Saturday, December 10, 2011

Help for the Holidays...

Look at you.  You're ready for Christmas early this year.
Christmas tree up and decorated - CHECK!
Christmas cards out - CHECK!
Shopping done - CHECK!

For the rest of us doing finger math, trying to figure out how it's not still October, I bring a little gift.  A playlist - my Christmas playlist.  I thought of titling it with the year, but this is the playlist I listen to every year.  Buy the songs and play them loud.  There is no better way to navigate a mall parking lot on Christmas Eve than while blasting Mele Kalikimaka.  Trust me, I should know.

It's quite a mix.  Most you'd expect, some you might not, and some that might just make you cock your head at the stereo (for your sake, I did take out "Last Christmas" by Wham!).  Regardless, it comes with love.  So without further ado...(click on the image below)

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Vintage Ideals - Food is Love

Ah…the family dinner.  Is there any notion more comforting than the family gathering around the table for a hot, delicious, home-cooked meal? 
                “Mmm, Mom, this roast is delicious!” 
                “Glad you like it, Bobby.  Now take your baseball hat off at the table, son.”
Then each member of the family would gaily recount the day’s events, wonderful as they were.
                “I hit a homerun!”
                “I got an A on my spelling test!”
                “I got the Henderson account, honey!”
Oh, can’t you just see the gleam in their eyes?  No? 

Maybe you’re a child of the seventies and eighties, like myself.  Most family dinners were fish sticks and canned corn or Happy Meals, between soccer and mom’s Aerobics class.  Or maybe when you did sit down to dinner, it was only to glare across the table to your evil older brother or bore everyone with the details of Star Search (the original American Idol).

I’m a mother myself now.  And I find myself doing the exact things my mom did, when I’m sure we both hoped for the scenario up top.  Is it possible?  In this day and age?  How?  Can we stop and remember that food can be love and life in itself and that our families are so worth it?

In her book, A Homemade Life, Molly Wizenberg shows how to do just that.  A beautiful food memoir, Molly demonstrates through recipes how our lives are (or can be) so intertwined with food and meals that some of our best memories are born from experiences with cooking and food.  Touching, romantic, funny, beautiful, and sad, this book is a wonderful journey through a life as seen through the kitchen.  I found myself wanting to make recipes I would never had given a second thought to because of the life and personality Molly provides them through written word.  Braised cabbage?  Sounds beautiful.  Thanks, Molly.

Want pictures and more of Molly’s recipes?  Check out her wonderful blog at:

Did you read this?  What did you think?  What's your favorite food memoir?

Monday, August 1, 2011

Vintage Storage

This post is a sort of continuation of the last.  You may have noticed that I added a new category to my shop:  Storage Solutions.  This is mainly for two reasons.  I love rusty metal and old wood, and these things commonly make up the various buckets, boxes, bins, and baskets I fall in love with so often.

These items can add a depth of unrivaled character to a room, not to mention the practical side - they have stood the test of time and continue to outlive many modern storage solutions.  There's also a LOT of cool upcycled and vintage-style items out there for stashing stuff.  Let's see what I have today....

A former chicken feed bin serves as an awesome countertop organizer for the kitchen!  Who woulda thunk?
A soda crate bathroom caddy - awesome!

Locker baskets make fantastic storage containers - most importantly, you can see what's in them.

Or use an old barn wood ladder for storing blankets or towels in a bathroom.

Get creative with vintage tins!

Or let a vintage hardware cabinet be the focal point of a room.
 Vintage items are amazingly useful.  They are classic and durable, and often can be tweaked or upcycled into something else.  They are fun.  They have personality to spare and add a rich, homey feeling to a space.  Enjoy them.

 Maybe you're saying to yourself, "Courtney, those locker baskets are just awesome, but where can I find some?"  Well, I just happen to have - BAM! 

This basket and others available at Bold Sparrow Vintage
What fun vintage or antique storage options have you come across?  Do share...

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

I love it, I want it, but what do I DO with it?

I love vintage luggage.  LOVE it.  But let's be honest.  If I'm travelling through Europe, I'm using my fancy new Samsonite pieces with wheels, not lugging a trunk around.  (Europe.  Ha!)

Anyway, that's no reason not to collect the wonderfully gorgeous luggage pieces from days gone by.  They also wonderful pieces of home decor, and - of course - storage.  Enjoy.

Craft storage!  Why didn't I think of that??

Gorgeous!  Fabulous dresser!!

Wow!  Talk about thinking outside the box!

How about a Louis Vuitton nightstand?

Or a suitcase end table?

Or make it a legit table with legs.  LOVE this...

Or a lamp...(more like a nightlight, but super cool nonetheless!)

What a lovely planter.  Adorable!!!

Or as a general decor element - wonderful!  (From:

What type of suitcase repurposing are you into?  Share a comment and you'll get a coupon to use at the Bold Sparrow Vintage store on Etsy!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Under the big top...

Ahh…the circus.  Actually, I don’t do the circus.  But the intrigue of the weird and taboo associated with the early circuses is right up my alley.  The whole don’t-dare-peek-around-the-curtain-conjoined-humans-fierce-animal circus is no more.  There is no place for it today.  That’s why I find these images so amazing, and why the idea of the circus today so wrong and downright offensive.  But I would have loved to have lived back in the day and seen some of the following scenes up close and personal…
I honestly have no idea where this image came from.  The source link I have is no good.  Please let me know if you know where this image is from!
Roswell, New Mexico. Sneaking under the circus tent (Arthur Rothstein, Farm Security Administration: 1936)
“Iron Jaw Kimball Twins, 1920s” by Frederick W. Glasier (John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art & Eakins Press Foundation)
Snake Charmer.  (Image courtesy of Wisconsin Historical Images via Flickr.)
Erma Ward, a circus trapeze artist, dangles by one hand from a ring high in a circus tent. (Image courtesy of Wisconsin Historical Images.)
A group of 20+ circus clowns in 'Clown Alley' posing informally while preparing for the ring. (Image courtesy of Wisconsin Historical Images.)

"Wow," you say, "I sure would like some vintage circus photos of my own, say from the 1950's.."  Well, ask and you shall receive...


Thursday, June 16, 2011

Etsy color celebration #1, 2011 "Honeysuckle" to be exact.  Pantone, the leading authority on color, has selected this shade as their featured color of 2011:

"A Color for All Seasons. Courageous. Confident. Vital. A brave new color, for a brave new world. Let the bold spirit of Honeysuckle infuse you, lift you and carry you through the year. It’s a color for every day – with nothing 'everyday' about it."  

This is the 2011 Pantone Color of the Year, as explored through (mostly) vintage Etsy items.  Vibrant, fresh, and summery, I thought it was a perfect time to feature this wonderful hue.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

I *heart* postal art...

Do you like to doodle, stamp, and/or otherwise embellish seemingly pointless items?  Why not mail?  Let’s join the movement to revive the tradition of sending and receiving mail by making it beautiful, interesting, or just downright expressive.  Let’s make mail meaningful again!!

What’s all this, then?  you ask…

So I picked up a book on Monday night, Good Mail Day: A Primer for Making Eye-Popping Postal Art by Jennie Hinchcliff and Carolee Gilligan Wheeler.  Check it out!  Richly illustrated and wonderfully written, this book is like chocolate for the soul.  It also includes an envelope pattern and pages of book, zine, and website resources to help develop your postal artistic voice, especially mail art newbies like myself.  While I just got it and haven’t been able to go cover to cover yet, I LOVE what I have read and have already almost finished my first envelopic (yep, I made it up) masterpiece out of a vintage French D-Day map.  (I'll post photos when I'm done...) 

So…send ME something, and I’ll mail you something in return.  Let’s keep the theme:  vintage.  That shouldn’t be difficult.  Between all the vintage maps, postage stamps, ticket stubs, receipts, invoices, notes, photos and other old ephemera floating around, coupled with the vintage-themed rubber stamps that are all the rage right now, this will be fun!  Leave me a comment or email me at: bsparrowvintage [AT] and we’ll exchange mailing info!

If you have anything you’d like to share or suggest on the topic, please include this, too!

P.S.  Jennie and Carolee also have an awesome blog.  Check it out!

Here's some inspiration...
Love the calligraphy...*sigh*

Have fun!!

Friday, May 20, 2011

Successes and Failures - '50's Housewife Day, Part II, The Final Chapter...

Okay, I’m gonna wrap these shananigans up in one more post – here goes nothin’.  Where was I?  Ah, yes…

So in order to allow myself more time and freedom to explore ‘50s housewifery in all its proper glory, I did take my oldest daughter to her babysitter after breakfast.  Just getting them out to the car was an adventure.  Because I didn’t want to carry the baby while still fairly unsteady in my heels, I let the girls walk themselves to the car.  I don’t know what I was thinking, really.  Right out of the door one took off to chase a bee, while the other made a mad dash for the street.  Any concerns I had about walking in those heels disappeared as I took off in full sprint after street baby.  I reached her just as she reached the asphalt, at which point my ankle gave out and I lurched forward, knocking her over while jumping over her, then landing still in a run while waving my arms like a crazy person in an attempt to regain my balance.   When I did regain my balance, I quickly glanced back to see the baby (now with skinned knees), getting ready to head back into the street.  I then looked around at all my neighbors’ houses.  No one was outside.  No one saw.  I just had a classic almost-disaster and no one witnessed it.  Thank God.  I scanned my own body.  Somehow, I was unscathed, even my ankle.  Somehow, that made the whole incident even funnier.  I quickly corralled both children into the car and took off.  Fugging heels.

After dropping off one daughter, the baby and I headed to market.  I needed wooden clothespins.  A quick trip, or so I thought.  Fry’s didn’t have them – just plastic clothespins.  Nope.  If I was going to do this, I was going to do it right.  By this time, I have gotten a pretty good swift hip-swing walk going in these heels, although I am becoming more acutely aware of hard the asphalt is.  Baby out of cart and back into car seat.  Safeway didn’t have them either.  Baby out, baby in.  Now we’re cutting ever so slightly into naptime.  Last stop – CVS.  They had them.  Random, but whatever works.

I got home just in time to put the little one down.  I kicked the heels off, even though I had planned to stay in them ALL day.  My feet were already throbbing.  It was 11:00. A.M.  An imaginary panel of judges was shaking their heads as they scribbled on their clipboards.  I grabbed yet another cup of coffee and started pulling the wet laundry out of the washer.  I headed outside and surveyed the clothesline my husband had strung up the day before.  Game face = a smile on my face and a song on my lips.  It was not enough to be a ‘50s housewife.  I had to be a super-chipper TV ‘50s housewife, the super unicorn of the realm of woman.  Anyway, I began whistling as I pinned the clothes to the line.  (I will also just add here that it was RIDICULOUSLY windy, and somehow I am convinced that my husband had something to do with that.)  Anyway, I get about 10 items in and realize I’m at the end of the line.  Hmm…12 feet is not a realistic clothesline, apparently.  I briefly envisioned clothes laid out all over the backyard before I came to my senses, dropped an F-bomb, and threw them in the dryer. 

There were some leftover dishes in the sink and I washed them quickly.  A weird, cloud-like fatigue had started to settle deep in my bones, and by noon I was fighting to stay awake.  I think it may have been a weird side effect of the coffee, but just in case, I had another cup.  Of course, this was when the baby woke up from her nap.  At this point, any effort felt like too much and I stood in front of the oven for five whole minutes, hungry baby on hip, trying to figure out how long it would take to reheat leftovers.  Before I was really even aware of what was happening, I heard the gentle whir of the microwave.  Done.

Ding-dong!  Oh yes, Mother had arrived.  I had invited for over for afternoon tea.  Days ago, in my mind, I pictured us both in full 1950’s garb and hair, sipping tea from my fancy Anthropologie teacups, laughing gaily while the baby played quietly on the floor in front of us. 

Not quite.  I all but threw the baby at my mom when I greeted her at the door, and then ran to the kitchen to try and scarf down my lunch while also preparing the little one’s midday meal.  My mom very politely ooh’ed and ahh’ed over my dress and manicure, and then she squealed with delight when she saw my clothesline out back.  “You know,” she observed, “in Alabama we could never double-hang things like this with the humidity what it was.”  Good Lord – line laundry had to have taken weeks in the South!  As we sat down on the sofa, she looked at me carefully.  At this point, my whole body was vibrating from the caffeine, my hair was a mess from the wind, I hadn’t touched up my make-up once all day, I had no shoes on, and my Spanx had rolled down to my hip.  Mixed in with the fact that I could barely keep my eyes open, I probably looked drunk.  And sad.  My mom patted my hand and begged me to take a nap when the baby went down for her second nap.  I promised her I would if she would hang out for a while.  She obliged.  Mama always comes through.

At this point in my day, I should have been headed to the grocery store to get what I needed for dinner, but the thought of getting in the car almost made me burst into tears.  I did want the satisfaction of retrieving the clothes from the clothesline.  I wanted to be greeted with the light scent of sun-kissed summer air as I brought a onesie to my face, but no.  It smelled like dirty dog.  What?!?  I took another big sniff – I had to have somehow gotten it wrong.  Deep breath, and…good LORD!  How did this smell become embedded in the fabric???  I yank the clothes off the line, all the while mumbling profanities as I throw the clothes in my HE washer. 

Thankfully, by that time, it was the baby’s naptime.  After I put her down, I went in the laundry room and sat on the floor and listened to the washer.  I love my washer, and today, I loved it even more.  Together with the dishwasher, it was the workhorse of my home.  It took whatever I gave it, and washed it to its best ability, without complaint.  It was my 1950's housewife - everything but the martini.  I think I actually said to it, “Thank you.”  It was either that or, “I love you.”  I can’t remember.  Regardless, it was a tender moment.  At that point, I went to my room and passed out.  I woke an hour and a half later, dress and Spanx still on.  It was 4:30.  Frantic, I texted my babysitter.  The white flag was officially out and waving.  I called my husband and told him he was coming home to take me out.  Game over.  Stick a fork in me.  I.was.done. 

Monday, May 9, 2011

Successes and Failures - '50's Housewife Day, Part I

So, as you may have guessed, ‘50s Housewife Day has come and gone.  It was a learning experience, one I hope to repeat…a long time from now.  No, I have no pictures or visual documentation of any kind.  Strike 1, I know…

Before I get into it, let me just say, the day was a bit doomed from the get-go.  I had been suffering with seasonal allergies that left me fatigued and cloudy-headed and…uh…let’s just say my “monthly visitor” arrived unexpectedly that very morning.  Thus, I started the day as a zombie.  But it actually started well…pretty well, anyway.

5:00 – Alarm.  Nope.

5:15 – Alarm.  Not quite.

5:30…ish – Up.  Coffee #1 in hand, I am ready to start the day.

6:20 – My eldest awoke.  Perfectly content with some crayons and puzzles.  Mother.of.the.Year.

6:30 – Out of the shower, coiffed, and ready to go.  Dress, Spanx (my girdle for the day), heels, and hair…up (I realized I don’t own a curling iron or curlers a bit late).  A note about Spanx:  I was convinced the pair I had was too small.  Getting them on required a wrestling match with myself that involved me hurtling myself all over the bedroom.  Once you get them on, however, they’re actually surprisingly comfortable.   I had gotten a mani/pedi the day before.  Cherry-red fingers and toes?  Check!

I started on breakfast.  I was going to do a full-on spread, as was most common – eggs, potatoes, pancakes, toast, juice, bacon, sausage, ham – BUT, our family doesn’t typically eat much pig, nor are we big breakfast people.  So I settled on eggs and toast. 

I woke my husband in an apron with a sing-song voice that would have made any Disney princess envious.
“Sweeeeeetheart, breakfast will be ready soon!” 
At least I thought I woke him.  Twenty minutes later, he was still out cold, and my voice was suddenly much deeper. 
“What?!  You better get out here and eat this before it gets cold or so help me!” 
Needless to say, moments later, the entire family was gathered at the breakfast table.  The perfection of the moment was shattered when my daughter announced, “Mama, I no like it.”  She doesn’t like eggs.  At least not in this pure, beautiful form.  She prefers them as a solid gelatinous round mass topped with a slice of cheese and sandwiched between a bagel.  She concentrated on her toast and milk, while my younger daughter just dropped eggs on the ground. 
“Can you get me my paper?” my husband barked, amused, motioning to his digital tablet. 
“Yes, dear!”  I sang, as I kissed him on the cheek.  He read about the day’s events, ignoring me.  Jerkface.  Oh, the lonely 50’s housewife.  I channeled the iconic goddess for strength as I cleared plates and started washing the dishes for the first time that day.  Somehow, I was already starting to feel exhausted…Coffee #2, where are you? Oh, let's find out what happened next, shall we? Sigh...

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

The Inappropriate Past

Let's admit it - one of the funniest things about the distant past was how un-PC it was. 

Without further ado, I bring you inappropriate advertisements:

Instantaneous cure indeed.  Thank God we now know what cocaine does to the teeth, let alone the rest of the body...

If the cocaine works for toothache, beer for babies is another natural choice...

Golly, a Colt handgun for Christmas!!  What could be better??

A vacuum cleaner!  YES!!!  I know what I'll be doing when everyone's gone sledding...

Always thinking of the little lady, weren't they??  So sweet...

See?  Because they LOVED cooking and cleaning so much it even made them "cute" (but not beautiful).  And that was good enough, somehow.  Hmm, where did this blatant lack of self-worth come from??


Ah, was ingrained from an early age.  Get these little "chubbies" on diet pills, STAT!  Maybe the problem with this rampant childhood obesity comes from watching too much TV...

Wrong again.  Geesh...

Lastly, it's late.  The kids are in bed, I feel like curling up in bed with my loving husband, and...

Um, okay.  Well, that's not really what I had in mind, Sweetness, but you know best...

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

It is what it is.

So, hi there.  What can I say?  I’ve been busy.  I have two little ones, a husband, and two dogs.  I’m a busy woman.  It’s not that I don’t like you.  I’ve just got a lot on my plate right now, and I’m afraid I don’t have as much time as I used to…(did I mention I was busy?)

But then that’s not really it at all, is it?  Those are just weak excuses.  And I realize it now.  I have been procrastinating.  1950’s Housewife Day has me shaking in my all-too-comfortable tennis shoes.  Which I realize is ridiculous.  It’s 24 hours, for crying out loud.  And it’s not like it hasn’t been done before.  Women all over the internet have blogged about the silly fun they had as a 50’s housewife for a day.  But they are not me.

I’m not a girly girl.  I don’t “do” my hair in the morning.  I let it air-dry and I’m out the door.  If I do that.  Sometimes I just leave in the messy bun I put in so I wouldn’t get my hair wet in the shower.  I don’t wear skirts or dresses – why would I, when there are shorts and tee-shirts?  I wear jeans to work and dinner.  I use the same purse/shoes until they fall apart and I have to buy new ones.  I can't remember the last time I painted my fingernails.  Yep, sexy – I know.  So becoming the ultimate female icon for a day seems daunting, to say the least…

That being said, I would also like to say, I would like to formally announce that Monday, May 2nd will be…(trumpets, please!) 1950’s Housewife Day!!  Prepare yourself.  And send me all the suggestions, tips, and guidelines you have in the meantime…yikes…

Last thought, do I really want to broadcast this fairly embarrassing info about myself on the internet??  

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Just Who Do I Think I Am?

Hi there.

My name is Courtney.  I am a married mother of two with two dogs living in the suburbs of Tucson.  And that would be the only similarity between myself and a 1950's housewife. 

I work part-time, eat most meals over the counter, and have no problems with the fact that my husband does his own laundry.  I like Radiohead, Wes Anderson films, and I used to like to travel, back when it didn't take two carloads of crap for a weekend vacation.  I have a very small tattoo, I abhor going to the mall, and I don't cook as often as I'd like to. 

On the other hand, I'm kind of an old soul.  I'm learning to quilt, and I have been know to exclaim things like "Jeesum Crow!" and "Criminy!"  (I am also currently trying to bring back "Hell's Bells!" and "What a maroon!")  I have researched my family tree for years, and have an unwavering fascination with the recent past, especially in regards to the women that walked before me. 

Thus, I am using my Etsy shop and this accompanying blog to explore the relics left behind by generations of female pioneers who paved the way for the way of life I enjoy today.  And in this way, I hope to give a silent nod of appreciation.  Thanks, ladies...

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Bold Sparrow Vintage Grand Opening!!

Welcome to the blog of Bold Sparrow Vintage.  Bold Sparrow.  Bold Sparrow??  What was I thinking?...

Let’s start at the beginning:
Here’s what started my fascination with the recent past.  I have had this August 1946 issue of Seventeen Magazine since I had a subscription myself.  I’ve thumbed through it (oh so carefully) for years, then wrapped it in plastic and stored it away.  I rediscovered it recently and was just as enamored as I was when I was sixteen.  The fashion, the articles, and the way of life that the words and images depicted was like reading a fantasy novel.  I would stand over the counter eating microwaved leftovers while my mom was at work, pondering a world where at age seventeen I might be considering both college and silver patterns.  Where I could go see a new Audrey Hepburn movie at the theater.  Where feminine hygiene involved belts (what?!?).

As a wife and mother today, the fascination has definitely been rekindled.  But I’ve graduated from Seventeen to Woman’s Home Companion.  Hello, 50’s housewife. 
How did these women do it?  If I am to believe magazines, TV, and movies, they made sure their children were well-behaved, kept a spotless home, and had dinner ready when their husbands walked in the door.  All while wearing heels and a smile.  How did they do it??
And…could I?  I'll admit I haven't watched this video in its entirety, because it annoys me to no end.  However, to inaugurate and celebrate the grand opening of Bold Sparrow Vintage, I will be spending 24 hours as a 1950’s housewife.  Sun-up to sundown, I will be in heels and a dress, taking extra special care of my home and family with a smile.  I proposed this idea to my husband and he was all for it, with plenty of his own suggestions.  I quickly reminded that I was NOT, nor would I ever actually be, a 1950’s housewife, and I told him where he could stick his “suggestions.” 
So for the next couple weeks, I will be researching the day to day life of the average 1950’s housewife and putting it into action for one day.  At this point, I’m thinking heels and pantyhose, dress, up-at-crack-of-dawn, house clean, dinner ready…any suggestions?
So back to the name.  Bold Sparrow was not my first choice for the name of my store.  In fact, it wasn’t the second, or the third.  It was a name I settled on when I simply had to.  At first, it sounded great.  Twenty-four hours later, however, I thought it was terrible.  Ridiculous.  Meaningless.  However, in light of the 1950’s housewife, I now find it quite befitting.  The perfect little housewife is the sparrow, and I am the bold part…but more on that later.  This post is long enough.
Enjoy, and happy shopping

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Hello and welcome...


With this site, I intend to truly explore the antique and vintage items I am selling in my etsy shop:  Most of my interest centers around the life of the 1950's housewife, and many Bold Sparrow goods and wares reflect this interest.  They include such items as: women's magazines, jewelry, housewares, textiles, accessories, etc.  At this point, there will be a bit of flux as my venture finds its footing. 

Thanks for coming along for the ride.  I appreciate your company, and your patience! ;)

-Courtney <3