A Stitch or Two

I am feeling pretty crabby this week, so I decided to be a little more informative and perhaps a bit less witty, but I will try.

I lost my 18-year-old buddy this week:

I love this photo of him because he was so funny. He had gotten into a fresh skunk spray area (not a direct hit, whew!) and knew he smelled. He let me give him a shower with baking soda and vinegar, and was smelling much better, but he was still looking pretty pitiful. He made me laugh. Ramses has been a comfort, but no two cats ever have the same place in your heart.

To top it off, some delightful idiot decided to make a left turn in right in front of me, and now I have the joy of dealing with insurance, repairs etc. to my pretty purple truck. I am not sure there is enough chocolate in the world, but Deb is home for a bit and that is a pretty good substitute.

I have had several of these sewing kits sitting around for a while needing to have some pix taken and I decided this was as good a week as any. Deb and I both love things like this. The everyday treasures that women surrounded themselves with, bring us joy as well.

This is a rather unassuming looking leather roll:

Well worn, but still in one piece. Open it up and we find this exuberance of plaid and ruffles:

It has nice little flannel flaps for needles, pockets for thimbles, scissors and what have you. The leftover roll serves as a pin cushion. It is probably late Victorian. It must have been a treasured piece to survive in this condition.

This piece is probably not a whole lot later:

It has three sides of three different colored velvets. The person who made it may have been colorblind, as the third side is brown! Or maybe that was all that was in the rag bag at the time. Press on both ends and it opens up:

More flannel for your needles and the pretty little thimble was all that was left in it. It’s kind of a fun little kit and in a pinch, you can pretend it is a Muppet! Another one that I am surprised it has lasted so long, as surely some bored kid should have found it in Grandma’s stuff and opened and closed it till it wore out, but they didn’t. Kids must be losing their touch.

As I spend a good amount of my time living in the world of dolls, I thought I had found a really cool dolly hat:

Imagine my surprise to open it up and find this:

More flannel. This one is very tiny. Only about two inches at i’s widest. Sorry for all the fuzz on this. I did try to clean it up. I just didn’t have the patience to sit there forever with some tape! I think this little kit dates to the ’20s. Not a lot of room for anything but the needles or pins, as the hat is stuffed solid. Still, give the seamstress props for a clever build.

This is a later kit from the ’40s maybe? Homemade and latching on to that Mexicali theme that you see with the big sombrero wearing fellas, asleep in the shade of a saguaro:

It’s made of felt with loosely crocheted yarn trim. On opening this one you find the ubiquitous needle flap, although this one is felt. and the clever thimble hidey hole that is the crown of the hat. All the pins were there when I found it, and I tend to leave these as is.

Honestly, I just showed you those other sewing kits just so I would have an excuse to show you this one:

Lipstick you say? Think again:

The spools of thread twist up just like the lipstick it looks like. There is room for some needles in the center of the thread. I guess this is for the woman who just doesn’t want to admit that she can sew on a button in front of her suave and debonair date. (We always pronounced that as Su-a-ve and de-bonner!) This thing tickles me no end. I have no idea why I need it, but I am sure I do. The finish is pretty shot, but I don’t think I will mess with it. Again, not the best pix. My phone was acting up, and did I mention I had to talk to insurance agents today?

And since we are wending our way through the ages, I thought I would add this cute little ’70s pincushion:

I could have removed the needles, but this is just so you know I really do try to use some of these things. I have to make up some sort of excuse for them sitting around my sewing machine. This fellow is pretty cheaply made. Probably came from Woolworths or something like it, but I dare you not to smile. It was probably 89 cents well spent at the time.

Hope I wasn’t too much of a downer today, and here is hoping that your days will all be Lucky Days!

And just so you know these buttons are no more than 3/8ths of an inch across. Luck comes in small packages. I shop with Deb tomorrow for the first time in over a month, so life is good.

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Shopping With My Sisters

Even with all the stuff going on we still find time to get out and have some fun. First up was a trip to Applewood which is the estate of Charles and Ruth Mott. Charles was a co-founder of General Motors, and Ruth wanted their estate to be available to the people of Flint, so she started a foundation that supports lots of programs and the estate. It’s open to the public and is free. We wandered around looking at the grounds. The house is closed right now because of the pandemic, but there are tons of gardens and a wonderful orchard. We were impressed with the size of the chicken coop:

The coop echoes the house with brick and a slate roof. Those were some spoiled chickens. I wondered how the family ate all the eggs that so many chickens would produce. Then I discovered that they did have six children, so they had a built-in demand for breakfast eggs and baked sweets.

I should have taken a picture of the house so you could see how the little details match up. To the left of the chicken coop there are veggie and flower gardens. I imagine that this area was used for kitchen gardens while the Motts lived here. Fertilizer was close to hand because there was a huge cow and horse barn to the right, which looks a lot like the house and chicken coop.

The other thing we did there was try the apple jelly samples which the staff made from apple cider. I had never considered making jelly from juice or cider; so much easier than cooking apples and then draining and straining them.

So after doing all that walking, we went to a vintage mall that has a lot of booths full of collectibles, both good and bad. We were looking for a china bird for my sisters’ old bird cage. Of course, we couldn’t find one that would work, but we saw tons of other things.

We saw lots of dog and cats; this is one of the not-so-good things:

Our big eyes follow you wherever you go!

I have never been a fan of those big-eyed pictures from the ’60s and ’70s. Why on earth would you ever make a hooked wall hanging with these two sad pets? It was about two feet wide, so it wouldn’t make a pillow. I guess you could throw it on top of a surface, and then cover it with books or dog toys. Not exactly how you would want to treat something that you paid $35 for!

This picture is for Kathy:

I don’t think this is traditional taxidermy.

Kathy has quite a few of these little critters made from rabbit fur, I think. The seller called them taxidermy, but only in the sense that they are made from preserved fur. You don’t call a mink stole taxidermy and I’m pretty sure that those tiny little kitties in the basket were not made from real-life tiny kittens. That collie in the upper left has a very strange expression; his face is definitely not symmetrical, and his whole expression seems pretty sad about it. The prices were pretty fair, at least they are in the single digits.

This is the last dog/pet entry:

Do they call you: Charlie Chaplin, Groucho Marx, or Adolf?

I guess it’s best to address the elephant in the room. What is the deal with the black line under the nose? I have seen many, many dog noses in my time, and none of them have ever looked like this! I want to like this picture; cocker spaniels are pretty sweet dogs but this poor fella doesn’t look too bright and that mustache! I do like the carved wood frames, but this one needs some TLC.

I was horrified by a lot of things in this booth, but the lions in the lower left were the worst:

They were plaster and probably were white originally and located in a home where the décor trended toward pretentious, unless it was a huge estate or a library. I just can’t understand why they painted them those bright colors; now it looks like it belongs in a child’s play castle. I am grateful to the lions for distracting me from the rest of the things on the shelves.

I was tempted to buy this for my dentist:

I just can’t see anything but a tooth with those three big roots/legs under the cup. I’m not at all distracted by the flower decal. I imagine someone somewhere has a flower painted on their tooth, so this still looks toothy to me. I have seen footed cups before, but usually the feet are only a couple of inches long and are in proportion to the cup, unlike this thing.

We weren’t sure what this is or who might want it:

You see these face cut-out things at amusement parks, but usually they are figures doing something crazy like skydiving, or it’s a famous piece of art with faces missing. Who wants to put your face in this little girl’s body and snap a photo? Plus, she’s missing her left arm and there is a creepy big hand on her right shoulder. I wish I could talk to the person who owns this booth and find out where they bought it. It’s a weird thing, and even the rabbits look a little worried.

I just love the promises that vintage products make and do not deliver:

This push mower is called, “Silent Yard Man” which is certainly optimistic. You know that this probably makes a pretty loud whirling noise at the best of times. I have to say that my personal “Yard Man” is never silent while doing something like physical work in the yard. It just isn’t his favorite thing.

That’s it for this week. Hopefully, I’ll be back in CO next week and can go shopping with Kathy just like it’s a normal week. Fingers crossed that it works out that way! I hope you all get to do something that you love this weekend!

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It’s Halloween In July

We are still doing the online auction thing, as many of the companies are still giving it a whirl. We got some really fun things at the last sale, but my word, the auction company is disorganized. We got to the pickup site (which was a solid 40 miles from home, I might add) to find about 50 other people there waiting for their turn, too. They had a sign-in sheet and I dashed up and put my name down. I waited about 35 minutes, and was then brought into the house to pick up my lots, which were in about three different rooms. And guess what? They managed to lose one of my lots, AGAIN. This has happened at two out of the last three auctions I have bid on. Honestly, you would think it could stay put for half an hour. The last time, someone else had taken it home and it took them over a week to find it, and then it was missing stuff. Hope this goes better this time, but I am not holding out hope.

Luckily, they had hidden these two lots in the refrigerator! First up, the part that gave me goosebumps:

I have wanted these Halloween cats for years, but was always unable to afford them. These weren’t cheap, but reasonable, so I sprang for both lots, as some of them were in each lot. They are about 9 inches tall and probably from the late ’40s early ’50s. I figured I would forget to post about them around Halloween, so you get them in July. Think of those nice cool October temps, and enjoy the view and the kitty concert.

The rest of the lot had some of this type of decorations in it:

Not sure if the cats or the owls make me happier. But that sweet little bat is no slouch either. I don’t know why this stuff makes me so giddy, but it does! These also date to the ’40s or ’50s. It’s no small feat for them to survive this long in relatively good condition, but these are not bad.

Since I started doing some stuff that is in my personal collection, and let’s call it that instead of my hoard. I thought I would share a couple more fun things that have needed a photo.

I have no idea what the heck I am going to do with these:

But tell me if you could have resisted shiny red foil lobster die-cuts. If so, you are a better person than me. I actually didn’t even pay a dollar for them, as they were purchased when our favorite used craft place went out of business and we were filling bags for cheap, but I might have even paid a buck for them in a fit of insanity if given the chance. For fun, let us know what you would do with these.

This was in another recent sale purchase:

Nothing special about it, just some vintage braid. I have seen it used for a base on lots of crochet or netting projects. What caught my eye was the “Dust Proof” designation. Did we lose this technology? Because I am positive I want my entire house treated with whatever they used! I feel cheated that this was never offered to me. I might coat my coffee table in this braid just to see what happens. I have a feeling that dust is still going to show right up, and I will be let down by yet another miracle product.

While we are on the subject of ribbon, I can’t resist these little Hallmark booklets:

I have got to say that the way they wrap things, it is a fine art. I am lucky if I can slap some tissue around something and stick it in a gift bag. There is no way that some of these things are happening, but I have the booklet and can always hope that my inner Martha Stewart comes to the fore. Check out some of the pages:

I can see why this style might not have caught on. Done poorly, or in a bad color, they could come out looking vaguely obscene. (I need to get my mind out of the gutter, don’t I?) Maybe a person could go straight for the titillating style. Perfect for a bridal shower gift.

How about a bed of roses:

Honestly, if I had to make enough ribbon roses to do the style in the upper left corner, that box would be empty! The wrapping would be gift enough!

This would be a little more my speed. I think I could handle most of these styles, and they are still pretty clever:

I’ve always liked quilling and I think it is a cute technique.

This odd piece of jewelry was in a lot I got from an auction as well:

It was the craziest thing I have ever seen. The glass cameo was applied to a glass background that was made with bits of shell encased in it. The edges were silvered, and the back was painted black. I can usually date jewelry to within a decade or so. This one has me stumped, but it is kinda cool. I am not sure quite what style of dress you wear it with. Maybe just go with a toga.

I did see a couple of things at the thrift store this week. It was slim pickings, if you can imagine. Maybe it was just because things are funnier with Deb is around.

This did crack me up:

Someone needs to switch this feline to decaf immediately! Those eyes tell me he has been sleepless for about a week, and yet he is still guarding the coffee cup with his life. I am surprised they were able to wrestle him into a sweater, as that much caffeine should have given him super feline strength. I can’t imagine why he is at the BOTTOM of the Christmas tree either. Unless he has already been up and down it approximately 1000 times.

This also made me laugh. Take a guess at what it is:

For those of us of a “certain age” this brings back an ache in the wrists just thinking about them. I still have my Click Clacks and can do it with only minimal pain. Probably should have bought these and redone the strings. I could introduce a whole new generation to one of those extremely dangerous toys of our youth. And yet we survived!

Hope things are not too hot in your area, and the summer is treating you well. The snow will fly again soon enough and I will whinge about that. I am gathering enough stuff together for a bang-up craft pamphlet post, as I bought this lot at an auction … a story for another day.

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Who Says You Can’t Go Home Again?

Sorry, Thomas Wolfe, you can go home again if you don’t burn all your bridges on your way out. I’m staying with my sisters in the tiny town we grew up in. All of us had moved out-of-state, but my sisters have all ended up back in the place we grew up. Who knows, I may end up near here too in the future. Never say never, a much better life quote.

My sisters are amazing gardeners. Witness their clematis:

I could have snapped a picture of their bee balm which is over five feet tall, or their happy daisies that decorate the front walk, but the clematis is pretty dramatic all on its own.

Last weekend, we drove about 30 miles southwest and ended up in a cute little town, Holly MI. They have a whole bunch of antique malls and shops, which was very entertaining. I really liked how this mall was set up:

They used lots of old vintage architectural details to decorate the walkways. It was fun just looking around outside the shops. There were about 40 shops in this particular antique mall.

Kathy wrote about uranium glass or Vaseline glass in a post here. I saw a display that shows that sellers are catching on to showing off their wares:

You can talk all day about glass glowing under black lights, but seeing it in person is even better. This is a pretty prosaic group of dishes; about the only interesting thing about them is that they have uranium, just a bit, in them to make them look green. Thankfully, they’ve come up with less scary ways to color glass, although the risk from this glassware is insignificant.

When buying dolls, the term MIB means mint in box, and for some collectors it’s essential. When looking at vintage items, you really don’t see MIB things, but I did last week:

If I had a quibble with Anchor Hocking, it would be that very few “Early Americans” had table service like this. Pressed glass was first made in the 1820s, which surprised me; I thought it was later than that. This looks like a very practical gift for a young couple, although two cruets seems like a stretch, but hey for some reason they had to get to 11 pieces. And “PRESCUT” seems just a bit misleading since these pieces are not cut in any way, shape, or form!

This was my big purchase and I don’t mean the photo-bombing dog, or display Barbie:

I found two Strombecker dollhouse chairs that look like they’re in the mid-century style. I thought that they might work with dolls that are a smidge smaller than Barbie.

Strombecker stopped making doll furniture in the early 1960s, mostly because of Barbie’s popularity; she was just too big for most of their furniture. ( Kathy here: I have one of these exact same chairs, cause they are just so darn cute! )

It started looking a little stormy, so we headed back home. When we got in the house we heard the tornado sirens go off, and looking at the news, we realized that there was a tornado warning and severe thunderstorm watch going on. Of course, it went right through where we had been, although the tornadoes touched down in the thumb of MI and up north. Just a little too real for me. It never occurred to any of us to check the weather!

I still have a couple of things from thrift stores to show you so this won’t be the shortest post ever.

You know a craft is a fail when you can’t tell whether it’s a cat or kangaroo:

Looking at it now, I’m even more upset because it’s missing its front legs and we didn’t even notice! Poor little thing needs a cart or something. Anyway, we turned it sideways and we think we know what it’s supposed to be:

Who on earth would make a two-legged cat? I don’t see anywhere where the front legs might have been attached prior to being shipped off to the thrift store. Come to think of it, only having two legs might be why it was voted off the island. Who wants stuffed animals that make you feel sad? We get enough of that every day!

This is another craft fail of the fussy, crappy, big kind:

Why didn’t the maker put curtains on a window and attach a flower box outside and call it good? This doesn’t put me in the mind of looking out the window up in the mountains and seeing a big deer. Actually, the scale of the deer seems a little off for that window. Is it too big or too small? For some reason I just can’t decide, and honestly does it really matter? The perspective problem is strike three and this craft is OUT!!

After those two craft fails, I thought you might like to see something cute. My great-niece loves drawing. She has been doing pet portraits, so I sent her this photo of my dog, Koko:

I just love him with the butterfly. Anyway, this is what she drew for me on her iPad:

I just love it, and had it printed on a canvas to take home with me. She has done several dog and cat portraits so far and we are enjoying her art!

I’m still in MI because they cannot determine where my dad’s cancer originated and the primary site determines the treatment. Luckily, the University of Michigan has a clinic that treats people with cancer of unknown origins, so my dad will be getting some cutting edge treatment even if they never figure out where it all started. It’s been so nice spending time together after not seeing each other for two years and luckily, he feels pretty darn good for being 84 years old!

Happy 4th of July to all my fellow Americans. Hope you all have a fun, safe weekend!

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Fire on the Mountain

Yesterday was our first super smoky day in Colorado for this summer. The wildfires are starting up again. We can look forward to red dawns and sunsets because of all the particulates in the air. We don’t have anything real close to us yet, but it is only a matter of time. A super wet spring, plus our summer hot dry conditions, makes for a deadly combination. I wish I didn’t have to point this out, but:

Please take care while you are out in the woods, no matter where you live. Our forests depend on it. OK, off the soap box and onto bigger and better things.

Not quite Soapbox Derby, but adorably cute all the same:

Love that they called this a “Tot Rod”. Pretty darling little pedal car. Imagine the joy this baby brought on Christmas morning. This and several of the next items were at a local “junk” auction a couple of weeks ago. I was glad there was not anything I was dying for as the forecast called for almost 100 degree temps, and I was going to have to want something pretty darn bad to stand out in that.

If I was going to be tempted by anything, it might have been this giant-size hippo:

I found out about house hippos a while ago, and have been on the hunt for my very own. It’s all in good fun to have a tiny little hippo to hide in your house, even though the commercial is about something serious. I thought this would make a fantastic house hippo, even though he was a solid four feet long and seems to have a thing for tipping giraffes. Not sure I could have convinced hubby, unless he had gotten a severe case of sunstroke from standing out in the sun.

Near the hippo was a big old tub of rolling pins:

We’ll talk about that booted foot near the tub later. For now, how about that for a collection of rolling pins? Think how many pies and cookies owed their lives to one of these. I sort of felt bad that no one loved them any more, and I really hope they went to someone who will take good care of them.

Now that foot:

I don’t know what this red Power Ranger did to get kicked out of the group, or maybe he is just a rugged individualist, but here he is, all on his lonesome. The hippo was just down the way, along with two giraffes. There was a dragon to the right of the Power Ranger and the giant fake rock behind him was also in the group. I have serious doubts about the person that sent this whole pile to the auction. They must be a VERY interesting person, or just plain off their rocker. Heck, they might make us look normal.

Glad we only went to the preview of the auction, but it did net us some fun blog fodder. Found a couple fun things at the thrift store and garage sales this week, too.

I was also tempted by these, but I was not sure where you wear them, unless you are on a scenic trip to Roswell, NM:

Everyone needs some nice alien glasses. Or you could use them and pretend you are an insect, but I think the shiny silver lends itself more to an E.T. impersonation. By the way, if you have never been to Roswell, and you are ever nearby, not that it happens as it is pretty much out in BFE, do yourself a favor and stop. It’s American roadside campiness at its best.

I thought this cute little dolly bunkbed was super fun:

I am a sucker for vintage doll furniture, and I love the little bunny decals. They take this one right over the top. Lucky for me that I have not succumbed to collecting things in this size, as I was able to take a picture and move on. Hope it went home with some little girl for her Teddys or dolls.

I thought this was pretty amazing too, but I didn’t bother to ask what the lady wanted for it as she was hovering over it and ooing and aahing to all that came by:

I asked to take a pic and called it good. This is about the oldest Mickey Mouse hat I have ever seen. I think it is pretty close to being the very beginning of the show. Sing with me now … M I C … K E Y … M O U S E ! Did you know that the first ad that ever aired for Barbie was on the Mickey Mouse show? Kinda cool. I’d rather have a Barbie than ears, but hey, that’s just me.

Decided I needed a couple more pix to round out the blog, so the Summer Intern and I hit the thrift store after garage sales. I am VERY sorry I did:

By all that’s holy, what were they thinking? I get the heebie jeebies just looking at this. There is no way that you should ever be alone with this thing. Something bad is going to happen. I don’t even want to speculate. Why would they make something so plants could grow out of his pants? And does the fact that he is a golfer make it any better? The answer is a definitive NO. It was still there when I cruised by again on Wednesday. I keep hoping someone with a half an ounce of good taste will come along and knock it off the shelf. I probably should have done it and saved the world. Guess I am no Power Ranger.

Whew, that was pretty bad. Probably should have warned you. Will leave you on a happier, groovier note:

Peace out baby! Sorry the image is blurry. I think my camera was still reeling from the last pic. I don’t know why the casual position and the crazy feather hat, but I think this bear is just going with the flow. Guess we all should do a better job with that. I will work on it, right after I get the golfer out of my head!

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Someone Needs to Call Animal Control

I’m still in Michigan with my family. It’s so nice to spend time with my family after not seeing them for so long. I have to confess that I’m not sorry to be missing the scorching heat back in Colorado!

I thought you might like to see a couple of different buildings that I’ve seen on my travels around the state. First up is a house made of rock:

East of Evart MI

I like the different sizes of rocks used; some of those rocks are huge! I’m not sure how they even kept them in place before the cement set up. The gambrel roof is pretty cool, too. I wonder if this was a barn that they added onto and made into a house. There are lots of rock/stone houses in MI. You will turn onto a new city and there will be houses that are all rock, or maybe partially rock and shakes. I love them!

The other building is one that I have passed by while growing up and never paid much attention to:

Near Goodrich MI

Round barns were commonly built until about the 1920s. George Washington built a 16-sided barn for grain. They were thought to be more efficient, stable, and required less materials to build. I also read that they were often used as dairy barns. They could be truly circular or a polygonal in shape. They are both considered “round”. This one is a true round barn made of concrete and built in 1950, so no wonder it’s in great shape!

Well, time to get the post rolling. I’m using some pictures from when Kathy and I shopped together the last time.

This poor Mexican duck has bored the angel into pretending to be narcoleptic:

This duck has some pretty fanciful but stale colors. Usually these ducks are tan, brown, and black, or blue, gray, and black with lots of lines, and designs that I interpret as feathers. This might be a copy made by someone who really didn’t know about Mexican pottery ducks and wanted to incorporate those 1980s colors—blue and mauvey pink. The bronze lusterware pitcher and bowl deserve to be next to something a little bit snazzier.

Come to think of it, this cowboy doll has the right colors for a Mexican pottery duck:

That might be the only thing I can say about this doll. We like most of the witch shelf-sitting dolls we see as Halloween décor, but this cowboy with chaps is a big fat NO! I might also say, “Why?” because that’s the second thing that occurred to me. It might spend the rest of its life at the thrift store because who would want it? If you have it in for a cowboy, it might make an acceptable Voodoo doll.

I guess you could store some no-bake cow pie cookies in this cookie jar:

On the other hand, no-bake haystack cookies might be more palatable to think about. I’m no farmer, but I wonder how often cows sleep on hay bales? Probably never because they aren’t built for climbing in my limited experience. I think the maker thinks about cows like they are big dogs, ready to climb up on the couch. Mooove over! You could pair the cow with the cowboy doll, and get rid of two eyesores at once.

I so hope that a child made this glass tile as a fun project to give to their mom:

If an adult was responsible for this, then I have questions about their sanity. If my project ended up looking like this, I would toss it in the nearest trash can! I figure that a kid probably used jelly beans to make the designs along with paint, pieces of paper, and lots of Elmer’s glue. I suppose that a person might be able to find some wax product to melt and form into a fish-like shape that are supposed to be yellow tangs, I’m guessing. That orange coral has to be made of pork and beans from a can. What else looks like that?

We were amused by the name of this game:

I’m confused by why they equate family fun with tailgating; that’s kind of an adult activity. I was wondering how to play the game, and with a little Googling, found a video of the fun to be had by throwing rubber chickens. Check it out here. My favorite comment on the Flicken’ Chicken video is “Them chickens BOUNCE”. Not a phrase you hear often. I would rather play bocce ball, but maybe throwing chickens would grow on me if I gave them a chance!

We aren’t quite sure what this is trying to be. A multi-media project for school?

There are paper shapes, lace, flowers (silk ?), buttons, and paint. I just don’t get the feeling that there was a plan here. We were staring at it, and then the Summer Intern came up with its friend:

The second one is pretty congested across its middle. They certainly aren’t something that I want to look at daily. The pair make me nervous because there is so much going on and there isn’t any unifying theme, pattern, or attractiveness. I’m annoyed that so many useful things were used in this cringey way—what a waste! I hope to God that they didn’t use any vintage buttons on this mess.

Thanks for stopping by and giving us a read. I have an interesting book about historic clothing with gorgeous pictures, so there may be a book report coming up in the near future.

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Dog Days Already?

Whew, it has been in the mid-nineties for a couple of days already. I am not ready for this heat. Usually, we just gradually fade into these higher temps, but just two weeks ago, we were barely hitting 70F. And then, wham, Mother Nature decided we have had enough of enjoying spring. My poor plants are wilting in the heat. It has burned the blossoms on my peonies and they fade in less than a day. Sigh.

Luckily, we have had a bumper crop of garage sales the last couple of weeks. The Summer Intern and I have been hitting them on Fridays, and the whole family goes on Saturdays. I miss getting snarky with Deb, but she is still back home with her family. It just means I have to shop for her, and she shops for me with her sisters.

I am not sure what this pot is making a face about, but it seems to be offending the bunny nearby. Come to think of it, that little girl looks pretty crabby about it, too:

I’ve seen cool face jugs on Antiques Roadshow, this is not one.

This was actually pretty cool. I didn’t need it, but it was still fun. Apparently, before they Rocked’em and Socked’em, there was this:

I think I prefer robots boxing to real-looking people, and I don’t like boxing of any sort, but I have to say this game was in amazing condition. It was from the ’50s and looked like it had never been taken out of the box. Probably a Christmas present from some Dad wanting Junior to be a little more “butch”. Junior ignored the game and went on to become a wealthy world-renowned fashion designer.

I liked this too, although it breaks my heart:

25 years ago, when I had a brick and mortar antique store, something like this would have sold for $60 or $70 bucks and been out the door so fast it would make your head spin. Today a fiver at a yard sale will probably still see it go unsold. I would have brought it home and rescued it from ignominy, but I already have three ruffled bride’s baskets, and how many do you need? I, at least, have an excuse; what is up with the rest of you?

On the other hand, these silly things are still big sellers:

Folks snap up this mid-century stuff like crazy and these grape clusters are quite popular. We have to admit that we have never seen one with candle holders incorporated into it. Must have been quite jazzy with the soft glow of candlelight reflected in the bilious green of the grapes. I wasn’t even slightly tempted, but I am sure they were gone the instant the right person spotted them.

A quick Google search produced a great little article about this fellow:

This was a logo for a company that started out making automatic stokers for coal furnaces. You can read the article here. He was pretty cute, but priced above retail, and I don’t buy ashtrays much. I also liked the little white metal figure beside him. If you can’t see it well, and believe me, I couldn’t see it that well, even in person. It depicts a child on a bearskin rug. Kind of a funny thing to make a cheap sculpture of, but there you go. I think I like the robot better.

I am sure this was grabbed almost immediately from the thrift store:

This is probably one of the bigger Coke collectibles I have ever seen. Yep, that is a full size floor lamp beside it, so it is huge. I am a dedicated collector of several things, but I am really glad I am not into Coke, and had no reason to drag something like this home. The conversation with the spouse, when this came through the door, must have been interesting. Probably not harmonious, but interesting. I forgot to look at the price, so can’t enlighten you there.

The last time Deb and I hit the thrift store, we found several pieces of “please pass us by” jewelry. You know us, we love jewelry. These were easy to, if not ignore, at least leave there and hope they get thrown in the giant jar of junk jewelry and tossed in the trash.

We saw the front of this one first:

It was huge and I can just see all those little prongs getting caught on every last piece of clothing you own. When we turned it over, you could see how it had been made:

Honestly, why did they have to mess with a pretty good chain mail pattern? It would have been kind of cool without all the blue bling. No one would have the patience to remove all those blue gems, and most wouldn’t even turn it over. Poor thing.

I don’t mind repurposing, but why take something ugly and make it uglier:

So I get that you lost half the belt buckle. Just toss the remaining half. Don’t try to thread a chain through it and turn it into something just as useless with no panache. It wasn’t even very pretty as a belt buckle. Maybe it kept up your pants up, but that is about it. Or then again, maybe it weighed them down so much they spent a lot of time down around the ankles. Either way. Hard pass.

This piece was trying to be a cool ’60s thing:

It’s got the right look, but it was cheap looking and feeling. The knockoff from a Woolworth store. I suppose from a distance, and on the right muumuu, with a busy pattern, it worked. Remember the disappointment of getting the flimsy replica instead of the real deal? Babs, instead of Barbie, Action Mike instead of GI Joe? Yep, just like that.

I couldn’t go too long without giving you an update on Ramses. He likes the drive-in and so do we:

Best place to go on a hot summer night, and I guess we are going to have a lot of those, so look for me and the “Lap Leopard” there.

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June is Bustin’ Out All Over

Well, maybe not June specifically. With all the rain, weeds are busting out everywhere. I’ve filled two 32-gallon trash cans with dandelions alone! Our new neighbors across the street seem to like dandelions, so we have lots of seeds flying all over. Don’t even get me started on bindweed, my nemesis!

We have been showing you our seasonal flowers, but when I got home from MI, my cactus greeted me with this:

It doesn’t bloom every year, but I always appreciate its efforts. I got the cactus from a resident at the nursing home where I worked. I took care of everyone’s plants, so I had lots of plant buddies. Sadly, she didn’t know what kind of cactus it was, so I don’t either. I call it Janey after her, but if you know its real name, please let me know.

My mom gave me a special present when I was visiting:

She is so lucky that she actually owns two, both bought at garage sales:

They’re called Singer Featherweight sewing machines, and are particularly coveted by quilters because they are portable and sew beautiful straight stitches. I have been looking for one for years, but I only wanted to pay $25 for one, like my mom paid for this one. That’s a tough find! I’ll give this baby a good home and might even let Kathy have an overnight visit if she is a good girl.

What’s June without a bride?

She obviously was a gift that wasn’t appreciated as she has never been opened. I think she is all ready to be a bridezilla what with her hands looking like boxing gloves. She is able to enforce her every whim. I do think that a Bendos bride and groom would be fun on a cake. Way better than one of those syrupy kid bride and groom, or the bride dragging the groom by his coat. Plus you can pose them!

There is something seriously wrong with ARC’s stuffed toy display:

This vulture has all the cuddle appeal of a toaster. I suppose you could give him and his pet rat a pity hug, but I wouldn’t recommend it. What is up with the black ribbons on his wings? Are they supposed to be feathers? If so, what an epic fail. And I can’t even deal with those ping-pong ball eyes. Vultures aren’t beautiful birds, but the ones I have seen at least seem dignified; let me change that to stinky but dignified.

But, the vultures woes fade to insignificance when compared to this fox:

I don’t think that I have ever seen a toy animal as peculiar as the fox. And no, his awfulness isn’t mitigated at all by his cute reindeer friend! I couldn’t decide what bothered me the most: his human eyes or his human teeth? Why decide, they are both dreadful. When I looked closer, shudder:

I noticed his tag, which says “Fuggler”. Hmm, does that stand for f’ing ugly? If so, great name! I looked Fuggler up on the internet, and I have to say it’s a pretty funny website full of the ugliest toys you have ever seen. Don’t believe me? Take a look. What the heck? I almost want one now. It must have been the “Sign up and regret everything” button. But, poor Fuggler would have to live deep in a closet because I just can’t look at that face!

This could be a Serenity Prayer made just for me:

I modified it slightly because I will drink wine when there isn’t any gin and tonic available, but I don’t achieve the same level of acceptance. I think the beverage version is more true to my life—strength and wisdom can be in short supply when needed, but I always have gallons of coffee and gin.

Since we have only had one shopping trip, I’m stretching the pictures. So, here are some cool things my sister gave me for my birthday:

I was showing the whole box to Kathy (it was full of all kinds of stuff she found at garage sales). Kathy, having the best eye for cool stuff, pounced on a bag of lace and trimmings. She pulled out the velvet ribbon with tassels and the bead decoration and told me that they were Victorian! The velvet is that wonderful thick silk velvet that you can’t find any more. There were ten tassels and I told Kathy to take what she wanted. I’m wondering if they were decorations on a dress, mourning wear, a cloak, a hat? It’s hard to know. I’m pretty sure the beaded lovely was on a dress. Here’s a close-up:

Although, I could see it as part of a headdress with big ostrich feathers. It weighs a ton and is still hanging together pretty well. My sister also sent a huge length of sari fabric, which she wants me to cut up and make doll clothes. I’m still mulling that over. When I told sister about the age of the ribbons and beads, she didn’t have a clue. It sure was a lucky buy for me!

Well, thanks for stopping by. All of our summer plans have been turned on their side. My dad is ill, and I’m on my way back to MI to help out. Please send all the good thoughts that you can spare to him; he’s such a good person!

I hope everyone is enjoying getting one step closer to normal. Kathy and I can shop separately and shock each other with our finds!

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What’s on Your Plate?

Spring seems to have finally spring here in Colorado. It was fairly gentle, at least so far. Right now, temps are low 80s and life seems pretty good. Lots of flowers are blooming and doing well, as we had a bit more moisture here and there this winter. These wonderful iris were a start from a neighbor, and look at them this year!

Nothing better than folks who share plants. It’s fun to share some beauty, but you know us, we would rather share weird, or at least weirdly beautiful.

Found a couple of crazy things at garage sales this week, while Deb was gone. First up, it seems that suitcases are following us:

This is another one with a fun lining. This one caught my eye, as I can remember my mother having this exact same green suitcase, and the little matching train case when I was a kid. They must have belonged to my grandmother before her, and she took them off to college and beyond. I really didn’t need another fun suitcase, and for $25, I left it for the next person.

At the same sale I spotted this lamp:

I have so many questions. First up, what is it? Well, other than a lamp, you know what I mean. Does the shade really match the base? Could you rewire it by looking closely at the shade, and if you did, would it even be the slightest bit useful? How in the world did they get the graphics on the shade? It was fabric, not paper, and really well done, but again, why? And last up, was someone crazy enough to buy it? I can guarantee it wasn’t purchased by me! We can only hope some wacky engineer was not shopping at garage sales by himself and brought it home to the long suffering wife, or she was going to have to start a bonfire.

I love old boxes, especially those with kitchen gadgets in them:

Seriously, that gal on the end looks way too happy to be slaving over a hot stove. Really, the other two are a wee bit too cheerful as well, so I am thinking this thermometer must have come complete with a flask of bourbon. You could use it to cook, or better yet, make yourself really happy in the kitchen, or hey, even for the man of the house in the back yard. Alas, when I opened the box, it was just an ordinary cooking thermometer:

And it was missing the good glass candy or jam one. On the bright side, it had those nice skewers to poke the hubby and make him go out and grill.

After analyzing the first three pix, I knew there was no way even the most dedicated student of double spacing was going to make those into an entire blog post, so I made a flying trip to the thrift store, and what do you know, as usual, it did not disappoint, or maybe it did.

There is a whole fad of finding things that fall into the category of “vomit” items. Mostly they are clocks that look like this. Usually they are poured plastic over a bunch of weird things. I don’t think this frame is truly a vomit item, but you tell me if that is not the first thing you think of when you see it:

I’m sorry. No one EVER stood back, looked at this and said, “Wow, I made something great” did they? If they did, some new glasses would be in order. I am not even sure what it is made of. I think some purple aquarium rocks and then, I don’t know, grunge from the bottom of their shoes after waking in the pen of some exotic animal? I can’t even imagine the photo they had in mind for this. Photo of the hated ex, or maybe their mother-in-law on a bad day.

You would think that would be hard to top, but just down the row I came upon the infamous Dogpig:

Not only is this dog part pig, he caught something and is having to bring it back, and he is royally pissed about the whole thing. I was so horrified by the picture, I forgot to even look and see what is was made of. I think it is some sort of metal, but it sure seems like a lot of work for something this ugly.

We see little groupings of these plastic deer all the time. But in case you have no more room in your curio, this one was glued to a plate:

And of course, it would not be complete unless the whole shebang were painted gold. Looks like it was some sort of souvenir, but I have no idea from where, and if I did, I would be sure to never go there, as they obviously have no taste. If they did, they wouldn’t invite folks to their country who would buy things like this!

I also came across this sinking ship:

I can genuinely say it was big … and ugly, and not seaworthy. Wasn’t very decorative either. The poor white trash equivalent of the model ship for your mantel? I am sure that it came from one of those cheap discount decorative stores, and it should have stayed there, or made it to the wood pile for kindling.

Last up, so as not to leave you with a sour taste in your mouth, I thought I would share some pretty things. We spend a lot of time admiring pretty china patterns in the thrift store, and I thought it would be fun to share some with you now and again. Today we have two. Firstly, this pretty poppy plate:

I love the graceful lines and the subtle shade of green coloring. Nice mark from England, too:

They call it a windflower, but it looks like a California poppy to me. [Deb here. There is an anemone that looks like this flower and is also called a windflower. But, they do look like poppies, too.} Also notice the tag has been moved by another shopper. I wish those fools in the back would understand that folks want to see the marks. They have an entire plate to choose from and put it right in the middle!

And this one really made me smile:

Just love how the whole design was made of little squiggly lines. The colors yell 1950s at you. Must have been a really fun set. Here is the bottom of it:

Somebody’s good Bavarian china! I was able to find it easily on Replacements and it is called Spencerian Rose. Interesting name.

Well, Deb is back, so off to garage sales this morning, if there are any with the holiday weekend. Please stay safe this weekend and have some fun!

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If You Seek a Pleasant Peninsula, Look About You

Hello from Michigan! I’m here visiting family for the first time in nearly a year and a half and it feels great. I hadn’t seen my parents for two years because they winter in Florida and so weren’t here in December. That’s just too long at all of our ages.

I have to say that the weather is much better in MI than CO. It snowed right after I left, and a friend told me that CO is having the wettest Spring in 77 years. Meanwhile, it rained for part of one day in MI, and the weather has consistently been in the high 60s to 70s range, which is perfect in my book.

The biggest problem is ticks, which are pretty active now in northern MI and we have had one or two on us while mushroom hunting. My mom learned how to hunt mushrooms as a girl, and has done it all her life. My parents have morels on their property and if you’ve ever had a wild morel mushroom, you’ve visited mushroom nirvana. I don’t recommend hunting mushrooms unless you are doing it with someone experienced, since the difference between delicious and poison is a thin white line. If you want to buy morels, be prepared to pay in the vicinity of $50 per pound!

The trees are blooming, as well as a few bulbs. My mom loves flowering crabapple trees:

I know I’m beautiful!

Her redbud is trying to distract us, but the crabapple is stealing the show right now.

The most amusing thing is the hummingbirds. There is a persistent tiny male who sits on the tree overlooking the feeder. If any other bird dares get near HIS feeder, there is hell to pay:

I’m tiny but terribly, terribly territorial

It’s hard to tell from the picture, but he isn’t more than 2 1/2 inches tall, and what there is of him is totally fierce! The Baltimore oriel feeder is nearby and those poor birds couldn’t get near it because of Mr. Hummer divebombing them.

Kathy and I managed to go garage saling the Friday before I left, so we have some weird stuff to show you that is different from the weird stuff we see at thrift stores. Garage sales are the preview for what shows up in thrift stores, after it doesn’t sell at a garage sale.

We went to a sale where there were lots of old strange things:

We think that this is a sewing thingie, with the spokes for storing thread, the foam pieces for needles and pins, and the hole at the top for your scissors. It could look like a bird, maybe, if the foam pieces were both attached, and the scissors were in the top; on the other hand, if the scissors were the beak, his head would be spinning like Linda Blair’s. We like old sewing things, so of course we looked at it, but left it right there!

I think I played this kind of game once or twice with my cousins at Christmas time:

Most web sites say this is a 1950s game, but Jim Prentice was making games in the 1940s, too. I can imagine the excitement in a kid’s heart after unwrapping this:

This looked pretty complete, and take a gander at those instructions! My goodness, way too complicated to be fun as far as I’m concerned. But, I’m hardly the usual 12 year old boy, am I? Since it was so complete, I wonder if the kids even played with it much. You could always tell our favorite toys by their condition. Of course, we passed on this, too. Their prices were high for a garage sale, so there wasn’t any money to be made by us on Etsy. I will say, they knew what they had, and were mostly fair in what they were asking.

This kid’s toy took a look at lawn darts and said, “Hold my beer”:

People were worried when we had beer-can cannons as kids. What would they say about a real cannon?

I go “BOOM!!”

I was interested in exactly what happens with these cannons, so I watched a couple of videos showing them being used. There are no projectiles, so I guess Jarts wins as the most dangerous kid toy outside of Easy Bake Ovens and BB guns. You have a tube of what is essentially gunpowder, and you put it next to a flint. When the flint sparks, the powder goes off causing a big boom and flames out the mouth of the cannon. This would never be approved now, but I’m sure there are plenty of them still around being shot off on the 4th of July.

This fountain strikes me as a little pervy:

Relaxing all by myself. I’m sure no one can see me!

It was out in the garage next to a bunch of tools, so maybe the garage dwellers fired it up while working on cars, drinking beer, or maybe shooting pool. It just bothers me because of an experience I had as a young woman. A friend, Amy, and I hiked up into the mountains of Oregon, and found this great stream. There was no one around, so we stripped and jumped in the water, splashing around. We got out, toweled off, and then heard what sounded like a standing ovation. We hadn’t looked up to notice the bridge behind and above us. It was crowded with road workers, maybe 10 or so, who watched our whole performance and then showed their appreciation with applause, and whistles. I have never gotten dressed so quickly, but first Amy and I took a bow. That’s kind of how this fountain feels to me, but I’m sure lots of folks might appreciate it.

Well, if you want to have a Colorado luau, ARC has you covered:

Quite a selection for a land-locked state that doesn’t have a close connection to Hawaii. I was shocked to see the price tag on the top right one—$4.99! I think you could get a similar one at the dollar store for, well, a dollar. I’ve been to Hawaii several times, but have never gotten a lei. These sad plastic things are a poor substitute for the ones I have seen.

This is kind of goes with saying after the last couple of years:

I hope these women can have fun without alcohol, doing whatever they are doing. I’ve spent at least five minutes looking at this, and can’t figure out their outfits. Who would run in that, whatever it is?

Thanks for stopping by. I’ll leave you with a picture of my boy, since Kathy shows you adorable kitty porn:

every girl crazy ’bout a sharp-dressed man
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