Textiles & Costume

Holiday delights

Christmas this year has not gone according to plan.  It’s been full of family, and love, and goodies, and delicious food, and bits of fun, but far too much sadness, and I’m not ready to talk about it properly on the blog.  Instead I just thought I’d keep things cheerful and show you the lovely things that I was given for Christmas or bought at my favourite antiques store with holiday money.  It was a very vintage Christmas for me.

From Mr D, a fabulous vintage handbag from Japan.  The Japanese import shop I love so imported a few in, all in different colours, and I told Mr D about them, and he went in and picked his favourite.  I love the way this combines a Western aesthetic with a very typically Japanese fabric – a silk with little tiny dots arranged in scales.

Vintage japanese handbag

From my darling Mother-in-law, this gorgeous necklace:

Roman glass necklace

Did you guess what is so exciting about it? It’s made from Roman glass dated to between 60-200 AD.  (I do have my doubts about the ethical implications of buying Roman glass beads, but I haven’t researched it, I might be completely wrong, and I adore my gift, and I’m so tickled that MIL picked something so perfect, and it’s certainly better than Emily’s Egyptian princess necklace).

From a very thoughtful aunt-in-law, from the collection of a great-aunt-in-law, these sublime 1940s buttons.  We suspect they may have come off a wedding dress:

1940s buttons on 1940s floral rayon fabric

1940s beaded flower buttons


And these sweet metal buttons:

Vintage metal flower buttons

From my personal purchases with Christmas monies, an utterly scrummy pair of 1930s shoes in fantastic condition that fit like they were made for me. They are soooo amazing on, and so comfortable.  They just don’t make shoes like this anymore!

late 1930s heels - Made in New Zealand

I just love the little heart twist detail on the front:

late 1930s shoes, Made in New Zealand

I photographed the shoes and buttons and my Roman glass beads on a 4.5 yard length of late ’30s-early 40s cotton.  The pink is not usually my favourite shade, but I love all the accent colours, and it’s so hard to find original cottons of that era.

Also not in my usual favourite colours is this 4.5 yard length of 1940s rayon.  The fuschia and yellow are favourites, I just generally avoid brown.  Despite this, the overall effect of this was just too delicious to pass up on though:

1940s rayon floral fabric

More in my usual colour scheme is this gorgeous 1940s handbag.  I’ve got some perfect reproduction ’40s fabric in all these colours.  And wouldn’t it go perfectly with my Aloha Ka Manini blouse and tomato red ’40s shorts made from the same pattern as my Nostalgia shorts (or, for that matter, the aloha shirt I am wearing with the Nostalgia shorts)?

1940s wood and tapestry handbag

Keeping with my 1940s theme, five late 1940s Wife and Home (and good needlework) Magazines.

Women and Home (and good needlework) Magazine

Aren’t the cover illustrations divine?  They make modern magazine covers look even more cheap and dreadful.

Woman and Home, July 1947

Wife and Home Magazine, April 1948

Woman and Home, August 1948

Woman and Home, September 1948

Woman and Home Magazine, 1949


For now I’m using the magazines and the pogey bait as distraction from when everything going on gets to be too much.  Once the sadness has faded these things will make me think of the best of this Christmas, and all the happiness and love that can come out of hard times.

I hope your Christmas was full of only the good parts – family and love and good times and good food and beautiful and useful things.


  1. Thankyou for sharing some of the lovely gifts you received at Christmas, from special family members. The magazines are ideal to loose yourself in, and giving you a few special moments of time to reflect on yesteryear…J…

  2. I’m sorry to hear your Christmas had a lot of sadness. Hopefully you will experience more happiness in the New Year.
    Those gifts are so thoughtful and beautiful! It’s a good idea you got the magazines you can loose yourself in. I admire your positive attitude!

  3. What marvelous items, so full of thought and consideration 🙂 I hope you enjoyed your holiday in spite of the sadness – it’s always nice to be around family when things aren’t going the way we had planned.

  4. Sarah says

    I have gone back to the beginning of your blog and read every post and loved it all! You are an inspiration. Thank you for sharing such wonderful things. Sending you best wishes, and hope that you are ok.

  5. Those magazine covers remind me of the sassy adventurers on the front of my mother’s Annuals for Girls. What a wonderful array of Christmas presents and accessories. I like the story behind the beaded flower buttons very much, but I’m sorry to hear of sadness. I do hope that all the loving friendship that you nourish is a strength to you during this time. May the New Year be kind to you and your family.

  6. Lynne says

    What beautiful presents – and presents with holiday money! The necklace from your mother-in-law is wonderful! The ‘Woman and Home’ magazines are a find – so many. I love the blue coat on the cover of the last one. I have a coat length of blue/grey Harris tweed (the real thing, with labels) that has your name on it.

    I’m sorry to hear about the sadness in your holiday. Mine included deaths of friends’ friends, but also a birth. A new new baby girl. May she grow up to love vintage costume!

  7. Oh dear, I’m sorry you had a sad Christmas – I am in the same boat and really struggled this year. But oh! How loved you are, look at your beautiful presents! Stay strong 🙂

    • Elise says

      I am sending love and aloha to you both. If only hugs and cocktails could be sent across the oceans, eh?

  8. Thank you for sharing your lovely pressies. The Japanese handbag is gorgeous, and those shoes – what a find!

    So sorry to hear that your Christmas has been marred by sadness. Hope that 2013 brings happier times.

  9. I’m sorry to hear your Yule was tainted by sadness. I hope the New Year is a happier time for you and yours. Thinking of you.

    I hope the pogey bait can bring you a little smile – what lovely, thoughtful gifts. X

  10. I hope the sadness fades away after a while. And that the joy remains.
    Hugs and hot chocolate… at least in play pretend.

    Those magazine covers are fantastic. And intriguing. Do you know why some of them are “Woman and Home” and one is “Wife and Home”? Are they different magazines? (Seeing as the typography and artwork are different.) I love that blue coat, too. I have a blue coat myself… maybe I should pair it with red. 🙂
    And so many other beautiful things.

  11. Ysabel says

    Very sorry to hear about your grandma. I wouldn’t worry about the Roman glass, as there is so much of it. The museums have plenty of the intact glassware. The broken shards get used for necklaces and such; it’s a very affordable (and ethical) way to own an antiquity.

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