Collecting Pretty Things 101
As a young girl, I'd go to my grandparents' house with so much excitement. Not only was I excited to see them, I was excited to spend time with my grandmother Pauline and her Madame Alexander doll collection. She'd bring me upstairs and I'd sit patiently as she opened up each box which revealed a new doll. Each Madame Alexander doll had a story. One was Grandma Moses, a lady who started painting later in life. One looked like Audrey Hepburn. She'd open each box carefully and delicately and tell me each story. Needless to say, I was enchanted. Every time I went over, I'd want to see the dolls and hear all the stories. I knew something wrong when I asked to see the Madame Alexander dolls and my mom told me my grandmother wasn't feeling well and she wasn't going to be able to show me the dolls. My grandmother died when I was a young girl but my memories of her are all pastel and wicker and sweet perfume. I feel my love for the timeless, the feminine, the pretty all comes from her. So I want to thank my beautiful, sweet, wise grandmother who was an amazing story teller and a phenomenal role model. Thank you for introducing me to a life of the pretty, the delicate, the soft and treasures with stories.
I collect three things: beaded vintage bags, perfume bottles and vintage cameras. I never let my collections get out of control - I make sure there's enough but not too much. I always want to leave feeling like I could have more. I don't want my collections to overtake my life or space. All three I haven't spent much money on but their timeless beauty, props for flatlays and photoshoots and the glamour & sparkle in my room are worth way more than I spent.
My collection (of just two cameras now) started one cold March day in 2017 in Madison, CT. I was with my mother and brother Paul. We ate lunch at RJ Cafe and then perused the book store. After we wandered the stores and I waltzed into Walker Loden . Walker Loden is a boutique that sells gifts, antiques and jewelry. I walked around and thought everything was so pretty until my eyes narrowed on a shelf with JFK memorabilia and a vintage Kodak camera. I walked closer to it, thinking once I looked at the price tag I'd sigh and walk away. When I did pick up the price tag i was happy it was only $30 dollars. I had to have it, I talked to the staff and they told me it still works and been sitting on the shelf for awhile which surprised them. I was so happy to take it home! I have used it as vintage props and bring it to photoshoot collabs with other bloggers. It adds a timeless glamour and I adore it.
The latest vintage camera I found today. I was at work and typed up thrift stores. I found one that had more home decor than fashion and went in there and found it. I found a Target Brownie 6-20 - a model by Kodak that was made from 1946-1952. It was known for it's "art deco" face. It was only $15.00. I adorned it with pearls for my room. I can't wait to use it for photoshoots in the future!
My advice for those looking for vintage cameras: Tag Sales, Thrift Stores that sell more home decor than fashion, Antique Stores (but make sure you aren't overpaying). Etsy can be a treasure trove of goodies but make sure you do your homework in terms of pricing. Sometimes it's nice to find the camera, feel it, see in real life - but vintage cameras can be hard to come by. Valley Photo has a wonderful curated vintage camera shop for reasonable prices and great reviews.
I absolutely love the dainty, feminine look of beaded bags of yesteryear. I have found them all at a consignment shop called Back on the Rack in Hamden, CT. I look for quality: I make sure all the beads are there and any clasps are working and not rusted. Of course I look for affordable price and stay in the $20-35 price range. I like unique beaded bags - something that stands out. I rarely use this beaded bags as my own purse, so I want something that will sparkle and look beautiful as a prop. There's some lovely Etsy vintage shops that I trust but for this I'd recommend going to thrift stores that specialize in clothing and accessories.
If online is your thing - Minxouri Vintage is my favorite go-to for both vintage clothing and accessories.
Vintage Perfume Bottles
My perfume bottle collection started as a young girl's pipe dream. I was always so mystified by the beauty and timeless glamour of classic perfume bottles. All of mine are new and purchased from Hobby Lobby! They add a Golden Hollywood glamour to my vanity that I just adore. Hobby Lobby has great deals every other week on certain décor, so I was able to score these pretties for a great price. If you are looking for vintage perfume bottles - Amazon is another great resource. I'd absolutely stay away from Etsy as I've seen sellers jack up prices that are normally in store less than $10.00. Also, some celebrity perfume bottles have that classic look (like Ariana Grande's perfume for example). You can find these anywhere from Ulta, Walgreens to Walmart. I'd buy them if they didn't have their name or brand on the bottle.