Around here, in the frozen tundra of Fargo, North Dakota, the Labor Day holiday weekend signals the end of summer, cook-outs on the grill — and the flea market season. Sure, there are a few stragglers… The odd garage sale sign posted every now and then, the rare nice afternoon to still barbecue on the grill… But the major collectibles hunting (and food preparation) is now limited to indoor places.
As a Wisconsin native, I miss the nicer weather which extends the antiques and collectibles hunting season. And I know, those of you much further south have no real seasonal limits — how I envy that! I’m looking forward to the day I can travel to extend my hunting, so won’t you help me out?
Post in the comments where you live and when the antiquing season ends (or, if it doesn’t end, when it slows or what seasonal or weather changes bring) and I’ll enter you in a chance to win this vintage grilling cookbook: the Big Boy Barbecue Book, by the Home Economics Staff of Tested Recipe Institute, Inc, with the cooperation of the barbecue experts of Big Boy Manufacturing Co. and the Kinsgford Chemical Co., copyright 1956.
Additional Ways To Enter:
* Follow Inherited Values on Twitter:@InheritedValues. (Please leave your Twitter username in your comment so I can check.)
* Tweet the following:
I’m talking about the flea market season, antiques & vintage collectibles @InheritedValues — There’s a giveaway too!
(Remember to come back here and leave a comment with your tweet for me to verify.)
* Post about this contest at your blog or website — if you do this you must include in your post to this contest post or Inherited Values in general. (Please include the link to your blog post in the comments section so that I can find your post.)
You can do any or all of these, but remember, the only one you can do daily is Tweet. Thanks!
Here’s the giveaway fine print:
* Giveaway is open to US residents only
* Contest ends September 16, 2011; entries must be made on or before midnight, central time, September 15, 2011. Winner will be announced/contacted on September 17, 2011. Winner has 48 hours to respond; otherwise, I’ll draw another name.
Last Tuesday, August 2, 2011, Picker Sisters aired on the Lifetime Television. (If you were confused by the ads showing American Pickers Mike Wolfe and Frank Fritz promoting the show on the History Channel, that’s because both Lifetime and History are part of A&E Television Networks — but that really didn’t help those who went to The History Channel on Tuesday night and, confused, wondered why the TV promos weren’t as clear as they could have been.)
The show’s premise is that best friends and interior designers, Tracy Hutson and Tanya McQueen (of ABC’s Extreme Makeover: Home Edition — Picker Sisters has the same producer, RelativityREAL) are on the hunt for what Wolfe and Fritz would call “farm fresh rusty gold” to turn into “stunning pieces for their Los Angeles home decor pop-up shop.”
To assist the designers in the creative process, there’s a third cast member, contractor, Alan Luxmore, himself with connections to Extreme Makeover and previous host of A&E’s Fix This Yard.
Despite early complaints or fears (primarily based on the American Pickers‘ promos) that Picker Sisters was going to emphasize pretty women (including the use of short-shorts and other feminine charms in order to get deals), I was looking forward to the show. Like Cash & Cari, I was hoping this series would emphasize decorating both in terms of objects and projects; much like Cash & Cari, I was to be disappointed. As with Cash & Cari, I was hoping we’d not only have the Picker Sisters show us what they transformed, but how it was done. But it misses that mark.
Since the success of these collecting shows is partially dependent on the personality of the cast, it bears mentioning that Hutson and McQueen come across as Valley Girls meet former professional NFL cheerleaders; perhaps a bit to bubbly and hair-twirly for most of us. (And those 80’s headbands only emphasis it.)
I don’t want to bash these beauties for how they look; that would be as wrong as saying someone isn’t good-looking enough to be on TV. But there are practical matters here…
Those of us willing to pick on farms, through old industrial items, etc., we don’t only have work gloves, we wear jeans or long pants to protect our legs — no matter how fab our legs look in short shorts. I get that they are on camera, but aren’t they annoyed enough by their own Farrah Fawcett locks, blowing into their eyes, sticking to the sweat on their necks, to put it up in a ponytail or something? I’m less worried about two grown women — complete with camera crew — getting hurt heading off with strange men than I am about cuts, infections and diseases from stumbling about improperly dressed in places where tetanus and hantaviruses make excellent bedfellows.
As I mentioned, I feel that Luxmore‘s work is slighted… But perhaps that’s because he’s an actor playing a character role. In the few scenes Luxmore is in, he plays the frustrated “daddy” to the two little girls on the road, ominous about projects, money spent, design ideas. Worse, he’s shown working while appearing straight out of some Gap ad or GQ photo-shoot, his black sleeveless muscle shirt taunt across his chest, tightly and neatly tucked into crisp belted green khakis. If he’s a master of the 100 hour build, why is he playing a stock masculine character, one part beefcake one part paternal male disapproving of his errant shopping sex kittens?
Like his female cast members, Luxmore ought to dress for the work at hand. We’ll notice he’s handsome, anyway, I promise.
Overall, the show feels far more Hollywood glossy than “unscripted” (the new word for reality shows). While this may appeal to a certain part of the television audience, I feel it’s a disservice to the cast — showing them more as pretty and, due to the lack of “reality,” more bumbling than the educated and experienced people they are. Coupled with the absence of any shop or announcements of where it will appear, the pretty posing makes me feel the shop is simply a premise. Television does blur with tinsel town, you know, so it all feels too glossy, too fake…
Perhaps we’re supposed to enjoy the fashionista-fish out of water thing… But McQueen, Hutson and Luxmore are build and design heavyweights, so maybe they should have left them a little more raw and saved all the polishing for the finished project pieces.
That said, there are good things in the show…
There’s less of a monetary focus on the show; though that could simply be due to the too-small price / sold graphics.
And it is fun to see the before and afters — even if it is at sacrificing how it’s done. I consider myself a creative person, a visual person with an eye for seeing the potential in “junk” and I’m not bored with what I’ve seen so far — far from it, I’m inspired by all the repurposing of industrial items!
I won’t be glued to episodes, but I will watch more of Picker Sisters. Even if I am hoping the show format itself will undergo a transformation of it’s own.
PS Because Lifetime quickly signed on for a seven-part, one-hour series (originally entitled To Live and Buy), I’m not sure we’ll see any changes in Picker Sisters; the slick format’s likely set.
PPS Check out the comments below for more & updates!
If you’re like me and enjoy collecting and have a creative streak, you’ve probably faced the issue of balancing your delight in making things with your collector’s desire to keep the integrity of your antiques and vintage items. While this clash of interests often presents a quandary for all artsy folk who collect, my primary problem persists in the area of vintage graphics.
I love to make collages, make special scrapbook pages, and in general practice the paper altered arts — but I’m extremely uncomfortable destroying antique books, vintage magazines and other old piece of ephemera. If a book or magazine is so damaged that it’s of no real value; fine, I can render the rest of it useful and beautiful once again with a paper project. But if the work is sound, no matter how filled with lovely images it is, I just can’t do harm. …Yet another part of my soul aches to use what’s right there, in reach. However, this digital age now puts an end to the majority of our concerns via the gift of the scanner.
In most cases, even the most delicate antique books and papers can be safely scanned. Not only does this offer collectors a virtual copy of the works, but, when scanned at a proper size (300 dpi or larger), this gives you a printable file. In just a few minutes you’ve preserved a copy of the image and created one you can now print (as many copies as you’d like) for use in collages, altered art paper projects, scrapbooking, and other projects.
What other projects, you ask? Well, now, thanks to all sorts of printers, gadgets, programs, and papers, you can transform your digital image files into patterns for cross stitch, needlepoint, and other needlework patterns; iron-on transfer papers to images to use on t-shirts, quilt squares, pillows and other fabric projects; LCD projector or DLP projector, opaque projector, and even slide projectors (though the lights often burn out before your project is done, resulting in problems lining up the image again) allow the image to be projected onto walls, canvas, etc. for painting murals and other larger decorating or art pieces — really, the possibilities are only limited by your imagination!
If you’re unsure where to start, there’s an online course you can take. While it focuses on paper art collage principals, it will help you get used to a lot of the basics. And there are places like Zazzle which do all the work, placing your images onto everything from posters, apparel and mugs, to greeting cards, iPod cases, and skateboards. You can make stuff just for you and your friends and family (at discounted prices) as well as sell stuff with your images to others. (I do it! This is my Zazzle shops with friends.)
The only note of caution I have is that if you decide to sell anything, you should know your intellectual property or copyright laws; items created for personal use fine.
So start flipping through your antique books, your vintage magazines, your postcards and other paper collectibles, with a creative eye… Who knows what images you can now safely use? It’s like having your cake and eating it too!
Image Credits: My own altered art piece made from antique and vintage images, used in my art collaborative project, Kindness Of Strangers, at Etsy & Zazzle.
If you are asking if a quilt’s appraised value will change; yes, it will. In general, the appraised value of a quilt is determined by the last work that’s been completed…
Some quilts have more value because of who and when they were made, or what designs are used…
Most of us don’t have quilts with that provenance so I suggest those quilt tops and quilt blocks will have more value being finished so they can be enjoyed.
What’s amazing about this is the fact that this post is the exception to an unfortunate rule.
It’s a fact that so many people in the antiques and collectibles area only define the word “value” in the monetary sense — and that’s neither the only definition nor the primary motivating force behind why we keep what we do. While it’s true we should keep in mind that the way we care for, treat, repair, refinish, store, etc. our objects matters, monetary value really only matters when we lose the objects, be it to sell them or to be reimbursed when they are damaged or stolen. For objects we love, for objects we value above their monetary value — those things we really value, having them around us to be enjoyed is what really matters.
Articles like Charlotte’s are important for the tips they present, but valued even more because they recognize the object’s real value.
In most cases, the quilts and textiles we have — be they antique, vintage or new — are valuable because we can see them, use them, enjoy them. So go ahead, finish that vintage quilt top, sew those antique quilt blocks into the quilt you’re making, repair grandma’s handmade quilt. The real value will be in snuggling in it, having it on display, keeping the tradition and the textile alive to pass onto the next generation.
I’ve been thinking a lot lately about antiques, vintage collectibles, and why I collect…
This is the first, of quite a few, posts about these thoughts. Which, I suppose, is my way of warning you that a number of “pondering posts” about the subject are headed your way. *wink*
Not many people know this, but I often wish I was teaching in high school, or junior high / middle school. I’d love to take a stack of antique photos, vintage magazines, or a box of “old things” into a classroom, have the young adults each select one that intrigues or out-right confuses them, and offer them the opportunity — yes, opportunity — to find out all they can about it.
Or at least research whatever aspect they’d like to about it.
Who made this? Was it popular? Why or why not? Would the item be acceptable today? Why or why not? Who did it belong to — if not in name, what kind of person would have owned or used it?
…Here all roads lead to learning.
Along with the obvious lessons in research, the self-directed subject of study would lead them to all sorts of things…
Not history in the boring memorization of dates; not a biographical sketch similarly based on facts which have little meaning to either themselves personally or the greater educational goals of school. But instead they would find themselves exploring the connections between the issues, or educational disciplines, we call “culture.” For example, the connections between art, technology and commerce in tintypes – which certainly mirrors the debates today over digital technological advances.
Even cases where little-to-no documentation exists is a learning opportunity.
What happened to those businesses, those people? People die, of course; but not all trails that end for businesses mean the business died… There are mergers, etc. And even when a business does “die,” what was the cause of death? Is this the same for styles and trends? How could someone or something be so significant as to make headlines — and then just disappear? How does this relate to the world we live in today?
You know; good old critical thinking skills.
But more than that, study borne of passion, self-directed study rooted in their individual area of interest, means that what they seek is more likely to matter and therefore be remembered. That includes not only the dates, the periods, the names, but the frameworks — including how to go about finding information, analyzing what’s there and what’s not.
Even if their original intentions are not academically pure, if they selected a piece simply to mock it, I believe that at the end of the process they would find something to respect. People far removed in time who are not so different than themselves in terms of needs, motivations, humanity. And maybe these students would even respect themselves more for being able to not only find the facts but find the connections as well.
You know what they say, “If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em,” so I decided to join Mimi — in an interview.
When did you begin collecting Weight Watchers publications?
A couple years ago. It’s hard to say–it just sort of “happened.”
Did you set out to purposefully collect Weight Watchers items — or did you sort of realize that you were doing so over time?
It all started with one cookbook: a fellow WW member gave me a copy of The 1972 Weight Watchers Program Cookbook. I became so intrigued with it that I had to know everything about this crazy & wonderful program. Incidentally, my mom lost a great deal of weight on the 1972 WW program after I was born–so this added to my fascination with it. After I got my hands on that first retro cookbook… pretty soon, I started looking for more information, recipes, books, magazines, etc.
It became a hobby (read: obsession), and people started giving me their old WW stuff. The WW magazines are my favorite. They are hard to find, but they really contain some of the best “gems” and really represent the evolution of the WW program over the years.
What’s your criteria for collecting Weight Watchers publications? Are issues limited to a specific time period, condition rules, etc.
I am really only interested in the magazines from 1970-1976. These were the really wild and wacky years. Or as I like to call them: The Knox Gelatin years… The liver-once-a-week years…. The Fluffy Mackerel Pudding years. So the recipes are really horrifying and funny. But there is also something endearing to me about the program during these years. WW was so genuine and sincere about helping its members. It was like a family. Or a secret society or something. Really kitschy and cool.
How many do you think you have?
Maybe 50? But growing every day…
How do you organize them?
Since I reference and use them regularly–they are kept in a jelly cupboard in my kitchen alongside all of my other favorite cookbooks–both retro and otherwise.
How do people react to your collection?
Most people think my retro WW magazines are pretty odd. Most of the recipes are gag-inducing. Some of the recipes literally make you say “what were they thinking??” My husband tries not to look at them anymore. He had a bad experience with an aspic, and that scarred him for life.
You’ve been putting your collection to use; tell us about your blog and the Skinny Jeans Project.
My blog www.theskinnyjeansproject.blogspot.com is both a tribute and an adventure. As a Weight Watchers lifetime member who has lost over 40 pounds on the modern day WW program, I wanted to pay tribute to the history of WW and all of the brave women (including my mom) who followed this program in the early days. I also pay tribute to Jean Nidetch–the founder of WW and author of all of the publications I reference on my blog.
But most of all–my blog is a crazy adventure that I decided to embark upon as I turned 40. I figured it was time to do something BIG. I wanted to get back into my “skinny jeans”, so I thought I would incorporate the rules and recipes from the 1970’s WW program into my current weight loss plan and write about it. I re-create some scary retro WW recipes and yes–I even eat them. At times it is horrifying. At times it is delicious. You never know what dietetic disaster will end up on the platter… Maybe a giant Mackerel and Cantaloupe Salad? Maybe a Crown Roast of Frankfurters? Maybe a Chicken Buttermilk Loaf? Stop by and check it out! I dare you…
Because you use the books and magazines as intended, do you consider them collectibles?
I guess so. To me they are both collector’s items and cherished resources. Not all of my Retro WW magazines and cookbooks are in mint condition, but I love them all just the same!
Do you think you will begin collecting other cookbooks, health & diet publications, etc. from that period — or will you remain a Weight Watchers purist?
I admit that I am drawn to any cookbooks or magazines with a good selection of gelatin mold recipes. Better Homes and Gardens Circa 1955-1970 are my current fave. I also cherish my Knox On Camera cookbook from 1962. It’s a bit creepy, but I have a slight obsession with Knox Gelatin and anything that can be gelatinized. There’s something wonderful to me about “gel cookery” and the women who took that much time and effort to prepare something so disgustingly weird.
I also love any cookbooks or magazines focusing on the topic of retro dieting. I recently picked up a cookbook from 1961 called “Glorious Eating for Weight Watchers” for .50 at a flea market. It was published by Wesson Oil, had nothing to do with Weight Watchers and mostly contained pictures of fried food. I found this to be quite strange. I had to have it.
Anything you’d like to add or mention about your collection that I didn’t mention?
Aside from the recipes, which is what I love most about my Retro WW Magazines–each issue features a fashion section, a “success stories” section, and many valuable articles about health and fitness. But the best part of WW Magazine HANDS DOWN is “Ask Jean…” where readers get to write in with their questions, comments and complaints and have them answered by Jean Nidetch–the founder of WW. These letters and responses are never dull, because, well…let’s just say: Jean has chutzpah and tons of charm. To say the least.
So do you, Mimi; so do you.
I’d like to thank Mimi for sharing more information about her collection — even more than she shares at her blog. For quick retro WW bites, follow Mimi on Twitter @RetroMimi — “Sometimes its easier to swallow in small doses!”
I first wrote/posted about this November 1953 issue of Silhouette Magazinein July of 2008 — but when preparing to list it for sale on eBay, I found myself thumbing through the vintage publication with completely different eyes. For you see, when I first posted those images and silly thoughts, it would be another four months before Things Your Grandmother Knew would be born. Now I’m spotting tips on cleaning corduroy in a very different light!
In theory, and practice, this is the heart of recycling. But had I recycled this vintage booklet (either in the practical paper way or in an artistic one, using it for an altered art product or something), the content itself likely would have been lost.
As a collector and a reader, I’m often amazed at the power old periodicals and books have. Good fiction remains good fiction. And the non-fiction still teaches us things. Sure, some of it’s frightfully funny — or just plain frightful. Old medical and science texts, obviously spring to mind. So do the works which expose the woefully ignorant in terms of cultural issues, such as gender, race, etc.
But even when the information is hopelessly outdated or just plain hopeless, reading old works gives us great insights into how things really were at that time. And let me tell you, not a whole lot has changed. Humans still desire the same things, buy and sell with the same motivation, and whatever styles have faded to black have zoomed back into fashion too. More or less. The cultural or political pendulum swings back and forth. What’s gone around, comes around. Especially history we are doomed to repeat for having overlooked the earlier lessons.
Antique and vintage publications are too often overlooked themselves. Even by collectors. At appraisal fairs and on the television shows, experts continue to tell us “Old books, newspapers, and magazines have no value,” except in very rare cases. Perhaps that’s true in terms of the market price evaluation — but that’s merely a reflection of a lack of buyer interest. And the few who are buying old magazines and books often do so not for the written content, but for the cover art, the illustrations inside. (I personally feel they should just buy poster reprints and stop cutting up my precious bound babies!) Even those who buy firsts and other rare works seem to value the objects, but not the contents themselves.
It seems rather messed-up to me. You should buy an old book, magazine or newspaper for the same reasons you’d buy a new one: because of the story it tells, the information it provides — because you want to read it. And maybe even reread a few of them because your opinion may change over time.
If you really don’t want it, pass it along to one who does. We’re out there, really we are!
When I saw them, I immediately thought this would be a great thing to do to jazz up a pair of cheap gloves (or mittens). And then I thought, “Wouldn’t that be one way to salvage those lonely single mittens and gloves left in the closet…” You could take one black glove, add some needlework in red and white thread; then use black and white to stitch the same designs on a solo red glove — and you’d have a quirky pair!
Two things that are always plentiful at thrift shoppes…
Partial tidbit trays or plate holders / servers…
And unwanted vinyl records. (And by “unwanted” I mean they are either badly scratched or recordings so common, they are only destined for recycling or worse.)
So why not put them together and make a retro-styled display piece?
I wouldn’t use them for serving food. And unless you firmly attach the records to the frame, there’s the danger of the records, and whatever light objects are placed upon them, sliding off. As I just played at the thrift store (yes, they looked at me oddly) I haven’t experimented with how to attach the pieces… But a glue gun would likely do the trick!
At the very least, this piece can one again hold stacked plates and other items at the buffet table — allowing your guests to talk about how clever and resourceful you are.
I don’t know where Joan “No More Wire Hangers, Ever!” Crawford stood on wooden hangers, but I’m guessing she wasn’t a fan. However, these cute vintage wooden hangers for the nursery might have made her at least think of them as adorable display pieces…
Painted pink, with decals of kittens and little girls, I nearly bought these at a local thrift shoppe… But at $2 a piece, I left them all there.
When I went back with second thoughts a day later, all of them had sold.
I left empty handed, with a heavy heart, reminded once again that the time to buy something is when you see it.
A vintage advertorial announcing “what’s new” to ladies who read Modern Woman magazine (volume 17 number 1, 1948). In this case, “what’s new” was a Lucite tea tray and luggage rack. Since the photo was courtesy of DuPont, I assume it was a DuPont piece.
Tea for two — on a distinctive “Lucite” table, combining an attractive Chippendale-style tray and luggage rack of the crystal-clear plastic. The light-weight tray is easily removed for carrying dishes. The decorative, sturdy luggage rack folds away for convenient storage, and has gold-color tapes across the top, woven in a leaf pattern.
I’ve seen this done before, but all the tiers were plates, and it became a nice tidbit tray for serving cookies, etc. Having the tea cup saucer on top makes for an excellent lip for hanging wire earrings!
Wouldn’t this be a fabulous way to share an antique, but incomplete, family heirloom china set? It would make it easier to share the family china with each one of your children!
Andrea Porter, an honors graduate from Fashion Institute of Technology, spent over 14 years working in the textile business until one day she found herself in need of a new coffee table. Unhappy with the current options available in today’s commercial design world, she decided to look into the past and created a coffee table out of an old rusted gear she’d previously found at a flea market. When the newly repurposed piece came home from the local welder and friends began to express interest in having their own, gears began to turn in Porter’s mind… Now, with the help of her sister, Ameri Spurgin, Porter cranks out repurposed items from the past into new functional pieces of home decor via Arms and Barnes.
The company’s name honors the sisters’ childhood nicknames while the company itself honors the American past in (re)purpose and motto, “Finding the beauty and potential in things forgotten.”
Old industrial, factory and farming items (such as iron fence pieces, old gears, thrasher wheels), architectural pieces (like scrolled window grates, register vents, fire place covers) and even more domesticated pieces (cast iron cookware and the wooden harness of weaving looms, for example) now find themselves converted into practical, conversational, chic tables for your home.
The headboard appears to be hand painted or, if fabric, embroidered with the titles of her husband’s books. What a lovely idea! …If not your book titles, why not the names of your children, special dates, etc.?
Revolutionary Watches of the Future Indicate It’s Later Than You Think
Watch at left shows time, date — and radioactivity level. Elgin watches (l. below) are experiments in plastic. “Capsule watch (r.) switches from finger to pin, pendant or bracelet. Another not-yet-purchasable marvel at Manhattan jewelry show: watch to tell time every 5 seconds — thanks to a tiny built-in FM radio gives weather report too.
While I want to giggle at the old-fashioned notion of a wrist watch to alert you to the dangers or radiation levels, such things are back in fashion again — like this cell phone app which alerts you to the radiation levels from cell phones. Ironic? Hey, some old watches emit radiation too.
And how annoying would anything that talks every five minutes be?
Anyone have any of these now-vintage wrist watches?