Architectural Salvage at the Austin ReStore

I had another visit to the Restore in east Austin. It is like a thrift store for DIY and designers. You never know what treasure you will find. They are also a great place to donate fixtures or building supplies if you are remodeling and taking out functioning pieces.. See my previous post on Habitat for Humanity’s ReStore.


This ReStore is in an old warehouse decorated with a mural, next to a playground and has limited parking. They also accept donations. 310 Comal St., Austin, TX 78702 M-F 8-6pm, Sat 9-5pm, Sun Closed  Right off East 4th Street. While you are in the neighborhood check out E. 6th Street which is where all the young hip clubs, restaurants, and bars are moving in.


They have a little bit of everything. Sort of like a reclaimed Home Depot. They have vintage and modern kitchen appliances. It of course varies from day to day as things can go pretty fast. Above is a retro GE oven from the 60s or 70s in a cream color. They also have all sorts of lights, lamps, fans, and electrical items both new stock that stores donate and vintage like the light cover above.

They always have an assortment of ceramic tiles, vintage soap dishes, towel bars, etc. And the prices are way cheaper than the big box stores and the items are perfectly usable. Great place to find replacement tiles that might no longer be available new.

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A good place for students to get dorm room furniture. I think these office chairs were like $10.


I’m in love with this three compartment kitchen sink! If only I were re-doing my kitchen…. So they have tons of kitchen and bathroom sinks. The have more modern 90’s type sinks as well as vintage ones with the hudee ring. They have tiny sinks and huge sinks. Occasionally they will have ones reclaimed from restaurants. They have vintage bathroom sinks and pedestal sinks suitable to match anything from the 1920s up thru the 60s. Mostly white, cream or stainless steel. On a rare day you might find a pastel blue or pink. Some of these sinks were a true bargain at just $30


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They also have cabinets, vanities and shelving. A lot could be cut down and re-purposed. Sometimes items get separated so be sure to look thru the entire area. I believe this tall narrow kitchen cabinet from the 40s or 50s goes with the doors that were located on the other end of the huge room.

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Sometimes they are rather modern cabinets. You can buy the whole cabinet below for the price of just one of the handles if bought new. They also sell some brand new items like paint and hardware supplies.


Vintage Apron

So, I finally added some new listing to my etsy shop. I have been lazy (and without a functioning external flash since before Christmas). Among them is an adorable floral half apron from the 1950s.


Being a plus size gal myself, I was happy to find a few XL aprons at an estate sale. This one is handmade and probably fits up to an 18 or 20 dress size. If you are small or medium it would look fine too. But if you wear a large size you know who frustrating it can be to find a vintage anything. And since the whole idea of an apron is to protect your clothes wearing one that doesn’t actually cover the front of your dress while doing those domestic goddess things like baking is a bit silly.

IMG_1697This floral pattern of tiny roses reminds me of flour sack dresses and indeed might be made from one. This also has a bright pink ribbon detail with white lace. And a pocket.

Also, am I the only one that has seen a decline in sales for vintage on etsy? My shop has been dead as a doornail for months? Is it that I’m not promoting enough or has it become like ebay with a huge amount of vendors but not enough buyers?

Austin – Farmer’s Market – Comprehensive Listing

I recently discovered a centralized listing of all farmer’s markets in Austin. Wow, there is a lot more than just the normal Saturday time slot. It is on the website for the popular and free magazine Edible Austin which you can pick up at the various Farmer’s Markets as well as Whole Foods.


Some of these markets I didn’t even know were going on. Its exciting to see some farmer’s markets in East Austin as well as some evening ones in central Austin. Thankfully, being Texas most markets are year round as there is always some sort of veggies in season.


Farmer’s markets are a great way to get healthy food into so called “food deserts”. Food deserts are areas of a city which may have little or no grocery stores. These often occur in lower income areas which may not be desirable to big chain stores. These areas often have locals who work long hours and rely on public transportation; so grabbing high calorie but nutritionally lacking fast food is easier than getting a bus to a distant supermarket.  Did you know that most farmer’s markets accept EBT/Snap foodstamp cards for their fresh fruit, veg, meat, cheese, etc? In food deserts bringing a market to that neighborhood is a great resource for people who’s only nearby store may be a corner store with little or no fresh food. Usually, farmer’s markets are a festive and educational place with samples. Many have a live band or some food trucks as well.


I will re-list a few main Farmer’s Markets below.


Barton Creek Farmers Market  – Saturday 9am -1pm (Barton Creek mall parking lot)

SFC Farmers’ Market Downtown – Saturday 9am-1pm (Republic Sq Park)

SFC Farmers’ Market Sunset Valley – Saturday 9am-1pm (Toney Burger Center)

Cedar Park Farm to Market – Saturday 9am-1pm (Lakeline Mall parking lot)

Lone Star Farmers Market – Sunday 10am – 2pm ( in Bee Cave by Lowe’s)

Mueller Farmers’ Market – Sunday 10am-2pm (East Austin at “Browning Hangar”)

HOPE Farmers Market – Sunday 11am-3pm (East Austin –  E. 5th St & Comal)

Barton Creek Farmers Market – Sunday 11am – 3pm (Bluebonnet & S. Lamar)

SFC Farmers’ Market East – Tuesday 3pm-7pm (East Austin – MLK Blvd & Miriam Ave)

Pflugerville Farmers’ Market – Tuesday 3pm-7pm (Green Red Barn at Heritage Park)

SFC Farmers’ Market at the Triangle – Weds 3pm-7pm (4600 N. Lamar)

I find all the market’s fairly similar in Austin and the prices are reasonable. Full of good food and friendly folks. All the photos in this post are from the Barton Creek Farmer’s Market at Barton Creek Mall. For my review on that particular market see my earlier post.

Goodwill Finds – Lake Austin


Found a new to me Goodwill. Tucked away in old west Austin on Lake Austin Blvd near Exposition Blvd. Next to Maudie’s near the Randall’s. I’ve driven within a block of here hundreds of times and didn’t know it was there. This is called the Lake Austin – Goodwill.

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It is a smaller store but certainly not tiny. Has the modern outside look, limited parking. Nicely organized and the staff was friendly. They had lots of cute bags and dresses. A decent amount of housewares and books as well. A few items of furniture. Not super crowded like some thrift stores. Priced comparable to other Goodwill stores.

I found a 1970s Sunbeam Mixmaster for $13 which reminded me of the Starship Enterprise.


I also found a 1970s Mirro Matic Whiz Grid Speed Grill in mustard yellow. Basically, an early George Foreman Grill. Did a quick Google Search and found another blog which had a scan of a magazine ad from the Dec 1975 Woman’s Day. I also found some newspaper ads from the 70s on Google News Search. These retailed for about $40 but I guess never quite caught on. Apparently, they stopped making them in 1981.


Still wanna buy one? I let this on stay at Goodwill. Currently, there is one on craiglist or try your luck with ebay.


Real Victorian Fashion for Women

1888-navy-bustle dress

The Victorian Period was from the 1837s to 1901 during the reign of Queen Victoria. In the United States this covers major events like the Antebellum period, the Civil War, Reconstruction and the Industrial Age and the expansion West or the Frontier or Territorial periods. It is a large chunk of time so covers some diverse fashions.

This post is going to look at some real historical pieces from recent sales from Augusta Auction in New York City. These are amazing pieces that are museum quality costumes . If you haven’t read it already check out my earlier post of Fashion by Decade 1790s to 1890s.

Rules of Victorian Fashion

1. Dresses were ankle length or longer

2. Daytime dresses had high collars, evening dress had lower collars or short sleeves

3. Undergarments: several layers of chemise, petticoats, bloomers & corset

4. Gloves worn everyday

5. Waist was at the natural waist line and tightly fitted

6. Generally only undergarments had buttons, ties or laces visible

For example, the navy day dress above has a tight fitted bodice that has hidden closures or is pinned closed. The top has a high collar and long sleeves. In this dress the sleeves are narrow and slightly puffed at the shoulder. The skirt is long and in this case narrow but has a bustle. The skirt, bustle and sleeve shape indicate the late-Victorian period. This dress is from 1888. It probably would have been worn with removable lace cuffs.

Skirt shape and sleeve style may vary. Vibrant colors, textures, patterns or prints were common. Embellishments like lace, trim, fringe, tassels or bows on bodices or jackets were common. Collars and cuffs were often removable or easy washing.


This pre-Civil War day dress in blue and black plaid silk has a rather different shape. Worn with a hoop skirt and several petticoats to make a round bell shape. This makes the waist appear smaller. It also shows a time of prosperity as it takes lots of fabric. it also has the high neck and long sleeves. Imagine Scarlet O’Hara in this dress as it is from the 1850s.


In this case the sleeves are wide bell-sleeves with tassel trim. Like most dresses it is actually two pieces as the bodice is separate from the skirt and is pinned closed. It would likely have been worn with a removable lace collar and removable inner sleeves to keep the arms from showing during the day. It would have cost about 2 months of a man’s wages for a dress like this. Most womem had only 3 or 4 dresses. This would have been a “best dress” for going to town or visiting people for tea time.


For evening dresses, the neckline was lowered and sleeves were shorter. Often one skirt had two matching bodices, one for daytime and one for evening. Long evening gloves would be worn with an evening gown or party dress. The above is a silk brocade dress from the 1850s.


Most of what survives are upper-class garments in wools, silks, velvet and satins and the occasional printed cotton or plaid. Most poor people’s clothing was cotton, linen or wool. Working class people wore garments until they wore out and then would either cut them down to make children’s clothes or rags. The wealthy sometimes sold their dresses or re-cut them but some survived in a closet, attic or trunk after they had “gone out of fashion”. The above work dress is a printed cotton or calico from France. Dated some time between 1835 and 1860 as work fashions rarely changed. It has a narrow skirt and plain sleeves. Would have been worn with an apron and an undershirt, chemise or wrap to cover neckline. Perhaps belonging to a servant, shop girl, farmer or a newly middle-class lady who did her own cleaning, cooking or gardening.

How to Dress Steampunk – The Basics


So since Halloween is only a month away, I thought I’d do a few posts on costumes. One popular option theses days is Steampunk. An off shoot of gothic fashion, Steampunk is kind of a dark version of Victorian styles. Many people dress steampunk year round to varying degrees whether going out for a night on the town, clubbing or a special event like a party or sci-fi convention. For more on what Steampunk is check out my previous post “What is Steampunk”.

What does a typical Steampunk outfit look like for women? Well, there are various persona within steampunk like high class late Victorian lady, a Civil War era Southern Bell, a wild west saloon girl, an aviator like Amelia Earhart, a nurse, a Victorian shop girl, an safari adventurer or an airship pirate. If you want to go the most traditional and generic route it is a good place to start to build a wardrobe. You may like already have these items in your closet or can find them easily online at ebay or etsy or your local thrift store. Even big box Halloween stores like these and you can build an outfit from normal stores like Target or JCPenney’s.


Basic Steampunk for Women:

Skirt: ankle length Prairie skirt with some fullness and ruffles

Shirt: a peasant blouse, Victorian style button up, or chemise nightgown with lace details

Corset/Vest: Lace up corset, bodice or tight vest

Jacket: Cropped bolero style or fitted suit jacket

Hat: Tiny top hat, normal top hat, bowler, straw boater or newsboy cap.

Shoes: Granny Boots, cowboy boots or brown tall boots or ballet flats

Accessories & Jewelry: Copper, brass, gold, gears, cogs,  rayguns, cameos, chocker or watches

Fabrics can make a big difference. High quality fabrics like satin, velvet, leather, linen, silk or wool work well and will last. Colors tend to be earth tones like brown, tan, khaki, olive green, rust, or orange as well as jewel tones like dark purple, navy, blues, emeralds, ruby red, burgundy as well as black, gray and white. Patterns work too like muted plaids, wide stripes, and pinstripes. Try looking in the curtain areas of stores for some cool affordable options.

Get crafty: try making your own steampunk accessories or get sewing. Buttons, straps, and belts can add a steampunk flair to an outfit. Try adding flounces or bustles to your skirt.

Check out my Pinterest collection of steampunk items from stores like Target, Walmart and JCP.

Gone with the Wind – 75th Anniversary


This year marks the 75th Anniversary of the iconic film Gone with the Wind. Dealing with the classic love story of Scarlett O’Hara and Rhett Butler set during the Civil War era and based on the 1936 book by Margaret Mitchell. I’ve read the book which even surpasses the film. I was lucky enough to see it on the big screen a few years ago.


This past Saturday I got to see the restored Blue-Ray edition at a movie theatre as well. Wow, amazing quality! Crisp, clear picture and beautiful color. The detail is incredible. You can see the lace details on the front of Scarlett’s white ruffle dress. The green velvet curtain dress looks super velvety. Vivian Leigh’s eyes are gorgeous. You can see the skin texture and details in the hairdo like never before. The darker scenes of sunsets, silhouettes and Melanie giving birth are much easier to see. It also had restored audio tracks.


Technicolor film was an interesting stage in movie making. Most people are familiar with either black and white film or color film. Technicolor is actually three strips of black and white film shot simultaneously, each one picks up only one color (ie blue, green or magenta). This process was used on other popular films that have been also been recently restored such as the Wizard of Oz. Since these indivdiual strips still exist, the restorers were able to re-align the image for crystal clear picture and detail. As well as digital grading to remove scratches, dust and create a uniform color during a scene.


If you missed it you can see it Weds Oct 1st in select movie theatres or buy the DVD now. My only complaint was the intermission was too short and they didn’t announce how long it was going to be. This is a 4 hr movie, the Intermission was 6 mins! How can an entire theatre get out, go to the restroom and be back in their seats?


My gosh, the costumes in the film are breath-taking. Corsets, bonnets and bustles, oh my! Scarlett’s eye-catching dresses at Twelve Oaks, Tara and in Atlanta. Huge hoop skirts from before the war all the in to the 1870s with the narrow skirts with bustles. The more subdued dresses of Melanie are a little more realistic to the period though.


Still want more Gone with the Wind goodness. Check out the University of Texas at Austin which is showing a special exhibition of “The Making of Gone with the Wind” at the Henry Ransom Center. It features three Scarlett O’Hara dresses and other costumes, amoung them the green velvet curtain dress and the red feather sequin dress. Also tons of never before seen photographs, storyboards, drawings, screen tests, make-up test shots and more. They are also selling a companion book.scarlett-drawing-curtain-dress  scarlett-drawing-green-white-dress

“The Making of ‘Gone With The Wind'” can be seen starting Sept. 9, 2014 thru the beginning of January at the Ransom Center Galleries. Mon – Fri : 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Thursday extended hours until 7 p.m. Weekends the galleries are open from noon to 5 p.m.

Public tours are offered every day at noon, as well as Thursdays at 6 p.m. and Saturdays and Sundays at 2 p.m. “Gone With The Wind” screentests will be shown in the Ransom Center’s first-floor theater at 1:30 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. on weekends.



The Henry Ransom Center houses a huge collection of Gone with the Wind memorabilia and archives in their David O. Selznick Collection. Now thru Jan 2015 is your chance to get a glimpse of some of these treasure’s.


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