently, I thought that was a good look (stop laughing).

Bad perm and worse glasses


In high school, I didn’t love the “four eyes” teasing or the fogging up the instant I set my foot on the first step of the bus to school when I was busy trying to plan how to nonchalantly plop myself down next to Graham Gorgeous, the hunky guy who had just moved back from New Zealand.

But, it was all good.

I had worked out that if I entered the bus backwards, my glasses didn’t fog up.  It’s very challenging to bat your eyelashes at Graham Gorgeous when steam has obscured his view of your beautiful baby blues.

Yep, it’s a real mystery why I didn’t end up as Mrs. Graham Gorgeous.

So, I should have known better by the time high school graduation rolled around.  Apparently blue eye shadow was my thing.  Not that you would notice on account of the gigantic, red glasses and ’80s bangs.

High school graduation photo with giant, red glasses

What can I say? I was a late, LATE bloomer.

Despite that, all these years later, I am thankful for glasses ‘cos I can’t find a thing without them.

For example, I can’t find my glasses without my glasses.

How cruel is that?

I haven’t found snazzy, sparkly vintage glasses like Great Grandma Hildegard’s, but I’ve started wearing this modern-day, reasonable facsimile:

Me, wearing vintage inspired sunglasses

My vintage-inspired sunglasses (maybe I can bedazzle them so they’re more like G.G. Hildegaards). And, I match the grass.

And, every night, when Practical Man pries the book out of my snoring, sleeping fingers, I’m sure I am smiling because I finally know the truth:

Boys DO Make Passes at Girls Who Wear Glasses.

It’s all good.

Copyright Christine Fader, 2013.  Did you enjoy this post from A Vintage Life?    Share on Facebook       Tweet         You might also like my latest book.

If you’ve ever found yourself struggling to fit a giant vat of olives into your fridge or an 84-roll mega pack of toilet paper under your bathroom sink while wondering why on earth they had seemed like such a bargain at the membership-only warehouse store:

You might understand our house.

Our house

Photo: our house (the weeding fairies have obviously been there, whew!)

Oh sure, there was no photo ID required or free samples like at the membership-only warehouse.   But, as we strolled around looking at the house and property the first time, we could see that it had good bones and underneath all the neglect and grime, it had potential.  In short:  it was a deal.

My husband, Practical Man, loves a deal.  In fact, I’m pretty sure that’s why he married me.

Almost positive.

Or, maybe it was for my membership-only warehouse card.

Anyway, the property was great but the house was a mess and it was much bigger than we needed.    3+2 bedrooms.   In Canadian real estate vernacular that means 3 bedrooms on the main or upper floor of the house and two in the basement (often desirable in case you have teenagers or trolls you would rather keep partly underground.)

Just a reminder:  there are two of us.

No growing, space-hogging children.

No gigantic, space-hogging pets.

Just space-hogging vintage vehicles (my idea) and assorted practical things (definitely not my idea) that need yard space.  But, we really just wanted a small-ish house.  Yet somehow, we ended up with five bedrooms (albeit two for trolls).

I know, I know.

But, try to remember:  it’s like the 84-roll mega pack of toilet paper.  It was a deal.

So, the upshot of all this is to confess that I commandeered a room (or two), one of which we call, “the dressing room”, because naturally, every room needs a name since we have so many darn rooms to keep track of.  I think “dressing room” sounds very shi-shi or possibly Mariah Carey-ish or Jennifer Hudson-ish but my room is less personal shopping mall and more grown-woman-reverting-to-some-girly-persona-she-had-never-actually-had-as-a-child.

Cecily Barker flower fairy

Beautiful Cecily Barker lithograph from her flower fairy series (gift from my sister)

This room is entirely comprised of objects found, purchased at auction or in a thrift store except for a few items given to me as gifts by thoughtful people who played right into my designer-ific master vision.  The 10×11 feet of space seemed to give me just enough room for all my girly infatuations to come bubbling up from I don’t know where.

Actually, I know from where.

I blame it on the 1980’s movie, Top Gun.

Dressing table

Dressing table with original, squinty/streaky glass

Kelly McGillis’s character had a gorgeous Porsche Speedster (drool!) and lived in a cute ocean-view cottage that was decorated in a sort of beach-cottage/shabby-chic look that I remember noticing.   And, since the sweet little cottage from Top Gun inspired the room, I’ve decided that it shouldn’t be called the “dressing room” anymore. (even though that does appeal as it makes me sound a bit like an upstairs character in Downton Abbey.)

Instead, we’ll call it the Top Gun Room.

Couch view

Folded quilt made for me as a child by my great-grandmother; quilt on couch back made by someone else’s grandmother (purchased from thrift store)

As you can see, it’s mostly pink.  I’m sure that’s the first thing you thought of when you conjured up your image of a place called the Top Gun Room, right?

And yes, I’m aware that it’s completely self-indulgent.

Also, I’m not even sure I like pink, yet, I have a pink room and I also wrote a very, very pink book.   I feel like it’s becoming a theme, but it’s not my fault.

vintage barkcloth curtains

Vintage barkcloth curtains (Value Village)

I had planned just a few touches, but you see, the giant can of pink paint costs barely more than the teensy can of pink paint.  So, Practical Man was quite right to suggest that it made no sense to buy the amount I actually needed when it actually cost so much more per brush stroke.  Except, I really only needed about 400 brush strokes and now I have around 50,000 brush strokes of “bridal rose” still available.  That’s a lot of pink paint to go around.  As a result, it sometimes tries to splash into other places outside the dressing room.

Y’know, just the odd chair, bookshelf, or picture frame.

Room view - window

Photo: waterfall dresser, vintage barkcloth curtains, armoire, watercolours of our garden roses painted by my mom

When this happens, Practical man mutters pointedly, “the pink is travelling” which I think is code for, “Good grief, isn’t that paint can empty yet?”

If you’ve ever bought the giant vat of olives, I know you understand.

Copyright Christine Fader, 2013.  Did you enjoy this post from A Vintage Life?    Share on Facebook       Tweet         You might also like my latest book.

In our household, we often joke that we have a role reversal going. Case in point:  I spent one sunny, Saturday afternoon rummaging through a junkyard with my friend, Trevor.

When I returned home, dusty, with a heart and camera full of rusty, tree-entwined vintage vehicles, the glorious smell of baking bread wafted out to greet me…as did my amused husband who had been home slaving over a hot oven all day.   If that doesn’t describe a perfect day, then I don’t know what does.

My husband drew the line at wearing one of my fun, vintage aprons though.

I find them in second-hand stores or at yard sales and often, can’t bear to leave them behind.  They’re usually homemade (and for much tinier waists than I possess) with kitschy vintage touches like rick-rack, scalloped edges and even, smocking.   They evoke a time of beautiful, rounded fridges (not a fingerprinted, stainless steel front in sight), one grainy TV channel and the advent of margarine, pastel-coloured marshmallow “salads” and other foods not found in nature.

apron I’m happy to don one of these sartorial time machines and spend an afternoon baking another vintage-turned-fashionable treat:  cupcakes.  I find them manageable, for one who sometimes needs a life preserver when wading into the stew that is cooking and baking.

I stumble through the measuring and mixing, put up with the plopping into pans and baking parts…all so I can get to the hypnotic peace of using a pastry bag to pipe icing on their little, rounded tops.

It’s like Thai Chi, piping is.   Seriously.  You should try it.

I believe it’s how those women-of-a-certain-era  managed to welcome everyone home in Leave it to Beaver fashion day after day, even when life in bouffants and polyester chafed.

Piping icing:  it’s probably why they didn’t need yoga.

Even though I may look like the picture of vintage domesticity, working in my kitchen, apron apparently tied to the stove, I know the truth:  my modern vintage life is about zen-cupcake-making and a partner who loves bread baking and future junkyards to explore.

Now, if I could just get my hands on one of those great vintage-inspired fridges!

The Lucy DressI watched the movie Julie and Julia today, for what must be the 12th time, weeping over the sweet, supportive husbands (and counting myself lucky to be in that club) and the idea of people’s writing/publishing dreams coming true.  Julia Child’s ’50-’60s Paris is a feast for the vintage lover with its short gloves and cloche-inspired hats and raw silk dresses cinched at the waist and billowing like very elegant souffles at the skirts.

And, of course, there is the never-ending parade of butter.  Very vintage.

But, in between salivating over the butter, I was reminded of my Lucy Dress–even though in the depths of a Canadian January, it’s not something I have a hope of wearing for at least another 5 months.   Right now, it’s all about the winter wear:

-fleece (guaranteed to make me so full of static electricity that I can snap, crackle pop my way through the house)

– tights that are inevitably too short for my legs

– clothing items that accidentally have too much wool in them because I forgot to check the label or was overly optimistic about how much wool I can stand in the name of warmth, before I brought their itchiness home with me

– turtleneck (I only have one)

– and a decidely un-hip habit of going to bed with a microwaved bag of buckwheat to keep my feet warm.sorels

This sexy wardrobe seems to be my (not to mention my husband’s) lot from October until May.  Today, for example, I was wearing a very un-vintage-y down coat and rubber boots to help my husband unpack supplies to build a shed.  It was a good day because my clunky,  it’s-a-temperature-outside-that-guarantees-my-long-ago-frostbitten-toes-will-start-aching-without-them-in-3-minutes Sorel-style boots weren’t required.  It was “warm” today at 1 degree C but still a long way from a Lucy Dress Day.

I call it the Lucy Dress because when I tried it on, I immediately felt like Lucille Ball.  It has that classic 50s dress shape to it, is a luscious shade of red and it makes me want to voop.   Y’know, hold the skirt out from my body with the tips of my fingers and swish and twirl and bat my eyelashes…and there you have it:  voop, voop.  Oh, and maybe eat a little something slathered with beurre blanc and have the classic song, “Time After Time” playing in the background, just to complete the vintage illusion.

But, it’s not time for the Lucy Dress just yet.  So, when the next snow storm arrives, I’ll have to content myself with vooping as the snow falls while I try to catch the snowflakes on my tongue.   Luckily, that’s pretty fun too.

Vintage Juice Containers You are reading a post from Christine Fader’s “A Vintage Life” blog.  Join the romance with all things retro at

Sometimes my vintage collecting is a little random.

For example, I don’t even like juice.

But, I love my vintage tupperware juice containers.   I found the tall one at a garage sale for an exciting 10 cents.  The other was $1.99 at a thrift store.  So, even though I don’t like juice, they had to come home with me.

Goofy happiness for the bargain price of $2.09.

Ditto for the pickle containers

Pickle Containerswith their oh-so-handy inserts that allow you to fish out a dill or an olive without having to swirl around in olive juice seeking a treasure.   Except, unlike juice, I love pickles and olives and I need lots of salt (being a fainter as I am), so these vintage lovelies get used every single day.

On special occasions, I break out the slab cake carrier or the deviled egg container.

Cake container

Deviled eggs are one of those deliciously vintage sort of recipes that some people eschewIMAG1191 nowadays, but they always disappear first at a picnic or party.  People seem to love “eating vintage” and who can blame them?   Deviled eggs are one of life’s great treats even though they’re a bit finicky to prepare.  But, they’re even better when they look like they arrived straight  from 1972 because you’re transporting and serving them in your vintage tupperware deviled egg container.

Not only is vintage tupperware a way to imbue your vintage collecting with something–I hesitate to say it in case my husband is reading this–practical, they are usually in fun 70s colours like orange, harvest gold, avocado green.

Something practical that also makes you smile?