Tiny Adventures

We see light at the end of the tunnel! Deb has had both her shots, and I have had my first one. We have tentatively decided that thrifting together should be safe enough after I have had my second shot, and we will continue to wear our masks. The thought of being able to get together regularly sets our little hearts aflutter. Plus, it’s looking like there will be some garage sales this summer. We are not sure we will be brave enough to wade through the crowds at an estate sale, but that’s OK, we do better at an average garage sale anyway.

I did make a flying trip to the thrift store last week to get something I needed, and my hubby and I trekked up to Cheyenne to a nice little flea market up there that we love to go to. It’s great, as there is usually only us, and the clerk in charge in the whole place when we go, so no worries. As an added bonus, I found a post’s worth of weird stuff, so wins all around.

How Daisy Crazy should you be?

I would say a bit less than this lamp warrants. I don’t know what it is with the splotchy paint job. Looks like it was done by the sub they hired for the day, and gave a five minute airbrush lesson to. It might have been super cute with just the centers on all the daisies painted yellow, or something, but it never should have been a living room lamp, and that is what size it is. Smaller, painted better, and only in the bedroom? Still a big maybe.

Around here we call this Rocky Mountain Elk Water:

We can make fun of Coors—we live here. This is quite the lamp. I wasted a few minutes wondering if the center had some rotating lights somehow, but I didn’t take the time to investigate, as the next booth over almost always has some things I like, and I get distracted easily. Oh, squirrel!!! I’m back again. This is only good for a man cave, and only if he can get in the door without his wife seeing it. The last woman who got a look at it promptly sold it to the first picker she could find. Sometimes I like old brewery stuff, but this is a hard pass.

I did like these:

Bright and cheery. Just what your cute red and white kitchen needs. I know I would smile in the morning when I saw them. These are actually pretty hard to find in good shape, as they are made of the old hard brittle plastic. One trip to the floor and they are goners. Unfortunately, my kitchen is not red, so these stayed where they were.

We also loved this:

This very early fireman’s outfit is in remarkable condition for something that must have seen some pretty hard wear. Unless this was for the wimpy fireman who hid out at the station all the time. Maybe he drew the short straw and had to do all the cooking, or maybe he volunteered to clean the bathrooms often enough to earn a break. It really was that rather odd shade of purple, but it may have faded to that. Still a very interesting item. Forgot to look at the price, but it was probably pretty hefty for something this rare.

This next item caught my eye for its sheer size:

Normally these little hand carved Victorian catch alls are not more than ten inches or so tall. This one was a solid two feet high! All hand carved and painted. Not a really useful item, but then the Victorians were not that into practicality. These days, I guess you could hang it by the door and drop your car keys in it as you came in. Even at this size, it wouldn’t hold the junk mail for a day, and it’s not really conducive to being a match holder, being wood and all. I still sort of like it. Can’t help myself, I think I am a Victorian at heart.

This next item doesn’t look too bad on the surface:

But, it’s a vase. How odd would it look with a bouquet of daisies coming out the neck hole? Make it plastic daisies and it gets even worse. I just don’t get it. Unless they had to make it a vase, just to justify its existence. It was rather large, in the twelve inch range, too.

The thrift store yielded a couple of crazies as well. I am hoping this apple is poisoned:

Because honestly, she should eat it and die, and put the world out if its misery. I would like to say this was made by a kiddo, but no such luck, I think someone was serious. At least seriously deluded. Snow White, she is not, but chew on that thing anyway, and we will keep Prince Charming from breaking the spell.

I am totally on the fence about this lady:

On the one hand, she has some sassy leopard print going on, but I am really worried about her body type. It brings a whole new meaning to pear shape. She has some cute red hair, and not too bad an expression on her face, so all in all, she is not too offensive!

I am also confused by one of these mugs

You guess which one. Yep, why is it present? Do you lift it in salute when the teacher does roll call? Are you supposed to be there, as in “here in the present” Or is just a present, as in it was a gift and they really wanted you to remember it was one, and not pass it along to a thrift store? Of course these are quite a bit older than the common advent of thrift stores. While caught up in the conundrum of the gifty one, I almost forgot to comment on the weirdness of the patterning on the other one. Very strange overlapping of trim pattern and roses. I really can’t make heads or tails of either one. Even though they are over 100 years old, they stayed right there on the shelf.

Speaking of tails, I have to share this adorable dish towel I found, at the grocery store of all places:

I don’t know why it tickled my funny bone as much as it did, but it jumped into my grocery cart, even though my hubby was standing right there. He didn’t even have a chance to tell me I didn’t need it. Not that it would have done a lick of good; I wasn’t putting it back.

And just in case you need a dose of Ramses for the week, here he is watching his very first squirrel. We don’t have many in our yard, but he was down where I work and they have several in the yard out back.

Hope all our dear readers are staying safe, and getting their vaccines. Take care; we are almost there!

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Bloom Where You’re Planted

Now that all the snow is long melted, we’re getting Spring bulbs by the dozens. Right now I have daffodils and hyacinths:

Fluttering and dancing in the breeze Wm Wordsworth
I love spring flowers: daffodils and hyacinths are the ultimate flower for me. They are the essence of spring.
Kirsty Gallacher

I had some of those darling tiny iris, but the bunnies or the deer ate them within a day or two of my noticing them. Thankfully, neither critter seems to care for daffodils or hyacinth. It should be a test of my ingenuity to keep the tulips uneaten. I had given up on having tulips after several disastrous Springs. Last Fall, I decided that life is just too uncertain to wait to plant some tulips, so I bought a bag of 50! I did end up giving some away, but I should still have quite a few in a couple of weeks.

Since we will both soon be vaccinated, we have agreed that we can start shopping again. That will make things seem more like normal for us, at least. The start of garage sale season will be the cherry on top! Wearing a mask is a small inconvenience compared to staying home all the time.

Queli, a faithful reader, visited Michaels, and emailed some pictures of things that she believed belonged in our blog. We agree! And, for bonus points, there’s a theme.

Okay, crochet enthusiasts, prepare to have your minds blown for $24.99:

“No! No, I will not have a nice day!” Dorothy

You get patterns for all four ladies plus clothing, for a couch, cheesecake—both cake and a slice, Fernando, the Miami pin, and Sophia’s coin purse!

You thought they were wrinkly, before. B.H.

I’m guessing you would have to be a HUGE Golden Girls fan to even contemplate making the whole set. And then what? If you have a TV room, I guess the couch and “Girls” could go in there, but I’m thinking that this is one of those craft projects that seem like a good idea at the time, but sanity kicks in to save you at the last minute! If you love The Golden Girls, buy the DVD set!

But, wait, that’s not all! For the low, low price of $21.99 you get these TEN patterns:

This set of projects at least has the advantage of being smaller, more versatile, and a little cheaper. You could frame a small picture of your favorite Golden Girl quote, hang it on the wall and 9 times out of 10 no one will notice it and question your sanity.

“Grandma Hollingsworth always said I was a little flighty… or was it a little floozy?” — Blanche

You could also make a small pillow with a cross stitch saying, and tuck it behind your back while watching reruns. Sort of closing the circle if you will.

And, still there’s more:

“As they say in St. Olaf: hergenbargenflergenflurfennerfen.” — Rose

These look like the best bet if you just don’t have enough Golden Girls in your life, in fact, I would recommend starting here and seeing where things go. Just look at this picture:

“Fasten your seatbelt, slut puppy. This ain’t gonna be no cakewalk!” — Sophia

It would take days to do the girls justice. That will give you time to reconsider your other golden impulses and maybe just stick to coloring. If not, we’ll be seeing your crafty undertakings in a thrift store or garage sale near you!

Thanks again, Queli. Those were some fun finds!!

Sticking to craft projects, I have some winners that have already been donated to a thrift store. This cover of a knitting projects booklet looks promising:

Cute little girl and lots of vintage yarn; what could go wrong?

There is nothing wrong with these cute little baby items. The thing that has me twitching is that weirdo rabbit inserted for some ungodly reason into a perfectly normal picture. The peculiar rabbit with Joan Crawford eyebrows makes me wonder what would happen if I did make these woolies for a baby. Mommy Dearest wasn’t exactly a role model for good parenting. The more I look at this picture, the more I feel that the bunny is trying to send me a message with its insistent stare. Best not look anymore!

Oh, dear god, they had two different Joan Crawford bunnies:

Sorry, putting a cute knitted hat on its head does. not. help! That is a maniacal look if I’ve ever seen one. What is filling evil bunny with glee? I don’t think it’s the thought of a newborn snuggling up in booties and sweater.

At least this picture doesn’t include the bunny, but the shortness of the dress makes me wonder if a tiny pair of woolen panties is included:

Who wears short shorts?

If it’s warm enough for short dresses and short outfits, then it’s probably too hot for knitted clothing. This whole page is a conundrum. Can you imagine keeping your kids dressed in these outfits on a hot day visiting grandma’s? My youngest sister would be streaking across the front yard in less than ten minutes if we had dressed her like this.

Last, but not least, this project is for Kathy:

She just looooves really bad cat artwork. There is something almost captivating in the terribleness of this basket of kittens. It’s really a double craft find since they’re playing with a ball of yarn. I just can’t imagine painting this and then looking at it and thinking, “Yep, this is just what I wanted to do!” I sure hope some kiddy made it for their mom or grandma, because otherwise there is no excuse for this not to be broken into a million pieces and buried at the back of the garden!

Thanks for reading along and we hope that you are still being careful. We are so close to being out of the woods, and it’s no time for craziness!

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Bunnykins

It’s time for our annual Easter Eggstravaganza, and for once Mother Nature is going to cooperate. I don’t know how often you see cute kiddies in their Easter finery at an Easter Egg hunt shivering in 6 inches of snow, but in Colorado it is almost a yearly occurrence. This year they are promising 70 degree days and sunshine, so we will enjoy it while we can, because we know we will have at least one or two more dumps of snow. Probably on the tulips and to freeze the fruit trees. Such is life at a mile high.

For some reason, this year, most of our pics feature long-eared lagomorphs, or bunnies if you prefer. Might be because I have a thing for bunnies that I try to keep in check, but it seldom works. I was able to pass by this deformed rabbit with no problems though:

Seriously, how close to Chernobyl did this thing live? On top of the double strength legs we have those eyes! There is something going on in there, and I don’t think it is pretty. If you stuffed this in your kid’s basket, you might as well put a down payment on the therapy right now. It could save you money in the long run. I certainly wouldn’t feed it after midnight or turn my back on it.

I am not crazy about the sickly sweet, supposedly decorative, ceramics of the world, and this couple is no exception:

They aren’t the worst things I have ever seen, but they certainly aren’t anywhere near the best, and who wants to clog up your boxes of Easter decorations with something this boring. I guess they are decked out for the Easter Parade, but they aren’t going to take the prize.

Not crazy about this “sculpture” either, but if you ever want to know what a bunny grandpa looks like, this is it:

If he hadn’t spent his time breeding like, well, rabbits, he wouldn’t have this problem. Now, I am assuming he is bunny Gramps, as he has that sort of grey bushy mustache on his upper lip. Hopefully it is not the neighborhood squirrel that found a convenient place to perch. Needless to say, he looks harried and harassed, and this may be the last time he ever volunteers to babysit, unless he has a good stiff scotch in both hands.

I remember being quite temped by this little egg:

It was even harder when I opened it up and saw inside:

It was coming apart here and there, and the bunny inside was just ok, so I was able to resist. Plus, four bucks seems a bit much for some Styrofoam and plastic that I still have to fix. Still if you must make room for Easter decorations, and we all should, this is more like it.

What is up with this egg?

So doesn’t everyone need a giant plastic egg with feet on a spring? In case you are on the fence, it lights up:

Serious waste of plastic and glitter here, and it is not like glitter is rare, but in this case, some conservation would go a long way. Nope, not cute, and certainly not useful, as it would just sort of lightly glow and bob. Rather like an ineffective space alien that got here and found out their whole ship was smaller than your average barn cat.

Now I do like this kind of bunny:

I love these little straw decorative animals. I have a whole menagerie of them. They used to sit on a shelf in my front hall, and make me happy, till Ramses the killer kitten decided that they would be very fun toys, along with all my baskets, my Steiff animals, our pillows, curtains, and legs. You get the picture. Needless to say the moveable objects have been removed to a safe haven till heaven knows when. Good reason to let this sleeping bunny lie.

I also love this bunny painting:

I think it is probably a good thing that I was not with Deb when she saw this, as I might have had to bring it home. Who doesn’t need a bunny with a chick on his head? Better than your average Easter bonnet, if you ask me. I give full marks to the artist who signed their name with panache right in the top corner for all to see. It was probably large, and expensive, so it is a good thing I didn’t see it in person. Lots of times we are satisfied with a picture, and this will have to be one of those times.

The way this past year has gone, and now this year is going, I think these would be a great idea:

I can’t think of a single person who wouldn’t feel better taking one of these and cracking it over just about anyone’s head. If you wouldn’t there is something seriously wrong with you. Even if you are a nice calm Zen Buddhist, we all need to let off a little steam. Mom may not like cleaning it up, but I bet if you let her whack a few over the kiddies and hubby, she would have just as much fun as the next person.

Here’s wishing you a healthy and Happy Easter, and for those who don’t celebrate, a lovely and gentle Spring to you.

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Hey! I Thought it was Spring!!

I was driving into the garage and noticed my snowdrops emerging from the melting snow:

They are looking a little sad after having a ton of snow on them, but they will be able to photosynthesize and make food for next year’s flowers. That’s more than I can say about my poor birch tree; the top broke off and it’s looking pretty beat up. I might give it a year to see what it can do, if anything, to recover. It was my little patch of Michigan here in Colorado. When I was a kid, birch forests were everywhere in Michigan, before the birch borer came to town. They are one of my favorite trees, fragile babies that they are. The tree service people are working from sunup to sundown trying to take care of the snow casualties. It’s striking out on the eastern plains; you can see for miles and there are NO trees unless there is a stream or a house. Late Spring snows and early Autumn snows are hard on the landscape plants; throw in 40 mph winds and it’s a matter of when it happens, not if. I’m grateful that it rained for at least 12 hours before it started snowing. It could have been so much worse!

We’ve had this picture since Halloween, but haven’t used it yet:

This shirt bewilders me. Why someone would be so excited about Custer South Dakota that they would buy or wear this shirt and carry it two states away to Colorado! I just did a quick Google search, and I could be excited to visit the Jewel Cave National Monument and the Black Hills State Park located near Custer. But, I’ve seen Mount Rushmore and have the t-shirt to prove it—and no, it’s not this shirt! I don’t think I could carry off that freaky ruffled collar.

I was interested in these old wooden boxes, with the nice lids and dovetail details:

There were piles of plain ones, but I thought you would like to see the old decals that someone slapped on them, probably in the 1960s or ’70s. I flipped a box over to see if it had a mark:

Shaklee, a name from the multi-level marketing distributor business tree (think Tupperware, Amway, etc.) started back in the 1950s. Since these boxes were made in Taiwan, they’ve been bouncing around for a while. Maybe you were supposed to store your vitamins and protein powders in them. I sure wasn’t interested for $6, even if I have a few decals of my own to use up.

I’m including my copy of this picture just to prove a point:

Kathy and I were separated at birth; I’m positive! It doesn’t matter that I’m years older and that she was born in Italy! We went to ARC on different days, and we both took a picture of this shelf! I laughed when I saw her picture last week. Here’s a link so you can read the accompanying commentary if you missed it. I just shudder to think of the house where all of these lived with god knows what else. Clowns and bears if I had to make a guess.

I was mesmerized by the body language of this amateurish sculpture:

Hey! Buy a clue, clownboy! She looks like she would rather kiss your horse! I honestly don’t know why her hand is on her belly, nausea? I do recognize the hand on his shoulder trying to give him a stiff arm so she can escape. This was gone the next time I went to ARC; maybe she shoved him right off the shelf.

There was quite a bit of bad statuary on view that week:

I think Basset Hounds are adorable and still think this is bad. At first glance I thought that he was wearing a sweater with all the stipes and straight lines painted on him. He has the saddest eyes because he knows that his nostrils are the weirdest thing about him. Why are they white? He needs to go to a good home and get a complete new paint job by someone who as an iota of artistic talent. This is just pitiful. OMG, I just noticed his white toenails. They painted a million dots on his muzzle for whiskers, and couldn’t outline his toenails?

I give this an A for creativity:

and a B- for execution. Why aren’t there crayons all the way across the top of the canvas, since the colors run all the way across? I’m not impressed with using shipping tape to attach the crayons, either. A glue gun can be your friend! On the other hand, maybe the crayons were glued on, and when this picture got handled roughly at the thrift store and a quarter of the crayons fell off, the backroom sorters got out their tape. If so, I revise my grading and will give you an A. I love the little robot and his red umbrella!

Well, that’s it for this week—short and not-so-sweet. I did get enough pictures for an Easter post next week. It will seem like old times, sigh. I’m hoping that we will be shopping together sooner rather than later! I’m up for some garage saling. You don’t know what you have till it’s gone!

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Hold My Beer

Deb posted that great picture last week of her cute little snowdrops. Mother Nature took one look at that and said, “Hold my beer”. We got a solid twenty inches of heavy wet snow in less than 48 hours:

Our power went out for over seven hours. Luckily, we have a battery backup on our fireplace and a camp stove that we set up in the sun room. The storm happened on Sunday for the most part, and the majority of town went nowhere on Monday. There are still a whole lot of folks stuck in their driveways, as we did have wind and some pretty heavy drifting. We had a few drifts over three feet just at our place. So much for spring!

Between Covid and weather, we are really not getting out much, so I have been thankful for local online estate auctions. If nothing else, they keep me amused, but I can see me getting into a whole lot of trouble pretty easily. Take this example:

I tried to buy this, as I knew it would be barrels (cans?) of fun for our readers. I was happily bidding away till it got up to 15 dollars, and then I was terrified I would win the bid, and I would have to explain to my husband why I spent 15 dollars, plus a stupid buyer’s commission on a booklet full of tasteless can ideas. Lucky me, some schmuck went even higher, and I gracefully retreated to the sidelines.

I did buy this a few weeks ago:

I do like this awesome Mid-Century Modern cat. I have an adorable dolly scale reproduction of a pair of these, and I really did buy it to sell. Is it listed in my Etsy shop? Nope, and unless I kick myself really hard, it may not be. Thank goodness it’s not a dog, or I would have to give it to Deb. Just send me some strength and it will move along, as it really doesn’t fit in my home.

I have been doing better with buying box lots at these sales, and a recent huge batch of vintage fabrics yielded this little treasure:

I’ve always seen it as “see a penny”, but a pin works just as well. It is just the sweetest little dainty thing. You notice no one else ever had the nerve to actually use it as a hanky. Who would dare to blow their nose on something this thin? No, I call these “wave from the window” hankies. You can look so romantic as the train pulls away, waving it charmingly out the window at your receding beau. This is too cute to leave the house. Oh well, you can’t sell everything, at least I can’t.

I did venture out to the thrift store last weekend just before the storm, as I needed a couple of T-shirts for a project. I found this adorable egg shell, and I mean it is thin, teacup:

I tried to walk past it, but it was calling plaintively to me. I picked it up, and it was marked ninety-nine cents, and I knew if I didn’t rescue it, it would sit there till the cows came home and end up chucked in a bin at the end of its time and get broken. Deb’s mom loves china with bluebirds on it, and I know it will go to a good home. It’s amazing how often we end up thinking of ourselves as rescuers even more than collectors. We just hope when we are gone that there will still be someone to take care of our things and give them a good home.

I also spotted this pair of shelves:

Seriously, this is wholesale cannon fodder. Someone’s entire collection of awful Made in China, ghastly figurines. Thank goodness they got rid of them, but now what? I wish we could nominate things from the thrift store to be donated to one of these places where you break china to get your aggressions out. Think how much better we would all feel when these turned into nothing more than microscopic china fragments. For the life of me, I can’t figure out why so many of these folks are elderly. I am an old lady, and I am not the least bit decorative, then again, these aren’t either.

One more little thing I remembered that I hadn’t shared with you all. I was getting this out to hang up in my craft room, and decided I had better snap a pic:

I don’t know what this cat has been up to, but it is definitely no good. I wouldn’t trust him with the cream even if it was stored tightly in the fridge. I am not sure what this is supposed to be, as it has unfinished edges. It is about the size of a dish towel, but not really very good fabric for that. Too small for a baby quilt, and even if it was the right size, I think your kid would end up learning just a bit too much from this Tom. Even with all its nuttiness, it still cracked me up, and ended up coming home with me. I just left it as is and hung it up. One day, it may decide to be something else, but till then it will make me smile.

Remember those t-shirts I wanted at the thrift store? Well a couple of them were for these designs. I decided to share them with you all as a little gift. If you are into using Cricut and would like a link to the finished and ready to cut files, just drop me a line and let me know which one, or ones you would like. Otherwise, you can download them and use them however you want. Please do not use them to sell, but feel free to give them to as many folks as you would like:

This last one has a graphic gratefully used with permission from here.

And in case you were missing my furry overlord, here is a funny pic of Ramses:

Bengals have a habit of sitting in really funny positions. This one just cracked me up, and as luck would have it, I had my phone on me to take a pic.

Here’s hoping you didn’t get snowed in where you live, and spring is coming at you!

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Rough Winds do Shake the Darling Buds of March

Apologies to Shakespeare, but I love this quote, even if it’s a couple of months early. This week was off to a great start with warm sunny temperatures in the 60s, with just a slight breeze. We got to sit outside and visit with some friends whom we haven’t seen in months. I’ve been cleaning up outside and while picking up trash in my yard I saw some more good news:

Hello Snowdrops, my old friends

Yahoo! They are the first flowers that bloom in my yard every year, by a wide margin. If they show up, then Spring is just around the corner, right? Not so fast, says Mother Nature:

Are you kidding me, Weather Underground? I thought that we were friends! It feels bad complaining about snow with a semi-drought going on, but maybe we could have three nine inch snowstorms and call it good. I actually thought about covering my snowdrops up with a bucket, but what’s the point when we’re going to get so. much. snow! I’m hoping that when the snow melts, they will just pop back up again.

In the meantime, I can console myself with my St. Patrick’s Day Amaryllis:

My neighbor gave me a wax-covered amaryllis bulb before Christmas. It bloomed and was gorgeous. I just kept it to see what it would do. All it did was bloom again this week! Holy cow, that was a great gift. I’m going to try and remove the wax and see if the bulb will send out roots because it’s so pretty. I’m not super optimistic, but hey, what else am I doing?

I had better get going on my post or it might never get done! We still have a few pictures, so that’s a good thing for the blog. B.H. just got his first dose of a vaccine, so mine can’t be far behind. Fingers crossed and the Roses will be out garage saling when Spring finally gets here.

I would have loved to see what the lid of this teapot looked like:

Anything with three feet wearing rhinestone-bedecked shoes must be something special! Alas, I Google “3-footed shoe wearing teapot” and ended up looking at a lot of feet, in and out of shoes, and teapots. I have no idea who made this since I didn’t have the forethought to flip it over and have a look. It has that classic combo of animal stripes and flowers, blondes in sunglasses, and rhinestones. What more could be wanted?

This sign could be a warning signal, or just a funny self own:

I imagine that Miranda Priestly from The Devil Wears Prada might have this on her desk facing her staff and visitors. If someone gives this to you it might be a good idea to take a look at the definition of narcissist and see if the shoe fits—you. That’s the problem with narcissists: it’s all about them, but it’s never their fault.

This doll was so pretty, but I’m trying my darndest not to collect any new types of dolls:

She sure was way too good to be at a thrift, with such a nice lacquered base and a silk kimono. Every so often we see beautiful dolls like this, that someone brought home from a trip abroad, at thrift stores and feel sorry for them. They were expensive and probably deserved better. At least now they can go to an appreciative home.

Let’s go from the sublime to the ridiculous:

What the actual hell is going on here? These kind of look like old Michelob bottles that have been gussied up for … I got nothin’! That old saying about putting lipstick on a pig never made much sense to me because why would you do it in the first place? I have a bad feeling that these were somehow associated with wedding décor that failed historically badly. Taking a wild stab here, do you think they were candle holders? Better hope the flame never got near all that braid—whoosh goes your special night.

This item is just as mystifying as the beer bottles:

At first I thought it might be a shoe-shining thingie, but that didn’t appear to be the case, according to an internet search. Then, I thought that the red part looks like it picks up lint, but again, no luck finding a giant tower of lint removal. I dropped the image into Google search and all it could recommend was looking up “cylinders”. Thanks loads, Google! That flesh-colored collar at the bottom felt like it was made from silicone, or something similar, when I accidently touched it. I was trying to release the suction clip at the bottom to see if it had batteries. That gross encounter made me decide that some things were best left as mysteries. If you know what this is, please let me know.

Let me end on an interesting find that I bought a while ago:

I happen to love old chemistry glassware and have various sizes of beakers and flasks sitting on my bar, and I use them as vases. So, when I saw this box, I was excited! It’s not something that you run into often, unless you teach chemistry. When I lifted the lid, lo and behold, there were nine little beauties. Just so you know, 10 ml is about 2 teaspoons:

Oh boy!! I’m keeping a few for fun, and will probably sell the rest after I get them washed up and some better photos taken. Kathy loves it when she finds a big wad of swizzle sticks because she gets first dibs, and then sells the rest. I know these aren’t as collectible as sticks, but hopefully there is someone out there like me!

Thanks for reading along! As far as the caption contest goes, congrats to Demetria, Lovindollz; please email us your address so I can mail your prize.

Hope we get back to Spring-time weather next week, so we can celebrate St. Patrick’s Day!

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Caption Contest Winner

I asked B.H. to judge since we “know” lots of the captioners and we wanted someone impartial. He laughed at all of them, but his favorite was:



Dog: Wow, you sure are a colorful character. Cat: And you are not, your point???

Thanks, Demetria Lovindollz! Please email me you address and I’ll get the picture frame in the mail.

Thanks everyone for playing along! See you next week.

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If I Fitz, I Sitz

I am starting to see signs of spring. Well, at least Easter displays and that means spring, right? Never mind that it is only the first week in March, by all means trot out those bunnies. Heck, don’t we need some red, white and blue for the 4th of July? What, am I getting ahead of myself? Everyone else does. To be fair, I have seen a few tulips and crocus poking their little green shoots out of the ground, so there is hope.

For those keeping track, Ramses is now 6 months old and weighs a bit over 10 pounds. We may have a mountain lion on our hands before we get done:

He is coming to work with me most days, and hangs out in my mother’s bead store that is right next door. Nothing like a cat in a box of beads. My life has come down to this:

I want to be a cat when I grow up. Someone comes along with food a couple of times a day, gives you treats and pets, and follows you around cleaning up your messes. Yep, it’s a cat’s life for me!

I was brave last week, and ventured into ARC because I needed a few things to complete some projects. Boy, do I miss our second hand craft store. The only plus is that I found a few “horribles” to share with everyone here, so it was sort of a win, and I did find a couple of things I needed, so I guess it was worth the early trek to get there before the crowds.

So I am going to bet this family has three kids:

I would say they were all from one birth, but they seem to have some distinct time differences in the style. Heck, maybe it is even three generations. Honestly though, if you really want to give someone flowers to celebrate a birth, don’t make it a plant. New mom’s don’t have time to breathe, let alone water plants; do them a favor and get a plain vase that won’t need a trip to the thrift store to become useful again. Or if you really want to be her favorite person in the whole world, just give her a lift by waiting a couple of weeks and getting the biggest box of chocolate you ever saw to help with the mood swings.

OMG there are two of these?

We spotted one of these back in 2018. Check it out here. It didn’t get any better with the passage of time and now it is missing the shade, as if that made any difference in how ridiculous this is. They look different enough to be two separate ones, and not the same one following us around to different thrift stores. (Now there is a thought to inspire terror, especially with some of our finds!) What this all boils down to, is that there are a least two people in this town with execrable taste.

And yet, I found this:

I am mostly a native (I do not count three months in Italy on an army base before I was three months old.) I do love living here, but so do a whole lot of other folks and they keep putting us on those best-places-to-live lists, and messing it up for the rest of us, so just to be clear, it’s terrible here. No mountains, horrible beer, no restaurants, it’s days to go skiing, and it snows 10 feet at a time and gets to 120 degrees every summer. Remember that.

The summer intern spotted this:

He has an affinity for “pengins” as we call them, as his school mascot was a penguin. We both felt really sorry for this poor fellow. He seems really sad, and it might be because he has a gourd stem sticking out of the top of his head, or maybe it’s just Monday. We wished that someone who could paint this well could have given us a jolly happy penguin to cheer us up, instead of this morose looking bird. He will probably be an orphan forever with that look on his mug.

While we are birding, what’s up with the gilded cockatoo:

Actually, I am less offended by the gilding than the combination of the gold and the pink top knot. What is up with that? I could have lived with this either all pink or all gold, and only been slightly irritated by it. Even though it looks like a sick raven in a Las Vegas chorus line. I made the mistake of turning it over:

Well, thank goodness they told us it is not a toy. Every little kid I know is just dying to get their hands on one of these. It is the number one item in Sears Wish Book (Boy, am I dating myself there). Seriously, the warning should read “Expensive crap that is not decorative, do not buy!” The thrift store took the original price tag to mean it was worth something, and marked it up. Must be because no one is supposed to play with it.

These just made me spend a bit too much time trying to figure out where they came from:

I looked everywhere for a milk maid missing her buckets, a donkey without his load, or even a St. Bernard without his cask. Nothing, but there they hung. Sometimes I think the folks who work in back have not one ounce of common sense, as they split everything up. We find outfits divided up, salt and pepper shakers torn from each other, creamers without their sweet sugars, and now this. When will the abuse end?

I did end up learning something this week. I have been spending some time mending some lovely vintage clothes that I recently acquired—working on them to get ready to list them. I cleaned this top and got ready to do the mending and was flummoxed by the construction. Here is the top:

A lovely little Gibson Girl style blouse from around the turn of the century, but when I looked inside I found this:

Wait a minute where did those serged seams come from? Well, did some digging and found out that the first commercial sergers where made in the the 1880s and were in relatively common use for lace gowns, etc. by the turn of the century. Who knew?

We had several fun entries into our “Caption This” contest and the winner will be announced Friday night. The prize will be this 5 x 7 inch vintage wooden frame complete with glass:

You still have time to enter. Here’s the picture to be captioned:

Caption me!

Post your entries in our blog comment section, on Facebook, or the doll boards. We would be happy to judge you and award a prize to the best comment. You have until Friday, March 5th 7pm to come up with your entry.

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These Aren’t a Few of My Favorite Things

I have just been a lump of laziness for the last month. I have no inclination to get anything done, even with several projects that desperately need to be finished. I’m blaming 2020 for my malaise and maybe the weather, too, and I’m guessing that I’m not the only person who feels this way. Whatever it is, I need someone to give me a good swift kick in the pants to get me going!

Yay, I have some pictures so we can write a regular post. If you are going out to thrift stores and find something blogworthy, shoot us a picture and we’ll gratefully use it in a post. Read all the way to the end because we have a contest for a yet-to-be determined prize.

I think some folks have been cleaning closets about 40 years too late, by the looks of this:

The wack-a-doodle still life screams 1970s to me. You need to take a closer look at those sandwiches—they were probably featured in a advertising cooking pamphlet from the Hamburger Council. They even have a hollowed-out tomato in the center of the platter probably holding some sort of sauce—you can see the top is sliced off. Besides the gourds and squash sitting in a chair, the weirdest thing in this whole scene might be that pottery cat, or person, or ?? nearby. What’s that on top of its head—grated cheese for the hoagies? It doesn’t really fit in with the fall scene complete with mums, calico corn, and Coke. Just typical ’70s weirdness from someone who has experienced it firsthand! It was so silly and weird that one of us almost bought the set, but common sense came to our rescue.

This also has a 1970s vibe:

The patterns inside were pretty typical ’70s stuff and in black and white so I didn’t take pictures. I figured that “p.o-ed” owl on the front was a good enough sample of the quality within. The best thing I can say about the book is that you would learn a variety of stitches, but at what cost? You might be better off doing this project with just the flowers and background. You could put a inspirational saying in the title box. My choice would be, “You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough.” — Mae West. She knew how to make every day count and probably didn’t waste time with needlepoint!

Since we’re talking crafts now, it seems like the right place to stick this picture in:

I found this wreath project in the December 2020 Better Homes and Gardens magazine. I instantly thought of this old find:

Holy yarnballs, Santa!

Do you think that this second wreath is an epic Pinterest fail, inspired by an earlier version of the BH & G idea? I like the first version of the wreath with the smaller yarn balls, but I have to say that the white balls of yarn, with the gold thread wrapped around them, kind of look like cauliflower florets to me. Even so, BH & G’s wreath is a 1000 times better!

OMG, what is the deal with this kind of craft project:

I have to assume it was made by someone that hates china and glassware! Maybe a childhood trauma? What could be the best possible outcome for gluing all of these pieces together? I’m particularly confused by the head vase or woman’s bust at the top, fitted over a harvest gold candy dish. My guesses are this is is a crockery totem pole, or maybe a breakable scarecrow. The maker obviously wasn’t trying to create a decorative object. You know, if you have too much china, glassware, and the like, you can always donate to a thrift store to free up space. I believe that using a shotgun on all of these pieces would be a better choice than gluing them into a freaky tower. One action might make you feel better while the other is going to make everyone else feel worse! B.H. feels confident that this was a county fair midway target for baseballs at $5 a pop. It would be your civic duty to completely destroy it.

Here’s another pieced together object:

I kind of get where the makers were trying to go. Canoes, or wooden dugouts, can be lovely decorative objects depending on the skill of the maker. Nick Offerman made the most beautiful canoe which is almost too nice to put into the water. I could see Nick’s version being a focal point in a large log cabin kind of house. This four-foot canoe is much less ornamental, and just looks bizarre under glass. The cradle holding the canoe is weird, too. Maybe a metal base, or even a wooden box-like base would serve the design better. I know why is was at the thrift store, but even more surprising is that someone bought it. Maybe to remake it into a garden tchotchke? Or maybe they wanted the glass, and had kids that would play with the little boat? It’s best that we don’t know because chances are that they loved it as a coffee table.

We saw these glasses and they looked like feet with broken ankles:

Things became a little clearer when we looked at them from the side:

Okay, they are the lower leg and hooves of a horse, maybe? But why? I looked at quite a bit of equestrian glassware trying to find something similar. I also uploaded the image to Google, and it told me that these were jugs and showed me lots of blue-glass pitchers. Does anyone know what they signify? Were they giveaways from a big animal veterinarian practice? They look impractical to drink from and not pretty enough to keep in the cupboard unless they’re more special than we think. Looking at them again, they are not exactly the same so I wonder if they’re handmade. That could explain everything!

Last up:

This is the most oddball grouping we’ve seen in a while. It’s almost like the cat and dog, who are pretty strange all by themselves, are talking about the headless mermaid beside them. I feel like this picture lends itself to a caption contest. If you all feel like playing along, post your entries in our blog comment section, on Facebook, or the doll boards. We would be happy to judge you and award a prize to the best comment. You have until next Friday, March 4th 7pm to come up with your entry.

Thanks for reading along this week. We’re hopeful that soon we might be shopping and wise-cracking our way through Friday mornings again. Keep safe!

Also, Kathy is working on a doll sweater tutorial, I think. Stay tuned for that!

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Book Report: American Advertising Cookbooks

Tagline: How Corporations taught us to love Spam, Bananas, and Jell-O. Who could resist a title like that?

Absolutely breathtaking, especially with a molded veggie and I think fruit salad gracing the cover.

Don’t be fooled, though, by the cover illustration. This is an academic look, complete with bibliography, at where these advertising pamphlets came from, starting with the Protestant Reformation and the migration of Puritans and Pilgrims to North America. It seems that literacy was important to the Puritans, including women being educated to be able to read, so that they could partake of the Good Book and teach their children to read the Bible. This lead to manuals being written so that women could maintain a Godly household, including food and housekeeping. Recipes tended to be bland, with few spices and fat filled-sauces because they thought that spicy food would inflame the passions.

The first American cookbook was published 1796 in Connecticut by Amelia Simmons with the succinct title: American Cookery or the art of dressing viands, fish, poultry, and vegetables, and the best modes of making pastes, puffs, pies, tarts, pudding, custards, and preserves, and all kinds of cakes, from the imperial plum to plain cake: Adapted to this country and all grades of life.

Whew!

One of the most influential things to happen in 19th century America, besides the War of 1812 and the Civil War, was The Centennial Exhibition in Philadelphia in 1876. It showed the world the promise and ingenuity of the U.S. There were all sorts of modern innovations. Edison, Remington, Otis, and Bell were there showing off their inventions. In the Women’s Pavilion there was a prototype dishwasher, sewing and darning machines, and The Reliance Cookstove which was the first free-standing oven/stove that burned wood or coal and used valves to control heat. I imagine that cooker was an aspirational goal for many women!

Heinz Ketchup, Hires Root Beer, and Fleischmann’s yeast were introduced there, as were bananas, which sold for a whopping 10 cents each! A considerable sum back then. The future seemed limitless, and if you were the right kind of person, you could achieve anything! It was the birth of the consumer culture.

Lots of changes were occurring in the U.S. just prior to the Exhibition and afterward. There was a wave of morality/religion sweeping the country with a new emphasis on religious education and outreach to native peoples, the poor, and the immigrants that were pouring into the country looking for their opportunities at a new life. The established population were concerned about new beliefs being brought into the country. The westward expansion was happening and opening new vistas and opportunities. Scientific inquiries were explaining how the world worked, and especially important to this book, nutrition.

People also became concerned with the field of hygiene in many incarnations. The Clean Food and Drug Act of 1906 was brought about by outrage over the slaughterhouses, especially in Chicago. Besides the horrendous conditions that animals were processed in, authors and newspapers reported that other foods were freely adulterated by manufacturers. Along with investigations and the laws to clean this up, the idea that women were responsible to keep things hygienic in the home gained traction. Ladies magazines gave tons of advice on how to manage your home, properly. Home Economics started being a field of study for women, to advise other women. These experts also started publishing cooking pamphlets and books advising on nutrition, recipes, and food preservation.

In the 1890s Dr. Sigmund Freud started the field of psychoanalysis:

Around the beginning of WWI, Edward Bernays, the nephew and student of Sigmund Freud, started using his knowledge to influence consumers in the U.S, and articulated the idea of Public Relations. His first professional success was to get women to smoke! He started a campaign showing actresses, singers, and other famous women smoking. He found a doctor to say that cigarettes were a healthy way for weight control, a real concern in the 1920s with the flapper fashions requiring a boyish figure. With this success, advertising was changed forever!

Companies started producing cooking pamphlets to show women why they NEEDED their products.

An early example was this Jell-O booklet. Even though molded salads are associated with the 1960s and ’70s, molded foods started much earlier:

Women were convinced in the 1930s that they needed thrifty Jell-O to tempt the appetites of their families and to make cooking on a budget easier.

This veggie mold is actually from 1982 and was featured in Bon Appetit:

I’m not sure how you sell this disgusting mess to anyone at your table and I’m pretty sure that this picture may have lead to the death of molded food in the U.S.

Another major producer of cooking pamphlets were food councils. “Food councils were the brainchild of advertising executives. In setting up nonprofit advocacy groups that hired home economists to develop recipes and scientists to conduct beneficial research, the councils were able to establish themselves as ‘subject experts’.”

Or this food council group called P.I.G. or Pork Industry Group. At least they had a sense of humor about it:

And here I thought Tom Brady invented avocado ice cream:

Avocado Bravo/1976/ California Avocado Advisory Board/Avocado Ice Cream

I adore avocados, but the idea of avocado ice cream isn’t appealing.

The front of this brochure made me laugh:

I can remember practicing this very font during classes in the 1970s. And I have to say that I’ve had cakes made with sauerkraut and they were really pretty good. The acid makes the cake light and fluffy.

Prepared food manufacturers published pamphlets and ads in magazines to encourage the use of their products:

The idea of a peanut butter and mayonnaise sandwich was the brainchild of a company that just happened to make both products. Who would have guessed!!

There were tons of meat recipe cookbooks. Lots and lots for canned meats such as Spam, and others using common fresh meats in new ways:

I don’t know about you, but when I think of hamburger, I always want something green inside of it. Shame on Martha Logan, Home Economist for Swift and Company. The only thing that looks edible on that plate are the carrots.

Want to give Baby a treat?

Put some Seven-Up in your baby’s bottle! Some of the advice wasn’t the best, obviously! But, hey, millions of kids survived the 1950s, so no harm, no foul.

By the way, it wasn’t uncommon to have a fictional “food expert” and some of them have been pretty famous, Betty Crocker, anyone? Martha Lee Anderson was a fictional expert for Arm & Hammer, while Jane Ashley fictionally worked for Karo, Mazola, and Argo, and in the 1940s Sue Swanson produced recipes for Swanson Company while being a totally fabricated expert.

Lastly, in the same way that advertising worked to make women insecure about their abilities as a housewife, so did pamphlets:

The WWII version of the super mom—she’s in the armed services and still manages to take care of her family. What’s your excuse?

Of course you’re a good wife and mom, IF you use Crisco:

Ah, shucks family, I was just doing my job, made oh so much easier with food substitutes!

I only showed a fraction of cooking booklets that were featured. It was quite amazing to see the collection that the author featured; it makes Kathy and me look like pikers. Plus, there were whole chapters on racism in advertising that I haven’t covered. Ms. Ward also devotes pages detailing the shenanigans of the Dole family in Hawaii, and United Fruit’s misdeeds in Central America. It was pretty eye-opening, but not really what we deal with in this blog. I really enjoyed the booklet, thanks Kathy, and am happy to recommend it to you if you happen to be a pamphlet aficionado like us.

I’ll leave you with my favorite cookbook:

150 mouth-watering recipes celebrating garlic, onions, cheese, fish, and other foods that tend to chase your friends away.

I need to find this Bianca mouth freshener cookbook for my collection. I have never seen one before, but it wouldn’t surprise me at all if Kathy had one! ( Kathy: I don’t, but I need one! )

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