Saturday, October 31, 2009

Have a Happy Halloween Everybody!

This year I have personally decided not to celebrate Halloween and to celebrate dia de los muertos instead. This will be my second year doing this. Last year I made a dia de los muertos altar with a paper mache' skeleton (Esperanza) and a paper mache' red devil (Julio) in my studio apartment and I had crepe' paper skeletons hanging around, candles lit up and I made some collages in honor of the tradition also. I proceeded to go around Portland taking pictures of other altars around town and added them to my collages.

This year I am going to a community dia de los meurtos celebration on Nov. 1st at the Someday Lounge in NW Portland. They will be starting off with making sugar skulls, building a community altar, then a parade from down town to old town, costumes, live music (a few different bands - one which is leading the parade), movies, tamales, and hot chocolate! Sounds like my kind of festaval. I can't wait for tomorrow to come!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Brooksie goes to the largest antique show in America!

Yesterday I went to the Palmer Wirf's Portland Antique Show with a couple of my vintage pals. Palmer Wirf's Portland Antique Show is America's largest antique and collectable show. It is located at the Portland Expo Center and it happens three times a year, in October, March, and July. I try to go at least twice a year. July is probably the best because not only do they have three halls inside filled to the brim they also have about just as many booths set up outside. This year they had 1026 booths all crammed together in two halls.

Every time I go I dress up in full on vintage attire which is not really anything new for me, most days I get dressed up in vintage attire. I went with two very dapper gentlemen also dressed up in vintage suits. Every time we go to this show people fawn all over us and tell us they love that we dressed up. The vendors usually end up giving us a discount because they want us to buy from them.

Sorry I do not have any pictures but I can describe what I was wearing... A British tweed (brown and cream, trimmed in chocolate brown velvet-I would say that it is post war either late 40's or early 50's) ladies suit, skirt and jacket. I had on sheer seamed stockings that are just hair darker then nude (which is great for wearing with fall tones) with a black seam and cuban heel with that I had on my couture Donald J. Pliner aligator repro 1940's peep toe pumps. I wore my hair pulled back into a chignon with my bangs rolled under and I have a pair of cute earings that are perfectly round and they match the chocolate brown velvet trim of the suit.

I bought this tweed suit last July at the antique show when it was about 90 degrees out and nobody wanted to even think about wool tweed except for me (even though I was sweating at the show I knew one day I would be very, very cold again because I get really cold very easily) they were selling the suit for $15.00 because for one it was wayyyy out of season. I asked if they would take $10.00 because I would have to have the jacket altered. They said yes...well, when I went to pick it up from my lady who does alterations about a week and half ago she said the suit was a most excellent find (she had no idea what I had paid for it) but she had said that it was made with couture techniques which means it is of the utmost highest in qaulity! I love the lable is says: Exclusive British Tweed tailored by Handmacher. I got so many compliments on my outfit and so many questions, like I do every time that I go.

While I was there I picked up a few very nice things: 2 pairs of Givinchy seamed stockings (nude with a nude seam - never been worn, still with box and stickers on the stockings), a very cute small red velvet 40's/50's hat with a cute little embellishment on it, a beautiful 1940's black velvet skirt with rhinestones and a black embroidered small rope like pattern that is on the front only and goes from the waistband down a little more then half way down the front of the skirt... the skirt has a tear in it so it will have to be taken up some which is ok because I think it is a little long anyways plus this skirt will go perfect with a top that a lady that I know gave me a couple months ago - the top is 1940's black rayon with buttons down the back and short sleeves and it also has rhinestones in a diamond pattern on the chest right in the center with the same rope style embroidery, she gave it to me because it does not fit her anylonger and she knew I would appreciate it because I am always wearing vintage. The next thing I got at the show is a pair of super cool 1950's cat eye sunglasses they are a really pretty pearly green color like a cross between a jade and an emerald they have green lenses and have rhinestones up in the corner of each cat eye. Then last but not least I got a very pretty vintage red (my favorite color) glass bead choker (the beads are very dainty pretty - not a big chunky 70's choker more like a pretty 40's or 50's one) it is hand knotted in between each bead, the bead sizes are varigated to go from the smallest in the back to the biggest in the center plus it has a couple of rhinestone rondelles in there also. Hmmm it looks like I have a theme going on this time....40's/50's velvet, rhinestones, and jewel tones. I don't think you can beat that!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Interview with the lovely retro pin-up model Mandy Apple.

I contacted Mandy Apple this month because she makes these cute little top hats and I wanted one for a shoot. So, she invited me to Kelly's Olympian (Sunday the 11th) in down town Portland because there was an event going on and she was going to have her hats there for show and tell and sell, of course. Her persona online in the pin-up world is dynamic and I want everybody to know that in real life she is an absolute living doll!

Here is my interview with her:

BROOKSIE: So, Mandy how long have you been a retro pin-up model?

MANDY: I had my very first shoot in March of 2007 (just over a year and a half), all though for some reason people seem to think I have been doing it for much longer.

BROOKSIE: Who or what inspires you?

MANDY: GO-GO Amy of course! She just takes my breath away. My honey purchased a weekend pin-up class birthday held at one of my favorite Rockabilly/Pin-up stores ever, Cherry Red in Salem Oregon. The first day was the how to's of pin-up such as hair, make-up, wardrobe, props, etc... all brought to you by the best red headed, burlesque performers, seamstress, extraordinaire. The second day was a whirl wind of girly madness, I walked in the door to be whisked away into hair, make-up, wardrobe and I endured one of the most embarrassing moments ever! Only because I had never been made up to that extreme before, especially in front of a camera but, as I warmed up, it truly was a turning point and I honestly fell head over heals in mad LOVE with everything vintage. After the class I purchased some books and spent a lot of time in the library to get the looks and outfits just right.

BROOKSIE: What inspired you to make your mini-top hats?

MANDY: My get away is my bedroom where I can get creative with sewing outfits and coming up with ideas for shoots. One day I was looking for the perfect hat for a burlesque looking outfit I made. I went to every craft and fabric store and just could not come up with anything. I finally went back to the big fabric department type store and asked if they had anything different. She pulled out a mini top hat from behind the counter and I fell in love with the idea. Knowing I did not like the cheap look that it had I gave it back to her and I grabbed some blue sparkly fabric that matched my out fit and headed home. To my room I went, I made the first hat out of cardboard, it worked very well for the shoot, light weight, easy to decorate, then as I went home and kind of tossed the hat down in exhaustion from the shoot, I realized cardboard just is not going to work. I have experimented for a while with other products but now I use a durable laminated material, that I cut out using my own pattern I made. I shape each piece then I cover each piece with fabric of choice. I then construct all the pieces into one of the cutest little hats ever. Decorating them now that is a breeze, I just go with whatever I feel, unless I have a custom order.

BROOKSIE: How long have you been making these wonderful little hats?

MANDY: About six months.

BROOKSIE: Who does your awesome pin-up hairstyling and make-up?

MANDY: I usually do my own hair and make-up if it is a vintage/pin-up shoot but if it is anything else, funky or edgy then someone else has to come to the rescue.

BROOKSIE: Do you have any words of wisdom for any wannabe retro/vintage pin-up models out there?

MANDY: Start younger than I did! Tehehe, I am now 30 and I am the old lady in this industry. Study what you like and do it right. Practice, practice, and really what they say is very true, if the pose does not hurt, it is not looking right... arch HARDER!

To check out Mandy's mini top hats go to:

Monday, October 19, 2009

Brooksie does vintage/retro interviews.

Hello everyone, I have just started doing monthly interviews. Each month I will interview someone new - each person that is chosen will be someone that either has a business or profession that is vintage/retro or someone that lives a vintage lifestyle. If you fit this profile or if you know of someone that fits this profile please send me a message. I would love to have more blog readers. Keep your eyes peeled for my first interview with Many Apple the retro pin-up beauty!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Brooksie is Miss October!

Back in September I entered the Pinup Girls Group monthly contest for the month of October, I entered not really believing I would win but secretly hoping that I would and you know what I won, I won! I am Miss October. Check it out:
The photos I entered are from my Elvgren themed shoot that I did last spring. Here are a few photos from that shoot. All photos were from Frank DeSantis, photographer extraordinaire. To check out more of Frank's work go to his website:

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Erte' Display at Pittock Mansion

Yesterday I went with a friend to the Pittock Mansion to see the Erte' display and then we had lunch of 23rd street. It was a lovely cool, crisp, but sunny fall day. I wore a 1930's rayon dress - the dress is white with a black, light purple and green abstract floral design. I wore a black cardigan, white bobby sox, and black mary janes. I wore my vintage sunglasses and my black vintage patent leather purse.

The Erte display was beautiful, Erte's true name was Romain de Tirtoff but he was known by the French pronunciation of his initials - Erte'. He is most famous for his Art Deco illustrations of dramatically dressed women. He designed costumes and sets for theatre, opera, and Hollywood. He worked for Harper's Bazaar Magazine for over 20 years and created more than 200 covers. Often featuring women in flowing silks, furs, jewels, and/or feather plumes.

There were prints and sculptures on display for viewing and they were quite exotic and beautiful. As many of you know the Art Deco Era is my favorite so of course I had to go.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

In Memory of my father.

In loving memory of my father June 17, 1930 to September 29, 2009.
William D. Wyss passed away on Tuesday September 29th, 2009 at Tillamook Hospital. He is survived by his wife of 56 years, JoAnn Wyss, sons William M. Wyss, James D. Wyss, Robert Lee Wyss, and daughter Lisa Bardsley. Five grandchildren and one great-grandchild.
He enjoyed gardening, fishing, travel, building things and wordworking. He will be missed greatly.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Shopping on Hawthorne and Blade Runner as inspiration.

When life gets tough I shop, I had a traumatic thing happen this week so in order to cope I went shopping. At least I did not spend very much money and there of course can be much worse vice's such as drinking, smoking, or drugs.

First I went to The Red Light store on Hawthorne because I had a bag of stuff to trade, I found this most wonderful 1940's charcoal color wool ladies suit jacket, it has a nipped in waist with a little bit of a peplum at the bottom and three really cool looking buttons. When I got it home I realized that I have a skirt that is made from the exact same charcoal wool so I now own a beautiful suit. It has a very - Racheal from Blade Runner - look to it.
I also got a cherry red wool beret because they are always fun to wear in the fall in winter, I plan on dying a pair of pink gloves that I have the same cherry red color so I will have gloves to match. After the trade I only paid $4.oo for the jacket and the beret...not bad.
Then I went to Buffalo Exchange and I found a pair of Coture Donald J Pliner shoes, they are 1940's repro platform peep toe pumps in a brown reptile - they marked as a size 6 1/2 but they looked way bigger - I kept on thinking to myself, they look like they would fit. So I decided to try them on and they fit! They were totaly mismarked because I wear a size 7 1/2, they were originally $38.00 at Buffalo Exchange because I guess that Donald Pliner is a uber popular shoe designer right now (who would have known, not me, I just liked them because they look like 1940's peep toe platforms!) but they were marked down to half price because they were not fitting anybody with a size 6 1/2 foot (they had been at Buffalo Exchange since August) once I got home I looked up this designer and his shoes go for around $300.00 or just slightly under. My shoes do not even look like they have ever been worn. These shoes will go perfet with my nice 1940's chocolate brown and cream tweed suit that is piped in chocolate brown velvet, that I got in the middle of summer at the last Portland Antique Show. Now I just need to take the suit in and have the jacket altered. Which is what I finally did do with the black light weight wool 1940's jacket that I got from the antique show before the last., yay it was about time and just in time for the fall/winter.
The last thing I bought at Buffalo Exchange was a straw 1950's handbag - I always seem to buy things out of season but that is ok I just put it away and pull it out when the time comes and it is just like Christmas all over again! This bag is super adorable, it has red straw flowers and two tone green leaves that have been stitched on with yarn, it looks like a nice hand bag to go with my 1950's resort wear or perhaps I may be able to use it at Christmas time with the red and green it has going on.
After I am done decompressing from my latest trauma I will go back to volunteering at the office and I will have a whole new (vintage wardrobe) and I bet you can tell what my theme/inspiration will be...Blade Runner. Now I just need a big huge fluffy fur coat!