Friday, April 29, 2011

Weddings, even if not royal

I love weddings, especially ones that are small, quirky and heartfelt. I have the feeling I'd enjoy my buyers’ weddings, because I've noticed that they like alternative wedding wear, not so much standard wedding gowns. I do have vintage wedding gowns, but like best to show items that could be worn at a wedding, or at other times.

That helps cover the “something old,” and here's a little something blue.

My heart goes out

An Etsy treasury I made under my materialgirlbags name. I can't even fathom the devastation in The South.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Earth Day 1970, and what you might have worn

On April 22, 1970, with a growing concern for the degradation of the natural world already sweeping the country, Wisconsin senator Gaylord Nelson's idea of a teach-in for the environment grew into Earth Day, a day for understanding the environmental issues confronting the planet.

Unofficial Earth Day flag, by John McConnell: the Blue Marble (NASA photo) on a blue field

According to the Wikipedia article on Earth Day, over 20 million people participated in the first year, and Earth Day is now observed on April 22 each year by more than 500 million people and several national governments in 175 countries.

Approximately 7,000 people gather on Independence Mall in Philadelphia on the first Earth Day (photo from

Manhattan filled with pedestrians for a vehicle-less 2 hours on the first Earth Day (photo from

One of the embroidery patterns from a 1970-71 McCall's Needlework & Crafts magazine

Looking back to 1970 this week, I am featuring vintage items that date from 1970 and a few years before or after.
April 22 is also the day I started denisebrain, one dozen years ago today. I think this even more today: Vintage clothing is recycled clothing and helps the style!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Follow-up: Homage to Shaheen

Several have let me know that it wasn't cricket to mention the dress I was wearing to the Shaheen exhibit and then not show it, so I took a photo of the dress today:

I've added this dress to my Flickr set of the Shaheens I've had and currently have, and I'm always surprised at the variety when I look at these! {click the image to see these in greater detail}

Sunday, April 10, 2011

An homage to Alfred Shaheen

Opening this past week at Washington State University's Museum of Anthropology, Hawaii’s Alfred Shaheen: Fabric to Fashion is a must-see glimpse at the work of one of America's greatest textile designers and innovators.

A few of the stunning bold flower and leaf prints on display

The exhibit was curated by Linda Arthur Bradley, a scholar of Hawaiian textiles and professor in WSU's Apparel Merchandising, Design and Textiles Department, co-curated by Mary Collins of WSU's Anthropology Department, and Deborah Corsini of the San Jose Museum of Quilts and Textiles. A very interesting and informative booklet accompanies the exhibit.

On display are a number of items collected by Shaheen's daughter, Camille Shaheen-Tunberg, and it was my great privilege to have the chance to meet her and her husband, the artist and sculptor Bill Tunberg, at the opening of the exhibit. I have heard that Alfred Shaheen was a warm and gracious person, and this family trait has certainly been passed on.

It was a treat to hear details of the couple's projects, information about the items on display, and small anecdotes about Alfred Shaheen and his work that I probably would never hear anywhere else. One example: Although you can't see it in my photo (it was a cold day and I needed to wear a coat), I was wearing a 1960s Shaheen dress with a fan, lace and instrument print. Camille said that her father sometimes mixed screen prints, and that this dress displays one of those mixtures. I'm so glad I chose to wear this one, and find out about its origin!

Me, trying to capture some of the sights

One group of Aloha shirts, each one a wearable work of art

An array of prints, and covetable garment construction

I love this octopus and fish print! The shirt is on display along with a matching two-piece swim/play suit

Indian influence by way of a paisley border print

By Bill Tunberg, detail of an impressive portrait of an impressive creator

The exhibit is open 10-4 through May 3, and then through June 30 (while WSU is between terms) by appointment. It is free and open to the public. For more information and photos, see the WSU Today press release.

Friday, April 1, 2011

No fooling: think pink

Little me, in pink as usual

I'm sure you would never know from looking at this blog, my store, my business card, etc., that I love the color pink! ; )

So why didn't I think of this before?! Please visit my latest theme [click on image]:

...and watch for lots of great pink vintage finds in the upcoming weeks.

If you don't already know my inspiration for these images, have a look at this favorite scene from Funny Face: