Crazy And Not-So-Crazy Christmas Crafts

It’s the most wonderful time of the year, as the car advertisements sing.  To me, the craziness is just starting, but the wonderful doesn’t really kick in until right before Christmas.  One of my favorite months is January, when I frequently spend the day reading a book in my jammies—ah, heaven!  But for now, reading plans are on hiatus while I try to cram the unforgiving minute with sixty presents wrapped, to paraphrase Kipling.

In the spirit of helpfulness, I’m picking up where I left off five years (!) ago and presenting Volume 2 of The Poinsettia Library of Christmas Handicrafts.  Maybe you all can find a present in the making:

The Poinsettia Library of Christmas Handicrafts Vol 2

Again, I urge you not to be fooled by this wonderful Christmas scene of the front.  The pages inside tell a whole ’nother story.

I like candles, I really do:

Give me a nice-smelling candle and I’m a happy camper.  What I’m not crazy about are those blobby candles that look like they’re made from fluffed-up lard.  I’m pretty darn happy that craze has ended.  While looking at this craft project, I was sucked into the directions:

     

I had to laugh at the picture of the white frothy wax being whipped up like a batch of meringue, and then being shaped into something that looks like the poop emoji.  If it were brown, I think you might have a hit on your hands.  On the next page, we’re told, “An extremely realistic chimney can be made by using a one-quart milk carton.”  All you need to do is dip the carton into red wax a number of times, carve bricks, and then top with whipped wax to give it “that new fallen look.”  Sometimes the accompanying text is almost as funny as the pictures.

Liven up the kitchen with a kitchen sparkler:

All you have to do is staple foil baking cups together in a “pyramidal shape.”  Each layer is offset from the one below.  You’re instructed to use fewer cups near the top to form a taper.  After you’re done stapling you should apply glue to the inside bottom of the cups and sprinkle with glitter.  Staple a small beaded prong (?) ornament to the top and place the whole structure on top of a foil-covered inverted baking dish.  Voila!  I’m sure your guests will be speechless.

Here’s a harmless craft project so we can catch our breath:

I was looking at the plastic lid ornaments in the upper right corner of the picture.  When I was a kid, we made ornaments using baby food jar lids, and last year’s Christmas cards.  Keeps the kids out of your hair for a while, and they have something to give to Grandma.  I’m sure that a sufficiently crafty person could make something fun with the plastic bubble tree ornament project, but the potential for failure seems much higher.

On the following page, we’re encouraged to make angels from small funnels:

I have to apologize for the poor pictures in this craft book.  They’re in black and white, and it looks like I took them with my imaginary photographic skills.  Truth be told, I scanned this page at 600 dpi, so this is as good as it gets.  The picture is somewhat blurred by the yarn and tinsel wrapped around the gold-sprayed plastic funnels.  The heads are the “small decorated heads found in variety stores and hobby shops.”  The wings are cut out of lightweight cardboard with lace glued to them.  Then you mount the whole shebang on a piece of backing covered with dark blue fabric.  Make fluffy clouds from cotton and place the scene “above a table or chest which holds other holiday decorations and used as a backdrop.  It is an imposing touch for any room.”  It might also be exhibit A in your emergency commitment hearing when your family thinks that you’ve gone off the rails.

I’m torn about the next craft project:

It might be kind of cool if you’re the kind of person who can make a homemade wreath look nice (it’s harder than it looks!).  They used a bamboo framework from one of those paper sun umbrellas mounted in a partially open position.  They recommend spray painting it a color, which is a good call as drab brown isn’t too festive.  They took the string out from between the ribs at the bottom of the umbrella, and replaced it with wire and beads.  Then decorate with ornaments and trim.  This is where the reservations come into play; the instructions gloss over this most critical step.  If this picture were in color, I would be able to say with confidence that it’s good or bad.  I’m imagining it trimmed with pretty Shiny Brite ornaments, and that could be pretty.

I’m not sure, but the top right project might work:

You take ice cream cones, turn them upside down, spread thin frosting over them and decorate with cake trimmings.  It looks like they used nuts and sprinkles.  The trunks are made from life saver rolls with the outside papers taken off to expose the foil.  I’m not sure why you would do this when sugar cookie Christmas trees are fun to make and taste way better.

The bad craft on this page is the thread spool wise men project.  I’ve seen wise men made from macaroni, paper towel tubes, dish washing liquid bottles, and even folded magazines.  This is a new one.  You use a large spool for the body and a small spool lying on its side for the head.  You’re encouraged to paint the small spool pink and paint a face.  The hair is yarn and the crown is gold foil.  Don’t forget the glitter and beads to decorate the crown.  Hmmm, seems like too much work for the finished project.  Plus, you’re wasting a perfectly good spool of thread.

Okay, they’re reaching with this “decoration”:

It’s a bottle, glass or plastic, trimmed in ball fringe that matches your bathroom colors, and hung by a hole in the cap.  I don’t see how this looks like a Christmas decoration, unless you make them red and green, or blue and silver.  But, even that quibbling overlooks the idea that this is decorative.  Uh, yeah, no!

Finally, if anyone ever gives me this, I will get even:

What the what?  You know, if you wanted the scariest Halloween costume ever, you could dress up like a clown’s mother and wear this apron.  Otherwise, it could be used for any Dirty Job, and Mike Rowe would look great wearing it.

There is a craft project in here that I want to make for Kathy.  ( Kathy here: I think I am terrified! )  If I get it done, I promise to take a picture and put it up here for all to see.

That’s it for this week.  We still have a couple more Christmas posts coming up.  Hope you all stay sane during this busy time.

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No More Kvetching

We have been told by our grammarian (our resident proofreader) that we must stop complaining about the opening hours of the Goodwill bins.  Doesn’t he know that whining is one of our main raison d’être?  What will we complain about now?  The weather has been unseasonably warm, so no whining there, although we could go on about a lack of moisture, but as said moisture shows up as snow this time of year, we will be silent.  Oh wait, maybe we could just go back to our usual grousing about weird stuff.  Luckily, we have a pile of it grumble about, so here we go!

Here is an item that really had us scratching our heads:

On the surface, it looks like an ordinary miniature oil lamp, but I must point out that the plate in back is attached!

In the second photo, you can see the brass wires holding the plate to the lamp.  I don’t know if there were trying to cover as many souvenir bases as possible, but in that case they should have figured out how to make a lamp out of teacup, or a salt and pepper shaker.  At least the plate functions as a postcard, because it sure isn’t much of a reflector for the lamp.  There won’t be scads of late night reading by this little light.

Deb put this masterpiece down as a lovely frame spoiled by an awful painting:

For those of you not familiar with the image (Did you not see Close Encounters?), it’s Devil’s Tower in WY.  We are not sure who died in front of it, at least we think those might be tombstones.  The rock formation itself looks a bit on the melty side;  sort of like a chocolate sculpture science fair project left in a hot car.  All in all, not a pretty picture.

We might have another souvenir here:

This poor ugly duckling has a bad case of something, not sure what.  I can’t decide if the figure was helped or hurt by the brilliant yellow bill, but it does give your eye a rest from the swirling clay;  just not a very peaceful rest.  We vaguely remember something else made from this same clay, but couldn’t locate it in our archives.  [Deb here—found it.  We thought it was a bear, but the picture is terrible.]  Anyway, here is the mark on the bottom, just to prove they have visited Montana:

Also note what Goodwill thinks a duck of this quality might be worth.

We did like this witch’s heart–shaped compact:

Looks like a nice Elgin American brand compact, but as usual the thrift was a little silly on the price, and we really don’t need another compact.  The shape was just unusual and caught our eye.  We only wish that we were the type of ladies who need compacts, but our noses pretty much always remain unpowdered.

This lamp was just too hideous to be believed:

It was HUGE and ugly, a double threat.  Maybe you could use it signal passing trains; those big pieces of glass don’t seem good for much else.  Of course, if you live that close to a railroad track, you can just hope and pray the vibration knocks this off the end table, so you have an excuse to go buy a new one.  Just don’t let whoever chose this one tag along.

Ain’t this the truth?

I can add to that, I will also think of the weird obscure word I was trying to come up with (or maybe a perfectly normal one, you never know with my brain) at the same time.  I would like to blame my constant brain farts on old age, but I was never that good at bringing things to the top of my head even when younger.  I would die on Jeopardy.

Deb and I have been scouring the thrifts, etc. for groovy ’60s fashions to wear to a doll convention next summer.  This is a late ’60s or early ’70s item that we were able to leave right where we found it:

For some reason an image of Sonny Bono popped into my head when I looked at it again.  After looking around, I know why, he seemed to wear a whole lot of vests!  I guess you have to be known for something, but I think we will pass on this becoming our signature statement.

While we are on the subject of clothing:

It was a cute little poodle skirt, even had an extra poodle in case your little doggie ran away!  I have looked for years and NEVER come up with an original poodle skirt.  I really don’t think there were as many as we think, as they just don’t seem to show up.  I know a few years ago our local university’s costume collection had put out a list of things they were looking for and an original skirt was on their list too.  I don’t know if they ever found one, but I certainly never have.  Of course, I think I may be getting beyond the age to pull off a poodle skirt, so would have to just admire it on a hanger.

I know we are getting punchy when we come across things like this an estate sale and start giggling:

I gotta say there is NO WAY I would bring home that bottle on the left.  I have one summer intern and that is enough.  Of course I didn’t know that sort of thing could be accomplished with a bottle of ?????, but if it says it’s a pro, I guess so.  Makes you wonder at the plethora of fertility clinics around the country, doesn’t it?  OK, sorry, we just couldn’t resist.  We didn’t try very hard, but we really couldn’t!

At the same sale, we were delighted by this lovely fall view:

You can see how long that photo has been hanging around, but it was too pretty not to share.  We had a lovely fall this year, and it was hard to see it go.

We are starting the landslide into Christmas, so will be featuring Christmas things for the next few weeks.  If you have a funny ornament or Christmas item, be sure and send it our way, we love to share.

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Let’s Talk Turkey

For our readers who don’t live in the U.S., to talk turkey means to discuss something honestly and directly.  Long-time readers already know that we do that; tact might not be our gift.  Thanksgiving is probably NOT the best time to talk turkey as you are dealing with family and maybe extended family.  I think that this meme has the right idea, especially in these contentious times:

Good luck with that!

We’re doing the post on Wednesday because I forgot to upload Thanksgiving pictures last week for Kathy.  It turned out to be a good thing for us since we don’t shop on Black Friday and now can spend the morning doing what we want to (Deb sleeping, Kathy family fun time).  The benefit to you, dear readers, is that you have two extra days to read the post no matter how you slice it.

We continue to be stymied in our effort to find a cranberry server to use as a Thanksgiving giveaway:  

After seeing a couple and passing on them because we were sure we could find one at a better price, we now admit our mistake and just want to find one.  It’s been a year now, but we keep looking.  We know it’s out there waiting for us.

Almost all of our Thanksgiving finds are turkeys, literally:

   

At first we thought this might be a salt or pepper shaker, but it was too big.  Then we looked again and noticed that there were decorative (?) holiday picks stuck in the holes.  What’s worse—those awful leaf and ribbon picks, or the turkey that looks like you dropped a bowl of mixed veggies on it before putting it in the kiln?  Maybe it’s a diet aid that works by killing your appetite.

This actually seems like a handy gadget for those who can’t figure out how to cook a turkey:

I shouldn’t really talk since I’ve never cooked a turkey (Vegetarian!) but it doesn’t look like rocket science.  I loved the scene in The Accidental Tourist where the brothers find out how their sister is cooking the Thanksgiving turkey; I was never more happy being vegetarian.  She might have needed this timer.

I found two turkey candles in the Goodwill bins:

They were in shockingly good shape for being unprotected in a huge mass of unprocessed goods.  They were vintage and big, 10 inches tall; I ended up selling them on Etsy.  People really have a thing for those holiday candles and they sell pretty handily.  The trick is to find them in good condition.

We’re hoping that this is a kid’s craft project:

Oh my, what can we say about this?  I think the most merciful use would be as a fire starter and end its time on Earth.  I hope that it hasn’t been saved for years and trotted out on Thanksgiving to adorn the table.

We think that these were a craft project, too:

For some reason, these two don’t bother me as much as the previous slapdash creation.  It must be the eyes and burlap tails or maybe they chose a better-looking pine cone.  Somehow, it works.

These salt and pepper turkeys are beyond the pale:

Holy crap!  I wouldn’t use salt or pepper out of these; that paint/glaze is probably laced with lead.

What’s Thanksgiving without some Pilgrims?

The funny thing is that we saw another set of Pilgrims today that were also painted blue, but were a different couple.  What’s with the blue?  I thought that Pilgrims wore dark clothes.  Turns out that I was wrong and they wore colors such as purple, red, and blue along with grays, browns, and blacks.  Still doesn’t make this pair good, but maybe they’re more accurate than I thought.

Pumpkins aren’t just for Halloween:

Oh, the horror of burlap, lace, jute, and pearls.  If it were just a bit spherical, it would at least be the right shape.  This feels like a Pinterest fail.  They did the right thing by donating it to a thrift store.  The real question is why they made it in the first place.

Speaking of Pinterest, that was where I found this beautiful turkey:

Well, beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but I thought he was pretty.

To all of our readers who are celebrating Thanksgiving, we hope that it’s a wonderful day spent with those you love.

 

 

 

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A Peevish Post

Yet again, last week, the bins were not open when we got there.  We toured a couple of thrifts, and went to lunch.  Then we drove back to the other side of town to find the bins finally open.  At this point we find ourselves desultorily picking through the loads of clothes and grousing.  I think that, after lunch, we must just need a good nap to get us going again.  I don’t think I am up for napping, and then driving back, so I guess that we are just going to stay grumpy till they get better, or we adjust our attitude.  We wouldn’t do that, would we?  Luckily for you, our loyal reader, we found plenty of odd things at the thrift stores to keep you amused!

You should have seen Deb standing on a chair to get a good look at this wall hanging:

I don’t know if t it was worth the effort, but it sure is a classic piece from the ’70s.  I just hope the ’70s never return as a decorating style, because a half-hooked rug on the walls just doesn’t do it for me.  It’s ugly for a wall hanging, and useless as a rug.  Perhaps for a cat bed, if your cat has a whole lot less taste than mine.

In general, we try to refrain from commenting on homemade ceramic art, but these were just too bad to pass up:

I am strongly put in mind of the entire Kardashian clan judging by their “look at me” attitudes.  I became even more sure of their identities when I noticed the female dancer’s bra seems to either be see-through, or just plain nothing but a chain and some nude pasties.  As these are vintage, we will give the maker a pass on the personalities they put us in mind of, but we just can’t forgive the rest of it.  I hope the artist hung up their paint brushes after this.

Not far from the exotic dancers we found this tableau:

We were just going to take a photo of the fur-trimmed cat, but the poop-colored Scottie begged to be included.  The cat cutting board is mostly harmless, but he does look a little miffed that the only view he has are these two critters.  The cat not only has a real fur ruff but there was a hole on either side of his nose for whiskers.  No doubt going for that photo realism thing.  As much as we love Scotties, there was no way this one was coming home.  I am not sure if it would have been better in pink or turquoise (as I am sure it came in those nifty colors, too), so we think they whole thing should have been abandoned as a bad business.

We did like this darling maple doll bed:

I always feel like I should take these home and rescue them, but what would I do with a doll bed this size?  The cat can only sleep in one bed at a time, and he much prefers the full size bed I sleep in, ideally on my pillow.  I refuse to start dragging home older bigger dolls for these, so they stay there in hopes that someone has less will power than I do, and will bring them home.

Here we seem to have another Pinterest fail:

I think there were good intentions with the burlap ribbon, and it MIGHT have been OK if they had stopped there, but what is with the random mini silk flowers?  Not big enough to make a statement, and too scattered to be cute.  We think their wits might have been scattered, too, but we’re not sure.  I can see why they chucked the whole thing in the donation bin.  Hopefully they deleted that Pin, too.

We started out thinking this placemat was pretty cute:

We both liked all the goofy little mushrooms scattered about.  We didn’t even mind the green background.  We almost dove back into the bins looking for the rest of them, when we made the mistake of turning it over:

The color is not as bad in the photo as it was in person, so I really feel the full effect is lacking, but it really was a sickly green, and we have no idea why anyone thought those vaguely oriental flowers were a good match for the cutesy mushrooms on the front.  (I am going to insist that the mushrooms had to be the first choice of this seamstress.)  We never spotted the rest of these, so maybe they agreed with the Pinterest fail and tossed this into the donation box as fast as they could and put the cover back on the sewing machine.

I saved something fun for last.  We spotted this painting at a garage sale a week or two ago:

We were giggling at this pile of birds when I looked a little closer at the signature and realized I had picked up a painting by the same artist several years ago.  Here is mine:

As far as we can tell, he was a local artist that liked to paint goofy birds.  My painting came from his estate sale.  I only picked out one of them, but I probably should have bought more, just because this one makes me smile every time I walk by it.  I don’t think he ever showed his work or put it out there much except for friends and family.  It’s a shame, as he seemed to be fairly talented.

Hope these made you smile, too, and we promise to work on our general crankiness, and get back to our regular insulting selves!  Stop in next week (on Wednesday, due to the holiday!)  for our annual salute to the world’s worst turkeys, and we don’t mean Butterballs!

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Grumpy Kitties


We’ve had to change our shopping routine for the first time in many moons.  The Goodwill bins now open at 10am officially.  We showed up a few minutes before 10, and waited twenty minutes with no sign of life.  We got sick of standing in the cold, so now we aren’t going to the bins until after lunch.  That gives us about an hour, more or less, to dig around.  It was so much better when they actually opened at 9am—we were happy as pigs in clover, digging until lunch.  I kind of get the feeling that our Goodwill doesn’t care if they make their bin customers unhappy, since they’re getting a deal.  Time to pull up our big girl pants and deal!

We found this angel at a thrift store:

I named this “Driftwood Angel” and it might come in handy if  it were impregnated with paraffin wax and you needed help starting a fire in a survival situation.  As a decorative item, well … maybe you could … unstring it and play Jenga, which is lots of good, clean fun for the whole family.  Those wings and the head would be tough, though.

These two make me shudder and feel nostalgic at the same time, like most 1970s crafts do:

I’m guessing that at least some of you have seen those dolls made from dish soap bottles before.  My mom and grandma made me a Santa and Mrs. Santa set for Christmas one year and I love them.  I don’t always put them out because I had a dog that licked their hair obsessively!  Now, their hair smells like dog spit to other dogs and this has caused further problems.  But, somehow, Santa dolls seem okay to me, and this couple is not okay.  For one thing, you put Christmas decorations out for a while, and then they’re gone for eleven months.  I’m guessing these were out all year long—uff da!  Maybe the original maker should have used accessible liquor bottles as the base; they could drive you to drink and then provide a drink.  Seems fair.

I’ll just put the two 1970s things together:

I know burlap was recently in fashion, and I still see it at craft stores.  I kind of like plain brown burlap things as an accent.  However, harvest gold burlap, not so much.  I feel sort of bad for these embroidered topiaries.  If they were on cotton guest towels, or a dresser scarf, they would be cute.  This framing does them no favors.  When I was working on the photo, I could see that the oblong openings aren’t even cut right.  I cut like this after several cups of coffee, which is why I leave it to professionals, or at least trace a pattern and cut it after the caffeine wears off.

We saw this awesome brocade sitting on top of a wire bin:

It was a great big hunk for $3,99, which is a steal.  Sadly, the pattern is too big for dolly uses, and they are the only ones I will deal with brocade for.  It seriously would have made a couple of really cool pillows, if you were so inclined.  It amazes us how often we see super expensive fabric at thrift stores.  The only problem is that you can’t choose the color or pattern.

We often aren’t appreciative of what people make for themselves:

   

Not this time!  We both really liked this set of four chairs, made from plywood, I think.  It was good plywood, since the grain was small, and they were so heavy that it took both hands to move them.  They have a really cool style, sort of mid-century modern, although those cushions would have to go.  We left them for the next person who might actually need chairs and wouldn’t have to wedge them into their house.

We have some unfinished business from last week’s post.  A reader, Sandi, posted a picture of a cousin, her grandmother, and her great aunt wearing dresses similar to Kathy’s:

                 
Nellie Jensen, Sine/Stine                          Kathy’s Dress
[Kristen?] Jensen, and
Marie Jensen from Damgaards
Lokken Denmark

The story of the picture is that Sine/Stine and Marie Jensen’s mother died leaving their father with three girls under four years old.  The girls were divided among family/others but their father never remarried or contacted them again as far as she knows.  Obviously, two of the girls were together.  Sandi’s grandmother, Sine/Stine came to Iowa and married.  She died at 27 after having two little girls, and her things were put into a box which wasn’t opened for 80 years!  This picture was in that box and the family in Denmark haven’t seen it before, although Sandi did meet her Aunt Marie, who married Viggo Christensen, on a trip to Denmark in 1963.  Families ties and records were so fragile back then.  Who knows what might happen if someone searches those names linked to Damgaards or Denmark?

Back to the picture.  I was wondering if tiered skirts were a thing because you wore your clothes for so long.  If you happened to get too tall for a skirt, they would add another layer with some lace to make it longer.  You could fix damage to the skirt this way, too.  It might also be to accommodate different styles, or to “freshen” up an older outfit.  Considering how many clothes we own these days, it’s hard to imagine having to plan on keeping an outfit for years and fixing it.

We love hearing stories from readers.  If you have anything to add to one of our posts, don’t be shy; we love to share pictures and stories.                        

 

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Shades of Miss Havisham

The post is going to be short and sweet this week.  I had a lot going on, and here it is Thursday already, and no post!  At least I had the idea for it, and took the pictures, so you will not suffer too much.

We have often told you of our propensity to rescue things.  Someone has to do it, as no one else wants these items, and they are too lovely to let go by the wayside.  One day while digging in the bins, we came upon the following fashions.  All of them were in pretty bad shape, as it looked like someone had hacked away at them to make something else.  I can’t think that they used enough of it to bother with the damage they did, but it leaves me free to try and make things out of them with no guilt.  Most of them will be dolly clothes, but I wanted to share the garments before I too took after them with scissors.  These lovely clothes remind me strongly of Miss Havisham and her old wedding dress.

First up, and most glorious, is this charming late Victorian dress:

It consists of a dainty overdress of multiple types of lace over a satin charmeuse in soft ivory.  I think it was full length, but it might have been more ankle length.  It’s hard to tell with a good half of the dress missing.  I laid it out as best as I could, so you could get the general idea.  The details on this gown are amazing.  Just look at the center bodice and all the different types of lace used:

Even the sash on the back had amazing tassels on the end.  There is still one in place:

There was even a small woven area and tiny tassels on the sleeve and mid bodice.  You can see this detail on the bodice in the center of the first closeup picture.  The lace is all machine-made, but much of the dress is hand sewn.  There would have been access to a machine at this time, but it might have just been hard to sew all that lace on a machine.  I hope this dress went someplace really special and gave the owner many happy memories!

Next up is a dress from the 1910s or so:

This one definitely would have been shorter.  There is only one sleeve, and that was loose, but I laid it out with it back in place, so you could see how cute the sleeve was.  This one would have had an underdress, as well as some foundation garments, so not as racy as it looks!  Super lightweight cotton would be just right for a grand glorious summer picnic!

Here we have another one from the teens, I think:

I’ve been trying to figure out if this was a corset cover, or an outer blouse that went over other undergarments.  The sleeves seem wrong for outerwear.  It is charming, and this is in one piece and will remain so.  As far as vintage fashion goes, this is highly wearable, if you are a size 6 or so.

Here we have an incredible hand-crocheted vintage collar:

I have never seen one this long.  I am guessing it was made to tie, or be pinned in the front.  It’s a traditional pineapple crochet pattern, and probably dates more to the ’30s or ’40s.  These hand-crocheted cotton pieces are strong and usually in super condition.  This one is, and is another highly wearable piece.

Last up is this charming flapper dress from the early ’20s:

Why someone felt the need to hack off that upper bodice is beyond me.  It breaks my heart, as this one is sized quite a bit larger, and I might have been able to wear it in a pinch.  As it is, I am trying to decide if the appliquéd poppies on cotton voile would make a skirt with the addition of an underskirt and removal of the bodice remains.  Ah well, a project for another day, although winter is coming!

Hope you enjoyed this little side trip into fashion.  Wish me luck in actually having the gumption to use scissors on these.  Just take a deep breath and snip, right?  We should be back to our normal snarky selves next week, so pop back in again soon.

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Not Scared? You Should Be!

It might not be the kind of scare you associate with Halloween, but our finds are so awful  that they should scare you.  We spend all year looking at Halloween stuff because it’s the most wonderful time of the year for us.  Kathy’s house could be a Halloween showcase if she had the time or energy to get it all out.  For me, there are only two times of the year that I might be bothered to decorate, and Halloween is one of them.

One of our local thrift stores starts putting out Halloween merchandise in late August/early September:

We think that they sell a lot of costume pieces for the Tour de Fat, a craft beer festival put on by New Belgium Brewery.  People dress up in the strangest costumes you’ve ever seen, ride their bikes in a parade, and then go to the brewery to drink beer.  It’s a lot of fun to watch; if you participate, you miss a lot of the costumes and tricked-out bikes.  It would not surprise me a bit to see someone in this costume pedaling down the street on Tour de Fat day.

I’m not sure what this kitty has to smile about:

Maybe he’s in love and has stars in his eyes, literally.  I think that he is a poor copy of one of those primitive pieces of folk art.  As much as I love Pinterest, they sure do encourage the untalented to try out craft projects.  I wish he had a witchy friend to keep him company and scare that goofy grin off his face.  Kitty really isn’t Halloweeny, unless you consider bad crafts scary.

Now, this is frightening:

Frighteningly bad.  Thank God that it didn’t have batteries so we didn’t have to watch it dancing, because of course we tried to turn it on—that’s how we roll.  I could see this skeleton dancing to U Can’t Touch This (And why would I want to?), I Want to Dance with Somebody (I bet!), or even Single Ladies (Duh).  Any one of those songs would at least inject some much-needed humor.  There were a whole bunch of these things on the shelves, which doesn’t surprise me a bit!  They will probably be there for a while with their $9.99 price tags.

Someone out there is truly committed to their crafting vision:

This macrame witch was pretty darn big.  Okay, I have to admit that I kind of like her and admire that nose!  It must have taken some tricky knotting to make that part of the pattern work.  Although, I have to lower the grade just a bit for using a feather duster as a broom.  She was big enough that the maker could have made a broom, or just used a kid’s play broom.

I do not like this witch:

Man, for $10 you should get a blow mold with a little more pizzazz. The picture is crap, but the witch wasn’t anything to write home about either.  I wonder if you could paint a blow mold to give it a spark?  Right now, she’s a washed-out mess.  I DO like the cauldron with the bone and lights.  It probably looks cool when plugged in.

This could have been awesome:

It all went wrong with the yellow rickrack outlining the eyes, nose, and mouth.  I had never considered doing one of those balloon, glue, and string crafts for a pumpkin—cool idea.  But, they should have used ribbon or something flat to outline the openings.  I would probably have used black too, since they’re being creepy with the spiders.  Also, please yank out that plastic grocery bag.

We weren’t too impressed with this wreath, either:

Hey, crafter, you spent a bunch of money on all those tiny plastic pumpkins.  I would have skipped a few pumpkins and bought some ribbon, leaves, ghosts, or something else to keep this from being an uncreative eyesore.  If you want to make a Halloween wreath, look no further than this Pinterest idea:

Oh dear God, how I hated wearing those masks.  As a kid with clunky glasses, it was a miracle that I wasn’t run over on a dark night—I couldn’t see a thing.  This is a much safer use for them.  It would be cool to do a Batman mask wreath with black ribbon and a Bat-Signal.

Speaking of costumes:

All we could think of when we saw this, was that we wished we could mail it to The Big Bang Theory for Cinnamon, Raj’s Yorkie.  She is already a princess on that show; might as well make it official.

We found this mixture of cartoon stars in one bin:

My favorite is Snoopula, followed by Witchy Woodstock.  Charlie Brown is not all that well done, and Mickey is cute, but I just like the other two better.  I might have taken Snoopy home (he was only 99¢) but my decorating closet is pretty full and I’m holding out for something vintage.

This blow-up skeleton cracked us up:

Imagine the mess of feeding a skeleton baby.  Every thing would fall out of his rib cage and onto the floor, as opposed to 50% landing on the floor with your typical kid.  We have to give the people setting up this garage sale props for this display.

They also had this blow up:

Too bad these blow ups are of a thinner, lighter-weight plastic.  They wouldn’t last outside for more than a season, and maybe not even that if the wind were blowing.  If you had Halloween parties, or were a teacher, the skeleton and spider would be fun decorations, and would store flat!

If you want to see some cool vintage Halloween swag, take a look at our Pinterest Halloween Board.  It has something for everyone.

Here’s hoping that all of your Halloween candy is chocolate.

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