DeCordova Museum Biennial

January 30th, 2010 § 0 comments § permalink

Last night, Mr. NSV and I and 45 of some of the coolest people in Portland, Maine got on a bus loaded with champagne and pot luck and rode to Boston to check out the Biennial at the DeCordova Museum.

Knowing my friend Greta Bank (previously here) would be showing her work at the exhibit, I have been excited about this for months.  And then I found out that some other Maine artists, including August Ventimiglia, Karin Weiner, William Pope L., and one of my all-time favorites, Randy Regier (with whom the Mr. and I share a bond in the form of very similar aesthetics, and a set of massive stainless steel letters that spell “PENNY” but that is a post for another day) were in the biennial.  AND the trip down would be a bus full of fellow Portlanders, booze, and food?  I was out of my mind with happiness.

The only problem with the trip was that it was dark when we arrived at the DeCordova, so it was impossible to see the sculpture garden, when I understand is incredible.  Still, the museum sits on the side of the hill, there was snow flying, and it was lit up like a nativity scene.

Muffler men, cabin fever, and the BFI

January 26th, 2010 § 1 comment § permalink

This is the time of the year when I start getting stir crazy.  No motorcycle rides, no gardening, no yard sales, no barbeques or trips out on Casco Bay.

I want to take a road trip.  I think I want to see the “Muffler Men” of Maine.

Muffler Men, described in Roadside America as, “[G]iant fiberglass humanoids [that] menace America’s highways”  are hulking manly figures created to attract interest for roadside businesses. The classic Muffer Men, hold mufflers, and there’s an entire “cousin” line of giant Paul Bunyans.


Some Muffler Men have been adapted (or one could say mutated) to reflect the business they’re promoting:



And some have just been altered, in very VERY strange ways.



The two Maine muffler men (though one is technically a Paul Bunyan) are pretty far away.  So it’s nice to know, if I need a quick fix of giant fiberglass man, the BFI (Big F____g Indian) is right up the street!


One of the many reasons I love my job.

January 25th, 2010 § 0 comments § permalink

It’s not just because I get to buy and handle beautiful clothing.  Or because I can work with my cat at my feet and post-rock music on my iPod.  And it’s not only because of my fabulous buyers and fellow vintage sellers, whom I adore.  But mostly, it’s because I get to meet some very cool, very interesting older people.

This 1943 pilot’s uniform was purchased from a 92 year old woman who lives in Western Maine, “past the reformatory” was how she described her location.  (It took me a minute to realize she meant the prison.)


The uniform was her husband’s.  He was a pilot for Northwestern Airlines.  She had a large photo portrait of him hanging over her mantle.  He was VERY handsome, and, judging from the size of the suit, VERY tall.

Anne, as I’ll call her, had an interesting history herself.  She was a graduate of the Rhode Island School of Design where she was one of the first people to learn screenprinting.  One of her pieces was shown in the World’s Fair (Chicago, I believe), and she was thrilled to get it out and show it to me.  I wish I had taken a photo!  She had her own business, making screen printed clothing for local schools – sort of like an early Etsy seller.  I still have two of her skirts that she screen printed for some local high schools.  And I’m keeping them.

We spent a glorious summer afternoon on her sun porch, going through her clothes.  She loved telling me about the pieces, and she loved knowing that they would go on to people who appreciated them.

And yes, there’s something bittersweet about all of this.  But I’m glad to be in a business where I got to meet someone like her and hear her story.

Why I never test drive the merchandise.

January 24th, 2010 § 1 comment § permalink

The bad news – you will never be able to buy this sweater from NorthStar Vintage.



The good news?  I’m toasty warm in my “new” cardigan and have found another sartorial obsession – vintage Norwegian/Scandinavian sweaters.


January 22nd, 2010 § 2 comments § permalink

I have the most talented friends!

Last week, Hannah Tarkinson sent me a link to the purse that she had made, after being  inspired by my purse. (it was a yard sale find).

Here’s what she made:



Seriously, it is about the most beautiful purse I’ve ever seen.  I am SO flattered that my little yard sale find was the inspiration for something so incredible.  And I’m even more in awe of Hannah, who took something nifty, and created a piece of wearable art.

You can find more of her work on her website, Ponomo.

And as if being an incredible jewelry designer, leather worker, and all around cool woman were not enough, she also sings in the band Isobell – even super picky me and Mr. NSV love this band.

Wooly man things

January 19th, 2010 § 0 comments § permalink

It’s been snowing for 3 days straight here in Maine. Vintage wool menswear is the only thing that makes sense to me right now.

Please click on the picture to see the auction.


1960's Woolrich Black Parka


1940's or 1950's Striped Wool Hunting Socks

1950's Green Wool Wilson Athletic Jacket

1950's Green Wool Wilson Athletic Jacket

1950's Gray Red Striped Wool Suit

1950's Gray Red Striped Wool Suit

1970's L.L. Bean Fisherman's Sweater - Made in Norway

1970's L.L. Bean Fisherman's Sweater - Made in Norway

1950's Purple Wool Robe/Smoking Jacket

1950's Purple Wool Robe/Smoking Jacket

Ice fishing as art.

January 16th, 2010 § 0 comments § permalink

I know that right now my brother is sitting in the middle of a frozen lake in Central Maine, wearing all his warmest clothes, hovering over a 10″ hole, and having a great day. I suspect there may be beer involve.

Growing up on a Maine lake, I saw a lot of ice fishing. Dad set some traps, though we never had an ice shack since he could watch the traps from the house (an orange flag is triggered when a fish takes the bait). To me, ice fishing was about the smell of fish and kerosene, cheap beer, and frigid cold. I was far too obsessed with Atari, feathering my hair, and  Loverboy to pay attention to the ice shacks, or the beauty of the lake in winter.

Luckily, Scott Peterman* has noticed.




You can see more photos HERE.

And while these are beautiful enough on the computer, they are even more incredible in real life.  I am lucky enough to have two of Scott’s photos in my home, and I look at them like I would look out a window – often, and always seeing something new.

*Scott and I have been friends for 25 years.

More Maine-y Goodness

January 15th, 2010 § 0 comments § permalink

I love seeing Maine companies being mentioned – especially when it comes to fashion and design!

Angela Adams’ Sea Bags are raved about in Design*Sponge.

This is my favorite:

Angela Adams Seagull Tote

Angela Adams Seagull Tote

I think I need this too:

Angela Adams Green Leather Pouch Clutch

Angela Adams Green Leather Pouch Clutch

And this print would be perfect in my yellow dining room:

Angela Adams Print

Angela Adams Print

I can just drive over to Portland and check it all out at the store! I love living in Maine – even in January!

Vintage New Years Resolution

January 12th, 2010 § 0 comments § permalink

Here are a list of my 10 vintage related (sometimes only tangentially related) Vintage Resolutions for 2010.  The idea for the list was borrewed from  Denisebrain who was impressed by the list of vintage resoutions on the Zuburbia Blog.

1. Become a better blogger – I’m almost embarrassed to post this list after looking at the above mentioned blogs.

2. Finish my web store.  It’s out there.  You can find it if you look,  but I’m not quite ready to do the full on promotion.

3. Work outside of my comfort zone.  This summer I started dealing in vintage jewelry and really loved it.  Just because I don’t know about something, it doesn’t mean I can’t learn.

4. Refine my dating.  Not THAT kind of dating (though yikes, when I was dating, it was about as unrefined as you could get).  I’d like to be able to date an item to within a year or two of its creation.

5. Get my leather cafe racer jacket relined.  With leopard print lining.


6. Go to more auctions and antique stores with my dad. He is the ultimate shopping partner.

7. Sell more locally.  I already do two trunk shows a year, and get such a thrill out of seeing local folks (or, hello, other not so local folks)

Sufjan Stevens, Bowery Ballroom, October 4, 2009

Sufjan Stevens, Bowery Ballroom, October 4, 2009

wearing my vintage.  I need to do more of that.

8.  But a knockout dress and create the opportunity to wear it.

9. More Frye Boots.

10. Run a marathon (if my vintage joints can take it).


January 11th, 2010 § 0 comments § permalink

I take it where I can find it when it comes to winter. So….it stays light until 4:45 now! Spring is only 3 months away!

So I’ve listed some warm weather pieces (and, of course, some cold weather pieces). Click HERE to see them all or click on the individual photo for the auction.

50's Black Pink Plaid Full Skirt Dress with Velvet

50's Black Pink Plaid Full Skirt Dress with Velvet

40's Blue and Yellow Rayon Dress - Butterly Novelty Print!  Hello!

40's Blue and Yellow Rayon Dress - Butterly Novelty Print! Hello!

30's Red and White Daisy Print Dress with Ruffles

30's Red and White Daisy Print Dress with Ruffles

60's Black Leather Mod Spy Jacket

60's Black Leather Mod Spy Jacket

40's Red/Black Tapered Art Deco Suit

40's Red/Black Tapered Art Deco Suit

Where am I?

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