1940s Makeup & Evening Routine

Learn how to do a simple 1940s makeup routine and evening skincare regime with these handy videos.

With a bit of time off for the holiday season, I decided to make a couple video tutorials inspired by the 1940s – a simple day makeup routine and a nighttime routine inspired by classic Hollywood.

What ones should we try next? 1920s, 30s, 50s or 60s? We can also get Conor to do a proper shave and show what the men went through back in the day! Let us know in the comments.

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To Wrap or Not To Wrap: Minimizing Waste Over the Holidays

Here’s some tips on how to be a little greener this holiday season, without losing some of the magic of those pretty boxes and bags under the tree.

Many of my fond memories of holidays past involve me eagerly tearing away wrapping paper to find a surprise underneath – sometimes unwrapping was half as good as the gift itself. But as I get older, I feel an increasing level of guilt every time my eye is caught by the pretty papers at the store – isn’t this just adding to waste? How can I justify buying something that will have so little use?

This year I’ve decided on a bit of a half measure, which is to wrap (with paper I already have) the gifts for the young children in my life, and to use only reusable things for adults or any I’m not positive will appreciate it. When you’re trying to go green it’s ok to do it in stages – every little bit helps.

So here’s some tips on how to be a little greener this holiday season, without losing some of the magic of those pretty boxes and bags under the tree.

Knot Wrap

It's Christmas Deer
It’s Christmas Deer wrap from LUSH – sweet little retro vibe!

Knot Wrap has grown in popularity here the past couple years, but it’s not a new concept. LUSH states it nicely on their website;

“Based on the Japanese tradition of Furoshiki, Knot-Wraps are a great way to wrap any gift. Made from either organic cotton or two recycled plastic bottles, each one of our beautiful Knot-Wraps is extremely kind to the environment. And the best part? They’re meant to be used again and again as a scarf, accessory or tote, so it’s a bit like giving two gifts in one. How thoughtful of you!”

LUSH.ca

Natural Ribbons

Not only pretty and eco-friendly, you can let friends know their gift is wrapped in artisanal ribbon, because we all know the true meaning of Christmas is giving the best gift.

Probably 90% of my gifts as a kid can wrapped in that thin plastic curling ribbon that has been virtually unchanged since my parents were kids – until now! Admittedly, it’s a bit on the pricey side, but this seems to be a very pretty eco-alternative to that oh-so-synthetic stuff we all know.

Our artisanal ribbon maker in Milwaukee, Wisconsin is committed to the highest levels of sustainability. They use water-based dyes, soy-based non-toxic inks, and cotton yarn that is 100% grown and dyed in the USA. 

wrappily.com

Joy Wrap

joywrap x Sarah Gunn Collection
Hurray for adorable, diverse Santas! They also have some more winter and less Christmas themed bags.

Made here in Canada, these reusable sacks are washer, dryer and iron safe, and come in a variety of cute patterns – PLUS you can make your own. Who doesn’t want a bag with your face plastered all over it? Reuse them next year, store xmas decorations in it, use it to make your laundry more festive – the possibilities are endless. The best part? Made here in Canada.

With joywrap, you never have to throw wrapping paper away again.
A 2017 study by Zero Waste Canada found that more than 540,000 tonnes of wrapping paper ends up in Canadian landfills after the holidays.

That’s the equivalent weight of about 100,000 elephants of wrapping paper trash each year!

joywrap makes all the same fun sounds as traditional wrapping paper, but without any the waste.

Reuse joywrap as part of your family traditions or give it away as part of a gift.

IT’S TIME TO FEEL GOOD ABOUT THE WAY YOU WRAP.

JoyWrap.ca

DIY It

Christmas gift wrapping ideas
Brown paper packages tied up with string…

Ultimately, the most sustainable item is the one that already exists. Try reusing old newspapers, or magazines, have children decorate some brown packing paper with their own cute holiday designs. Attach natural items like cedar twigs, or pinecones – really the only limit is your imagination. And when you make something like this by hand, the person receiving it can really see the effort and care you put into it, which always makes it that much better.

Greenpeace has a great article on some ways to wrap presents without having to buy any wrapping – check it out here.

Got some eco-friendly wrapping ideas of your own? Let us know in the comments.

Sustainable Sunday – Mend & Make Do

Fast fashion is killing the planet – learn how to “mend and make do” to get the most out of your clothes.

When I was a kid, my mom bought everything about 10 sizes too big – “you’ll grow into it!” she’d insist over my groans, and I would head off to school with about a foot of denim rolled at my ankles.

I really am only exaggerating a little.

It may have been an annoyance then, but as I’ve gotten older I’ve found the value in making things last as long as they possibly can, and have realized that that habit was passed down not just by my mother, but from hers who grew up during the depression, and my grandmother’s mother who grew up at the turn of the (last) century, and likely for years before that.

Mothers have been following the “mend and make do” adage for generations.

You’ve likely rolled your eyes after hearing someone older say, “they just don’t make things like they used to!”, and admittedly, there are many things we have today that are better than what we had a generation ago: clothing is not one of those things.

Fast fashion is killing the environment. And no, that’s not as outrageous as it sounds when you break it down:

  • North Americans send over 10 million tonnes of clothing to the landfill every year, 95% of which could be reused or recycled
  • One trillion kilowatt hours are used by the global textiles industry every year, which amounts to roughly 10% of the world’s global carbon impact
  • It takes 2,650L of water to produce one cotton t-shirt, which is basically the equivalent of 28 baths
  • It is estimated 17-20% of total industrial water pollution comes from textile dyeing and treatment

Personally, I’ve always been someone who washed my stuff in cold and hung it to dry. I take care of my clothes and that’s why, at 30(+) I still have things I wore at 14 that are in great shape. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for some of what I’ve bought the past few years, much of which has barely lasted a season. And it’s not about the quality, or, at least not the price. As I’ve gotten older I’ve tried to buy better quality items in hopes that they will last, but really I have found that rarely do price and quality have any clear connection. A lot of the time, a shirt I’ve spent $60 on falls apart faster than one I’ve bought for $10.

So, what do we do?

For my part, being a vintage fan, I think there are 2 great ways to go – buying vintage clothing and mending what you already have.

This week we’ll focus on mending.

Don’t worry, I’m not much of a sewer myself, so I’m going to do a brief run-down of how to determine what can be mended and how, and then maybe at a later date I’ll get someone more skilled to show how you can really step it up a notch.

The first thing you need to do is identify what needs to be done.

What Needs Fixin’

Sounds obvious, but I don’t just mean find where the tear is. Think about what you really need to have repaired, and why. Got a hole in your jeans? Does it matter? Some people pay extra for that. Got a hole in a blouse? Do you wear it under a sweater or jacket? Maybe a quick fix to stop it from getting worse is enough. Is it something that will definitely be seen? A better quality repair is needed. Sure that it’s beyond repair? Think about whether someone else would feel the same (can you donate it to a thrift store, or a theatre company?), whether you can reuse it in another way (cut up could it make a cute headband? a pillow?) or how you can recycle it (like through our Value Village FunDrive).

On The Mend

Once you’ve determined the spot that needs fixing, you need to figure out what kind of fix it needs. Are you going to be adding material to create a patch? Stitching to repair a hem or a seam? Doing an invisible mend by darning? To determine what path to choose you need to know, a. the end result you want, and, b. the material you are working with. So let’s break some of that down.

mending silk

How to Mend Silk Lingerie in 2 Steps (Without Using a Needle and Thread!)
Use fusible material to repair delicate silk

Silk is a delicate, natural fibre harvested from the cocoons of silk worms. It’s breathable, beautiful, and notoriously difficult to repair. But if you find yourself with some damaged silk, don’t despair. While the chance of a totally invisible repair is slim, fusible fabric placed on the inside of the garment can save many pieces, like the vintage lingerie in this article. Fusible interfacing is not a difficult thing to use but can still be an easy thing to mess up: make sure you read the instructions twice, watch the temperature of your iron, and take your time so you don’t make the damage even worse. If you have a steady hand and some sewing experience, you can try to take a hidden piece of fabric from your garment and patch it with the same, but don’t try this if you’re not a sewer, it’s finicky work. Along with rips or tears, snags are a common problem with silk: this post gives a detailed breakdown of how to fix them, and why you should do that before it turns into something bigger, like a hole.

MENDING denim

Jeans Tips: Easy Ways to Patch Your Jeans - WeAllSew
Creative denim fix with embroidery

Pure denim is a very sturdy material, created in the mid-19th century for use as workwear. But most of the denim we get today is a blend, often containing lycra or some other flexible material to make them stretchy and form-fitting and that has the unfortunate side effect of being more prone to damage. This article shares several ways you can repair your denim, whether you want to try to stitch an invisible seam or play up the patch with some sashiko embroidery.

mending knits

Mending A Knitted Sweater - PermAdventure
Darning can save a damaged knit

You’ve likely heard someone talk about “darning socks” but if you’re under 40, there’s a good chance you don’t have a clear vision of what that really is. Out of all the clothing I buy socks are easily what I have to replace the most, and it’s frustrating because it feels like I need to buy them every year. I’m a bit of a hoarder when it comes to my favourite clothes, and as nearly all my socks have some kind of strange pattern or design on them, I really do hold on to them until there’s nothing left (some are basically anklets by the time I throw them out). But back when our socks were a little bulkier and knit it was not uncommon to patch up those holes to make them last another season. This site explains how to darn, fix a tear with felted wool and mend with thread – great advice for anything from socks to sweaters.

mending cashmere

REPAIR - Invisible Mending of Cashmere | Our Blog
Invisible repair on cashmere.

Like silk, cashmere is delicate and expensive, and until recently I would have thought there wasn’t a good way to fix it – then I came across this YouTube tutorial on how to repair cashmere with fusing powder and chopped up fibres from elsewhere on the garment. Pretty cool stuff.

***

There are countless other fabrics out there but I think this range will give you a good idea of the basic mending techniques available, and what types of materials they work best on. Basically you can patch it – with either an invisible, or a visible, decorative patch – or stitch it – with an invisible stitch or embroidery. I have a pile of mending I’ve been meaning to get to for ages, so when I finally pull it out I’ll be sure to record my progress, regardless of how it goes.

Have any of your own tips for mending garments?
Let us know in the comments.

A Very Vintage Christmas – Retro Mid Century Xmas Ornaments

Check out our list of where to source the best decorations for those who like a retro vibe.

As much as we may be in denial about winter being here, it’s hard to deny Christmas is around the corner when you’re bombarded by Christmas music in all the malls and decorations starting to pop up in stores and street corners. Instead of grumbling about how it all starts “too early”, we’ve decided to embrace it and take this time to help you prep for your own holiday celebrations, vintage style. Here’s our list of where to source the best decorations for those of you who like a “classic” feel.

Cheerful Reproduction Ornaments

Nothing says retro Christmas like the classic Shiny Brite ornaments. The most popular ornaments of the 1940s & 50s, they faded out of fashion in the later half of the 20th century, but in 2001 Christopher Radko began reproducing them, complete with vintage style box! You can find them a lot of places online, including Amazon.

 

 

Kurt Adler is another company that has really nailed the vintage aesthetic. You can find his stuff on Amazon as well, and he’s got everything from sparkly glass ornaments to small novelty characters, bubble lights, and classic clip-on birds, as seen below.

Garlands, Tinsel & Icicles – Oh My!

No vintage tree is complete without some classic garlands and tinsel. Retro Festive has a super fun popcorn garland (if you want the look without the salty temptation) The Holiday Barn has a  candy garland if you prefer something sweeter, and of course there’s the classic Shiny Brite garland, again from Amazon.

For tinsel, you can try a garland like this kitchy pink one from The Holiday Barn, get some beautiful handmade tin icicles from Pietersma Tinworks, or go with a real classic like Brite Star tinsel strands. While all of these are available from Amazon, I have lucked out before and come across some Brite Star type stuff at Dollarama. They get their share of decent stuff and it’s dirt cheap!

Retro Keepsake Ornaments

Maybe you’re not looking to replicate a classic tree, and just want something to show off your retro-loving personality. If that’s the case, there are a tone of cute and kitschy “keepsake” ornaments out there, like these fun little guys from Old World Christmas or Winterworm (bonus – they’re in our colours!).

 

You can get both of those on Amazon. Or you can check out specialty stores like The Holiday Barn and find ones like these retro cars and trailers, which are always fun.

Of course you can also take your chances scouring vintage shops, Etsy or Ebay for some authentic vintage pieces, though the prices can be steep, and if you’re worried about little hands or paws knocking things over, you might want to steer clear of the real thing.

What’s your favourite spot to score a vintage style ornament? Let us know in the comments below.

-E.

Cheque, please!

Our director (and production designer) Emily Dix quickly walks you through the process for making a faux cheque for theatre.

Till Next We Trod The Boards

I get a kick out of little details in things, which is why I often spend too much time on small prop details that likely won’t be noticed by anyone but myself. Today’s example? The certified cheque prop needed for Bygone Theatre’s upcoming production of His Girl Friday.

Really, it’s a pretty simple one, and since we’re seeing the cheque before it’s cashed, I’m not going to the trouble of embossing it, I did however want something from around the right date, and double-sided.

Since this show will be on a real stage, and not something that requires the same accuracy as was needed for shows like Rope, which practically happened in the audience’s lap, I just searched for 1930s or 1940s certified cheques and settled on one from 1933;

walter-winchell-signed-check-issued-to-international-news-photos-1933-16

I found this through a memorabilia site – it works great as it doesn’t have a big distracting…

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Designing His Girl Friday, Part 1: Vintage Office Desks

Director & designer Emily Dix talks about the set for HIS GIRL FRIDAY – learn all about vintage desks!

Till Next We Trod The Boards

While His Girl Friday won’t open for another 4 months I’m already busy prepping things on the production side. The budgets are set, fundraising & marketing scheduled, so now I get a little time to spend on one of my favourite parts of putting together a show (and part of why I started Bygone in the first place); designing.

Anyone who’s seen a Bygone Theatre production knows that we always do things set in the 20th century, and while there are of course budgetary restraints that don’t make 100% accuracy possible, I do work hard to get an authentic period feel to our shows, both with props and costumes, and when possible, set.

His Girl Friday is set in 1940 and takes place primarily in a newspaper office, which means that I have to find a lot of period office supplies. The good thing is, since it’s an office (as…

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