A Sparkling Vintage Life

Marshall Field

Marshall Field’s Ornament Giveaway!


Update 12/19/2016: We have a winner! Slayton.amitchell, I’ll be contacting you for your mailing address, and this little soldier will be on its way to you pronto. Thanks to everyone who participated!

“Say the word ‘Christmastime’ and most people think of manger scenes and jingle bells, the glow of colored lights and the flutter of angels’ wings. But at the great Marshall Field & Company, Chicago’s premier department store, Christmastime meant all that and more, along with enough crowds, clanging, and clatter to shatter a sales clerk’s nerves. I know this because that clerk was me.” (Marjorie Corrigan in  The Christmas Robe)


Readers of You’re the Cream in My Coffee and The Christmas Robe know that the heroine, Marjorie, works at Chicago’s world-class department store, Marshall Field & Co., in the 1920s. While this sweet toy-soldier ornament does not date back to the 1920s (alas!), it is a genuine Marshall Field’s commemorative ornament, complete with the original gift box. It’s in excellent condition, gold-finish metal filigree with a silky cord, about 4 inches tall. And I’m giving him away to a Sparkling Vintage community member! To enter the drawing, do one of two things:

  1. If you’re not already signed up to receive my e-newsletter, sign up by entering your e-mail in the box at right. All new sign-ups between now and December 18 will be automatically entered in the drawing.
  2. If you’re already part of the e-newsletter community and you’d like a chance to win, say so in the comment section below, or drop me a line on  Facebook and I’ll add you to the drawing.

That’s it! A winner will be chosen at random on the evening of Sunday, Dec. 18, and the ornament mailed out to the winner on Dec. 19 (U.S. and Canada only, please.)

Merry Christmas!









Ladies and gentlemen, we have a book.

i-was-told-thered-be-creamYou’re the Cream in My Coffee releases today! The very kindest thing you can do for the book–and for me–is to tell your friends about it.  There’s a needle-in-a-haystack quality to new books these days, so help those people you know who might LIKE the story, to FIND the story.(Feel free to skip your uncle who proudly declares he hasn’t cracked open a book since the day he left school, or your third cousin who only reads vampire novels.)

Post a review on Amazon. And Goodreads, if that’s a site you frequent (and if you enjoy reading, you really should. It’s like the Enchanted Forest for book lovers).

Here are a couple of ways to score a free copy of the print edition:

*If you click “follow” on my Amazon author page today (9/15) , you will be entered into a random drawing for a free copy. (Look for the “follow” button under my photo on the author page. I’m telling you this because it took me a while to find it, lol.) This promotion is facilitated by Readers in the Know.

*If you comment on my blog or sign up for my e-newsletter through 9/17, you’ll be entered into a random drawing for a free copy AND a limited-edition mug.

There’s no reason not to throw your hat in the ring for both promotions.

Thank you. I couldn’t have done it without you. Seriously. You are the bee’s knees!





Shifting Gears: The New American Woman Hits the Road

motoring1I’ll confess it now . . . I’m not a big fan of driving. My feelings about life behind the steering wheel range from neutral (on fine days) to negative (on snowy, icy days). I’d say I never truly love driving–not the way a real enthusiast does.

I’d also say, it appears I’m missing out on something adored by many ladies of yore.

The first decade of the 1900s saw a tremendous rise in the popularity of the new “horseless carriages” being churned out by Ford, Chrysler, and Oldsmobile. In addition to the home-grown variety, about 60,000 automobiles were imported from Europe in 1906. The market was hot.

Women as well as men hopped on the new craze for “motoring,” as it was called. “The ‘New American Woman’ was the rage of 1907,” explained Lloyd Wendt and Herman Kogan in their book Give the Lady What She Wants! The Story of Marshall Field & Company, about Chicago’s premier department store. “She was celebrated in song, famous artists idealized her for the popular publications, newspapers devoted entire sections to her interests, her exploits, her escapades. . . . “The papers were packed with feminine style news, household hints, profiles of society leaders, professional women, girl athletes . . . She had taken up the bicycle craze and golf and roller skating and lawn tennis–and she demanded the outfits for these sports. Grimly, in tight-necked ulsters [overcoats] and goggles, she was learning to drive automobiles. She was healthier, more athletic, taller, stronger, self-assured and, most important for those who sought her patronage, she had the right, opportunity, and ability to earn her own money.”motoring2

With all due respect to Messrs. Wendt and Kogan, I don’t know that I’d use the word “grimly” to describe a woman’s early efforts to drive. Sounds to me like she had a lot of fun. The motoring craze even gave rise to songs like “My Merry Oldsmobile,” the refrain of which goes:

Come away with me, Lucille,
In my merry Oldsmobile
Down the road of life we’ll fly
Automo-bubbling, you and I

To the church we’ll swiftly steal
Then our wedding bells will peal
You can go as far as you like with me
In my merry Oldsmobile.

As the lyrics imply, automobiles offered unprecedented mobility and privacy to courting couples, far away from the confines of the family parlor, a development that did not necessarily please their elders.

And of course, a new activity called for a new outfit! “Field’s motoring gear, in itself, made possession of an automobile seem desirable,” wrote Wendt and Kogan. “There were richly embroidered suits, thick fur muffs, Siberian pony-skin coats, cute linen dusters and capes, caps or poke bonnets with veils, gauntlet gloves, and goggles. For the young motorist and sportswoman Field’s offered a padded, three-quarter jacket of silk or satin, gaily colored in red, green, or blue, and a muffler cap and gloves to match–excellent for automobiling, cycling, skating, or riding when worn with a thick wool skirt, divided or not, warm wool stockings, and cloth-top, high-button shoes.”

Perhaps my attitude toward driving could be significantly improved with the right duster, hat, veil, gloves, and a fetching pair of goggles.

Your turn–do you enjoy driving? Why or why not?

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