Byways Cafe


Here'e a fun photoshoot with Light and Shadow at Byways Cafe. A cute kitschy place with retro decor and little roadtrip trinkets. Too bad they only let us take a few pictures :( 

But, perfect place for my new red acorn outfit right? I really wish I had the necklace sellers info so I could show her these, she loved that I had a matching sweater for it, and gave me such a deal the least I can do is show her these two are happy together!

1940s acorn sweater, bakelite bracelets, and wood, bakelite and celluloid necklace-Antique Expo

1940s skirt-Courtesy of Fab Gabs

1940s saddle shoes-Cats Pajamas Antiques

Anchor socks-J.C. Penny


All photos by Light and Shadow Photography Photobucket


Spring/Summer 1950 in color


A couple days last week were nice and sunny, but we're back into rainy spring mode.

For now it looks like I have to live through the delicate pages of a Spring/Summer 1950 Montgomery Wards catalogue. 

How crisp and bright everything is! 

I'm especially in love with the large print skirt in the last photo. Such a bold print looks incredibly feminine, especially with the simple white top. 



Lately I've....

Visited my kitty friend a few blocks away. We cross paths now and then. Photobucket
Enjoyed lots of spring blossoms. Photobucket
Pretended it was summer and had an ice cream cone. Photobucket
And today coming home from Fabric Depot my mother and I stumbled across Crowning Lori hats. Photobucket
The owners are so nice and helpful, and her work beautiful. She's working hard on Kentucky Derby hats! She let us raid her feather supply for our Titanic hats, though if you're in need of a hat for the tea, or anything else really, she can custom make you one! She also told me she restores vintage hats, replacing veils, that kind of thing, if you're in need of that. Photobucket
Here's all the millinery supplies we got! Now excuse me while I go trim some ridiculously large hats. 


The Rhinelander

{Photos by Ruth}

This weekend was my Sister in law Amys birthday, and we celebrated by gathering family and friends at The Rhinelander, a German restaurant with singing waitresses and an accordion player.

I wore my Lanz dirndl, isn't it cute? Perfect spring dress. 

Although I did look like all the waitresses. 

Haha. The thought of me as a waitress is hilarious. 

"You only ordered half a martini right?"

Dinner was lots of fun, and the food yummy! I kind of felt like I was in Disneyland. Or Germany, but I've never been there, so I'm going to go with Disneyland. 

Happy Birthday Amy!

Lanz Dirndl-Buffalo Exchange 

Fruit headband, belt, locket, and shoes-Urban Eccentric Vintage 

Sweater-Gift from my grandma


1930s saucy red slippers

Like anything 1930s, shoes are becoming harder and harder to find. But you can find these shoes for sale here!


An itty bitty Bakelite lesson


Before I post a Bakelite polishing tutorial, I think a little info on Bakelite is a good start! "Bakelite" is actually a brand name, just as "Klenex" has become a general reference for tissue. It was invented by Dr. Leo Baekeland in 1907, by accident of course, as many great things are discovered. Bakelite is special because it's a thermoset plastic. Basically, it doesn't melt. It's very durable, cost little to make, and could be worked into an endless array of colors and designs. It's made from phenol formaldehyde, with filler, such as cotton, wood, that kind of thing.

Kaufmann Mercantile

Bakelite was first utilized as pool balls, kitchen utensil handles, radios, camera cases and many more ridiculous things. I once saw a Bakelite hanger. And baby mobile. In 1927 the patent for Bakelite expired and was purchased by The Catalin Corporation. This is when the real fun began (at least for fashion reasons). Catalin is every so slightly different than Bakelite as it is made from either phenol, melamine, or urea formaldehyde. This means there's usually no fillers, and is a little less durable than the original Bakelite formula. Though most of the jewelry we find today referred to as Bakelite is actually Catalin. There are other makers of the plastic, but all the information I find is conflicting, so if you're interested you can research the subject on your own. 

In the 1930s the depression hit in the U.S. and Bakelite had perfect timing. It was easy to make, cheap, and colorful. Not only made in bangle form, but also carved necklaces, brooches, shoe clips, every novelty design to lift the spirits and freshen up a frock. In the 1940s we entered the war, and metal was scarce. Bakelite saves the day again! It had quite a good run. It's popularity dwindled through the 50s and 60s, and is now desired by jewelry collectors and vintage wearers. 

Va-Voom Vintage

It used to be very easy to find at estate sales and thrift stores. Since it's plastic I'd find bangles tossed in a box of costume jewelry for 50 cents a piece. Now it's near impossible, and even if you do find it, it's value is well known, and it's price marked up. 

"But Solanah, how on earth can you tell the difference between Bakelite and normal plastic?"

Well my dears (ew, I promise I'll never say that again), it's all about the smell. You remember what it's made of right?

That's alright. I'll wait while you go back and read it....

...Yes, ok then. 

So if you rub the surface of a Bakelite item with your thumb until it feels hot, it should smell like formaldehyde. 

I have just turned you into that crazy person at thrift stores smelling jewelry. You're welcome. 

If you missed cadaver day in science class and don't know what formaldehyde smells like, just sniff for a chemical scent. 

There are other tests as well, but I've never had to use any other method, so I'm not about to tell you to buy a bunch of extra stuff if I've never tried them. 

So there you go. Bakelite. Or Catalin. Or Phenol Formaldehyde resin. Whatever you call it, I love it. Next up, how to "polish" it. 

Information sources
........Bakelite history............
........Bakelite and Catalin.....
........History of Bakelite.......


Let them eat cake.


So Sam and I have moved into my grandmas house temporarily to figure out where to go next. Buy a house? Keep renting? Buy more cats and hats? 

I'm partial to the latter. 

My grandmas house is of course very grandma-y, with pink walls and pictures of roses galore. We have the basement to ourselves, and I promise to have a tour of it soon! Mostly because I have an entire room for my clothes, which I have already gotten used to. No going back to a closet now....

I hope to be completely unpacked and settled soon so I can get back to blogging regularly! 

Meanwhile, there's a picture of a cake I made. 



Spring is far away

{photos by Josh}

The second season of Downton Abbey just wrapped up here in the states (and Sam bought me both British seasons for my birthday), and the Christmas Episode had me absolutely crazy over the tweed covered shooting outfits and Edward Gorey-esque cemetery scene. And the beaded deco dresses and felt cloches. And men in hats and suits. I actually should watch it again so I am up on the story instead of the wardrobe...

Anyway, I have a weakness for British country/hunting wear, and often buy items with that look in mind. Because I totally go to the English countryside and hunt pheasants aaaaaaalllll the time.

So I was pretty excited to find this skirt at a local thrift store, it's an Evan Picone from the 1970s, made of really fine wool, a perfect shape, and I adore the length, I've seen some longer skirt looks lately that I've been loving! Specifically on Harriett of Bright Young Twins. Note to self: Make Edwardian/Victorian skirt for everyday wear. 

 Burberry trench-Brown Bag Vintage

Hound vest-Buffalo Exchange


Blouse, gloves, and hat-Urban Eccentric

Purse-Michael Kors




{Edwardian corset for sale}


Try as I might, I just can't adjust this beauty in any way to fit me right. I tried it on over my clothing at the time of purchase and thought it fit, but it's just a tad too big. Unfortunate for me, but good news for you! 

This corset is a "Redfern Stout Black Boning" corset from approximately 1910-1915 (I'm no expert, but this is what I could gather from research). It's in excellent condition, and completely wearable or would make an ideal study or display piece. There are very light small marks on the outside, as well as some brown marks at the garters, though poses no threat to the durability. The most prominent marks are inside, as shown in a photo below. The laces are not original, and can be easily replaced. The skirt under the busk has eyes for lacing. 

The corset is partial bust, with pretty ribbon and lace trim. I absolutely adore the perfect metal garters with ornate design, and dipped front panel. 
Perfect for those Titanic events coming up!


{Measurements are taken closed}

Waist (taken 5" from bust)-30"


Hip (at hem)-42"

Front length-15"

Back length-18"

Feel free to contact me with any questions! solanahraquel{at}gmail.com 




At the Governor {part II}


We're moving this week (more on that later), so this will be my only post until next week!

At the Governor {part I}

1950s suit-Expo
1950s hat-Urban Eccentric Vintage
Shoes and gloves-Thrifted
Bow brooch-Gift from my brother 

All photos by Light and Shadow Photography