A Vintage Hat Box for the Total Experience!

If you’ve followed along with Audrey Would! on Instagram or Facebook, or places sZinteriors tends to pop up like sZinteriors on Facebook, then you might remember my hubs and I made a trip to Portland last summer. And part of that trip resulted in a custom hat for the Mr. being designed and handcrafted by Dayna Pinkham of Pinkham Millinery.

Here’s a shot of the guy in the hat…

Clemens Rettich Business Consulting Ltd

Right? Channelling a little Keith… maybe??

Read all about the custom hat experience over on Great Performances Group blog. You’ll be blown away at what style lies in 10,000 hours! However, what I’m excited about is finding a vintage hat box for said custom hat.

By now you know all about my love of vintage, the thrill of chasing down lost treasures, but generally that doesn’t include hat boxes. I do love them, yes I do, they just don’t come home with me. Usually.

Well… this one managed to sweet talk me. I guess if the hat fits right?

Vintage Hat Box

It’s a great ol’ hat box and there’s a definite connection…

Pork Pie Felt Hat, Vintage Hat Box

And if you sneak a peek into Keith’s closet ~ I mean the Mr.’s 😉 you will find a shirt that fits, too!

Striped Shirt, Pork Pie Hat

The play with stripes, basic black and silvery-gray, savvy attention to detail… that’s what I saw in the hat box. Design with intention, and attention to detail! BTW, if you’re curious about the wooden hangers, why yes, they’re a vintage find from another day and another time… I wrote about their interesting history here.

As much as the design of the hat box connected every which way, I was more concerned about the inside. Who wants to put a swanky custom pork pie hat into a grungy, stained box anyway?

Pork Pie Felt Hat, Vintage Hat Box (2)

If you are planning to use a vintage hat box, trunk, suitcase or other similar piece for storage, be careful with any deep musty smell of age. Trust me, this smell will penetrate whatever you place inside when it comes to felt hats and things.

Upon lifting the lid I discovered the inside was in excellent shape. No questionable stains, no icky musty smell. That meant this hat box was coming home with me – it was just meant to be!

Pork Pie Felt Hat, Vintage Hat Box_1

Now, what do you think, was this hat box meant to be?

What sweet little piece of vintage design have you come across in your travels? Did you buy it, dream about it or convince yourself you didn’t need it? Were you convinced it was or wasn’t meant to be?

Thanks for stopping by!

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A Little Vintage ‘&’ A Taste of Gin

I’m a gin martini girl, wet and dirty with 3 olives please! And if you stock it, Victoria Gin was my first choice.

But… when we were at the Duncan Farmer’s Market on Saturday we discovered a brand new, fresh out of the still local organic gin, which of course we had to try. This family founded craft distillery gin is so new to the market that the ink on the labels was barely dry, their Facebook page is brand new , and product shots are taking a back seat for the moment!

Meet Ampersand Distilling Co. ‘&’ their new organic gin!

Ampersand Gin (7)

To learn more about this new company pop over and visit their website. Find out what this local gin is all about.

We were lucky enough to have a quick chat and pick up a bottle for our own cocktail collection – apparently just in time as the gin sold out at the market in a hurry. The Mister also just bought a bottle of duty free Hendrick’s Gin on our way home from San Francisco, and naturally we stock our bar cart with Victoria Gin!

So if you saw my FB post, the gin tasting I promised to tell you more about was between these three.

Ampersand Gin (10)

Clemens (the Mister) set it up, so he had the advantage of knowing which gin he was tasting, making the guess-work all mine. Since gin is normally made in a copper still he ‘borrowed’ this handcrafted copper tray from Audrey Would! This really set the stage! He poured a shot of each gin into these small vintage roly poly glasses from our own barware collection, and got the tasting underway.

Ampersand Gin (4)

We tasted, we compared notes, and we tasted a little more. In the end we really fell in love with the new Ampersand gin. We decided that each gin has its own personality, but our little secret is our local Vancouver Island gins beat out the duty free!

We really enjoyed sipping Ampersand on its own. It has a great aroma, interesting flavours that come out in layers, and we really liked its ‘no burn’ smooth finish. However, I did say I am a martini girl…

Ampersand Gin (3)

‘&’ so it goes!

Ampersand Gin (9)

One for the Mister and one for me!

Ampersand Gin (1)

Are you game to set up your own gin tasting ‘&’ give Ampersand gin a try? We really think you should – after all, it is made with organic and local ingredients!

And don’t forget to visit Audrey Would! for your tasting barware needs. You will find a selection of roly poly glasses, a collection of trays, and yes, even a 6-set of the Czechoslovakian crystal martinis – they’re not listed, but they are in stock! If you want to go with copper for the tasting event, then you might prefer this vintage Coppercraft Guild roly poly ‘&’ serving tray bar set!


BAR-3079-SZ Coppercraft Guild Roly Poly & Tray Set (2)


Thanks for stopping by! Cheers 🙂

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Photographs by Sheila Zeller. Please link and credit if you choose to use!


Warming It Up Vintage Style

My hubs just celebrated his birthday… here’s a little peek at some of his birthday bootie! Vintage Brandy Warmer The black C R letters in the background are vintage metal letters from old signs – you guessed it, in his initials! I picked these up at Trade Roots in Victoria, a great vintage home & decor boutique that my pal Nicole made me aware of.

On the left is Buffalo Trace bourbon, ‘the’ bourbon hubs uses when he makes Old Fashioned cocktails. Have you ever had one? And on the right is Courvoisier cognac, apparently the cognac of  Napolean! My point? Well, it’s actually the vintage piece in between the two! This is a brandy warmer.

Brandy warmers go waaay back to at least the 1700s, though back then they were far from the design above. Then, the warmer was a very simple, very tiny sauce pan filled with a drink of brandy and heated up on the stove.

Antique Barndy Warmer c1700s -


After about the 1830s a burner stand was introduced. This stand supported the tiny pan over a spirit lamp, a lamp that burns alcohol or other volatile spirits, but not oil.

Scottish Silver Brandy Pan & Warmer c1904-05


The heat from the flame warmed the brandy rather than setting the pan on the stove.

As you can see from hub’s gift, brandy warmers are still in use today, but a glass snifter has now replaced the silver pan!

Brandy Warmer in Action

This is the test run of the ‘new’ vintage warmer in action! And that’s not a dirty snifter, all that foggy white you see. No, that’s the steam and condensation from the brandy warming up!

What cool and interesting object from the past have you come across lately? I think this one is kind of fun! In case you’re wondering, this gift was purchased at the Highway Antique Emporium, aka the Antique Barn, outside of Chemainus. Would’ve been kind of fun if I’d thrifted it though! 😉

Thanks for stopping by!

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Photographs by Sheila Zeller unless otherwise stated.

Great Performances & Billionaires!

Clemens Rettich - Great Performances: The Small Business Script for the 21st Century

Do you remember back in September when I hosted a giveaway for my hubby’s newly released book, Great Performances: The Small Business Script for the 21st Century?

Well, we just had its official launch, so I thought I’d follow up with a photo story of the evening for you.

The event was held at the Old Firehouse Wine Bar. It was booked by reserved seating, and was filled to capacity!

Clemens Rettich - Great Performances Launch

Notice the … & Billionaires? More to come on that!

Special thanks to Jeff Downey, owner of the Old Firehouse Wine Bar, for providing the venue, and to Jeff and his team for ensuring the evening ran smoothly from start to finish!

Clemens Rettich - Great Performances: The Small Business Script for the 21st Century

A quick photo opp with Jeff and Clemens before the evening got started.

And another of Clemens before his guests arrived…

Clemens Rettich - Great Performances: The Small Business Script for the 21st Century

My Dad made the book stand for Clemens’ a few years ago for his cook books. Who knew it would become a display stand for his very own authored book?

This was the ‘Billionaire Basket’, given as our door prize for the evening…

Great Performances: The Small Business Script for the 21st Century

I know, what’s up with the billionaire piece? Patience, patience!

Four copies of Great Performances were also given away throughout the evening in random draws.

Another special thank you goes out to Julie Salisbury of Influence Publishing.

Clemens Rettich - Great Performances: The Small Business Script for the 21st Century

Clemens will be the first to tell you that without Julie, this book would not be the publication it ultimately became. Julie coached Clemens through the writing and publishing process from beginning to hard copy end!

Clemens raised his glass in gratitude and thanks to Julie…

Clemens Rettich - Great Performances: The Small Business Script for the 21st Century

And in that glass was a Billionaire cocktail! All part of the theme!

Then the evening got underway with Clemens reading small sections from his book…

Clemens Rettich - Great Performances: The Small Business Script for the 21st Century

After each section there was a pause for questions/answers and discussion about the content. No question was off limits, and no answer was left undone. Clemens, a believer in having an exit strategy, was asked what his own strategy was… and if you were in the room, you were the first group ever to actually hear what his strategy is!

And then the moment all door prize ticket holders were waiting for… the draw for the Billionaire’s basket!

Clemens Rettich - Great Performances: The Small Business Script for the 21st Century

Have you figured out what all the billionaire buzz was about yet?

Here’s the thing. Jeff specializes in vintage cocktails, and for this event he introduced a prohibition era cocktail called The Billionaire! And so, to play on the theme and make the evening complete, we put together this billionaire’s basket filled with all the ingredients to make the infamous cocktail.

First, Jeff’s recipe.

Billionaire Cocktail recipe by Jeff Downey

A set of Villeroy & Boch cocktail glasses.

Villeroy & Boch Cocktail Glasses

And all the cocktail fixings!

Great Performances: The Small Business Script for the 21st Century

Also included were gift certificates from The Old Firehouse Wine Bar, Impact Visual, and Clemens himself!

Clemens Rettich - Great Performances: The Small Business Script for the 21st Century

And of course, a copy of Great Performances to make the basket complete!

Great Performances & Billionaires

Then the drum roll for the draw…

Great Performances: The Small Business Script for the 21st Century by Clemens Rettich

And the lucky winner of the basket was Barb Stevens, owner of Hair at 60 Queens!

Congratulations, Barb! We couldn’t be more pleased 🙂

But like all great performances, this great evening eventually came to an end…

Great Performances: The Small Business Script for the 21st Century by Clemens Rettich

With Clemens’ final words to his guests,

‘That’s it. You’re on. Break a leg.’


Can I just say, I’m pretty proud of my author!

Great Performances: The Small Business Script for the 21st Century

With any great performance, there’s always so much that goes on behind the scenes, and that’s where I came in. My job was to help take care of the details! 🙂

But I thought to wrap this up, you might like to see a quick behind-the-scenes shot of Clemens in full-on work mode. When he’s not out meeting with clients, he is often in the office Skyping with ones who don’t live nearby.

Can you tell he loves what he does? No, the smile was not for the camera – he didn’t know I was creeping him to take this shot!

For more information on Clemens’ book, click here. To learn more about his business, visit www.clemensrettich.com

Thank you to everyone who came out and supported Clemens’ book launch, to all of you who have purchased a book, and to you, my readers for following along! Thank you for being part of this journey!

Photographs by Sheila Zeller 

It’s Labour Day & A Giveaway ~ We’re Celebrating Something Special With You!

Clemens Rettich Business Consulting Ltd.

We have some pretty exciting news to share from our household, and since today is Labour Day, I thought it was a great fit. You see, my hubs has been writing a book. Can I just say, project. labour. intensive.?

Clemens Rettich Business Consulting Ltd.

Kurt Knock Photography

Did you know that Labor Day in Canada originally gave workers the chance to campaign for better working conditions or pay? Well, since hubs is a business owner, I don’t think that’s a negotiable here 🙁

Anyway, this weekend after months of writing, editing, rewriting, and all that goes into having a book published, the heavy lifting is done! We are so excited, because the book has just been published, and is up on Amazon! And tomorrow hard copies will be delivered to our doorstep! Can you imagine what it’s going to feel like to hold a bound copy of all that work in hand?

Here’s a look at the book…

Clemens Rettich Business Consulting Ltd.

And a screen shot of it on Amazon, you know, just to keep it real!

Great Performances: The Small Business Script for the 21st Century

Want to know what it’s all about?

Book Description:

Is the dream of owning your own business crumbling under the demands of running your own business? Do you have employees? How is that working out? And how about difficult clients? Did you expect running your own business to be such hard work? Here’s how you can turn this around. In 3 Acts, Business Coach Clemens Rettich walks you through stories, tips, and strategies to take a business from Band Camp Performance and turn it into a Great Performance! Drawing from real-life case stories of small business failures and successes, Clemens gives you the nuts and bolts required to make your small business success a reality. Every great performance starts with a script or score: Great Performances is yours.

What other business authors are saying?

“I can’t stop thinking about what I’ve learned in this book, and I’m eagerly applying these lessons to my work. Clemens Rettich has delivered a virtuoso performance himself by writing Great Performances. Encore!”

Steve Yastrow, author of We, The Ideal Customer Relationship and Brand Harmony

Interested? Purchase here. 🙂 But wait, why not enter the giveaway? Clemens is offering you a chance to win a signed copy of Great Performances, hot off the press!

For us, like many of you, on this first Monday in September we’re taking the day to relax, and enjoy the company of family and friends.

Deafening Silence Blog

And so today I raise a glass to Clemens for all his hard work and dedication to seeing this dream come true, and invite you, my friends, to enter the giveaway below.


Here’s how to enter:

[Please leave a comment back here noting each entry along with your contact info]

2. SUBSCRIBE to Clemens’ Newletter
3. FOLLOW Clemens on Twitter [Copy & retweet the below]

Enter @ClemensRettich ‘Great Performances’ business book GIVEAWAY @sZinteriors http://wp.me/p1qlWC-3gy

4. If you already do the above, [please leave a comment here] to let me know 🙂

This giveaway is open to all readers, everywhere!

You have until Friday September 7, 2012 midnight PST to enter.

The winner will be drawn via Random.org and announced on Saturday , September 8th!

 Thank you for entering, and GOOD LUCK!!!

Giveaway is now closed. Thank you to all who entered!

 I hope you’re having an awesome long weekend 🙂

PS – Clemens says, now you get a chance to see him as more than the guy who drills and rewires my projects for me! 😉

Photo Credits: Clemens Rettich Business Consulting Ltd. unless otherwise stated.