Collections: Thoughts and Things Celebrate, Create, Contemplate. Repeat.

Deep In The Heart of Texas

The tune “Deep in the Heart of Texas” always makes me want to tap my toes, or even let out a whoop, and a clap. (And, please keep in mind I’m a water-logged Northwesterner. )

 The stars at night are big and bright
Deep in the heart of Texas
The prairie sky is wide and high
Deep in the heart of Texas

It’s a popular and well-known song from 1941, but it is not the Lone Star state song. Neither is the familiar 1858 tune “The Yellow Rose of Texas“. I was a bit surprised to discovery this. “Texas, Our Texas“, a spunky march-y tune from 1929 is the Texas State song.

Anyway, I was humming “Deep in the Heart of Texas” when I bought this back-to-school gift. It’s for the daughter of one of my friends, who will be attending the University of Texas Law School.  (Go Miss B!)  Did you know you can mail many (safe) items, and if labeled correctly with appropriate postage affixed?  Yes, you can send off a quirky non-traditional package.  I have sent coconuts as birthday greetings. Such a fun nutty option to change things up a bit.

Texas Gift 1

Smart, capable, but with a sense of humor, student Miss B can take an out-of-the-box joke, so we sent an ‘out of the box’ gift. My sweet baby wrapped it and sealed it to be mailed.  Almost 22″ and 1″ thick, glimmering in taped aluminum foil, it’s a familiar shape, so what is it? It will add to Miss B’s new kitchen, and be an easily portable Texas memory after graduation.  OK, one lucky Longhorn will have a Texas shaped cutting board. Sturdy and dishwasher safe. Just a bit sassy. Perfect. Practical too, as you can’t really slice limes or chop garlic on a diploma. So we are sending a little bit of our hearts to Texas, where the stars at night–and in the law school–are big and bright.

The employee at the post office treated our shiny, silver, shaped package without a question, or even a glimpse of a smile. And I had my charming, sparkly eyed assistant with me. Carpe Diem dude, we’re mailing Texas to Texas. He was as ho-hum about it as a brown paper envelope going ground to Detroit. (Maybe he should hum a few Texas tunes.) Doesn’t matter, because it was FUN, & it made us happy to make her happy.   Happy Fall Semester! Now what else can we wrap? . . .


Giddy up and give it a try too!

{nifty button}and snaps for me, can finally add buttons!

The Envelope Please . . .


Blink and it’s August. Fine, blink, drive, pack, un pack, repack, mention the heat and the lack of rain (this is Seattle) drive, camps, play, and August is almost over. We’ve been to quite a few beaches, and had four wisdom teeth removed (rotating bags of frozen peas post surgery is the way to go. However your family may not want to eat peas again for a while.) We are reusing backpacks, pencil boxes, rulers and calculators both solar and graphing. And still a foray into the back to school supplies was necessary and completed. We’re up and running (pun intended) on three team sports, with classes commencing next week.

In September   (!)

So let’s add a collection of something.  And yes, I did consider photographs of the extracted teeth . . .

This is a take on ‘good things come in small packages’.

Envelope Number One:  It’s a Sen-Sen package. The first commercial breath freshener in the USA. Or as the envelope states “Breath Perfume.”

Sen Sen 1A few tiny black candy tablets remain, hard as a rock with a faint anise aroma. Originally powerful licorice bits, Sen Sen was in production for over 100 hundred years, and just discontinued in 2013. This package is from the 20s-30s.

Sen Sen 2Envelope Number Two:  Early 1940′s Air Mail Postage Stickers. French, English, & Spanish.Air Mail 1 1940's

Correspondence was so key to friends and family back home.

 Air Mail 2 1940s

Envelope Number Three: Contains the Smallest Pair of Dice in the World.


Yup. Those are very small.

These envelopes hold quite a variety of early 20th century treasures.


Since my brain is already saturated with repeated verses of  “All About That Bass” sung by backseat carpool buddies, and the laundry room has regained the essence of shin guards.  Let’s bring on school!

I just may wear this new find for the first week of school.

1937 Oregon Chauffeur Badge

Perfect for mom’s taxi

But will remember that this August went quickly . . . and so will otherssaturdays

The Thrill of the Hunt (For Paper)

The sign next to the basket of paper products said “Pick 10 for $1.00.”  What a lovely invitation to rummage around. So I did.  Brochures, cards, pamphlets. A vintage paper craft project is perpetually on my list. For a moment or two I was thinking that five for $1.00 would be just dandy too.  Then foraging a bit more, of course I found ten pieces.


Published by the Presbyterian Board of Education. I think it actually is from 1893. Sabbath Day Detail 1983

Heading into the middle of the 20th century with a Pan Am Circle Tour.

Pre 1960 as Havana is s destination. The groovy swimwear also a clue . . .

Dig the groovy swimwear.

Island hopping.

Pam Am Caribbean Brochure Detail

Four more travel options:

 One greeting card.

Oakland company Laher Spring & Electric Car Corp Greeting Card.

Oakland company Laher Spring & Electric Car Corp Greeting Card.

Back to travel with a Finnair postcard and menu card combo

Finnair Postcard and Menu

Finnair Los Angeles – Seattle- Helsinki  route menu.

Finnair Los Angeles - Seattle- Helsinki Menu

Collation Nocturne.  Midnight Snack. Yummy. At the time Finnair flew this route, it also introduced Executive Class for business travelers.  I’m guessing that crab and petit fours were not served in economy.  Herring? Maybe.

And what to drink?

In English and French?

I’m in for a Polar Liqueur.

What to take to Finland? Perhaps a pair of these,

1955 Patent

1955 patent date

Half of the downhill skis in the US in the 60′s were Head Skis.  The pamphlet shows ski construction around a laminated fir core, and price for standard pair starting at $85.00.

And item #10, The Caribbean Guide.

Esso The Caribbean

I was happily enjoying the graphic on the front of the gentleman with a book on the beach, and then I unfolded it to find a wonderful illustrated map. Plus, the back includes information on different island locations.

 The second guide to include Havana as a vacation destination, so pre-1960.

Puerto Rico Detail

Puerto Rico Detail

Landmark, history and industry illustrations, just like my favorite Golden Encyclopedias.  This vivid map is now in the ‘to be framed’ pile.

A dollar well spent.  If you have the change to peek around in a basket of miscellaneous items this weekend, do it!

Happy Birthday Smokey Bear, & A Wish

Smokey Bear’s 70th birthday was August 9th.  Sorry to be a bit tardy,  however I do believe in birthday week.  Let’s celebrate Smokey Bear’s milestone birthday and years of service. (In 1952 a song was written called “Smokey the Bear”, adding “the” helped the rhythm.)

 Smokey handed this out in 1971, teaching boys and girls about forest resources and safety

1971 Guide for Boys and Girls

Smokey Bear Story of Forest 2Smokey Bear Story of Forest 4

Smokey Bear Story of Forest 3

Smokey Bear Pencil

Smokey Bear Pencil

On his birthday, I bet Smokey Bear wished for rain. And for continued strength, safety and support for those battling blazes in the West.

Have to take off my birthday hat now. As lovely as the vintage graphics are, the message remains very real. As of today, 8.13.14, there are 43 wildfires burning.  Over 700,000 acres have burned this summer. Devastating.

Photo: Michael Stanford, July 2014, Washington

from the National Interagency Fire Center

Daily statistics 8/13/14
Number of new large fires 4 States currently reporting large fires:
California (11)
Idaho (5)
Montana (3)
Oregon (10)
Washington (10)
Number of active large fires 39
Acres from active fires 717,660
Fires contained since 8/12/14 4

Washington has finally had some precipitation this week.

Thanks Smokey Bear.

Posted by L. Fitzmaurice, July 2014, Washington

In summers past, I have seen the haze and smoke from forest fires in Washington, Idaho and Montana, and am fortunate to have never experienced an actual blaze.  My wish is the same as Smokey’s.

1944 Debut

Supreme Repurposing Challenge

Nothing like taking a moment or two to peruse magazines or blogs to feel inspired.  Or a unique fresh estate sale find can make you giddy as you imagine purposing it into something useful or amazing, or hopefully both.  And you can, and should.

Add in an episode or two of American Pickers, Design on a Dime or even Project Runway  you began to see that every item can be oozing with potential.

I love reusing things, and I am inspired by artists/DIYers who truly transform antique books and fabric and wood pallets. Though not all at the same time.  Feeling creative?

These tables are new additions to inventory at a store that is one of my favorite quarterly haunts. Which soon may ring even more true.

Old, industrial, metal.  (Three of my favorite things.)

Price: $45.00 each (Not bad at all.)
metal table

Metal Medical Tables.  Gosh, I’ve loved dental cabinets for quite some time. Same cool vibe. A possible kitchen island?  Hmmm. Is there a truck I can borrow?

And then, the rest of the description . . .
Okay, here’s the thing, you may detect little drain holes at the angled ends of these otherwise unassuming metal tables, so before you turn them into steampunk dining tables just know that these were originally autopsy tables, so, yeah. Measures 30” x 7’ x 3’H.
Here is the challenge, could you re-purpose this? Would you?
Definitely get’s the prize for unique.
Me? I’m going to saunter off to put some fabric over an old book instead.   However, I’ll be sure to peek under tablecloths if any of my buddies are sporting a new addition to their dining rooms.


When I Get Around To It

At last I’ve finally gotten around to assembling one of my favorite collections. Things that are round. And for the most part flat.

Was that a sigh? Admittedly, it may sound a bit mundane. But here are some delightfully quirky vintage items, plus kind of educational.

The Pike Recreation Cocktail Menu

The Pike Recreation Cocktail Menu

Detail of recipe for a Pink Lady for my grandmother, and Raj on BBT.

1951 Hoster Cocktail Guide.

Absolutely some of my favorite finds. Hard to display as half of the fun is spinning the dials.

French guide to English verbs

French to English Verb Guide

French English Chart Detail 1Now, just need to combine the two guides above to order cocktails in French. . .

 The Lucy-loophole item of the collection is this mad-for-plaid Atlantic hatbox.  Almost as fun as a sassy cocktail guide.Plaid Hat BoX

Space Needle Menu 1962

Encore of this 1962 Space Needle Menu

Additional details:

This promotional item probably took a bit of the bite out of back to school shopping.

Encryption for kids circa 1968

Encryption for kids circa 1968

Hush Puppies Decoder Key

Pocket tokens currently located not in pockets

Pocket Totems

Another pocket token received years ago from a dad to his procrastinating daughter. What is it?

A Rount TuitWhy it’s a round tuit of course.

When I Get Around To It. And yes, yes it’s from my dad. Love it.

Bonus Message:  e/ okuuxz!

You Say TomAto, I Say Tom-ah-to

Vintage or Vintage-Style?

It pays to pay attention. Or maybe it saves. Last weekend I attended a flea market and (this is key for me) just bought one item.

What caught my eye from a plethora of intriguing objects? This bottle,

Le Bon Lait Bottle 1Cows. Blue. French.

Ceramic lid and wire handle. Le Bon Lait Bottle 2

And . . . . .  it’s originally from Cost Plus World Market. Old-fashioned but not old. French, alas not from France. Online price $5.99. Also saw many listings on etsy and ebay for this vintage-inspired find.

If I had the opportunity would I bring this back from France? You bet. So it’s reasonable that someone else would too. A lesson in buying what you love.  And I do. But this was a close one.

Le Bon Lait Bottle 3I saw the same bottle this weekend at a lovely annual French inspired flea market.  Marked down to $23. Yikes.

The bottle is 100% useful, and irresistibly cute in our fridge replacing the less-than-charming Costco bottle.

Costco 64 oz Creamer

I collect milk bottles and the price was just $2. When I bought it I didn’t ask any questions or unobtrusively take a moment to Google “Le Bon Lait” on my phone. Cows. Blue. In French. I do love it. But considering the difference between vintage and vintage-style is one for me to remember.  So time for a little Latin–Caveat Emptor.

Thank You Mr. Watterson

Now, I’ll let you in on a little maternal secret. Sometimes one of the munchkins may need a little pick me up or mood buster. My tip is to rotate a book into the upstairs ‘library’.  (Also known as the kids bathroom.)   A book with the task of eliciting a smile. Subtle parenting, lightly sly but must say pretty darn effective. A twinkle in their eyes returns after a few pages of Foxtrot, Zits or Baby Blues, or a Chicken Soup title for Kids, Teens, Pet Lovers, and/or People with Crazy Mothers. Maybe a blast from the past like vintage Readers Digest magazine is the ticket. (No, I do not leave Mommy and Daddy’s yearbooks, even though they are oh-so-good for a laugh. . .)

The Book of Awesome is awesome, as are the books in the Worst Case Scenario series. Another option to lighten any day is the latest edition in the National Geographic Weird But True series.  I know it’s working when I hear, “Did you know that hippos lips are about two feet wide?”

But there is one series that makes the trip from ‘the library’ back to the kids rooms, and is read and re-read cover to cover.

I caught a glimpse in a magazine this spring.

5/5/95 in Norwegian


  Whenever I fish with these books, they’re hooked. Here is our collection of Calvin and Hobbes.

Bill Watterson

The illustrations radiate personality

The illustrations radiate personality

Calvin and Hobbes ran from November 18, 1985, to December 31, 1995

Dogeared, witha few loose pages. We'll keep using it until it's falling a part

Dogeared, with a few loose pages. We’ll keep using it until it’s falling apart

We are but six of the many, many Calvin and Hobbes fans, as this 2013 documentary highlights.  As popular as the strip was, and is, there are no Calvin and Hobbes toys or t-shirts, pens or pillowcases. (Any auto decal you may have seen is not authorized. Whew.)  To say Mr. Bill Watterson is reluctant to give interviews is an understatement


A documentary film about the impact of the best comic strip in the history of the universe: Calvin & Hobbes.

Bill Watterson 1986 AP photo of the illusive Bill Watterson

This cartoon for the documentary about comics, STRIPPED, was Mr. Watterson’s first in 19 years.

Open a can of tuna for Hobbes and enjoy the May 1995 strip from above in English.

Calvin and Hobbes 5/5/95

The hi-jinx of this duo live on in multiple books. Any we don’t own, we’ve checked out from the library. E-books can deliver a chuckle to your fingertips in moments.  Also has Susie Derkins and her pesky neighbors.

My worthy assistant helped me collect these books, and selected this from The Essential Calvin and Hobbes to share.Lost with Calvin and Hobbes

A little additional comic magic from June 2014,

Not Quite, The End All Calvin and Hobbes images © Bill Watterson

The ultra Calvin and Hobbes fan may want to test their knowledge on this Sporcle quiz:

Calvin’s teacher
Calvin’s neighbor and snowball target
Calvin’s favorite sport
The club started by Calvin and Hobbes
Calvin’s space explorer alter ego
Calvin’s invention that lets him become different animals and objects
Calvin’s babysitter
The bully at Calvin’s school
Calvin’s invention that lets him make copies of himself
Calvin’s private eye alter ego
Calvin’s favorite cereal
Calvin’s favorite bedtime story
Calvin’s superhero alter ego
Calvin’s uncle
Scientific Progress Goes ________
Attack of the Deranged Mutant Killer Monster __________

Don’t Put All Your Laundry in One Basket

Laundry day. Which with four kids is pretty much another term for everyday here. Not that the laundry is sorted and/or put away in a timely manner, but it is clean.

Ever hopeful, I like to think of the hum of the washer and dryer as my children’s nightly lullaby. Kind of like employing the feng shui of a soothing fountain, running first through a Maytag.

Not that it would change the tide of our laundry in any way, but I have coveted large folding, rolling wire baskets for a while now.  Like this one, which is not mine. Yet.

Folding laundry hamper

Seeing one in an antique store or flea market is a treat until spying (more often than not) the “NFS” tag. I understand the “not for sale” part, as the basket is doing a darn good job of storing or displaying something. Which is exactly why I want one.

However, I quenched my quest at a recent estate sale. Almost. I found this darling placebo folded against a wall in the basement. (Not exactly a surprise location wise, but that it was still available at the end of a busy, busy sale was.) Hmmm, not what I had in mind, but pretty darn close. When I opened it up, I could sense a ‘how did I miss that?’ moment for the others in the basement with me.

Vintage and folding. Light as a feather and sturdy. I could think of many potential uses.  A place to stow blankets and throws in the family room, flip-flops in the garage, extra towels or maybe the entire Costco package of TP  in the bathroom.  Yes, I got it.

With side pockets too.

With side pockets too.

Ta-da, isn’t it cute?

I’m just kidding about a mound of TP, though it is tempting.  Meanwhile, I saw this at an antique mall when out and about last week.Mall Folding Laundry BasketAnd it was for sale.Detail Laundry Tag$60

A small happy dance ensued as I realized the one I bought was in better condition, and even better, a super bargain at just $5.

Are we using the fabulous folding find? Yes we are. Crazy as it may seem, we using the laundry basket for—-laundry.

Munchkin #4 has it set in her room for nightly two-point shot practice at jammy time.  Score! In more ways than one.

Fly Me To The Moon

To Celebrate 45th Anniversary of the Apollo 11 Mission, and Moon Landing on July 20, 1969.

Issued May 5, 1969

Issued May 5, 1969

Showing the Earth rising over the Moon, this stamp design was based on a photograph by William Anders, one of the Apollo 8 astronauts who took part in that historic December 1968 mission — the first manned lunar orbital flight.

The biblical quotation represents not a religious observation by the Post Office Department, but a famous Apollo 8 moment. Instructed by NASA to “say something appropriate” from space during a Christmas Eve transmission, the astronauts alternated reading verses from the Book of Genesis as viewers across the country watched the Earthrise on television.

My parents (like many) kept quite a trove of newspapers and magazines with historic headlines.   I was fairly ruthless as there were reams of documents to go through, and the information is easily available. Plus may were stored in the basement, a less than archival environment.  (And yes, I cried too.) I gave away and donated many, and recycled most.  But like a good book, sometimes it is just nice to hold an item in your hand. This lovely stamp was tucked away in the stash of memorabilia with a card and envelope.  I may need to liberate it for a project.  These items below also reside in the 2″ stack remaining of the time capsule. (And yes I forgot about it until yesterday. But look what I found.)

Seattle Times 7,21,69

Detail from the front page article on July 21, 1969,

The word Groovy appears twice

The word ‘groovy’ appears twice in these 1st few inches of the article. What else was on the front page?

Luna 15 Landing


This was a surprise to see on the front page. Of course I know about the race to the Moon with the Soviets. But if I’ve learned that the Russians landedan unmanned craft on the moon 500 miles away from Apollo 11, almost to the day, I certainly have not retained it.

The Seattle PI July 20, 1969

Seattle PI 7.20.69

I’m guessing the use of color, even on the front page, was a significant too.

 Summer reading program 1969.

KCLS Summer Reading Record 1969Kids across Seattle joined in the Astronaut’s Reading Club. Love the graphics.

Buzz, Neil and Michael weren’t the only ones to complete at trip to the Moon that summer. (See Buzz, I put you first.)

Buzz, Neil and Michael weren;t the only ones to complete at trip to the Moon.

For readers in this millennium , I recommend The Astronaut Wives Club: A True Story  by Lily Koppel.  Perfect 45th anniversary summer read.

In both 1969 and in 2014, July 20 fell on a Sunday. Cool. Or should I say groovy?

Fine, yes I realize it’s now been 45 years and two days, before I hit publish.