Tuesday, August 27, 2013

I'm a-Pickin' - and I'm also a-Grinnin'!

(Hee hee - sorry for the terrible "Hee Haw" reference in the title - but it's pretty appropriate!)  :D

HOLY MOLY!!  I had the most amazing experience a couple of weeks ago - a real, live pick!

My friend Suze has a friend in Milwaukee who recently purchased a building in Milwaukee's trendy Third Ward.  This area used to be known as Commerce Row, and there were many wholesale grocers and produce warehouses there.  The building we were in just so happened to house one of these wholesalers for over 100 years!

And some of the items we found were almost 100 years old.  Oh my goodness gracious me.  You can see us picking through one of the ENORMOUS boxes in the warehouse, here:

I can honestly say that I've never been so filthy in my whole life.  There was also 100 years of dirt in that warehouse!  :D

Alright, enough talk - onto the actual ephemera we picked!!

Some of the items we found were in bulk, like these fantastic new-old stock cellophane celery wrappers:

Most of the ones we found were in packages that have never been opened, even though they appear to be 60-70 years old!  Here is the package, with a FANTASTIC Du Pont label on its side!  We must have about 1500 of these!  :D

We also found a couple thousand of these Schmidt-Gaertner tags.....

....also in their original boxes!  We have THREE full boxes of these!  :D

I also have enough checks for every ephemera collage that could ever be created from now until Rapture.  :) These are only 25 years old, but they'll be cut up or shredded anyway.  Plus - three colors!  :D

We also found TONS of these old Western Union and Chicago, Milwaukee and Lake Superior Telegraph Co. telegraphs!!  SO cool, and some of them even have those fantastic cinderella stamps still affixed!  :D

The most varied thing we found were dozens and dozens of these envelopes from the '20s and '30s....

....and each of them has different ephemera!  Here is what was in the above envelope - check out that AWESOME thermograph!!

There were also HUNDREDS of fruit crates.  The crates themselves were not in the best of shape, but we managed to salvage the side with the labels.  Here is the container with the best of them:

As you've probably figured out, I got that "I'm on crack" feeling when doing this pick.  The three of us kept saying over, and over, "Look at this!", or "OMG!  Check this out!!".  It was SO fun.  And it was so nice of Suze's friend to let us have first dibs on this incredible ephemera!!  WOO HOO!!!

As soon as I create any collages with this amazing stuff, I will post it.  Now, I'm off to the studio!  :D

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Useful Ephemera!

Have you ever picked up ephemera at an estate sale, rummage sale or salvage store purely for its design and nostalgic qualities, only to discover later that this thing you bought actually serves a useful purpose?

That very thing happened to me last night!

I was packaging up my new stamp sets (available HERE!) and was using these bags that were the perfect width, but were far too long.  I had to cut off about half of it in order to put my customized wrapper on top. What a waste!

But wait......

TA-DA!!  Isn't this AWESOME?!  I bought this lovely thing about three years ago at one of my favorite stores - American Science and Surplus in Milwaukee.  It is in PERFECT condition - I'm willing to be that this was sitting in some warehouse somewhere for the last 40 years.  I paid $2.95 for it and was planning on using it solely for the awesome kitch factor here on the box....

See the 1970 copyright at the bottom?
I was 2 when this product was made!  :D

....and in this instruction booklet, too!  But because I didn't want to waste the other half of the bag, I thought I'd give it a try.  

You can tell that this product is from 1970 - check out the directions!  There's no idiot-proofing, no legalese, no ridiculous safety precautions - in fact, on the first page it says it's so easy, even a child can use it!  That would NEVER fly today - can you imagine the lawsuits?

Oh, and take a gander at this two-pronged plug - YIKES!!!  When's the last time you saw one of these?  And thanks for letting me know that's it's a plug by including the universal sign for "shock" right on the thing!  :D

My kit didn't come with the roll of plastic that was supposed to be included, but I didn't need it anyway and after 43 years, I'm sure it would've been as brittle as old cellophane tape.  

Okay!  I'm ready to use the machine!  Ready, set....nothin'.  (Oh, but can we talk for a minute about the AWESOME "wood" paneling paired with the au courant avocado fashion color?  SWOON!)

I'm ashamed to tell you that apparently this idiot needs those new-fangled instructions - I waited for the little light to come on before I tried it.  Well, that didn't work because the only time the light is on is when it's sealing the bag.  DERP. 

After some tinkering (and yes, I did burn my finger slightly when I checked to see if the coil was working), SUCCESS!  

See that nice sealed line?  That's American manufacturing quality at its finest!  

Best $2.95 I've ever spent.  And now, if you purchase one of my stamp sets, you just might get one of these self-sealed bags, 43 years in the making!  :D

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Part of a Team

Greetings, everyone!

Oh my goodness - I've been gone too long!  It's been an incredibly busy summer!  I've been teaching a lot, and taking classes, and organizing exhibits, and giving tours of the new MOWA - WHEW!  But it's great to be back!  :D

Another of my newest projects is being on the design team for Arnold Grummer's Paper Making!  I'm THRILLED to be a part of it - it's a 6 month gig, so I get to make projects using handmade paper (created the AG way, with recycled materials!) every month until January.

I uploaded my first blog post yesterday to their blog (read it HERE!), and here was the project I created!

Not only did I get to use my stash of handmade papers, I also incorporated my own stamp set!  :)  The theme was "Christmas in July", so that's why everything is in red and green.  :)

I am so grateful to the Arnold Grummer family for letting me in on the fun this year - Kim, Greg and Mabe, you're all such wonderful folks.  Thank you so much also to Terri Sproul, who heads up the design team and keeps us all in line!  I'm already having a BLAST!  :D