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

The Emerald City

One short day
In the Emerald City
One short day
Full of so much to do
Ev’ry way
That you look in the city
There’s something exquisite
You’ll want to visit
Before the day’s through

From Wicked: The Untold Story of the Witches of Oz, by Stephen Schwartz

A different Emerald City, but you’ll still want to visit. A collection of  Seattle souvenirs.

(Point of Order: These collectibles are not mine. OK, they are mine now, but I was not the visitor. Ahem, this clarification is to circumvent any sassy questions. I have shared with my children that in the sweet innocence and newfound knowledge of kindergarten, I earnestly asked my grandmother if she came on the Nina, the Pinta or the Santa Maria. It was not well accepted by Grandma, but uproariously funny to my kids.)

Beginning with the classic memento, postcards.

Looking East on University StreetVintage Seattle Postcard, Ye Olde Curiosity  Shop

Established in 1899 and run by the fifth generation of the Standley family. (Visit the shop facebook page, if you dare.)

Vintage Seattle Postcard, Totem Pole

Pioneer Square

The postage for these cards is just 1¢. Perhaps collected during a trip to Seattle’s first World’s Fair, the Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition of 1909?

A Seattle view on a quite snazzy compact.

What to see, what to do in the Emerald City?  The back of the Ye Olde Curiosity Shop postcard is jammed full of ideas.  Here is the top half,

Vintage Seattle Postcard Detail from Ye Olde Curiosity Shop

A brochure from the Smith Tower, completed in 1914, it was the tallest building on the West Coast for almost 50 years.

Smith Tower Observatory, vintage brochureInside it states that Seattle has 29 banks, 707 miles of paved roads and an annual summer temperature of 62°.  (One of the former owners was restauranteur Ivar Haglund. Keep clam.)

The beautiful University of Washington Quad, when it was just a Tri and before the famous cherry trees were planted.

University of Washington, Quad, Kind of

From the book, Three-Quarters of a Century at Washington

UW vs Idaho Football Ticket 1938

The Washington Huskies and the Idaho Vandals.

 University Way, “The Ave” in 1941.

The Ave, Seattle 1941

From the book, Three-Quarters of a Century at Washington”

University Bookstore (opened in 1900) and Bartell Drugs (1890) still going strong today. Unfortunately, cannot say the same for Wiseman’s Day & Nite.

Detail from a Camp Fire Mints box. Not necessarily a souvenir, but interesting. 1956 Seattle Camp Fire Girls Mint BoxOr maybe I’m just hungry

Vintage Seattle PI Christmas Recipes

Seattle Recipe Contest. I’m thinking 70s?


Thanks for coming!  You can also check out vintage Seattle Maps.

PS, Always curious, I did look up a bit Emerald City info.

Seattle was established in 1851 and the Emerald City nickname began in 1981

1¢ postcard postage was effective between 1872-1917,  1919-25, 1928-52.

Final score on for the UW – Idaho football game played October 1st 1938 in Seattle was 12-12. (And again, no I was not there.)  UW also won the Apple Cup that year, 26-0.

The Smith Tower pamphlet states UW enrollment in 1928 was 11,100. How many Huskies are there now? Fall 2014 enrollment was 44,786 undergraduates, with 13,829 more enrolled in graduate studies.

It’s a Sign

One of the ways my family amuses each other is by sharing photos of signs encountered when out & about.  So here’s a peek at a digital collection.

Frog Lover signFeeling tense on the road? Head through this neighborhood.

Traffic calming signNo stops for yoga poses or a decaf latte stand. Bumped out berms and ginormous speed bumps were added that actually narrow the lanes making two-way traffic less than calm.  I like to swing thru for a laugh every now and then.

Glacier Park trail sign

Giddy up in Glacier Park.


Big fans of the book, Diary of a Wombat. This, however, is in Seattle

 A signs reflect a few of our favorite things: animals, books, football & phones.

Might bleed more than a little purple around here

When one likes to bug their mother, they can send a photo or two.

can't mean me, just for a second . . .

Just a peek . . .

Restricted Area Sign 1

I think they mean it

Restricted Area Sign 2Sign for a 1950’s newsreel type of film about the fruit.

A 1950's newsreel type of film

Shields Date Farm

Slug Crossing  Capilano Suspension Bridge

In British Columbia rain forest. Cute, and true.

Also spotted in Vancouver,

Vancouver BC#mademesmile

Giddy Up

A (mini) collection of vintage saddle soap tins. I love all things equine and have a soft spot for metal containers, so these tins are win win. Most recent addition is from this weekend.

Propert's Saddle SoapEsquire Saddle SoapFiebing's Saddle SoapSo, how many saddles do we have? Well, at this time zero.  Saddle Soap TinsBut I do get to visit saddles (& horses) every so often.  I’ll wrap up by sharing this Alf-look-alike photo of my buddy Rio. (18+ hands tall, part Percheron, curious and extremely handsome.) I was trying to get a photo of how enormous he is, but he had other ideas.

Any chance your phone is carrot flavored?

Any chance your phone is carrot flavored?

No hour of life is wasted that is spent in the saddle.
Winston Churchill

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!


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




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.


Thoughts from Alice