Tuesday, January 31, 2012

How to Host a Jewelry Swap & Make The World a Better Place

Ok, so the title might be a little exaggerated, but when you can trade jewelry and accessories while getting to know new people and then donate the extra items to a worthy cause, I do believe that you've made the world a little bit brighter!

My mom built me an amazing jewelry armoire several years ago and I am slightly embarrassed to admit that I had filled. it. up. I buy cheap jewelry and over the years - lots of it. I wanted to pare down my collection and while we donate a lot of unwanted items to thrift stores, it felt strange to drop off a bag of small, easy-to-lose jewelry among other donations for some reason. I didn't want it to get mixed up in everything else we donate and I wanted to get creative with it.

And then it hit me - host a jewelry and accessory swap! I could get new-t0-me items while getting rid of items I had grown tired of!

Here's how it works:
  • Assemble a varied group of friends and encourage them to bring a friend - the more people with different styles, the better variety of jewelry you will have!
  • Have your guests bring any items in good condition they no longer want. You can set whatever parameters on what to bring - you could even include clothes, but my focus here was jewelry and accessories.
  • Let everyone know to count the items they bring. They are able to take home as many items as they contributed.
  • Find a local women's organization to donate the leftover items to. We chose Magdalene House/Thistle Farms, a residential program for women who have survived lives of prostitution, trafficking, addiction and life on the streets.
  • Display the items (more on that below!).
  • Split your time into rounds. In round 1, each guest chooses 1 item. Once everyone is finished, announce "round 2" and let everyone choose a 2nd item, and so on. When your guests have reached their total, they stop choosing items while others who brought more items continue choosing.
  • Don't forget snacks! I served winter white sangria, chocolate cookies, and tortilla chips with a black bean guacamole dip (sounds fancier than it is - I blended black beans and mixed them in with some Wholly Guacamole and sour cream).

More details on hosting a jewelry swap below...

You don't have to have a big space for a swap - you just have to get creative! Find fun ways to display the jewelry and accessories. I used platters from my kitchen to display items and borrowed jewelry display items from my friend Val who sells jewelry and handmade items at flea markets and craft shows.

Make sure you have room for your guests to circle around the tables you have displayed the items on. Everyone will circle constantly, assessing what they want to choose next!

I set up a folding table in the living room where the coffee table normally sits (and placed the coffee table in a corner and instructed my guests to place their purses that weren't up for grabs in that corner).

The swap lasted for 2 hours (from 2-4pm on a Sunday afternoon) and happily, most people arrived right on time. As they entered the house, I explained that they could start unpacking their items and placing them around the different areas we had set up.

We attempted to organize different items in different areas. One platter for bracelets, one for rings, etc. Val even brought stands that we could hang purses, belts, long necklaces, and scarves from. We set those up in the archway between the dining room and the living room.

If you have friends who want to come but don't have anything to bring, suggest they bring a snack or a drink to share in order to earn "credit" toward jewelry. I put enough items into the swap to cover myself and a few others, so I knew we wouldn't run out of items.

I love that everyone went home with at least 6 new items and no money was exchanged. We packed up a really big shopping bag of the leftover items and took them to Magdalene House. It was a great afternoon with old friends and new - and hopefully our small contribution to the women of Magdalene will make a difference.

Shannon shows off some of her new accessories! Oh, another note - one guest didn't have jewelry to bring but she is a hairdresser so she brought hair products. Everyone loved being able to choose from those as well!

Have you ever hosted a clothing or jewelry swap? What other tips do you have?

I am inspired to host more swaps - I want to do a housewares/home decor swap and a craft supply swap! You could even do a book swap! There are so many possibilities.

Linking to:
Nifty Thrifty Tuesday
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Monday, January 30, 2012

Do You Have Alt Envy?

If you're like me, a lot of the blogs you read have been doing amazing Alt Summit recaps and you've been living vicariously through your blog friends while trying to tame your Alt Envy.

(If you haven't heard of Alt Summit, it's an amazing blog/design conference in Salt Lake City. It just took place last week and the internet has been abuzz about how incredible it was!)

We are so lucky that in this digital age, we can still learn from Alt even though we weren't there. Here are some of my favorite round ups and wrap ups from Alt!

photo by b.a.d. photography

My friend Heather of Joy Of All Crafts attended Alt Summit and posted notes from the various panels she attended. Check out Successful Collaborations / Building Relationship with Ad Networks / From Blog To Book.

She also got the chance to interview my favorite* designer, Emily Henderson! Read the interview here!

Dottie and Alix from Modern Kiddo posted a great recap full of beautiful and super fun photos from their time at Alt!

photo by b.a.d. photography

Danni from oh, hello friend posted a recap of Alt with a ton of great blogging tips.

Nicole from Making It Lovely created a Storify page for the Twitter conversations happening during her panel, Growing a Readership. You can learn a lot from this conversation!

photo by justin hackworth

Here's a great Pinterest board that also gathers lots of Alt Summit posts and you can see more Alt Summit recaps on the Alt Summit Blog!

I think the biggest lesson I've learned from the recaps is to be true to yourself and focus on relationships and not numbers.

Here's hoping I can go next year and experience it for myself and learn firsthand!

Did you go? Have you read great recaps? Let's talk Alt in the comments!

*Hahahah, wishful thinking! In your Google Reader, it probably said "my friend designer" but that is not the case, sadly! What a slip! I meant to write "favorite." :)

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Friday, January 27, 2012

Pinterest: Vintage Living

Be sure to follow me on Pinterest - especially my new "Vintage Living" board! I have been having so much fun pinning real vintage interiors! Follow here and see all my boards here!

I am so inspired by real vintage photographs and design. And I love that in most of the photographs, a starburst clock is visible! I just wish I could find them often now!

Happy friday, everyone!!

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Thursday, January 26, 2012

Time To Sew: Pillows

Sew, sew, sew! I've been trying to work on a few projects around the house and we had some couch pillows that were falling apart after years of use. I bought some fun fabric at our local fabric shop, Textile*, and made a few pillow cases following this tutorial (minus the ruffle).

I picked up a subtle gray and white pattern that reminds me of bunting and then a teal flower fabric that coordinates well with the 2 teal cushions I got on clearance-clearance at Urban Outfitters. (The first time I ever went to our local UO, they were running a 50% off sale on their clearance items! The cushions were originally $40 each and I got each for $10!)

I had never made envelope-closure pillows before but I like them! I have a ton of zippers that but they are slightly more complicated to sew and since I haven't sewn much in the past year, I wanted to start back on an easier project. This was the perfect project to get my sewing gears turning! I hope to have more projects to share soon, but with a new puppy, I am not sure how much time I will have for sewing!

Speaking of sewing - my talented friend Heather of Joy of All Crafts is an amazing quilter, crafter, and blogger! Yesterday, she featured my single bloom bouquet tutorial - check it out here and follow her blog! (Need extra incentive? Soon she will be posting an interview with Emily Henderson!)

**Textile's 40% off sale lasts through Saturday! Head on in to grab a great deal!

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Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Favorite Finds: Savannah's Skirt

(I'm trying out a new Favorite Finds banner... what do you think??)

Today's Favorite Find comes from Savannah of MaieDae, a beautiful Atlanta-based blog. I love reading other southern bloggers and Savannah posts a delightful mix of vintage + decor + handmade. She's also running an inspiring "5 Things" series in which bloggers detail 5 things they've learned, or 5 ways they stay inspired, etc. Savannah shares her favorite fashion find below!

What is your favorite find and where did you find it?

One of my favorite thrifted finds, is this black and white pleated skirt. I found it at a local thrift store.

What drew you to the skirt?

I love how flowy and easy to wear it is! AND I love that it goes with everything.

What is your favorite memory in the skirt?

I love to dress up on Sundays, so I often wear this skirt to visit mine and my husband's family. It reminds me of our family days. :)

Why do you love buying vintage/secondhand?

I love to buy vintage/secondhand because I feel like it has a unique character and history. I love bringing to life old pieces and making them work in my home or with my personal style. I also love the fact that vintage tends to be more durable than clothing manufactured now.

Thank you so much for sharing, Savannah!

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Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Rebekka Seale Print Winner

Chicken dinner!

I'm excited to announce the winner of the Rebekka Seale Sparrow Print Giveaway!

Drumroll please....

#11, Dana!

The only problem though is, Dana, I can't contact you! Your email address isn't listed anywhere (your comment, your blogger profile, or your blog). Please email me your mailing address and I will send the print out to you.

And this is a note to everyone - please visit your blogger profile and see if your email address is listed. If it's not, it means that bloggers can't reply to you when you comment on our blog. You just need to click "Edit profile" on your blogger dashboard and change the setting so that you are email-able. A lot of us subscribe to our comments by email so that we may reply directly but if your email address is not listed, you show up in our inbox as a "no-reply" blogger.

And now it's time for a cute photo of Lucy. :)

Happy Tuesday!

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House Tour: Our Bathroom

Last week, we finally had some much-needed repairs done to our bathroom. We had a leak which ended up ruining some drywall. We got the drywall replaced, I painted with a deeper shade of teal (a $7 gallon - thank you Home Depot "oops" paint!) and we hung a new curved shower rod (which I LOVE). I switched out some artwork and voila!

The folk art print was a gift from Carolyn and features lyrics from my favorite hymn, Come Thou Fount. I picked up the little blue alarm clock at the Brooklyn Flea, the portrait is from an estate sale, and I can't remember where I got the bird years ago.

The 60s art is from the Downtown Antique Mall and the shower curtain is from Anthropologie and was a generous gift from a friend after she and her husband bought a house and it didn't match their new bathrooms. I had been coveting it for awhile and was so thrilled when she passed it on to me!

I wish I could get a better overall shot of the bathroom but it's so tiny, it's hard to take a photo of it.

I will hopefully post more "house tour" photos in the future - I am working on getting more projects done! I think our house is my ultimate canvas and I want to document it!

Have you done any easy updates lately??

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Monday, January 23, 2012

Meet Lucy!

No Thrift Report to share today - I've been too busy with the newest addition to our family!

Isn't she the cutest??

Andy has always wanted a bulldog but I'm not really into them. I somehow fell in love with boston terriers (even though I've always been really into small, furry dogs) and so we compromised on a boston bulldog. We found one available and picked her up on Saturday!

She is a stinker! (figuratively and literally, haha!)

These photos were taken in a rare moment of stillness. She has SO much energy!

Oh goodness. My heart runs over. :)

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Friday, January 20, 2012

Vintage TV: What's My Line? Men's Edition

Last week, we took a look at some leading ladies on What's My Line. Now it's time for the men!

Any Woody Allen fans out there? :)

How about the dashing Sean Connery?

One of my favorites... Desi Arnaz!

A legend... Walt Disney! (with Jerry Lewis as a panelist!)

And let's end on a very handsome note... Paul Newman!

I hope you enjoy these clips! I love looking back at old TV shows and movies!

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Thursday, January 19, 2012

Owl Really Booth Updates: Children's Section Edition

Well, woops! I meant to blog this last week. I spent a few hours updating my booth and creating a small children's section. I re-arranged a few things and, voila!

I created the children's section on the back wall with some drawer shelves my mom made me a few years ago. (As you can tell by the shabby chic-ness of those photos on her blog, my style has changed a lot!)

In this section, I included a globe, an old-school pencil sharpener, children's books, a jewelry box, Twister, a cute train wall hanging, and a few more items - including the children's clothes hung nearby.

I continue to rearrange the shelves and try to organize items by color or function. Good news - two of my travel bags have sold over the past week! Below, you can see a beautiful yellow vent I found at my new favorite thrift store.

Even though I have a section that is organized by red and green, they're not Christmas items. I grouped my Bingo cards, an atlas, a book of party games, apple salt and pepper shakers, and an embroidered strawberry - along with new vintage red&white glassware I picked up recently.

Then I grouped pink items together which includes a trivet, an alarm clock, and an atomic glass. The alarm clock just sold in the past few days!

No one has picked up one of my vintage planters with succulents yet, but I admit I did price them high because I love them and don't really want them to sell. I don't have room for them at home, but I might take them to work. I really love the yellow one and the faux bois one. I also kinda want to rescue that little fawn from my booth, too. :) I had 3 and 2 have sold... he's so cute!

Thanks for checking it out! If you're in Nashville, be sure to swing by the Tennessee Antique Mall (654 Wedgewood Avenue) and ask for Booth 85!

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Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Favorite Finds: Beth's Patchwork Quilt

It's so fun to see all the various items people choose as their favorite finds! Beth of Secondhand with Style has amazing taste, displayed on both her blog and in her online vintage shop! I knew she'd have a fun Favorite Find and she shares it below!

What is your favorite find and where did you find it?

My most favorite thing I've ever thrifted is a handmade patchwork quilt sewn with vintage fabrics. It came from the National Council of Jewish Women thrift store in Venice, Calif.

What attracted you to this particular quilt?

The colors and the patterns! Each square is a different fabric, and the colors are so bright. I sometimes look at them for design inspiration.

Have you always appreciated quilts or did this particular one spur a new-found love?

I grew up with a grandmother who quilted and then embroidered them, so I've always had an appreciation for quilts. Patchwork is definitely my favorite, though. They have so much personality and are almost like time capsules...you can guesstimate when it was made based on the patterns of the fabric used.

What is your favorite memory of the quilt, so far?

There are so many! This quilt has traveled with me to the beach for picnics, into the desert on camping trips, and has made the trip from Los Angeles to St. Louis twice. It's become a part of the family, really. :)

Anything else we need to know about it?

I don't like to share it. Just ask my husband. Ha.

Why do you love vintage and secondhand items?

Oh my goodness...I could fill several blog posts with this answer, but I'll try and keep it short. :) First, reusing items decreases post-consumer waste, and at the same time allows people to get creative with their wardrobes and home decor. And I love vintage especially because I think the quality is better (especially with kitchen items), and I find the designs in both textiles and housewares a bit more inspired than what you find today. This quilt is a great example; there are patterns on here that current ones just can't rival. Or look at the Pyrex/Corelle/Anchor Hocking bowls and casseroles; there isn't a company today that has put that kind of artwork into its kitchenware, which is why a lot of people still collect and use it.

I agree! Beth, thanks so much for telling us about your favorite find! Be sure to check out Beth's inspiring blog!

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Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Rebekka Seale Sparrow Print Giveaway

Soon after I moved to Nashville years & years ago, I met Rebekka Seale but actually didn't know what an amazing artist she was. Fast forward to the past few months and we've been reacquainted through the blog world. I came across her blog earlier this year and then she visited and left a comment when I featured Melodie's bamboo bar (as they are close friends).

I knew when Christmas came around, Rebekka's Sparrow print would be at the top of my list - and happily, I received it!

I wanted to share Rebekka's beautiful work (featured recently on Design*Sponge), so I am giving away one of her Sparrow prints (just like mine!) to a lucky winner!

To enter to win (1 mandatory entry and 2 bonus entries [for a total of 3 possible entries]):
  1. Mandatory entry - please subscribe via Google Friend Connect or the RSS feed and leave a comment saying you are a follower.
  2. Tweet the following and leave a comment with the link to your tweet: Enter to win a @RebekkaSeale Sparrow Print from @owlreally! http://bit.ly/zH3YXF
  3. Share the contest on your blog and leave a comment with the link.
Make sure I have a way of contacting you. If your blogger profile is set to "no-reply" or your email address is hidden, please include your email address in your entry.

The contest will close next Monday at noon central time at which time I will choose a winner using random.org!

Be sure to follow Rebekka's blog and shop her Etsy store!

Linking to: Free Pretty Things For You

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Monday, January 16, 2012

Thrift Report: The Cutest Ugly Chair Ever

When we were in Louisville for Christmas, we visited a giant peddler's mall located in our former Kroger grocery store! They have split the entire store (including the stock room) into booths and it's a great place to browse. My mom and I were near the end of our shopping excursion when I turned the corner and saw the strangest and most wonderful chair I had ever seen.

A vintage metal and vinyl chair on rockers??? I fell in love in that "it's so ugly it's cute" kind of way. And it was only $8.95! The rip in the vinyl concerned me, however, and I knew we wouldn't have room in our car to bring it home after Christmas.

I agonized over passing it up but we kept shopping, ran another errand and when I got home, there was a surprise. My mom had called my dad and suggested that he go up to the store and get it for me. She told him exactly where it was and that it was a teal rocker. When he saw it, he kept repeating "This can't be it."

I know, my taste is weird! But, he got it for me and my mom is going to either recover it or have it recovered for me.

I love it. Not that we're decorating a nursery any time soon, but this will be such a rad addition. And I never use the word rad, so you know I'm seriously excited about this chair. :)

What is the ugliest cute item you've ever found - or the cutest ugly item? :)

Linking to:
Apron Thrift Girl

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Friday, January 13, 2012

Vintage TV: What's My Line? Leading Ladies

I love game shows - it's always been a secret dream of mine to be on one. At the TN State Fair several years ago, I entered my name in a Wheel of Fortune raffle and my friend got chosen to go up on stage and play a short round that could qualify her to be on the show. She unfortunately didn't make it through that round, so maybe someday someone I know will get to be on a game show! (Well, I did go to high school with a Teen Jeopardy contestant and I do know a few people who have been on reality TV, but I'm still holding out for an honest-to-goodness cheesy game show!)

I started thinking about vintage game shows and how amazing they were. Growing up, I loved watching re-runs of What's My Line and similar panel-type game shows. If you're not familiar with the show, the panelists each ask questions to reveal a secret about their guest and they even had celebrity guests. The panelists can only get 10 questions wrong but they almost always discover who the guest is!

I dug up a few clips of my favorite leading ladies as mystery guests on What's My Line - enjoy!

Debbie Reynolds is brilliant and so beautiful - although this clip does show her at the beginning of her romance with Eddie Fisher and it's sad to see how happy she was, knowing how it would end.

Doris Day is absolutely charming in her very first TV appearance:

Lucille Ball invents her own hilarious language in this clip:

Carol Burnett is hilarious as always:

See Julie Andrews nearly stump the panel:

Aren't those so fun? I love vintage game shows! What's your favorite?

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Thursday, January 12, 2012

We got the dining table!

I really didn't mean to keep you in suspense, I just haven't had a chance to blog about the dining table!

We got it!!

We drove up to Goodlettsville on Saturday to meet the woman who was selling it. We found out that it was her mother's, meaning it had been in the same family since it was first bought. I love to think about how many family dinners and celebrations happened at this table and the homework and learning and life lessons that occurred here. I love to think about our children one day doing homework at this table and us having our first dinner party and Christmas at our house and all the memories we will have with our first real grown-up table.

It has so much character and Kathy (the woman we got it from) showed me the 3 different upholstery fabrics on the chairs - from the 60s, 70s, and 80s. I love that you can see hints of past decades when you look at the bottom of the chairs.

I love that Andy and I can both work at the table, whether it's an art/craft project or working on our computers and still have plenty of room. Saturday night, we worked on one half of the table and when we were ready to play a boardgame, we moved down a chair and sat at the other half! Our previous table (that I bought for $20 at a yard sale) was half the size of this table.

I love that it was a great price (really great!) - cheaper than a new dining set. And it comes with a leaf so one day when we're in a bigger house, we can even accommodate more people.

I love that it feels like REAL furniture. It feels authentic and purposeful and intentional. This is the table we have because it's beautiful, has history, and will serve us well.

I am on the lookout for the perfect fabric to recover the seats. It needs to coordinate with the curtains and our table runner (which you can see a hint of in the 2nd photo).

I am so happy with our new-to-us table! I tell ya - it pays to stalk Craigslist. :)

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Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Favorite Finds: Eartha Kitsch's "Pam" Films

I have had a recent surge in subscribers and I want to take a moment to say hello and thank you to all my new friends! Thank you so much for joining me on my vintage-loving journey and for supporting what I do by subscribing!

Every Wednesday, I post someone's Favorite Find and ask them to share about their second hand treasures. You can see the full series here if you're interested in seeing the amazing and various items my friends, neighbors, and fellow bloggers have chosen!

Ever so often, a story comes along that is so intriguing and beautiful that it must be shared. (Ira Glass, are you listening? The below story is worthy of an entire This American Life episode!)

Today's favorite find combines an incredible find with a really fascinating story and journey for Eartha Kitsch. I recently "met" Eartha through Rae and I'm so happy we've connected. She's a fellow vintage-loving, blogging Nashvillian. Her favorite find is pretty remarkable, so I'm going to let her take it away - be prepared - it's a tearjerker.

What is your favorite find and where did you find it?

Recently, my husband and I were in this really tragic indoor flea market and were finding absolutely nothing. As we were about to give up the ghost, I saw this stack of old 8mm films jumbled on a shelf. I was intrigued right away when I saw that they were family films from the 50's and 60's which are hands down, my favorite eras. My interest was peaked even more when I saw titles such as "1963 Florida" and "Pam and I Decorating The Tree". I bought five or six of the reels just to see what they held.

What went through your mind when you discovered a treasure trove of someone's memories?

Upon viewing them? Magic. I was instantly drawn in. The very first reel that we watched was "Pam's Third Birthday" and there she was - Pam. This glorious little blonde haired girl, full of so much life and in every frame, surrounded by family members who fawned over her as she practically bubbled over with joy. The films were so idealistic. So perfect. When I bought them, I thought, "Oh, these will be interesting" but in the end, they were addictive. Beautiful interior shots and cottages in the snow and Pam wearing darling dresses on Christmas mornings. We watched every reel that day, one after the other. And then I turned to my husband and told him that we had to go get the others - not only because I wanted to see what was next in Pam's life but also because the thought of the films not staying together broke my heart. And we did. Thirteen reels in all which allowed us to peer into her life from her third year into her seventh.

Did you already own an 8mm projector or did you have to find one?

Oh gosh, no. That's how I roll. Act now and think later! I was scouring the classified ads the minute that I got home from that flea market because I just HAD to see what was on those tiny little frames of film. Luckily, I found one for cheap and it worked like a charm.

What emotions did you experience when you put the first reel on?

Um, I started crying. The very first frames were pure joy - that sweet little girl being snuggled by her grandmother. And then there she was with her beautiful pastel birthday cake and little kid smile, squinting against the light of the video camera. I was a goner. I had to know more. I had to know what had become of Pam. I was determined to meet her and to show her the films.

Were you able to research about the rest of her life?

I was. I research everything and my favorite finds are the ones that I can track back to their previous owners. I actually creep out cashiers at estate sales by begging them to tell me about the people whose things I am buying! In the case of the films, there was a last name on one of the film cartons and the town where Pam's family used to live from when the lab processed them back in the day. By and by, I was able to go through tax records and genealogy records and before I knew it, I was staring at her obituary. And it hit me like a brick. Her obituary. The beautiful little girl had grown up and died of cancer. Pam was gone. Just a mere two weeks before I found the films. And then we watched the films again and this time, they broke my heart.

Through these films, what have you experienced with Pam? What has your journey with her been like?

It's going to sound completely crazy but from that first glimpse of light through film, I felt like she was family. And then when I learned from her obituaries that she and I had some things in common before she passed, even more so. I hunted down the dealer that sold the films and he gave me some background on how he got them. The family simply did not want to keep them. Or it hurt too much to do so. Who can say. And that made me want to preserve and pass on Pam's legacy even more. They've also made me think about my own life and how with no children, question what will happen to my things one day and from these things, what will people learn about me? The Pam films put me into a bit of an introspective mood there for a while but strangely enough, she helped me make some long-put-off decisions about my life. I think that I was meant to find Pam that day.

Anything else you would like to share?

I think that it's pretty cool that when people DO come to buy things at my own estate sale one day, they'll find Pam's films and think that she really IS my family - and in the end, we pretty much will be.

Why do you love buying vintage?

New things give me a nervous tic. No joke. And they have no soul. Vintage things have history and stories. You buy an old apron and it's so easy to imagine the woman who has worn it before you, shuffling from stove to sink down through the decades, wiping hands and children's tears with the hem. You're not going to get that from a new one. That old dresser that you bring home that has the finish worn through on the drawer pulls? That's from the many hands of those before you. It's like those people are a part of your human experience now through these things. We all connect. And sometimes in these crazy times, it's good to feel like we do.

So well-said and such a beautiful story! You can find out more about Eartha's experience with Pam through her blog - click here to see all the posts on Pam and the films.

If you have a favorite find you would like to submit, please e-mail me!

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