Christmas In July


A Vintage Christmas In July

To get an early start on your shopping… 


How to Host a Retro Dinner Party Using Prepackaged Foods from the 1970s

Do you you remember eating Hamburger Helper and Manwich as a kid? Remember how cool it was to get cheese out of a can? Oh, and the taste of Tang… Fun memories! And some of these foods are still around today – can you believe it?!. 

Now you can relive some of these culinary taste treats by hosting a retro dinner party using these iconic prepackaged foods from the 1970s. Your dinner guests will think this is fun!

Here are some ideas for hosting a Retro Dinner Party.

Dinner Party Menu


  • Hamburger Helper – Yes. You can still buy Hamburger Helper. Buy three different flavors, place in vintage casserole dishes and serve. Nothing like variety!
  • Manwich Sandwiches – For your more picky eaters, mix up a batch of Manwich. It’s a meal! Serve on retro melamine plates or on paper plates in wicker plate holders.
  • TV Dinner – Yep – you can still buy frozen dinner’s in a tray, what a concept! I think the classic Fried Chicken Dinner is a must at this retro dinner party! If you don’t want to serve a real frozen dinner, I recommend you purchase the divided metal trays and make your own version. This will let you customize the entrees using healthier ingredients, organic alternatives, or accommodate special dietary needs.


  • Cheese and Crackers – While the can may look different, you can still buy cheese in a can! Buy a variety of flavors, line a vintage tray with your favorite crackers, and enjoy! Print a copy of the label below, and wrap around the can for a cool retro look.


  • Hunts Snack Pack Pudding – Print copies of the retro Hunts Snack Pack Pudding label (see image below), then wrap the labels around any pudding cup, and secure with glue stick.
  • Fiddle Faddle – Yum! You simply have to serve glazed popcorn clusters with your pudding! Pour into a vintage glass bowl, and your prep work is done.


  • Tang Cocktails – Whip up a batch of this retro Tang cocktail, called The Buzz Aldrin and serve it in a vintage Tang pitcher. The extra vitamin C will do you good.


Retro Dinner Party Decor

  • Print ads from the foods that are no longer made and use those copies as placemats or coasters – your guests are sure to have plenty of conversations about them. TIP: Click the images in the photos at the top of this post to open them in a new window, then click them again to enlarge, save, and print so you can use them in your decor.
  • To add to the ambiance of your retro party, use vintage dishes from the 1970s. Things like snack plates, drink coasters, and beverage glasses will give your party that groovy, hip, retro feel – and make your party more fun!
  • Use vintage TV trays to hold snacks, and use vintage serving trays for beverages. Or go “totally retro” and have guests sit on folding chairs using TV trays! A great novelty instead of sitting around the traditional dinner table.


Retro Dinner Party Activities


Retro Labels To Use

Right-click and save the labels below. Print them on a color printer, then use them on today’s products for a cool retro look.
TIP: Click the image to open it in a separate window, and then click it again to enlarge it so you can save a larger copy. You can also resize the labels as needed in a graphic editor or photo editor.


English teacups: a collecting love letter



Decorative teacups, most of which came from England, were at the peak of their popularity as collectables in the 1950s and 1950s. It’s the things that made them popular then that are making them popular again:  their shapely shapes, pretty decorations, swirling curling handles and saucy saucers. Of course vintage teacups are ready to serve up your tea, but they are also dandy for off label uses like organizing things on your dresser, providing a safe home for your air plant, storing your pennies, catching your keys and a thousand other uses yet to be imagined.

Anyone who spends more than 35 seconds on Pinterest can tell you that teacups are a popular party favor. Even your least pinkies-up-plus-pearls kind of guest is going to have to work mighty hard not to be happy with their new bone china friend.

Teacups are proof that strong is beautiful. Made of bone china or porcelain, they’re made to last. Bone china is a soft-paste porcelain made with clay, kaolin and bone ash. It’s the sturdiest of the porcelains. Regular porcelain is a clay made with kaolin and other additives depending on where it’s being made.

Most English teacups can be used for actually drinking tea. Once formed and decorated, the painted or stamped design is covered with a clear glaze, making it safe for food use. But there are exceptions. Those that have a mesh of cracks in the clear glaze, known as crazing, are no longer food safe. And it’s probably not a good idea to use Rose Medallion, a popular export ware from the 1920s on, or Japanese novelty lusterware, for example, because those usually do not have a clear coat food-safe glaze.

There are many, many makers of teacups from England, ranging in quality from exquisitely delicate to fancied-up utilitarian. In general, 0n the higher end of the price spectrum are cups made by Shelley, Paragon, Aynsley, Coalport. In the middle are Royal Albert, Royal Standard, Rosina and a multitude of others makers. Like anything that was a trend at some point, there are makers galore and prices are all over the place from several hundred dollars to a few single dollars. Tea cup prices are determined by the same things as all vintage: scarcity, desirability and condition. If you’re favor shopping, you can often find teacup lots online at good prices. And it’s okay to politely ask a seller if they will offer you a bundle price. 

As with most things we humans collect, there is some teacup lingo you’ll find in listings. We’re arranged a few of the more common ones here, arranged alphabetically for your convenience.

Backstamps are the maker’s marks printed on the bottom of many cups and saucers. They are often accompanied by a handpainted style number or maker’s mark.

The bowl is the big round part that holds the tea, it can be flat, conical, flared or a more decorative shape.

Chintz is a tiny overall floral pattern.

Coffee cans are not teacups, but they do come with saucers. They are small straight sided cups usually used for espresso.

Corset waist teacups have a generously sized top and very nipped in bottom.

Demitasse cups are smaller than teacups and are generally used for espresso.

Fluted teacups and saucers have a series of furrowed wedges radiating from the center ring out that get grow in size as they head to edge.

Footed teacups have a distinctive foot at the bottom.

Luncheon sets include a teacup, saucer and matching luncheon plate.

Scalloped teacups and saucers have edges that are composed of arches or semi-circles. They can be evenly sized or alternate large and small.

Smooth shaped teacups and saucers are just that. Smooth and simple. They let the decoration do the talking.

Snack sets or tea and toast sets or luncheon sets are oversized plates with a place for your teacup. There is no saucer.

Swirled teacups and saucers are like fluted teacups that had a ride on the tilt-a-whirl.

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If you want to find out more about teacups, here are some wonderful places to read more:

The National Shelley Collector club has a fabulous pictorial glossary.

The Tea Blog of the English Tea Store has tasty tea time recipes and tea cup loving posts.

Teacup handle shapes have different names, Tea with Friends offers an introduction

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Non-bone china teacup related factoid: NOAA’s Storm Center describes 3″ hail as teacup (for reference, the scale ranges from  .5″ is marble or mothball to 4.5″ for grapefruit)





Vintage Picks of the Week – Ice Cream Time

Vintage Picks Of The Week

It’s time for our new series, Vintage Picks of the Week! We scour the internet looking for just the right piece of vintage to add to our decor, and include ideas on how we think these pieces could be used.

The Picks this week are brought to you by Mary Ellen at

Chromolithographed Serving Tray from Ms Dow’s Antiques ‘Tique Talk

Hall Company’s Quality Ice Cream Tray

What I Like About It: I love the colors and the jolly faces of the children. When I have ice cream I feel as though it’s my birthday too!

How I Would Use It: I would hang this on the wall as a decoration but absolutely put it back into service serving dishes of ice cream to children of all ages. If I could bear to give it away, I’d give it to a family named Hall or someone who lives in Binghamton.


Metal ice cream mold from TreasuresTooVintage on Etsy

Ice Cream Mold – Pewter – Vintage Lady’s Shoe Candy, Chocolate, Craft Mold – c. 1900

What I Like About It: This shoe has style and  would be quite fun to work with.

How I Would Use It: How about Ice cream shoes for a gal’s night out or bridal shower. Present the ice cream shoe and all sorts of candy to decorate it and give an award to the winner. Of course everyone’s a winner with a nice ice cream dessert they decorated themselves. Quick! Before it melts! Another way is to mold chocolate or marzipan for all sorts of holidays, Halloween, Mother’s Day, add a Buckle for Thanksgiving. Crafts! Mold paper shoe containers…you’d need to experiment but you just know that this mold will bring out the creativity in you.

Raffia Ware Ice Cream Bowls from SentimentalFavorites on Etsy

Vintage Raffiaware, Pink Plastic Bowls, Ice Cream Bowls, Thermoware Straw, Pool Party

What I Like About It: I love the color, the tiki quality of the raffia and the fact you can use them on the pool or patio with no fear of broken glass. Reusable ice cream dishes are cool!

How I Would Use It: Of course I would use it for ice cream but also cool pieces of watermelon or even for side bowls for make your own tacos or custom salad additions.

So there you have it! My three favorite vintage picks for the week! Make sure to check back to see what items are on the Pick List next week!Hand pointing right | Antique Design Illustrations

And don’t forget to sign-up for our email newsletter (over there, on the right) so you don’t miss out on any of our picks or fun articles!

For Him – Get The Look

 It's A Man's World



To shop the look…

Industrial Metal Sign


John Deere Tractor Photo
From Mollys Muses on Etsy

Vintage Brass Whistle
From Throw It Forward on Etsy 

Hazel Atlas Barware 
From 1006 Osage on Etsy

Vintage JC Penney Portable Electric Typewriter
From Seaside Collectibles on Etsy

Vintage Architectural Salvage

Vintage Lithograph White Cat Cigar Box Label



“Every man’s got the right to decide his own destiny.” — Bob Marley

Simplify – Get The Look

Per the calendar gurus, July 12th has been declared the official day to celebrate simplicity. However when it comes to vintage, the Vintage Unscripted team believes every day is cause to revel in the simple side of design.


 Top left to bottom right:
  1. Antique copper soldering irons  – Selective Salvage
  2. Antique John P. Squire lard tins Aunt Hatties Vintage
  3. Vintage black velvet dress with satin drop waistVintage Renude
  4. Antique Wade & Butcher straight razorAttic and Barn Treasures
  5. Vintage Nasco wooden magazine rackNextStage Vintage
  6. Vintage round chrome wall shelfGirl Pickers
  7. Vintage MCM wood & brass magazine rackThirdShift Vintage

“A little simplification would be the first step to a rational life.” — Eleanor Roosevelt

Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About SOCKS, But Were Afraid to Ask

sock with a hole

Short socks, long socks and stockings tied on, tied up or elasticized. Socks are woven (pun intended) in our history and along the way begat some interesting facts…

We suppose socks have been around in some form or other since clothing was created. Animal skins tied on with sinew, matted animal fur (eww!) held on with leather thongs, woven fur which I’m sure lead to woven plant materials and eventually to fabric and knit. But on to our interesting tidbits…

Albert Einstein never wore socks – holes caused by big toes annoyed him.

Men wore stockings before women did. They were called hose and were a staple in every man’s wardrobe.

During WWI the Red Cross provided yarn and patterns to knitters all over the U.S. to make socks, gloves, and hats for the men. 

Woven socks (known as leggings) were a status symbol in 12th century Europe and it wasn’t until later in that century that feet were added.

Queen Elizabeth popularized stockings for women in 1566 having received a pair of black silk stockings hand made by her seamstress as a gift.

In the 1970s toe socks were born. BUT did you know the first toe socks were TWO toed socks in Egypt in 300 A.D.?









Legend has it that the first sock monkey was made between 1932 and 1939. The Rockford Red Heel sock was created in 1932 and was sold by Sears Roebuck and Co (by catalog) beginning in 1939 and included a pattern for the now famous sock monkey toy and in 1955 received a U.S. patent for their pattern.



So there you have it. Everything you ever wanted to know (and more) about socks but were afraid to ask. Now go forth in your most brightly colored pair and knock their socks off. 😉



Celebrate America – Get The Look

Celebrating Red, White & Blue

Celebrate America by buying vintage from a small business…



Celebrating true American vintage: Part 2, N-Z

american flag

We love vintage from everywhere. But there is something to be said for true American vintage classics. Things that have stood the test of time and are as treasured not was they were in their own time. The Vintage Unscripted team has searched our shops to celebrate our made in America vintage history. Part one celebrates A – M. Part two, N-Z. And there may be a few surprises along the way. After all, we are Vintage UNSCRIPTED!

N is for No Food on BeachVintage No Food On The Beach metal sign

No holiday weekend should go by without spending time at the beach! Pack your bathing suit, grab your flip flops and sunglasses, and don’t forget your beach towel. And while this vintage sign says no food on the beach, we recommend you pack a picnic and make a day of it!

Featured: Vintage metal “No Food On Beach” sign. 1960’s

O is for Ovenex Vintage Ovenex angel food cake pan

Ovenex was manufactured by Ekco for about 20 years beginning in the mid-1940s. This brand of baking pans is still sought after for use in today’s kitchens.

Featured: Ovenex tube or angel food cake pan


P is for Paint By Number rose paint by number

Invented in the 1950s by an artist who worked for a paint company in Detroit, MI, the paint by number kit was embraced by people who had no experience as artists and yet were able to paint their own DaVinci’s Last Supper, and scorched by critics who, well, are critics. The Craft Master company had the last laugh, having sold 12 million kits in their first four years. As for the critics point of view…the Smithsonian National Museum of History hosted an exhibit on PBNs in 2001. 

Featured: 1950s rose completed paint by number pair

Q is for Quilt Antique tobacco premiums and feed sack quilt top

What could be more of an American classic than a handmade quilt? Quilts were traditionally made using scraps of fabric from worn or outgrown clothing, feed sacks, leftover sewing fabric and even tobacco flannel. 

Featured: Late 1800’s tobacco flannel and feed sack quilt top


R is for Replogle Globe  Vintage Replogle Surprise Globe

Luther Relpogle began making globes from English maps in his Chicago apartment in 1930. The US company that bears his name is now the largest manufacturer of globes in the world. They carry on with his mission to take globes out of strictly academic environments and make them affordable for use in the home.

Featured: Relpogle 1950s Surprise Globe made in Chicago Illinois


S is for Salt & Pepper Shakers Vintge red bakelite salt & pepper shakers

This handsome set is made of Bakelite, a material invented by Leo Baekeland in Yonkers New York in 1907. Early resin radios and telephones were made of this sturdy stuff. When beautiful colors of this material were developed, it became a popular medium for designer jewelry and other beautiful art deco items.

Featured: Art Deco period red Bakelite salt & pepper shaker set


T is for Tramp Art Antique tramp art wall box

Tramp art is a form of folk art that flourished in America from the 1870’s until the 1940’s.  Boxes, frames and even full sized furniture were constructed from cigar boxes and shipping crates using chipping and whittling techniques. Despite the name (which was coined in 1959), the majority of the artists were frugal factory workers, farmers and general laborers who were determined to create art out of scraps. 

Featured: Tramp art wall box constructed from a cigar box. Original use is assumed to be as a match holder


U is for The United States 1972 How to display and respect our flag booklet

How appropriate is a vintage “how to” flag booklet from the U.S. Marines – published by the United States Government. 

Featured: 1972 How to Display and Respect Our Flag booklet


V is for Vinyl 

There’s nothing more American than a series of vintage Patriotic Songs!

This vinyl record album set includes patriotic music that was played in elementary schools, and includes background information that a teacher would share with their class. We thing this album would make a fun display piece at a 4th of July party, and if you still have a turntable, you could play this music to surprise and delight your party guests!

Featured: 1947 Patriotic Songs RCA Victor Record Library for Elementary Schools Vinyl Record Album 


W is for Whiting & Davis Whiting & Davis mesh purse

Whiting and Davis has been joining little pieces of metal into shimmering mesh handbags since the company was founded in MA in 1876. Upscale jewelry and metal mesh fashion accessories were added to their lines in the ’30’s. Vintage Whiting & Davis is favored by collectors for its style and timeless beauty. 

Featured: Vintage Whiting & Davis ecru mesh purse with a cross body strap. 


X is for “X Marks The Spot”Reeses brass stencils

One of a series of stencils marketed as “Reese’s Adjustable Brass Stencils” that were patented in Chicago in 1876 by Samuel Reese. He left the business to his partner Christian Hanson and it remains a family owned business under the name C.H. Hanson Company in Naperville, Il.

Featured: Large 12 inch Reese’s Brass Stencil.  Other letters are available. 


Y is for YoYo 

Looking back through the years, I think it’s safe to say that most people have attempted their skill at the classic YoYo. While we are probably all most familiar with the all-American Duncan YoYo, YoYo’s have a long standing history, starting in ancient times.

For your Summer celebrations this year, we think it would be fun to have a YoYo contest! Challenge your family and friends and see who can control the YoYo the longest, or find out who has the most YoYo tricks. It’s sure to cause a lot of fun and laughter!

Featured: Antique wood and metal yoyo.


Z is for Zippersz is for zipper

Next time you zip your fly instead of wrestle with buttons (unless you’re wearing a pair of Levi 501s), thank Gideon Sundback, head designer at the Talon Company. Although you probably should also thank Elias Howe, who in 1851 patented an impractical design for a zipperish closure. And Whitcomb Judson, who took a crack at making Howe’s design functional as a speedier boot closure in 1893–it was faster but it also didn’t stay closed. Sundback finally brought the zipper to it’s modern form and function around 1913. Astonishingly, people were skeptical and the newfangled technology didn’t catch on until B.F. Goodrich put them on their rubber galoshes and coined the name “zipper” in 1923. Read more here and here.

Featured image: the clothing closure device that made the wiggle dress possible.









Celebrating true American vintage: Part 1 A-M

vintage american flag

We love vintage from everywhere. But there is something to be said for true American vintage classics. Things that have stood the test of time and are as treasured now as they were in their own time. The Vintage Unscripted team has searched our shops to celebrate our made in America vintage history. Part one celebrates A – M. Part two, N-Z. And there may be a few surprises along the way. After all, we are Vintage UNSCRIPTED!

A is for Anchor Hocking Company

anchor hocking pineapple vase

Starting life as the Hocking Glass Company in Lancaster, OH in 1905. It became Anchor Hocking in 1937 when it merged with the Anchor Cap and Closure Company. Anchor Hocking made glass for every home, affordable, stylish and durable, meaning there are lots of vintage pieces out there to collect and use.

Featured: 1950s Anchor Hocking pineapple vase with sprayed on blue finish.


B is for BasketsAntique NY country store advertising basket

Baskets have been a staple of American life for centuries. Typically woven by hand, they were originally used for gathering, toting and as decorative pieces. Happily, good solid vintage baskets serve the same purpose in the 21st century.

Featured: Antique NY country store market basket, courtesy of “Charles & Co. Grocers and Fruiterers, New York” 


C is for Country Store advertisingCountry Store advertising plate from South Dakota

Nothing more fun than collecting vintage souvenirs of all the places you’ve been and American country stores are a great source of advertising collectibles. Specialize by location, type of souvenir or a common theme and you’ll have a great travelogue to share with your guests.

Featured: Antique corn themed plate marked “Compliments of Heying & Scholl, General Merchandise, Salem SD”


D is for Drinks

Vintage paper coffee cups, 1940's“Save Time, Save America” – this set of paper coffee cups, called Nestcups, were made in the 1940s by the Sutherland Paper Company in Kalamazoo Michigan. They have a patented fold out set of handles that make holding a hot cup much easier.

The cups feature illustrations of navy ships and bomber airplanes, and was made especially for the military during World War II. Inside the rope and anchor illustration on one side of the cup it says “Save Time, Save America” and on the other side it says “Give ’em the Guns to Get Through”. A fun set of cups for your holiday celebrations!

Featured: Vintage American themed paper coffee cups. Set of 8. 1940’s 

E is for Esterbrook Fountain Pen 

Esterbrook cobalt bluefountain pen

This Camden, New Jersey Company started in the late 1850s and was the leading producer of steel pens (nibs) in the United States for many years. In the 1930s it started making plastic fountain pens and introduced the dollar pen in 1935. It was a well made, durable pen, affordable to almost everyone.

Esterbrook introduced the interchangeable screw in nib, another popular innovation at about the same time. The choice of colorful durable materials has earned a place for vintage Esterbrook pens with today’s fountain pen users and collectors.

Featured: Cobalt blue Esterbrook Dollar Fountain Pen

 F is for Fenton Fenton hobnail milk glass

The Fenton Art Glass Company was founded in 1905 in Ohio and is world famous for its art glass. The example to your right is the hobnail pattern and was first introduced in the 1930’s.

Featured: Small milk glass dish with pie crust edge in the hobnail pattern. Marked Fenton


G is for Golden Books golden book encyclopedia

How a small printing company in Racine, WI grew to be the publishers of the iconic Little Golden Books is a great American success story. Through forming smart connections with other publishers and smartly seeing a need for inexpensive, sturdy books for kids in the 1940s, a lot of us have happy memories of The Pokey Little Puppy, and more.

Featured: The Golden Book Encyclopedia, lavishly, colorfully and perfectly illustrated. From the 1960s.


H is for Handle With Care!Vintage metal pinback button Handle with care

We’re talking about fireworks and firecrackers here. Make sure you know the safety rules for handling fireworks during the holiday. 

It’s important to know your fireworks – read the cautionary labels and performance descriptions before igniting. Stay safe, and handle with care.

Featured: Vintage “Handle With Care” metal pinback pin. 1950’s

I is for Independence

Industrial letter IIndependence Day is also known as the Fourth of July. It is a federal holiday in the United States that commemorates the adoption of the Declaration of Independence, signed on July 4, 1776. The Continental Congress declared that the thirteen American colonies regarded themselves as a new nation, the United States of America, and were no longer part of the British Empire. While that is the history of this celebrated holiday, it is also known for fireworks, parades, barbecues, carnivals, fairs, picnics, concerts, baseball games, and family reunions.

Featured: Industrial metal letter “I” in blue and silver. 1980’s


J is for JelloVintage aluminum jello mold, set of 10

I don’t think I’ve ever seen a 4th of July celebration picnic that didn’t have the traditional red, white, and blue Jello!

We suggest you whip up a batch and make them into Jello Stars that represent the stars on the American flag! 

Featured: Vintage aluminum star shaped jello mold. Set of 10. 1970’s


K is for KodakVintage Brownie box camera

Kodak was founded in 1888 and held a dominant position in photographic film for the next 100 years. The company was well known for its cameras with vintage Kodak cameras being especially desired by collectors.  

Featured: Kodak Brownie Target Six – 16 camera made in 1946.


L is for License Plates Illinois license plate, 1966

License plates originated in the United States in New York in 1901 and are required for all motorized vehicles and trailers. Each state has their own design with numeric or alphanumeric ID system that identifies the vehicle with the owner.

Featured: 1966 Illinois license plate


M is for Monet monet butterfly pin

The road to what became Monet costume jewelry started with two New York brothers who ran into business trouble when demand for their monogrammed car door medallions disappeared in the Depression. They revised their designs into easy to apply handbag monogram letters, which were eagerly snapped up by department stores as a much cheaper alternative to the personalized products they were offering. In the late 1930s, the brothers expanded from purse monograms to monogram pins and fobs, eventually opening a factory in Providence, RI to make their ever expanding line of costume jewelry.

Featured: Monet butterfly brooch in goldtone and white.

PART 2 features the rest of the American vintage alphabet.