Fashions by Aldens

Kathy and I split the cost, a whole $5, for a vintage catalog a couple of weeks ago. It was a 1959 Aldens, Chicago, Illinois catalog full of the best 1950s fashions, household items, including furniture, pedigree puppies, auto supplies such as tires, plus much, much more. I took some pictures of my favorite fashions, but obviously we’ll have to address the rest of the catalog later. I’m still shaking my head over the puppy thing!

The cover fashion is pretty special:

The clothing descriptions are quite something: Pure Paris, completely new! See how easily it slithers along your figure from shoulder-framing collar to hem. High-curved front belt pinned with glitter. Shantung-look rayon-cotton-acetate in the latest shades.

I like the look of this dress quite a bit; it would look great on an Audrey Hepburn clone. I do wonder how you get the drape of the collar just right—and keep it that way. I hope the belt stays nice and tight, or things might just get a little more interesting up top! Do you think that the belt goes all the way around your ribcage inside the dress, or is attached at the left and fastened at the right? The alternate colors are hot pink and willow green: I like the blue and would like to see the pink or green before springing for a whole $10.98 plus shipping.

These are the dresses just inside the cover:

It appears that the empire-waist style is back in, or maybe it never left. The empire descriptor refers to the first French empire and Empress Josephine, wife of Napoleon Bonaparte, but the style is even older than that. It was a Greek and Roman style with loose flowing gowns fastened right under the breast. They were comfortable, cool, and flattering to the “pear-shaped” figure—who wouldn’t love that? Fast forward to these 1959 versions of the empire-waist where the loose and flowing skirts are much, much tighter and more close cut. Cue the straitjacket-like foundation garments to make sure your lower half is not too pear-shaped!

Another style that comes back periodically:

The drop-waist style, bottom right, that was associated with the 1920s. I love how the purple dress is described as, “Up-to-the-minute in fashion …”. Yeah, if your minute was 35 plus years ago! Even the T-strap shoe is perfectly up-to-the-minute in fashion from 35 years ago. Having said all that, those shoes are perfect with those dresses.

More 1920s fashion:

I’m referring to the green number on the right, which is at least described as an updated flapper fashion. I think her beads should be longer, but otherwise it looks pretty good. The updated part must be the slight acknowledgement of a waistline in the silhouette; a flapper dress would drop straight down. On the other hand, two of the dresses on the left, the purple and light blue, seem very 1950s, especially the middle one with tons of fabric in the skirt. Very feminine.

How do you keep those huge skirts afloat?

Why with a big old can-can slip underneath. It’s just an updated and more comfortable version of the Victorian-age crinoline petticoat, which must have been a monster to sit, stand, or dance in! Your dress might still rear up when you sat down, but at least you have rows and rows of can-can ruffles to show off.

I had one other dress that I liked:

The blue dress with the stripes down the back looks like fun. From the front, it looks pretty sedate, but turn around and everyone will find out that you still have something to say! It’s called “Smart Back-Talk” which is another point in its favor. There are also buttons all the way down the back of the dress that are the same color as the dress, so you will need some help closing this up, or have double-jointed elbows. A zipper is much, much easier to close.

Other fashion necessities were on offer:

I really like how the scarf, upper left center, is tied at the waist. It looks very pretty and has an ombre dye job, which is a nice detail. Changing collars to change the look of your blouse was a thing back then. Kathy and I have found several fake pearl, or beaded versions of the removable collar at garage sales, which are slightly more glamorous than the ones shown here. And gloves were still a thing. I can remember having to wear gloves to church when I was young in the early to mid 1960s. Then all of a sudden, no one wore gloves any more, and that style hasn’t really come back except for the Met Gala, the opera, or in the winter.

And of course, you could not go out without a hat:

I really like to see what the styles of hats were called in the time they were worn. Cobweb caps is pretty descriptive for the netting hats in the lower right. The cobweb with the large dots seems to be a not-well-thought-out design because those big freaking dots on your face isn’t a good look. I also thought it was funny that the hat in the upper right center is described as “wig witchery”. I guess it’s because you don’t have to spend a lot of time on your hair if it’s covered up. Seems like a good trade to me.

I thought you might like to see these:

I’ve never really associated the line up the back of the calf with sexiness, since my second and sixth grade teacher, Mrs. Rayner, who was a battle-axe before I ever knew what that meant, wore hose with a back seam. Shudder!! I do like the designs at the top although you would need the right kind of high heels to make them work.

Thank goodness there was something else to wear besides dresses all the time:

My favorite is the black outfit in the center—very modern and sleek. It’s called Matador mates, which is appropriate. Those two outfits in the upper left are nearly as short as the modest bathing suits in the catalog. Thank goodness that they have attached panties under those skimpy skirts.

I’m not sure what California colors are, but I do like the drama of the tied-off waist blouse with the red pants. You wouldn’t catch me dead in that outfit, but you have to admit that Barbie would look killer in any of those styles. The rest of it is kind of meh, but the little sailor style dress/pants suit in the upper right would be kind of cute on the right person. I looked at the description, and the blouse is made of rayon-silk combo, so no way do I wear that to the beach, or to a pool! I bet it would go over big at a church affair.

I have two more photos dedicated to the young ladies of the house:

These are for the Juniors, which means teens, early 20 year olds. No matrons allowed!! They look suitable for dances or dates—especially with all the bouquets in hand. I would have worn several of those dresses in the 1970s when I was a teenager. Kind of surprising considering that would be 14 years later and all the fashion rebellion of the 1960s.

This last set is kind of confusing:

It’s labeled “Pre-Teens” in the upper right corner; that’s younger than 13, right? Do any of these girls/women look that young to you? They are all wearing red lipstick, which I don’t remember being a thing in the 1950s. The page does say from sizes 8–16, but those sizes could certainly be Junior and Misses sizes, too. Several of the outfits seem kind of matronly for a Pre-Teen, also. This must be some kind of code that I don’t understand. Hopefully, someone out there can explain it to me.

I hope you enjoyed the trip down fashion memory lane. There are tons more fashions, home furnishings, and other things in this catalog. If you want to see more, just let us know!

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Odds and Ends

It’s been raining here, and we all love it, knowing it will be a short-lived thing and soon the hot dry summer will be upon us. The only trouble is running out fast enough between the raindrops to get the lawn mowed/baled before it pours again! I zipped out last night after work and just made it with help from hubby, and it was raining again by midnight! Oh well, good for another five days or so. It is making the flowers come, and Ramses was taking full advantage of them the other day:

He had actually snuck outside without having his leash on, and was pretending he couldn’t hear me when I called. He is such a cat, but so picturesque.

These are words to live by:

At least for us they are! You don’t want to be in a five mile radius of us when we are in a snarky mood. We can make fun of just about anything. No garage sale is safe. We can make fun of things on our own, too, but where is the joy in that? Always loved that quote, “If you don’t have anything nice to say about anyone, come sit by me!”

We got very judgy about this necklace:

Honestly, it looks like a bunch of abandoned ship’s buoys for a Barbie dream yacht. You can find cute jewelry in just about any store, and just about every last piece of it is cuter than this. It wouldn’t even be any fun to steal the beads from it and make something else. And for ARC’s $6.99 not-so-bargain price, go hit up your local bead store and make something way more fun. ARC should pay you to take it away.

Now this we did like, although neither of us were tempted to buy it:

Huh? you say. Well it get’s better when you open it:

Look at how much sewing stuff you could cram in there! You could get your mending for six months in there and still have left over room for the baby quilt for the child that just turned 22 last month. I’m not saying it was the greatest color in the world, and maybe Naugahyde is not your favorite, but hey, you can’t fault the storage potential. I am all for anything that I can shove stuff into and hide it from guests’ eyes, or maybe hubby’s. Heck, I might even be able to cram a whole sewing machine in there. Drat, I missed my shot.

Ok, we liked this too:

There was a plethora of questionable souvenirs in the store this time, but we decided this one was a real winner. While not being overly useful, it was sort of a plate, it did make us smile, and that is worth the weight in the suitcase. Mr. Viking has a rather crooked grin, but that only adds to his charm.

We also liked these, in theory:

These have got to be one of those instances where it seemed like a good idea at the time. I just can’t see these as being able to stay on your feet without some real toe gymnastics. My feet hurt just thinking about it. There was not a whole lot of wear on the bottom of them. Hmm … wonder why? These would be fantastic just sitting by the pool side chair looking charming. Never ever put them on your feet and they would be amazing to own. They do say Katy Perry on them, and if anyone suffers for fashion, it is that girl. I’ve long since decided that I would never look good enough to spend the time letting clothes kill me! Let’s hear it for comfort. Slippers all the way.

Time for another entry into our pretty china parade:

This dainty little design just said Art Deco all over it. Even the shade of green is a ’20s color. Someone must have loved these a whole lot, as this was the only piece left, and it was worn to a nub in places. The metallic edge is gone and the plate shows years of use. Best kind of plate.

I am a firm believer in this, at least within reason:

I do draw the line at Pig-Pen level filth, but neatness, or worse starkness in decorating is overrated. Clean enough to be healthy, messy enough to be comfortable and happy. If my glass of wine looks out of place on the coffee table, things have gone waaaaay too far.

I am off this weekend to visit Florence, Colorado for their Spring Antique fair. Providing I am not busy flinging money around on sewing machines and the like, I will try to take pix and give you a report in a bit. You never know what you will see at one of these things. Sometimes it is piles of overpriced junk, and sometimes it is just awesome crazy Junque—we will hope for the latter!

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Spring Is In The Air

You know spring is here for reals when the very air you breathe is a heady, flowery perfume:

This year the crabapples have gone insane. This is my friend’s fence line, as seen from the bordering apartment parking lot. If I had this view out my window, I would be late for school or work every day!! This is actually kind of tame—I wish I had taken a picture five days ago when the color was at its height. I love her crabapple trees so much that I bought a ‘Radiant’ crabapple to replace my beloved birch tree:

It has already rewarded me this spring with as many flowers as a tiny stick-tree could support—good tree!!!

The other heady scent in my yard is from my clove currant:

I wish the flowers were as pretty as they smell; alas, they are small for all that clove fragrance. But these shrubs are a twofer with the great spring aroma, and then currant fruits, which make a yummy jelly or syrup depending on whether I get enough thickener in my saucepan. It’s win-win no matter what happens!

The other reason spring is in the air is garage sales!! Kathy and I finally did a garage sale run before heading to the thrift store last Friday. Things are finally getting back to normal.

But, I have a forgotten trip picture that I need to share first:

I think this was at a truck stop in Missouri that had a good selection of accessories—maybe gifts for the truckers to give to family when they finally get home again? Any way, the purse out front really confuses me. I don’t think that I’ve ever had a purse with sleeves, or as a friend calls them—arm tubes. (Don’t you hate it when you can’t think of a word, panic, and your friends NEVER let you forget?)

You can tell that they know what a purse is supposed to look like because there are some fairly normal looking purses hanging on the racks. In fact, there are two that I like—the flowery one above and slightly to the right, and the glittery silver football-shaped one behind and to the left. I would carry either of those around, but the sleeved one is just too freaky, and not in a good way. I guess you could carry it and insist that your wandering brood grab a sleeve and hold on for dear life. Otherwise, it just looks like you have a tiny jacket on a chain over your arm.

I say, I say, boy, this looks like a big ol’ rooster:

We liked this ceramic rooster statue—it’s big, dramatic, and not pecking us! But, looking at it, I wonder if it’s supposed to be a Foghorn Leghorn replica, because there doesn’t seem to be a breed of white chickens with red tail and leg feathers. If you know about such a breed, please correct my ignorance! I’m not all that into chickens; my teen years left me hating my aunt’s mean rooster who loved to chase little kids around. I always had to rescue them when the adults heard the screaming start!

This kind of goes with the previous picture:

Kathy and I laughed at this because I’m a notorious night owl and she is the larkiest of larks. We try and compromise on rise and shine times while traveling, but the morning isn’t my friend and I can be kind of grumpy until bathed in coffee. I should have this embroidered on a headband so no one tries to talk to me first thing before the caffeine has had a chance to work its miracles.

Sometimes it’s better not to be fully awake when visiting the thrift stores:

You could just pretend that crochet fails were a bad dream instead of facing the reality that someone made these and were probably proud of them! I suppose these were kids’ toys/blankets that the store displayed with the dish cloths and towels. I sure wouldn’t try and dry anything on these synthetic yarn thingies.

To make it up to you for the last picture, here is an unusual and lovely little pitcher:

I can’t remember if it had a mark on the bottom, but the painting is very nice, and the shape is distinctive. We really wanted to see what the sugar bowl looked like. I imagine it would have a very decorative lid and maybe feet. The set was surely some lady’s pride and joy to use for her bridge crew, or for after dinner coffee and dessert.

Kathy goes to a lot of garage sales, and remembers people that have “good sales”. We saw these chairs at a good sale:

The seller had a number of nice mid-century modern chairs, and this set was a lot of fun. I wish he had the table to go along with the patio chairs—it would have been a super cute set. We bought a vintage catalog because we love to browse through them. We have learned a thing or two along the way about some of the vintage things we see. Plus, they are always full of blog fodder so expect a future post!

I love The Mikado. At this time of the year, I think of the song, “The Flowers that Bloom in the Spring” especially the lines:

The flowers that bloom in the spring
Tra la
Breathe promise of merry sunshine

[I wrote this post a couple of days ago, and while editing, just realized that I’ve been singing that song over and over! Dang earworms, sigh.]

You should all try and get outside this weekend and enjoy the blooms while they last!

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Well, it happened again. I was minding my own business, just cruising an auction site, as you do when you are NOT looking for sewing machines, and there was a sewing machine, just sitting there with no one bidding on it:

Did I need it? Nope. Does it look awesome? You betcha! Did I end up getting it? Yes, and I “sew” needed it. Many think this machine, nicknamed the Rocketeer, are some of the best machines Singer ever made. This one dates to 1961. It has a built in cam stack and you can use more cams to make tons of decorative stitches. Plus it has the jazzy good looks of a ’57 Chevy. She needs a bit of TLC, but only general maintenance, and she will be purring along. You really can’t kill these babies, so if you need a sewing machine, please hit up one of your local thrift stores or Market Place. You can pick up a nice vintage one for 20 bucks and make China lump it with all those plastic gears and crap that won’t last you five years. If you are lucky enough to find one of the heavy old Made in Japan models, you are going to be super happy. Here is a pretty one from a few weeks ago at our thrift:

With a quick going over that any slightly mechanically inclined person can do, they will last long enough for your children to inherit them, and sew like a dream while doing it.

OK, enough about sewing machines (till the next one comes along!) I am going to share this right now, because if I put it away, to save for next Easter, I will forget. You really need to take a gander at this angry bunny:

The head is a pocket for your napkin, and the facial expression is all embroidered on. Doesn’t he just look pissed at the whole world. You might too, if someone kept plopping hot plates down on your face. There was only one of these, but I had to have it anyway. Sometimes you just need a grumpy bunny to make you happier.

I saw these the week before Deb got back and had to take a photo, as they were so cool:

Marked Noritake on the back, so you know they are good. Super Mid Century Modern styling and fantastic quality. I would have bought them to resell, but china of any sort is pretty much a bust on Etsy. so I took a photo and regretfully left them. The next week, I was showing Deb the photo, and saying how cool they are, when we came upon the smaller of the two, still sitting on the shelf. She couldn’t resist, and since she has the Mid-Mod house for it; I am so happy it was still there.

Deb highlighted (lowlighted?) some awful poppy pictures last week. This week, we found an antidote to those:

Well, at least half of it is, the flower painting, and it was a real painting, was fairly well done. With a different frame it could grace several rooms in any home without causing too much offense, and heck, it might even bring some joy. The frame was super heavy and didn’t do it any favors. On the other hand, the spackled ship on velvet should go the way of the Spanish Inquisition and be burned at the stake. I am sure you can picture the room it was made to go in. Heavy, bulky, dark furniture with crushed red velvet cushions, wrought iron candlesticks, torture devices on the walls, oh, I mean paintings on the walls. You get it. These need to go away as soon as humanly possible, before someone thinks to revive the whole aesthetic.

We kind of like some of these:

I actually have one of the ants that my dad got me, and I do like the whole folk art in your yard look, but at 30 bucks a pop, we declined. I think most of these are about that price new, and at least then you can choose from a whole ark of crazy animals and get the one that is just right for your yard. We spent a bit too much time trying to figure out what the yellow one on the end was. I decided giraffe, just so we could be over it and move along.

We decided Wedgewood will make anything for the right money:

Although this does at least warrant a souvenir or two, I am not sure Jasperware is the way to commemorate it. We have a company here in town that makes governors for motors, and on several of their anniversaries they have commissioned Wedgewood plates like this. We see them in droves at the the thrift store with stupid prices on them, as hey, they are Wedgewood. “Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should”, is a saying that ought to emblazoned on every website that makes custom stuff!

You know we can’t resist making fun of some dolls now and then, so here we go:

Honestly, they look way better in the photo than they did in person. The cheap satin and overdone eyeshadow smacks of the bordello. Plus they looked like they had been well loved, which actually is a good thing for them, not for us, As if their overall looks weren’t bad enough, the red one had this on her sash:

Oh joy, she was musical as well. I can’t believe we forgot to see what she played, so we could make fun of that too. Perhaps ironically, “Oh, You Beautiful Doll”? “Hello, Dolly!”? “China Doll”? Probably actually played “Feelings”, and boy did we have them, but none were good.

We wanted to end with something good. We should have bought this for someone:

It was kind of a cool bath set, and we couldn’t believe that someone didn’t keep this. If someone gave me a set like this, I would use it often, just because who doesn’t need a pick-me-up now and then? We also wanted to remind all our dear readers that you are awesome too, and we love that you care enough to come back to us every week!

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Home Again, Home Again, Jiggety Jig!

I’m so glad to be home again after a nice long visit with my mom in Florida. We drove, which is quite a trip, being about 1900 miles each way. It’s a good thing that B.H. and I get along and enjoy talking—a LOT! We tried to listen to Frankenstein by Mary Shelley, but only got part way through before we pulled the plug on that experiment. Just a bit too overheated, gothic, and sensational for us. It might be a better read than a listen, as the narration was very melodramatic! We’ll have to try another novel for our next trip.

I have just a couple more pictures from Florida. My bathing suit just totally gave up the ghost one day during pool exercise class. I’m really glad that it didn’t fall off, seriously. Mom took me to an outlet store to shop for another suit:

I had no idea that QVC had outlets, but my mom assured me that their bathing suit selection was huge, and the prices were low. She was right, of course; there were lots of suits for less than $20 but not as many as there were in January. After finding a suit, I did some looking around and found a couple of decorative pieces:

They sure look like they were made with long straight pins fastened together, somehow. I didn’t lift them up as it looked like a picky, ouchy situation. I haven’t seen anything quite like them before, and I’m still not sure if they are bad or good. I will say that they were over $20 each, which doesn’t make the pair a bargain. I wonder if they could go outside with a light shining on them; the big one was about two feet tall. I guess like everything, their decorative value is a matter of taste and they weren’t to my taste.

I thought these two were charming, from a distance:

I thought the poses, expressions, and flowers were endearing. Then I saw that they were made with overlapping pieces of coarse fabric which made them look leprous, to my nurse’s eyes. Why couldn’t they just be regular fabric, or those twiggy things? Instead, they look like burn unit patients wrapped in loose weave gauze—no thanks.

So, I was good and left QVC with my original need, and didn’t find any extra must-haves!

The rest of the post is from our last shopping trip at the end of March. Good thing Kathy says that she has some pictures. I did some garage saling in FL, but there wasn’t anything nearly as funny as what I see in CO. Most people were selling really nice clothing at silly prices, and kids’ stuff. Not my favorite kind of sales.

I’m thinking that these are impressionistic poppies:

But my poppies have black centers which make them even more dramatic. These poppies could also be impressionistic bowls of corn flakes before milk is splashed on. I will say that they are good and bright with lots of colors. If you look at the top you can see that there are four (!!) similar canvases stacked up. If I looked at them too long, I might get the idea that I could paint, at least this well, and there would be even more amateur paintings to murder people’s eyes at the thrift stores.

Someone worked very hard on this embroidered and embellished piece:

There are a lot of beads and sequins in there to brighten up the picture. I personally like it, and if I had a child who gave this to me, you would have to pry it out of my dead cold hands. It seems to be the ultimate compliment to be a fabulous mum, and I hope it goes to another mum who appreciates it. It’s so much nicer than the poppies.

OMG we recognized this right off:

Those colors and subjects have to be from the 1960s or ’70s. How is it that the little girl is reading a book, and the boy is dreaming of baseball? Honestly, gender roles and bias are present even in silly decorative pieces like these bookends. I’m only shocked that she isn’t reading the book to a baby doll. It’s a heavy load to put on a simple ceramic thing, but girls wanted to play baseball sometimes, too!

This might be the second yo-yo thing we’ve seen recently that is not an eyesore:

I might even call it charming and attractive. Just as a matter of balance, it probably could use a couple more daisies, but I like the buttons making the yo-yos look like flowers, too. This had better stop, or I might try to make a yo-yo craft and have to publish pictures of my Pinterest fail:

Eeeek!! You know that I would never make one of these, no matter how much excess fabric I have—too clowny by half!

We feel so sorry for pretty glass/crystal things consigned to the thrift store:

That red and gold covered dish is a lovely thing with lots of cut designs on it. It was in great shape, but alas, we do not have room in our cupboards for this kind of thing, and folks really don’t buy glass things on Etsy right now. It will probably find a home on half-off day because it’s pretty and a bargain. I didn’t edit the ceramic pitcher out because I really liked it, too. Such a lovely glaze, and its shape is very pleasing. But, I can tell you from experience, that you probably don’t need more than ten pitchers!

Finally, we thought these vintage soup bowls were different and cool:

Neither of us had ever seen Western-themed soup/stew bowls with handles. They look very mid-century modern with their graphics and pretty appropriate for Colorado. I’m not sure why we didn’t buy them, except that Kathy’s family doesn’t really like soups, and B.H. and I aren’t really western kind of people. Every so often we do a good thing and leave nice things behind for someone else to love and buy. I’m sure these will find a good home! ( Kathy here: We didn’t buy them, as they had stupid ARC prices on them. I would have drug them home in a heartbeat! )

As I get older, I find myself more and more in agreement with Dorothy: “There’s no place like home!”. I will add that my bed is the most comfortable bed in the world! Hope you all have a wonderful weekend and we’ll see you next week.

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Card Me

First off, just wanted to pass along what was going on with me last week. My darling mother passed away, after a bad fall. It was quick and not too painful, but it has been rough for Dad and me. She was a tough lady; having had a major stroke in her early 40s, she was told she would never walk again. She fought through it, learned to walk again, and went on to do some amazing things. Dad was never much of a traveler, so she went herself. She had been to Russia, China, Egypt, and all over Europe taking about one river cruise a year. I was lucky enough to go with her to the Netherlands. Lucky her to do some of those trips that are now pretty much out of reach. I guess that means you need to grab things while you can, so try that yourself, in honor of my mom! Here is an adorable pic of her and my dad:

Thanks for letting me share, and now on to some fun things. I have not been shopping a bunch, what with Deb at her mom’s. It is way more fun to make snide comments about things WITH someone, and going to ARC is not much of a bargain hunt right now, so you get a fun little informative post about buttons! Now, we have done buttons before, but I got a whole bunch of great ones on cards just recently, so I thought it would be a good time to play show and tell.

First up, my favorite card:

Actually, not so much the card, as the card and the buttons together. Lady Washington is a name used by the American Pearl Button Company out of Iowa. The shell was harvested out of the Mississippi River and was used to make 1000s of pearl buttons designs over the years. The company went out of business in 1964. I love these particular ones because of their unusual shape. Notice, no holes, just slots. They were probably not the easiest to fasten, but come off very decorative.

Here are a couple more cards including another Washington one:

This one uses good old George for their Washington logo. Same area of harvest, I am sure. The other card is easily dateable to the early teens by the fancy Art Nouveau design on it. They almost always used a foil behind the buttons to bring out the sparkle and keep them from picking up the reflected color of the card. And, of course, the more French you sounded, the more chic you must be, so these were better buttons right?

I love these cards and pick them up whenever I see them, as they are so pretty:

Bluebird buttons were made by the Iowa Pearl Button company. The dress is identifiable to the late teens, early ’20s. I think they used the card with variations of the bluebirds for many years, as you see buttons, other than pearls, with it as well.

And here is a whole slew of MOP (Mother of Pearl) button cards:

All of these are going to be earlier—late 1800s to early teens. The Hampshire brand one actually has tin behind the buttons, notice the rust. Must have been a real pain back east with much more humid weather. How to end up with rusty buttons. There is not a whole lot of difference in the buttons themselves, and it isn’t till later that the buttons become more a star of the garment. They were just a means of fastening early on, and especially for petticoats, camisoles and other foundation garments, they didn’t show, so why pay more?

Moving up in years, we come to some more decorative buttons:

Le Chic and La Mode were all made by the same company that was located in Iowa as well. The green buttons date to the early ’40s by the style. The red, white, and blue, ones are wartime buttons. They are poor quality and sewn to the card by an obvious newbie at the factory. The card is also very light weight which would have been used to save paper. They would have been purchased and probably used multiple times to save money during the lean war years. Sometimes they were used to spruce up an old outfit, when wartime rations kept you from having a new one. And of course, you needed to show your patriotism.

Lest you think all cool cards are old, we have this entry from the 1970s

These are plastic buttons, but don’t you love the modern Victorian on the card? Actually, there are not a lot of fancy cards much later than this, and now they are just plain backing, and did I mention expensive? I needed to get a set of buttons for a shirt I just made for hubby, and I was finally able to find a bargain set, but the ones I first looked at were $6.99 for a card of three and I needed five. Needless to say he didn’t get those on his new shirt! Of course you would think I could find a set of buttons around my house, as there are 1000s here, but mostly I get 2s and 3s, or they are super fancy and not fit for a man’s shirt. Ah, well.

About the same time I got all the carded buttons, I found a little box of buttons with some sewing stuff and there were some odd buttons in there, so I will add those as well. First up, this one:

I had to look this up, but the Latin is the motto of the Coldstream Guards, you know those guys in the tall hats at Buckingham Palace? How a Coldstream button got to Colorado is beyond me. It’s not super old, as the backing is plastic, so maybe a souvenir, but it was fun!

These are buttons that rarely show up in button boxes, and I am not sure why:

The one on the left is a workman’s overalls button from the early ’30s. The other one is later, more like ’50s. They probably sewed those ’30s ones on again and again, till the button just gave out. This one shows a whole lot of wear. The back has a loop shank that is inserted into the backing, so it could, conceivably, wear out.

And last up, some military buttons:

The top one is an army button from the 1860s. The navy one can’t be dated, but it is pretty early as well. The third one is a pseudo military one, and would have been on an early suit jacket. Maybe 1930s or ’40s, before the war, as it is metal, and all metal buttons, other than military, ceased production during the war. That army one is probably one of the earliest buttons I have ever found. We don’t get a lot of super early ones out here, as not a lot of settling happened around here till the 1880s. There were scattered homesteads etc. but not a whole lot of folks.

And one last fun thing, as it sort of fits:

I did make it to an estate sale last weekend with hubby. They were insanely overpriced on most things with $20 being their favorite price tag. I spotted a box with five darning eggs in it with no price, so I took it and a couple of other things up to the desk. She charged me a whole five bucks for the darning eggs, and it included this fantastic one with a sterling silver handle. I have questions about this, though. If you were rich enough to afford a silver-handled darning egg, weren’t you rich enough to have someone else darn your socks? I don’t think they would have let the maid use it. The little scissors are marked Prussia, and at one time had gold plating on the handles, so they were pretty fancy, too. Got these, some pretty old crochet hooks and a handful of thimbles for $7. No one values old sewing things enough. The stuff of women’s work just isn’t appreciated. I will be keeping both of these items, as I love having sweet little sewing scissors with my machines just to snip the threads. It gives me joy to use something pretty. Don’t you wish they still took that time to make something a little decorative, even if it is for everyday use? We all need a little happiness in our lives, and tiny things make a difference.

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Still Surviving in the Sunshine State

Hi, it’s me again this week. Kathy is tied up with family things and I’m doing a double dipper from less hot and sticky Florida. It was so hot last week, but this week it’s hotter in Colorado than it is here. It shouldn’t get any hotter than the mid-80s for the rest of our visit, which is plenty hot for me. I had to laugh at a neighbor’s potted plants:

They had better keep an eye on them or the ripe ones might just disappear on a hot evening. Fresh pineapple ice cream or a smoothie would be very refreshing!

Another rando thing: a friend posted this link on his Facebook page and I was amused by these weird designs. Who would think to make these on purpose? We see enough of these brain farts on a weekly basis—no need to actually think them up and render them.

Well, onto this week’s post and it’s too late now, but I should have posted a clown alert a little higher up:

This was locked up in the glass case up front, if you can imagine. Someone at this thrift actually thinks that this record is valuable! It is old, from 1941, a 78 rpm disc, and contains marches, according to websites that have this actual record for sale. The highest price is around $15, but most of them are listed for less than $5, and that is five bucks too much for me. Why not have a ringmaster on the front, the flying trapeze artists, or elephants? Maybe the band themselves, even if the music is played by a clown band. I don’t know why this scary thing is supposed to sell your record.

I’m just going to group the two scary things together, so you can take a deep breath and relax after this:

These are two dried apple dolls, and yes, that is what their faces looked like. I cannot imagine being given one of these as a kid and having to play with it. What kind of play value would it have? I suppose if you were Baba Yaga fan, this dolly would make you feel right at home. For me, that is the scariest crone face I’ve seen, and I worked at a nursing home for 25 years and saw plenty of old, old women who worked way too hard in their lives. None of them looked like this! Here is the full length picture of the two:

Those tiles they are laying on are 12 x 12 inches, so these aren’t little dolls. I’m not sure what the deal is with their clothing, but I’m pretty sure that the orange rope contains some magic that restrains the end of the world destruction these two witches could conjure. Just think that you could have both of them for just $10—it’s a bargain. I should have bought them and buried them on some poor church’s consecrated grounds.

Okay, back to just regular bad, not horrific:

This isn’t actually too bad at all—it just made us laugh that this mask is peeking over the edge of the bin spying on unaware shoppers. We don’t know why he has a fish on his hat/hair, or why he’s in a vase; those questions will probably never be answered. It was just a case of coming around the corner and coming face to face, so to speak.

Gosh we haven’t seen one of these molded gold plastic things in quite a while:

It was almost three feet long, but you could pick it up with just a couple of fingers, if you could manage to balance it. And really, what would be the loss if you couldn’t balance it? Oh noes, the ugly thing is in a million pieces, and the world is a more beautiful place. Win-Win.

This person might win the most dedicated souvenir snow globe collector grandmaster title if they hadn’t just donated the entire collection to a thrift store:

This ten foot length of snow globes was three and four deep at some points. That’s a whole bunch of plastic snow globes, and most of them only had enough water to come up one inch on the sides. You know that there is a whole world out there to explore that isn’t commemorated with snow globes—what would this lucky traveler do then? Probably buy souvenir spoons!

Here’s a close-up of just a couple of globes:

I actually like that the South Dakota one has a cow—that’s some admirable truth in advertising!

Whoeee this is red:

I’m not sure about the décor that needs red crushed velvet lampshades. I’m picturing some of those 1960s and ’70s Spanish Colonial dark heavy carved couches and chairs with big brass lamps on the end tables. This shade would be perfect! There is a Pinterest page full of examples if you didn’t live it like I did. My only other guess for this lampshade would be a boudoir, or maybe a good old fashioned brothel with a real honest-to-God madam.

Hope you all have a great weekend—we try to get you off to a good start. Get out there if you can and find some bad things of your own and send them to us! We’ll make fun of them for you.

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A Little Easter Vacation

Well, the good news is that I missed the Tuesday/Wednesday snow in Colorado this week because I’m in sunny, hot, and humid Florida. My mom lives here in the winter and was needing some company so my rubber arms were twisted and I’m living the pool life for a couple of weeks. For fun we get wet and then jump in her golf cart and careen around her park evaporating ourselves to coolness. Not very dignified, but that’s the good thing about being 87 and 65 years old—you don’t give a damn!

Here’s how to tell you’re in FL:

You are taking a simple picture of the full moon and then notice all the Spanish moss hanging from the trees. It’s not good for the trees, but I have to confess that I like it. It’s so … southern; I guess it’s an emotional reaction, not intellectual.

Well, I have some Easter goodies for you, well, not exactly goodies like chocolate bunnies or jelly beans, but Second Hand Roses goodies, which are usually like Bertie Bott’s every flavor jelly beans (earwax, sausage, dirt, and earthworm).

After we got done laughing, we took a picture:

These two are such a hot mess, that it’s hard to pick a place to start. The thing that bothered us the most was his hat. Unless they tuck his ears under the brim, or cut holes, I don’t see how he could wear it any other way than he is. It kind of looks like a mask, or the rings of Saturn if you squint just right. I don’t know, but I would expect the Easter Bunny to wear something just a bit more festive. Blue and brown are kind of casual office wear in cubicle land. The purple hat is a start, but it’s ruined by the brim and for heaven’s sake, why does he have a bow near the top? Flopsy mostly looks like a strumpet after a rough night—making dough hopping from buck to buck.

It looks like the Easter Bunny is limbering up for Sunday:

We called her Yoga bunny and both of us are envious of her limber legs. My knees haven’t bent like that in years. I like her pants and her pinny, but that busy red check pattern isn’t doing the outfit any favors. I am kind of sad if this was a relic of a young family consigned to oblivion after the kids get too old. They might be want to continue the tradition when they have kids of their own. OMG, who am I kidding! This big ol’ thing is going to be hard to sell. No one has room to store this for 51 weeks a year.

Talk about something huge that no one would want to store:

This was about 18 inches long and was metal, so it must have weighed a ton! Other than trying to scare all the outdoor bunnies away, or propping a door open, it doesn’t have a lot of use. Do you think that the previous owner put ribbons or gee gaws on it to indicate holidays? It might be fun with a conical birthday hat, or a St. Patrick’s Day green hat. Personally, I think it should be melted down and recast as cute birds, or maybe a dog—if they can find a decent mold. Much more pleasant to look at on a daily basis.

I have to say that all the scary bad things are done. It’s all cuteness and sunshine from here on:

These two were a darling pair. If I decorated for Easter, or Kathy didn’t already have a bazillion bunnies, we might have adopted them. I can’t remember how they were priced, so that might have been a deterrent, too. They could have been left out for spring, which makes them a better bargain in my mind. I’m not crazy about storing stuff for most of the year—there are so many more important things to do with my available space like storing buttons, vintage jewelry, ceramic dogs, sweet old china dishes, dolls, …

Another cute duo:

You know things are freaking adorable if we think a resin decoration is appealing. I just can’t hardly look at that stuff any more without thinking that we shouldn’t be using resources to make cheap junk. But, having said that, this is pretty sweet and made us smile. I can understand why someone bought this, and I can understand why they got rid of it. Sometimes cute isn’t enough, and you both need a change of scenery.

These are kind of hard to see:

They are chicks and lambs made from paper flower petals. Pretty tiny and fun—they might look charming on your table Sunday, amongst the flowers and eggs. Since neither of us are having a big Easter dinner, at least I’m not, they stayed on the shelf for a person who had a real need for table décor. It was that or join all the other crafty, decoration type things living in my craft room until I can first find them, and then do something with them!

We thought that this was an appealing egg hanger:

A little different and goofy, but in a humorous way, not an eye-bleeding way. You could hang your wooden Easter decorations, yes that’s a thing, on them, or if you have fancy decorated eggs, from Eastern Europe for example, they could hang here once a year so you can look at them as the little treasures that they are. Anyway, there are so many boring egg hangers that it’s a pleasure to see a silly one like this.

One more picture:

This is my mom’s head pot with a happy succulent planted in it. She thinks it looks like her great-grandson, and I can see it. Better not tell him!

We hope that all of you who celebrate Easter have a fun day with family or friends. A little candy and chocolate fellowship won’t hurt a thing!

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That’s a Curve Ball

No, not a baseball, even though opening day was this week, no, Mother Nature was at it again. This past Monday the forecast said we had a storm moving in, but everyone said it was going to be minor, less than an inch and not super cold. By 8 a.m. Monday morning our deck looked like this:

We ended up with nine inches of heavy wet spring snow, and wind that drifted things up to a foot and a half. Hubby started into work and made it a couple of miles and turned around, as his commute of 45 minutes would have taken at least an hour and a half and who wants that? Deb was trying to get out of town, and she ended up stuck at home, too. Better than out on the road, though. Our local school district believed the weatherman and sent all the tots to school! I bet a whole lot of them didn’t show up, I know I didn’t, so wow, two snow days in one year! Plus the next morning as the storm moved out, it was 3 degrees! I am so done with winter; if anyone has some spare spring, send it along.

We have a fun couple of Easter posts, as how can you not make fun of bunnies and scary chicks, but first I thought I would share some very fun pix of my Grandmother I just came across. I shared a photo of my maternal grandmother a bit ago in a fun flapper dress. These are from the 30s and are of my paternal grandmother:

In the one on the left she is just 16! Love those fun finger waves in her hair. The last photo is quite elegant, and may have been a senior picture. It doesn’t say. Just thought they were cute!

Ok, on to the Bunny Trail. It just wouldn’t be Easter without some Easter crafts, so how about some eggs to start off:

These really aren’t too bad, but I tend to see them smooshed beyond all recognition when they finally make it to the thrift store. The peekaboo egg is actually pretty impressive, and if you could get enough starch into that basket to pull it off, it would be quite the feat. Here is the back, if you are interested:

A better look at the basket, and the peekaboo one becomes less interesting. If eggs aren’t your thing, let’s go all out on baskets:

Itty bitty baskets to be precise. They must be pretty tiny as that red one only holds one lipstick. How often does a bunny bring lipstick? Here is the back of this one, too:

Whoever this Rita Weiss was, she must have cornered the market on starch, or she used glue and ended up gluing her children to everything in sight. I don’t even think I would attempt one of these, as the daunting task of making it stay upright wouldn’t be worth the hassle. You spend all that time crocheting and get a smooshed doily.

At least we liked this:

How can you go wrong with a bunny butt wreath? It’s pretty darn cute, and I am a sucker for these straw sort of animals. Unfortunately, my cat thinks of them as big cat toys. After they have been batted around the house for an hour, they are just some random grass glued to some Styrofoam, and not the least bit decorative. Luckily, this one would hang on the wall, but you have no idea how high this cat can jump! Plus I would have to find somewhere to store it the rest of the year, so I happily left it without even looking at the price.

This was lurking as we rounded the corner:

What are they trying to do, scare us to death? You can stitch a smile on this imp, but I know better. It’s some sort of demonic stand-in trying to impersonate the Easter Bunny and steal all our candy. It even brought a big ol’ basket to take home the loot. She is equipped with bunny slippers for super stealth mode, so we haven’t even got a chance. All kidding aside, is this even slightly fun? It’s a poor use of flannel—make some PJs instead. [Deb here. I just can’t unsee the bunny nutcrackers on the shelf next to the imp. Are they zombies?]

Every year we get a few rabbits that have “seen things”. This year is no exception:

I’m thinkin one look at that bear and there is a hare playing freeze tag. If I don’t move, you can’t see me, and sometimes it works. Depends on how hungry that bear is. My money is on the bear. Of course, it’s like the old saying, you just have to outrun someone else, so maybe he has a friend with no motivation.

The only bunny that should have ears this big is made of chocolate:

If I could nibble those right down, I would forgive the manufacturer anything, but as is, not so much. She has a pretty insipid color palette as well, even for Easter. Let’s just ignore the lopsided foam basket nearby, too. It’s for folks who don’t want to be burdened by eggs. Put more than two in it and the whole bottom falls out and you are free of all that dead weight.

This poor little chick just can’t let go of his egg. He has separation anxiety—no yolk.

You can always tell a ceramics project. For some reason the artist always feels the need to add eyelashes. Have you ever seen a chicken with lashes? A flirty feather top knot, maybe, or even some sassy tail feathers, but the eye adornment, never!

It’s supposed to be in the 60s this weekend around here, but I am going to take that with a grain of salt; I have been burned before! If it does, cross your fingers, and hope I have some yard sales, as I really need a fix! Stay tuned for one more Easter post! See you next week.

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What a Difference a Day Makes

Well, Mother Nature is back to her wicked Wednesday ways. It was in the mid 50°s on Tuesday with lots of sun and no wind. It made me think that spring was definitely in the air. I was looking around the yard and noticed that my crocus are up:

I have purple ones, too, somewhere, but these yellow fellows are near the front walk and more noticeable. Tulips, daffodils, and hyacinths are also poking their noses out of the ground which might have been a mistake since it snowed the very next day, Wednesday, with more due this weekend. With this week’s snow, we have had snow on five of the last six Wednesdays, which is why I don’t like hump day any more!

On the other hand, Friday is by far my favorite day—shopping day! And soon it will be garage sale day which is even better than thrift store day in our books! Hopefully, spring will get here and we can have some early sales to whet our appetite. Until that happy day, we are stuck with thrift store fodder.

We aren’t quite sure what the heck is going on with this necklace:

I’m pretty sure it’s supposed to be patriotic with the red, clear, and blue beads. That’s the maker’s first mistake since there are white beads aplenty, or use pearls in a pinch. Those eagles are a hoot and have to be a ceramics project. They look really angry that they are on this necklace, and I have to say that I don’t blame them a bit. It’s a very uneasy marriage of styles. The eagles are just way too big to go with those comparatively tiny bicone beads. Don’t you think that some bigger wooden beads might work better? Or maybe just take those big ole eagles and macrame them into a patriotic flower pot holder. That might turn those eagley frowns upside down!

Oh noes:

I hope this isn’t someone’s southwest décor attempt; what did that poor lamb-dog do to you? I would blame a child for this if it weren’t those specific colors! It’s just hideous, but you could always buy it and paint it a blameless white or black. That Laugh rock would then have to migrate down the shelf to taunt another thrift store horror. Plus, I’m sure that you will rack up some points that will help you get into heaven, a la The Good Place, one of the best TV shows ever:

Let us take a small break from crafting crimes to look at a couple of vacation tchotchkes:

You can decide if they fall into the crime category all by yourselves. I will say that I have ridden a camel in Egypt, and once they got up with you still on their back, it was pretty smooth sailing. However, if I ever get to the U.A.E. (doubtful) I would stock up on coffee, spices, chocolate, and jewelry, which seem to be pretty hot commodities there. Can you imagine getting this from someone who went to Dubai? Coffee and spices would be smaller, cheaper, and much more appreciated! If you give me something chocolate, gold, or covered in diamonds, well, who knows how grateful I’ll be?

And now back to our recently interrupted craft fails:

It just wouldn’t be a trip to the thrift store without some mess of a crochet project. What was the goal with these wreaths—trying to make everyone you know avoid you? “Oh God, her she comes with her wreaths, quick, dive into these bushes!” would be my response. I wouldn’t even leave one of these on my grandmother’s grave to be blown away with the next big wind. Crochet socks, mittens, and scarves to give to homeless people and stop wasting yarn on project like these!

This maple chair made me smile:

I call them old lady chairs and I have seen them in the hundreds having worked in a nursing home for 20 plus years. It’s pretty tiny and surprisingly comfortable for those who fit in them. The fabric pillow and skirt are also practical if they are washable. Much easier to throw them in the washer than to clean and sanitize a wooden chair. I hope some little grandma finds this and thinks that it’s “just right”, although that cover might have to go. Maybe Grandma could crochet herself a cover!

We thought that these were kind of interesting:

First off, it outraged our editor with the misuse of the word confetti. I’m not sure that serving food on paper confetti is really an upgrade over platters, plates, or bowls. They are supposedly useful for cheeses, fruits, desserts and “more”. I’m not sold on the fruit thing since putting watermelon on one of these things would be a sloppy mess, while grapes might be okay. I really think that desserts like brownies, cookies, and bars might work the best. However, they are kind of a grey color and how is that superior to all the pretty china we’ve shown you? At $6.99 you could buy a lovely serving dish and artfully pile your goodies to share. Plus, you can use the plate more than once!

This isn’t a thrift store find—we saw it at Joann Fabrics:

It was just so darn cute that we had to share! It was full of fun things, but the cover was the best by far!

Well, hang in there because spring is coming and soon snow will be a distant memory. Can’t wait until all my bulbs are up and blooming; it’s such a happy time of the year.

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