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

Dear June Cleaver

Have you ever chuckled at an example of sassy retro housewife on a greeting card, magnet or coffee cup? I know I have.

When thinking of 1950’s housewives, June Cleaver is the TV ideal.  And the wackiness of Lucy & Ethel. What if you could ask June what life was like?  Using this crystal ball–a 1950 issue of Better Homes & Gardens magazine–let’s take a look.

I like the almonds sticking out of the peach on the right

I like the almonds sticking out of the peach on the right

The average family income was $3,300, the average car cost $1,510, and the median home price was $7,354.

As the phrase goes, a picture paints a thousand words.

1950 Tide ad 1950 Hotpoint washer adIs doing the dishes ever this thrilling? 1950 water heater ad1950 garbage disposal ad I’m seeing the inspiration for the current parodies.

Maybe something was in that Kellogg’s PEP cereal1950 Kelloggs adNow we want to add 1000 steps a day.

1950 American Sink ad

For about an average monthly salary, you could get a new range,

What? No pumps?

What? No pumps?

Or buy this,1950 GE TV adand be ready to meet Lucy Ricardo in 1951 and June Cleaver  in  “Leave It To Beaver”  in 1957.

And what about the guys?1950 Certo Ad 1950 Aluminum Window adDoes the 1950 homemaker ever get out of the suburbs?1950 7-Up ad1950 Florida Juice ad1950 Dundee Towels adYes!

And that wraps up our trip to 1950. The magazine was a thrifting find, with the original .25¢ receipt tucked inside.1950 Receipt for BHG

($3,300 in 1950 would be approximately $32,500 in 2015.)

 

See Jane Run

Hello!  I’ve been marching through March without many posts.  Sorry! The computer was acting up for a while, but luckily the kids did not.  Spring sports, writers block, life, yada yada yada.  Anyhoo, great to be back.

An additional reason was a trip to visit a college buddy in the desert. While driving at sunset, I spied a runner in the sky.

Cloud Runner 1

What?!? OK, we’ve all had that moment when you look to the sky and see a shape in the clouds. But you must see this too? Time to grab that camera. (OK fine, phone.) (And, yes, I was the passenger.)  My friend drives like a native Californian (zippy fast) and I’m snapping away with no idea what is getting in the shots.  Looking at the photo gallery, it appears that “Jane” is running for the hills.

Crazy, right?

Could not find anything published that night or next day as to who/what/why this was in the sky. (It has to be sky writing.  Yet not a plane in sight.) An upcoming tennis tournament in the area but no 5Ks. We took it as a sign and went to see “McFarland, USA”.  We’d give the cross-country team movie two thumbs up, three if you count Jane.

Hard to not pack the Northwest staples polar fleece and down, but I managed to adjust fairly quickly to the desert life. Sunlight. Golf carts on the road. Cloudless (for the most part) skies. The aroma of Hawaiian Tropic lingering in the air. Not that I used it; spf 30+ with a hat on.  We squeezed as many Californian delights as possible into a few days.

You never know what you might see,

And sometimes it’s best to just kick back.

#ThanksSherryAh, . . .

 PS for PS, Stop in at Tommy Bahama for a happy hour Coconut Martini. Yummy!

#ThanksSherry

Summer of ’29

Hum a little Bryan Adams, and let’s journey past the summer of ’69 for a collection of vintage advertisements.  How will we travel? Via this Child Life magazine from July 1929.

Child Life Magazine July 1929Published by the map peeps, Rand McNally & Co.

The magazine is filled with stories, articles and activities.  Like magazines today, it also contains a wee bit of  advertising. Advertising LandAt least it’s upfront.
Children in the Home Book 1Children in the Home Book 2This suggested book has very interesting chapters, I do so often worry about the Grounds . . .

The 1920’s was a time with rich graphicsCAM14514

Some brands are familiar,

1929 Simmons Crib Ad

Comes with a Beautyrest Mattress

1929 Cracker Jack Ad

US patent 1896 for the famous Popcorn Confection. “Your mother will let you eat all you want. . . “

1929 Keds Shoes Ad

Classic Kicks

Other brands, not so muchCAM14552Hood Rubber Company Shoe ad 1929 Neat to find kids have been wearing Keds since 1916.

Luckily, some things have changed.

1929 Sterno Ad

Baby and Bedside Sterno (!)

Janzten advertised “. . . the vitalizing, ultra-violet rays if the sun are most beneficial in child health.”

1929 Janzten Sunsuit Ad 1

1929 Janzten Sunsuit Ad 2

UV exposure is no longer something you would seek out for your child. Most likely that tight knit wool suit was itchy too.

Thanks for coming for the journey back to 1929. Time to head back to 2015.

You Never Know What You’ll Find

Given a free hour or so on a weekend, I enjoy heading out to find something.

Where to go? Flea markets, antique malls, thrift stores, estate and surplus sales. Occasionally a garage sale.

Once a month, or so, I’ll say “I’m off to look for vintage tins/globes/recipe boxes.”   My family hears “Blah, blah, blah, old stuff, blah, blah, bye.”

And this is just may be where they picture I’m headed, Flea Market or Recycling Center?Really family?  I’m guessing this is why invitations to tag along are usually declined.

Antique stores are often in historic schools or halls. Split-level and overstuffed homes are common for sales. But equally common are estate sales in craftsman or lakeside homes.  Regional funky flea markets pop up semi-annually in city streets. And they know this, but “Please let me come too” is just not the first thing that pops into their heads.

However this weekend, my family’s prediction was accurate. I did go shopping near, but not in, the trash. The house/office was located within a recycling center.  I felt a little trepidation meandering past tall columns into a potential cardboard maze.  Hmmm. What the heck. It was a bright sunny day. Carpe Deal-em.

And there were some fine finds. Many things were consistent with the setting: shelves of tools, wood & metal remnants, boxes of pop bottles. Stacks of formerly white, now gray-green plastic yard furniture. I picked up a mod square metal thing-y, and some old bottles. (Spotted the match for one later (OK, it was clean) at an antique store for $15. My muddy one was 95% less.) A few more items including a saltware crock, a dove-tailed wooden recipe box, and a depression glass plate. Plus three lidded china soup bowls with 22 carat trim. Six delicate pieces with no cracks or chips, all found in different locations. Not bad for the junk yard.

Carrots, Turnips & Garlic, Oh My!

Carrots with 22 Carat trim

 

I had to chuckle, I was  shopping where my family imagined.

G’Day Mate (The Land Down Under, Part 2)

Hello! Today is Part 2 of the study abroad/travel almost guest post.

To recap, my daughter spent a semester studying in Australia.  She agreed to share her photos without peeps. And I agreed not to be too jealous. The first post featured New Zealand. This post is a photo journey counter-clockwise around Australia. (Map at end of post.) (Again, her interest in geology is often photo theme. And alas, there are no pictures from antique stores or flea markets. And she did not get an Aussie student to record her voice mail message. Sigh.)

First up, Melbourne.  The library holds more than two million books, and has room for 600 readers.

Victoria State Library

La Trobe Reading Room, Victoria State Library

Brighton Beach Houses / Bathing BoxesBrighton Beach Huts 1 Melbourne Brighton Beach Huts 2 MelbourneThis exhibit was at the National Gallery of Victoria in Melbourne, in the sculpture garden.

Scent from Design to Art

“Scent from Design to Art”

In this case the fog is not geo-thermal, it’s scent.  “A unique installation of mist.”

Visitors will embark of a sensory journey through the garden to smell the 14 molecules and scent works. 

In addition to the exhibition, a program of Scent Design events led by Burr will allow visitors to experience to world of olfactory art from many perspectives. An exhibit called Hyper-Natural, curated by former New York Times perfume critic and author Chandler Burr

Melbourne Graffiti art

Melbourne Graffiti Art

 From the city to the beach,

12 Apostles

12 Apostles, Great Ocean Road

The 12 Apostles are limestone rock stacks west of Melbourne in the Southern Ocean.

12 apostles on the great ocean road, melbourne-ish 1

View of the Southern Ocean.

Next stop Sydney, the capital of New South Wales, where the Botanical Gardens have some unusual examples of flora. I believe these trees are Strangler Figs.

Sydney Botanical GardensOf course a visit includes the Sydney Harbour Bridge and Opera House.

Sydney Harbor Bridge, Pedestrian Walkway

Sydney Harbour Bridge, Pedestrian Walkway

Engineering Landmark

It’s an International Historic Civil Engineering Landmark

What’s inside the Opera Houses white tiled roofs? The UNESCO World Heritage Listed site gives tours in English, Mandarin, French, Korean, Japanese & German.

Wool tapestry designed by architect Jørn Utzon.

14 meter wide wool tapestry designed by architect Jørn Utzon.

Sydney Opera House interior

Interior of the Sydney Opera House.

Sydney Opera House

Looking out from inside

And back to rocks. Oh those crazy engineering students.

Manly Beach, Sydney

Extraordinary setting at Manly Beach

Heading north to the Great Barrier Reef in Queensland.

Cairns, Queensland, Great Barrier Reef

Cairns, Queensland, Great Barrier Reef

Cairns 2, Queensland

Cairns, beauty in every direction

Onto the coast of Western Australia,

 Shark Bay, World Heritage Area

Monkey Mia 1

Shark Bay

The oldest inhabitants of Shark Bay hang together, they’re stromatolites.  Living marine fossils combining biology & geology.

Stromatolites, 3000 year old microbial mats

Shark Bay stromatolites are 2000-3000 years old.

Shell Beach, Shark Bay, Western Australia 2

Aptly named Shell Beach in Shark Bay

(Australia continues to amaze me. Before said photographer/student headed to the southern hemisphere I thought I had a decent general knowledge. I did not.)

 At Monkey Mia, wild bottlenose dolphins come to shore for breakfast almost everyday.

The Pinnacles, Nambung National Park

The Pinnacles, Nambung National Park

Lake Ballard

Lake Ballard, Western Australia

Changing the pace and heading to Fremantle, Western Australia.

Bon Scott Fremantle, Western Australia

Yes, somehow she thought we’d enjoy the AC/DC statue at the beach, but not a photo of the beach. Hmmm.

Clock Tower View, UWA

Peek at Perth

Perth, one of the most isolated major cities in the world.

Perth Harbour

Perth is the 4th largest city in Australia, one of the most isolated major cities in the world. 1300 miles away, Adelaide is the closest city with a population over 100,000.

And that wraps the tour.

Thanks Banana for the pix. She picked up the use of both G’ Day and Mate, ate one Vegemite sandwich (part of an exchange student challenge), a kangaroo kebob and more than a few Tim Tams. Blue Mountains (near sydney)

And she also found that some travel photos are twice the fun to take. You can make memories and drive your mother crazy at the same time. (Get off that cliff, stay out of caves, are you ever flossing?)  Wonderful, wonderful experience.

Counter-clockwise tour starts at 5 o’clock. Melbourne, Sydney, Cairns, Shark Bay (about 9 o-clock), Perth & Fremantle.

australia map

 

House Hunters International (Kinda) Part 1

How about House Hunters for the fictional, vertically challenged, hirsute-footed customer?

This is a guest post of sorts.  After a semester studying in Australia, my daughter traveled for three weeks up, down, across and around.  Visiting amazing beaches, cities, and forests all while consuming multiple PB&Js. Trip of a lifetime with friends for a lifetime. She has agreed to share some of her photos.  I agreed not to be too jealous.

So back to faux House Hunters. This episode is set in Matamata, North Island, New Zealand. A lovely setting on a lake, and the Hobbiton movie set. Let’s head to the Shire and take a peek.

Hobbition view(As Hobbits are no more than four feet tall, we won’t be squeezing inside. )

Hobbiton House 1 detail 6Hobbiton House 1 detail 3Hobbiton House 1 Hobbiton House 3 detail Hobbiton House 5 Hobbiton House 8 Hobbiton House7

**The large oak tree above  was cut down nearby and the pieces were moved to the set and reassembled. Hand-painted leaves were imported from Taiwan, and attached to revive it’s majestic stature.

The Shire 3House Hunters episodes include the “decision discussion”. Time to narrow down to top home choices, so we’ll head to the Green Dragon Inn.

On House Hunters, you often get a peek of the surrounding area. Let’s see what else the North Island has to offer.

Mount Doom for Middle Earth. Mount Ngauruhoe for humans

Mount Doom for Middle Earth. Mount Ngauruhoe for humans

This photo from the Tongariro Alpine Crossing.  This day long hike features volcanic hazard zones, glacier carved valleys, and intensely colored lakes.

NZ lake 1  Tongariro Alpine CrossingNZ lake 2  Tongariro Alpine CrossingGlow worms are real (!) and unique to New Zealand. And they do glimmer, my daughter gave a thumbs up review for the tour at the Waitomo Glowworm Caves. (Link for info & stunning photos. Yes, stunning photos of worms!)

The following photos are from an active geothermal area called Wai-o-tapu, Māori for “sacred waters”. (My future engineer has an interest in geology, so a lot of rock shots.)wai o tapu, geothermal park NZ 1wai o tapu, geothermal park NZ 3Have to remind myself that this is not a movie set.

Cathedral Cove 2 The Coromandel Peninsula, North Island, NZ

Cathedral Cove. OK  fine, used in the movie “Prince Caspian”

Back to the “house decision” in Matamata, what did they choose?Hobbiton Garden 1Hobbiton House 2Sun and a garden. Good choice fictional Hobbit family.

The shire is so enchanting, and I haven’t read or watched the Hobbit or the Lord of the Rings trilogy. Must be incredible for fans.

Thanks for the pics Banana. I hope to be able to add my own someday.

Thanks Banana

 

 

Egg-citement

I’m egg-cited to announce the end of a vintage quest. Fairly low key, yet for me exciting. (It’s the little things.)

This is a “family piece” (aka rescued from an old box in my grandparents basement). Plastic, simple, utilitarian. Why was an old egg drawer saved? Who knows. At least it wasn’t the entire refrigerator.)

Vintage Plastic Fridge Egg HolderMod, aqua, spunky.  It called to me.

However, I do not have a need to store additional eggs in the fridge.  (Although the hubby wouldn’t mind having additional bacon on hand. Nice try. Admittedly, over the years I’ve seen many positive responses to Top Chef/Food Network challenges if some form of bacon is a component.  Bacon ice cream comes to mind. But I digress.)

This egg container had been in the basement for decades, then traveled 600 miles in a cardboard moving box, and into the dishwasher where it cleaned up very nicely.  And, back to a plastic storage box. I’ve pondered possible new uses for it multiple times, yet could not come up with one.  (It’s been almost three years.) More than once when trolling the house & garage for items to donate/purge, it has been in my hand.  And then, back to the box. It’s aqua and in perfect condition. I’ll admit I’ve developed an attachment. Many vintage items have been repurposed in our home but I was truly flummoxed with this. (Again, the hubs prefers when I listen to my “let it go” voice vs. my “it’s cool, let’s keep it” voice. Cough cough–a certain beautiful yet cumbersome English antique armoire not quite living up to its potential comes to mind. . . )

This month the egg tray made a trip back to the kitchen, and again through the dishwasher. Inspiration had to be around the corner. Round and round and round. And at long long last, the “aha moment” arrived.

Welcome to my daughters new nail polish caddy.

Upcycled Nail Polish Caddy 1The colors of the rainbow all in one place. No more tipping bottles stashed in carpeted bedrooms.

Plus it fits into one of the bathroom drawers. Perfectly sized, easy to transport for manis & pedis as needed.  Upcycled Egg tray to Nail Polish Caddy 2So happy to finally find a use in our home for this vintage tray.  Maybe it was saved because my grandmother liked it just as much as I do.  Not exactly earth shattering, but I feel even a simple reuse is honoring the piece.

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Thoughts from Alice

Blogiversary

Today Collections:  Thoughts and Things celebrates its two year blogiversary.

With a click of publish, this will be my 234th post. Woo hoo! Now why doesn’t seem like there’s a least a bit more space in my brain?

In lieu of a cake, here is a photo buffet. Each links to a blog post for a clickable mini-history.

Vintage Dance Cards Jr Prom 2

First Post. Vintage Dance Cards

Antique Kings Safety Goggles 1

One of my favorite collections, vintage glasses

 Hand-stitched antique gown. And speaking of heirlooms, or just plain looms, I have a few . . .

Antique Baby Gown

Can’t imagine trying to button the row of tiny pearls on the back of a wiggling baby.

A surprise find right under my nose. OK, just above it.

The BOAT, UW gold medal crew

The Husky Clipper

New on the blog was joining Instagram this summer–too much fun! All of my favorite things literally at my fingertips: architectural details, thrifty finds, Paris and ponies. Oh, yes of course, my family, one of whom now has me hooked on corgis.  Speaking of corgis . . . an Australian postcard stamp. I love the colors.

Queen Elizabeth II Australian Postage

The Queen looks quite lovely, even with the shark postmark heading towards her hat.

While following steps in the How to Start a Blog  video, I wrote this for the ‘about me page’.

I quite love finding old things, everyday things, and celebrating them. I try to mix beautiful/useful with reduce/reuse/recycle with an occasional dash of feng shui.  For the most part I am craftily challenged, have a brown thumb (plants lean away from me) and I may be APP (A Procrastinating Perfectionist).   Employing a ‘use what you have decorating’ theme, while juggling the ever-changing schedule/needs/charms of my favorite collection–four kids.

Breathe, Be Grateful, Smile, Take your vitamin.   And welcome to my collections of thoughts and things.

Reading it today it still holds true, except for the plant part, I am fairly close now to a certified black thumb.

Thanks to my family & friends, & old garages. Inspiration abounds, and I’m looking forward to year three.

A birthday cake. Kind ofCelebrate, Create, Contemplate. Repeat.

Celebrating @ Creativity Unleashed link party!link party palooza banner

Here’s The Key To . . .

Sorry.  The post title is a wee bit misleading, I’ve got      well,     actually    nothing. Not the key to happiness or wisdom or success. Or even to where those missing socks are. But I do keep trying. With four kids, I am confident in saying choose wood floors wherever possible. However, I do have a collection of vintage keys.

These are the oldest keys in the collection. Collection of KeysIn the duo below, the top key was used to open the front door to my grandparents house. Bent from 100 years of use, or from one really frustrating incident?  The little key on the bottom is just plain cute.

 Antique Skeleton Key, and buddy

A trio of the same style key, yet different weights, lengths and cut/teeth types.Trio of Vintage KeysThese small utilitarian objects spent a majority of time waiting, or in a dark pocket or purse.  Gorgeous detail and patina, and in the just the size of a thumb. Wonder if anyone noticed when it was in use?

Vintage Key Detail It’s always fun to find a unique old key in a junk drawer. I wonder what each key opens? A mystery that fits in your hand.

Skeleton Key Details

Key wards or bits

Here is another set of ‘keys’ I’ve collected. Halfway thought January is an ideal time for me to remember, reflect, and/or readjust.

Everyone wants to live on top of the mountain, but all the happiness and growth occurs while you’re climbing it.” Andy Rooney

So true. “Life’s a journey not a race” is a phrase I remember hearing first at kindergarten orientation.

It isn’t what you have, or who you are, or where you are, or what you are doing that makes you happy or unhappy. It is what you think about.” Dale Carnegie

I am a Worrier–yes with a capital W.  Re-channel that energy! It doesn’t help the future, past or present. Unless a tree falls on your house, then worry.

Perhaps they are not stars, but rather openings in heaven where the love of our lost ones pours through and shines down upon us to let us know they are happy.” Eskimo Proverb

This I oh-so-believe, for both stars and rainbows. (Yup, I have rose-tinted glasses to balance out the fretting.) Plus it’s such a nice way to remember others, for the kids and for me.

Seize the moment. Remember all those women on the ‘Titanic‘ who waved off the dessert cart.” Erma Bombeck

Carpe diem, and please bring me a chocolate mousse.

The universe is always speaking to us. Sending us little messages, causing coincidences and serendipities, reminding us to stop, to look around, to believe in something else, something more.” Nancy Thayer

Life’s like a movie, write your own ending . . . Kermit the Frog

And that just might be the key.

The Key?

Thousands of candles can be lit from a single candle, and the life of the candle will not be shortened. Happiness never decreases by being shared.” Buddha

The First Hunt

I always enjoy “Show me what you got” posts. Here’s the haul from my first thrifting escapade of the year. Just a bag full. Nothing earth shatteringly amazing, but still enjoyable after a month off.

The magic words “Half off of everything” rang through the split level just as we arrived.  Much of the house was already emptied, but fueled by a salted caramel mocha, I was ready to try to unearth a treasure.

A windstorm left us without power for almost two days over the holiday break. Our gas fireplace provides heat, we had plenty of candles and after the first evening power was restored to most of the area.  The market, businesses and gas stations were up and running, and traffic not bad (or worse than usual).  Tiny pockets were left without power, including us. Except for dead cell phones and loss the fridge/freezer contents, we were fine.

So it’s no surprise something practical caught my eye first. A collection of phones were in the garage, with the half off sale this Trimline was just .50¢. Worth a chance.Landline and matchesWith the restock of matches, it came to a whopping .65¢.  (The phone worked like a charm later when plugged in. vs. the phone I thought was a landline but had a battery and didn’t work during the power outage .)

Also in the garage was a metal tray from a tool kit. Hmmm, I have a soft spot for industrial things.

Red Metal Tray

Red. Metal.  Possibilities. I left the screws and handtools, and for $1 the tray was mine.

Family game night, with or without candlelight, will be enjoyable with this addition. Rough on the outside, pristine on the inside.Family game night

While not take-your-breath-away-finds, these tins and wooden spool will join other collections.  I’m going put the chalk to use.

Tins, Sucrets, ChalkNothing like a bit of blue on a gray January day.

Blue bowls

Always useful for organizing, or even baking bread.

Always useful

So then there’s this,Apple sheet

What is it? A sheet?  With apples? Why oh why would you buy that? Was there something else in your coffee? Not exactly sure. (I usually avoid most linens. A tablecloth, maybe an apron on occasions. Bedding, never.  Am I out of shopping shape?)

Unusual, no stains, did not appear used. 50¢. Fine, it was great deal, but what will you do with it? Well, I have a high school sophomore who could take it for spunky spin on toga day. Or used it as a drop cloth for the next messy craft project. Maybe cut in to squares used to wrap class valentine goodie bags.   Bleached and folded, it’s ready for at least one use.

A cardboard box full of bags from stores long closed was filled with various items and tucked in a corner. It did have a treasure. A vintage clothespin apron with a quartet of appliqued lambs in an embroidered pasture. Sweet.

Vintage Appliques Clothespin Bag

My resistance was down as I also bought another linen from the box.  This handmade full circle skirt with detailed flower petals and appliqued leaves. Tone on tone top stitching on the (tiny) waistband. Someone invested a lot of time creating this, maybe for a special event or performance, and it was stuffed in a box.   Somehow, I felt sorry for it. Another .50¢. What was in that coffee?

Vintage Full Circle Skirt

It bled like the dickens in multiple Oxyclean baths. Now a light pink, it twirls and swirls on my sophomore, so if the toga idea isn’t a go. . . Or, it will make a fine tree skirt or, well, something. I’ll try.

This first hunt of the year was completed for less than $5, about the same price as that mocha, and a fun afternoon back in the treasure hunting trenches.

Theme of the day? Gotta be “It was just .50¢.”

Vintage Appliques Clothespin Bag