Thursday, October 24, 2013

Jack O Lantern what a big orange head you have!

Did  you know that a Jack O Lantern was a fella that walked around with a lantern, like a night watchman? Back in the olde days of the 1600's, before electric lights, lanterns and oil lamps gave light during the dark days and the dark nights...

 the first pic is a Jack O Lantern my son made for me when he was in elementary school. A very prized possession.  The witch and the smiling Jack are both Beistle Halloween decorations.

Imagine a light bobbing along in a dark foggy street, and it's easy to see why folks would think that maybe a ghost or a spirit was swinging a lantern. And out in the countryside when they couldn't explain a strange light off in the dark distance....must be a ghost! There were no streetlights, no table lamps, no flashlights.....when you went outside, it was the moon and the stars....and maybe some swamp gas.

Around the campfires, folk tales were told about weird lights, and Jack, being a very common name, was assigned to the carrier of the strange lights.  One popular old folk story was about a strange guy named Stingy Jack who got in a bit of a pickle with the  Devil.  When Stingy Jack died,  God refused Stingy Jack entrance into Heaven, and the Devil wouldn't allow him into Hell. Mr. Devil gave Stingy Jack a burning coal in a hollowed out turnip to light his way. So, Stingy Jack roams the earth with his vegetable lantern.

Isak Dinesen, who wrote Out Of Africa, notes that "her" Kikuyu people used their pumpkins as lanterns also....filling them will coals and carried them out to the goat herds and goat herders to light the night. Occasionally, the embers would catch the grass fields on fire and how distressing that was!

Country people and city people, from that time on, have said that the mysterious lights over swamps and fields and down dark alleys and streets are Stingy Jack and his turnip lantern.
Using hollow vegetables, and setting candles, coal or hot wood embers inside makes a cheap easy lantern, and so..... and you can see where this is going! Pumpkins ..being larger than beets and turnips became the favorite fall vegetable to use for hollowing out and fit with candles to add a cheery and creepy nighttime glow.

By the 19th century,  it was becoming a fun thing to do.... carve out large pumpkins and squash and light them up. The Mayor of Atlanta, in 1892 held a costume party for the fancy folk. Halloween was fast becoming the big party of the season, and well it should.......with fun costumes and delicious food and spirits.........both the ethereal kind and the imbibing kind.

 this is from 'I Love Halloween' on Facebook.

 historical costumes from

The pumpkins were carved with funny and scary faces and thus...the tradition of carving a fall vegetable, adding a flickering light and setting it out on the porch and by the front gate became an American tradition.

 both of these, the mini-pumpkin with big teeeeeth, and the VW pumpkin van...have been all over them if you can.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Some people have integrity and an Irish sweater.

...or....What Vintage Means To Me!

Here's what influences us right now!
Chunky sweaters and tweed....... sturdy boots and jeans........
well, the classics that will last a long time. When you spend your hard-earned dollars, you should expect your clothes to last a long time.

Our latest collection of goodies includes vintage boots, and neat cold-weather sweaters and lots of denim.....
 Vintage Red Wing boots, Alan Paine cashmere sweater, vintage tweed,  vintage leather boots with faux fur lining for warm and cozy winter wear...

NYC vintage Coach purse, and.... vintage Redline Selvedge Levis jeans....

 Oh, and home decor..... you want your home to have character and feel good..... we hope to help you do that.
funkomavintage has been selling vintage clothes with integrity for more than 14 years. I first noticed in the mid 70s that a lot of clothes, and knick-knacks were coming from Japan, India and Taiwan, and then in the early 80s, from China. I also noticed at lot of labels no longer said UNION MADE. I also noticed, so much was just poorly constructed of low quality fabric.

I resisted buying anything new, it was hard, hard and hard.

I turned to used and vintage and handmade more and more, and tried to buy as much made in the USA as possible. I also sought out QUALITY made clothes and home decor from around the world. This began my love affair with Harris Tweed, fer instanx.... ;-)

This is why funkomavintage exists........long before most people started thinking about Green, the Waste stream, tossing stuff in the landfill.......funkoma was worried about that.......
100% American made......Red Wing's vintage boots. Charles Beckman  , a German immigrant, he opened a shoe store in 1883.  But he wanted to sell only "truly good shoes." The store thrived, but Charles still believed good shoes were too hard to find, so he decided to become a shoemaker himself. In 1905, with 14 like-minded investors, he founded the Red Wing Shoe Company.

These pics are from a few seasons ago from J Crew. I love the styling...but J Crew stuff is um, mostly shit that's imported. sigh.

Tweed and faded denim jeans....altho.... I'd suggest this poor waif put on a damn sweater and eat a sandwich....

more from J Crew... tweed hat, and a wool cape....  a faded denim jacket, a tweed skirt, cashmere sweater and a sturdy canvas and leather bag.

 New at funkomavintage............vintage Irish sweater, vintage plaid 60s pencil skirt.......and a vintage Coach bag,

this is the style of  Irish sweater that Frances McDormand wears in Moonrise Kingdom, because Wes Anderson is my hipster god....

 vintage 80s/ 90s Made in New York City,  black Coach cross body bag........

Made in New York City, NYC with the large creed and serial numbers.

70s vintage Gray Herringbone jacket and skirt wool suit. So versatile, so timeless.

 40s/50s vintage Tweed overcoat....  made with Foreman and Clark quality wool fabric

 An Alan Paine vintage argyle thick cashmere sweater made in England. This is special!  

 Vintage Boots!!  60s suede hippie boots that lace-up, and a fantastic pair of winter leather boots. 

 Denim, vintage denim. Levis and overalls! 

Love 'em! Redline Levis selvedge denim jeans........ 70s era.

Union Made Can't Bust 'em white denim overalls.......the brand name refers to the sturdiness of the workwear, and to the Unions...well, we see what happened when people forgot to support the worker and bought cheap shit from Walmart.....wages tanked and.... that's sad.

Etsy, where I set up shop after Ebay turned into the Walmart Dollar Store with Slaves from China, making crap....... has now become, just like, Ebay/Walmart/Dollar Store..........
On Oct 1, the asshole CEO and other assorted rich jerks screwed over the handmade community.

Instead of supporting handmade and micro-business on Etsy, the reason Rob Kalin set up etsy in the first place......Etsy has now opened the site to, and is heavily promoting factory made shit from China and any other hellholes on the planet....As if it is the exact same thing as HANDMADE..... Spend a few minutes reading this thread with comments from Etsy's best and brightest.

So, funkomavintage, after 14 years of selling vintage and handmade moving away from Etsy over the next few months......and will be 99% at our own website!!

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Pears and the brandy....

another pleasure of autumn is the golden and russet ripening of pears.
yes, yummy right off the tree, organic this one that grew on my old old pear tree.

 It is an old French trick to grow a pear in a glass bottle, yes. Right in the pear orchard, you encase a tiny pear in a bottle and let it grow. Then, snip it and bottle it with brandy.

If you'd like to try's a link to the UK's Telegraph and a lovely explanation of the olde technique.

Look, Pear Brandy!!!

Did you know there are more than a dozen varieties of pears that are grown all over the world? Well, there are! Most people in the US have only seen 2 ...maybe 3 varieties.

My tree is an old Bartlett, and probably the most common and well-known. In US supermarkets, I've seen green  Anjou, Bosc, Comice, and once in a while, the red Anjou.
I love that the green Anjou don't change to yellow....they stay green even when ripe and juicy. That makes them fun to decorate with......I love a shot of green fruit or flower in a display.... shakes up the usual expectations. That's why I've always grown green zinnias, variegated leaves, black pansies, purple leaf anything!
USApears has more info.....

 Here's some Pear shades of autumn in vintage separates listed at funkomavintage........

vintage Hawaiian cape blouse in lovely fall colors....

gold sequins, vintage 60s party blouse..with sparkly fringe!

golden, rust orange, earth brown and autumn blue sky in a 60s cotton provincial print blouse...charming and cute folk art farm scenes...

vintage pocket watches, old compacts, and the details on a lady's dresser in an autumn tone vintage blouse

60s Mod op art party skirt......lovely cotton sateen with gold dots, with brown and gray....

here's the pear.......chilling and relaxing on the sofa......