Dressing for Excess

We had a crazy little storm last night. It started about 8 p.m., with flashes of lightening, cracks of thunder, and then it proceeded to hail! The temperature was 45 degrees, so we have no idea how all of that was happening. The whole day had been cool, cloudy and overcast. I am thinking someone really ticked off Mother Nature and that was a parting shot over the bow, just as a warning, you know. We had some icy frost on the car this morning, so the garden’s days are numbered. Luckily, the mums are still pretty, so let’s enjoy some fall.

One of our favorite things about fall and Halloween is the annual thrift store extravaganza of bad clothes, um, I mean, costumes. I have always wondered which crazy back-room person decides whether it is better to save for Halloween, or to just offend now. That is the question.

I’m going to ease you in with this little number:

Happy Christmas and Merry Bridesmaid to you. I’m thinking that this polyester, lace-bedecked creation could go either way. Maybe we could combine them and go for a Christmas wedding. Just think, there is probably a matching red one out there somewhere. You know it still exists as plastic never wears out. Anyway you look at it though, all it says to me is: “Gee, I’m sure glad the ’70’ are over!”

I have seen cute square dance outfits—this isn’t one of them:

Even if you put three layers of ruffled petticoats under it, it’s still freakin’ ugly. Who put that gingham in the middle? And who in their right mind decided it was a perfect match for the green gingham on the other two layers? There has to be some hereditary color blindness involved. If this were made of red, or pink by itself, or even the green by itself, I would give it a pass, as when square dancing the proper attire is called for, and that means ruffles galore. I shudder to think what the matching top must have looked like. Thank goodness it has somehow separated itself from the whole shebang.

I had to really work at taking the photo of this next outfit:

For some reason my camera wanted to make it an acceptable hot pink. Even now, it is not as bilious a pink as it was in the store. Honest, it was the worst color pink you could imagine. It has a tag in it that says Dineh, which means it was probably Navajo, or Navajo made, but what were they thinking? Unless it was a grand joke to send it off with a tourist lady to look like a complete fool, or a giant pink Hostess Sno Ball. If that was the point, it worked like a charm, as someone must have taken it home and worn it at least once.

There is a call from Ringling Brothers. Their clown wants her dress back:

I refuse to believe this ever looked good. Not on the rack, not on a back. Maybe stuffed into the nether recesses of a deep dark closet, but then someone made the colossal mistake of taking it out and letting it see daylight again! And lucky us, it’s polyester, so it is with us forever! This is just one big NOPE.

These were actually pretty cool. Not sure you would ever wear them. but still interesting:

And a close up of some of the detail:

We think these are probably ’70s judging by the color, but we could be wrong, as you never know with some of this import stuff. They would be a serious chore to wear, as they weighed a ton, too. The one on the right had pants with it, so it was a his and hers set. Still pretty interesting, although not for the 45 bucks they had on each of them, and you know you would have to buy both of them, right? Otherwise, what would your significant other wear?

Speaking of tonnage, these next two dresses would require you to work out for at least a month before the big event. Up first, this ruffled hot mess:

Sorry for yet another blurry pic. I think I will throw my helper under the bus and say it was all her fault. Of course, the real reason is probably photographer error, or a camera that just couldn’t. Nope, not that dress. It’s sort of a weird greenish gold that would defy accessorizing, and it really did weigh in at quite a few pounds of dress. This is the kind of dress that wears you, not the other way around.

If that color is not you, try this one:

There were several other people in the aisle with us while we were discussing this, and many insisted it had to be a costume, but if it was, then someone with a sadistic side made it, as there was a built-in corset, and multiple underpinnings to make it hang right. Some serious fitting and sewing was involved. And boy was it heavy. It was all I could do to hold it up long enough for the picture. One lady didn’t believe it was that massive till I handed it off to her. Needless to say it went back on the rack and everyone passed it by.

Check out this fashion faux pas:

The Summer Intern and I spent a good long while trying to decide what was going on here. I am thinking mermaid, but this dress was practically square. That is, as wide as it was tall! Not a good look. I refuse to believe it was some cross dressing diva that had this, as they have WAY better taste than this. I shuddered when I noticed it was gone the next week. There is chance that I will see this again around town, and I am truly terrified.

After all that, you deserve a breath of fresh air. Check out this cute little ’60s floral job:

When these dresses are done right and they fit well, they are delightful. I am hoping someone snapped this up to wear to a special party. It’s perfect for spring, and heck, spring might even come again one of these days. Even though there is still a lot of winter to get through! Hope you are enjoying a pretty fall where you are.

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Hello Autumn

It’s my favorite season and I even have some pictures that are appropriate! My sisters, Mom, and I walked our dogs in front of a house down the street from my sisters’ house every day. This house has a LOT of decorations in the yard, on top of bushes, and hanging from the house itself all the time, except in the deep of winter. Here is one side of the backyard:

Where does all this go in the winter?

This is pretty typical of what the front and side yards of the house looks like. This is the bird corner, while the front yard has astrolabes, sundials, and all sorts of flowers everywhere. But, around the middle of September, this happened:

OMG they are staring at me!

and the side looked like this:

Children of the Corn

They were all new, according to sisters, as he had different decorations last year. I would love to know what his decoration budget is, because those were a lot of bodies right there. My sisters were walking by when the neighbors who owned the white fence in the first picture told this fellow that he couldn’t hang anything from their fence! He sure goes all out with his decorations. I figure he must buy things online, otherwise, how could he get so many of the same things? None of the local Michaels, Big Lots, or Hobby Lobbys have 400 scarecrows!

It was great to get back to CO and go shopping with Kathy. We did go to a couple of garage sales which seem to have been sort of poopy this year in both MI and CO. Lots of kids’ things and clothing, not much else. This lady’s sale broke the mold:

She always has a lot of dolls so we go to see if this time she has something we can’t live without. We thought this group of baby doll furniture was pretty darn cute. You could do much worse than buying this for your little one while they are playing with dollies, or for any adult who still plays with their dolls. We like Barbies and fashion dolls; who are we to cast aspersions on our fellow doll lovers?

This made us laugh nostalgically:

It would be hard to explain now-a-days about the sounds that push-button phones used to make while you entered phone numbers. I’m pretty sure you couldn’t play Moonlight Sonata on a phone, but maybe Old MacDonald. B.H. used to play these videos before his computer science class started because it was amusing how many songs could be played on printers and scanners!

Man, this is a large and complex shell picture:

If you like these kinds of pictures, this is a pretty good example in pretty good shape. Someone spent a lot of time gluing, and miracle of miracles, it’s held together well. Here’s a different angle:

In the lower left corner of the background you can see a lot of hair. I wonder if a cat used these shells to pet themself, or do some self-brushing. It would probably feel pretty good through all that fur!

Someone was having fun making fantastical pins:

I’m trying to remember if this was some metallic fabric that you cut out shapes with, or more of a metallic foil used for crafting. It sure is puffy, which makes it hard to figure out if this is a woodpecker or perhaps a cardinal? A roadrunner? It sure is goofy, but if you taught young grade school kids, or worked at a nursing home, for instance, it would probably make your audience smile. For two stylin’ middle-age ladies, not so much!

This shoe reminded me of a poem I used to read when I was a kid:

Wynken, Blynken, and Nod

Eugene Field – 1850-1895

Wynken, Blynken, and Nod one night
   Sailed off in a wooden shoe,—
Sailed on a river of crystal light
   Into a sea of dew.
“Where are you going, and what do you wish?”
   The old moon asked the three.
“We have come to fish for the herring-fish
   That live in this beautiful sea;
   Nets of silver and gold have we,”
            Said Wynken,
            Blynken,
            And Nod.

The old moon laughed and sang a song,
   As they rocked in the wooden shoe;
And the wind that sped them all night long
   Ruffled the waves of dew;
The little stars were the herring-fish
   That lived in the beautiful sea.
“Now cast your nets wherever you wish,—
   Never afraid are we!”
   So cried the stars to the fishermen three,
            Wynken,
            Blynken,
            And Nod.

All night long their nets they threw
   To the stars in the twinkling foam,—
Then down from the skies came the wooden shoe,
   Bringing the fishermen home:
‘Twas all so pretty a sail, it seemed
   As if it could not be;
And some folk thought ’twas a dream they’d dreamed
   Of sailing that beautiful sea;
   But I shall name you the fishermen three:
            Wynken,
            Blynken,
            And Nod.

Wynken and Blynken are two little eyes,
   And Nod is a little head,
And the wooden shoe that sailed the skies
   Is a wee one’s trundle-bed;
So shut your eyes while Mother sings
   Of wonderful sights that be,
And you shall see the beautiful things
   As you rock in the misty sea
   Where the old shoe rocked the fishermen three:—
            Wynken,
            Blynken,
            And Nod


This picture was so mystifying:

Why is this woman, dressed so nicely with a corsage, posed right next to the fireplace? Why is she staring fixedly at her clock, or her figurines and candles? She has a worried/confused/alarmed expression on her face as if she’s wondering why she’s posed this way, too. Maybe she is just supposed to give the picture scale, but it sure is odd. We looked at the back to see if anyone had written an explanation, but no such luck. Any ideas out there in the peanut gallery?


I wanted to thank people for their kind thoughts about my dad. Sadly, he passed away about two weeks ago, surrounded by his wife of 65 years and five kids. He was a wonderful dad and growing up all of our friends always wanted to go to our house because it was so much fun. I’m grateful that he didn’t have to suffer, and was at peace. He said he didn’t have any regrets, and that is a life well-lived in my book.

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Good Clean Fun

Just when I said things were cooling off last week, this week we hit the 90s again. I really don’t want to complain, as I know what happens when you tick off Mother Nature, but I really would like some fall. It’s the end of September, and I am still sleeping with the windows open! Just a nice transition makes my yard a whole lot happier. This deal of being 92 one day and 18 degrees the next just isn’t conducive to gardening. By the way, I am not exaggerating a temperature swing that large—it has happened.

While out making a service call last week I spotted these turkeys:

What, you thought I was kidding? Nope, real wild turkeys. We never used to see these in town, and now here they are trying to pay a call on the State Patrol office. Wonder if they are reporting the bald eagle that lives next door? I kind of get a kick out of them, but they are only slightly smarter than domestic turkeys and that makes them pretty dumb. I apologize for the blurry pix, but be prepared for more, as for some reason my camera was not in the mood this week.

Let’s just get the worst ones out of the way. I think I know why these photos are blurry:

After all, just what is there to focus on in these vaguely rose shaped blobs of wax? Honestly, these were NEVER pretty, and they didn’t even smell like roses, so there is no hiding them behind a large vase and just enjoying the scent. On top of that, these must have been a bear to get out of the molds. There are folks in Taiwan who still have nightmares about prying these out of there without damaging the bloppy petals. I don’t think you could burn them fast enough to even make them useful. Better to melt them down and start over. At least that is an option.

This poor blurry dog doesn’t have that luxury:

I want you to notice what a nice clear picture I got of the shelves in the background, though. I should get an A for effort just for that. Anyway, the dog is a little cock-eyed, and I think it is supposed to be a teapot, and at least the liquid comes out of an acceptable end, but it still is a miss on pretty much every level.

That should be the worst of the pictures. I am going to blame the fact that my eye surgery never ended up giving me good, or even decent vision, and tiny things are almost beyond me these days. I am trying to get used to the world in blurry focus, so think of the above photos as just sharing my worldview with you.

I guess this person decided to donate their religion:

Or maybe it is just an entire choir of Singing Nuns. Anyway, the whole shelf made me laugh. Being the reformed Catholic she is, Deb gets nightmares even from nun statues. I did wonder where the hermit on the left came from. Probably a stint with some Zen doodling. Honest, I did not set this up myself.

I’ve got to say I have never seen anything like this before:

From what I could gather, it’s a freestanding ceiling fan. Judging from the condition of the blades, and its new home at the thrift store, I gather it did not work very well. I can see this being just the teensiest bit out of balance and causing large amounts of mayhem as it crashes to the floor taking out everything in a 7 foot tall arc. Not to mention the wreck it would make of your cocktail that was sitting on the attached table. Somehow the ugly square box fan is looking a whole lot more appealing. This was one of those good ideas gone bad.

These must have been the worst curtains ever:

Permanent press by Trulon, never needs ironing. There were four packages of them, and you can tell by the photos they have been around for a while. They sort of looked like cheap plastic cheesecloth in the bag, and no, they did not look like they needed ironing! I take exception to them shown blocking anything like light or views from coming in the window, as they were as see through as, well, cheesecloth. I don’t know what look they were designed to enhance, unless it is your basic trailer trash.

The Summer Intern was with me when we saw this:

He claimed it was basic dollar store trash, and I insisted that even the dollar store wouldn’t have something this bad. I was subsequently proven wrong, when we stopped into the dollar store for something else. For every little girl that gets one of these instead of a Barbie, I am really sorry. You didn’t deserve to be treated to this! It looks like the tail should be stuck into a frozen popsicle. Then you would really have something. Popsicles with a tail. Just lop off the top of the body and throw it in the trash, There is nothing redeeming there.

I got a kick out of this mouse found at a recent yard sale:

I, personally, think he could give Brain a run for his money. There are obviously nefarious deeds running around in his little head. I don’t give that swan in front a snowball’s chance in hell of making it out in one piece. I almost bought him. Must have been mind control.

We went to a pretty cool estate liquidating place last weekend. It was way out in the country, and they had lots of outbuildings full of stuff, and I probably should have taken more pictures, but I didn’t, so you will have to settle for what I did take. The Summer Intern was absolutely horrified by this. Actually, it almost did in the whole family:

What, a gerbil you can’t refuse? The Godmouser? I can’t even fathom the idea that must have been running around in the “artist’s” head when they painted this. Maybe there were some magic mushrooms involved. There has to be some sort of explanation. It would make a great “caption this” picture, so please feel free to add some in the comments.

These last two photos made me smile. I think of housewives out beating the rugs and sweeping the carpets and imagine how grateful they were for this:

And this:

Honestly, that last one might also be used as a medieval torture device from the looks of it. I am sure it took some Herculean strength to make these work, but can you imagine how much easier it was? I am not sure how these survived this many years, and I don’t think I will take up collecting them, but it reminds us, we should never complain about housework, or the weather!

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Crazy And Not So Crazy Craft Patterns XV

There is a bit of a nip of fall in the mornings around here. The wind has blown for two days and for the first time in a couple of months we can see the mountains without the smoke from the California wildfires. Now if we would just get some moisture, I would be one happy autumn lady. I love this time of year, even though I know winter is coming. I love crunchy leaves and Halloween and that is just around the corner!

I decided it was time to clear out the pile of craft pamphlets that have been stacking up in the craft space waiting to be shared, or filed under crazy. Of course, there is still a pile of Christmas ones waiting in the wings, but that is a post for another day. I was at a garage sale last summer and found an entire box of old patterns that the lady was giving away. They were her mother-in-law’s, and I think she just couldn’t bear to toss them, so she was happy to have someone haul them off. Well, lucky for you I did, or you would have missed most of these funky little gems.

I will start off with a couple that weren’t in the lot, Funny after all that buildup, I know. I spotted this little box at a garage sale a couple of weeks ago:

I figured the “Dainty Dutch Luncheon” was long gone (and it must have been darn dainty because the box was only about 6 inches by 4 inches!) It was taped shut pretty well, but I pried it open enough to see some beaded fabric, so I plunked down the quarter they were asking. I know, I know, so spendy. When I got it home I undid more tape, while giggling at the list of “novelties” on the side.

Since when are ham and bacon novelties? Must have been some company to have all that, plus a Dainty Dutch Luncheon. Anyway, I digress. Here is what I found in the box:

I am not sure what the beaded fabric was for, probably a purse, but they never finished it. The hanks of beads are the tiniest little things you have ever seen. I get a headache just looking at them on the hanks. The little gold-colored hank in the middle are French cut brass beads. Pretty cool stuff. Wonder how long they have sat in that box? I will set them aside and keep them for repairs on vintage items, so they will go to good use eventually.

I also picked up this antique Needlecraft Magazine from 1915:

I love looking at these. Many of the patterns could still be easily done, if you are that sort, and I sometimes am.

There are instructions for all the lace insertions, and you could send away for the iron-on patterns for the embroidery projects. They also had a nice fiction story that took up several pages; I must read it some time and let you know if it is any good! I also liked the fashion section:

Can you imagine how freeing these fashions must have been after years and years of corsets? Must have felt amazing to be able to move! The magazine was only about a dozen pages, but you sure got your money’s worth!

OK, on to the crazy part. First up, for those of us that are children of the ’70s or specifically 1976:

Ah, the Bicentennial in all its glory. This was put out by Dennisen, our favorite craft paper folks, so I am not sure I would trust those sparklers on a paper decorated cake, but oh well. The illustrations inside were fun:

While they look great on paper, not sure how well the kite would fly. The fair booth is fun, but do you really need instructions? Not sure you need instructions for these next items either, but it makes for cute pix:

The ribbons on the dog’s tail are a nice touch, but short of hot gluing them in place, I think it would be a lost cause.

These next few are single-sheet folded freebies, that probably came from a craft store, or the craft section of a department store. First up, the ever-popular Felt

There are some real lulus in here. Specifically check out the rocking horse in the top right corner:

I dare anyone to really make that look like anything except a recycling mistake. Heck, you notice they didn’t even try to make a real one. This was slapped together by the art department just to get something on the floor to make some poor housewife spend her egg money on felt.

If felt is not your bag, let’s try foam:

I am not sure what the difference between art foam and fashion foam is, but I am sure it was VERY important. Here is a sampling of foam items:

You know I had to include this just to torture Deb with the foam poodle bottle cover. I do hope that foam came in pink. There are also instructions for the hanger pictured on the back of the folder. When you find anything made of this stuff, and it does show up, now and then, it is mostly disintegrating right before your eyes. It is good that it had a half life. I will give them props for the pin wheel flowers. Make those out of pretty paper and they would be charming on a gift, so it wasn’t all bad.

I include this one as a public service, because how terrible would it be to lose the art of making sequined fruit forever, so here it is preserved on the internet:

How sad that we can no longer get fruit-shaped Styrofoam. You could never go wrong with a good glittery banana. The basic instructions, just in case you ever find some forms:

This one might be my favorite though:

Oh, it gets better and better:

Honestly these are so dang silly and cute, I really want to make some. I want them to be tiny, so they would be cute dangly earrings or something equally as crazy. When they go and make jewelry on purpose, they are not half so fun:

While finding out that inside is a cork, would make you wonder, the look is just about sequined fruity, and not as cute as the faces. On a side note, you CAN get round ball corks, so we may be in luck!

I will end on a slightly more serious note:

This booklet was put out by the US Department of Commerce in 1939. The current goal of the Department according to their web site is: “The mission of the Department of Commerce is “to create the conditions for economic growth and opportunity.”  Nowadays they put out booklets on importing and small business, but back then, I suppose anything that folks could do to earn a little money would be helpful, so they did things like this. I love the illustrations for the projects. Many retain an Arts and Crafts style feel:

You can see that in the tree style for the plaques on the right, but I wanted to share the hats on the left! I think these were supposed to be fashion hats, but in a pinch, they look like they would be great for that pickup football game at the park. Don’t they look just like the early ones?

This page really does have some good information. You can use many of these same stitches in other types of crafts, so I will include this here, as helpful and not so crazy:

Who knew there were that many ways to lace leather?

Hope you enjoyed this installment in our ongoing series. If you need any more info on any of these, please feel free to ask. Also, feel free to download any of the pages you want, and if you make cork jewelry or sequined fruit, I want to know!

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Call Me Irresponsible

I thought I was so on the ball this week. Last week, I took lots of pictures at the thrift store. I carefully edited and cropped them. Uploaded them on Monday, so far so good. And then, I just forgot that the post won’t write itself, so here I am cranking one out on Thursday afternoon. Which may look like I am ahead of the game, but I have to do it now, as we have several on-line auctions closing tonight that I want to hover over, and grouse about people out-bidding me. For some reason there are two Singer Featherweight sewing machines this week. I need another sewing machine like I need a hole in my head, but I keep thinking one of these would be awesome to take back and forth to work with me to use in my down time. Someone already outbid me on one of them, as I refuse to pay $200 for one that I don’t even know if it works. Tonight will probably be no different, but a girl can dream.

Halloween is coming!

The person that dresses the mannequins at ARC has a really weird sense of humor, don’t they? I am not saying that I didn’t get a chuckle out of this, but there may need to be an intervention of some sort before too long. I am saving up some more fashion faux pas from the Halloween collection for later in the year, so stand by.

I turned around to check out the jewelry rack beside the green headed monster and found this button:

Well I’ll be. That is the perfect excuse for almost any craft. I need to sew, you never know when we will need new clothes. Yarn, of course, I have to practice for when the world ends. Cooking? No explanation needed. Beads? You are going to need something to trade with the zombie leader, as I don’t think you can knock them all off. Now if I could just figure out how to justify doll collecting, I would be in business.

I really needed Deb this week. I was totally on my own. Didn’t even have the Summer Intern to share my comments on the Amish Limbo:

You tell me if you can think of another reason for this. I know a limbo stick when I see one. How low can you go?, How low can you go? Just in case you need ear worm that goes with this, click here. And here I though sarongs and bathing suits were the proper attire for this pastime, but what do I know?

I took one look at this and decided I didn’t like his:

I’m glad he liked my style as his just wasn’t anything to write home about. We are kind of penguin connoisseurs at our place, as the penguin was the mascot of the summer intern’s school. This was put out by Hallmark and they should be ashamed. You know how much Hallmark stuff costs, and this wasn’t worth the price of the ink on the tummy.

On the other hand, this may be my style, and I know it’s Deb’s:

Do they still even make Mr. Coffees? Doesn’t matter. The sentiment works. If Deb had more space on her wall, I would have dragged this home for her. We spend a lot of time when we are out and about finding coffee, and now I know why, she is looking for the perfect mate. Apologies to the perfect human mate she already has, but sometimes nothing will do but caffeine.

I really don’t know where to go with this next item:

I’ve heard of damning with faint praise before, but this may be taking it a bit too far. I really have a problem with the everyone gets a prize thing, especially after you are over three years old. If this is the best you can do, you might be better off just being quiet. You know, if you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all? Or just go all out and let the kid know that he is a royal pain in the ass, and you really hope he graduates soon, as you don’t want to have to try and teach him anything ever again. I volunteered in schools; I know those kids!! Ask any teacher, and they can name at least a dozen in their class right now!

Found another fun dish pattern:

Love the mid century squiggles. I didn’t bother with a pic of the back, as it was just some random Japanese pattern, but it looks like a Spirograph with a wild side decided to have a bit of fun before settling back down in the toy box. Patterns like these still look great 60 years later don’t they?

Someone who didn’t like cats very much decided to let their collection go:

I mean, if you liked cats would you buy any of these? The only one that doesn’t worry me is the orange tabby on the left. He looks like he has just had enough of the whole furry clan. The grey tabby on the right, as well as the white one, must be possessed. There is no other explanation for those eyes. The two in the middle are mostly harmless, but nothing to write home about. At least you won’t wake up with them eating you. I wouldn’t hold out hope for that being the case with the two demon pusses.

I am almost positive these belonged to the same person:

There seems to be a definite aesthetic at work here. I think they are cat fans, but they don’t really OWN a cat. They buy things from other designers that have never seen a cat, because they don’t really know what a cat looks like. Either that, or they are really dog people in disguise and are trying to hard to overcome it. I am hoping that the fact that all this has hit the thrift store shelves means that the twelve step program is working.

I mean if you really want to know that a cat looks like, take a look at the Birthday Boy:

Yes, Ramses has turned one year old. Wish him toy fish and mice galore! I know you can’t go too long without a Bengal fix. Or it might just be the proud kitty mama in me talking. Either way, you get stuck with a pic now and then.

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Fun at a BIG Sale

Most of my time in MI is spent taking care of my dad, keeping my mom busy and out of trouble (she’s 85 years old and wears me out by lunch) and talking to Dad’s doctors. Last week, Dad was feeling okay, my brother was visiting, so my sisters, mom, and I took off to look at a sale in town that was liquidating a second-hand shop. Plus, it was half-off day!! The lady had eclectic taste to say the least. I did see some funny things, some cool things, and some irresistible things. I’ll show you a sampling of all three.

There was a lot of stuff. I would say it was equivalent to the first day of the Unitarian Church sale that we used to go to in August. And, this was NOT the first day of this sale, nor even the first week. The seller had held a series of sales which my sisters went to and found great inexpensive vintage things, so we were excited to get a chance to shop.

She had tables and tables of jewelry. I bought one thing for Kathy, and just took a picture of a most perplexing piece:

I’m at a loss to describe what is happening here, except a woman is dancing and men in sombreros are playing an accordion and bass. I don’t know what that blue frog-like thing in front of the dancer is. I was too captivated by the musicians to even notice it. The pin was 3D and there was a lot going on. It was fairly inexpensive and half-off, but I didn’t buy it. The dancer is not a beautiful woman; I’m concerned that she either has a huge mouth or a mustache, and it’s not great that I can’t tell which one. Also, is that a maraca in her hand? I hope it isn’t a mirror! I have to love a piece of jewelry to buy it any more. Those musicians were pretty tempting, though.

Here’s a picture of me holding the pin so you can get more of an idea of scale:

Here’s the pin with my big thumb.

I am using a Halloween picture way early out of desperation:

If the cats or the witch had been fun or cute, this would have been a no-brainer for Kathy. My sisters and I thought the cats had a super creepy vibe, and the witch is just weird and ugly, but not in a old scary witch way. Another problem was that the details were so poor, that I couldn’t tell if she was wearing a mask, or had glasses on. If you had asked me prior to this sale if I thought that there could be a witch and cat pin that was too ugly/weird to buy, I would have said, “No!!!”. I have been enlightened to what is out there.

So there was jewelry which is always interesting to look at. There were also boxes of another interest of ours:

Dolls! I looked through two boxes of newer Barbies, hoping that maybe a stray vintage doll or outfits snuck in there. No luck. I was so hopeful, that I even looked in this box for something vintage. The bearded fellow in front surely is vintage. Just look at his tag tucked in the belt. But, these are not our kind of dolls, so I was ready to move on, when my sister threw in an addition:

My sisters aren’t crazy about clowns and are well aware my feelings. What kind of monster would take a perfectly innocent baby doll and make a clown out of it? It wasn’t much to begin with, and it’s much less now!

I did buy one of these. Any guesses?

I thought the one on the left was kind of cute in a Groucho Marx kind of way, but the vixen on the right with her Charlie McCarthy companion was just so wonderful. It was half off, too!

The seller also had a line-up of art:

I don’t know if you can see, but on the far right, near the top is one of those porcelain relief pictures of a pair of lovers. It wasn’t quite as nice as the Meissen pair we talked about here, but it wasn’t crap, either. I gave the silhouette picture with the fallish colors a close look, but I don’t need another reverse painted picture on the wall. The rest of the art is just regular stuff that you see at many garage sales.

Here’s a closer look at the reverse painted silhouette:

Those colors were almost blinding at the end of the driveway with the sun shining on it. I actually had to squint and look away because I had my sunglasses off so I could look at jewelry.

I could tell that the seller had a good sense of humor from the decoration she had on the house near where she was taking money:

She seems to have some random doll heads and bodies. There are a couple in the picture above, and one of them had me laughing as I was paying. There was a doll head in the picture line-up above the pictures sitting on the candle holder next to the bright green price list. She had them all over the place randomly, maybe just to see if anyone is paying attention. I was!

I did buy a couple of things, but wanted to share this:

Ken is just arm candy!

This book is from 1962 and has some simple line drawings at each new story. There are places to list your friends at school, and the little girl who owned this did fill in some of the blanks. The section that I wasn’t crazy about was recording your height, weight, and dress size. That was an era when women were obsessed with their weight and dress size and it seemed to determine a lot of their self-worth. Come to think of it, that thinking is still around, today, although healthy bodies seem to be valued, too—even if they aren’t a perfect size 8.

Well, thanks for checking in with us to see what we’re up to, sadly separately. I’m hoping that if my dad continues to improve that I can get back to Colorado, sooner than later. There’s a chill in the air here in Michigan, but that doesn’t seem to be the case in Colorado. Fall’s just around the corner.

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Hair Raising

It’s been tough having Deb off with her folks again. They really need her and it is a blessing that she can take the time to go be with them, but it sure puts a kink in our shopping style. Luckily, I had a good friend visit last week, who was more than happy to fill in. I bet she had no idea one of the prerequisites of shopping with us is being able to hold things properly for picture taking. She is just lucky that I didn’t make her model the clothes I wanted to take pix of. So, if any of our loyal readers ever visit, and honest, we wish you would, just be prepared to be a hand model at least.

I did have a few garage sale finds that I still need to share, so you are in luck, you get to see this:

Now you KNOW that chair did not come in that fabric originally, so someone had to go stand in the upholstery shop and order that gold crushed velvet with a straight face. Once they got it home, it was obviously too precious, or just plain too ugly to be sat upon, so it is still almost in pristine shape. I don’t think this chair was going anywhere, as most folks couldn’t get past the glare of the gold to see that there might be a decent chair under there.

I picked up this adorable little suitcase last week at a sale:

It’s only about 12 inches wide and 10 inches tall. It is covered in paper and has a leather handle as well as a locking hasp. It was filled with dolly stuff which was what caught my eye first, but after I emptied it, I noticed just how cute it was. Here is the inside:

For the life of me, I can’t figure out what this might have been for. It is not a train case, so if you kept cosmetics etc. in it, they would flop around when you picked it up. It really is too tiny to be of much use for traveling otherwise. You would be hard put to fold up a nighty and a pair of slippers and stuff them in there. Could be a sample, but it doesn’t seem right. Doll cases were more doll oriented and wouldn’t have the locking hasp. It is also too small for a briefcase. I give, send in your best guesses.

I love vintage fabric and roses … well, maybe not:

To add insult to injury, it was that everlasting polyester double knit. What, on God’s green earth, could you possible make out of this that would not make you look like a walking shower curtain made from a gardening catalog? Let’s see … vertical lines make you look more slender, but we can’t have that, so let’s add some horizontal ones as well, and then fill up all the squares with blurry muddy pictures of roses. Surely we have a winner here, said no one, with an ounce of taste, ever.

I am hoping that these are toys that have gotten mis-displayed by the staff at the thrift store:

Because as far as jewelry is concerned this is one gigantic, and I do mean BIG fail. It would cause some serious spine trouble if worn for any length of time. While they may be cute as blocks, and who knows when you might have a sudden need to entertain a toddler, I think it might be taking “Be Prepared” a bit further than necessary. On the other hand, if these are supposed to be toys, who was the smart alec that came along and drilled a hole in all of them?

On a lighter note, well, we assume it is lighter, check out this album:

I for one, immediately think of accordions when I think of Latin Music. Nothing says ChaChaCha or Samba like Lady of Spain. At least the two models look like they are having a good time, but methinks there might have been some rum involved in the Rhumba, to make them that happy. Thank goodness it was recorded in high fidelity sound. Wouldn’t want to miss a note.

Here is yet another little lady that has been dipping into the blue eyeshadow a bit much:

Funniest thing about this little figure, is that the exact same day I took her photo at the thrift store, I saw a post on another group that I follow about a gal who found her and the matching figurine at a thrift store clear across the country. She posted because her grandmother had given them to her for her birthday, but she had lost them over the years due to family circumstances. She found them again, and her boyfriend bought them for her birthday, so she got them twice for her birthday. I always wonder how fate shows us things like that. It’s like going to garage sales and seeing the same item (fish molds, cat trees, cranberry servers, etc.) over and over on the same day. Or reading about something and then seeing it at a sale the next time you go out, even though you have never seen one before. How does that happen?

These last three items fit together pretty well. Deb and I spotted this at the thrift store when she was last home:

That is one mod wig stand. Bet it ended up holding a whole lot of Marlo Flip wigs in its day. I decided it would be an awesome wig stand or hat stand still and picked it up for my Etsy store. Who knows who will need it.

A couple of weeks ago, when out with my hubby at yard sales, I zeroed in on this in a free pile:

What pink bathroom wouldn’t need a curler bag this foofy? The gold dots were a nice touch of glamor as well. It had a tag inside that read Celebrity, so you know it had to be good:

It was kind of grubby, but due to the wonderful world of polyester, it cleaned right up and is now ready to serve a while new generation of curlers. Oh yeah, who does that any more? Well, maybe it will serve another use in someone’s oh-so-pink bath.

The real kicker in the bag were these mod cardboard curlers from the makers of Dippity-Do:

Love me some Mod-Rods! Honestly, they probably worked fine, plus they were cute, and if you applied enough Dippity-Do to your hair, anything held. Follow up with some Final Net hairspray, and you were good for a class 5 hurricane, or a drive in your boyfriend’s convertible, even if he drove like a maniac. By the way, just checked and they still make both products, so you could still be in luck, although you will have to do without the Mod-Rods, unless you can find some more vintage ones, as these two will not finish off that flip.

We are starting a little dip into fall around here. The mornings are a bit crisper and the evenings cooler. It’s nice; hope the rest of you are enjoying a cooling off!

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On the Road Again

This has been a trying month and now I’m back in Michigan helping with my dad. He’s had another health problem spring up and the handy dandy geriatric nurse was needed to help manage it. I kind of feel like there’s a dark cloud over Dad and hopefully that means we’ll see the silver lining soon. The downside of this, blogwise, is I sure hope Kathy has some pictures for next week ’cause I got nothin’.

We did a little bit of garage saling last week while Dad slept. We stopped at this crazy house because we liked her flowers:

As soon as we stopped, we realized that all the flowers were silk, including the ones attached to the outside of the house. We figure that there were hundreds of dollars worth of fake flowers when you looked at the beds near the house, the flower boxes and the back and side yards:

She was having a sale to benefit the local animal shelters and told us that she restored vintage travel trailers for a living. The one behind the fence is called the “Pink Flamingo” and looks like an outdoor living space/office/party house. The trailer in the front left part of the picture is named “It’s 5 o’clock Somewhere”. Most of the treasures she was selling were craft supplies like fabric, trims, and of course, silk flowers.

This picture frame might be the work of an adult Boy Scout:

Always be prepared

I thought it was a fun decoration for any place where coffee is queen. For coffee snobs, it wouldn’t take long before those beans would be too stale to use. We coffee connoisseurs/addicts usually have three or four Costco-sized bags stashed in the freezer for those “In Case of Emergency” times. A caffeine headache is no joke and my eyes don’t really focus until after that first cup.

Neither of us have ever encountered this many pieces of Mexican red clay pottery in one place:

It’s so cool to see different designs on some of the pieces. As a kid, I can remember having the handled bowls like those in the lower right corner. I’m sure we served food out of the larger ones and ate out of the smaller sizes. Sadly, most of these glazes contain lead, so they are an absolute no-no with acidic foods, and to be absolutely safe, they should be used for decoration only. But, some folks do use them with chips or pretzels; it just depends on your risk tolerance. There are lead testing pens available that give you results instantly. Be sure that they are EPA approved. These sellers were asking quite a bit for these; $20 for four chipped dishes isn’t exactly garage sale prices.

This ceramic duck has those extra touches that will attract our attention, always:

This poor duck is a prime example of what happens when crafters just don’t know when to say when. I’m amused at how the duck has “creases” and “folds” all over its body to mimic fabric, along with the flower pattern that is trying to look like embroidery. I’m not sure that anyone would really want this duck if it were fabric, so what’s the end game here? I could talk about the color palette, but really that pales in comparison to the head-scratching ribbon and flower decorations hot-glued to the wings and chest. How is that final touch helping to make this decorative? They are just the last nail in the hot-mess coffin!

Did the same crafter who made the duck also decorate this purse?

This woven purse is a blank canvas for decoration. Something easy would be to paint some blue and green turtles on it. (How did I ever think of that?) You could embroider on it with straw or floss and put a cool pattern on it, flowers, or a scene. You could also apply ribbon, rhinestones, buttons, or whatever in a pleasing pattern and voila, a fashionable purse. Or you could throw some polished stones on the corner and tell yourself, “Gosh, that’s pretty!”. I would find this purse just cause to strip away your creative license if you showed up in my crafting court. ( Kathy here, apologies to my good friend Karey for not noticing the turtle purse behind the mess! I would have snapped it up for you had I not been blinding by the rocks. )

WTF Walgreens?

I think that most of these roses are made from paper from looking at the blue/white and pink/white ones. How would that work inside of liquid, though? These paperweights seem like they are at low tide with the big bubbles at the top and the weird water in a couple. My favorite rose might be the greyish one at the far right. It would be suitable for half-mourning decoration after the widow leaves full black behind. See, reading those regency romances wasn’t a complete waste of time! As for the other ones, maybe you could leave them on the graves of your enemies.

Let’s end on a feline note:

I’m putting a spell on you

I’m not sure this isn’t the world’s most dangerous cat. Look at the poor broken cactus right next to it! It sure has an angry face and the strangest nose and mouth I’ve ever seen on a cat. This is supposed to be one of those Mexican pottery cats as executed by someone who has only heard a description of one, but never seen the real deal:

The more I look at this, the more convinced I am that this is someone’s painting project trying to copy a classic. It sure didn’t go home with either of us, but again it seems to be an appropriate thing to place on a grave; this time to contain evil spirits.

Well, that’s it for me! Please keep cool and safe if you’re near the burning places, or safe and hunkered down if you’re in the stormy places. We’re just trying to stay hydrated in the August heat here in Michigan.

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Bloomin’ Post

We have had a couple of rare mornings where there was just a tiny nip in the air, along with a ton of smoke from the California wildfires. As far as I am concerned they can just come and get their nasty old smoke. We had our own last year, thank you very much, and for the first time in a couple of years, we are not ablaze up and down the state. Instead, we have to borrow haze from another state. Sigh. Guess this is the wave of the future, but I don’t have to like it. All that was just to preface that as fall approaches, it is time for my hibiscus to do its thing, and boy did it:

Most of these hot pink blossoms are the size of a dinner plate. Makes the bees very happy. I have another one in a dusty rose that is just behind it, but you can’t see it for these! I have one more plant coming along. A hint of fall is worth it for flowers like this.

We managed to hit some garage sales last week, although they have been few and far between. We stopped at one and spotted this table sitting back behind everything:

The lady at the sale said she had put it back because it was worth a whole lot of money. Now, I don’t know if it is worth a fortune, and I don’t care that she paid a ton for it, but for some weird reason it really wanted to go home with me. Thank God, she wanted mucho moola for it, as there was no way I was going to be able to justify something this insane to my hubby. How crazy would the lampshade have to be to compete with the rest of it? I still loved it. Luckily, she let us take a photo of it, and I have to be content with that.

At the same sale we saw this little table:

The owner must have had a thing for flowers. This is one of those heavy dark tables from the ’40s, but I actually approve of the makeover, mostly. The tables aren’t worth a whole lot and they are pretty ubiquitous, so paint away. The flowers are a rather cutesy touch. Just not crazy about the broken china white stripes. Could have done without those. Overall, it is just a little too feminine for most men, but hey, put it in your boudoir, and enjoy it.

It’s only fair that we make fun of some masculine stuff now. They saw this fisherman coming:

What, you catch so many fish there isn’t room in the boat? If you are on shore, you can just plop that beer in the stream, and what happens when you go rushing back to the dock and forget to reel in the cooler? It just bobs along after you till the rope breaks? I forgot to look and see if it was insulated, or if you were just supposed to use the chill of the lake to keep things cool. While it looks like a bit of fun, if you are into that sort of thing, I think it probably spent most of its previous life living in the garage, till it met the light of day with a quick trip to the thrift store.

We wanted to like this:

I mean, how can you go wrong with deviled eggs? Well, you can, but that is a food safety talk for another time. First off the fellow is GREEN! Is he sick, or just, trying to match the décor? And since when does the rooster get to crow about eggs? Seriously, you don’t even need him to fill up the plate, and here he is taking all the credit. I think the hens should get together and oust him from his roost, and get the credit back to where it is due.

I absolutely hated dolls like this when I was a kid:

They came as pre-printed fabric that some well meaning Grandma could cut out and sew together for the delight of the granddaughter. Well, let me tell you, I was NOT delighted. Can you tell I had a couple? Why in the world would I want some poor lass with gingham skin? Is there a treatment for that? And what fun was a doll that you couldn’t even change her clothes? She was in a perpetual state of pseudo country charm. I could think of no earthly reason for this when Barbie lived in the world. My mom kept thinking I needed some baby dolls or toddler dolls, so I could practice those mommy skills. Who needs that when you could go to the ball or a date with that hottie Ken? You gotta catch the fellow first, and then you just hire a nanny. I had it all planned out.

We were really worried about these:

They were huge, well over a foot tall, and to us it looked like they were both wearing those skin colored tights and not much else. Actually, we might have been generous thinking there were tights involved. They just sort of looked naked … and ugly. To top that all off, they were made of plaster of paris, so they weighed enough to cause your walls to collapse in on themselves, if they happened to be hung on the same wall. For some strange reason, they were still at the thrift store the next time we happened by. Wonder why.

Someone had a lot of money to burn when they were in Europe:

Here is back of one for your edification:

I just looked them up and someone REALLY spent a lot on them, but it is a sad state of affairs that this sort of thing is almost completely unsaleable. No one wants this stuff anymore, and in the case of this I understand. Can you imagine dusting them? Both of them had broken fingers and things, but I would bet it probably happened at the thrift store, which is too bad, as there is a little old lady turning in her grave at the thought of it. They did seem to go away very quickly, so maybe there is someone, somewhere, that doesn’t mind the dust and can see the beauty. We left them with nary a backwards glance.

Hope there is something beautiful blooming near you to brighten your day. Winter is coming.

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Some DON’T Like it Hot

It’s hot everywhere, so our little corner of scorched earth has lots of company. I’m sitting here at 8pm sweating and trying to write. The sweating is winning, but I do have a big glass of iced tea as my backup! The outside air is actually breathable, with no chewing required, so I opened the windows. Fingers crossed that the air conditioner people will be out to fix our unit before it snows!

You know that it’s hot when you see this at the thrift store at 10:30 am:

Wow, she must be a super organized person to have ice cream and a spoon to eat it while out shopping. OMG, when it’s this hot, and if I were lucky enough to have a carton of ice cream with me, I would have to eat it with my Swiss army knife or whatever else I have in my purse. It would be a crime to let it melt!

You know, we like those vintage jardinieres that you see in antique stores. This isn’t one of those:

We just can’t get too excited about this lumpy top-heavy daisy-rific jardiniere. As a reader said about another amateur paint job, it looks like coloring book art. As far as we’re concerned that’s strike three and we haven’t even mentioned that the pedestal looks too flimsy to support a big heavy pot; it would probably go right over with a slight breeze. Keep the vacuum handy and kiss your $65 prize goodbye!

Just what was the crocheter planning to adorn with this international orange project?

It looks like interesting trim, or maybe a scarf?, with all the fringy thingies around the edge, but uff da, those colors! Some yarns and threads just aren’t meant to be made into anything but a crossing-guard vest, or the like. I feel kind of sad looking at all that work, with this result. There are at least a hundred of those little flower things around the edges!

Well, there has to be a happy medium between too much color and a beige sleeping pill:

I think that this swan would be enhanced with some international orange and yellow swirled in with the tannish colors. This is home décor for someone who never takes a risk, and doesn’t want to start the neighbors talking! I can’t imagine that the Venetian glass blowers could make something like this without a lot of vino involved, but we’ve seen those blown glass clowns with our own eyes! However, I wouldn’t put this slight indiscretion in with those full-on assault and battery cases.

There has to be a story behind this colorful yarn doll:

She has Mexican knees judging from the colors. I wonder if this is a native cultural thing that two middle-aged women in Colorado just don’t get, or is it more like last week’s doll with the Latino/Native American outfit that was the result of a crocheting granny getting a bee in her bonnet? It would not surprise me in the least if the same person owned both of these yarn-centric dolls.

I thought that this little yarn bear was kind of cute, until I read the card behind him:

Holy Mackerel, that bear is a pretty powerful dude! The card says, “Put the lovely dolls into your pocket, they can lend you a helping hand; they can help you steal the heart of your sweetheart or [gulp] punish the bad guy who had hurt you.” Both of those things are kind of terrifying. We probably should have bought all of these, and soaked them in holy water, dried them, and then burnt them in a cleansing flame with some sage. You sure don’t want this kind of ability to fall into the wrong hands!

The last two things are good things—surprise, surprise, surprise!

We saw this hand-embroidered dish towel at an estate sale and thought it was kind of cute. It took a minute to register that it was also a calendar! It’s a perpetual calendar, except maybe February, and there are extra numbers to either side of what shows through the opening, so we figure. You slide the numbers so they line up with the correct days of the week. There might be papers with 30-day, 29-day, and 28-day months stacked behind the visible 31-day month. It’s obvious that the month names are on a long strip of paper that slides. Neither of us had ever seen anything like this before.

Finally, we see so many fun dish patterns that no one seems to love. This mid-century pattern has a lot going for it:

It has some strong graphics and isn’t fussy. I like that the plates aren’t round, either. Here is the mark on the back:

It turns out that Walter Dorwin Teague was an important industrial designer who was called “the Dean of Industrial Design” and was integral to the acceptance of mid-century design in the U.S. There are any number of pieces of Conversation made in the 1950s, with many different designs and colors. I read somewhere that there are pieces of Conversation in the Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum in New York, and the Detroit Institute of Art. This design is known as “Coffee Tree” and was supposedly sold in the Montgomery Ward’s catalog. All that for $1.29; we should have bought them. Hope they went home with someone who appreciates them. If you’re interested in vintage design, you can’t go wrong shopping thrift stores, garage sales, and estate sales.

Well, hope you all can stay cool and hydrated! We don’t go out to lunch yet after shopping, but maybe we can stop in at Walrus Ice Cream and have a scoop to cool us off!

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