What a Long Strange Trip It’s Been

I have just got back from a holiday trip that involved about 4500 miles of driving, if you can imagine. We made a quick stop in Texas to see my sister-in-law and nephew. It was far too short, but we hadn’t even laid eyes on each other for two and a half years, so we just couldn’t drive by without stopping. We were on our way to Florida to see my mother as this was going to be her first Christmas without my dad in 65 years. Then we drove up to Michigan to see my other siblings for New Year’s, and planned to drive back to Colorado in about a week. It goes without saying that it was wonderful to see our families, and the weather was warm in FL, just like you wanted, and seasonal in TX and MI, meaning rain in one place and snow in the other. Thank goodness that we had those balmy eight days in between.

The night before we were set to leave, our car was parked on the street while my sister ran to pick up some Thai takeout. Wouldn’t you know it, her neighbor backed his big truck right into the front of our car! I’m not sure how fast he was going, but the hood is messed up, the bumper was almost taken off, and something is wrong with the driver’s side door. The insurance agent was very nice, but the earliest our car can be worked on is March, and it isn’t drivable. Poor little Prius, which has been a good car, is sitting in my sisters’ driveway and we had to rent a car to drive back to CO. I was kind of hoping that bad things would stop happening with the new year, but I’m kind of skeptical right this minute. At least no one was in the car so there’s no argument about who’s at fault, and no one was hurt in the big tank that ran over my car. But, this isn’t an auspicious start to 2022!

While I was in TX, of course I went shopping with Dorothy and we went to a new antique mall and a thrift shop. I found blogworthy things at both places:

Doesn’t the girl behind this plastic case look excited? I didn’t even notice her until I was cropping the picture. I was interested in seeing what was inside this cheerful container with the metal flower on top.

Do you remember when everything came in a pretty box?

This way you could keep your Lady Remington on top of the bathroom counter and no one would know what it was and you could pretend that you just naturally had hairless legs—and other areas, depending on how adventurous you were.

I’ve seen glove molds before, but these were the biggest ever:

They were for industrial gloves, size 9 and 22 inches long, that I can imagine Dr. Frankenstein wearing while performing his experiments. I’m not sure why they felt compelled to label them right and left, since most dyslexic people can look at their own hands and figure it out. I’m also not sure what you would do with these besides make more gloves. If we were in the other antique mall in Dorothy’s town, I’m sure at least one of these would have been converted into a lamp with a weird shade! It seems to be a compulsion in that shop.

We also went to Goodwill, and saw numerous awful things, but one really stood out:

She had to be an Amazon just to carry this!

This is my s-i-l holding the bouquet and she was close to six feet tall when I first met her. She is still a tall woman, and this bridal bouquet looked to be just right for her. I just can’t imagine carrying this huge silk and plastic monstrosity during a wedding. It would take both hands for most women and you wouldn’t be doing your maid of honor any favors when handing it off to her to wrangle during the ceremony. You might be courting disaster trying to manage your train, veil, and this bouquet while trying to glide down the aisle.

Poor Dorothy had to have a death grip on it for this picture. In the other, she could use both hands. I think they’re dreaming if they think someone is going to pay 99 cents for this, unless it was for a ’70s wedding costume for Halloween.

The rest of the pictures are from our local thrift store. I don’t want you to think that TX has the market cornered in weird sh!t, as one of our readers called our finds:

What is the deal with this color scheme? It seems a bit too much to be just using up leftover yarn. This was a pretty good-sized afghan folded over a hanger. If you had that much pink, yellow, and purple yarn, maybe you could do something else a little more attractive with them.

No, I didn’t mean this!

Although, if this girl had been dressed in pink, yellow, and purple, she might not be so saccharine-sweet looking. This is the second photo bomb I noticed while cropping. Here I thought this doll was so wholesome and innocent, and then you notice the doll below looking right up her dress and not even trying to hide her interest!

Since we’re talking dolls and crochet, might as well throw in another picture taken weeks before:

These are some ’70s light-weight fashion dolls that vaguely look like Skipper, Barbie’s little sister. The big one isn’t a Barbie clone, she’s just her own self. B.H. says that she looks like she’s been hitting the cooking sherry. I just can’t get over the yarn used for the smaller doll clothes.

The scale is so out-of-whack that it’s hard to believe that Grandma didn’t notice it. There are numerous knitters and crocheters that make doll clothes and use lovely fine yarn to make the scale match the size of the wearer. Just imagine if you had to wear an outfit made of the same scale yarn; I bet you would have trouble moving around. It would be like that velvet rope that keeps the hoi polloi out.

We’ve been noticing a lot of pretty china in the last couple of months:

I wish I had taken a picture of the marks, because this is an elegant and unusual pattern. I really like how the branch curves with the edge of the plate and then is just a single smaller branch on the creamer and sugar. I think these are probably from the Fifties or Sixties because it’s a more modern looking design.

One last trip picture. We were driving home on Tuesday afternoon, and this was the scenery between Fort Collins and Wyoming:

Snow, mountains, and lots of blue sky. It’s good to be back!

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New Year, Old Junk

We have finally had some snow, and lucky us, we have had about nine inches combined in two storms just a few days apart. Now I can honestly start complaining about winter. Actually, living in Colorado is really hard, because we so desperately need the moisture that we just can’t whine. For those wondering, Deb and I were nowhere near the fires that destroyed many homes and businesses in Superior Colorado. It was a REALLY late season wildfire, and the snow arrived the next day. One day late for many folks. If you are feeling the need to celebrate the late Betty White (another blow for the New Year) I would love to suggest the Humane Society of Boulder County, as they are working hard to reunite fire victims with their pets, or just give to your local Red Cross! Enough downer news, on to the dreck, and I promise something fun at the end.

I think I had better get this over with early:

Honestly, we were so stunned by this that we just stood and stared at it for a few seconds. Probably a few seconds too many, but hey, we needed time to recover. I truly hope some poor little girl who was a budding ballerina didn’t get this as a gift for her room. If so, this is another one that should come with a trust fund for therapy. In a pinch I suppose this would be awesome for that redneck wedding, too. Nope, honestly, the brain just cannot go there today. By the way, it did disappear, so unless someone took it home and threw lighter fluid and a match at it, it is terrorizing someone else.

I did like this:

I am almost positive Connie and Deb found this on their foray to Loveland, because if I had been along, I probably would have bought it. I adore old cooking stuff still in the box. From the looks of it, I can’t tell if it is just the shaker, or is there an actual donut maker in there, and how automatic can it be? I am pretty sure there was major house-wifery labor involved no matter what they say. I have attempted homemade donuts and they taste divine, but there is nothing automatic about it.

This was a pretty cool box:

And the back:

I don’t think we took a photo of the inside, as it was pretty messed up. We just liked it’s sleek ’40s look. We don’t know what Texol is, but there it is on the back. If it hadn’t been $4.99, we might have taken it home and loved it. Both of us have a thing for boxes, so it would have been a toss-up who got it.

We also liked this little china pattern:

Fun shape, and a pretty color. Imagine your whole table set with it. I always like to think of how excited the housewife was to get these pretty things. It was a time when it was a joy to set your table with love and to dine in elegance. I miss that. I am as guilty as the next person of not taking the time to love my china. Although my dishwasher went out again a couple of weeks ago, and I am washing dishes by hand for the next few months while we get a new one. Time to use the good glasses!

I like kitchen witches as much as the next person:

But we are just not sure about this one. Her face is kind of cute, but I think she is channeling the Flying Nun with that hat, and why is she sucking on a straw? Or is that a stick to strike recalcitrant children who don’t rinse their dishes? Red, white and blue is not really a traditional color combo for a witch either. Maybe she is a very patriotic witch. All in all, we don’t think she is very trustworthy to watch over our kitchen.

While we are scratching our heads, what is up with this:

I think it just looks like a llama head on a long neck, and since when are giraffes covered in nice English garden flowers? So your house is still mauve from the ’80s, but why not choose another animal and leave the giraffe on the savannah where he belongs? A cute little cat becomes the calico cat, and Bob’s your uncle.

This falls into our “everything but taste” category:

It’s got ruffles, it’s got beads, it’s got sequins. You probably wander around the world shedding decorations when carrying this. While I like things bejeweled as much as the next gal, this just isn’t pretty enough to deal with the trouble of carrying it. We sure see a lot of purses that must have seemed like a good idea in the store. Must be that magical mall lighting.

This last item is pretty fun, and I thought you might enjoy seeing it. If you haven’t checked out your local Buy Nothing group on Facebook, I urge you to go find one. They are hyper local, and it’s a great place to get rid of your unwanted treasures and pick up a few new ones. Folks post things they want to get rid of, and you reply if you are interested. They pick a recipient, or maybe you are the only one, and these days to stay safe, most of it is porch pickup. They keep them to pretty small groups, mine is only 1/4 of our town, so you never have to drive too far. All that is to say that someone posted this dress on our group:

Here is a close up of the bodice:

The dress probably dates to the 1880s, and is silk and lace. It may or may not have been a wedding dress, as many wedding dresses were not white at this time, and white summer dresses were in. The silk is completely disintegrating, but the lace is still good. Not another crazy person wanted it, so it came home with me. I am hoping to try and make a doll dress in a similar style using the lace and finding some new silky fabric. I did get a kick out of the size of this one. I am guessing from the length of the dress, she was about 5 feet tall, but her waist was almost 25 inches around. The little chubbo! I have seen dresses like this where the waist was only 18 inches. I am glad there were some nice healthy women out there, too!

Here’s hoping your new year is off to a great start, and I’m sure ours will get better once we shovel ourselves out!

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Adios 2021

Whew, made it through another holiday season! The last couple have seemed harder than ever for different reasons. I’m hoping that 2022 will be a Very Good Year! Hey, hope is free and eternal so we might as well indulge. Tonight, I’m planning on raising a glass to the future and watching some football. That’s about where my life is at right now.

I have to apologize to you because this post has not one, but two clown pictures. I don’t know why this happened, but let’s get them out of the way, and leave all their clowny yuckiness in 2021.

What do clowns pray for? Maybe “Please, no more birthday parties” or “Make politicians stay in their lanes!”

I ventured 10 miles south with another friend to take a look at thrift store offerings. The store is clean and well-organized, but I don’t go there very often. This town is very different from Ft. Collins and there are always lots of religious things, lots of angels, and super-cutesy, super-sweet ceramics and other decorations that really aren’t me in the second-hand shops. I usually find blog fodder there, and that day wasn’t any different. Gosh, not only is he a clown, he’s a sad clown, with pants of gold. Connie and I were looking at it trying to decide if I dared make fun of a clown praying, and we decided to at least take a picture. Imagine our surprise while checking out, we saw this very clown being handed to the cashier as if the buyer thought he was made of pure gold! It sure proves the point that one man’s trash is another man’s treasure. I would love to be a fly on the wall to hear what the rest of the family thought of Saint Emmett of Kelly.

This is how clown addictions start. Baby clowns are a gateway drug:

This is the oddest shelf of dolls. I hate to say it, but the clown dolls might be the cutest—at least the smiling ones. I do not see the point of sad baby clowns; isn’t being a clown bad enough?

Whew, glad that’s over with. We avoid clowns unless they’re egregious because our readers know how we feel about them and we know there are clown lovers out there that disagree with us. We could have clowns in every post if we wanted to torture everyone.

We thought this was pretty funny:

Maybe this is what the clown was praying about!

Most of us have been there, at least once, and have had lots of regrets the next day. Zinning, at excessive levels, is always harder on the head than a couple of mixed drinks. It must be the tannins in the grape skins, because white wines don’t usually have that effect, either. Anyway, fun tile and it would look great on a bar.

This next picture could be a companion piece to the tile:

If you have one, you might need the other, because the phrase, “Oh screw it” leads to lots of zinning! I’m not all that upset about a wine bottle opener being abused this way; this opener looks pretty beat-up and rusty, so this might be its best use unless you want to get tetanus while having a glass.

I was looking at Audrey and then noticed what was next to her:

Beta fish are a curious choice to make with whatever thread craft that is. There is some embroidery, but the fins almost look crocheted, or maybe some sort of sheer fabric with embroidery? Anyway, I don’t think I’ve ever seen that subject portrayed with thread before. Boy, Audrey Hepburn was so lovely, she’s distracted me from the fish, again, thank goodness!

I’m not sure what is worse:

The avocado fabric or the crochet doily grafted on top of it. Together, it’s hideous and I can’t even think how you would use this in your house. Were they terrible table runners, or awful anitmacassars? Here’s a close-up of one so you can decide for yourself:

I don’t think I’ve seen one of these projects in any vintage craft book in my collection. I wonder if the maker came up with it themselves? That would be best, since how many could one person make? I think that doilies are mostly benign until I see this kind of project.

I hope this plate was created when a party of friends were zinning:

It sure would explain a lot, like the bad paint job on the plate. It’s hard to hold a brush steady when you have a wine glass in the other hand—just speaking from personal experience. I mostly object to the application of a dog as a means of saving your project. Honey, nothing could save this plate from its eventual fate—the dumpster. Not even the cutest dog or cat in the world; and that dog has a ways to go to qualify for that level. I’m not sure why the thrift store even bothered to price and shelve this; it’s bounced around the plate and ceramics aisle for weeks now. Maybe you could use it to feed your pooch, if the glaze isn’t toxic; dogs are luckily (in this case) color-blind after all.

This poor baby needs help:

He has either seen something horrific, or he has a medical problem. Those eyes just don’t happen without cause, unless you’re a talentless designer making a tchotchke with eyes that light up. We were especially glad that the batteries were dead. There are things that you can’t unsee!

Well, there we did it—left the worst dreck in 2021 so we can start the new year with a clean slate. We hope that you are all looking forward to a clean slate of your own. Happy New Year and go forth and zin no more!

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Santa Baby

Here’s hoping your cookies are baked, your halls are decked, and your stockings are hung by the chimney with care. The run up to Christmas is always so much work that it is sort of anti-climactic when it finally arrives. Looks like, if we are very lucky, then we might get a bit of rain for Christmas, but nothing that looks like the white stuff. Today it is over 60 degrees and I have been working with the back door standing open for the cat to go in and out. We have a few more Christmas goodies to send you on your way into the holidays, so here we go:

We found the pin on the right first, but decided it might as well be joined by the matching earrings that were around on the other sided of the jewelry display:

Santa has “seen things”, or maybe “done things”, but either way they have left a lasting impression. We think that these are handmade, and maybe the crafter should consider another line of work, like a call center, or stuffing envelopes. Just keep them away from the clay.

We thought these were funny, mostly because of their twins-man-ship:

I know the job is hard, but this stint sure has aged Santa a bunch. Plenty of wrinkles, maybe a little jaundice, and boy is he losing weight. I think maybe Mrs. Claus should be concerned. Of course what with the pandemic and all, it’s probably been a whole lot of elf supervision as they work from home, so it has been nerve-wracking. He probably has been hitting the elliptical a whole lot to deal with the stress. Maybe leave a little extra piece of fudge for the Jolly Old Elf this year.

We just can’t understand why someone hasn’t snapped this up:

You know we are kidding, right? That sock Santa is scary on so many levels. That big red nose would give Rudolph a run for his money. Then Santa could have a self-guiding sleigh. The worst part of the whole thing is that we can’t blame a misguided crafter, or better yet a kid, as it was commercially made. Sigh, they should just quit. The Santa head on the right is only disconcerting in its absence of body. We have no idea what this was originally attached to, but it’s odd that it has just left us with a disembodied head. Rather like the Cheshire Cat without the lingering smirk.

I guess everyone is entitled to a little Christmas:

I must say this is our first elephant Santa. Honestly, we can’t make fun of him, because he is kinda cute. Plus, he is obviously a good Scottish elephant with that nice plaid hat. We decided he might be handmade as well, and as such, didn’t deserve the ignominy of a thrift store shelf.

While we are looking at animal Santas, we have this saucy lady:

I think she looks a bit on the snooty side, and there she is, sticking her tongue out at me. Now really, what did I do to offend her? If I were painted like that, I wouldn’t have the nerve to be that snippy. Someone did seem obligated to keep this plate for many many years till great Aunt Eunice passed on and wouldn’t ask about it anymore. Three days after the funeral, it was at the thrift store.

Nativity sets are hard and some folks should just not attempt them:

Not sure that sponge painting was the best choice for this. I really do feel sorry for Joseph and that receding hairline. I suppose having to support a wife and her miraculous birth could stress you out enough for some serious hair loss. I know that this is a ceramics project from some time in the ’60s as my mother did the exact same set. Hers is much prettier. Notice, Joseph still has his hair, and they have someone to adore other than the front of the shelf. Sorry for the quality of the pic, but I had to go outside and take it back through the window! She sets it up every year in the window of her shop and folks line up to try and buy it. The set above will be safe from all that.

Couldn’t resist a last couple of Christmas tree crafts. Take this one … please!

I think some innocent egg cartons have suffered enough already. There is something rather suggestive and obscene about this as a Christmas tree. This is another one of those things that someone would have to be half blind, or heck maybe all blind not to give it a huge pass. No tree at all is better than this. To top it all off the person selling it seemed to think it is worth $35.00. Too much eggnog by half.

Here is an example of not knowing when to say when:

We think it is supposed to be a tree, but right now it just looks like a spoiled tot who climbed to the top of his over-abundant pile of presents. They glued everything down to within an inch of its life, so we couldn’t even see how to rip it apart in a way that would make it useful. Now it’s just blech. Time to add it to the yule log and roast a marshmallow on it.

We want to wish everyone a joyous Holiday Season, no matter how you celebrate. We wish you and your family Peace, Joy, and Love.

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Homemade Does Not Always Add Happiness

We just love looking at homemade Christmas decorations. None of the things that we make fun of are kids’ crafts because kid stuff is almost always cute, fun, or some form of adorable. If it strikes out on those tests we use the Socratic Triple Filter: Is it true? Is it kind? Is it necessary? when looking at kids’ craft projects. The kind part always stops us in our tracks. Adults can just take their lumps for their crafty fails, but kids get a pass.

The donor gets props for not making this:

I’m sorry, but how are you supposed to do your business knowing that poor reindeer is just stuck there watching? It’s enough to give me performance problems, if you know what I mean. Plus, you just know that the rug is going to need a thorough cleaning if you have a little boy in the house. This kit is a terrible idea. Your house is decorated for Christmas even if you skip the toilet. If you’re a sadist, then just stick The Elf on the Shelf in there and know that you’re going to hell!

Might as well keep on the reindeer train:

This Rudolph was just dying to get his picture taken and be in our blog:

Please don’t make fun of me!!

We’re always happy to make a craft project’s dreams come true. I think Rudolph was made from parts of a palm tree; there is some palm fiber stuff on the back of his antlers, ears? I don’t really hate him, and he has such an anxious expression in his eyes that he gets a Christmas miracle—no snarky commentary. The more I look at him, the more I feel like smiling, so good job, Rudolph!

Sorry, but these crocheted trees aren’t going to get a pass:

They are sooooo busy, that it almost hurts to take stock of them. At least the green one only has individual snowflakes plus what I’m assuming is fake snow up the side, lights, pearls, and presents on it. The poor red tree has all that, minus the pearls, plus rocking horses, dolls, bears, stockings, and candy canes. I hope you noticed the battery packs hanging from the bottoms of the tree—yes, Virginia, they light up!

I think that this cookie cutter angel might benefit from a little subtraction:

The crochet work is rather nice; I can see snowflake stitches in her wings. If they had just not used the pearls at her neck, as buttons, and in her hair, plus just used a flower at her waist, but no ribbon, she might not set my teeth on edge. Well, I guess they needed to make her totally differently. I don’t know if you can see the gingerbread person cookie cutter inside the crochet; I’m not sure it’s necessary as the whole shebang is starched within an inch of its life. It’s always hard to know when to say when; but after a lifetime of crafting fails, I’ve decided that less is more.

I kind of have a soft spot for glass chimney Santas:

However, they need their hats! The maker did a pretty good job with the beard, but Santa has an angry mouth—maybe he needs a cookie. I am glad that this isn’t sitting on the lamp; that always scares the stuff out of me thinking about a flame near all that flammable felt and yarn. Did I ever tell you that I worked off and on one summer in a burn unit as a student nurse? It left quite an impression on me and a firm ambition to never find myself in that situation.

Kathy and I are pretty unshakable in our conviction that few things are improved by fabric yo-yos:

But, shockingly, this Santa’s yo-yo hair and beard are kind of charming. I’m not sure the gold beads are absolutely necessary, but as we noticed above, it’s hard to say “enough” when you’re on a crafting roll. We saw this, looked at each other, and one of us said “I don’t hate this!”. Wait until you see what else we didn’t hate; I’m not sure who we are anymore!

Predictably, we did not like this:

This kind of plastic cup calls out for a kid’s drawing made for Grandma and Grandpa at Christmas. Plastic canvas had to be plan Z after a ton of failures with A through Y. Plastic canvas is so attractive, said no one, ever.

Except us! I can’t believe I’m typing this, but:

we both thought this plastic canvas “lantern” was really well-done and attractive. I almost choked saying those words together, but hey, it’s true. You hardly ever see plastic canvas projects with black yarn, and that might be the key here. The red poinsettia contrasts so nicely with the black, and so does the red and white trim. This might be a first—we like a plastic canvas craft project at a thrift store. Mark this on your calendars because it won’t happen again for another ten years.

One last thing. I have made my dad these molasses sugar cookies for 25 plus years. My grandmother made them for my dad ever since he was a kid; they were his favorites. When she got to be in her late 80s, she sent me the recipe and told me that I needed to step up if she couldn’t make them any more, which I did. I always made Dad a big batch for Christmas, so it was hard knowing I wouldn’t be baking them for him any more. I thought I would add the recipe to this post, so that maybe someone out there might start a tradition of their own.

Grandma’s Molasses Sugar Cookies

¾ c of shortening
1 c sugar
¼ c molasses
1 egg
2 tsp baking soda
2 c shifted flour
½ tsp cloves, ginger, salt
1 tsp cinnamon

Melt shortening in pan over low heat, or in the microwave.  Let cool a little so you don’t cook the egg.  Add sugar, molasses and egg, beat well.

Sift flour and add soda, salt, and spices. 

Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients.  You might have to use your hand to get things combined.

Chill.

Preheat oven to 375F and grease a cookie sheet.

Form 1 inch balls and roll them in sugar, place on the cookie sheet.  Don’t make these cookies too large—they just don’t bake right.

Bake 8–10 mins DO NOT OVERBAKE.  They might not look done, but when you take them out they will set up.  I usually leave them on the cookie sheet for about a minute.

Cool on racks

We have just one more Christmas post, but have we ever got some doozies to share. Hope you are all hanging in there with the Christmas expectations, supply chain issues, Covid, and the flu! At least we can celebrate together, which is the real reason for the season.

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All Worn Out

If the weather folks promise me snow one more time and renege, I am going to file a breach of promise suit. Honestly, for all you folks drowning in different parts of the country, we will gladly take an inch or so off your hands. It’s mid December and we have yet to have measurable snow in our area, which is just about unheard of. It’s going to be really hard to have a white Christmas at this rate.

Well, it must be time for the ugly Christmas sweaters to make their appearance. We try not to take pix of too many, but every now and then one really catches our eyes, and not in a good way. Take this:

Overall, it’s just your average ugly sweater, but we are giving full marks to the person who managed to glue the light bulbs along the sleeves and get them to stick straight out. Comes out looking like a holiday biker gang. Substitute lights for steel studs and away you go. They were on both sleeves for the full effect. I might have given an enthusiastic thumbs up, if they could have gotten them to light up.

This one may be even less effective, and very much less comfortable for sitting down:

It would be sort of like wearing a corset. Every time you slouched you would be gored by a reindeer horn. Best solution ever for poor posture.

Lest you think Christmas is the only occasion for ugly sweaters, we have this entry:

Let’s hear it for the ugly Hanukkah sweater. Honestly, I thought that those of the Jewish faith had more taste. On the bright side, well other than the color of the sweater, when you are bored you are well equipped with dreidels for a quick game. I’ve got to say this one was a first for me. Who knows, it could be a new trend that we were just not aware of yet.

Deb likes Christmas pins. Deb did not like this pin:

This is one shady Christmas character. I don’t know what he is doing, but I don’t think he is up to any good. Probably selling fake Christmas wreaths, and getting little snowmen hooked on flakes. Or worse yet, it could be a clown in a Christmas disguise luring the unwary to get too close to that big red nose. Run away, run away!

We think Santa may have had just a bit too much eggnog, or maybe he lost a bet with the head elf:

No matter what happened, no one is ever going to let him forget this one. The look on his face is probably because he realized the number of phone cameras focused on the pink hula skirt. It’s going to be on Twitter and Instagram so fast it will get to the luau before him, and you can bet it will be the header in the Elvish newsletter for next month, or maybe even longer. The reindeer all put it on their computers as a screen saver, too.

We are not sure what is up with these gloves:

I like dream catchers as much as the next person, but I have to say it never occurred to me to fasten them to my gloves and put Christmas holly in them. WTF? Where were they going with this? They are not particularly decorative and they certainly are not useful. That is why they live at the thrift store now. I guess for 99 cents you could free them from the nightmare hoops and have a pair of red gloves. That is about all they are good for.

I love old cards. I got a box with a bunch of fun ones this past summer and saved this one out for Christmas because it was cute:

And the inside:

I’ve heard of DIY, but I think this might be taking it a bit to far. You know, just add water and all that, but the part where you have to wait 20 years for a tree makes it a little less convenient. The seeds are still in the packet, so no one had the patience to start them.

In another box from the same sale, I found this page pulled from a magazine:

They had it folded to show the card display, so I assume that is what they wanted hubby to get cracking on. This predates the ’70s string art craze by a couple of decades. I am withholding approval on it, as I think it could go either way. It might be super cool, or it might end up looking like someone hit the chianti and had a go at knitting. I am almost more amused by the rest of the page. Santa’s paper doily beard is priceless.

Hubby and I hit up a sale a couple of weeks ago that said they had vintage Christmas items. This was my favorite thing in the sale:

Gilded and tinseled to forever, and it even lights up. I was giddy with delight, then I saw the price tag. $300. It was fun, and I adore vintage, but even at my craziest, this just had to stay put. But at least I got a photo. I think I would be terrified to leave this lit up for any length of time. All that conductive aluminum and lights too. Better hope it never shorts out!

This last item falls under a public service announcement. We have mentioned that we both love the vintage pamphlet style cookbooks. When I get one, I do sit down and look at the recipes most of the time. Usually, it is just to have a good laugh, although rarely I will find something worth trying. Mostly cookies, cakes etc. I found this little book a month or so ago:

Inside, I found this recipe:

Surely you can not make whipped topping out of powdered milk? As I always have powdered milk on hand for emergencies, I thought I would give it a go in the interest of public information, cause, hey, you can’t always go to the store for Cool Whip.

It took quite a bit longer to beat it to a stiff peak. Closer to 8 minutes than 5, but look at this:

The taste was a little odd, but I have not had it in the fridge for a bit yet, and I am hoping the flavor will work a bit better with time. Not sure that powdered sugar would not be a better choice for sweetening as well. (Note: I left it in the fridge today. The flavor did not change, and I had mixed reviews from the family. Hubby liked it, son hated it. It also separated a bit, but was still useable.) I had a discussion about this with my mom and MIL at Thanksgiving, and MIL was of the opinion that it would work due to using a product in the past called Dream Whip, which lo and behold, they still make. It was a powdered form of whipped topping. I’ve never heard of it before, but hey, if you ever have a strawberry shortcake emergency, you now know what to do. If you give this a try, or have a variation, let us know. In the interests of science, of course.

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It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas?

I don’t know how the weather is in your neck of the woods, but in northern CO, yesterday and today, it was sunny and the temperature was over 70° F; I saw a ton of folks in short sleeves or sleeveless shirts out and about. While waiting for B.H. to see his doctor, I took our dog for a walk along the Poudre River trail. It was a gorgeous day:

Fairly clear day in Fort Fun

Koko and I got hot and thirsty. Silly me not to think that I might get overheated on December 1st!

To ease you into Christmas, I thought it might be fun to look at an old catalog of Christmas crafts:

Look at all that crafty awesomeness!

For those who don’t remember LeeWards Creative Crafts, it was founded in the 1940s in Elgin, Illinois and was in business until the mid 1990s when it was bought by Michaels, and shut down immediately. I never had a store near me when I was growing up in Michigan, but I do remember seeing their catalogs. This catalog is from 1965 and we still see lots of these craft projects floating around at garage and estate sales, and thrift stores.

I was delighted that aprons were at the beginning of the catalog:

However could you serve your fabulous Christmas dinner in a stained and shabby apron? These are kits, like most things in this catalog. The apron is sewn together but the pocket needs to be attached, the apron needs to be hemmed, and you need to embroider, or paint, the design which has been stamped on. Better hop to it because there are a ton of other projects needing to be finished.

Why don’t you “Brighten Your Home for the Holidays”:

LeeWards has “Distinctive Christmas Kits Alive with Holiday Color. All on Sale!” A Christmas swag lamp kit might be a hard sell for the person who has to install it, and take it down a month later (upper left corner). The lamp was made with red, green, and yellow marbles; add a little mistletoe and everyone will be raving about your Christmas décor! I’m also not convinced that the peacock plaques in the middle of the left page count as a holiday decoration when they are gold, blue, and nearly 18 inches tall. The gay panorama kits, above the peacocks, are those Styrofoam balls with cutouts that you peek through to look at the scene inside. We still see them often at the thrift store—it takes a long time for Styrofoam to break down! You have to give LeeWards credit—they can make anything sound exciting. It’s always instructive to read their descriptions.

This might be my favorite picture in the whole catalog:

Take a gander at the woman in the middle of the right page; she’s using a Sno Jet to spray that fake snow on her Christmas tree, powered by her vacuum cleaner! You notice that she has her Christmas apron on, although to be fair, it could be last year’s model. If I were to spray foam with my vacuum exhaust, it would probably take at least two months to scrape all the extra “Sno” off the curtains, windows, ceiling, furniture, and the dog. That sprayer doesn’t look like a precision instrument.

Am I the only one who thinks that the Metallic Fountain ornaments, left page, lower middle near the fold, look like spiders? Weird spiders, with lots of legs!

I can’t think of how many of those Satin, Satan?, ornaments I’ve seen over the years:

I think the “satin” looks good for a whole five minutes after the ornaments come out of the package. That material catches and has pulls if the wind blows on it. There is another old friend on the left page, near the middle—the tree top angel. She is described as “eye catching” which is honest, but ambiguous. We still come across this angel more often than you would think for a 55 year old ornament that wasn’t the best quality. Again, the descriptions of the projects and the prices are a hoot.

I’m not sure what the deal is with the two “twins” in the upper right corner:

Is it something to do with The Flintstones? I tried to Google Aye-Aye, but it’s also a type of lemur, and twin lemurs were born in the London zoo recently, so no luck on vintage Aye-Ayes. The description under the dolls says that they are 8 inches tall, cuddly, and have red hair. The one on the left is a girl, her eyes are crossed, and the one on the right is a boy, he has a black eye, which is quite a bit to unpack. The catalog encourages you to sew them some clothes. My thought is that Barbies are more fun to sew for, and those fabric elves are cuddlier. Hard pass on the Aye-Ayes.

If the Ayes don’t have it, how do you feel about Fluffy Soft Feather Dolls?

You can choose a 9.5 or a 7.5 inch doll to cover in bright, Christmas-colored feathers. I quote, “… dolls wear their beautiful red and green feather skirts so proudly. Sparkling sequins dot their skirts and bright ribbon bodice.” I know why I have NEVER seen one of these fluffy feather things—the family cat tore them to bits as soon as everyone’s back was turned, and the recipient thanked Kitty for their service. If your taste runs to simpler effects, there are two feather doll plaques at the top of the left page. I have never seen one of these before, either.

I had to include this page because of the real-life model trying to look excited:

She looks ecstatic to be side-by-side with the felt turkey that fits over a pineapple. I was way more delighted by the candy-skirted dolls down by her feet. That’s real candy imported from “Holland” and I’m sure you recognize our friend the angel tree topper, and the 7.5 inch doll formerly dressed in feathers. My favorite is the pixie; I have a soft spot for those things! There is a rather nice head vase next to the piles of candy, with those crazy beaded flower bouquets in her hat. Not really Christmasy looking, but maybe the funnest thing on the page, after the pixie.

Speaking of head vases:

Here is a set of three “lady head planters” as LeeWards calls them, with seasonally suitable flower arrangements in their hats. I had no idea that this version was so inexpensive; three ladies for a $1.89, flowers not included! I’m sure that these are not the high quality ceramics that Napco made, but they are presentable.

Finally, you know there has to be some knitting kits:

The projects in the center at least look functional; you might give that poor man a second look, but you wouldn’t actually pity him. Let your eyes wander over to the left lower part of the page and take in the ski mask kit, and the bunny and poodle kit.

Ski mask first. I’m pretty sure that if you had to wear this out in public, it would be the first step in your journey to becoming a serial killer. Your first victim might be the knitter who made this for you! You might even get off with justifiable homicide if the jury saw you wearing the mask. It has to be one of the creepiest things I’ve ever seen inflicted on a child!! Just say NO knitters; the risks to an innocent child’s psyche is just not worth it. Even LeeWard’s description is very cut and dry, no hyperbole about how stylish the ski mask is. They know what they did!

The poodle and bunny hats are so funny. I did laugh when I saw them, but maybe not in a good way. Why wouldn’t you just put the ears on the hat and call it good? No need for a whole face on the backside of your kid’s head. Can you imagine sitting behind this on a bus, or in church? The mind boggles.

Well, thanks for reading. I have to say that Kathy could go through this catalog and pick out ten entirely different pages that are equally incredible and write a post about them. Vintage LeeWard catalogs are the gift that keeps on giving! Stay tuned for the next three posts; we have a lot of Christmas funnies to show you!

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At The Top Of The Slope

We hope all our loyal readers had a fabulous Thanksgiving filled with good food, family, and friends. I saw a cute sign the other day. It said “Leftovers are for Quitters”. I thought it was funny, but for me, the leftovers are the best part. All the yummy food, none of the cooking and if you get really lazy, you can eat it off paper plates. You don’t even have to wash the good china. If all I have to carefully wash is a wine glass, that is my idea of the perfect meal.

Of course, now that Thanksgiving is over, that means it is all Christmas all the time now. No escaping Santa. Start your countdown and see how long you can go before you get Whammed. I personally don’t last much past the first week. To give you all a break, today’s post is non-Christmas themed. All bets will be off later in the month.

I think I will start with the worst, and just get it out of the way. Then you can sit back and relax, knowing that you have already seen this:

You should be thrilled that there is some plastic between you and this porker, which does obscure some of it. It’s still bad, but hopefully your eyes will not burn too much. We know it’s a pig in an ugly hat, but that is about all we can say about this pin. There is no signature, so at least someone had the integrity to hide their identity after making it. Gotta be some low-level import trash place. Who would have purchased this in the first place? I can think of no situation that would call for a pin this ugly. Let’s have a pig roast, maybe it will melt.

On the other hand, this made us laugh:

It would be perfect for that pool party chip and dip. The blood dribbling out the side of the shark mouth is a nice touch, if you are into Jaws. We did, however, have some usage questions. I don’t know how easy it would be to dip your chip without scraping your hand on the teeth, but I suppose that is part of the adventure? It would prevent the dreaded double dip. Also, it would have to be a fairly small party, as there is just not nearly enough room for chips. Another disadvantage is long-term storage. Better hope you have a pool house with a large cupboard.

This should be put back in the cupboard. A very deep dark cupboard, preferably with lots of holes in it, so it can fall into the back and never be seen again:

Ok, maybe it’s not that bad, but it’s not great either. Plastic canvas has a lot to answer for. I don’t what the folks who invented it were thinking, but surely there was some beer and a few bets involved? “Hey Frank, bet I can sell an uglier idea than you.” Frank promptly accepted the challenge and came up with the pig pin.

We want to know all about this:

Apparently, Emma was not great at hair dye, but for the rest of the deal she was solid except for maybe that attendance. Really? Only 78%? No wonder she failed hair dye. Bet all those courses were a real eye opener in 1937. The mind boggles at Cosmetic Chemistry. What was she mixing up? We always feel bad that no one can make a little space for something like this from Grandma. Take it out of the frame and put it in a scrap book at least.

Who needs some lettuce glasses?

No really, who needs ’em? Apparently, no one, as here they are. What was the design idea here? I always serve my beverages in a cabbage head. They were a particularly nasty shade of celery green as well. Just imagine them with something vaguely red in them. They would turn a perfectly horrendous shade of brown. Lucky for the new buyer there is a whole set of six of them, so you would be in luck. I would plop these puppies in the dishwasher and hope they all broke.

We have another entry into our bad souvenir category:

Why the airport? I have never heard a traveler say, gee, I just took this fantastic trip and airport was the best part. Did they touch down at Heathrow and never make it off the concourse? If so, buy a map and call it good. Better yet, hit the duty-free shop and buy some alcohol. It would make the airport better. Oh wait, maybe they did and the shop got them on the way out the door with this.

Last up, a couple of entries from the giant starving artist couch painting category. First up, the jungle cat:

Can it scream ’70s any louder? That orange would have been perfect with your avocado green carpet and harvest gold sofa. I have to say, I sort of like this style of painting. If it had been smaller and a real painting, it would have been a slam dunk. Of course a new frame would be absolutely necessary.

This next one is pretty fantastic too:

Well isn’t he just the cock of the walk. I bet every other chicken in the barnyard is jealous. The hens probably follow that tail around sighing with longing. He probably drives a Porche too. If you don’t get that last reference, just think of what he might be over compensating for. I am not even going to apologize to those car owners, because I have seen too many midlife crisis vehicles in my day. All that being said, we had to admit that we succumbed to the tail too. We thought it was pretty cool. No, we did not bring it home.

Strap on your helmets and get ready for the ride to The Holiday. We will be around to keep you amused. We have some Christmas Craft things coming up, and who know what else we will find?

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Gobble ‘Til You Wobble

Gosh, I remembered that the Thanksgiving post needed to be written this week!! Yay, I’ll count that as a victory. I’m very absentminded lately—let’s blame the wind! At least it isn’t blowing the smoke from the latest wildfire our way. It’s pretty late in the year, but there is another fire up near Rocky Mountain Park; it’s been extremely dry and windy here, so no surprise that a downed power line sparked up the tinder. It’s been that kind of year.

Sorry, but we didn’t find a cranberry server for a giveaway. Maybe we can find one for Christmas—keep your fingers crossed.

Best get going; we have found a bumper crop of Thanksgiving funnies and head-scratchers.

Poor little plastic turkey:

It’s so ashamed that it won’t even make eye contact. Maybe it’s the green ?scarf? around its neck, or that corn kernel texture on its body. I somehow remember that Kathy bought this because she felt sorry for it. Hey, Ms Editor, correct me if I’m wrong. ( Yep, too tender hearted by half! )

Wow, cornhusk dolls can be really attractive:

Then there’s this one. I don’t know why, but I think of Shirley MacLaine when I look at it—could it be the red hair and the quirky smile? BTW, I really like Shirley, even though I don’t like this scarecrow. I should have been a good citizen, bought it, and put it in the backyard for the deer to eat. That would earn me a positive mark on the old karmic balance sheet.

Since the scarecrow lands more on the general Autumn decoration than Thanksgiving specifically, I’ll throw a couple more general Fallish pictures here:

You can tell this is your fall wreath because there’s a red leaf on top of the burlap ribbon. Otherwise it could just as easily be an oversized bent-over ballerina’s derriere as a tulle covered wreath. It reminds me of the pile of stuff that ends up in a windy corner of my backyard. You keep looking at it, but it’s not anything but a pile o’ junk!

But, you know, that wreath maybe better than this:

I say that because this person had the skill to crochet a fairly intricate design and this is what they chose to make. Unlike the wreath, I’m pretty sure this is a faithful rendering of the pattern. Why oh why would they squander their talent on this?

Here’s a close-up just because I can:

The nut pick was just bad, but not comically bad. I probably should have taken a closer picture of the mess at the bottom. Oh well, wasted opportunities since this was GONE the next week! We were amazed that ARC wanted $4 for this, and then someone bought it! Maybe someone needed to balance their karma and threw themselves on this crochet catastrophe to save the rest of us.

This next turkey has me so confused:

Is it really a turkey, or could it be a turkey vulture? That head is pretty bare, just like a vulture head. I suppose it would be pretty tough to fly with that huge tail, so there’s that. Anyway, the maker has their nerve wishing us a Happy Thanksgiving with that mess as a decoration—it’s a total waste of feathers and fake fur.

I can see that someone has been into the jellied cranberries early; hope he had a server:

I don’t have too much against the poor pilgrim, except he seems too happy and he really needs to wash his face. My problem is that he found a rare miniature turkey, that’s only half the size of a wild turkey. Honestly, it’s smaller than his head! Where’s the sport in that? Plus, I’m pretty sure there isn’t enough meat on those bones to feed one person.

There is plenty wrong with this turkey, too:

But, we just couldn’t get over the material used for his tail feathers. Bluish-purple gingham and pumpkin themed fabric? Okay, weird but maybe it’s just an artistic difference. I’m not so sure that you can write off the bows and gold lamé spats on the feet. And let’s not ignore the elephant in the room—that turkey is “gifted” in the snood department! I sincerely hope that someone drags him home so that we don’t have to look at him again.

This is my kind of big goofy turkey:

It’s a hat!!! Who knew that the best use of a fabric turkey was just sticking it on your head? I realize that it has fur, but I don’t care because you can actually do something with it. I’m sure every person who sees the wearer is going to have a big belly laugh, which is just what this country needs. I guess whoever wears this is a real patriot. I’ve been keeping my eyes peeled around town because it was gone, too, and I desperately need a belly laugh myself.

We’re into the alarmingly bad ceramics project portion of the post. First up:

I think that they are meant to be holders for some autumnal flower arrangement. But, what strikes me the most, besides their unarguable awfulness, is that Tom Turkey looks furious and Jessica Rabbit Turkey has quite a bit of eye makeup on for a turkey. How could someone who obviously couldn’t paint, manage to get expressions on these big hunks of clay? Also, you would need about $100 of silk flowers to make an adequate-size arrangement for these bad boys and they would still look sad!

Where the heck do they store this thing after Thanksgiving?

It was all of two feet long and probably at least a foot high. You know it weighs a ton; poor grandpa hates pulling it out of the bottom cupboard where it lives eleven months a year almost as much as he hates shoving it back in. Seems like a lot of work for something this ugly.

Well, we hope we’ve gotten you off to a good start on the holiday marathon. Please take a moment to enjoy the holiday and the people you spend it with.

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Meow Mix

Halloween is over, and I am seeing the whites of Thanksgiving’s eyes. That means any moment now we will be going full tilt into the holiday season and I am not sure I am ready. I have gotten behind on everything, as my father has had to have cataract surgery this last month. It has meant many an early morning trip across town to the eye doctor, as for about half of his appointments, he can’t drive himself. I have also spent an inordinate amount of time trying to explain to him in what order and when to take his eye drops. Who knew it would take a rocket scientist to both explain it and make sure he gets it done. I have taken to drinking on a regular basis.

Luckily we have still made time for the thrift store, as that is an absolute necessity for my personal well-being. Lucky you, you get to see what we found.

We always start with the jewelry, as that is what we come to when we first walk in the door of the thrift shop. Usually it is just a whole lot of plastic and cheap metal junk. Not sure this is a whole lot better, but it gets brownie points for being large:

It’s slightly better quality than usual, as the stones are prong set and glass, but what we really couldn’t figure out was the back.

I get that a pin this big might need some backup to keep it in place, but why a clip? Most folks do not wear their pins on their sleeves, or their collars. Somewhere in the middle of your shoulder is just not going to work, unless you are supposed to put a big old hole in your shirt. Maybe just buy a dedicated sweater and sew it on.

I think we did some of these a while back, but there were several pieces of handmade crocheted jewelry:

While I applaud the skills, why do these always have to be made out of plastic beads in tacky colors? Honestly, some really pretty stone beads in nicely coordinated shades would look spectacular. Well maybe they could skip the patently faux Naja (horseshoe shaped decoration on the end), but otherwise, it could work. And four bucks apiece is highway robbery.

We are not sure where they were going with this:

Maybe they were trying for the ultimate yarn stash buster, but couldn’t they come up with something with some sort of artistic merit? A bunch of yarn tied onto some rope in a vaguely color-sorted way just ends up looking like a giant cat toy to me. I think I have spend too much time around my cat!

Speaking of cats. Deb saved this photo for me. I have to admit that both of us, plus the summer intern, had a huge laugh with this:

We think it was a cake decorator who had been encouraged to branch out into other crafts. She just can’t seem to put down the Wilton star tip, though. The figure is about a foot tall and seems to be some sort of papier-mâché. We have no idea what they made the “frosting” out of, as it seems to be pretty tough. Most of it was still intact after who knows how many years. Just in case you can’t get enough of this, here is the back:

Wouldn’t want to miss that sugar tail would you? Imagine this as a cake, and it gets a whole lot better. Maybe she was just advertising her business? Let’s hope so.

While we are “catting” around, we kind of liked these:

The cat, in particular, has kind of a ’70s mod vibe. He disappeared right away, but his owl friend hung around at least another week, maybe he can go party with the frosting cat? My only problem with these, is that I sort of want them to be psychedelic colors. I am sure if they were, we would make fun of that too, so there is really no pleasing us.

We love one another, we just don’t love your sign:

Now we expect moms to love their kids, well, most kids, but why is the deer family exhorting the rest of us love one another, and why it is such an ugly sign? If I had to look at this every day, I would probably go around hating on everyone just because. We don’t think it was improved by the junior artist with a Sharpie either.

Isn’t this fellow just groovy:

We are positive this guy is our age, just from the hairdo. Apparently, mom disowned him and hauled his school pix to the thrift store. Either that, or this was ejected to exorcise the ghosts of haircuts past. I always feel bad when someone tosses a frame with the original photos still in it. Of course, I don’t feel bad enough to adopt this one!

While cruising the pictures, we came upon this collection:

Surely that whole top row must have come from the same household. At least we hope there is not more than one person with that much execrable taste. Our cowboy prayer was that all cowboys, clowns, lovesick dogs, and charging buffalos would disappear from our world forever! It’s pretty crazy that the muscle-bound torso on the bottom row is a breath of fresh air. The top row doesn’t even have the excuse of a good frame or two in the mix. Looks like just plain firewood to me.

Hopefully the dash to the holidays will take it easy on you, too. Stay tuned for our annual Giant Turkeys Award post next week, and hold on to your gobblers, Christmas is right around the corner.

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