Home Made, Best Made?

Oh, my gosh, this week has been nuts for me. I started out thinking I would get most of my work done Monday and have a nice quiet week to get some extra stuff done, like baking and decorating, but some schmuck had to go a bring me twenty-three 30 lb fire extinguishers to service. They actually weigh about 35 lbs apiece and have to be handled multiple times to get done. I’m Tired! I will get them done in plenty of time to spend some time with Deb and her sisters when they get here, but it’s going to be a looong week. Why does work always get in the way of my fun? But hey, at least we have some crazy things to make fun of, so here goes.

Polly want a poinsettia?

Isn’t everyone’s go-to Christmas bird a parrot? I suppose parrots and poinsettias exist in the wild in perfect climactic harmony, but for your average Christmas fan, aren’t you going to choose, say, a turtledove, a cardinal, or in a pinch, a generic bird in a pear tree? Maybe someone, in a fit of creative re-use, stuck a plastic poinsettia blossom on the perch where the hibiscus was missing, but I seriously doubt it. Honestly, it was goofy enough that I might have brought it home, but it just doesn’t fit my aesthetic, at least not this year. When I feel the need to have a luau and a Christmas party at the same time, I will probably be kicking myself.

This entire pile was probably made by the same enterprising crafter:

Or maybe they have execrable taste at the local craft fairs. The snowmen were light bulbs if I remember right, and plastic canvas abounded. We took this last summer, so I have no idea of the prices, and it is probably a good thing, or we would be accusing them of having delusions of grandeur. For the majority of this, just toss it in the free box and hope it goes away. Especially that angel giving Santa the side eye. Just what is she up to? Probably wondering where he keeps the booze to get those super rosy cheeks.

This tree was a very near miss:

I can’t remember for sure if it was of chunks of glass or plastic, but it was pretty sparkly and it had lights inserted into it to light it up. We should have asked for a demonstration. It might be lovely with the lights on, but somehow plopped on that plain white background it just dies a slow sad death. It was a good idea, but some failure in the execution leads to it being on the curb at a yard sale. It was also large and unwieldy for the storage area. I am pretty sure that white background would not stay white in my storage area, as I am pretty clean overall, but a basement is a basement.

Normally we object to these on the grounds of destroying antique or vintage jewelry is not high on our list, but this one gets an A, or maybe and E for exuberance and effort:

And, as a plus, it was mostly made up of plastic beads, and just a few broken bits. so hopefully nothing important died in the process. The lights have been removed for some reason. Maybe they needed them for the tree above, although this one screams for multicolor lights. It’s an unusual shape as well. Normally they are taller and skinnier, but they must have had so many pieces to choose from that they just made it fatter, or this is what fit best in the frame! Either way, it is an unusually chubby tree.

We think this one is trying way too hard:

This is the look the three-year-old gave you when he took the last cookie or broke your favorite vase. There is a history here, and it is not good. On top of all his other problems, some unkind person went and stuck resin ornaments all over his antlers. Now who can sit still for that? And to make it even worse, it looks like he has been doing battle with all of the other reindeer, and came out on the losing end to get his antlers in that condition. Even if his nose lit up, we think Santa would give this guy a side berth.

We have no idea where they were going with this:

Another item we should have taken to the back and plugged in, just to get the full effect of … I am not sure what. Weird color combo, tinsel, glass balls, and it lights up. Well, it has just about the all bases covered, but when you add it all up, it comes to a gigantic fail. OK, maybe not gigantic, as it was only about a foot across. The frosting on the whole cookie is the price. What kind of stuff are they smoking in the back room to price this at $10? It must be some really good s*&t, and I may need some before the end of the holiday season.

Deb tried to made me buy this:

That is a lot of work for an empty Pringles can. They went to all the trouble of emptying it, I mean you had to eat Pringles to get here. [Deb here. Our editor is taking umbrage at the unjustified slander of Pringles. He also likes Hungry Jack potatoes, but I refuse to buy them!!] Just saying a bag of Lays is a better choice. Then they had to clean it up, cut a hole, paste flocked paper on it, and liberally trim with gold braid, and all for what? They balked at the finish line. Not enough plastic angels, goofy reindeer or chubby Santas to fill it up? Tiny bottle brush trees, cheap Korean-made nativities, the choices are endless, and Deb knew I could probably supply them all. But I didn’t. That poor Pringles can will have to sit on the shelf unfulfilled. A life wasted.

Hope you are easing into the holidays gently; take it easy, there is a still a ways to go.

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The Last Christmas-Free Post This Year, Probably

Why does Christmas HAVE to start the day after Thanksgiving? In my mind, it should be like college where we had a dead week before finals, just to catch your breath and make sure your loins are girded. But, the almighty dollar says otherwise, so damn the torpedoes and full speed ahead, hurtling forward to celebrate the season. My favorite part of the holiday has always been getting together with people who I love and hanging out and catching up, preferably over a good meal and some alcoholic beverages.

But, I can tell you that some of the inhabitants of my house are bursting with holiday spirit:

I have about five Thanksgiving/Christmas/Easter cacti and this one has put on an exuberant show this year. I love its light pink color; the flowers look more orchid-like. I have the standard red-orange variety, and a white one, too. But secretly, this is my favorite—shhhh, don’t tell the others. Please note the leaf-shaped snack plate below it. I really do use nice china for my plants.

We have a number of pictures, but no real stinkers, just some head-shakers. This is part of our holiday gift to you, beloved readers.

I feel sorry for the poor green-glass vase under the coating:

There it was, just minding its glassy business, and boom, out of nowhere, it was coated with glue, and rolled in rock chips like the gravel at the bottom of aquariums. The result has all the decorative cachet of that coating people put on their garage floors. It actually looks good in the garage and not-so-good inside the house. Can you imagine trying to dust this off? I’m pretty sure that if you tried to wash it, you would dissolve all the Elmer’s glue under the tiny rocks, and the whole shebang would go down the drain. Hey, maybe that should be the plan to restore this poor thing to its perfectly okay previous state—clear green glass. If you want to get fancy, you can retouch the gold paint on the lip.

On a related note, this was in with the Christmas offerings, as you can see by the Santa torsos in the background. In what world does this look like a special thing to put out for the holidays?

These are more winter décor than exclusively Christmas:

but, they still elicited a shouted “what in the world” from us. The boot part of the skate is resin!! decorated with 3D winter scenes of giant snow people and their pet polar bears throwing snowballs. Wouldn’t a person made of snow throwing a snowball be like a human throwing bones or hair? Oh good, now these stupid things are making me sound like Wednesday Addams! So, the boot is resin, but the blades are real metal, down to the toe picks which are, picky. There are real shoelaces threaded through the holes and tied in giant bows at the top. You know that there are literally thousands of abandoned ice skates in closets all over the country that they could have decorated and used, but no, that would be practical and thrifty.

A couple of weeks ago, we had a picture of a giant floor lamp:

Right after that, these giant table lamps showed up. They must have all come from a house filled with very tall people and big furniture. These lamps are probably close to four feet tall without their shades. It takes a pretty big space so that these don’t overpower a room. The only only one that I would consider is the one on the left—it looks like a space ship from a bad 1950 sci-fi movie, if you removed the socket. You don’t know how many ugly lamps we see, although we have to admit that at least half are ugly because of their shades. Getting the right shade for a lamp must be trickier than it’s commonly thought.

Oh, this chair brought back memories:

Hello 1960-70s, although I lean more Seventies with the design on the vinyl upholstery “fabric” used. I’m sure it was textured, too, because I can remember peeling my bare legs off these seats in the summer while wearing short-shorts, and the back of my thighs being all pebbled looking. With all that, I still think that you could do a lot worse picking out some chairs to go with your Formica table. If you recovered them, and maybe spray-painted the legs another color, it could be snappy looking.

As part of our ongoing effort to bring pretty china back into fashion, here are a couple of sweet cups and saucers:

I’m sure your coffee or tea would taste ever-so-much better being sipped out of these cups. And you could give your pinky finger a workout, too. It’s amazing how cheap these are at thrift stores, probably about the same as the cheap, chip the first time you use them, mugs on sale at your local dollar store. So, things taste better AND it’s better for the environment!

Last up is a cute picture and a couple of photobombers:

We were so busy looking at this embroidered picture, that we didn’t notice the mirror behind it. That’s focus!! This has probably hung in a boudoir, or a child’s room for many a year, and it still looks pretty good. I’m not sure that the painted pink frame is necessary; it was probably a perfectly acceptable wood color before. If my mom had painted the frame, it would have been antiqued avocado green, as that was her go-to color in the 1960s. Whoever embroidered this knew what they were doing, and it was gone the next week, as well as the mirror. We were right back at it, though.

Yay, I just cut and pasted all the words into a Word document and discovered that the post was 960 words long, so my work here is nearly done. We shoot for about 1000 words, give or take a few. Next week starts the Christmas posts, and we have some outrageous Christmas crafts as well. So buckle up, buttercups, we’re plunging headlong into the season. Be sure to take a moment to appreciate what’s out there to be appreciated, and let’s give each other a bit of grace, shall we?

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Post Thanksgiving Stupor

We figure you are hung over from all the tryptophan from you turkey dinner yesterday, and are well into the shopping frenzy, by the time you read this. So, we will make it a bit shorter than usual, that is, if we can ever figure out how many words are in it, as WordPress removed the word count feature. Yeah, let’s hear it for “upgrades”.

Welp, it happened again, in full view of my husband, no less, I bought another cow. No hesitation, no hemming and hawing over the price, but look at her:

And if that expression is just not the cutest, look at the back:

I mean she has a yellow bow on her butt for heaven’s sake. How cute is that? I know it is on her tail, but it comes out the same. She gives off some Elsie the Cow vibes, and I bet her original maker was thinking of her. She has a couple of tiny chips on the edge, and I had to plunk down fifteen bucks, and I didn’t even dither. Sure, I don’t collect cow creamers.

On the other hand I didn’t spring for this one:

I like this fancy old aluminum servingware, and I thought this butter dish was really pretty. I would totally use it as an everyday item in my house, but I was offended by the price:

Most places you can’t give this darned stuff away. Ask me about the pile of it in my basement I purchased years ago, because I thought it was pretty. Needless to say it was left for someone that loved it more like I loved the cow.

The next item that was being readied to hit the shelves was this:

Frankly, we were horrified. I am not a huge see no evil etc. fan, and why does it have to be ugly monkeys so often? If you were to come around a corner and spot this, you would be forgiven for letting out a yelp of terror. As you can see from the photo, it was a pretty large sin, too. Best use would be for a nice campfire. If it assisted in the making of s’mores, it might be forgiven.

While we are on the subject of perfect haunted house items? How about this:

How do you feel about a doll head and pick to impale her on. Giving off sort of Vlad vibes isn’t it? Actually we were thankful it had never been used, as we have yet to see these particular heads used for any good purpose. The one in back was a little cuter, and might pass muster, but we would have to see the finished craft to pass judgment, and you know we would.

Time for another entry in to our pretty china parade:

There was only the one plate, but just imagine how lovely a whole table set with this would be, using pale pink or blue table linens to set it off. Here is the back for those who would like to know:

Also a price tag worthy of Replacements.com. What the hell, ARC?

Now we go to the dogs. This was actually pretty cute:

It was big, so Deb was content with taking a picture and calling it good. You could do much worse on your wall. For instance a sign that says just about anything. I am really tired of that fad. That being said, I will forgive your for this one:

This made us laugh, and anyone with a pet that suffers from separation anxiety can relate.

We like one purse; guess which one:

Could they cram any more stuff on the one on the right? I like animal prints and this was a hard pass. Honestly, my cat would give it the attention it deserved by jumping on it and shredding it until the fur was everywhere. If they had added some feathers, I would have had to buy it as a cat toy. The one on the left, however, was darling. Can’t believe someone bought it and never used it. We ended up passing, as the green is not really my color and it was too small for Deb or her sisters. We hope someone found it who loves it.

Hope your holiday was spent with the family you choose whoever they may be. Don’t hurt yourself shopping and gird your loins, the big one is coming!

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Gratitude is Wine for the Soul …

Go on. Get drunk. Rumi, the 13th century Persian poet, was a smart guy. I’m sure he never thought that his words, “Go on. Get drunk” would also be the best way to deal with this Thanksgiving post—I’m grateful to pass that advice on to all our friends.

Before unleashing the snark, a happy piece of business. Nilsa, you won the drawing for the book, Vintage Fashion Accessories. Please sent an email to us with your address and we’ll get the book in the mail.

So, let’s start off easy. We have seen a lot worse:

Which has to be the most tepid praise ever to come out of a mouth. We have also seen much, much better is the answer to that wishy-washy phrase. Looking at the picture, I’m not sure where on God’s green Earth that turkeys are smaller than sheaves of wheat. I know it’s just decorative, but this is a holiday that is all about the food, bread products included, so the turkey is trying to be realistic—do better with the wheat! Could you imagine a Thanksgiving meal with no dinner rolls because wheat is so huge that it couldn’t be processed? It would cause a riot in many not-so grateful households.

The expression on this turkey says that he has seen “things”:

Maybe he was looking in a mirror? And does this look hand-painted to you? If you say, yes by a two year-old, I might agree with you, although even scribbling a turkey would probably look cuter. How many people do you need at a dinner to have a quart of gravy? Mr. Google says that a quart would give 8–12 people about a 1/3 to 1/2 cup of gravy each. Don’t forget to set your scale back by 10 pounds before next Thursday!

This is almost embarrassing to talk about:

The optimism of our local thrift to even think that this would sell is combined with the boneheadedness to put it in the Thanksgiving section. It’s a real intersection of wrongness that lead us to say, “WTF???” I hope we can all agree that this is egregious, and needs to be given to the MythBusters for demolition. I don’t think that I could stand to look at those fiveheads one more second. And sorry, the piece of wood and dried leaves don’t offer enough distraction to make this worthwhile.

By the way, I didn’t crop out the rope doll to the right because her dress has some explainin’ to do. I don’t believe that it was an accident that the bust of her dress is decorated with two pumpkins in the correct places. Whatever happened to a subtle joke that you had to be paying attention to see? This is a big ol’ pumpkin pie in the face.

Before we could regain our equilibrium we were confronted with this on an endcap cart:

I’m glad he looks grumpy because he makes me feel grumpy. Although he has some details and is at least human-shaped, he is a big hunk of resin, not ceramic. He, too, needs to be blown to smithereens, with no pieces bigger than a pea remaining. Just looking at him again, I see that the thrift store is pricing things more delusionally than ever—this thing is $12.99. I might pay that much if I could light the fuse to the dynamite that blows him up—that would probably give me way more than $12.99 worth of pleasure! Does that make him a bargain?

I must be looking at this wrong:

Does it look like he’s vomiting spaghetti to you? Coughing up a big hairball or eating hair? I looked at him for a while before I decided it was the worst placement of a beard that I’ve ever seen. I guess he could be a like a daddy seahorse and is carrying his daughter in his mouth. I would rather look at his tiny friend to the right with the orange turkey, thank you very much. Oh yeah, you would have to pay $9.99 plus tax to take this home with you!!

These poor turkeys made us laugh:

First, I need to complain a tiny bit. WordPress has changed their editor AGAIN and while I was never good at it, I could kind of get two pictures side by side with the old one. With the new editor, this is as good as it gets after me fiddling with it for a quarter hour, and B.H., who teaches computer science at a university, trying to fix my problem, and giving up. Thank you WordPress, this is sooooooo much better.

Now, back to the turkey napkin rings. You wouldn’t believe how long it took us to figure out what they were, and at the end we were torn between napkin rings and tiny hats. Each has a piece of elastic attached under them—the price tag is around it. That was our only clue. I have to give props to the crafter for using rickrack. In for a penny, how could it hurt?

All I could think of when I saw this was a toasted marshmallow:

It has to be handmade, don’t you think? The claws are also hilarious—I think he has a hammerclaw on his right foot, but that’s a ridiculous amount of detail to put on an otherwise white blob. We weren’t quite sure what he was, until turning him a bit to the side:

Oh, he’s a candle holder, I think. It’s a pretty big hole, but what the heck, get a really fat candle and go for it. Poor Tom Turkey would only be enhanced with melted wax, and if the candle was white, it might look like marshmallow fluff.

What’s Thanksgiving in the U.S. without football:

He’s all suited up and ready to rumble. Honestly, he looks hand-painted and for the life of me, I can’t think of a team with silver and gold. Speaking as a Coloradoan, he should be silver and black because that whole team is a bunch of turkeys!

I saved the best for last:

Sorry it’s blurry, but he is the cutest little turkey out there. How could you ever eat him? Well, it might be a bit awkward having him on the table looking at all the turkey on your plate. This glass might be happier living with a vegetarian. There was only one, so I left him there, otherwise I might have taken him home so he could supervise our Thanksgiving pizza!

I hope this isn’t too long; the new editor also got rid of my favorite feature—word count. For those of you that stayed to the end thanks for reading! For our U.S. readers, please have a safe and happy Thanksgiving. I feel badly that we didn’t wish our Canadian friends a Happy Thanksgiving October 10th. So, I’m including them in my wishes, theirs are very belated.

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More Cowbell

I made a mistake. I bought my cat to work, and I decided to write the blog post while I am here. I do not type well with a cat hanging on my arm. Thank goodness Deb and her hubby are awesome proofreaders, or there would be no hope of making heads or tails of this. One of his favorite positions is on my lap with his paws on my arm. That way he has maximum access to knocking things off the desk. He has been a real pain this last week, as no one has ever found the button to reset the clock on a hungry cat. When an 18-pound Bengal follows you around the house for an hour pointing out that it is well past feeding time, it gets old really quickly. I think we are finally settling in a bit and we may come though it in one piece. Till next year.

We’ve seen lamps and we have seen LAMPS. This falls into the later category:

This was sitting on the floor and you can see it stretches up almost to the third shelf. It was taller than several of the shoppers in the vicinity. Do you put it on a table, or this is really a “floor” lamp? You don’t even have to plug it in and turn it on to be blinded by the light, as that gilded shade will take care of that for you. I feel a harvest gold shag carpet vibe from this, but I could be wrong, maybe it was brown.

This entire shelf needs to fall over. They could borrow my cat; he is great at knocking things off:

I am pretty sure we made fun of the clock lady already, but the mice, Indian maiden, other doll and cheer leader make for a shelf of horrors, the like you may never have seen. I am betting a good portion of this came from the same place, but I really hope not. We have commented on the crochet potholders more than once, so I will concentrate on that mouse. I want to know what is in that bottle and could he really be old enough to be legal? I think not. As far as that cheerleader, Give me a N give me an O, give me a W. A. Y. How many poor granddaughters got these when they made the squad? It’s enough to make you blow the tryout. Also, there is a teddy up on the left-hand corner that looks like he has “seen things”. I do think they are glasses, but that is not what it looks like from this angle.

I neglected to mention the hobbit hole in the above pic, as we saw a better one:

Someone went to a great deal of work for this. We were not sure we wanted to see it lit up—it was enough to know it does. I don’t know where you would use this, as it looks far too fragile to live in a garden for the fairies, and it looks way too dust-catchery (I am sure that is a word and a category of interior design items!) for inside use. You could always put it in a cage and give your pet hamster the poshest place to live ever.

We have seen stuff like this before, so it must have been a thing:

I dug though a couple of years of pictures and couldn’t seem to come up with the others we saw, but I seem to remember there was a boy and a girl. Same colors, same patchwork. Sometimes I am glad the search on our photos doesn’t work too well on WordPress. It is bad enough just seeing these. Not totally nightmare inducing, unless you look at them as being a Frankenstein horse, then maybe not so good. They were never very decorative, though, and now should be consigned to the trash.

OK, on to at least one laugh. You gotta laugh or cry:

Lest you be confused by the paper in the center, the whole thing was a memo pad. Hang on your kitchen wall and enjoy. The cat himself looks a bit bemused by his situation. Like, “why do I have a mustache?”. Reminds me of the whole Kitler thing. This is another one of those crafts that I bet was adorable in the pix on the instructions, and yet somehow, along the way, it went terribly wrong.

We did like this:

It’s really too bad the flamingo’s head is broken and the salt and pepper are missing. As far as souvenirs go, you could do much, much, worse and many have. You could still put your napkins in it, but we left it for the next person, as you know, crazy thrift store prices talk us out of a whole lot of things.

This also had us in stitches, enough that we shared it with everyone around us at the time:

On the surface, it seems pretty straight forward, then we turned it over:

No clapper in sight! You could ring to your hearts content, and no kisses would be forthcoming. I think this would also work with those ring for a beer bells. I bet there is a really funny story behind this. Don’t you wish it could tell us all about it?

I spotted this last item at a yard sale this summer and forgot to share it:

We think it is a telephone table, but I have never seen one quite like it. The lady did say they always kept the telephone book in the covered spot on the right, and I suppose the phone would sit on the table to the left, but it seems to need some sort of chair to be really useful. I still bet it has heard many a good gossip. You know that they say, if you don’t have anything nice to say about someone, come sit by me!

Don’t forget to enter the drawing for the fashion book:

Leave a comment here on WordPress, on Facebook, or the doll boards saying that you want it, and we’ll gather up all the names and draw one on November 11th at about 7:30 pm. Don’t be shy—media mail rates are very friendly on my pocketbook.

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Oh, We’re in For it Now

It’s snowing right now, so you might be thinking that weather is what I’m referring to with the title, and maybe it is, a bit. But, you know that we are rushing headlong into the holiday season, willy-nilly, and there’s no turning back now. Halloween is just barely over, and the stores already have their Christmas goods out! We aren’t allowed to enjoy the seasons and let things unfold with time; no, we have to rush from holiday to holiday at this time of the year because MONEY!! Rant over, but it kind of ruins my anticipation of Thanksgiving or Christmas because it feels like the holidays have been celebrated for months when they finally arrive. Sigh … next I’ll be shaking my cane at clouds.

Here’s something to keep us grounded in the now:

It’s been a beautiful Autumn here, and my burning bush actually looks like it’s on fire when the sun shines on it. This is a drizzly day, so it’s only incredibly red. By Christmas, it will look like a bunch of sticks, so I take pleasure in defiantly clinging to the current season despite what retailers want me to think about.

Also, last week Kathy mentioned my neighbor’s Halloween display having a skelly baseball game, sort of. Here it is:

Just look at that sky! It sure doesn’t look like Winter yet! These neighbors have been adding to their skeleton collection over the years. They might have the market cornered. I love this house; its based on a Frank Lloyd Wright design. There are no windows in the front—just that high glass right under the roofline. It’s very cool inside, and the whole back is nothing but windows. If you look closely you can see some skeletons trying to peek in the upper glassed area on the right.

Okay, time to get to work. Well, a labor of love for us, but hopefully fun for you! There is a small clown, but force your way past it to the drawing at the end of the post.

This really should have been saved for Kathy, but Tuesday and Wednesday were Día de los Muertos, so sorry that she can’t comment on the gato:

You know, I do like it. I have a dog version of this on a pillow and it makes me smile every time I see it! I’m not sure why it has to be hung from a thick jute rope through its ears, much worse than piercings, when it could maybe stand on its own, or have a ring to hang from. The eyes are kind of strange, but when I Google Day of the Dead cats, a lot of their eyes are flowers and they look just right. So, maybe it’s the execution and colors that bug me. If the thrift store hadn’t priced it as if it were brand new in a retail operation, Kathy might have dragged this home.

Pumpkins are Autumnal, not just for Halloween, and I have several to share:

The fabric one in the upper left is weird—that’s a strange fabric to choose for a pumpkin. I suppose that might have been the point, but then why wouldn’t you make one out of butterfly fabric, or something pretty? It isn’t any weirder than these:

At least these fabrics aren’t something the Stepford wives picked out so that the arbitrators of taste on the block weren’t offended. These look like Bette Midler pumpkins, and you know what she would say if you criticized them!

Fabric not your thing? No worries, we have you covered:

This is what you do with all your canning rings that were left over because your tomato harvest was annoyingly disappointing. They cannot be allowed to lollygag in the pantry doing nothing! At least now they can see the light of day and at the end of Autumn, you can easily disassemble this pumpkin and tuck the rings away in your big canning pot for next year.

You know, for being a 1970s comforter, this is kind of cute, in a need-to-wear-sunglasses-to-look-at-it-way:

The designers of that decade must have had stock in orange, yellow, and avocado green dyes because they were everywhere, all the time. We commented on this blanket, dutifully took a picture to show you all, and then started laughing at the check out when the person in front of us was buying it! Thank goodness, the buyer didn’t know why we were laughing. If they read our blog, they will find out. But, we weren’t laughing too much about buying this; it is the cutest ’70s thing that we have seen in a long time.

We are not a fan of this style of ceramics. I just couldn’t face this every day in the kitchen:

It is so bland, picked out by someone terrified of color or looking different from everyone else—blah!! I had to laugh when I was cropping the picture—look at the big cannister in the front. Now, look at the shelf. It almost looks like a piece of fruit got squished and leaked some color onto the shelf. Why couldn’t the appropriate fruit be painted that lovely purple.

When I visited the thrift store, not on a Friday, gasp, I passed by the end cap with the cannister set. The workers added some friends:

That giant piece of “pottery” with the eagle decoration fits right in, but why drag that lovely coffee cup into the whole business? I just love those old hand-painted cups, but really a body can only own so many, and then you have to let the rest make it on their own. This is a pretty one, though. It’s kind of funny that I called the additions friends, when you look at the book at the back of the shelf.

The same way I was sorry for the coffee cup above, I pity the poor flamingo:

It’s obviously the most normal item in this lineup. The clown is unspeakable. I’ve never been a fan of these kid ceramic projects, so the cheerleader is also a hard pass. The poor giraffe is kind of on the edge of being cute, in a very strange way, but really the title of this shelf is three of these things don’t look like the other. The poor flamingo just wandered into a rather scary scene, all unaware of his surroundings. Now he looks baffled, or maybe he isn’t that bright.

I saved the best for last:

This is one of the prettiest snack sets we’ve seen, and look at all the pieces! The sugar is pretty tall, my kind of serving size, and I really like the shape of the handles. The decorations are so dainty, too. We were sad when someone broke the set up, buying the pot, creamer, and sugar, leaving the plates and cups behind. That’s the breaks when the thrift store tags things individually at ridiculous prices. People have to make hard choices.

I have obtained two (one for me and one for thee) copies of Vintage Fashion Accessories:

This is the book I reviewed in a post a couple of weeks ago. So, let’s have a drawing! Leave a comment here on WordPress, on Facebook, or the doll boards saying that you want it, and we’ll gather up all the names and draw one on November 11th at about 7:30 pm. Don’t be shy—media mail rates are very friendly on my pocketbook.

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Boo to You!

Well, it’s that time of year. I managed to get the outside of the house decorated, but the inside is sadly lacking. This working a full-time job really gets in the way of my fun. I have tried to prioritize, and go with the flow, and it is working as well as could be expected. That is, just so-so, but we live with it. Luckily, we have a bumper crop of Halloween fun on the blog, and that will make up for a whole lot.

Let’s start off easy. This was cute:

Most of the modern stuff is just blech, but we thought this was OK. Fill it with fun Halloween candy, give it to someone, and you could make their day. Of course, if I did that, half the candy would be gone, as I would sit in the corner and eat it. No self-control whatsoever.

We almost like this little witch:

Her face was kind of cute, but the rest of her was a little melty. I don’t think that was the idea behind it, but she seems to be missing much of a backbone. I don’t think she could stand up to anyone. Dorothy wouldn’t even have to work very hard to take her down, and Hansel and Gretel would be a slam dunk. She had a broom and may have been more of a kitchen witch, and as such, would probably bring a little luck to your cooking.

Speaking of melting:

I adore vintage Halloween, and these qualify, but I left them right there. These were those melty plastic chips from the ’70s and not even cute enough to overlook their obvious environmental shortcomings. I never could figure out why printing something fun on cardboard wasn’t good enough. No … you had to make it out of industrial plastic that will outlive your basic cockroach. They take up a whole lot of room in storage. Plus, both of these characters look like they are up to no good. I do not trust the evil gleam in their little beady plastic eyes, and those flirty eyelashes don’t disguise it at all.

The next bin yielded this:

Heck just push the cart, lock, stock and barrel to your front yard and you are done with the decorating. Is it just me, or are you sure that hand is creeping over the edge of the tub. I am more the cute Halloween type, so these were an easy pass, too. Good thing the Summer Intern was not around, as he is always trying to get me to up my game in the gory department.

We spent a bit of time on this:

We think it was supposed to be a cat, but it looks like Batman with whiskers to me! Perhaps he is in need of a good shave. Then there is the rest of it. Is it supposed to be flying with those arms pulled to the back? Is that a purple gown with a green jester collar? And, what heinous crime did he commit to be hung up on the moon? It was super cheap ceramic, not particularly pretty and darned useless. It needed to fly right off the shelf to the floor.

On the other hand it was a near miss that I didn’t buy this:

It totally made me laugh. The price was right, if it had not been about 18 by 20 inches, I might have drug it home. Now we know what Batman does on Halloween night! I really don’t think that is who the artist had in mind, but you tell me. Is that an owl on a rock or someone more sinister?

These were actually kind of amusing:

At this point in their life, they are a bit sad, but we think they are pretty vintage. Elf shoes, anyone? They could do double duty as a costume now, some sort of evil elf could work, and then save them to dress up as the Grinch for Christmas. Heck they don’t even have to fit, as we all know the Grinch’s shoes were too small! If you even tried to really use them, I think they would disintegrate into a pile of rubber scraps, but they were fun to see.

We have a winner in the craft department. How rare is that?

Who’s your Mummy? This is pretty easy, pretty cute, and if you didn’t want to keep it for posterity, it can easily be taken apart. Fill it full of candy for the front porch, and you have a winner. It has the advantage of being able to be made on just about any size pot. You get your short fat mummies and your tall skinny mummies, just like ordering a latte. There is probably a decaf one somewhere.

Deb and I both like Día de los Muertos things. This one is a fail, though:

They just didn’t really say sugar skull to us, and the colors were off just enough to be jarring. I think they were just pots, hopefully not mugs. Like it would make a lick of difference to how it would look, but at least it wouldn’t put you off your appetite or curdle your cream.

Last up, Deb and I each have an entry from our neighborhood. Mine is the annual pumpkin display at one of the local farms.

Someone needs to school them on how to do the A, but you get the picture. It is instantly recognizable. I know I am not the only one who has to stop each year and take a photo.

Deb’s neighbor, down the street, does a pretty bang-up job every year, and they usually add a few each year to keep you hopping. Here is this year’s offering:

There was a baseball game going on off to the left that is not in the frame. Don’t miss the bicycle built for “boo”, the strolling skeleton with the umbrella, and Deb’s personal favorite the newspaper delivery skeleton being chased by the poodle skeleton. She put an arrow by the poodle.

Hope you have a fabulous Halloween filled with all treats and no tricks.

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Book Report: Vintage Fashion Accessories

This is the time of the year that we typically start writing our Halloween posts, but I say, “Not so fast, my friends!” We don’t have a ton of Halloween pics this year, so there will only be one post. Now is the time of the year that thrift stores drag out lots of vintage clothing items to sell as costumes. It’s a great time to go shopping to look for an old hats, handbags, shoes, and dresses! So, what better time to share a great book that shows us how to put the vintage accessories together with current fashions to make a unique look:

Vintage Fashion Accessories by Stacy LoAlbo was written in 2009, so I would take her pricing with a grain of salt, but her combos are pretty awesome. She ran a vintage clothing shop called Incogneeto, in New Jersey, and is known as the Vintage Maven. She has an excellent knowledge of vintage clothing and accessories! The book is 255 pages long including a bibliography and index. There are tons of photos!

She starts out with a basic history of fashion and accessories, which is necessary to date your items. She had a very good idea that to understand fashion, you should watch movies from various decades. Looking at a 1930s film will help you understand how style morphed from the roaring twenties flapper outfits into the more staid garb of the thirties with the Great Depression throwing a wrench into things. She goes through the decades talking about how fashion changed. She has a theory that things come back into fashion in about 20-year cycles. I will have to give that some thought, but it’s an interesting idea.

The author also discuss where to find things depending on whether you have more time than money, how rare of an item you’re looking for, and how much of a hurry you are in. You know us; we are always looking, because you never know when something is going to show up!

Next, LoAlbo starts showing pictures of accessories and pairs them with dresses, pants, etc. The first such chapter is about hats:

You know what is nice about these pictures is that you see real actual people, for the most part, wearing the hats which shows you how they go on your head! You might laugh, but even with a label in the back, it’s hard to know sometimes whether the hat tilts to the side or forward, poofs up, or whatever. You can experiment and get the look that you like, but I enjoyed looking at the hats being worn:

Boy, she has had a lot of hats come through her collection and shop. Don’t laugh, but the pilgrim-looking number in brown and orange on the bottom right is a Schiaparelli, made in Italy in the 1960s. I guess I’m going to have to look at ugly hats a little closer! 😉 I just counted and there were 22 pages of hat pictures with several hats per page.

We both love hats, own hats, and sell hats. I think that we need to wear our hats shopping so they get out into the light of day. The chapter on hats starts with a quote from Coco Chanel: In order to be irreplaceable one must always be different. Wearing a vintage hat would certainly be a step in that direction! Looking at these three samples of hats, I do have to say that they aren’t just for dress up, and the models look great wearing them. So, why wouldn’t we? All that is required is the proper attitude.

The next chapter is purses, something that we collect a lot of—even more than hats. The author seems to have a thing for box purses, and shows many examples at the beginning, along with Lucite and plastic versions. She also shows a fair number of designer bags, various leather bags, and even some very old chain and beaded bags from the early 1920s and ’30s:

I didn’t take as many pictures of the purse section because we have done a lot about purses over the years, but I couldn’t resist one more:

because she sure has some amazing and strange purses! This section is pretty fun and there are 39 pages of purse pictures with no repeats! Scattered in amongst the purses are pictures of other accessories to go along with your ensemble. I would venture to guess that there is an example of most purse styles in these pages.

Just to illustrate what I mean about showing all the accessories together, here’s a sample from page 24, which is before the specialized chapters:

The glasses are probably the hardest thing to find, but there isn’t anything too outlandish here, and it shows you that pieces that you wouldn’t necessarily think of pairing, work just fine together!

The next chapter features our favorite accessory—jewelry, yay! The chapter starts out with a great quote from Paloma Picasso of Tiffany’s: I am a great believer in accessories and costume jewelry is the most versatile one. It is timeless, fun, expressive. And I think accessories make dressing amusing … and we couldn’t agree more. The author concentrates on costume jewelry, and she talks about the various makers starting in the 1920s and Trifari. She also mentions Deco, Arts and Crafts, Victorian, rhinestone, plastic, including Bakelite, and really most modern costume jewelry.

She starts with bracelets and cuffs which occupies 11 glorious pages of which I did not take one picture. LoAlbo then moves onto brooches and pins and again, she has some amazing pieces, and I did take a couple of pictures:

I have a thing for bar pins (right page) for some reason, and this page caught my eye. She does have some older pins from the late Victorian era, and I saw a small enameled pin that she called a lingerie pin that “prevents slippage” from the 1890s. I didn’t know that they used pins for modesty, but it makes sense. She had quite a butterfly and animal brooch collection included in the 16 pages of brooches and pins.

After that, we went to earrings, just one page, and then necklaces:

She has a lot of everything necklace related. There are 26 pages of photos and she has a lot of everything from the 1920’s style up to the 1960’s plastic and other innovative designs. These old necklaces may be the most versatile when looking to add a vintage touch to your outfit. They almost all still work with today’s aesthetic and all you need is some confidence to carry them off!

After necklaces there are two pages devoted to rings, and five pages to jewelry sets which includes necklace and matching earrings which are occasionally accompanied by bracelets and brooches or rings. Some pretty cool stuff!

The next chapter is vintage shoes, something of which we don’t talk about a lot. I have nurse’s feet and they absolutely go on strike at the sight of a pointy toe or high heel. Kathy has worn vintage shoes, but really isn’t super fond of walking on three inch heels or having her toes compressed into a three inch space. I did take a picture, and have to say that wearing vintage shoes does spiff up your outfit:

These are some more modest examples that most of us could push a foot into in a pinch. There are 17 pages of shoes, and included are a couple of the most outrageous platform shoes that I have ever seen. Good on her to include those ankle breakers. She also has a page or two about vintage stockings which if old enough, would require a garter belt. I just don’t have it in me to wear those again!

Gosh, this is getting really long, but there’s only a couple more pictures to go. The next chapter is about compacts and carryalls, and there are nine pages of pictures. There are some beautiful examples, but again, for the sake of brevity, I didn’t take a picture of them.

Next chapter is belts, handkerchiefs, collars, scarves, glasses, gloves, and miscellaneous including parasols! I do have a belt picture, but the author has fabulous examples of all of these accessories, of course, so you will need to check them out:

I don’t have the waist for a belt, but I think that a lot of these dresses look great with these belts. This chapter has 20 pages of pictures, so still rich with examples.

Finally, whew!, there is a chapter for the guys with accessories including ties, tie pins, cuff links, scarves, a few hats, and socks. I took two pictures of the ties:

The man in my life would rather be dead than have to wear a tie everyday, but I can appreciate a lovely tie when I see one, even bow ties:

You can see some of the outrageous tie pins and cuff links she has. There aren’t too many men out there who wear shirts that require cuff links. We see cuff links quite often at sales, and some of them are really nice, but we don’t buy them often because we don’t wear those kinds of shirts, or ties either! There are 12 pages of pictures in this chapter, pretty paltry when you consider the chapters on jewelry or purses!

Well, that was quite the book report, but this is a pretty awesome guide with lots of good information, ideas, and pictures! I’m going to order a couple of copies, one for me, and one to give away in a drawing. Stay tuned for info on how to sign up for the giveaway.

I hope that some of you are inspired to break out a couple of vintage accessories to liven up your outfit. Let us know how it goes! If you are looking for vintage accessories, Kathy and I always have such things in our stores.

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Falling for Junk

Fall is definitely in the air. We had a nip of frost last week that took out the most tender plants, but the mums and asters are still going strong. Feeling the need to start getting out the Halloween decorations, and I have already started sneaking in the subtle Halloween jewelry. In a fit of insanity, my Dad has now decided it is time to paint the doors and trim on his 120 plus year old building and I am now freezing to death at work. I think it’s a plot to make me help him paint!

We were able to find some crazy stuff to share this week, but when we got around to posting photos, we noticed that much of it was holiday related, but lucky you, I had some groaners on the back burner to fill out the post, so let’s have at it.

First up:

Someone had dropped off an entire collection of “decorative” plates, but we decided this was the weirdest one of the bunch. Just where are you supposed to display said decorative plate? Is there any room in the house that this would enhance. Of course not, so that is why it is still safe and sound in its original box. I bet after all these years it might be worth a penny or so. Much less than the thrift store put on it, that’s for sure, and scads less than the original owner ponied up for it.

Having done this once, and ONLY once, I totally agree:

I remember being the happiest mom on earth, when the doc told me I could have a glass of wine now and then, even when breast feeding. Woo Hoo. It was either me drink, or the kid drink, so I think the doc made the right decision.

Oh, my word, was this lady color blind?

We know we were blinded by the green. I really don’t think Deb managed to capture the true outrageousness of the green on the lower doily. It was your basic safety green. Pair it with the Green Bay Packer reject above and you have a reason for some really dark glasses, as I don’t think rose colored ones will help.

We like purses. We even like vinyl purses, sometimes. We didn’t like this:

Reminds of the vinyl covering on the “good ” couch in the living room. Hermetically sealed, in case dirt comes within a mile of it. The Kool-Aid doesn’t stand a chance. The interior print is just fine, but why pair it with that drab tan stuff? We know why it was at the thrift store, we just have some questions about the original buyer. We spend a lot of time hoping that these things are store overstock that some drunk buyer goofed on.

If either of us were big beer drinkers, we might have needed this for Oktoberfest:

Yes, you too can drink beer with a chicken perched on your head! No one will ever be able to tell when you are really drunk, as they will think you started off that way. It rather reminded me of Gonzo’s Camilla from the Muppets. It did get a good chuckle from both of us, so it’s work was done as far as we were concerned. We hope it found a very good home with a keg in residence.

We have another entry into our “pretty plate” category:

Isn’t it pretty? Not often you get the chance to use the purple tablecloth and the pink candles, but wouldn’t it be lovely? There were only a couple of plates, but we hope someone somewhere has lots of this.

Hubby and I took a trip up to Cheyenne to our favorite thrift store, and I noticed this:

Actually, it came up and slapped me up side the head. You are never NOT going to notice this lamp. If the gilding and the studs don’t get you. The golden crushed velvet will scream at all your senses. The mind boggles. I dearly wanted to see it lit up, but of course that was not possible, so I will have to use my imagination. I hate to say it, but the price tag is probably justified, as this sort of thing is big with a certain segment of collectors. I bet the next time I get up there it will be gone to some 30-something collector with the craziest house you ever saw. I read the best description of this yesterday, and wanted to remember to write it down, as I think this describes any collector worth their salt. They called it an “eclectic maximalist”. I loved it, and I live it joyfully!

OK, you might want to sit down for this one:

Isn’t this the cutest little box? It’s small, about the size of a little jewelry box, and super cute right? Then I had to go and open it:

I’ve heard of gag gifts but baby dentures? The actual teeth were only about a half inch across, but what where they thinking? This probably dates to the ’30s or ’40s judging from the print and the font. I had to ask how much, and when the lady in charge of the sale said a dollar, you know what I did. In my defense, I will be listing it on Etsy, and I bet a Tooth Fairy reward that it will sell super fast. The weirder the better.

Weird is all very well and good till it comes to cooking. On the outside, this looks harmless:

Nice bananas in a fruit salad. There are probably a few gelatin things in there, but overall mostly OK. How wrong you are. I give you exhibit A:

There is not a combination on this page that is not shudder worthy. Do you think they even made these and actually tasted them? Of if the did, did they take into account their tasters rapid trip to the bathroom? I know bananas were big, and new, but please leave the seafood out, and while you are at it, maybe give the cabbage a miss too.

Going to leave you with one last fun item. I recently purchased an old White sewing machine (no, do NOT count how many this is), and this card was stuffed in the case:

Who knew Singer made vacuums and irons? I posted this on a sewing machine group and someone there mentioned that their first TV was a Singer! Just a fun little piece of the past. The card is a bit bent, and I will straighten it out and slip it in an acid-free folder and maybe tuck into Singer machine drawer for safe keeping.

Hope you are having a pretty fall where you are. Halloween is not far away, and we have some posts planned for that too.

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We Had an Art Attack

I don’t know if this happens to any other shoppers, but when we start seeing weird things, we keep seeing the same kind of things over and over. It may be because someone has redecorated so they changed all of their lamps, wall art, or tchotchkes, and golly, there’s no way to pussy-foot around this, their taste is atrocious! So we see lots of bad lamps, pictures, or tchotchkes on one shopping trip and wonder just who is to blame. We’ll probably never know, but it does give us themed blog fodder! I guess it could also be that when people redecorate a lot, they might not buy the nicest things because they know it’s not a lifelong relationship.

I bring all this up, because we saw a few bad pieces of “art” a couple of weeks ago, and we know that two of them came from the same house, so it makes us suspicious of everything we saw that day.

I’m starting you out with an meh one:

It isn’t our cup of tea, but it is marked Lefton, made in Taiwan—I didn’t know that Lefton was manufactured there. A quick check with Mr. Google shows that Lefton moved their production from Japan to Taiwan and Malaysia in the 1980s, but we’re assured that the quality remained good. And, looking at this, it does appear to be good quality Grandma-approved china wall art. I imagine it hung in the bedroom or bathroom, and was taken down for dusting and maybe a gentle washing fairly often. It might have been the cleanest thing we’ve ever seen at a thrift store! Another shocker is that it didn’t get all chipped up after it arrived at the thrift store; that happens with a distressing regularity.

I like shells, I really do. I have baskets of them around the house and several very nice specimens displayed. However:

These giant 3D resin fake-ass shell pictures rub me the wrong way. I suppose they probably looked okay in your Colorado beach house, and they are certainly large enough to make a statement as they measured two feet by two feet. I suppose it’s the whelk shell on the left that bothers me the most because it just doesn’t look right. If they had shown it with the pointy nose part out, they wouldn’t have run into the problem of trying to represent the opening where the whelk lives. The makers made it way harder than it had to be and then failed as the cherry on the top!

Oh gosh, they have his and her clocks:

They are so sugary sweet that my blood sugar quadrupled just looking at it! Honestly, I thought that all these big-hatted-kid home ceramics projects were probably broken by now; sadly I’ve been corrected. So typical, too, that the girl doesn’t have a clock and the little boy does. The French writer Karr, was so correct when he wrote, “plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose” (the more things change, the more they stay the same) in 1849. He was spot on with his understanding of people.

It’s about to get a little bumpy, because the next thing is also handmade, and it’s a clown!

Quarantined for your protection

Oh goody, one of those salt dough craft projects, and it sadly hasn’t a chip on it. The thrift store had it with the Fall décor because of the colors, but this would have been cuter as a scarecrow and would make for a more appropriate seasonal decoration, don’t you think? I read on a craft page that if salt dough crafts are properly sealed, they can last forever. At $3.99, this guy might have to serve a life sentence in ARC.

We noticed a couple of pictures that had to be painted by the same hand:

They obviously had a thing for birds, and the chicken picture on on the right actually made me laugh, kind of sadly, because those poor chickens aren’t long for this world. You know there is a fox or raccoon hiding in the tall grass waiting for them to come a little closer. These pictures are crying out for a MONSTER, but while I’m no artist, I fortunately can download with the best of them!

Here are the pictures quickly and inexpertly enhanced, with Paint (no Photoshop for me):

While it seems a bit much to call Elmer Fudd a monster, looking at it from the duck’s point of view and yeah, he is pretty scary. Colonel Sanders, on the other hand, is a chicken serial killer, so yeah, cluck cluck scary!

You know that you have a problem when you feel this way:

Don’t be so modest, your inferiority complex is a perfectly good one and you should be proud of it! Don’t let anyone rain on your parade! Sometimes the people who should have confidence don’t, and the people chock full of bravado, maybe could dial it back a bit if they were a bit more introspective. Maybe this would be a good sign for a therapist’s office as a place to start this conversation.

That’s it for this week. Kathy lent me a very interesting book that I plan on writing a book report about for my next post. It ties into a lot of our interests, and hopefully yours, too.

Also, we are planning to do a couple of giveaways with some fun stuff. Please stay tuned.

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