Collecting Vintage Restaurant Menus

I never thought about collecting restaurant menus. But I do like to read them while I’m there. Too often there isn’t time before serving staff are at your table, wating for you to make a decision. So, I can see how collecting restaurant menus would get started.

I especially like old menus which have the history of the business, explanations about the restaurant name, the family who run it, and so on. It would be nice to take home the menu and have time to read it. Not to mention, the artwork.

What do you think of modern menus compared to vintage menus? Now they can be made on a computer and printed out without going to a professional printer. I think there is less artwork used. Other than the image on the front cover or top of the page, the rest are likely photographs. I’d rather have illustrations.

Of course, I’m not even counting chain restaurants as places to collect menus from. My favourite restaurants are still the individual, little places. Most of them get passed by tourists looking for the cookie-cutter restaurant chains. I prefer the little places, often family owned and run, where the locals still go for breakfast, lunch or dinner. I admit, I’m especially fond of the breakfast places. The bottomless coffee, the bacon and eggs and the slice of orange on the side. My favourite local breakfast restaurant is run by a Mother and son with one of the daughters often stepping in too.  I’ve seen all the incarnations of their menus. They aren’t vintage, but they have that feeling of being homemade and kitschy.

My question for menu collectors is: Do you ask to take them home or walk out with them under your arm and hope no one says anything?

I love reading menus. They are the shop windows of the kitchen and provide a playful sense of gambling for what might just be the best of worst meal of your life. Today I stumbled upon a rather […]

Source: The Vintage Menu Collector: 25,000 Restaurants by One Woman

Vintage Treasure: Flower Frogs

There are many obsolete technologies since mobile phones began taking over the world. I miss the elegance of watches in particular. However, some vintage technology is just misplaced and not obsolete. Frogs are one of those.

Not frogs of the living kind, but these frogs which were used in floral arrangements. The frogs usually came with a vase (or flower holder of some kind) which they fit inside. So the frogs were made to fit the vase.

Sadly the frogs were easily lost or misplaced. So not every vase still has the frog it came with originally.

We recently lost the frog to one of our own vintage vases. It was a silver frog, one of those which had to be polished. I hope we find it again, before it gets heavily tarnished. I can clean it but I can’t do much if the silver gets pits in it from being tarnished. I’m sure this is why silver has lost it’s popularity. As lovely as it still looks, stainless steel is much easier to look after.

Have you seen any frogs lately?

Vintage flower frogs…what are they? How many ‘frogs’ do you have?  How many did your Mom or Grandma have?   Frogs were used in the bottom of vases to hold the flower stems just right. They are usually metal basket weave grid, or fine textured metal spikes or made of clear or colored glass disk with holes.…

Source: Flea Market flower frogs

Don’t Touch the Bed Doll

This bed doll with her crocheted dress comes from Etsy, GK and TEA.

A long, long time ago my Mother bought me a doll, a bed doll. It was a beautiful doll with an elegant white gown, ribbon flowers and her hair done up in a fancy way. I kept her for a very long time, but she was always made me sad. No fault of the doll. It was one of the things I did which I later regretted.

When we bought the doll my Mother explained that she was meant to be kept on the bed to look pretty. You don’t play with her, you don’t undress her (some of the dress was not meant to be taken off it was sewn on the doll body to an exact fit), most of all, you don’t un-do her hairstyle. I said I would remember all that and just have her sit on my bed. My Mom was hoping this would be another reason for me to get into the habit of making my bed each morning. Sadly, it didn’t work out.

I never get into the bed making habit. Worse, it was not long before my curious mind had to get to work on her hair. Well, some things you just can’t ever fix or put back the way they originally were. She wore the same dress, mostly untouched but her hair was never the same again. So, I always felt a bit bad for letting my Mom down.

Bed dolls seem an old fashioned thing now. But, I like the old fashioned, romantic things. I was glad to find a bed doll with a home made crochet outfit on Etsy. There were a few of them. I wonder if they sell well or hang around, waiting for some silly curious girl to come along and mess up their hair.

This is a vintage bed doll with an old china face and a dress (not crocheted). From the Fritzy Etsy shop.

Beanie Babies the Uncollectible

Maple, the Canadian Beanie BabyWhen you think about Beanie Babies do you think cute, sweet, playful, disappointing, clutter, or does anyone still think they are collectible? I bet there are people still collecting them. Still, running on the Beanie Baby high, sure that Beanie Babies will rise (in value) again.

The first Beanie Baby was marketed twenty years ago, 1993. Some young people won’t know what a Beanie Baby is. The Beanie Baby fervour died down in about 2000.

I only bought one Beanie Baby during the rush to collect them. I bought Maple, the Canadian Beanie Baby when they were offered at McDonald’s restaurants. Does anyone remember that? I was in the US, living on and off with Todd. It was before we were married in 2000. I remember Todd’s Aunts asking me to bring them Beanie Babies from Canada, when I went home again and was coming back. (I was doing a lot of border crossing in those days).  I hadn’t caught the Beanie Baby craze so finding time to get them and space to pack them was not a priority for me. But, his Aunt was a big collector.

Funny how I have bought two Beanie Babies since the days of the Beanie Baby crash but only that one during the rush to collect them. The two I bought since then were found in a thrift shop. I paid a quarter for one and the other came in a bag of toys sold for a dollar, just trying to get rid of excess toys in the shop.

The Beanie Baby has been brought low since the days of it’s huge popularity and the rush to collect them all. People collected hoards of Beanie Babies and now still have to deal with a hoard of Beanie Babies worth far less than they paid for them. Not quite worthless, they are still cute after all. They are still what they always were, a cute toy for children and adults who like something to cuddle. The Beanie Baby never changed, just our concept of them. It would be nice if collectors took this as a lesson. If people used more caution with their collecting, keeping it exclusive rather than hoarding and collecting ALL of them. But, people still get caught up too easily in the marketing, the need to have them all and the idea that they will make a lot of money when they sell them.

I do still have Maple, somewhere. The other one I bought was the St. Patrick’s Day Beanie Baby and it is somewhere too. Put away, not with the idea of selling them for big bucks later, just something nice to have around even though I don’t have the space to display them right now.

I am a Shark Collector

In my own way, I am a shark collector.

I don’t keep stuffed sharks, whether real sharks or cotton stuffed. I don’t really have much at all to show for my shark collection. Not any more at least.

It still bugs me that my brother threw away the shark book I had been given for a long ago birthday. The book was published in 1976, full of paintings of sharks done by Richard Ellis.

I’d been thinking about the book this week, but I couldn’t remember the name of the book or the painter/ author. So I began digging online. I found it.

My Mother thought it was weird to have an interest in sharks, a predatory animal from the ocean. She tried to talk to me about it and talk me out of it. I knew I didn’t have a weird interest. I’m not planning to swimming with sharks, I don’t think about trying to make friends or pet sharks or hunt them or anything else really. I like to look at the sharks, in the photographs and paintings.

I think I like their sleek lines against the backdrop of the ocean. The ocean Richard Ellis paints is quiet, sparkling and bouncing with light hitting the water and the smooth looking shark coasting through the water. I also like the photos of sharks in the waves and crashing ocean. Yes, we know they are dangerous, but there’s more to them. They are a quiet, skilled predator, at home in their universe.

Have you had a book which sticks in your mind due to the loss of the book? Is it worthwhile buying the book again, even if it isn’t about collecting it as much as being able to see and read it again?

I thought about getting another copy of the book. But, it seems unfair when I did have one. So, I decided to leave it. A book unopened, sort of. However, if I see the book somewhere else, like a thrift store, I might get it. This is an emotional decision rather than anything base on logic. Don’t judge me, as they say when they know they have given the appearance of being loopy.

So, at the moment, my shark collection is all online. Available to be shared with anyone who follows the link on (Note: closed their service).

Bring Back the Real Hard Cover Books

There will always be something special about a hard cover book. I mean, a real hard cover, not what passes for them now in the world of publishing and retail outlets. Those big sized soft cover books will never be hard covers, just cheap stand-ins. It bugs me each time I see them called ‘hard cover’ because there is nothing hard at all about those covers.

I don’t know when I was given my first hard cover book any more. Likely it was from my Grandmother, she was a book person. My Dad’s Mother, people on my Mother’s side of the family aren’t much into reading. They’ve been known for cooking, baking and stealing horses somewhere in the distant past.  My Dad’s side were the educated, reading, law abiding sort of people. My Grandmother wrote and self published a few books of her own.

Not surprisingly, the first hard cover books I had were story books, fairy tales and fantasy. I can remember books by Enid Blyton and the series of Katy Did books by Susan Coolidge. Later I would read Nancy Drew. They were only out in hard cover editions then.

I miss holding a real book – the way the spine wouldn’t bend and the pages would fall open differently than any paperback book. Bookmarks suit a hard cover book. They never look so elegant and romantic in a paperback.

Depending on your age, you may remember fixing hard covers, adding a bit of tape to the bookbinding. Or, recovering your hard cover book with a soft cover of some kind which would keep the hard cover from getting messy. Some hard covers were shiny or real leather on the older books. They would show fingerprints if you didn’t give them a temporary paper kind of cover. Now there are only paperback books, the hard covers are gone. Just the word and a few elderly books are all that remain.

Do You Believe in Haunted Toys?

I’ve read about haunted toys, as a concept, before. Each time I just think – how gullible are these people? How badly do they want to believe in ghosts, spirits and hauntings? I don’t believe you see, not to the point of overlooking common sense.

I do think there are ghosts, of some sort. Feelings and emotions left over from the past. Turbulence doesn’t just disappear because the cause of the disturbance has gone. It’s like having a huge fight with someone. You can feel it in the atmosphere.

But, I don’t think that’s all there is to the ghost thing. I don’t know exactly what I do believe. I haven’t quite pinned it down into so many little words. My Grandmother did see ghosts, her sister and her husband both appeared to her soon after they were gone. Gone in a permanent way, not just out of the room or out of town. Seeing ghosts scared her. Me too. I don’t trust them all to be benevolent or casual or just want to come over for tea and a chat. So, like my Grandmother before me, I picked a day and spoke out loud and told everything (whatever everything is) that I don’t want to see ghosts. My Grandmother was told to do this by a psychic and she said it worked for her. She stopped seeing anything once she clearly said she did not want to see anything, of that sort.

Anyway, the idea of haunted toys annoys me. Why take something simple and kind of innocent and turn it into something frightening?

When I watch the ghost hunting shows I can see through almost everything they do. I understand the difficulties with proving the existence of ghosts when others are watching and the people filming can’t show they really didn’t cause the camera to shake or prove they really do feel a cold air pocket. But, it seems to look so phony I just can’t take it very seriously. It seems scripted, pre-planned.

So I don’t believe in haunted toys. I don’t believe children who have died would hang around an old toy and try to harm people or scare them with it. Children aren’t like that, except in movies.

One good thing about the haunted toy thing, it’s a great way to bump up the value of vintage toys. If you can show the toy as haunted… the interest in having the toy (even if just to prove or disprove the ghostly haunting) will help to sell it and sell it for a bigger price. Which just throws more doubt on the concept of haunted toys.

What do you believe? Have you had a haunted toy? Has an old doll given you the creeps? Do toys mysteriously move when you know no one and nothing is logically making them move?

I have felt creeped out by an old doll. I admit. But, I’m sure it was just my own doing. I let myself feel that way. It was based on nothing, just a suggestion by someone else. But, I can remember the feeling. I didn’t like it.

One interesting side note… the haunted toys all seem to be dolls. Co-incedence? Not likely.

Robert, the Haunted Doll

Haunted Toys and Dolls

Haunted Doll Stories

Flickr: Creepy Dolls

Misbehaving Toys and People

Annabelle: The Haunted Doll

David’s Haunted Dolls

Haunted America Tours: Real Haunted Doll Gallery


YouTube: Scary Doll

Picker, Collector, Hoarder… Where do you Fit In?

I explore abandoned houses and such places. The rule is not to take anything (or leave anything, like garbage). I photograph the outside of old farm houses mainly, seldom entering them at all. In more than five years exploring the only thing I have ever taken was a green Pyrex bowl which I found out in the deep grass, full of rotting weeds. It took several bleach washings to get the smell out of the bowl. I kept the bowl and I have no desire to sell it. I kept it for the house, the history of the place.

My Mom and I go to auctions, flea markets and thrift stores. We also pick up stuff from the side of the road if it looks good. But, we don’t sell it. Most of it gets refurbished and then we give it to family members and friends who need it. We repurpose. The odd time something ends up being left at the bottom of our own driveway for another picker to pick it up and see what they do with it.

A few times I tried selling old things we don’t still use or have space to keep around. But, it was annoying to deal with people who wanted to shop, rather than buy.

When does collecting become hoarding? I think a lot of people forget the actual pleasure of having something you enjoy. Instead they just want the hunt, the finding of  so-called collectibles and then they just want to own it. Not to enjoy it, but just to own it, like having the right number in their collection. They forget to actually enjoy having it. Someone could move all the items and they could never see them for years and it would make no real difference. They might even prefer to just collect it again rather an feel the loss of it.

I like to watch the shows about antiques, collecting, the storage locker buyers and even (less often) the hoarders. But, I don’t think I will take it on as a business. That would take the fun out of the picking up of junk and turning it into something of value. Plus, I don’t want to take on more stuff. There is only so much space available and only so much time I want to spend on dusting and maintaining stuff.

The above photo is upcycled jewellery from The Key of A.

Collecting Coffee Makers

I have an unplanned collection of coffee makers. I even have a couple which are old enough to be considered vintage.

The pot I use most often is the French press. I’ve got three of them now. One is the well-known Bodum brand. The others are brands I don’t remember any more, one was no-name. The one I take with me when I visit or travel is the smallest French press. It’s great because I can make coffee as long as I can boil water. No need for filters or a stove element to percolate the coffee through the machine.

That brings me to the percolators in my collection. The one I like best is Corningware. It has those blue flowers on a white pot. I found it at a thrift store and miraculously it was not only clean but had all the parts too. I’ve only used it once, so far. It’s a large pot and I don’t need to make that amount of coffee on a standard coffee-drinking kind of day. I like to watch the percolator pots, especially those with the clear knob on top so you can see the coffee get thrown up to the top of the pot each time.

I also have an espresso percolating pot. I had a second one but it got broken up for parts when my Mother needed the rubber ring for one of her espresso pots. It seems to always be that rubber ring inside of them that wears out first. Actually, unless something pretty dire happens I doubt much could cause the failure of those metal espresso coffee makers.

I don’t have a ceramic drip cone filter and pot. That would be a nice addition. But, it wouldn’t be simple for taking on the road. You would have to have filters and worry about it getting chipped or cracked. I do have my old Melitta cone filter and drip pot. I even still have the lid for the pot. They are made in a different plastic from that which is around now. They feel really solid and it takes a lot of effort to find any bend in them. I prefer not to bend them. I hope the set will last until I’m a very old lady and beyond.

My Mom’s Old Teddy Bear

This is my Mother’s teddy bear. I’m not sure how old it really is. But, she wasn’t the first owner of this bear. My brother used to keep it in his bedroom when he was a boy. Currently, it’s in his house, in the spare bedroom. I saw the bear there when I visited over the Christmas holidays. It doesn’t look any different from the first time I saw it as a kid.

The bear’s arms and legs are held with a thin rope which has become loose through the body so the arms and legs both dangle around. The head is a bit loose at the neck, but it doesn’t dangle. The fabric/ textile over the body is a little thread bare looking, like an old, worn in carpet. Overall, I think the bear is in pretty good shape. The embroider on the face is still tight and hasn’t got any damage from wear and tear at all. As an experienced embroiderer, that is pretty remarkable. The bear is stuffed with something pretty dense. It has no leaks so I can’t be sure what is actually in there.

We never played with this bear. It was given the respect due it’s age (and the fact that it was Mom’s bear) and we rarely touched it. She had a few other toys leftover from her time as a child but the bear is the one my brother liked best. He had his own bear, bought for him. Also, a dog Mom made him. So he had stuffed animals to play with. That bear was always special. It didn’t get to play with the other toys but it did get to watch from it’s perch on top of the clothes dresser.

Cymruted Collectible Bears: Teddy Bear Identification by Build

The Teddy Bear Museum: Teddy Bear History

Flickr Teddy Bear Photo Groups:


Love Is…

You never know what you will find when you browse around at the thrift store. Do you remember the Love Is… couple?

This glass had a stem and base. I wondered if it came with flowers originally. It would suit flowers for the bride. I’m only guessing, but it would have been a very nice way to send flowers to the bride-to-be, or to propose with flowers in a glass vase like this.

I remember this Love Is.. couple. At one point I even wrote my own list of Love is… sayings in my diary for them. I ended up with a pretty good list but not all of them were winners. I didn’t have the courage to send them in then, I was just a kid, what did I know about love, romance or relationships. Of course now I’d disagree. I think kids can know a lot about love and relationships (not every relationship is about physical love). To me it seems this is one of the things we can see in the Love Is… couple. They have love with affection and real thought for each other’s wants and needs.

The Love Is… drawings were created by New Zealand artist, Kim Grove, as a series of love notes in the late 1960’s for Roberto Casali. They later married but Roberto became ill with terminal cancer and Kim stopped working on the cartoons in 1975. Roberto died in 1976.

Since 1975 the cartoons have been drawn by Bill Asprey.

The Official website. The site kept by Bill Asprey also has the comic strip.

A collection of Love Is… from a fan.

Another Love Is… collection.

Typewriter Ribbon Tins

I’ve been reading about dead technology, things like wind-up watches, letter writing and typewriters. Then I found a link to people who collect typewriter ribbon tins. This got me thinking, it’s not just the technology or industry itself which dies but all the little things that go along with it.

I had an old typewriter, or my family did anyway. I can remember the smell of the ribbon and the tinny smell of the old typewriter itself. The ribbon was wound around two spools and would gradually wind back and forth between them until someone decided the ink had become too faded and replaced it with a new ribbon. That’s where the fancy ribbon case would come in. It would hold the fresh ribbon and spool.

Flickr: Typewriter Ribbon Tin Menagerie

As products go, what could be more banal than the lowly typewriter ribbon? In an effort to stand out from the crowd, ribbon manufacturers covered their products’ tins with colorful type and graphic elements. Art Nouveau, Art Deco, and Mid-century Modern graphic design are all well represented. Some tins feature fanciful illustrations having absolutely nothing to do with typewriters, ribbons, writing, business or anything remotely connected with typing. As the industrialized culture of international business spread throughout the 1960s and 70s, soulless, bland graphics and cheap cardboard packaging took over. The tin was no more.

Collecting Typewriter Ribbon Tins – Site by Darryl C. Rehr

Uppercase Collection of Typewriter Ribbon Tins on Flickr.

Floaty Pens for Laura (Wherever she is)

“Life’s more fun if you tilt things now and then. ” – Elizabeth Spatz

I had an online friend, Laura (which is also my own name), who loved floaty pens. Like so many people you meet online in chats, forums and various other virtual places, I lost track of her after the group fell apart/ faded away. Without turning this post into a tell all true confessions thing, I will say that I really liked Laura but (at the time) I was shocked to find out she was having an affair with one of the married men in the group. She was also married. I’ve become a little jaded or seasoned since those early days, back when we talked on IRC (Internet Relay Chat) and used mIRC.

Anyway, Laura had begun to create a site for her floaty pen collection. She shared the link with me. But, that was probably ten years ago. I don’t have the link and so far I don’t think I’ve found it. Many of the personal collection floaty pen sites I’ve found are pretty neglected/ forgotten. Not all, some are as active as this year, pretty good for a small niche hobby page/ site.

I do have a couple of floaty pens buried away in the stuff I haven’t unpacked. I have been something of a vagabond, moving every 5 to ten years. Unpacking wears thin. One of my floaty pens came from my Grandmother’s trip to London, UK. Another I had bought myself with my allowance money on a family trip to Niagara Falls, Ontario. A third pen is from the CN Tower here in Toronto, another family trip though we had arrived on a foggy day and never did go up to the observation deck to try looking for our house.

There is a recent pen, pink for breast cancer awareness. It’s not as fun as watching London bridge rise and fall or the elevator go up and down the length of the CN Tower but it is pretty in pink, with the pink ribbon floating along a line of women standing together. I bought it at Zellers, when I was still working there as a cashier.

Happy Worker: Custom Floating Action Pens

History of Floaty Pens
In the 1950s, Esso (now Exxon Mobil) approached Peder Eskesen, a one-time baker and the owner of a small acrylic factory in Denmark. Eskesen had been working on a pen that contained mineral oil, and Esso wanted to have an original ballpoint pen made with a small oil drum floating in oil. Buoyed by this first floating success, in the decades that followed Eskesen produced numerous corporate and tourist souvenir floaty pens. A later standout invention was the famous (or infamous) tip ‘n strip pen. Long a staple of dorm rooms and source for teenage snickering, these x-rated pens featured scantily clad female or male strippers whose black-colored underwear vanish completely with a simple tip of the pen. Of course, the mechanism behind these conceal & reveal pens have also been put to good use with other, less controversial corporate messages.

Float Art Design: History of Float Pens

Over 63 Years of Float Pen History
Typical Danish-made Eskesen floating pens create a detailed miniature scene inside the confines of a 16×80 millimeter translucent tube, and inside the tube, some object (a plane, a car, etc.) always floats by. The liquid inside the pen is not water but rather mineral oil, which allows the floating objects to float smoothly and slowly across the scene.

Eskesen was not the first company to attempt floating pens. Other styles had been created over the years. But inventors had been plagued by the problem of leaking mineral oil. In 1946, Peder Eskesen, a Danish baker, developed a method of effectively sealing the oil-filled tubes, launching him quickly in front of his competitors. Eskesen has continued on to become the leader in float pen technology, and the company’s sealing process is still a carefully-guarded secret.

Early Eskesen pens often held 3-dimensional floating objects, such as the mermaid pen (below). There were many mechanical pencils made, and many of the parts were metal. In the 1960’s, however, it became difficult to find workers willing to hand paint the 3-D floating objects, and the metal parts became too expensive to be profitable.

Eskesen’s first pen order was for Esso (now Exxon) and contained a bobbing oil drum. Soon the company was marketing the pens worldwide.

One Eye Green, the Other Eye Red

I went to a movie with my nephew, Zack. As we went in we were each given a pair of 3D glasses. I cringed. I’ve worn them for movies before, in the 1980’s and once for a cartoon sort of thing in the 1970’s. They were painful. Not just my eyes which watered and burned but the headache I was left with.  So I was not keen on another 3D experience, not even for Jack Sparrow himself!

This time I was surprised. The glasses were better made, not cardboard with one lens green and the other red. They could easily be mistaken for sunglasses. I did have to wear them over my own eyeglasses but that wasn’t really a problem.

Someone has designed a much better pair of glasses for watching 3D movies. I even kept them after the movie, though almost everyone seemed to be tossing them into the receptacle provided. Zack didn’t keep his. I think people just didn’t have the appreciation for them which I did. To me, they were a miracle in comparison to the old 3D movie glasses.

Kids at the Bar: Collecting 3D glasses from around the world.

Kevin Baird’s photo of a small collection of 3D glasses.

Etsy: Mylittlethriftstore has 3D glasses from the 1980’s for sale.

I read about the idea of 3D in Wikipedia, stereoscopy. If you really want to get into stereoscopy look up the International Stereoscopic Union.

eHow: History of 3D Glasses:

Anaglyph images were invented in the 1853 by Wilhelm Rollmann.. The lenses in anaglyph 3D glasses were typically red and green until the 1970s, when manufacturers began using red and cyan lenses.

Flickr: 3D Glasses are Dope – Share photos of your 3D glasses or people wearing them.

Technabob: Dolby Shows Off Ugliest 3D Glasses in History– These 3D glasses were made for collectors I think. You can buy them (they aren’t meant to be disposable and returned at the end of the movie) but if you try to walk out with them alarms will go off. Would you buy a pair or reuse those offered at the movie theatre, like a pair of bowling shoes?

You can make your own 3D glasses at home.

Miss Dolly on the Shelf

Do you remember this doll? I spotted this poor girl in a GoodWill thrift store this week. She was not in great shape, some hair had caught on something and pulled loose from her updo. Her dress was torn and she was a little dirty. Not things I couldn’t fix but as nice as it was to revisit my girlhood, I did not want to take her home. I had one very much like her, about 30 years ago. My girl wore purple instead of yellow. Next time I go to this store I will be tempted to check around the shelves and see if she is still hanging around.

But, do you know what the doll is called? That’s the big trivia question. I did not. I had to look for it online. Thank you to She has written a whole post about… Bradley Dolls. There are a lot of variety to them. Far more than the type above (which was the only type I had seen among my friends and in the stores at the time). You could have ordered a Bradley doll from the catalogue, back in the late 70’s and early 80’s. I’m not going to repost the history and information from Dollkind, I strongly suggest you check there and read if you are interested. One thing I did like to find out – people were making clothes for these dolls themselves. I used to like sewing, still do but don’t get much done. I’m surprised I didn’t get into sewing fancy dresses for my Bradley doll. I still design lovely gowns in my own mind, they just don’t make it beyond that point.

I found two groups on Flickr for the Bradley dolls. One for Bradley dolls in general and the other for Bradley sitting dolls.

Thank You Aunt Alice

It’s funny how things become vintage. I remember when my Aunt Alice (my Grandmother’s sister) came to visit me in the hospital and gave me my first pair of dangly earrings. They were not expensive made but they were gold and elegant looking and most of all, when I wore them I could feel them swaying just under my earlobes. It meant a lot to me.

Now here we are, about 30 years later, I still have those earrings tucked away in my jewelry box with all the other stuff I don’t wear. (I never became the girly type to wear make up or jewelry). Now those earrings could be called vintage. It makes me feel older than I really am. My Aunt Alice isn’t here any longer. I miss her but I do think about that day now and then, and many others.

Do you have a special pair of earrings or something other jewelry? Is there something in your jewel box that makes you remember someone else, especially a family member? Even though my earrings aren’t especially valuable I would like to have someone in the family to give them to. It’s a shame that none of the younger generation in the family now will have any memory of my Aunt Alice. So the earrings will never be special to them in the same way they are special to me. That’s kind of sad.

Pencil Crayons

People don’t always know what I mean when I talk about pencil crayons. I thought that was a pretty universal term for them. Someone assumed I was talking about regular crayons, wax crayons. But, pencil crayons are coloured pencils, not made out of wax.

I’ve had pencil crayons since I was a kid. We did arts and crafts and drawing and at times I illustrated my diary. (Not too often as I thought my drawings were pretty sad, even at the amateur level).

I always had a set of at least 12 colours which went to school with me. We made crafts for holidays at home and the pencil crayons would come out along with the scissors and glue, an arts and crafts staple, always in supply. I would keep mine in a pretty pencil case to keep them from being broken or having the points chipped. I also kept my handy pencil sharpener there cause you had to be ready for the odd broken tip. Sometimes I got especially creative and used the side of a pencil, so it needed extra sharpening to get it long to cover more space.

There are endless crafts and memories created with pencil crayons. I still have them around. I use them to make illustrations even now. I still don’t think highly of my drawing skills but I like trying, learning more as I go.

What do you remember about family and holidays, arts and crafts when you see a set of pencil crayons? When did you last use coloured pencils? Maybe you should treat yourself to a new set, explore some shapes, lines and colours and have fun like a kid again.

Christmas is in the Pink

Pink is in for Christmas the past couple of years. Did you know pink for Christmas isn’t a new idea? The first aluminum tree came out in 1958. Since then metallic trees had their time of being popular. I remember seeing them in shiny green, red, silver, white, blue and pink.

I think the new trend to have pink trees comes in part from the warmer weather we have been having at Christmas, also all the people who travel to warmer destinations over the winter, including the Canadian Snowbirds in Florida. They bring the ideas of summer into the Christmas season.

I’ve seen pink flamingos, orange and pink poinsettias and shiny neon pink snowflakes decorating the Christmas trees in stores here. They are very pretty, romantic looking, a change from the traditional red and green.

There are a few places selling the vintage aluminum trees:

Aluminum Christmas Trees

Retro Holiday

Traditions Year Round Holiday Store

Yuletide Expressions (New trees like the vintage silver trees).

Other Resources:

Flickr: Aluminum Christmas Trees

Suite101: Collectible Vintage Aluminum Christmas Trees

ATOM – Aluminum Tree and Ornament Museum

Wikipedia: Aluminum Christmas Tree

CBC Digital Archives: Aluminum Christmas Trees come to Canada (1960)

Let Sleeping Cats Lie

Fake cat, sleeping.It’s a fluffy cat that sits asleep in a basket and for some reason it freaks out my 14 year old nephew just as one like it used to freak me out at my Grandmother’s house. Why, I don’t know. It is not a real cat. It is even asleep, or seems to be. It is too small to be a real cat. It never moves, not one eye ever slits open as cats will usually do (when real).

My Grandmother had a cat like this. It was also curled up in a basket, had real fur but her cat was awake. I was always spooked out by that. Yet now I wish I knew where it was. I could have the two cats together. One awake the other asleep. Guardians of the house. No mice or teenagers would dare to mess with us then!

Does anyone know if this is a type of toy or knickknack? Do they go by some kind of name which I could search for and find others of their kind? Or maybe, as my nephew says, they are in fact aliens from another planet just disguised as toy cats to keep us all from getting suspicious.

Rocking Horse

The rocking horse I remember from when we were kids was not the typical vintage, wooden horse. Ours was plastic, set on a frame with four big springs holding it to the frame and giving it all the bounce it needed. I can remember the sound the springs made as it bounced and rocked back and forth and side to side, once you really got going.

I didn’t find anyone collecting that plastic rocking horse. Maybe there is a line between what is vintage and what is antique and some things (like rocking horses) don’t become valued until they are old enough to be antiques. Kind of a shame. Now that I’ve got thinking about the rocking horse I miss the sound of those squeaking springs as they stretched back and forth. Then the hollow sound the plastic horse made when the littler kids were on it, their legs flopping around while we kept them from flying off.

Flickr: Rock a Bye Baby – Rocking Horses

Rockimals: History of the Rocking Horse

Rocking Horse and Art Design Holland – Includes pages with vintage and antique rocking and carousel horses. (Note: Spams with pop up windows).

Rocking Horse Maker (UK): Makes and restores rocking horses.

Jane Hooker Rocking Horses: Restores vintage rocking horses, based in the UK.

Lexi’s Rocking Horses: Personal blog from a restorer and collector. No recent updates.

The Guild of Rocking Horse Makers

A very modern rocking horse from the Boing Boing site.


Some of Them are Real Knobs

Typically, you grab the knob, turn it to open the door and step inside. How many doorknobs have you had in your hand and not really noticed them at all?  I like the unique, decadent doorknobs made of crystal, glass and metals. I’ve seen especially nice brass doorknobs in Creemore, Ontario.

If you look for antique or vintage doorknobs online you will find yourself pulling up a lot of salvage sites. As an explorer of old and abandoned homes I’m not quite happy about salvage companies/ people who basically find old houses so they can rob them and then sell their stolen good for a lot of money. While I may cross the line and fall into trespassing on property to get photos, I don’t harvest, remove or take away anything from inside the house. I usually don’t even go inside of them at all. “Take only photos; leave only footsteps” is the basic rule for urban and rural explorers.

There are a lot of places that sell salvaged hardware from old houses. I don’t think you can ever know if they come by the hardware legitimately or not. It’s a shame because the old doorknobs are so glamorous and decadent, very hard to resist. Some modern hardware is designed to replicate the old. This seems a better option to me. Or, there are artists who work with glass, brass and other materials. I’m sure you could commission a truly unique, glamorous and decadent doorknob. It may not be old but it could be even better, designed to your own style.

Flickr: Glass Doorknobs

Flickr: Doorknobs and Doorhandles

Flickr: Knobs and Handles