on the bookshelf: vintage notions

I have been in a bit of a funk this week, dear readers. The kind where I just feel blah about pretty much everything, want to curl up in a tight ball on the sofa and watch bad 50s sci-fi movies, drink lots of tea, and generally emerge back into the real world when it’s all over. But not enough that I haven’t been up to something. Oh no! I’ve been re-reading through the pages of a book I’m eager to review for you and announce a little giveaway. So enough crabbing–onto the good stuff!

A little while ago I was contacted about reviewing Amy Barickman’s Vintage Notions. This book got me really excited and when I looked into it (I always tend to investigate these sorts of things first and make sure they’re a good fit for the ol’ blog); they even offered me an extra copy to giveaway to one lucky reader! So how could I refuse?

Vintage Notions is a reprint of excerpts from women’s periodicals of the 1920s. Amy Barickman was so inspired by all the vintage snippets she read in old copies of Inspiration and Fashion Service (two publications from that era connected with Mary Brooks Picken and The Woman’s Institute of Domestic Arts), that she compiled snippets from a number of these amazing publications into one volume. Which is great for us since many of these are becoming harder to find and deteriorating from age.

Rather than dividing the book up into chapters, it’s organized by season and then month. Bits and pieces from recipes, to period advice (some of it amusingly dated), fashion forecasts for the season and a good-amount of period how-to’s for those handy with a needle and thread. It’s a beautiful and lovingly put-together tribute to domestic arts in the early 20th century. I am particularly smitten with the myriad of sewing projects: from handy aprons (one being made from a discarded man’s oxford shirt–our great grandmothers sure knew how to be inventive!), to fetching kimonos, and a capelet to keep the chill at bay in the winter. I am in fact working on one of the projects right now: a fluffy, fabric flower from scraps of the silk I made my Swing Dress up in. If you’d like to take a glance at just a few bits and pieces from Vintage Notions, be sure to take a gander at this page for excerpts!

Not only does the book offer a lot of charming vintage projects and anecdotes, but it is a beautifully put-together tome visually. Which I always appreciate: there is something so calming about opening up a book that uses bits and pieces of vintage ephemera to decorate the page layouts. (My favorites are all the embroidered pieces that were reproduced on the pages!) There are even handy little pockets at the end of each season’s section for stashing bits and pieces you collect up (or pattern pieces; as I have been doing). Ms. Barickman did a gorgeous job putting this book together and I think it would make a lovely gift for yourself, a vintage-inclined friend or even Mother’s Day (which will be just around the corner before we know it!). I know each time I’ve opened the book I’ve been inspired and excited by the ideas and projects. Be sure to stop by the website, take a look at the book’s page and Amy’s inspiring blog as well.

GIVEAWAY IS CLOSED As I mentioned, they were gracious enough to provide me with an extra copy to give away! (Hooray!) If you’d like to enter to win this copy, please read below:

  • Leave a comment on this post telling me what you are excitedly anticipating most about springtime.
  • Because this book is slightly hefty, I am sorry to say that I can only offer this to US and Canadian readers. (Don’t despair if you live outside the US/Canada–I have some other giveaways coming up that I’m hoping to offer worldwide!)
  • I’ll keep this open until 10am (EST) Monday, March 21. A name will be drawn at random from the comments and a winner will be announced shortly thereafter.

Good luck and I hope you are having a splendid Friday!

March 11, 2011 · 255 lovely thoughts
posted in books,life · tags: ,

Rose March 11, 2011 at 11:03

Crocus, daffodils, robin blue eggs, tulips….oh my!

Steph March 11, 2011 at 11:09

Thank you so much for the giveaway. I am ready for baby calves (and secretly hoping for bottle calves again this year to take care of) and planting our veggie garden. My 4 year old had so much fun helping take care of it and eating the produce. It was amazing watching his face light up when the first sprouts came out of the ground.

lauren winter March 11, 2011 at 11:19

oh man casey, this looks like an excellent find! as for spring, I’m most looking forward to more daylight hours (boring but true!). I can never snap any good photos at night, so having extra time to take good sewing pictures or outfit pictures sounds like a dream.

although wearing wide legged jeans with little floral crop tops is another thing to look forward to for spring!

Erin March 11, 2011 at 11:21

I’m excited to splash in puddles and wear twirly skirts without wool tights! I’m excited to see things grow and have the air smell like earth.

Rebecca March 11, 2011 at 11:23

This spring I have a great many things to look forward to – the birth of our first baby, moving into our newly renovated house (2 years in the works!) and teaching the baby all about gardening (humour me on this one). It will definitely be a spring to remember!

Vanessa March 11, 2011 at 11:29

I’m looking forward to bird nests & leaves on the trees again.

Whistlepea March 11, 2011 at 11:32

I’m just looking forward to it not being freezing everyday so I can get out of the house a little more with the baby. We have a blizzard warning tonight!

Connie March 11, 2011 at 11:33

I’m nost excited about seeing the colors that pop up on flowers & trees!

Lauren March 11, 2011 at 11:34

Hi Casey! Sorry you’ve been feeling low :( I’ve been fighting it off this week, too.
But Spring is in the air and there are good things to come!
I look forward to baby birds. I saw two doves trying to romance each other the other day. It was so cute! We usually get a doves nest or two in our yard and I love listening to them and watching her fly back with twigs to feather her nest.
I’ve been really wanting to check out this book! Here’s hoping :)

Shannon Burchard March 11, 2011 at 11:34

My birthday, the flowers and more light at the end of my day!

Janie March 11, 2011 at 11:35

Springtime! I am looking forward to my forsythia blooming by my front step.

Ashley March 11, 2011 at 11:36

I’m looking forward to the warmer weather and having picnics outside!

Liz March 11, 2011 at 11:37

Spring still means skies in Portland, OR, but when the tulips start popping up the skies just seem sunnier. Any day now . . .

Christi March 11, 2011 at 11:40

That book looks lovely. Springtime – dresses and more dresses, and my garden. :)

Laurel March 11, 2011 at 11:40

Spring has already arrived where I live. There are tiny jonquils down the street and I’ve even worn flipflops once or twice!

kat March 11, 2011 at 11:43

the book looks lovely! i collect vintage sewing books and this would be such an interesting addition.

what am i looking forward to most about spring? well, one of my favorite places to eat opens back up for the season on cape cod where i really want to do some more camping once the weather warms up AND i’ll soon be finding out about whether or not i’ve been accepted to my first big outdoor art festival this summer!

Christine March 11, 2011 at 11:43

I can’t wait for the gorgeous weather and the ability to start wearing all of the fun, spring-y outfits that I’ve been making all winter. :)

Jenny @ Kerrfect! March 11, 2011 at 11:45

I’m looking forward to the farmer’s market moving back outside again! When it moves inside it goes down to about 10 vendors that only sell baked goods, salsa, and spoons wrapped with metal wire and beads. When it moves back outside it means fresh produce, eggs, and local meats!

Kelley March 11, 2011 at 11:48

I am so excited for blooming flowers, farmers markets, and spring break (prime sewing time!), but most of all, I can’t wait to wear dresses and skirts without tights!

Stephanie March 11, 2011 at 11:52

I’m looking forward to skirt weather! It snowed here yesterday and it actually accumulated a bit on the grass. :( But it has been nice enough a couple of days to air out the house! Fresh air is so wonderful!

Laura March 11, 2011 at 11:53

Warm weather and my garden! Lots and lots of other things, too, but those two most of all. Thanks- the book looks lovely!

Lindsey March 11, 2011 at 11:58

This looks like such a fabulous book! Spring – I can’t wait! I’m looking forward to throwing some dinner parties once the weather gets warm. We don’t have a porch, but I’ll throw them in our window lined dining room with the windows open and fresh flowers on the table and it will be marvelous! ; )

Krista March 11, 2011 at 11:58

Love the idea of the book!. Right now, the thing I’m most looking forward to about spring is the reemergence of green. I live in Ottawa, and we have a moderately long winter – and after 40 cm of snow (or about 18 inches) in the last week, and now days of rain creating a black-brown-dirty white wasteland of water ice and muck, I can hardly wait to see green grass again.

Jasmine March 11, 2011 at 12:00

I am holding my breath and waiting for my dutch irises to bloom…I planted them so, so long ago in the fall. I just can’t wait to drink in that vivid purple in a field (well, okay, small patch) of blooms!

seeks corey March 11, 2011 at 12:03

Not to sound cynical, but I look forward to hearing more people talk about how *great* the weather is, instead of complaining about it. :) By the end of winter, no one ever sounds satisfied.

Miss Virginia March 11, 2011 at 12:04

I can’t wait for warmer temperatures so I can get out my new spring wardrobe! This will mark the first season that I actually dress vintage and I’m so excited about it…I’ve been waiting all winter to bust out the pretty 40s dresses and 50s skirts!

Also, warmer temperatures in general will be lovely…I can’t wait to spend more time outside. Plus the reenacting season gears up next month!

Sara March 11, 2011 at 12:05

I’m looking forward to sewing some summery dresses!

Heather Jackson March 11, 2011 at 12:11

Sweet giveaway, thank you!!

Sundresses, sandals, and sunshine! I’m so glad the snow is done and ready for some lightweight clothing :)
(Although, I have made fun tights a staple of my wardrobe, will miss them when it is too warm…)

and, my all time favorite spring/summer delight: Honeysuckle.


Natalie March 11, 2011 at 12:11

Oh, the smell of freshly turned earth, little green points showing through and barbeques. And a beautiful sleeveless, twirly dress!

Allyson H March 11, 2011 at 12:13

Bike rides and summer dresses!

Holly Storm March 11, 2011 at 12:13

Dresses. Sweet sweet dresses. I live in TN and can’t stand the cold, so during the winter months I am mostly in pants and boots. I can’t wait to wear my new spring-y dresses from the Colette patterns I am sewing up!

Sarah March 11, 2011 at 12:14

Oh, boy! I have coveted this book for quite some time :) . My daughter and I planted spring bulbs together last fall and we are really looking forward to seeing them pop up this spring. I am also looking forward to saying goodbye to heavy wool coats and snow pants!

I really love your blog. It’s a feast for the senses.

Lindsay March 11, 2011 at 12:14

Lovely book Casey! Thanks for sharing!

I feel the funk aswell. I feel the need to just lay down and sleep for dáys! Or, when I am awake; read good books and drink -like you say- loads of tea.

Nathalie March 11, 2011 at 12:16

I am looking forward to the fruit stand opening up, so I can get some fresh fruit straight from the farm. . . I am looking forward to warm days taking my oldest daughter to the park. . . Looking forward to entering my third trimester soon. . . Lots of things to look forward to about spring. :0) Oh, and bunnies! I’m looking forward to the wild bunnies to start appearing in our yard and neighborhood again! :0)

Jessica March 11, 2011 at 12:18

Spring means an end to the ice-snow-wet-melt cycle we currently have going on here in Ottawa. Just terrible weather the past two days! But it also means flowers, green leaves on the trees and shucking a few layers of clothes! I’d like to stop wearing my winter boots and wear some cute shoes along with a dress….it will be some time yet!

Seersucker Sally March 11, 2011 at 12:19

More sunlight!

Emily March 11, 2011 at 12:22

I’m most excited for that indefinable feeling in the air that fills me with hope and excitement. Also, walking around without tons of coats, scarves, mittens, hats, etc. Spring can’t come soon enough!

Alicia March 11, 2011 at 12:24

skirts without tights, dresses, and bright green new leaves…

Kelly March 11, 2011 at 12:24

What a cool book! I am looking forward to twirly dresses and open toed shoes!!

lauren March 11, 2011 at 12:24

spring is my favorite! two things i am really looking forward to – mowing the lawn (lol yep, being serious here) & then relaxing on the front porch with a beer & admiring my handiwork. also: my bicycle! holy crap i miss my bicycle!

Connie March 11, 2011 at 12:29

I am looking forward to, and have already started, riding my bicycle to save gas and the environment. Love seeing the renewal of flowers, and trees, nothing better than the fresh scent of blossoming plants. Sewing up spring time fashions (the book would come in handy!) I Can not wait for longer hours to spend outdoors enjoying the wonderful weather to come. I am very excited to kick off the spring with a trip to the UK at the end of the month. I am taking my newly sewn Swing Dress for a WW2 commemorative event and can’t wait to do my hair from your tutorial!! Bring on the SPRING!!

Susan - Knitters Delight March 11, 2011 at 12:34

The clean smell of sprig with flowers blooming and bees buzzing (well as long as they aren’t buzzing too close…). There’s a fabulous freshness to spring. New beginnings!

Kathy March 11, 2011 at 12:37

I am having trouble thinking of Spring when I went to sleep last night to non-stop rain, and woke up to 4″ of snow & counting. It’s springtime in Canada!

What I’m really looking forward to is skirts. I have decided to actually Wear some of the skirts I’ve collected over the years. Out of the house! To work! (What can I say, I’m a little timid about letting my girly side out! I just found out I had one!) AND I got a skirt sewing book, so if all goes well, I may be wearing my first sewing projects since my late teens!

I hope the blues pass for you soon. This time of year does that to a lot of us.

Anita March 11, 2011 at 12:38

I love that Spring is almost here! I am looking forward to open toed shoes, sunshine and birds chirping, working in my garden, pretty flowers outside, in vases and on my dresses, and Easter.

And I love that pretty book! It is on my wish list on Amazon! Thanks for hosting the great giveaway!

Nicole March 11, 2011 at 12:38

Thanks so much for the giveaway! Spring is very far away for me, since I live in the northeast, but I’m excited about wearing my own version of the Colette Patterns Crepe Dress that I made in anticipation of warm weather!

Nichole March 11, 2011 at 12:39

I am excited about starting up my Vegetable Garden again and being able to wear sundresses!! I have a few 50″s sundress patterns that I can’t wait to sew up and start wearing!!

Julia March 11, 2011 at 12:41

I can’t wait to sit outside on the grass and read! There’s also cooking springish meals with produce from the farmers market, gardening outside with the family and driving to the nearest gas station (with the windows down and the music up) for some glass bottled sodas!

Lydia March 11, 2011 at 12:43

Songbirds coming back to Jersey, forsythia, longer days and more light, my son’s 4th birthday.

Kristin March 11, 2011 at 12:44

I can’t wait for the trees and flowers blooming and just greeness in general. =) I’m so tired of brown everywhere!


Lauren March 11, 2011 at 12:44

I am SO looking forward to warmer weather (I’m a down-South girl :) , flowers blooming, our visit to the local plant nursery, longer days, and brighter colors! I can’t wait!

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