Thursday, March 31, 2011

Don't Tell the Kids

And please don't nominate us for Hoarders. Yet.

Kitsch collector C. Dianne Zweig has some good advice for dealing with the parental home/trash pit sooner rather than later. It is a big job (which we fully intend to leave for our kids to do just as we have had to do it for our parents), but Ms. Zweig has some helpful tips for handling the situation before it becomes an overwhelming gigantic nightmare that you will probably have to travel across the country to deal with on a single weekend in a community that you never were, or are no longer, familiar with.

If you are in the situation of having to liquidate the family homestead now or in the future here are several helpful posts on the topic:

Cleaning Out Your Parents House: Letting Go Gently

How to Sell Your Parents' Stuff

How To Clean Out Your Parents House: Organizing The Basement

Getting Rid of Parents' Stuff: Start Early

You'll know when it is appropriate to pass this on to our younguns. Or perhaps you've known for awhile now.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Or Just Cross Your Fingers

A little collection of tokens meant to bring good fortune to the wearer/bearer.

It is interesting to find the littlest bits and pieces of peoples' lives at estate sales. Little things that may have ridden around in pockets of everyday clothes or that filled the "junk drawer". More interesting to think about who valued these good luck charms and their expectations of them. Did they win at the race track, get that promotion, get the girl to say yes, or maybe find a fiver on the sidewalk?

Let us know if you need a loan from our collection next time the powerball hits a million. It just might help.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Vintage Garden

We found only the first page of "Gardening as a Cure for Mental Breakdowns" amongst some other garden ephemera in a box. We dearly wish we had the entire article by Bolton Hall, an early advocate of "vacant lot gardening", from The Worlds Work… A History of Our Time.

Here is the opening paragraph: When the official returns of the Philadelphia hospital for the insane at Byberry showed that the inmates of the institution had raised about $10,000 worth of garden truck in one year, gardening began to attract attention as a cure for mild cases of lunacy. Since that time the experiment has been made in many hospitals for the insane and always with gratifying results. Not only have good crops been secured (interesting choice of primary project benefit), but the improvement of the condition of the patient has always been notable.

Chemical gardening in this case is just as advertised, growing plants without soil. The colorful, nicely designed cover is quite a mismatch with the black and white and rather dull content inside.

This album of a complete set of Will's cigarette cards on the topic of Gardening Hints dates to 1923 and was purchased at the Portobello Road market in London. Cigarette cards were enclosed in every pack of cigarettes originally only as a stiffener to protect your cancer sticks from damage. Someone, an American wouldn't you know, had the brilliant idea of using the formerly blank cards as advertising space with collectible images.

From about 1901 Cigarette Cards really caught on and thousands of different sets were issued by over 300 tobacco companies, Wills issued over 175 different sets alone. It is believed there were over 11,000 cards issued depicting the subject of cricket.

Many sets are still regarded as minature reference books with illustrations and texts absolutely correct. Children of the time used to stand outside tobacconists asking smokers for their 'fag' cards, they were then kept to make up sets and sometimes try and win more by playing games with the cards and hopefully winning them. Unfortunately most cards were damaged when played with, making them now worthless as condition to collectors of today is quite important.
- from history section of

The themes of the cigarette cards of old are too numerous to name here, but we find the inclusion of gardening topics quite interesting knowing what we do about the dangers of smoking and gardening as companion pastimes. Tobacco on hands is the prime method of spreading tobacco mosaic virus. Not smoking, or washing your hands if you do is the best prevention.

So, don't smoke, examine your nursery seedlings carefully, and just as you do at your favorite restaurant, pray that the workers at the greenhouse are paying attention to the "All Employees Must Wash Hands" sign when their smoke break is over.

Monday, March 28, 2011

The King's Bad Word

Since hearing that an F-word-sanitized version of The King's Speech is coming to theatres this Friday we have been unable to keep from giggling every time we think of Colin Firth shouting, "Fudge. Fudge. Fudge. Fudge."

Sadly, newly acquired details of the story from The Hollywood Reporter reveal that that is not to be the case. PG-13 still allows minor oaths to be substituted for vulgar ones so it seems we will have to wait until the G version comes out before we get to hear the line done our way.

The redo is being released on April fool's Day. Could it be an elaborate joke?

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Get 'Em While They're Hot

Community garden plots are going fast. Sign up here.

Get growing!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Week-long Beans

These beautiful Garden of Eden beans became Rancho Gordo's Pasta Fazool.

Soaked on Saturday, cooked on Sunday, eaten on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday...

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

A Look Inside LIFE

1958 LIFE Picture Cookbook inner cover design.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Never Really Been, But We'd Sure Like to Go


Another young adventurer has sent beautiful, colorful photos home from their travels.

More images of Southern climes from another lucky vacationer here, here, here, here, and here at Thimble.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Thursday, March 17, 2011

What's Not to Like About Lunch?

We really like this vintage cookbook with images reminiscent of our own early schooldays. Which, just for the record, did not start until 1965.


Farm-style beef stew, to be packed in wide mouth vacuum bottle, is main dish of this lunch which includes bread and butter sandwich, banana, package of cookies. Coated paper plate makes stew easy to manage.

Hot bouillon starts off a box lunch that includes an American cheese and bologna sandwich on French bread, a tomato and applesauce. Tomato may be eaten whole or sliced and put in sandwich.

Chicken and vegetable salad from a vacuum bottle is eaten with lettuce wrapped separately in plastic bag. Since milk is often available at school, a jam sandwich and an apple complete the lunch menu.

Two sandwiches, meat loaf on rye, and pimento cheese spread with olives are eaten with carrot sticks and celery. Grapes and chocolate milk, to which an egg may be added, (eww!) are dessert and beverage.

Would Jamie Oliver approve of these delicious '50s lunches?

Now that the snow is finally shrinking (but still far from gone) we can like these photos too. We had hats like that how about you?

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

More than Fond of

Flowers of all kinds. Especially happy ones.

Tip: The Target Dollar section often has wonderful whimsical treasures that are better for your body and soul than a checkout lane impulse candybar purchase.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

No, Not Smoking or Starting Fires

It is vintage advertising we are fond of.

Especially of the local variety.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Love is Kind of a Strong Word

Inspired by a little book of things that Kate Spade loves (click on the book), found at Katie Armour the neo-traditionalist, but with our own twist (due to our fear of commitment) here are a few things we are very fond of starting with...


Friday, March 11, 2011

Thanks, But We'll Just Watch

A minute and a half of fun viewing or inspiration for a weekend-long project.

You pick.


We choose hitting replay over and over again as we enjoy a comfy chair.

Video brought to our attention by the ever resourceful gals at Mason-Dixon Knitting.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

March 12, 1912

That's when it all started. Thanks to founder Juliette Gordon Low the Girl Scouts are celebrating their 99th anniversary this week.

Local commemorations include: A very colorful display at our very own public library designed and executed by our very own most dedicated life-long Girl Scout booster.

And a birthday party of sorts. The Chippewa Valley 99th Anniversary Alumnae Event. If you were ever a girl scout you are invited to attend as a special guest.

The festivities continue in April with the 17th Annual Women of Courage, Confidence & Character awards.

And then of course there are the (don't mess with my) cookies being delivered right now during Girl Scout Week 2011. If you didn't place an advance order keep your eyes open for the girls-in-green manning pop-up sales tables at various places around town for the next few weeks.

Or you could travel to Savannah, Georgia where, thanks to the clearing up of a little misunderstanding you can once again buy your Thin Mints and Samoas right at the doorstep of Juliette Gordon Low her ownself.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

New and Un-improved

Come back Sean Conway, come back to Target and bring your tasteful classic gnomes with you. These Garden Place gnomes will not do.

The only possible consolation for the end of a great retail gnome era would be finding a couple of cuties like this and this in the garden. Perhaps we could make a purchase on speculation that someday we might have some little companions who will play along with a somewhat dotty old neighborlady's whimsical notions.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Melody of Hue

I see trees of green, red roses too
I see them bloom, for me and you
And I think to myself
What a wonderful world

I see skies of blue, and clouds of white
The bright blessed day, dark sacred night
And I think to myself
What a wonderful world

The colors of the rainbow, so pretty in the sky
Are also on the faces, of people going by
I see friends shaking hands, sayin', "How do you do?"
They're really sayin', "I love you"

Yes, I think to myself
What a wonderful world
Oh yeah

What A Wonderful World - Robert Thiele and George David Weiss

Monday, March 7, 2011

Harold and the Purple Crayon

Walking through the hardware store recently we had the idea that maybe we could paint our way out of winter just as Harold drew himself an adventure and then out of danger. The strategy would be to surround ourselves with a latex antidote to our seemingly undiminishing backdrop of white.

Our current painting project possiblities are either a closet that hasn't been repainted since it became seafoam green in the 1950s, or a long and tall stairway redo. Not being fans of scaffolding the closet wins a boring beige brighten-up.

If we were more ambitious or less patient in the waiting-for-spring category we would be tempted to let Crayola and Dutch Boy color our world. Either Surf's Up or Parisian Dream would probably do the trick.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Follow the Bouncing Balls

Color and sound for a quiet, white weekend. Enjoy.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Too Much Fun in Aisle 4

It is a well known fact that we love to inspect out-of-town grocery stores.

Discoveries like this are the reason why.

Perfect for people who are really, really, serious about not eating anything that has a face.

Speaking of faces... well look at you Rondeau's!