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Viewing: Blog Posts Tagged with: Vintage, Most Recent at Top [Help]
Results 1 - 25 of 232
1. Star Island


I spent the past weekend on Star Island for Gatsby on the Isles. A 1920's themed shindig, it's a real delight full of top notch company, sharp dressing and hot jazz. I didn't get as many photos as I would have liked, but here's a few snaps that I did manage. The top two are of the Oceanic Hotel (as well as a few revelers) and the bottom is Sunday's sunrise.

And I brought my sketchbook, too. Here's a small sketch I made of Smuttynose Island.

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2. VINTAGE - classic designers

Mini Moderns, the subject of our last two posts, are very much inspired by classic mid century modern design. So it seemed appropriate to post some vintage designs to end today's posts. We start with a few select piece by Maud Fredin Fredholm  and a few web find images from Viola Gråstens

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3. How to upcycle and old radio (drawing)

 As I may have already mentioned, I've been cleaning up my house recently. It fell into disrepair due to neglect (by me) and now I'm giving it some much needed attention. I've put a deadline on getting it done too; August. I have decided to do an Open House then, to show off all my hard work - decorating and drawing - and you're all invited. I need to, not only paint the whole place, but, get my work together to frame and hang. I came across this radio drawing whilst sorting through stuff. I made it, about six years ago, whilst in Italy. It was on that trip that I met lapin for the first time too. I also drew his hat. But that hangs in his home.
 Anyway, I decided I'd like this drawing to be at my Open House exhibition, so last night I played around with it a little. I upcycled this old radio, if you like. There were practical reasons for doing it; the brown pens I used back then (my beloved Pilot G-tec) are just not light fast, and so, as I wanted this radio hanging on my wall, in August, it too needed a little attention. I went over it all in brown light fast fine liners and added a little colour pencil. An improvement on the original? I don't know. That's all subjective.
Now, I haven't got time for all this. I've got walls to paint. AUGUST?! The whole house by August

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4. FABRIC - brie harrison for winter's moon

Designer and illustrator Brie Harrison has once again collaborated with Winter's Moon on their latest fabric print. Carnation is large, lush design featuring oversized florals in gorgeous coral tones, leaves in jade greens, plus a whole other smattering of bright botanical loveliness on a beautiful dark inky background.  Printed in England on an upholstery weight linen mix, Carnation is

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5. VINTAGE - rainbow vintage home

Rainbow Vintage Home is a new web shop for vintage fabrics curated by Rachel Mansi. Rachel only sells  top quality 60s and 70s fabrics, and  specialises in Scandinavian pieces and designs from Heals, Conran, Moygashel etc. To keep prices reasonable Rachel sells fat quarters so that people can afford to treat themselves to really special collectible pieces.  She has been obsessively collecting

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6. ETSY - koosi design

Koosi is a visual merchandiser and graphic designer based in Venlo in The Netherlands. Koosi makes one of kind creations such as tote bags, cushions, and children's clothing for her Etsy shop using bold vintage fabrics. I loved Koosi's choices of print with bold flowers and fruits mainly from the 1970's. Koosi also has a fascination for vintage paper goods and has a

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7. Review: Longbourn

Longbourn by Jo Baker. Vintage Reprint, 2014. Personal copy.

The Plot: The story of Pride and Prejudice, told from the point of view of the servants.

Sarah, one of the housemaids, is the main character -- and as she works long days, doing the laundry, cleaning the house, doing whatever is required -- she has her own dreams, her own hopes, and her own loves.

The Good: I was lucky enough to "discover" Pride and Prejudice on my own. I was in high school, it was a book on the shelf at home, I was bored with nothing to read. (Seriously, you want your kids to read? Have plenty of books at home and let them be bored.) Like many others, I fell hard for Elizabeth and Darcy and Elizabeth and Darcy together.

You may remember I was disappointed in the Pride and Prejudice mystery, Death Comes to Pemberley (yet I'm still looking forward to the upcoming TV program.) I am so happy to say that I had the exact opposite reaction to Longbourn: it was everything I wanted, and more, and I cannot recommend it highly enough.

One thing I find interested, now, as an older, adult reader, is how often books written long ago, books like Pride and Prejudice, don't show certain aspects of life at the time. It reveals, of course, both what the characters would (and wouldn't) think as well as what the author thinks the reader does and doesn't want to know. In other words, the servants in Pride and Prejudice are barely mentioned, even though, of course, they are there because these homes and houses needed staff to run.

Longbourn looks at those servants -- and I loved, actually, how little we see the Bennets, because how often would they interact with each other? And even though we know Elizabeth sees herself and her family as not being well off -- still, they did have servants even if they don't have many. And they had the privilege that having servants meant. Or, as Sarah puts it: "If Elizabeth had the washing of her own petticoats, Sarah often thought, she'd most likely be a sight more careful with them." In that one sentence we see a different side of Elizabeth's behavior, which in Pride and Prejudice is strictly shown as her independence and non-conformity. It also shows a disregard for the people who have to clean her clothes. It's careless and rude.

Sarah is one of two housemaids, and that's another thing -- this is no Downton Abbey. There are a couple other servants, yes, but altogether there are very few, expected to do very much, with very little pay or free time, and from a very young age. Yet, it's shown that these servants are lucky because they have jobs, a place to sleep, food. It's shown just how few options these workers had -- especially the women. This is one of those books that makes me value, all the more, the servants and serving class of the past -- the workers, the people making the best of their worlds, the people who strive to be happy with what they have. And makes me thankful for all the laws we have, against child labor, for minimum wage, for overtime.

The source of the fortunes of the wealthy is explored, especially just what it meant to be "in sugar." Ptolemy Bingley, one of the Bingley servants, was born a slave. I loved that Longbourn showed that England wasn't all white in the nineteenth century, and how others would interact with Ptolemy.

The risky position of women, love, and sex is also shown (and I won't go into more because spoilers.) I will say this: Longbourn, surprisingly, made me much more sympathetic to Mrs. Bennet and the pressure she was under to have a son and how precarious the family was without sons. She was no longer a silly woman, but rather a desperate one who had few options other than trying to have a male heir and then wanting security for her own daughters -- a security her husband was reluctant, or unable, to think about.

Of course, this is a Favorite Book of 2014!

Amazon Affiliate. If you click from here to Amazon and buy something, I receive a percentage of the purchase price.

© Elizabeth Burns of A Chair, A Fireplace & A Tea Cozy

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8. More about the 2014 Prime Minister’s Literary Awards

It is commendable that recent Prime Ministers have continued the Prime Minister’s Literary Awards even though, as with some other literary prizes, its future has often seemed under threat. It is a prestigious national award amongst the also-important state and other literary prizes. And it is lucrative, with winners receiving $80 000 and shortlisted authors […]

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9. VINTAGE - winter's moon

For today's Friday eye candy I could not resist this striking vintage tin spotted at Winter's Moon. Not surprisingly the tin has already been sold - but I thought it was still well worth posting for the sheer beauty of it's stylised graphic trees. Also catching my eye were floral greetings cards and a patterned rolling pin. Winter's Moon have also revived a 1965 fabric design by

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10. Review: Home Cooking

Home Cooking: A Writer in the Kitchen (Vintage Contemporaries) by Laurie Colwin. Illustrations by Anna Shapiro. Personal copy: Vintage, 2010. Originally published in 1988.

It's About: Part memoir, part cook book.

The Good: I read Colwin's Happy All the Time around when it first came out -- and it's stuck with me all these years. Since I was only in early high school at the time I read it, I thought that Happy All the Time, and Laurie Colwin herself, was my book, my discovery. While I bought a new copy when Vintage did its 2010 reissues, I still haven't brought myself to read it: would it be as perfect as I remember? Would it be as meaningful?

For how I read then, in high school and later, and well, for various reasons, despite loving that book I didn't read other Colwin titles. The good news about that is that now I can read them.

Home Cooking is a like a wonderful visit with a friend, making dinner and having laughs with a bottle of wine. It makes me hungry from the recipes; it makes me feel capable, because Colwin presents them as if they were easy to make. Her first kitchen, her first resources, are small and simple, making it that much more accessible to any reader. There's also an emphasis on fresh ingredients - seriously, it's as if were written today.

I also want to track down a copy of The Taste of America by John and Karen Hess.

Of course, the best way to show how this book is like hanging out with a friend is to highlight a few passages:

"Some diehards feel that to give a dinner party without a starter is barbaric. Mellower types want to get right down to the good stuff and not mess around with some funny little things on a small plate. Some hosts and hostesses are too tired to worry about a first and a second course and wish they had called the whole thing off."

"After you have cooked your party dinner six or seven times, you will be able to do it in your sleep, but your friends will be bored.You will then have to go in search of new friends..."

I now have to read More Home Cooking: A Writer Returns to the Kitchen -- but I don't want to, not yet, because I still want to be looking forward to reading it.

Links about the amazingness of Home Cooking:

Laurie Colwin: A Confidante in the Kitchen by Jeff Gordinier, The New York Times; "there is something about her voice, conveyed in conversational prose, that comes across as a harbinger of the blog boom that would follow."

Decades Later, Laurie Colwin's Books Will Not Let You Down by Maureen Corrigan, NPR.

Because my "favorite books" list is about when I share it on the blog, not when it was published or when I read it (technically, this was during vacation last September), this is a Favorite Book of 2015.

Amazon Affiliate. If you click from here to Amazon and buy something, I receive a percentage of the purchase price.

© Elizabeth Burns of A Chair, A Fireplace & A Tea Cozy

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11. Retromania

Retromania — 3D pixel (voxel) art tribute to the 8-bit gaming era.
Available as a high-quality art print.

More images: MetinSeven.com.

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The electronic musician — pixel artwork in a minimalistic style.

Available as a high-quality art print.

More images: MetinSeven.com.

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13. What's it about?

‘What are your books about?’ That’s a question I often get asked when I say I’m  a novelist writing for, or about, young adults. My first book, Vintage, is easy to describe. Vintage is about a 17 year old girl living in 2010 who swaps places with a seventeen year old living in 1962. That seems to satisfy, and interest people, including adults who were around in 1962! 

The second book, Closer, is harder to describe. In the blurb on the back we chose to focus on Mel, the main character - on who she is, her gritty and quirky take on the world, and on her finding the courage to speak out. But I was a bit naive if I thought it would stop there. As soon as the book came out, the reviews on Amazon and in magazines spelt out the story - Closer is about a girl whose stepfather gets too close. It involves sexual abuse. 

Some parents have said that they don’t think their children are ready to read it, and I can understand that. Some young people have said they don’t want to read about incest or abuse (yukk!, as one graphically put it). But the feedback I’ve had from those who read it is that they find Closer inspiring, compelling and not remotely explicit. And some of the best feedback has been from teachers and social workers who have said that it’s realistic - better than reading a case study, one said. I have to admit I'm really proud of that.

There’s something about ‘issue’ books which puts me off too. If I feel I’m being asked to think in a particular way, if I feel lectured or taught, it’s a huge turnoff. I want to be told a story. I want to find a way of getting inside someone else’s world and knowing something I’d never otherwise have known. I want to be gripped, to have to read on, and to be satisfied by the ending even if it doesn’t give me all the answers. I want to be interested in the characters and where they’re going. I want to make my own mind up.

I've learned so much from reading novels about difficult times in their characters' lives. Sylvia Plath's The Bell Jar comes to mind, and Roddy Doyle's The Woman who walked into Doors. Most recently, Patrick Ness wrote so movingly about grief in A Monster Calls. When something new comes up in my life, whether it's working out how to knit socks or how to find a way through grief, I'll reach for a book, or the internet, or a friend - or all three.

It’s a conundrum, how to pose questions about an issue without giving easy answers - and then how to describe the book without giving away the story. I wrote Closer partly because I’d read the YA novels I could find at that time about sexual abuse, and the outcome in the stories was often disastrous. I knew from my work as a psychotherapist that this wasn't always the case, or it didn't have to be. 

I imagined a reader, possibly young, who read these books and had gone through something like Mel’s experience - or had a friend going through it. I wanted her, or him, to have a story where there are no monsters, and where there’s a way through. I feel passionately about that. And when sexual abuse has been so much around in the news in the last few months, we need ways of making sense of it, and stories about coming through.

So that's my first blog for ABBA - phew! 
But I still don’t know how to say what Closer is about...

Bloomsbury has published my story about Facebook in their series Wired Up for reluctant readers. It's called Breaking the Rules.

 I've retold three Thomas Hardy novels for Real Reads - The Mayor of Casterbridge, Tess of the d’Urbervilles and Far from the Madding Crowd. They're read by 9-13s, and by adults learning English as a foreign language.

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14. VINTAGE - winter's moon

these amazing dutch tins are amongst the new arrivals at online vintage store winter's moon. the sussex based business have managed to aquire a few of these in different sizes and colours, along with fabulous lampshades and orange tins.

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15. Vintage Vacation Postcards


Above is a little summary of our New England vacation. A little Cape, a lot of New Hampshire, including a hike through the Flume Gorge, which I had never seen before. I was tickled to find these in a little shop in Bethlehem, NH. I love when old postcards come with messages on them. The bottom one was written by someone whose vacation mirrored ours, fifty some years ago.

I have lots to share, including some digital paintings I did while we were away. I finally finished Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain. I highly recommend it, especially if you’re an introvert or have a loved one who is. There are lots of us, so you probably do! I learned a lot.

Hubs and I enjoyed listening to Rob Lowe’s memoir Stories I Only Tell My Friends on our car trip (read by Lowe), and we’ve almost finished listening to Yes, Chef, a memoir by Marcus Samuelsson. Really fascinating and read by Samuelsson himself in his fabulous scratchy voice. His story begins in Ethiopia, then goes on to Sweden, throughout Europe, and on to New York City as he follows his dream of becoming a master chef.

Loved this post of fun summer things to do with your kids, by Blair Stocker of wisecraft. Also, this spaghetti monsters post over at elsiemarley made me smile—it’s part cooking, part craft, and all silly fun.

What have you been up to?

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16. What I saw at SOWA: Antique MArket

Went to SOWA Market today with my fabulous artist artists Gina Perry and Vita Mechachonis. I've been to SOWA so many times yet I have actually NEVER visited EVERY part of the market in one day (Open Art Market, Antique Market, Farmers' Market and Food Trucks@SOWA). Well today I (WE!) finally did. I'll sprinkle posts about three of them, over my next few blog posts. (No Farmer's Market pics happened, sorry!) First up is the Antique Market.  :D


Door knobs. I've lived in old houses for most of my life, and vintage door knobs have just creeped into the big pile of disorganized inspirations in my brain. Not unlike this big pile of disorganized door knobs.

Ah I love old novelty travel souvenir postcards! Cute packages of 'em.

Always love these old printed frosted glass drinking glasses. How neat are these with the line art, lettering and map art. (Bonus anchors, and these are right on trend!)

Hello, creepy bartender man!

Mannequin figure with lots of costume jewelry. Love the look!

OH GLOBES! How I love globes. Globes globes globes. Wish there were more. (But then, I probably should be glad there wasn't!)

Pile of random stuff... Except for the metal bunny-rabbit-and-chick egg. That is NOT random at all.

Old glass bottles!

Do you find clowns creepy? I do sometimes, and sometimes I don't. But I am fascinated by the whole clown-phobia thing. Which makes them all the more curious of a subject.

I am kookoo for vintage postcards. I used to collect them, not officially. I just sort of acquired a lot of them over time. Since I have never repurposed them, and I'm now really into not acquiring stuff that doesn't scream at me loudly, I was easily able to resist these... Until I dug into the stack.

...and then they just got a little harder to resist. (I still resisted though. For today.)

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17. Favorite Craft Books for Kids, Old and New

Craft Books for Kids

I love looking at craft books almost as much (okay, sometimes more) than crafting. In my house growing up, my mom and I always called these ”make it/ do it” books, after two of our favorites, her own McCall’s Giant Make It Book (1953) and my Great Big Golden Make It & Do It Book (1980).

Many happy hours were spent poring over those pages. Most of the projects I never made or did, but just knowing that I could, imagining them, and looking over the pictures and instructions was (is) very satisfying.

Kids' Craft Books

I still love make it/ do it books, and in the stack are a few more recent favorites.

Made to Play  by blogger Joel Henriques. This book, given to us by a good friend, inspired our cardboard factory last summer. The author’s blog is madebyjoel.

Sticks & Stones & Ice Cream Cones by Phyllis Fioratta is another childhood favorite.

Oodles to Do with Loo-Loo and Boo by Denis Roche, a Vermont College friend of mine. This one has great illustrations and fun characters who guide you throughout as you make arts and crafts with easy-to-find and recyclable items.

Things to Do Book by Jennie Maizels. I love, love this concept for a book. Each illustrated spread has a theme (“in the car,” “in the garden”) picturing various activities in a particular setting. There are little flaps to lift that are like secret treasures. In concept, it’s a little like a Richard Scarry book with activities to do instead of labels. Perfect for those “I don’t have anything to do!” moments.

I also remember loving A Boat, A Bat, and A Beanie: Things to Make from Newspaper from the library back in the day. It shows you how to make great stuff (sandals! a wig!) out of, yes, newspaper. I think I need to order a copy of it. I love getting copies of old library books I used to check out over and over.

Below: It was so well-loved, we had to re-cover mom’s copy of the McCall’s Giant Make It Book:

Recovered Book

Here are a few of the inside pages:

Vintage Craft Book

Vintage Children's Craft Book

Vintage Children's Craft Book

Ach! There’s just something about these glowing 50s illustrations that just gets me every time. Everything looks so fun! The clothes so quaint! I just want to jump into the pictures, like Mary Poppins’ chalk drawings.

There’s a little video about the McCall’s book here.

What about you? Do you have any favorite craft books of your own, or do your kids? I think craft books make great gifts.

For more kid craft posts, click here.

Hope you have a great weekend. I’m off to the Carolinas conference of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI). Lucky for me, it’s right here in town.

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18. DOT COM GIFT SHOP - tea towels etc.

Most of today's posts are highlights from fun online store 'The Dot Com Gift Shop' where I enjoyed browsing around their colourful products for home and gift. These Tea Towels with a real vintage flavour caught my eye along with items using retro mod style fabrics. All available now from the Dot Com Gift Shop.

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19. CATH KIDSTON - storesnaps

After visiting the Cath Kidston Autumn Winter show last week I popped round the corner into their Covent Garden store and snapped a selection of vintage pieces. You'll find a selection of these in every CK shop and they are made from genuine vintage fabrics. The Summer sale is well and truly underway at Cath Kidston and a few things caught my eye - like this cute tea cups

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20. Illustrator & Creative Director Anna Bond

In the midst of a world grounded in digital technology, sometimes we need a reminder that good things can still be grounded in reality. This is why we still go visit galleries and museums to see artwork in person (a habit I’m still trying to get better at). This is why we still give each other greeting cards, or why our desks seem to collect countless post-its over time. It can be as simple as opening a letter or unwrapping a present–interacting with real material still matters. 

On that note, I’d like to introduce you to Anna Bond, owner and creative director of Rifle Paper Co.–an inimitable force in the stationery field and beyond.

While Anna now lives and works in Winter Park, Florida, she has roots in New Jersey and received a degree in graphic design in Virginia. After working as an art director and freelance illustrator for a couple years, she discovered (or rekindled, rather) her love for stationery design while illustrating some wedding invitations. As mentioned in her feature on The Every Girl, stationery was the optimal combination of graphic design and illustration that she had been searching for, and so she pushed onwards.

While there’s something to be said for art directing at 21, I admire Anna’s honest and expressive way of dealing with her expectations, realities, and how to improve upon them. She’s spoken before about the first launch of Rifle Paper Co.’s website, detailing product disasters, website crashes, international shipping issues, and taking turns panicking with her husband. Without sounding cruel or spiteful, it’s incredibly comforting to know that someone as ambitious and driven as Anna has screwed up before. And to me, there’s no better way to recover than by succeeding.

Nearly all Rifle Paper Co. products feature Anna’s hand-painted illustrations, which are often nostalgic in style with a pastel palette.

Some of Rifle Paper Co.’s selected clients and collaborative partners: Anthropologie (their very first!), Kate Spade New York, Hygge & West, Chronicle Books, AMC Mad Men, and Penguin Books. I think it’s important to note that the variety of clients reflects Anna’s ability to design for both traditional and modern brands, which can be difficult depending on one’s personal style.

Follow along with Anna and her husband Nathan’s exciting ventures at Rifle Paper Co.’s website, and take a peek at Anna’s portfolio here. You can also find her on Twitter. I particularly enjoyed her Day in the Life feature on Design*Sponge as well.

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21. VINTAGE - winter's moon

This gorgeous Scribbled circles pattern is part of the vintage lampshade range available from Winter's Moon. They also have two beautiful new tray designs which are made especially for Winter's Moon in Sweden using vintage fabric. See these and lots more stylish bits and pieces online here.

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22. VINTAGE - pinterest

Today's Friday eye candy feature all comes from the Pinterest boards of Arden Kuhlman Riordan. Arden is the daughter of Graphic Designers Roy and Gilda Kuhlman and it is obvious she has a passion for mid century graphics and illustration. Her boards are a treasure trove of design on book covers, records, posters, and more. You can see a wealth of artists such as Paul Rand, Saul Bass, Dick Bruna

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23. LICENSING - it's a small world

Today's post features the wonderful work of Mary Blair and her 'It's a small world" creation. Her iconic designs are currently pleasing a new wave of fans through various different licences on products such as wall decals, teapots, and stationery. Mary created the designs for Walt Disney in 1964 and this year sees it celebrating 50 years with a talk of a full length movie being made. Licensees

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24. Hot Ginger and Dynamite

I attended the Roaring Twenties Lawn Party at the Crane Estate this past weekend (you can see photos here and here). In light of that, drawing a flapper seemed apropos today.

And the subject line means I have to link to this. I remember watching that episode as a teenager, then proceeding to beg my piano teacher if she could track down said sheet music. Spice Girls? Pft. This was my high school jam.

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25. Interview with Author Susan Gloss on VINTAGE


Susan Gloss is the author of the debut novel VINTAGE (William Morrow/HarperCollins), a charming story about friendship set in a vintage clothing shop. Each item of clothing has a story behind it and so do the women who find themselves drawn together in this emotionally complex and beautiful novel. Gloss let us into the world she created for VINTAGE and all the “what ifs” she found along the way.

Tell us the story behind the story. How did VINTAGE come to be?

The idea for the novel grew from many hours spent in thrift stores, antique shops, and flea markets. At first, I was buying a lot of items from those places, simply because they fascinated me–a box of baby clothes from the 1950s, a pair of Ferragamo shoes in a size I could never wear. At some point, my storage space and my cash flow couldn’t take this “fascination” anymore. So instead of compiling items, I began compiling the stories I imagined they contained. My husband and I joke that, if I hadn’t written VINTAGE, I would have ended up on the TV show Hoarders.

What was the most challenging aspect of writing VINTAGE?

Writing from multiple points of view. Each shift in viewpoint is also a shift in generation and background. There’s Violet, a divorced shop owner in her late thirties; April, a pregnant teenager; and Amithi, an Indian-American woman facing an empty nest. Getting each of these characters’ voices right, without letting one story drown out the others, was a balancing act.

What is the message you want readers to take away from your book?

At its heart, Vintage is a story about second chances. In our consumer culture, there’s an emphasis on whatever is new and flashy and unblemished. We use things up and throw them away. The same “use and toss” attitude ends up getting applied to people, too. With this novel, I wanted to explore the idea that a person’s history and imperfections make her beautiful, just like with a vintage gown.

Describe your writing schedule. Do you outline? Any habits?

My only true writing habit is coffee, and lots of it. I write whenever I can, wherever I can—early mornings, late nights, and weekends. I have a toddler at home, so I often have to get out of the house to make any real progress on a manuscript. I spend a lot of time at coffee shops and know what time all the ones in my neighborhood close.

What books are on your nightstand? What are you currently reading?

Right now I’m reading Bread & Butter by Michelle Wildgen, a novel about three brothers, two restaurants, and all the back of the house drama that unfolds when customers are out of earshot. I have to make sure I don’t pick it up on an empty stomach, though. The food descriptions are incredibly vivid.

Next up is Fallen Beauty by Erika Robuck, a historical novel about the poet Edna St. Vincent Millay. I’m a sucker for stories about the lives of writers.

Which authors inspire you?

Emma Donoghue for her incomparable ability to keep readers turning the pages, Jhumpa Lahiri for her heartbreakingly beautiful prose, Isabel Allende for the magical worlds she creates, and Helen Fielding for laugh-out-loud humor.

What have you learned from this experience?

Writing a novel is a solitary experience, but the process of launching it out into the world shouldn’t be. I’ve been lucky to be part of a group blog for first-time authors called The Debutante Ball. The blog is in its seventh year, and past members include bestselling authors Sarah Jio, Eleanor Brown, and Sarah Pekkanen. Every September the torch gets passed to a new batch of five debut authors. The group has been a lifeline for me while riding the ups and downs of publishing a first book. Each of the five “debs” posts once a week on the blog, but the real value takes place behind the scenes, where we have daily sanity checks via email.

What is your advice for aspiring writers?

My advice for writers comes from a Wallace Stevens quote I have framed next to my desk: “After the final no there comes a yes / And on that yes the future world depends.”

What is the best piece of advice you have ever been given?

My grandfather told me that the most important skill is learning how to listen. He was right. And I’m still learning.

What are you working on now?

I’m working on a second novel, a standalone title set in the wine country of Spain. It’s slated to come out in summer of 2015.

Joan Didion famously explained that she writes “entirely to find out what I’m thinking, what I’m looking at, what I see and what it means. What I want and what I fear.” Why do you write?

I write because I have a very busy mind. I’m constantly asking “what if?” On the page, I can explore the “what ifs” in a productive way, rather than simply letting them spin around, gerbil-wheel style, in my head.

Susan Gloss

This interview originally appeared on The Huffington Post.

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