Weirdly Entertaining

You will have to excuse me if Miss Cranky Pants makes another appearance.  She showed up last time when the wind had been blowing for days.  Well, now she is back to whine about the 17 inches of snow that fell on us.  Yes, I know it snows in Colorado, I’ve lived here my whole life, and sometimes it snows a lot, and sometimes it doesn’t, but I think I am just getting grumpier about it all.  There is so much ice packed onto the road where I live that the neighbors have named the glacier.  Seriously, that groundhog had better be right!

Luckily, there are plenty of things to grouse about and work out my frustrations.

This was definitely one of those WTF things:

Squash GarlandWho would need a squash garland and what the heck for?  Drape it over your doorway?  Deck the mantel?  Use it for a jump rope?  The scary thing was, there were more than one of these.  You could have yards of gourds for your decorating pleasure.  The crazy leaves and twigs sticking out at odd angles pretty much polished off any hope of there being any redeeming value to this,  never mind those oddball pine cones.  Take a look:

Squash Garland close upIn general, we refrain from making too much fun of beginner ceramics, especially if we feel they were done by a kid, but this was just to big a target not to take a swing at:

Demonic Squirrel Cookie JarIt’s the Zombie Christmas Squirrel, everyone!  Or maybe it’s the blind squirrel that finds a nut once in a while to prove the old saying.  I actually saw a documentary that said that squirrels are able to find over 90% of the nuts they hide.  Who knew?  But, I digress.  It was probably self-defense, as I can’t seem to think of even one good thing to say about this.  We did turn it around to find that they had attempted to paint an eye on the other side:

It's really not much better from this sideIt looks a tiny bit better, but I think the best solution would have been to have it explode in the firing process.  To make matters worse, this one doesn’t even have the charm of coming from a child’s tiny hands.  Nope, nothing good.

As Deb is a former nurse (can you ever be a former nurse?), things like this catch our eye:

Nurse statuesWe thought they were charming.  Nicely made in Japan and painted really well, but why?  I suppose they would make a sweet gift, if your nurse were into that kind of thing, but what they probably want is a thank you and giant cup of coffee.  Imagine how many they could receive if they got one for every baby’s birth?  Oddly enough, two of them sold right away, leaving one poor girl on vigil by herself.  She must have drawn the short straw.

We are not sure why we keep finding Raggedy Anns, unless someone dumped an entire collection at the thrift store, and they are putting it out in dribs and drabs to keep from terrifying the general public.  Pity the poor child with this hanging on her wall:

Giant Fabric Raggedy AnnShe is missing the cute eyes and smile of the regular Raggedy, and has to contend with this unruly mop of hair:

The full 3D effectThat sure is a lot of surface to catch dust.  Of course, you could take it off the wall, drag it over the furniture, and save the trip to the cleaning cupboard to get the feather duster.  I find it amazing that someone was so proud of it they signed it.  I would have tried to sneak it off my craft table and hope someone else took the credit for it.

Here is another head scratcher:

Clothing SaunaIs it a space age changing room?  A pop-up telephone booth for Superman? (By the way, what does that poor man do these days?  Hide behind an iPad and hope no one notices the transformation?)  A time out box for your little princess?  Well, after careful consideration, and walking around it, we noticed a spot on the side that says “steam”, so we are betting it’s a sauna for your clothes.  Just think how relaxed they will be.  I suppose it was really for getting the wrinkles out of clothes, but somehow, even I, think an iron would be a whole lot less trouble.

We sort of feel bad that the fad for these seems to have passed:

Pair o' head vasesWe are seeing more of them at thrifts.  That could be because of the prices; these were priced at around $9 each and they both had some issues.  We actually like the pink one best, as she is really a wall pocket.  We enjoyed seeing other folks’ collections of these, and thankfully neither of us had to drag them home.

I always make a quick note to myself, after looking at the media files, so I know what I am going to write about this week.  For some reason half the stuff on my list is described as weird.  Can’t imagine why—take this for example:

Eye lashes plus color equals failNow surely the instructions for this could NOT have looked like this.  Otherwise, no one in their right mind would ever make it.  Of course, I don’t know how you could change it to make it any better.  Maybe some other color yarn; that mauvy pink is pretty disgusting.  Perhaps lose the eyelashes, but then again, how would you know it is a girl whatsis?  All I know is that the grandchild gifted with this, managed to lose it in the thrift store box just as fast as possible, and who could blame them?

Our Goodwill gets castoff stuff from stores on a regular basis.  Usually, there are scads of the same thing that give us our clue.  In this case, I saw something similar at a store, so I knew this was a discard.  I am not asking why they got rid of it, just asking why there were some still in the store?

Weird wood shaving flower frameIt seems like it belongs on the island of Misfit Toys, as it is a square wreath.  To make matters worse, it is made with dyed wood shavings wrapped around dowels and shoved into a base.  See:

Wood shaving frame close upI guess I should not forget to mention the ubiquitous glitter, but I think you can see that for yourself.  It’s pretty much an all around ugh!

Just to make us all better, I am going to end with a cutie:

Kid's record playerEven with the clowns and sort of scary dolls, we liked this child’s record player:

Kid's record player 2I’m wondering what the speeds in the bottom left-hand corner are.  I get the 33 and 45 rpm, but what does the “N” mean?  Neutral, naughty, nuclear?  Wasn’t it a much simpler time when, with this and a record, life would be good?  You could even play this one:

Bobby Sherman LivesI am going to have to place the blame for this one on Deb, as I am just that much younger than she is, so never drug the Bobby Sherman record home!  [Deb here:  I’ve never dragged one of his albums home either!  I just know who he is. ;-) ]

We hope winter is easing her icy grip on the world where you live!  If you haven’t been watching our Facebook page, you might want to give it a peek, as we are posting some really cute 1930s Valentines there every day till the 14th.  Stay tuned next week for our annual Valentine post.

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Book Review: Pantone The 20th Century in Color

I know that this book seems like a departure, even for us.  Hear me out—I was trying to date something from its color and not having much success.  I thought that a book on colors through the decades of the 20th century would be awesomely handy, and so it would.  This book does have some of that, but it’s so much more, which made it less useful, but more interesting.  This book looks at worldwide trends, but mostly as they influenced the U.S.

Pantone The 20th Century in Color

It was written by two color experts from Pantone, Leatrice Eiseman and Keith Recker. What they did was to visit each decade and pick out some of the key events, philosophical and attitude shifts, and technological changes that occurred and how they influenced  art, fashion, popular culture, and the use of color.  There is some overlap between the decades, as you would expect; the Arts and Crafts movement, for instance, doesn’t neatly fit into a single decade.

Chapters begin like this: the pertinent colors are scattered on the left page, and there is a one-page essay about the decade on the right:

The 1900s

The decade of the 1900s was similar to the previous decade in that Old World monarchies still influenced the common man’s tastes, or at least their aspirations:

The Edwardian InfluenceParis’s Universal Exposition in 1900 advanced the Art Nouveau movement, as well as French jewelers, artists, and artisans such as Gallé.  Louis Comfort Tiffany also became recognized for his Favrile glass at the Exposition.  All of these design and art movements had colors attached to them.  Here’s the Tiffany discussion:

Irridescent Glass

You can see the color palette along the right edge of the right page.  This is consistent throughout the book.

The authors also considered women’s rights an important influence on color.  Women were more active and stopped wearing the constricting corsets, at least during the day. Poiret changed the fashion world by liberating women from the hourglass look day and night.  Also mentioned were the Arts and Crafts movement, jewel tones favored by Fabergé, Lalique, and Tiffany, and the art world’s beasts—The Fauves.  Each essay is necessarily brief, just skimming, really.  If they addressed all of these topics in depth, the book would be a 1000 pages long.

The 1910s were all about mass marketing, the growth of magazines, and discretionary income.  Children’s toys were available to the masses—Kewpie dolls, Raggedy Ann and Andy, and Erector sets were big sellers.  Kewpies really started in 1909, but they are part of the next decade’s story:

Children's Toys

The Ballets Russes’ production 1910 of Scheherazade, especially the sets and costumes, introduced the world to the textiles, colors, and patterns of the Middle East and Central Asia.  They were a sensation:

Scheherazade

The Cubists were influential, as were Maxfield Parrish’s illustrations, and Wiener Werkstätte.  Then, in 1914, World War I broke out and lasted for considerably more than the six months everyone thought.  War changes everything.

This post could turn into a book report, if I continue to outline each chapter.  Hopefully, you have gotten a taste of the content by now.  I did take some pictures of each of the next eight decades to show a couple of the major influences—at least the ones I found the most interesting.

The 1920s were fueled by change:

Wine, Women, and Song

The boys came back from the war and “How ya gonna keep ’em down on the farm
after they’ve seen Paree” was a problem as well as anger over the senseless loss of life. Prohibition encouraged a whole generation to circumvent the law for perhaps the first time in the history of the U.S.  Add to this, women’s suffrage, the rise of jazz, and the automobile; there is no wonder that the decade was so volatile.

The Art Deco style featured sleek, elegant, and geometrical design:

Art Deco

It was a reaction against Art Nouveau, so of course it came to the forefront during the 1920s.  I always think of the 1960s and ’70s as the decades of rebellion, but first there were the Roaring Twenties.

The collapse of financial institutions at the end of the 1920s was the story for most of the 1930s.  Even though the financial world was in chaos, two of the most famous Art Deco buildings in the country, the Chrysler Building and the Empire State Building, were built in 1930 and 1931 :

Art Deco Architecture

Lack of money helped make plastics even more common.  Bakelite was used for everything from jewelry to radios in order to make them more affordable.  How ironic that now, Bakelite anything will sell for more than many other materials:

19302

The 1940s were dominated by World War II:

1940 WWII

Women went back to work outside the home.  Rationing also had a huge influence on daily life.  Luckily, in the U.S., rationing stopped right after the war; it continued through the mid-1950s for our allies.

After the war, life returned to normal:

American Dream

and people pursued the American Dream.  Setting up homes preoccupied many young adults, along with starting their families.  Plus, after the deprivation of the war years, everyone wanted their own, modernized home.

Oh, the crazy ’50s are perhaps my favorite decade so far.  So much was going on:

Happy at Home

Women were back at home, presiding over the modern kitchen with every time saver that could be crammed onto the counters.  It was so important to be able to show off all of your wonderful belongings, hence bridge/card club, cocktail parties, and dinner parties for the truly ambitious.

Mid-Century Modern design entered Americans’ consciousness:

Mid Century Modern

It wasn’t for everyone, but it was fun!

Movie stars encouraged women to try some for some glamour:

Fire and Ice

Red was in!  Women were domestic goddesses during the day and vixens after dark.  I’m exhausted just thinking about it.

I found it interesting that the emergence of India was a major influence on our color palettes of the 1960s:

India

In that crazy, mod era, this is what I thought might be the major influence:

Psychodelics

and of course, it was.  Along with JFK, the rise of Black Power, the British Invasion, Andy Warhol, and Sesame Street.

Hang in there, just a couple more.  I don’t really want to revisit the 1970s, but how could I avoid it?  Of course our favorite, avocado green, was a dominant force in interior design:

Avocado Green

What I hadn’t thought about was that avocado green was a movement back to nature after the color excesses of the 1960s.  It was so pervasive, that thankfully it died a merciful death at the end of the decade.

The 1980s gave us a number of fads:

PreppiesRemember the preppies?  It was the Americanized version of the Sloane Rangers which Princess Diana epitomized before her transformation into a fashion icon.

Colors were also influenced by a cop show, of all things:

Miami Vice

The cool pastels were everywhere for a while until they were nudged aside by the Southwest look.  Georgia O’Keefe died in 1987, and there was a major exhibition of her works.  People went wild for the mauves, sandstones, and sage greens of the desert. Besides avocado green, this was the pervasive color palette of the century.

Finally, the 1990s!  Technology ruled:

Gadgets

Not only gadgets, but they come in many colors too.  Conspicuous consumption continued and the economy was booming.

At the same time, focus was turning back home:

Martha Stewart

Martha told us how to decorate, cook, craft, garden, and collect.  Sometimes a little advice is a good thing.

So, you can see that this is a book of enormous scope.  I’m not sure that I agree with all the color choices for the essays.  For instance, Martha Stewart is not bold colors—those are the magazine graphics.  Martha seems to favor earth tones, pastels, and whites, with bold colors for emphasis.  This book is an interesting historical overview of the 20th century, with the colors attached as an appealing aside.  I did enjoy it even though it wasn’t what I first thought it was.

Stay tuned.  Sometime in February we’re doing a post on our collection of barware, and there will be an associated giveaway.  As always, feel free to let us see what you’ve been finding.

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Sludging Through

Ah me, it’s the middle of January.  Who said that was OK?  There is a big mucky mess of snow still clotting up our street and trailing up the driveway, the wind is blowing, and it is still chilly.  I decided several years ago that January and February were totally unnecessary months.  I have received a couple of seed catalogs, and there are gardening supplies showing up in the stores, so I am pretty sure spring is coming, it’s just taking its own sweet time.   I guess we will just have to shop.  Oh yeah, we do that anyway.

I am never sure whether or not to start out with something awful, or if I should soften you up with a goodie.  I guess, today, we will start up with the bad, slip in a few goodies, and end with a monstrosity.  How is that for a plan?

Let’s take a quick spin by the thrift store’s purse department:

Pursey horrorsWould any self-respecting woman be caught dead with either of these?  The silver one might be useful if you were lost in the woods—you could signal low-flying aircraft with it.  Of course, you do run the risk of blinding the pilot and ruining your only hope of rescue.  I don’t know what to say about the furry one, except that the rabbit looked much better in that fur and fake jewels do not improve it one iota.

Near the purses was this massive display of tacky plastic earrings:

Plastic Bead madness2I am going to hope that an enterprising ten-year-old got a bead kit for Christmas and hoped to bring in a little extra money.  Please don’t tell me a grown-up did these.  They worked so hard, but a trip to a classy bead store might be in order.  Far be it from me to quash creativity, especially in our youth, but let’s let the plastic beads lie, preferably in the trash.

While we are jewelrying (I am almost positive that is not word, except in our vocabulary.) we spent some time debating the merits of this necklace:

wrapped necklaceIt seemed sort of interesting, and on a closer look was rather clever:

wrapped necklace close upWe didn’t remove it from the case to see what they wrapped up to achieve that effect, but I am guessing washers?  If so, it probably weighs quite a bit.  It would turn you into a hunchback while wearing it.  I think we might have given it a resounding yes, if the colors had been a bit more coordinated.  I know, picky, picky.  But someone else must have agreed, because there it was in the thrift store.

Time for one of my favorites:

Siamese Cat lampOh yes, that cord hanging down on the right side serves a purpose:

Siamese Cat lamp backIt’s a lamp!  So fabulous.  It brings tacky to a whole new level and I adore it.  I wanted this so bad, but they thought it was worth $15.00, and I knew my husband would completely disown me, if it had made it through the door.  I needed one or the other of those impediments removed, and it would have been mine.  The only way this could have been any better, was for the blue eyes to light up.  Then, it would have been impossible to resist for any reason.

Just so you don’t think we have slipped, time for some more bad:

Golden Crochet ApronThis has to be about the ugliest apron on the face of the earth.  We know why they lost heart and decided not to finish it.  Frankly, I wonder that they were able to get as far as they did without the guilt of inflicting something this horrible on the world making them unable to lift a crochet hook.  We tried to come up with even one redeeming feature, but nothing came to mind.  Maybe it kept someone off the streets for a few evenings, but I am not sure we are better off for that.

I don’t know why, but I have never been a fan of the Raggedys.  I think it might have been because Mom thought that I would be better off playing with them than that trashy whore, Barbie, but I was having none of that.  In any case, I know why I don’t like these two:

Orange Raggedy Ann and AndyWhy are they so orange?  Too many carrots?  Or was it just a concession to the ’70s and all that free-range orange running around in people’s homes?  I am not sure if these were made for a bedroom, or if they are traditional plaster bathroom ornaments.  But it doesn’t matter; they should never reside in either of those places ever again.

This next item was just plain odd:

MaskThis mask was entirely made of skins.  Even the base of it was made of some sort of hide:

back of maskWe were kind of creeped out by the whole affair.  I suppose is it some sort of Alaskan native thing, but I am sure it was made for the tourists, as the indigenous folk have much better taste for themselves, and make lovely things.  But why bother to work harder when there is some sappy tourist around every corner, just dying to throw some clothes out of his suitcase in order to cram this in?  We will say it again.  Buy a postcard!

We loved this wonderful rose-patterned china:

Fun Rose BowlVery cool shape, and a lovely pattern.  It was even the good stuff:

Rose Bowl MarkIroquois dishes had a fab postmodern look to them, and were made well.  They did great in a more modern relaxed home, standing up to everyday use, and even the dishwasher.  What more could a busy housewife ask for?  Check out the link for some info on the designer, Ben Seibel.  I had never heard of him, so it was interesting.

OK, here it comes.  This just totally terrified me:

20160119_092940.jpgI am going to give this one a big old WTF?  I know it’s a cake plate, but if your goal were to scare your entire family away from the cake, this server is for you.  Who would EVER give up any cupboard space to something this ugly?  I would slap that two-layer devil’s food on a paper plate before I would ever let this thing in my house.  On the bright side, I suppose it would keep your cake moist, as it is covered, but seriously, some Saran Wrap would do the trick, and there would be no ceramic berries in sight.  Let’s hope someone knocks this baby off the shelf soon.

Hope winter is dwindling into a distant memory for everyone soon.  I think I am beginning to have garage sale withdrawal symptoms.  Send warm thoughts our way!

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January is the Month of Empty Pockets

Thanks Collette, our pockets may be a little emptier after Christmas, but our picture folders are bursting.  Maybe by next week, we’ll be using pictures from 2016.

When we first started writing the blog, there were weeks where we only found three or four pictures.  Nowadays, our judgment of bad is more confident; we used to be so worried about offending people.  After five years of blogging, we know that our readers aren’t so easily offended as we had feared.  Thank you for that!

Last week’s post inspired Steph to send us a picture of a vintage recipe card:

Deviled Chili Meat

To me, deviled means eggs.  I looked the word up and it means highly seasoned, so chili meat is a perfect food to devil.  I’m not sure adding a piece of butter the size of an “English walnut” and several eggs to deviled meat (doesn’t anyone want to know what kind of meat they’re talking about?) constitutes an edible dish.  Of course, I’m the worst person to ask since I’ve been a vegetarian for forty years.  Maybe someone else can try this and report back.  Thank you Steph for sharing!

We saw this fugly lamp and shuddered:

Fugly lamp

I would be tempted to find a lovely shade twenty times too big and hope it covered this hot mess.  If you only saw the wooden base sticking out from under a shade, the proverb, “curiosity killed the cat” should flash in your brain right before you peeked.  Who am I to talk?  If I were Bluebeard’s wife, I would be foolishly opening all kinds of doors.  I just realized again what horrible stories most fairy tales are; add Hansel and Gretel, and The Red Shoes to the list.

Gee, if you have the above lamp, you have nothing to lose with this clock:

Weirdo clock

We couldn’t figure out what was so wonderful about that tooth-shaped piece of wood featured next to the clock face.  It’s probably about three times the size of the only useful part of this decorative piece of firewood.  We looked pretty carefully at the light-colored piece of wood, but it doesn’t appear to be a fossilized anything.  Maybe it’s a piece of the One True Cross, but you couldn’t prove it by us.

Okay, it’s a trifecta of bad decor:

Super ugly mirror   Ugly mirror close up

This big, old, dark, heavy mirror channels the wood used in the 1970s.  It weighed a ton and must have needed some big old screws to hold it up, if you were looking to include it in your furnishings.  Be sure to hunt up some orange shag carpet to complement your mirror.

Wait, not so fast!  I found another picture of tacky ’70s style:

Tub o plastic crap!

It’s all that light-weight plastic stuff and so well preserved that you have to wonder about the house it came from.  It’s hard to decide what’s worse: gold instruments or the hanging olive-green candle holder.  Goodness, they would be perfect if you were staging a play set in the ’70s, but other than that it’s pure trash.

We have a few frightful souvenirs to show you.  We’re trying to ignore travel mementos, the same way we try to ignore clowns.  You only see the ones that push us over the edge:

Bad souvenir, bad! We’re not asking why anyone would buy this, even though a nice postcard would be a better remembrance of Sidney’s monuments.  Then you could buy yourself a lovely opal or some woolie things instead.  By now, we’ve seen so many awful things that people have dragged home, that it’s hard for them to attract our attention or curiosity.  This next one did both:

Souvenir pen stand

We, of course, noticed the shells first, but it only gets worse.  Who was this bought for?  Hopefully, not for yourself, your boss, or anyone you see regularly—you don’t want them throwing it at you.  You can certainly understand why both of these things ended up at the thrift store.  I think that this will be the end of the line for them.  Even our thrift stores eventually toss things out when they don’t sell.

I took this picture from pure nostalgia:

Pine cone purse   Pine cone close up

It’s a souvenir story from my crafty youth.  While in Florida, my grandmother showed my sisters and me how to wind yarn around these little pine cones that were lying on the ground around the beaches.  We made bunches of grapes, and I think flowers from them and then sewed them onto woven purses.  We had garbage bags full of the pine cones, so we made quite a few of these things and gave them away.  To see a bunch of blue pine cone grapes on a woven bag took me back to my youth.  Now I realize that my mom and grandma had an ulterior motive in getting us to collect all those pine cones and then decorate purses—while we were busy with that, we weren’t busy getting into trouble.

Here is another craft that smart mothers try to get their kids involved in:
basket making supplies

Someone must have gone all in on basket making, and then all out just as quickly.  There were even more rolls of materials a little farther down on the shelf.  Unsurprisingly, it was all gone the next week; basket weaving supplies are pretty expensive.  The crafter that found this pile probably felt like they hit the mother lode.

We don’t know what this is:

Marble whats it

The glass balls looked like marbles.  They were glued or melted onto the metal thingie—I don’t believe they moved at all.  I think you could slip a piece of paper between the marbles.  I dragged a cropped picture onto the Google images search box, but no meaningful results.  If any of you know what this is, please let us know!

This last picture made me smile:

Penny's childrens' mary janes

Sorry for the glarey picture, the shoes were in the locked case, for some reason.  If you are a woman staring back at nearly six decades of life, you probably had a pair of black Mary Janes to wear for parties.  The owner loved them so much that she still had the Penney’s shoe box, too.  Mary Janes were pretty shoes, but I loved my penny loafers even more.  However, Hush Puppies won the prize for comfort.

Thanks for reading, and a special thanks to Steph for sharing.  It makes it more fun for us when we get to see what you all find.

 

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Scanners

Both of us have work spaces in our respective homes.  It’s where we play, craft, take photos, etc.  Mine has been a disaster area since we moved two years ago, as it is only a temporary area in the basement till we get the basement done.  It has also been a repository of “things I am going to get to”.  The busier I am, the worse it gets.  I decided to dive in a week or so ago, and see if I could find enough room to at least accomplish something.  While digging through the detritus, I found several things set aside that I wanted to scan for the blog.  As the pile kept growing, I knew I was in business!  There are some dolly things included, so for our non-doll readers, read on, as I think there is something for everyone.

I think I will start with a couple of cookbooks.  All are the pamphlet style that we love so well.  First off we have Tips for Teens from Carnation:

scan0004This swell-looking teen reminds one of the Francie doll from Mattel, doesn’t she?  I swear the same artist did some of the fashion booklets.  The book is a little preachy on saving your allowance, looking attractive, hosting parties and helping around the house, but it really was pretty spot-on advice, and it was probably better coming from here than from Mom.  And when all was said and done, you could host a groovy party to entice your favorite beau:

scan0005

This next cookbook had such wonderful mid-century graphics that it was irresistible:

scan0006I think cooks should be praised at all times, especially when I am cooking.

This picture actually reminded me of Barbie, as here she is in all her ponytailed glory.  Am I right?

scan0008Of course, this is after she settles down, marries Ken, and has those 2.4 children, a dog and this cat:

scan0007Oops, sorry, I cropped the recipe for corndogs, but I bet you can get by without it, although this feline seems to have visions of them dancing in his head.

Maybe I will finish out the dolly references, so you can move on, for those not interested.  A friend recently gave me one of the early Barbie magazines, and I was tickled to see some outfits that never made it into production.  Wonder if these were real prototypes?  First off, we have Ken’s matching costume from Japan:

scan0011It’s a great match, and doesn’t look too hard to produce.  Wonder why they never made it?

And here is the answer to a puzzler that every Barbie collector has had.  What the heck was supposed to go with that darn wolf head in Little Red Riding Hood.  In the produced model there was only the wolf mask, leaving Ken naked from the neck down.  Here is our answer:

scan0010A furry top and checkered pants.  And for dressing up as granny:

scan0009Add a cap, blanket and furry slippers.  It would have been a pretty amazing set, and it was a shame it never hit the market.  Makes you wonder what else Mattel was hiding up their sleeves, or under their wolf mask.

Before we head back to some more cooking, how about some “instant” crafts:

scan0016Seriously, they claim these are made up in a jiffy.  Here is the back cover too:

scan0017I did macrame, long ago in those crazy tween years, when it was in fashion, and I tell you, there is NOTHING instant about either of these.  I bet there are a least a dozen of each of these packed away in a closet somewhere, half finished (if they made it that far) and waiting for those final knots to be placed.  It’s never gonna happen.  I am going to go out a limb here and admit that I kinda like both of them, but I always did have a thing for fringe.  Not that I am heading out for some yarn to get started.  By the way, in case you were wondering, the date on the book is 1971.

OK,  a bit more cooking here.  I always get a kick out of vintage cookbooks claiming to be Mexican.  Most of the time they make a regular meat and potatoes dish, add 1/8th of a teaspoon of chili powder, and warn that you can use less, if it is too spicy.  This one actually might have gotten you a Mexican dish:

scan0014They used chili by the tablespoon!  Of course, it was from San Antonio, a little closer to the source, so it has a much better chance of being authentic.  What I really liked here was on the back cover:

scan0015You may have to click on the picture to read the contents, but it was a whole boxed dinner for $1.00.  You got chili con carne, beans, tamales, deviled chili meat (for the life of me I don’t know what that is) and a bottle of their chili powder in a lovely souvenir box.  What deal.  Mexican delivered to your door in 1923!  Probably scared them to death in Vermont.

Here we have one of the earliest Jell-O cookbooks I have seen:

scan0012This is the back of the booklet, as the front has the same photo, but in worse shape.  This one is dated 1930, and is probably the beginning of the jelled food salad craze that comes to its zenith in the ’50s.  Doesn’t this make you want to run right out and grab a box of Jell-O?

scan0013Frankly, the whole idea just scares me.  I think most of these salads would make great props in the cantina scene in Star Wars.  Either the old film, or the new one, take your pick.  See, we aren’t above riding the fanatic fan wave either!

I picked up this last item at the same sale as the Jell-O and Gebhart’s cookbooks.  I wish it had been in better shape, but it was so unusual, that I took it home anyway.  I think it was all of a quarter, so what the heck.

scan0018This was a small envelope with recipe cards from Log Cabin Maple syrup.  The envelope claimed two dozen ways to use Log Cabin.  I think they were reaching when they suggested I put it on my grapefruit.

I cheated a bit on this last one, as it is a photo and a scan, but you do what you can.  I apologize for the ear worm in advance, and for those that don’t know it, click here:

Adams GameI loved this show, and I never knew there was a game!  Of course around this time TV shows dominated the toy market, and if was popular on TV, you can bet there was some sort of toy attached to it.  I seem to remember a box that had a battery operated Thing in it at one time, but it could be wishful thinking.  Here is a quick look at some of the cards inside:

scan0001I love that Fester and Lurch are “Wild”.  We have not attempted to play it yet, but it may be a fantastic thing for the next Halloween party.

Well, at least that is one stack of fun stuff that can be put away, and maybe there will be a tiny bit of open space on the craft desk!  Thanks for reading, and if you know someone that might get a kick out of our blog, please pass it along, we would love to get a whole bunch of new readers in 2016!

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Old Business For the New Year

Whew, got it mostly done, wrapped, and mailed by Christmas—even with our lovely house guests from Texas.  In fact, I just need to do a little sewing and it’s all good.  Well, that and write a blog post since Kathy wrote last week’s post.

There is a real mishmash of finds in this post: one Christmas leftover, some estate sales, and even a couple of thrift store treasures.

This craft is a twofer—an estate sale and Christmas picture:

Wooden Spoon Reindeer

He looks kind of goofy, but I think this is a craft project with possibilities.  Kids, or the young at heart, wouldn’t have many problems gluing wooden spoons together.  The rest is just glue, pompoms, felt, and imagination.  I still have my clothespin reindeer that my nephew made me oh-so-many years ago.

Let’s look at some estate sale finds from a couple of months ago:

Monogrammed case

This nice monogrammed leather case was mysterious.  What would you use it for?  Here is a picture of the inside:

nside monogrammed case

Do you think it could be for ties?  It was about a one and a half feet long, but you could fold your ties over the hanger at the top and snap the strap over to keep things in place.  You would have to be devoted to your ties to carry a special case while traveling.  On the other hand, I recognized the name monogrammed on the case as a retired urologist.  I hope this isn’t a traveling case for the tools of his trade!  Although, plaid can make anything classy.

We saw this room divider at the same estate sale that had the leather case.  It reminded me of being in a seraglio:

Looking out the seraglio window

But given the glare from the windows, maybe the wooden screens are a good idea.  Plus, it provides a little privacy without cutting out all the light.

We knew what this was the minute we saw it:

Hair Art

The way my hair falls out, I could make one of these pictures monthly.  It was one of the biggest hair art pictures we’ve ever seen.  I kind of want a piece of Victorian hair jewelry—but I would rather do a treasure hunt kind of purchase.  We enjoy those so much!  Here’s a close-up of the picture design:

Hair details

The idea of using hair to make art or jewelry creeps some people out (I see you, B.H.) but I think it’s kind of cool.  I have to confess that I dragged B.H. to the Capuchin crypt in Rome to see the designs made from the bones of the friars buried there; it’s possible that I might have a different threshold for creepy!

Here is something that I bought at an estate sale, and it isn’t creepy:

Estate Sale Pin   Estate sale pin side shot

I think that the stone might be a piece of rock crystal, but it’s hard for me to tell.  It has a lot of facets, but I’m not fooling myself that it’s a diamond.  The whole pin is only about an inch and a half long.  It looks Victorian to me in style; best of all it was only $2.

Why would anyone do this to a poor polar bear?

Sad Polar Bear Lamp

The lamp hardware comes right out of the top of his head and inserts you know where!  I would love to see the lampshade; does it look like snow, is it furry, is it an igloo?  The possibilities are endless.

This pile was just the tip of the Lifesaver iceberg:

Life savers anyone?

There were boxes full of Life Savers in the basement of this house.  It would be a lifetime supply for most candy stores; we weren’t sure why anyone would have that many rolls stacked up in the basement.  He certainly wasn’t a doomsday prepper unless he lived on air and candy.

Well, onward and upward–let’s look at some old thrift store finds:

Aluminum Tray ready to ruin

We’ve never seen an undecorated aluminum tray before.  In fact, we just assumed that all of those trays were commercially made.  Shows what we know!  Love the name—Maid-o’-Metal; it’s Fun! it’s Easy! it’s Cheesy!  It was pretty sturdy, so you would have to etch it to decorate.  I guess you might be able to emboss it if you were Superman.

It has been a pretty harmless post right up until now.  Does it help if I apologize in advance?

Toxic Cookie Jar  Topless Raggedy Ann

I think that either of these cookie jars would scare the bejeebus out of the cookies inside, not to mention the poor, defenseless children who would have to touch them to obtain sugar nirvana.  Little “I’m a real boy” on the left looks like a Raggedy Andy made by someone who had only had Andy described to them, but had never seen a picture of one.  Poor, topless Raggedy Ann on the right would turn your cookies to stones in arid Colorado.  The lid does serve a purpose besides insulating your goodies from the horror that is your cookie jar.  If you had these jars on your counter for kiddos, I guess you could console yourself with the thought that you were teaching them a life lesson: Don’t judge a book by its cover.

Sorry, the horror isn’t over just yet:

Isn't she lovely?

OMG, if you’re going to make something this hideous, just make it in neutral colors so we aren’t forced to look at it!  I don’t know any kids that would want to play with this sexed-up monkey, and if I got this for Valentine’s Day, I would set it on fire right in front of the giver!  I apologize for all the exclamation points, but those lips forced me to type them!

As an apology, I have two nice things to end with:

Napkin Umbrella

It’s still in the box, and I bet they never even used it.  What a sweet way to handle napkins at your bridge party or a shower.  We’ve taken pictures of the napkin girls, but I’m not sure we’ve showed off an umbrella before.

I’ve always liked the look of this kind dishes:

Aluminum Dessert cups

We always admire the aluminum ware, and then leave it sitting there on the shelf.  I hope the set was taken home by someone who loved them.

Thanks to all of you who have stuck with us throughout the year.  We appreciate you all, and wish you a happy and prosperous New Year!

vintage-newyear-4

 

 

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Bad Santa, and Mrs. Claus Isn’t Very Good Either

The season is quickly winding down, the lists have all (mostly) been checked, the cookies made (and way too many of them eaten), the house is as decorated as it is going to be, and I finally have a tiny minute for myself, so I decided to share it with you!  Oh, yeah, and it was my turn to write a post!

We had at the angels and general decorations last week, so this time it is Santa’s turn, and maybe a hit or two on Mrs. Claus, plus those over-caffeinated deer that pull his sleigh.  (They must be on something to fly that high!)

First up we have a twofer:

Mr and Mrs Claus PlatesBoth Santa and the Mrs. are un-flatteringly represented here.  We are pretty sure this predates a Pinterest fail, but those old craft books were the forerunners, so we know there were massive fails back then too.  The only plus back then was that no one posted it on the web for the world to see.  Mrs. Claus looks pretty ticked about something.  We think Santa had one too many eggnogs, and tracked reindeer poop in the house on her freshly waxed floor.  Could you not just be happy to use these innocent plates for cookies, as God intended?

Speaking of reindeer:

Oh Poop!You tell me what this fellow just did.  Yep, that’s right, there is the poop for Santa to track across the floors.  I have to admit to rather liking this guy, but the expression cracked us up so much, that we never ventured any closer.  I almost wish I had; then again, it was probably better that way.

While we are examining the wildlife, check out Rudy the GREEN-nosed reindeer:

Rudolph the Green Nose ReindeerWhat the heck?  Was there some buyer in China with bad case of color blindness?  The seller on the other end just yelled “Hooray, I just dumped those twelve cases of green noses!” and happily cashed the check.  On top of that, he seems to be dressed in a union suit:

Rudolph the Green Nose Reindeer in a Santa Suit or flannel pajamasIt even has the back door flappy thing, or how would that tail be sticking out?  The whole thing is wrong on so many levels.  We were happy that the batteries were missing, so we have no idea what other heinous acts he might have committed.

About the only kudos we are giving out regarding this next item are for persistence:

Mrs Claus is made from magazines and cotton balls!Someone spent HOURS folding book pages to get Mrs. Claus to put on that much weight.  She looks surprised by the whole thing.  Guess you would be too if you were made out of a book and trimmed with cotton balls.

Being crafty is not just for the womenfolk—here, Santa gets his due:

Santa Head made from Bleach bottleOverall, this is not the worst thing I have ever seen, but it gets funnier when you see what it is made out of:

Santa Head Bleach bottle backsideYes, Clorox is not just for cleaning your clothes and sanitizing your home.  Now, that pesky empty bottle can be made into a festive decoration with just minutes of your time and an entire skein of yarn.  If I were really ambitious, I would dig through my Christmas craft pamphlets, and I bet I could come up with the instructions—maybe next year.  As for the actual craft, maybe the recycling bin is the right spot for that bottle.

We were amazed by this Santa:

Santa CandleAt first we thought it was just one of those ubiquitous mold blown decorations, as it is about two feet tall.  On closer inspection we found the wick:

Santa Candle WickReally, this is just about the biggest candle we have ever seen. He’s not a very cute Santa, and just think about how disturbing it would be if you actually burned it.  There Santa would be standing half burned away.  How are you ever going to explain that to your children’s therapist?

I have to admit to liking these candles:

Santa SticksThey are pretty cute.  I actually have a set on my table right now, and I have burned them.  They only bother me a bit as you go through the face area, but we avert our eyes, and keep them away from the summer intern.  Well, actually being 16, he thinks it is pretty funny when you light Santa on fire.

Here is another Santa with a problem:

Santa Needs a Liver TransplantThese have about the worst case of jaundice I have ever seen.  I can come up with all sorts of terribly inappropriate things to say about them, but I think I will just call it quits with really ugly, cheap, commercial decorations.  I would rather have the bookish Mrs. Claus, and the bleach bottle.  We were pretty sure we knew why the store had all the overstock.

Here, Santa has been pressed into service in a whole new way:

Santa Metal Christmas StandLike the man has nothing to do at Christmas time but sit around and hold up your tree?  Don’t you know this guy is BUSY?  I can’t tell if he is resigned to his fate, or is eyeballing the cat that just climbed the tree and wondering if he is up to the task of keeping the conifer upright.  On the other hand, he was darn heavy, so he had a fighting chance, but it’s a lot of fuss and bother, when you are just going to put on a tree skirt.

You all know our love for vintage packaging:

Tinsel HappinessHere we have some bright, exciting, (it says so on the package) tinsel garland.  Apparently, she was so excited by it that she is contemplating using it as a weave for her holiday hair-do.  Or maybe she is pulling it out of her head, like a growing-hair doll.  That is almost scarier.  All I know is that there is no such thing as tinsel anything that my feline won’t try to eat, so we never use it.  Thank goodness, I would hate to have to try to pull that out of my head.

If you didn’t see the video of my aluminum tree on Facebook, here is a link.

Hope you enjoyed the holiday offerings, and we want to wish all of you a safe and happy holiday spent with friends and family!

vintage-christmas-postcard-with-wishes

 

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