preservation

Burgeoning Bakelite bonanza

Like so many vintage-loving ladies (and gents!) I have a major heart-on for Bakelite. My collection has grown hugely this year and I thought it would be fun to share a few of the things I have found and the many ways I have seen Bakelite lovers store their stashes. 


My most recent finds are the unworn stacks in the upper left and lower right corners. This summer I discovered a vintage jewelry store called Ann & Jack's Vintage Jewelry in Hopkins (just west of Minneapolis) that has a great variety of vintage jewelry offerings. I brought little miss J last time and was so impressed with their store. They have a chest of treasures that your little ones can paw through and take a treat home for free! What a great way to help a mama out as she gets her oooh-sparkly fix!

Anywho, the most recent acquisitions are somewhat of a work in progress. The bangles in the lower right corner have some serious patina that I believe is hiding a light blue green (top) and a hot pink (middle). The bottom one might even have some strong blue streaks if I can get the layers worked down.

I am interested in learning more about how to restore the original colors and started off with Brasso. I'll also be looking to try Novus #3 and Turtlewax Chrome polish. I've heard good things. I'd love to hear if you have other suggestions!

When you start having a good sized collection you need to find a good way to keep all those beauties stored and displayed, too! 

On my Pinterest board Bangles, brooches and bags, oh my! I have saved lots of items that just make me go, "Ooooooooh...!" I've also started saving images of the different ways people store their bangles for your viewing pleasure. Here are a couple of my favorites!

                             

I started out with this sweet jewelry box my mother gave me years ago. It has a nice, deep bottom compartment that worked really well! You can see here, though that my collection was already bursting at the seams. Time to start looking for other, inspiring ideas!

This coke-bottle options is super neat. What a fun way to sort and store your bangles! Plus, don't you just envy a collection so broad, varied and extensive??? *sigh*

I like this idea a lot, too. A great, inexpensive way to store and display. Plus, moving your bangles off of your dresser or vanity is great for freeing up surface area! In this bangle-fan's blog she mentions the benefit of being able to swap out towel tubes when they get exhausted. I think that's pretty good but I know it would drive me batty to have to replace them and also to have to take the tube off every time I wanted to sort through the bangles. Which is why...

This is the method I love most! These bangles are not my own collection but are the same sort of storage I use. I have been extremely lucky to find a couple of these boxes at different flea markets. I have a silvery blue one that I snagged for $7 and a salmony pink one I scored for just $2! It was super dirty but has cleaned up rather well and I have been happy with it so far. 

I feel like I have seen and known about Bakelite all my life. All throughout my childhood I remember being dragged (hey, I wasn't always jazzed but I am so glad my parents made me do things that interested them, too) to flea markets all over the region. We went to antique stores in New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey. For several years in high school we hit up the Atlantique City Antique Show. It's a mega-huge gathering of small and big time dealers all gather under one roof. 

I remember seeing cases and cases stacked with Bakelite. Bangles, jewelry, phones, knives, etc, etc. These days, every Bakelite bauble I see is that much more precious and exciting to spot. I'd love to see shots of your own bangle storage and favorite bakelite pieces! Plus, I'm excited to share updates on the restoration process of my new bangles on Instagram. 

xo, 
Sarah







Today's post is brought to you by coffee. Spilled on me leaving the house.

Laziness and a lack of knowledge ruin wardrobes. It's true. I'm sure that when lots of us get an oil stain or some such thing on ourselves we think, "Well, there goes that dress/shirt/skirt/whatever." Particularly with t-shirts. It just never seems worth pursuing an alternative... or does it? When you rock vintage, me-made or otherwise investment garments you need to know your way around a stain remover.

Today I'm gonna share a few of my most favorite solutions to those wardrobe-destroying woes. All thanks to my mama, really.

I grew up with an amazing mom who just knew how to do... anything. Install a toilet? Make a perfect Christmas cookie? Sew a shirt? Yup. Remove a stain? Absolutely. She would re-attach buttons, shorten pants and fix busted seams. I thought it was normal. I wanted to be just like her. I keep these things in my cleaning closet just for those occasions when life, you know, just seems to happen.


#1 Carbona Stain Devils
I remember picking these up in the super market when we ran out of some formula. I don't remember which ones we kept around. I just knew that there were special formulas depending on what your stain was made of. In grad school I understood much better the chemistry behind these and what a miracle they really are. In my house as a grownup I keep the Fat & Cooking Oil formula as well as the Wine, Tea, Coffee and Juice formula.
You can order them online or find them at your local Jo-Ann's.


OxiClean Versatile Stain Remover Powder Large Image
#2 OxiClean
I hardly think there's a person in US who hasn't heard of this one. But, what you might not think of with OxiClean is that it is wonderful for removing age spots and marks from vintage fabrics and linens. Whenever my mom (who now runs an antiques shop) or I come across linens that look well taken care of but no less dingy and needing a little love, we use this. A recent batch of vintage homespun napkins came home with me covered in spots and emerged from oxiclean soaking to be a clean, even cream color. As they should! Remember to run anything you've soaked through the regular wash, too.


#3 Synthrapol Detergent
Looks boring and bland, right? Wrong! While I would use Carbona for known stains and OxiClean for less known stains I use Synthrapol for all sorts of fabric cleansing. When clothes are very dirty, have sweat stains, keep shedding dye (like when you buy an indigo-dyed fabric), Synthrapol is my go-to. I started using this in college during my Fibers classes to rinse hand-dyed textiles. It's safe for home use and super efficient. A very small amount go a long, long way! I'll soak the family tablecloth in this after a holiday and have an easy-peasy time getting the marks out. It's gentle on fibers and tough on stains. Also, it has no added colors or fragrances!

All three products are pretty affordable and findable. I've included links in the title bits of each for your easy reference. Keep these ideas in your back pocket (or laundry closet!). It sure helps to know there's hope for your "ruined" clothes when you are livin' la via me-made!

xo
Sarah