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Top 5 DIYs Using Chalkboard Paint and Vintage Finds

Chalk it up to our love of vintage and the thrill of the hunt for a stylish up-cycle, but we’re totally crushing on chalkboard surfaces these days. We think type on chalkboards really screams summer fun – not to mention that chalkboard details and finishes are an easy way to add playful personality and a sense of design to almost any setting. With chalkboard paints appearing on the shelves of every hardware and craft store, we’ve chosen to highlight five of our favorite ways to creatively use this popular trend.

[VV Tip #1: Be sure to read through all steps and have your materials ready. We’ve linked to some of our favorite projects, but be sure to read carefully through the instructions before starting any project. There’s nothing worse than being on the last step of a project only to find that you’re missing a crucial item…without which your project will resemble something your 4-year old nephew brought home from preschool.]

1. Use vintage embroidery hoops to frame chalkboard signs for the fare at your next party or gathering.

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Photo from Hostess With The Mostess

[VV Tip #2: Decide if you want a more natural look or whether you prefer a pop of color. Vintage embroidery hoops come in a variety of shapes, sizes and colors, though the more common is the wooden version. Snag a wooden or colored plastic set from Vidalia’s Etsy Store.]

2. Create a chalkboard themed table-scape for a personalized and casual approach to dining.

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Photo from Ellen Medlock Blog

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Photo from Hey Look

[VV Tip #3: Finish the table with vintage accents, head to the FreshVintage shop at Highland Orchards to look at vintage silver, place settings, platters and pretty planters for centerpieces.]

3. Make chalkboard-dipped spoons as re-imagined labels or signs.

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Photo from Best Friends For Frosting

[VV Tip #4:  Skip the family silver for this project.  It’s not worth the post-project regret of ruining a family heirloom.  Hit up thrift stores, yard sales or use that set in your drawer that you’ve been meaning to get rid of.  Keep in mind the handles still show so look for details that are pretty to you and make you happy.]

4. Paint a chalkboard label on pots and planters for your herb garden.

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Photo from One Hundred Dollars A Month

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Photo from la chapstick fanatique

[VV Tip #5:  Don’t limit yourself, think outside the pot, you can plant herbs in almost any container.  Vidalia’s Vintage sells a variety of items that are perfect for planting herbs like crates, old boxes or watering cans at FreshVintage at Highland Orchards. Also, please try to find local, organic and non-treated herbs so you and your family can enjoy the freshest, best-dressed herbs possible.]

5. Embellish a ho-hum serving tray or platter, giving it a chalkboard writing surface.

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Above photos from BRIT + CO

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Photo from Wit & Whistle

[VV Tip #6: Find a tray or serving vessel that you like the lines of and give it a new life with a chalkboard paint finish so you can personalize what you’re serving. Label cheeses, note dipping sauces or personalize a note to your honey.]

Chalkboard paint now comes in a wide variety of colors, though we tend to prefer the traditional slate gray against bright white chalk. Want the look of chalkboard paint but don’t have the time? We’ve got the perfect solution for you (but shhh…don’t give away our secret): chalkboard labels.  (These can be found at office supply stores or purchased as chalkboard look-alikes with type printed in a chalk-styled font.) Peel and stick your way to chalkboard perfection.

If you’re looking for more inspiration for your chalkboard DIY (or for a specialty hand-crafted chalkboard creations), check out our Etsy Treasury, “Chalk It Up To Vintage Love”:

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And if that’s not enough, dive in to the endless supply of creative inspiration that is Pinterest, and peruse our Pinterest Board, “Chalk It Up to Vintage Living”:

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But no matter your personal preference, take the plunge and play with this versatile finish. Have fun with your chalkboard project and enjoy bringing a modern twist to YOUR next vintage find!

Get The Look – Vintage Patio and Garden

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We were recently asked to write a vintage-inspired “Get The Look” for the print publication “The WC Press” for their May 2013 issue. They asked that we use only local West Chester retailers in our search. Of course we were thrilled – and went straight to work creating a fun and festive outdoor scene inspired by Styer’s Garden Cafe at Terrain. We hope you like the end result! Leave some link love and let us know if you have any ideas for our next “Get The Vintage Look”.

We’re Headed to…A Vintage Garage Sale

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This Friday, May 3rd from 4pm-9pm Vidalia’s Vintage will be headed to the picturesque Philadelphia suburb of West Chester where we will be participating in A Vintage Garage Sale for a second year in a row. We’re so excited to be a part of this year’s event which coincides with West Chester’s always popular First Friday celebrations.  The May 3 event is the first of the summer series, with other markets running the First Fridays of June, August and September.

We’d like to warn you: A Vintage Garage Sale isn’t just any run-of-the-mill garage sale.  This is a one-of-a-kind garage sale with all the fun and flair of a big city pop-up night market mixed with loads of small town charm.

The annual event is expected to draw vintage seekers from across the tri-state area, so if you’re within driving distance, pile your vintage-loving friends into the nearest Volks-wagen van and ride on down to visit us! We’re thrilled that this event has received a lot of buzz from area media outlets – so we’re expecting a nice crowd.

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While you’re here, you’ll find over 20 vintage vendors (can you resist??), some of our favorite Philadelphia-based food trucks (you MUST try the delectable cupcakes from Dia Doce, not to mention the drool-worthy Korean food from KaChi), plus live jazz music and wine tastings from local Kreutz Creek Winery. (And if you love their wine as much as we do, just walk one block and purchase a bottle – or two! – from their tasting room.)

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Good friend and vintage vendor Colleen Allison of freshvintage will be joining us at the market, selling her always-lovely vintage home goods. Colleen specializes in vintage furniture and home accessories with an eye towards industrial, farmhouse, and retro styles. You can shop the vintage market and grab a light bite (and a few sips!) before heading to one of the many downtown restaurants for your main course. You should plan to stroll through the downtown while you’re here. West Chester’s shops will  be open until 9 p.m. in celebration of the First Friday activities.

Here’s a sneak peek at some of the vintage items we’ll be selling at  A Vintage Garage Sale:

While you’re in town, check out Malena’s Vintage Boutique (at her new location of 101 West Gay Street), which will be open until 9 p.m. We know this store well and we think you’ll adore the well-curated collection of vintage items inside ranging from apparel to accessories.

Any of you vintage sellers out there interested in joining the ranks of vendors at A Vintage Garage Sale? The May sale has been sold out  (sorry folks!) but West Chester Parks and Recreation is currently accepting vendor applications for the other summer markets. You can get more information at: www.west-chester.com/recreation.php.

The weather forecast looks fabulous for this Friday, but be sure to mark your calendars for ALL of the Vintage Garage Sales (May 3rd, June 7th,  August 2nd and September 6th) – it’s an all-weather event and follows the scheduling of First Fridays (which are also rain or shine). Downtown stores will be open late and many offer specials open to all.

Life of Pyrex

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For vintage lovers like those of us at Vidalia’s Vintage, few vintage objects are able to evoke such a powerful positive response as a beautiful display of Pyrex glassware. The form and function of these gorgeous objects are beyond compare, not to mention the vast array of vibrant colors, patterns, shapes and styles that abound.

It’s quite interesting to consider the evolution of the love of Pyrex.  Pyrex has been popular for its use in the kitchen since its invention in the early 1900s, however over the last few years there has risen out of the crowd something akin to a cult following. Social media seems to have propelled the Pyrex obsession to new levels. Simply search the word “Pyrex” on Pinterest and you’ll find countless Pin Boards dedicated to the love of all things Pyrex.  

Whatever the reason for the surge in popularity, we’re ever so glad the world is beginning to recognize the charm of these vintage beauties. Vidalia’s Vintage has had a number of Pyrex pieces that have graced our shop windows, many of which are quickly snatched up by other Pyrex lovers. Here are a few currently featured in Vidalia’s Vintage Etsy Shop:

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One could know nothing about the history of Pyrex and appreciate their value nontheless. If you don’t know the history of Pyrex but can’t help but drool over a vintage set when one crosses your path, well, you would be like me. I could write an entire article focusing on the colors and patterns of Pyrex that have circulated over the past 100 years since its invention. We’ll have to leave that for another day.  For today, we wanted to share a brief history of Pyrex directly from the makers themselves:

The idea for Pyrex Glassware came from the industrious wife of a Corning Glass Works scientist who was frustrated with her unreliable casserole dish. Knowing the strength of the railroad signal lantern glass her husband worked with, she begged him to bring home something she could use in the kitchen. Voilà, the Pyrex baking dish was born. Two years later, Boston department store Jordan Marsh placed the first order for Pyrex Glassware. The rest, as they say, is history.” 
 
I love that it was the wife of the glass works scientist who came up with the idea. I’m currently playing the made-for-TV movie of the history of Pyrex in my mind. Can’t you just picture the scene now? At every dinner party ’til death do they part, the poor husband would be destined to entertain her retelling of the story, passing all of the credit to his lovely and ingenious wife beaming, “It was all her idea!”
 
Once these durable (and beautiful) dishes hit stores, every housewife in America had to get their hands on a set. Soon advertisements touting the arrival of the future of baking and cooking could be seen on billboards and in magazines across the country.
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Have a gander at some of our very own Pyrex dishes that have passed through Vidalia’s store (we’re sorry, these are no longer available for purchase):
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Pyrex love reaches far and wide and doesn’t stop with just the dishes themselves. From greeting cards to illustrations, even cross-stitch and upcycled lighting, you can find artists using Pyrex as inspiration for just about anything. I love this print by Pocono Modern titled, “Vintage Pyrex Poster – Blue” available on Etsy for only $16:
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Any conversation about Pyrex would be incomplete without mentioning the treasure-trove of goodies found on both Etsy and Pinterest. Check out our sunny Etsy Treasury of Pyrex dishes that we think would look lovely in any kitchen, retro or not.
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And get inspired by our Pinterest board which includes a number of beautiful vignettes that hit just the right note when it comes to Pyrex collections.
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Feeling a little sheepish about disclosing the sheer volume of your Pyrex stash? Don’t! Go big or go home, we say. If you’re still hesitant – never fear. You’ve got company! We love this article “Confessions of a Pyrex Hoarder” by Christy Jordan on her blog “Southern Plate”. It’s full of beautiful and colorful snapshots from around her home – featuring her very own collection of Pyrex. And check out this staggering statistic:
Today, approximately 80% of U.S. homes have Pyrex glass products, with many cooks passing them down from generation to generation.”
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Have any lovely Pyrex collections in your abode? We’d love to lay our eyes on them, so do comment on our blog post and leave some link love!

Vintage Fondue Party: A Guide

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The word “fondue” (especially when used by a vintage-lover like myself) conjures up images of a 70s dinner-party scenario where couples are gathered joyously around a warm bowl of cheese ceremoniously baptizing any number of items into the creamy pool (see image below for a snapshot of what’s swimming around my brain right now…)

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(Image from Lune Vintage)

We thought it would be fun to re-create such a festive scenario by using vintage fondue sets and giving it a modern twist by using locally sourced ingredients. You can use your own local cheese artisans, beer brewers, wine makers, or whisky crafters, but we’ve highlighted our favorites from our own back yard.

For the recipes below we purchased a few of our favorite go-to cheeses and then (after giving them a quick taste test) paired them with the alcohol that we felt was best. In this case, we were pairing with beer, wine and whiskey. Since fondue only takes a few minutes to whip up, I encourage you to be creative, mix n’ match combinations that you and your fellow fonduers enjoy the most. If you’re dining as a couple, it’s good to make these very important life decisions together. Ask your partner questions such as, “Which cheese tastes the best with whiskey?” and “Taste this. Do you think it needs more nutmeg?”

Fondue Pots

Fondue Vintage Collection

Clearly, I crush on anything vintage but I also love interactive dining, so clearly fondue is a perfect meal for me. My own personal collection of vintage fondue pots are some that I’ve found at thrift shops or flea markets (and a few that I stole from my mom.)

Cheese Fondue

If you’re on the hunt for a vintage fondue pot, it’s important to find one that is in good working order without any rust or too much wear from previous owners. Check out our curated Etsy Treasury of fondu pots and accessories currently for sale on Etsy:

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Of course, you can always splurge and buy a new one. I prefer to use fondue pots that accommodate sterno over the tea-light heated or electric varieties, and I always use a sterno cover to help moderate the heat level. Don’t forget your fondue forks!  Forks usually come with a fondue set in the box but be sure to check that they are included. Things could be messy (and painful) if you don’t use the proper equipment.

Decisions, decisions: Which fondue pot to use?

In this case I felt that the retro, fat-handled brown fondue pot would go best with a beer fondue.  The silver pot screamed Mad Men mid-century style and reminded me of a cocktail shaker, so I chose that one to use for the whiskey and cheese. The sweet green fondue pot would be for wine.  We dipped rosemary-infused goodies into that one, so the colors blended well.

Victory Brewing Company Beer and Cheddar Fondue

Beer Fondue

I like beer but I’m not in love with predominantly hoppy beers. My friends, however, love a bite of hop so this fondue (made with Headwaters IPA) was perfect for them. I happily ate it, but would probably opt for Victory’s Whirlwind or Golden Monkey if I were making this fondue for myself. It’s all personal preference.

Recipe (serves two)

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup of Victory Beer (in this case Headwaters Pale Ale)
  • ½ tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon of mustard (we used Herlocher’s Dipping Mustard)
  • 1 teaspoon of hot sauce (we used Sriracha)
  • 2 cups of extra sharp white cheddar, shredded
  • 1 ½ tablespoons cornstarch (mixed with 1 tablespoon water)

Directions:

Beer Fondue, In the Making

Heat the first four ingredients in a saucepan and simmer for about two minutes. Add cheese one cup at a time and whisk into the simmering liquid. Once that is combined, add the cornstarch, previously mixed to a paste with water, and whisk until thick with uniform consistency. When in doubt, add more of the cornstarch/water mixture and whisk until it’s just right. Add more beer if it’s too thick. Note: If you add beer towards the end, the beer will not reduce and the flavor will be more intense. Once you have reached your desired consistency, heat the sterno under your fondue pot and transfer the mixture to the fondue pot.

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Dippables:

  • Cured meats (we chose a spicy Italian sausage)
  • Soft pretzels

Drink:

  • The rest of the beer from your six pack—duh.

Overheard:

  • “I can really taste the beer, and I like it.”
  • “Pretzels and mustard are one of my favorite combinations and the mustard really shines through in this.”
  • “Oops! I just dropped fondue in my beer!”

Chaddsford Winery Pinot Grigio and Fontina and Swiss Fondue

Wine Fondue

Recipe (serves two)

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup of Brandywine Valley Wine Trail White Wine
  • ½ tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 cup of fontina, shredded
  • 1 cup of swiss, shredded
  • 1 ½ tablespoon cornstarch (mixed with 1 tablespoon lemon juice)
  • ½ teaspoon dry mustard
  • ½ teaspoon nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon white pepper
  • ½ teaspoon paprika

Directions:

Wine & Cheese Fondue, Step-By-Step

Heat the wine and garlic in a saucepan and simmer for about two minutes. Add cheese one cup at a time and whisk into the liquid. Whisk in dry mustard, nutmeg, paprika. Once that is combined, add the cornstarch, previously mixed to a paste with lemon juice, and whisk until it is thick and has uniform consistency. Heat the sterno under your fondue pot and then transfer the mixture to the fondue pot.

Dippables:

Fondue Potatoes

  • Herbed Potatoes  (make by boiling bite-sized pieces of red bliss potato in vegetable broth with fresh rosemary and thyme for 10 minutes or until tender; drain liquid and chill until ready to dip!)
  • Rosemary Bread, cubed.

Drink:

  • Pair with any local wine from The Brandywine Valley Wine Trail.  In this case, we had the rest of the Pinot Grigio from Chaddsford Winery.

Overheard:

  • “Wine and cheese is a great combination and it’s even better when it’s melty. This one is my favorite.”
  • “The rosemary and herbs in the bread and the potatoes pair really well with this and has a nice balance or earthiness and richness.”
  • “There’s fondue in your beard.”

Wine Fondue

Dad’s Hat Pennsylvania Rye Whiskey and Gruyere Fondue

Whiskey Fondue

Recipe (serves two)

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup vegetable broth
  • ¼ cup whiskey
  • ½ tablespoon minced garlic
  • 2 cups of Gruyere
  • 1 ½ tablespoon cornstarch (mixed with 1 tablespoon water)
  • ½ teaspoon dry mustard
  • ½ teaspoon nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon white pepper

Directions:

Heat the broth, whiskey and garlic in a saucepan and simmer for about two minutes. Add cheese one cup at a time and whisk into the liquid. Whisk in dry mustard, nutmeg, white pepper. Once that is combined, add the cornstarch, previously mixed to a paste with water, and whisk until it is thick and has uniform consistency. Heat the sterno under your fondue pot and then transfer the mixture to the fondue pot.

Dippables:

  • French Baguette, cubed
  • Blanched Broccoli

Drink:

Whiskey, How-to

Drink Recipe:

  • 2 oz. Dad’s Hat Pennsylvania Rye
  • 1 oz. Vermouth, Sweet
  • 2 Dashes Angostura or Peychaud’s Bitters
  • 1 Whole Maraschino Cherry

Add all ingredients over ice in a shaker. Stir and strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with a maraschino cherry.

Overheard:

  • “Mmmm. This one is good but the whiskey is more subtle.”
  • “I can’t taste the whiskey as much in this one. (This was addressed quickly by having a guest pour some directly into the fondue pot.”
  • “Can you taste it now?”
  • “Yeah, I can taste it A LOT now…and I think I’m getting drunk from it.”
  • “Cheese shot!”

Satan’s Bake Sale Mint Chocolate Chip Stout and Dark Chocolate Fondue

Chocolate Fondue

It wouldn’t be a party without dessert and this sexy stout-spiked dark chocolate fondue makes for a sinful last course. To keep it super sinful we used Satan’s Bake Sale Mint Chocolate Chip Stout, which is made by Spring House Brewing Company in Pennsylvania.

Recipe (serves two)

Chocolate Fondue

Ingredients:

  • 1 3-oz bar artisanal dark chocolate with no more than 62 percent cacao, broken in small pieces
  • 3 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons chocolate stout
  • 1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla
  • pinch of salt

Directions:

Melt chocolate in a double boiler over simmering water, I recommend making it directly in your double-boiler fondue pot. Heat cream in a small, heavy saucepan until simmering. Be careful not to let it boil. Whisk melted chocolate until smooth, then swirl in the heated cream. Add stout, vanilla and salt; stir until blended. Heat sterno under the fondue pot and transfer mixture  into double boiler fondue pot and serve.

Dippables:

  • Hazelnut biscotti
  • Strawberries (cleaned and halved)
  • Sliced Pears

Drink:

  • Chocolate Stout! Or.. finish the drinks you started from the first three courses.

Overheard:

  • “Oh. My. God. So good.”
  • “Yup. That’s nice.”
  • “There are so many drinks to choose from.”
  • “I may prefer this with regular chocolate stout instead of a mint-infused one.”
  • “Put a (fondue) fork in me, I’m done.”

Fondue Finale

Do you fondue? What are your favorite recipes and combinations? We’d love to hear ‘em!

“You’re Just My Type” – Our Love Affair With Vintage Typewriters

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It’s been going on for some time now. I’ve tried to keep this under wraps. I am a secret admirer. I have a serious long-term infatuation…with typewriters. I have kept this from my true love (my laptop) but leading this double life is taking its toll. I must make my feelings known and declare my personal truth. Believe me, I am not doing this “tell all” without serious consideration for my best friend and trusty sidekick who’s been with me through thick and thin. However I cannot deny the facts. My laptop has been there through late night blog posts, and Facebook binges, through Twitter feed frenzies and pouring over Pinterest. I really couldn’t make it through a day without my buddy Mac. And yet, I have an obsession with typewriters that I cannot (and will not) give up.

Sure, these dinosaurs from a bygone era are no longer relevant to today’s lightning speed, output-churning workforce, and yet this fact phases me very little. These beautiful creatures were giants in the dawn of the modern printing era.  As I gaze longingly at one of these former dinosaurs, I can almost hear the rhythmic “click, clack” of fingers steadily pouring out letters, correspondence, anecdotes, books, poetry, songs and the like. Historically, manual typewriters would be handed down through generations…which means that a single machine could be responsible for producing an entire family’s recorded history. That’s a pretty amazing feat.

To me, typewriters are dripping with romance. They’re not only gorgeous to photograph but inspiring to write about. Typewriters are a total sensory experience. You have sounds of fingers musically whirring away, the pause to refill tape, the jamming of keys and the pounding needed to set them free, the winding of the roller, the “ding” of the carriage return, and the smell of the metal and ink on paper. The sheer physicality of using these machines meant that they have left an indelible imprint on our lives and provide a tangible link to the past. It’s the typewriter’s mystique that gives it such allure – perhaps one of the relics in my possession has passed through the hands of a notable author or musician. And with today’s technology moving at a frightening pace, I crave the pace of a simpler time.

However you wish to label this love-affair, it is here to stay. I hope you love the beauty and nostalgia of typewriters as much as I do. If you do, then you’ll surely love this collection of portraits. The below typewriters are those that have been through our shop at one time or another:

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*Lower-right typewriter is from FreshVintage (the shop that sells Vidalia’s Vintage items). Find FreshVintage online at: freshvintage.typepad.com

We also wanted to share the vintage love with a shout-out to one of our favorite blogs, “Oh So Lovely.” Check out their Pinterest board of heavenly retro typewriters:

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Anxious to get your hands on one of these beauties? Check out our Etsy Treasury containing vintage typewriters currently for sale:

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Keep checking our Etsy Shop for vintage typewriters for sale. That is – if we can get our hands off of them!

 

A Very Vintage Christmas

Andy-Williams-Christmas-Album“It’s the MOST won-der-ful time…of the year!”

I just love this season- it’s a chance to hit pause and spend time with family and friends, but also for the opportunity to add fun bits of vintage flair all around the house.

Whether I’m listening to my favorite Bing Crosby Christmas album, unpacking childhood ornaments to hang on the tree or watching “White Christmas” I can’t help but feel nostalgic – and what better way to feed my nostalgia than with vintage decor.  This season is chock-full of fun and creative ways to add vintage into your celebrations without spending a ton of (much needed gift-giving) money or time.

If you’re worried your vintage vibe is more kitch than hip, here are a few quick and easy vintage items that will help you begin you thinking in the right direction. Get inspired by choosing a vintage item you would like to incorporate into your decor this year:

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  • Vintage or retro decorations (an obvious one there!)
  • Vintage Christmas-related photos (they don’t even have to be your own!)
  • Vintage Christmas cards
  • Vintage Christmas-themed books, sheet music or illustrations
  • Vintage Christmas record albums
  • Vintage containers, plates, bowls, canisters or tins (perfect for holding Christmas candy, cards, pinecones, ornaments, etc.)
  • use Vintage letters to spell out holiday greetings

Still stumped? Check out some of the items I’ve used around my own home to give it a vintage vibe, and a few simple tips to get you going. They’re so easy, you could spend just a few moments and create a really charming vintage vignette of your very own.

Tip #1 – Display a collection. The more the merrier! I can’t stop collecting Vintage Santa figurines. Perhaps you have another collection such as vintage cards, elves, reindeer or bells. Whatever your collectable, group them together for maximum effect:

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Tip #2 – Use vintage plates, bowls or another container (we love the use of milkglass – which is very “in” right now – and the white really sets off the colorful items inside) to hold a handful of small objects (try peppermints, ornaments, vintage christmas lights, etc.):

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Tip #3 – Pull out vintage Christmas books, records, sheet music or greeting cards and display them on existing bookshelves, desks and dressers. Below, we used a gorgeous vintage magazine rack to display our favorite Christmas records and album covers. And, if you already own classic vintage items such as a record player or typewriter, what a great opportunity to put them to use in their original function. Place a vintage Christmas record on the turntable or place a vintage Christmas card visibly on the typewriter.

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Tip #4 – Use everyday twine, paper and red or green pen and bring your walls to life with a charmingly rustic banner. Another variation: the twine could be strung across the tops of windows to hang your favorite vintage ornaments.

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Tip #5 – Rearrange letters to form Christmas or winter-themed expressions (we used Scrabble letters and the accompanying stand for display, but you could also use vintage letterpress, magnetic letters, etc.)

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Check out our Pinterest page for more great ideas of Vintage Christmas decor under the board titled, “A Very Vintage Christmas” or browse our curated Etsy Treasury lists featuring vintage items available for purchase by our favorite vintage vendors.

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Wishing you all a Very Vintage Christmas and a Hipster New Year!

~ the entire staff at Vidalia’s Vintage