Sunday, September 25, 2011

Rearranging furniture

* All weekend we have been serenaded by Rifflandia. And by serenaded I mean we can hear it clear as a bell even though we are blocks away. Who needs tickets? It's stormy out there (rain and gusts) and they are still going strong. Better than hearing the chickens ;)

* I don't usually do '70s, but last year I picked up a furniture catalog at a yard sale and I must share.
According to their web page (and Google translate), Europa Möbel is a purchasing and marketing association with distributors in 11 countries.

I prefer to think that "mobel" means "wall of cupboards" because there are lots and lots of rooms that look like this. This reminds me of my aunt & uncle's house in England. But where are the windows?

This, on the other hand, I would have in my house. Well, the shelves and that crazy lamp at least. The upholstered furniture? no. The flokati rug? absolutely no. We grew up with a rug like that; it required taking outside and hanging on the line to clean it. Don't even think about vacuuming it.

The furniture I don't like at all - can you imagine the marks it leaves on the back of bare legs? And the carpet, once again no. But that television in the corner, and the lamps hanging above it? Grooovy!

Hey, it's the same furniture as in the room of mod shelves!
That couch on the right - goes across the back of the room, gets fatter in the corner, comes towards the camera, turns to the right and continues off-camera ... how far does it go? Down the hall, through the dining room, around the bedroom? That would be fun, continuous couch. Google translate says this room is "designed for spacious living." Indeed.

Let's move on to Schlafzimmer!
"Everything fits together in the popular Blumchen-Look room." Everything? Even the naked butt poster on the back wall?

My mom used to crochet afghans like that.
Again, furniture stars in one corner and goes and goes. A wall-to-wall flokati? Hope they don't have pets with fur.

Behold the amazing floating bed!
I kinda like this one, except the colours. And the afghan. And the creepy girl poster in the alcove. And the mug of spaghetti.
Wait, if this is a "youth room," why is there a carafe of what looks to be liquor on the top right shelf?
Those wacky Europeans! In fact, most of the rooms shown in this catalogue have bottles and/or glasses of alcohol somewhere in the photo.

Let's wrap it up.
I'll take that lamp from the left office, and the lamp, desk, cupboards and tv from the office on the right. They can keep the chairs.

Thank you one and all for touring Europa Möbel 1976 with me!
(Zombie Leah - I looked, but there was no macrame in the catalogue ;)

p.s. The storm has stopped, the sky is blue and the music continues from the park!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Graciously styled with a bonus of youthful and becoming details

* So here's how I came up with today's blog post - get comfortable!

Our friend Mark recently lent us some great DVDs, including some compilations of vintage commercials, educational films and propaganda. How To Be A Housewife has a looong infomercial for Ironrite, this crazy self-standing ironing machine. It makes ironing so much easier and quicker! They even send a representative from the company to your home to show you how to use it! And we thought, yeah sure, but how much would something like that cost?

Voila! Glen has a collection of vintage catalogs. According to the Fall and Winter 1955 issue of the Simpson Sears catalog, a Kenmore roll-away ironer (which looks to be the same thing as an Ironrite) cost $87.95 cash. To compare, a least expensive Kenmore regular iron is $4.65. So yeaaah, I don't think too many housewives had an Ironrite.
But! Since we had the catalog out, I looked through it. Wowee is it chock full of goodness! There are 6 pages of sewing notions, wool, etc. but only 3 packets of hot iron transfers. You could also buy embroidery thread, and pre-printed pillowcases and nursery sets to embroider yourself.

The clothes! Oh, the dresses and coats and pages upon pages of girdles. And I started thinking, what size would I need? And lo, a blog post was born!

* Now then, my figure type, according to these descriptions, would either be Average Women's or Women's Half Sizes - I have a "mature, well-developed figure" and I'm 5' 4" so I'm right on the edge of those categories.

My measurements are 45 - 40 1/2 - 47 (yeah, yeah, stereotypical American). According to the Average Woman's chart, I wear between a 42 and a 44. According to the Women's Half Size chart, I wear a 24 1/2.

Most of the clothes (including the coats) in the catalog are for Misses - there are only 4 1/2 pages with Women's clothes. On the pages with Women's and Half Sizes' clothes are taglines such as "... give a youthful and slenderizing effect" and "slenderizing lines that do flattering things to a woman's figure."

Conclusion? It would have been just as hard, if not harder, for me to find clothes in 1955.

But wait, there's more! Glen also has a 1983 Sears Christmas Wish Book. I can't believe I wore some of these clothes. (to be fair, some of the sweaters aren't so bad). 

There are size charts for Juniors and Misses', and under "Hard-to-find Sizes" we also have Women's, Half Sizes, Petite and Tall (who only get loungewear and robes). Once again I can be either Woman (hear me roar) or Half Size. Surprise - my size is still 42 in Women's! I honestly expected it to be different, since I've always heard that size numbers have changed drastically since the '50s. In Half Size I'm a 22 1/2, so just one size down from 1955.

Let's look at Sears today. Whoa, they still have catalogs! Including the Wish Book! How retro of them. The size charts are Petite, Regular, Tall, Image and Image Petite. Image?!?!? For Pete's sake. ANYway, I am now a size 18W in "Image." So sometime between '83 and today they did away with Women's and Half Size. Also, the charts have specific measurements rather than ranges.

Meanwhile, Target sizes its women's clothes with its own numbering system: 1, 2, 3, etc. However, there are no size charts on its website, so good luck! Torrid uses 2 systems: they have 1, 2, 3 and they also use the usual numbers - I'm a 2, equivalent to 18/20. Pennington's uses usual numbers, so I'm an 18. At the Gap I'm between 20 and 22. At Land's End I'm either a Misses' 20 or a Women's 1X / 18W.

So, if I'm pretty much an 18 according to all those charts, why are all my pants and skirts size 16? I have NO IDEA.

Until next time, remember, always try it on before you buy!