I can't wait to walk down Bertha Wittkamp Alley

I'm very excited about this. My Dad came up with the idea last Summer to get the little alley that runs behind our house in Strathmere named in honor of Bertha Wittkamp.

Bertha was the 1st baby born in Strathmere. She was born in 1901, and she lived there year round, for her entire life until she passed away in 1991. Now, Strathmere is a little town. Less than 100 people live there year round today and in the early 1900s there were a lot less. Plus there was nothing there, no hospital, no paved roads etc. Very few people were actually born in the town and most moved away at some time in their life.
Bertha was born in a room at the West Jersey Cottage, a hotel that her parents built in 1895. Her brother was born 2 years later. They went to the town's one room schoolhouse. Bertha has a niece who lives in Strathmere today, making the Wittkamps the oldest family to live continuously in Strathmere for the past 115 years.

Bertha was a nurse who worked at the hospital in Sea Isle City. She was also a Red Cross nurse for many years. She lived her entire life in Strathmere sharing memories of her life growing up on the island, telling of when it was covered in beach plums and cows grazed freely. She also remembered when soldiers were stationed in Strathmere to patrol the beaches during both World Wars.
Bertha lived her entire life on Winthrop Road, first in the family hotel, then in the hotel annex next door, and then finally in the boathouse on the alley (which is the alley that we want to be named in her honor) behind the hotel after the boathouse was converted to living quarters. Over the years, many people in town referred to her as ‘Aunt Bertha’ and she rode in an antique car in the Strathmere 4th of July Parade, honored as being the first baby born in Strathmere.

In 1982 we bought Bertha's house and cottage from her (the original hotel was moved down the road and converted into a store) Bertha would only sell the house if she was allowed to remain living in the cottage. She lived the rest of her life in the cottage, on the street where she grew up and lived for 91 years. I still have her name on the front door of the cottage.

We made a petition requesting that the nameless alley be named in honor of Bertha, got the neighbors whose properties front the alley to sign the petition, and presented it to the township. The request was presented to the Upper Township Committee this week and it looks like it should be passed!

This story appears in the 3/31/11 edition of The Press of Atlantic City

Posted: Thursday, March 31, 2011 12:16 am

Upper Township to name road after lifelong Strathmere resident Bertha Wittkamp

By MICHAEL MILLER - Staff Writer http://www.pressofatlanticcity.com/

UPPER TOWNSHIP - The Township Committee plans to honor the late Bertha Wittkamp, one of the few people known to have been born and to have lived lifelong in Strathmere.
The committee is naming an alley off Winthrop Avenue for Wittkamp, who died in 1991 at age 89.
Local residents have been calling this road near the bay "Bertha's Alley" for decades, township resident and local historian Sam Baker said.
Wittkamp was the first known baby to be born in Strathmere in 1901. She was followed soon after by her younger brother, Harlan. Her family moved from Philadelphia to Strathmere in the 1880s because her father suffered from respiratory problems and the salt air was considered a good cure, Baker said.
Her father worked for the West Jersey Railroad, which at the time had a rail line that went to Strathmere. The family built a hotel called the West Jersey Cottage.

"He ran the hotel and worked as the railroad bridge-tender and station master for the West Jersey Railroad in Strathmere," Baker said.

In a 1988 interview, Wittkamp talked about growing up on an island without paved roads or cars, where goats grazed and she attended a one-room schoolhouse.
"We used to raise some pigs here when we were kids," she said. "And we had chickens. Oh, my heavens, did we have chickens. We had ducks and geese, too. And down toward the beach we'd go out and dig soft-shell clams."

Mayor Richard Palombo said while it is not unusual for people to grow up and settle down in Cape May County for their entire lives, this is unusual for Strathmere. About 100 people call this island their year-round home.
"To have been born and stayed in the same area is pretty amazing," Palombo said.

Wittkamp worked for 20 years at the Woodbine Developmental Center in Woodbine, a state home for developmentally disabled men, and as a nurse at a hospital in Sea Isle City.
She was a member of the Strathmere United Methodist Church, her obituary said.
Baker said living in Strathmere was not always as easy in Wittkamp's youth as it is today. The main road into town often flooded. Few businesses were open except in the summertime. To have lived there at the turn of the century through coastal storms and winter isolation is remarkable, he said.
"When winter comes, there's nothing there," Baker said. "Years ago, every store would close up. You had to travel inland to buy anything."
Baker said Wittkamp lived alone but was hardly a hermit. She loved going to parties.
"All her friends would stop in. Every day of the week, she'd have a half-dozen people stop in," she said. "People used to refer to her as Aunt Bertha."
"The Wittkamps are one of the original families who settled in Strathmere," the mayor said. "Basically people who grow up at the shore have sand in their shoes and never want to leave."
And that was the case with Wittkamp, she told a reporter in 1988.
"I love Strathmere," she said. "It's altogether different. But this is a friendly town and people always help each other. People like this town. They really do."

Press librarian Martha Zechman contributed to this report.
Contact Michael Miller:

Scans from 1936 Vogue Pattern Book.

First, I need to find these patterns, then I need to find some time, or someone, to sew these dresses for me.

I love the lacing detail on the skirt on the right below -

Of course, I need some summer clothes for the Shore.

You know that I love the nautical look, below.

I love the neck details on both of these dresses - closer view below.

and a few more pretties -

Fun Vintage Folk Art Piece - Toilet Cigarette Dispenser and ashtray

Here is a fun vintage item that I am selling for my Dad. It just went up on the website this week along with some Homer Lauglin and Roseville pottery, and a Tramp Art Box - http://www.dandelionvintage.com/kass.html

Fun handmade cigarette dispenser and ashtray. I'm guessing that it is from the 1920s-1940s. It can set on a table and it also has a hole drilled in the top for hanging it. Very cool. One of a kind Folk Art item.

Nicely aged wood that was originally a dark red. Has bathroom grid lines behind toilet. The top opens, and you put your cigarettes inside.

When you pull the string a piece of metal inside the upper box pushes a cigarette out the side.

The pretty pottie is a Fire King Oven Bowl with fancy design on it. Looks like it was painted white.

Little Collections - Vintage Fabric Purses and Sewing Bags

I love these vintage bags.
Some were intended to be used as sewing bags, some as purses. You could buy the wooden handles and use whatever fabric you wanted to make the bag. I think that most of them are from the 1940s, at least the fabrics are anyway. I guess I love them because I just love vintage fabrics - cottons and barkcloths, the rich colors and the textures.
They are nice and roomy bags too, but everything kind of jumbles around inside of them since they are soft bodied bags and they have no inner sections.

You know that I love greens, and this is a pretty teal-green floral bag - and look at the yellow lining below - I almost like that more than the green. It's not reversable though. I tried. The seams show.

The bag below -  I had the set of handles and I used some 1950s fabric to make the purse myself. It looked like the fabric was originally going to be made into an apron, there's a pocket already sewn onto it. I used muslin for a lining.

I love this one. Thank you whoever made this sweet purse! The big wooden disks have decopauged flowers - pansies on one side and daffodils on the other. I love the grey and yellow stripes of the cotton.

This one was definately a sewing bag and I haven't carried yet because the little hand spot in the handle is kind of small. I love the deep tones of the wood and the tapestry fabric.

This one is a 1940s cotton, pink tropical flowers on grey. It's a little different from the others, but the concept of the bag is the same. I love the dowels and the fact that they have green balls on the ends. Green.

These two are my faves and the ones that I carry the most. I love the rich tones of the 1940s cotton twills.  The black one was one that I made too using the vintage handles and vintage fabric. I had the extra set of handles and the vintage fabric was originally a bureau scarf with muslin backing. It was exactly the right width of the handle. I only had to stitch up the sides and sew it onto the wooden handles.


Loves the colors in the florals

Thinking ahead about my future vintage kitchen again - Kitchen curtains

The future kitchen is dancing around in my head again. I've been thinking about curtains for the 2 windows. I'd love to use vintage fabric, but it would be hard to find the yardage, plus I hate cutting  large pieces of vintage fabric. Also, the kitchen is on the 2nd floor and the light is very bright in there. The curtains will fade and most likely will have to be replaced every few years, and I don't want to destroy vintage fabric for that.
So I've been looking at vintage inspired fabrics. I found these two fabrics on the left from a collection called 'American Retro c.1945', and I think that I am pretty set on ordering them. I'd use the grid/floral print to make cafe curtains for the two windows. And the ric-rac print would make a skirt under a section of the counter.

I've also been searching online for repro linoleum rugs, you'd think that someone would make them. I found the oilcloth below in a nice retro print that would match my future kitchen. I don't think that it would be durable enough for under kitchen chairs, but I think that I could make some throw rugs with it.

'The Time Traveling Fashionista' - a book review and giveaway

I was given the chance to read and review a new book -  'The Time Traveling Fashionista by Bianca Turetsky - which is due to be published April 5th.

It's the story of Louise, a 12 year old girl from Connecticut. She loves vintage clothing, even though her Mother, her best friend and the kids at school don't get her interest in old used clothing. She studies vintage fashions and designers and she dreams of filling her closet with fabulous vintage pieces and living a glamorous life some day.

One day she receives a mysterious invitation to a 'Traveling Fashionista Vintage Sale'. She thinks that it will be the perfect chance to find a dress to wear to the upcoming school dance.
She goes to the address on the invite, which takes her to a dark old dusty shop, and the only people there are the two odd and mysterious old ladies who own the shop -  Marla and  Glenda.
She chooses a beautiful bright pink gown to try on - Marla and Glenda are a little nervous about her putting on the dress (which smells oddly like the ocean) asking if she is sure she wants to do this.

Louise puts on the dress, and then she passes out. When she wakes up, she finds herself in the year 1912, and she is in the body of 17 year old actress Alice Baxter, who is traveling across the Atlantic in a luxury ship. She tries to fit in with the wealthy and famous passengers who all think that she is the famous Alice Baxter. She dresses up in Alice's beautiful clothing (and tight laced corsets) and finds out that the pink gown which brought her back in time was a 'Lucille' - made specially for Alice, and that it's designer Lady Lucy Duff-Gordon and her husband are on board the ship. Then of course Louise/Alice finds out that she's on the Titanic and panics, trying to warn passengers and the captain of the danger ahead.

How will she get home? Will she go down with the ship? Will anyone believe that the Titanic will sink? Why are Marla and Glenda also on the ship and who exactly are they? Should she go to the dance with Todd?

This was a fun book, a nice casual read. It is aimed at young adult readers, but I think that it could be enjoyed by any vintage clothing lover like me. Fabrics, descriptions of clothing details, designer names and historical names are mentioned, which are relateable and enjoyable. Even descriptions of the Titanic are recognizable. At first I thought - 'I've already been on the Titanic' - but this book is fun and  more lighthearted than the movie. Another thing that I enjoyed were the pretty illustrations in the book done by Sandra Suy (I like pretty pictures in books) I liked Louise and her love of vintage. Oh, I hated Dr.Hastings, I wanted her to kick him!

This is Bianca Turetsky's first book and it looks like it will be the first in a series of the Time Traveling Fashionista. Cool. I look forward to reading more vintage adventures.

Places to find The Time Traveling Fashionista -
on Facebook
On Twitter

Book Giveaway!
The book was sent to me to read and to review if I chose to (I was not paid to review it) I did enjoy it, and now I am going to pass the book on to someone else to enjoy.
Leave a comment to enter to win the book. A winner will be chosen from entrants here and on the Vintage Bulletin - on March 17th!

***UPDATE! Thanks to everyone who entered. The winner is Jenny B.

Planning a Vintage Kitchen

If all goes according to plan, and nothing happens between now and then to change things, I should be moving in October. Yeah!
I'll be making a 10 mile/15 minute move to Strathmere. A dream come true. I thought it would be another 5 or so years until I could move there. But years of begging have finally paid off and my Dad is letting me move into the upstairs unit of the Summer rental.
I love a big project and this will sure be one. But I want to get started NOW and I can't. The house is currently closed for the Winter and there will be Summer tenants in it from June-September. So I will only be able to think about moving in until them. I'll have the whole Summer to pack up my stuff in the cottage (which is where I usually stay on the weekends in the Summer) and my stuff here at home, including all my Dandelion Vintage stock.

The house that I will be moving to was built in 1902 and it has been somewhat remodeled over the years. My parent's collect antiques and respect the oldness of old houses, so it hasn't been gutted and modernized - no stainless steel and granite crap in this house. But I'd like to take the look back a few years. Starting with the kitchen.
I collect green kitchen items, mostly from the 1930-40s, so I'll have plenty of that stuff for decorating. That's my favorite look for kitchens and that's what I'll be hoping to somewhat accomplish in my new kitchen. I'll have plenty of accessories and decorations,  it's the cabinets, walls and flooring  need to de-modernize.

Some images of Dream Kitchens that I love - (oh, and green is my favorite color, so it will be a green kitchen, with some yellow accents)

I would love to be able to find old linoleum flooring for my kitchen - especially like the floor in the 1st photo above. When we bought the house it actually still had old linoleum flooring in all the rooms, with the wood floor around the edge painted a horrible brown. The linoleum is probably still under the carpets, but it's probably worn and brittle.

This is what I have to work with, the kitchen as it is right now. The paneling, while not too dark, needs to be painted. The faux bricks aren't too bad, I might white-wash those, but I've worked with that brick stuff before, as you will see later. The cabinets are less than 10 years old and also not bad, but I'd like them to have an old look. I already have a 1940s kitchen table set that will go in here. There is grey carpet on the floor, which has to go. The ceiling never got drop-ceiling, thank goodness - my Dad is the king of dropceilings. It's a punky 1940s ceiling though, not too pretty.

8 years ago I owned my grandparent's 1928 Sear's Kit House - and I spent a year working my way through the house, fixing it up. (Then my dad talked me into selling and moving down here to the woods.) I took the 1970s kitchen as far back to the 1930s as I could (pretty good considering that I had to work around a brown 1970s stove, which still worked fine and was not ready to be trashed and replaced yet)
below are the photos from that house. See, more faux brick. I was going to white wash it, but decided that I liked it. I had the cabinets custom made with glass to show off my green dishes and I painted the existing bottom cabinets white. There was dark brown paneling half way up the walls, which I also painted white. I removed the wallpaper and painted the rest of the wall pale green.

I miss this sweet little kitchen, and boy it was little.

This window was originally an exterior window, but they added on a laundry room and then this window just looked into that room. I filled the shelves with my vintage kitchen stuff. This stuff will all be moving with me to Strathmere and my 'new' kitchen. I've got lots of time to plan (and to save money for the project) and to convince my dad to let me do whatever I decide to do in the kitchen. I know he's going to fight me over taking out the carpet, plus it's only about 8 years old, so that may have to wait.

My Mom Made This - A Miniature Humpback Trunk for a Dollhouse

Before my Mom had a stroke 20 years ago, she used to sew, craft, build stuff, refinish furniture. Make, paint and clothe porcelain dolls, and make little things like dollhouse furniture. This little trunk is one of the dollhouse pieces that she made.

She made this trunk from scratch, it's about 3x4 inches. No kit, no pattern, no instructions. She just copied one of the antique trunks that we had. She used balsawood to make the trunk, wetting and bending the top and top trims. She covered the trunk with textured paper, painted black with gold rub-n-buff on the raised designs.

The hinges on the back are real hinges and all the other gold details are some type of fancy little paper trims.

She lined the trunk with dollhouse paper that is copied from old Sears catalogs. The trunk has an insert tray too, just like a real sized one. She made the magazines and the box of crayons too.

She found jewelry charms to represent what you would find inside of real trunk.

Little Collections - Liddle Kiddle knock-offs

I had Liddle Kiddles way back when, I'm talking about the original Kiddles from the late 1960s to early 70s. I think they started making them again at some point.  I've always loved tiny dollies. Even now, when I pass the toy section in the foodstore I check out any tiny dolls that they have.
My little collection here are all knock-off Kiddles, because the only real ones that I see are usually more than I can justify paying for. These knock-offs are also late 60s to early 70s.

The two gals with the orange hair are my favorites and I love their little Mod dresses.

Some have their original dresses, and any nudies that I bought I made little dresses for them from little scraps of lace. Did you just call me a dork? Yeah. So I'm a dork and I'm proud.

I display them all on this little park bench that I picked up in some craft store.

Cute. They love hanging out together.