Monday, December 31, 2012

Vermont and Maine (or, I went to Maine and saw no lighthouses)

Earlier in the fall I took my usual trip up to Vermont to visit my family, and somewhat impulsively decided to head over to Portland, Maine for a day as well. Unfortunately, I had awful timing and it rained the entire day I was in Maine so I didn't get to see nearly as much as I wanted to (and no lighthouses). However, having to suddenly find new indoors stuff to do in Portland led me to a really neat museum I probably wouldn't have visited otherwise.

Day one, visited with my parents and then went into Rutland, VT on my own to check out the local thrift store and get some food. There used to be a secondhand clothing store when I was in high school that had a whole floor of amazing vintage, they later merged with another local thrift store. While they're still decent and I usually find something there, they don't have the vintage selection they used to. I did find a nice pair of slouchy boots that I like quite a bit and have been wearing a lot lately, so I can't complain too much, though. For dinner, I went over to Table 24. They were having a charity event so I couldn't get a table, but there was seating at the bar. I usually enjoy sitting at the bar anyway, especially when I'm eating alone (which I do quite a bit and highly recommend). I had had a veggie burger that was great, mango & fig bruchetta and a local beer.

Day two was the drive over to Maine, which should have taken about 6 hours, but I stopped a few places along the way so it took all day. The first was in Woodstock, Vermont for lunch and to check out my favorite vintage clothing store Who Is Sylvia. Last time I was there I bought a black velvet 1920s dress, a couple of antique lace shawls and some vintage trims for sewing. This time I didn't get anything, though it was still nice to browse.

Next was the antique mall in Quechee, where I also did not buy anything but still enjoyed browsing. After that, it was onward through New Hampshire and over to Maine. That drive was probably the best part of the trip, all the fall colors were out and there's really nothing quite like driving on an open road with gorgeous scenery and listening to music. The downside to all the stops is that I got to Maine late. The inn I decided to stay at was on an island, so I ended up sitting in a parking lot for almost an hour waiting for the ferry so get the island to get to the inn so I could get some sleep. I'm sure islands are charming and all, but it was inconvenient enough that I'll likely avoid island hotels in the future. I did finally make it, though, had a couple of local Maine beers and went to sleep.

Day three was supposed to be when I did all the stereotypical Maine activities like see lighthouses, but it rained the whole day. The inn was nice, more like a hotel than inn, built in the 1920s after the original inn had burned down. I spent some time walking around the grounds, since I had an hour or so between checkout and when the ferry was scheduled to leave.

After that, it was over to the LL Bean flagship store, I spent a lot more than I would have expected given that my usual style is not very LL Bean at all, but I now have plenty of wool socks to get me through the winter plus a surprisingly nice velveteen blazer. From there it was down to Portland where I went to the Victoria Mansion, which is an amazing gilded age mansion. By guided tour only, everything there basically in it's original state including a Turkish smoking room and even the dishes. I had already decided to get dinner at Green Elephant, I would have liked to get something more Maine than Asian food but it's hard to turn down an all vegetarian restaurant, especially when on the road. Due to some poor planning, though, I had a half hour to fill before they reopened for dinner. While walking around killing time, I saw a comic book store and decided to check that out. It ended up being a great decision, when I got inside it turns out they also had a bunch of pinball machines! So I bought a Daniel Clowes book, got some quarters and played some Monster Bash until it was dinnertime. And I was glad I waited instead of going somewhere else for dinner, the food was pretty great.

After that it was time to head home, unfortunately by that point it was pouring and not the light rain it had been earlier. If a sunny day on an open road is the best driving, nighttime in the pouring rain on unfamiliar roads is the worst. It felt like it took forever to get home, and I didn't make it until around midnight. Overall, it was a good trip, though, and I'm glad I did it. It was my first time travelling alone to a new place, and that was worth it, especially since I'll probably be doing more of that in the coming year.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Photos from the Zeiss-Ikon Ikoflex

And it's once again been a while since I updated. I've had a lot of work things to deal with so I've been lacking in both spare time and motivation, but things seem to have settled down for now.
One of the first things on my todo list was to try out the vintage camera I picked up a while back. It's a Zeiss-Ikon Ikoflex, I think it's an Ikoflex I but I'm not sure. They apparently both used the same model number for different cameras, and had multiple styles with the same model number. Regardless, it likely dates from 1939-1951 and the lever focus makes me think it's on the earlier side of that range.
The good news is it still works! I like that it takes 120 film instead of the 620 that my other vintage cameras take so I don't have to respool film for it. It's metal which makes it much sturdier as well, but it's also a lot heavier (while looking for Ikoflex info I came across a site that listed "Dimensions and weight: A brick", which is pretty accurate). I went to the local waterfront park, I use that a lot to try out new cameras since it's close by and has good lighting. I didn't spend a lot of time composing the pictures since I wasn't sure if it even worked, but a few came out kinda nice anyway.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Some weekend thrifting finds

I finally made it out to some tag sales for the first time this summer! It's been busy with both work and personal things taking up a lot of my time lately so I've been sleeping in often, but I managed to get up at a reasonable hour on Saturday and saw there were a few interesting tag sale listings. I'll probably do more thorough posts on individual things later, but here's a couple of my favorites.

I almost didn't go to this tag sale since it was pretty far away, but after the first one (where I got some worthwhile but not exciting stuff like high quality fake flowers and a couple of books and purses) I was having a nice time out driving and listening to music so I decided to go for it. Turned out to be a tag sale at an antique shop that had the best stuff. I mostly got things from the tag sale tables, but did end up picking up some stuff inside too. I'm thrilled with the late-teen's era sewing pattern which is not only my size - a rarity for me and vintage patterns - but also for something I'd wear. The camera was a non-tag sale purchase and a bit more than I'd normally spend while thrifting, but I just received a bit of money from my parents for my birthday so I decided to go for it.

I also picked up this fantastic book, an educational book for girls covering puberty and transitioning to adulthood. It's dated 1898, so I'm expecting to learn a bunch of new euphemisms for lady issues and I'm definitely planning on posting excerpts here.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

A cataclysm (though not really), and happy birthday to me

A Louis Wain picture found in a scrapbook in my grandmother's attic

It's been well over a month since I last posted, and I've been thinking lately about what I want to do with this blog. And since it's my birthday, it's usually when I try to make changes in my life anyway, moreso than New Year's for me. I originally meant it to be a blog about my sewing and crafting, Blythe, thrifting and photography but lately I've only managed to post photos, and even then sporadically. Currently thinking I'll just try to keep with the original plan and make it a point to post more this year, but I guess we'll see if I manage it.

A bit about the above image, I first became familiar with Louis Wain's work many years ago through Current 93. It really combines things I like - vintage imagery and cats. I was looking through a scrapbook we found in the attic at my late grandmother's house (though it's too old to be hers, possibly my great-grandmother's or someone even older) and this was one of the pictures pasted in it. And while I know he was a popular artist at the time and many people probably scrapbooked his pictures it's still nice to feel some sort of connection with a long lost relative, even if it's just a cat picture.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Philadelphia, Day Two

Day two was less exciting than day one. My mom and I were both pretty tired and it was pouring rain so we didn't do as much. First we crossed to New Jersey and went to the aquarium there. I didn't take a lot of pictures since it was pretty dark inside.

Bridge to Philadelphia, from NJ


We also went to see the old Christ Church burial ground where Benjamin Franklin is buried, and the Betsy Ross house (which didn't allow pictures inside)

And one random picture I took of some buildings.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Philadelphia, Day One

Over Mother's Day weekend, I took a trip to Philadelphia with my mom. It was a somewhat short notice trip due to scheduling concerns so we needed to pick somewhere fairly nearby. As a kid I really loved Revolutionary War history (this was one of my favorite childhood movies) so I'd always wanted to go to Philadelphia to see Independence Hall and the other historical sites. It's probably less exciting as an adult then it would have been when I was younger but I still had fun - except for the Liberty Bell which was boring.

One thing I love about historical districts is all the trees and old buildings, it's so easy to walk around thinking of the people who've lived and passed through there over the years and wondering what their lives were like.

I used the Holga lens for my Nikon a lot again, it's really grown on me. The rest of the photos are on flickr.

Friday, May 4, 2012


I haven't been for a real night out in a while (just drinks after work), so I'm really looking forward to Dances of Vice this weekend. I think the last time I went to one of their events was July 4th last year. I had kind of forgotten how fun is it to get ready for something like this! I finished making a dress that turned out ok, though maybe not great, but I also have a vintage plain velvet dress from the 1920s as a backup if I change my mind last minute. I found a great pair of sandals at the thrift store for $10. I do still need to do my nails and come up with something to do with my hair (I like the bobbed look but my hair is the longest it's ever been so I'm definitely not cutting it). So I'm not completely ready yet but I feel like I'm close, hopefully it'll be a great time.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012


The other weekend I had a last-minute trip to upstate New York to visit family. I haven't been up to Oswego to visit in years, but my parents were heading over with my sister so I decided to drive up too. Stayed in a cute bed & breakfast and ate at Rudy's (a family tradition, we never cook a dinner together but always go to Rudy's) which was nice.

The cold rainy weather was a bit gloomy, though I did make it out for some pictures by the Oswego Canal. A while back I impulsively picked up the Holga lens set for my Nikon and decided to try it out, and I think it suited the dreary weather fairly well.

I managed to get at least one Blythe out for some pictures (I brought three)

I'm not sure if this ice cream place was just closed since it's not summer or out of business, but I found the sign somewhat depressing

I wish I'd had time to visit more and walk around more and take more pictures (the full set is on flickr), but it was a short notice trip so I didn't have much time. Maybe again later in the year...

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Brownie Target Six-20

This one was a gift from a friend, so I was really looking forward to trying it out. I finally got around to cleaning, touching it up a bit and respooling some film and took it out for some quick pictures over the weekend (I didn't want to spend too much time on them in case it didn't work at all). I got my photos back yesterday and was happy to see that it still works!

It was a bit of a challenge to use since the viewfinders are so small and only one of them works, the mirror is knocked out of place on one side. I had also expected it to take square pictures since that's what my other vintage camera takes so I was a bit surprised when I only got 10 pictures out of the roll, but once I got it developed it made sense. I hope to take it out again for more pictures soon.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Still here...

So this blog has been a bit neglected lately, but I'm still around and reading my blog list. I feel like I haven't been that busy but yet I've been somewhat behind on all my personal projects. I've been taking pictures for 52 Weeks of Blythe, but haven't uploaded them. I have a new vintage camera I need to clean and re-spool some film for, but I haven't gotten around to it yet. I've only sewn a few basic things that are too boring to post. I started a second blog just for my scans from my vintage magazine collection, but haven't sat down and scanned much recently (hopefully this weekend, though). And since I haven't managed to actually finish enough of anything, posting has been light.

However, I bought my first Blythe in over a year (Rachel's Ribbon) and I'm really looking forward to taking some pictures of her. Hopefully that will get at least some of my motivation going again.

(updated 3/19 - I finally added some more pictures of her on flickr)

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Vermont and Diana Lens

I went up to Vermont for Christmas, and I decided to give another chance to one of the Diana lenses for my DLSR. I had tried using it before and didn't really like it, but I think the pictures came out better this time. Maybe I'll end up using it more often after all.

The Hubbartdon Battlefield Monument

A different view of the monument

It was a pretty dreary day

Some ice covered branches along the side of the road

More by the side of the road

View of the mountains

Sunday, January 1, 2012

A Happy New Year

postmarked 1910 (I've been waiting since fall for this postcard to be seasonally appropriate, I love how dreary it looks)