Friday, April 29, 2011

From the "I had to have it!" Department

If you're a regular reader of this blog, you probably know that I'm a big fan of the History Channel's "American Pickers".  I love everything about the show, but one of the most interesting facets is the decision-making about some of the things they purchase. Sometimes there is no deciding, only action.

When this happens in the show, you'll hear Mike Wolfe say, "I had to have it".  Then Frank will chime in with, "The time to buy is when you see it, because you may never see anything like it again."

Well, what you see above is one of those items for me.  Much like the 1936 NCR receipt book I purchased earlier this year, I knew I had to have this item (shown above).

First of all, it's intact.  There is not one sheet ripped out, and it contains about 50 sheets, with different little store-brand ads interspersed throughout.  How does this happen?  Did someone love it as much as I did when they acquired it and thought to leave it alone?  Or was it a premium when you purchased $10 worth of groceries in 1955 (I'm only guessing at the year, based on the woman's clothes)?  Was it a busy summer day when this item was procured, and perhaps shoved in the back of a junk drawer, or has it been sitting in a warehouse somewhere for the past 50-odd years, unearthed when a grocery store was going out of business?

I did a little research about it, and here's what I found, courtesy of my good friend Dave at the AWESOME blog Pleasant Family Shopping:

"1956 was a banner year for Lucky, in which the company entered new geographic markets through the acquisition of three chains – thirty-two Cardinal stores in the Sacramento area, six Food Basket stores in San Diego and ten Jim Dandy stores in L.A., through a merger with Dolly Madison International Foods. Lucky also built nine new stores that year."


So perhaps this little note pad, which I'm now assuming came from the San Diego area (and this would make total sense, since the people from whom I purchased the item live in San Diego), is older than 1955 since they were bought out by Lucky in 1956.


DANG IT!  Here's where stuff like this gets tricky!  You all know that the gist of this blog is to "take the discarded and make it arted" - it says so right in my banner.  But when I get possibly historic or rare stuff like this, I sometimes have a hard time using it.  This is a VERY slippery slope because I fear that I'll soon cross into the "collector" category where I'm using white cotton gloves and tweezers to handle my ephemera.  Well, I can't let that happen!  I already know that a lot of my stuff will go unused, simply because I'm 42 and there is NO WAY I'll be able to use it all in my lifetime (which is why I love doing ephemera giveaways!).  I don't want my nieces to have to take a shovel to my studio when I die and use a dumpster to haul all the stuff out because they don't want to sort through it all.  No sirs and ma'ams, I'm going to USE MY STUFF.


I need you to be my cheerleaders today!  Write me a note of encouragement in the comments and I'll enter you in a drawing for an ephemera pack from me.  What the heck?  The sun is shining here (FINALLY) and I feel like sharing the love.  :D


In the meantime, here are a few pieces where I actually DID put my supermarket ephemera stash to good use:






"Shopping Day" collage - available for purchase through Etsy



Happy Weekend, everybody - I'll announce the winner in Monday's post!  :D

18 comments:

  1. There is no better use for this than to MAKE stuff with it....collecting dust as a "collectors item" is a waste. Make something that makes you feel creative, and makes others happy. Your stuff rocks :)

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  2. You give me inspiration! I just came across a Dick & Jane Reader and love the pictures in it. It's not worth much because of scribbling in it and torn pages, so I want to make jewelry or ATCs or something! Love seeing your ideas!

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  3. I would have a hard time altering some of those great finds as well. A small portion of my stash is untouchable.

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  4. I have the same problem with saving items instead of using them. My craft room has become a huge pile of goodies! It's gotten to the point that I don't know what all is in there anymore. With tax time just passing I had to take a good look at our budget and cut a large chunk out of the crafting cash. So this years crafting goal is to use what I have.

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  5. it IS hard, ; I agree... I have the same issues, myself, which is why I work really hard to limit my purchases (sometimes).

    But, the alternative is having stuff just pile up , right?? (you don't want to go from American Ephemera Picker to ending up on an episode of Hoarders, Mel!!) Unless you're going to open up the Official Museum of Ephemera in your garage, or something (which I would totally visit, by the way!), then I think you have to look at it as buying things to use.

    And to throw one more television reference in there, Peter Walsh from TLC's "Clean Sweep" always asked people "why do you have this?" If they say, "oh, that's important, or that really has a lot of value to me" his standard answer is "things hidden in boxes isn't giving them their proper respect." I think you're respecting the things you have by using them in your artwork; you're giving them a new/different life.

    now, I just need to take my own advice! :D

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  6. (wow, that comment looks a LOT longer now that it's posted... sorry for being so wordy!)

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  7. Just DO IT! BTW- I love the meat is food. Love, love love it!

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  8. I can relate to the dilemma of having supplies or ephemera that you don't use. What I've found though, at least with my local ATC club, is that, when I take a risk and use some of the items, my friends and fellow traders are always so appreciative of the creative risks I take. For example, I've been a bit obsessed over the last year with sequin waste or "punchenella." I've gotten it at thrift stores and yard sales in every color. I've admired all the ways other artists have used it like a stencil or as background.Well, as a result of a recent club challenge to use NO PAPER on our ATC's, I ended up using the sequin waste. People ooohed and aahhhed! So Mel, the moral of the story is that the art you make and the risks you take matter to so many around you. If you don't do it for yourself, do it for your followers and your fellow traders :)

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  9. You know, Mel, you can do magic with ephemera! Don't fret about "ruining" the integrity of a collectible - you're in the business of MAKING collectible art! You have a special talent and feel for it - you owe it to yourself and all of us who admire your work to just go for it, girl!! XOXO

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  10. Mel, don't enter me in the contest! But, I encourage your superb design skills and sharing personality to use the pages of your perfect booklet. My Mom told me to sell anything I didn't want (now I wanted to keep everything), but I have more than a decade on you and only 2 step-daughters who have no interest at all in this cooler than cool stuff...so my Mom was right. It's better to use it and show people that love this stuff or sell it to someone who REALLY wants it than it is to have a garage sale and have the sellers use it as packing material or or the buyers to get it in a box of stuff and throw it away!

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  11. Congratulations on a super find!

    If you can't bring yourself to damage the artifact right now, perhaps you could photocopy or scan it, and use the copies. Also, that'd allow you to change the size, so you'd get more out of it.

    Hugs!

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  12. Oh heavens no, Anne! :D That's actually something I never do - it's all or nothin'!
    http://ephemeraology.blogspot.com/2011/02/aint-nothing-like-real-thing-baby.html

    And I need to start heeding my own advice! :D

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  13. Oh Mel...the Super Shoppers find is soooo cool you just have to use at least some of it. If you've got lots of pages, save a few, but definitely create some of your magic with it too! Someone told me once "Don't save the good stuff to use someday..because that day may never come." Advice I've tried to heed in many aspects of my life.

    Go For It!

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  14. Mel, I do understand, but I've also reduced or enlarged things a few times, to get exactly the size I want. Go for it, I look forward to seeing what you do!

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  15. That's a cool find! And thanks for the props, Mel!

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  16. I say use what you have and not worry about the $ value. The value of something is what it means to the person not the $ value at least to me. We are going through a strange time with my 89 year old mother in law. She has lots of stuff that mattered to her over the years. It's value is what it meant to her. Very little of what she thought she was collecting and saving has a $ value worth trying to sell. I'm of the school of thought that if you love it or like it and want to use it, use it now! don't save it for a rainy day. Use the good china for everyday cause those are the days that matter. So use your ephemeraology today, tomorrow, when you want to use it! I love the plaid stamps ATC. I have fond memories of my mother saving stamps and me helping her put them in the book. Green stamps as well. It was always a treat when she had one stamp that was a worth a whole page! I might have some in the attic. I'll have to go digging!!!

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  17. Using vintage advertising could also inspire others to go research the companies or products and learn more about history. You're not only being creative, you're teaching history!

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  18. YAY!! We have a winner - RubyDragon, I'll be contacting you regarding your prize pack! :D Thanks to all of you who played along and we'll have another giveaway VERY SOON - don't miss it! :D

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