Friday, September 30, 2011

Explaining Ephemeraology

Last night I had another first - my very first booth at a vendor fair!

I am so excited that I got to be a part of Ladies Night Out, a Reporter-sponsored event that's held every September.  Last night was the 9th annual!  It felt very odd to be on the other end of this event - for the past seven years Brian and I have done the lights (me), sound and music (that's all Brian) for the fashion show portion of the evening.  We did last evening too, so I got to do it all!

Here's me in my booth.  I have no idea why it appears that I'm holding on to the railing for dear life - we were not suspended mid-air.  :D  Most of the merchandise you see is the culmination of one VERY busy month!  I am also very happy to report that I far exceeded my sales expectations!

The event was 99.9% women (it WAS Ladies' Night Out, after all!).  I got a lot of "lookers" last night and some questions that I wasn't prepared for, but that I'm glad were asked.  Here's my favorite one:

"So, what is this?  What's this all about?"

I was a bit taken aback.  My first instinct was to say, "Well, it's mirrors, clocks and pendants!".  But then I understood something....

Not everyone understands what "this" is all about!

Oh, my dear readers, I know that you "get it".  I feel an ephemeral bond with you.  Many of you who read my posts on a regular basis are here because you share my passion for paper, especially the good old stuff.  But I have to keep reminding myself that not everyone understands what it is that I (and all you other Ephemeraologists out there) do.  So the aforementioned question was a GREAT opportunity to share my philosophy about the everyday paper in our lives.  And it was very rewarding when the woman who posed the question "got it".  I could tell when she did, because I saw the light bulb go on, her "aha moment" discovered.

I also realized even more last night that my art isn't for everyone.  And that's okay!  But if I recruit one new Ephemeraologist every time I do a vendor booth or gallery walk, my work is done.  It is my hope that more people discover the joys of "taking the discarded and making it arted"!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Games People Play

One of the gems in my collection - this
one ain't gettin' cut up!  :D
Who among you likes board games?  Anyone?  Or are you one of the folks that calls them "bored games"?  :D

I am in the former camp.  I LOVE game nights!  I have spent many an hilarious evening with friends over these games.  Brian and I own a ton (or for my British and Canadian friends, tonne) of them ourselves but haven't played any in ages.  Some are still in their shrink wrap!  Maybe this is a sign that we need to entertain more - we always enjoy it when we do!

Growing up we'd play all kinds of games as a family - Life, Monopoly, Yahtzee, Candy Land, Chutes & Ladders, Uncle Wiggily - and it almost always devolved into someone (usually my dad) telling me that it was my turn, or to "Pay attention!" - the rallying cry of my childhood.  :D

I had quite an issue with daydreaming as a kid.  What I was probably thinking about during our game sessions was how totally cool the game accouterments were!  I remember wanting to save the little pads of paper that came with the games - I'd worry that we'd run out.  I also loved those tiny pencils (sans eraser) that almost always accompanied the paper  that, without fail, would get lost on the first or second round of play.

Somehow, these pads of paper survive today.  You can find them most anywhere - rummage sales, estate sales, "junque" shops.  And oh, how I love collecting them.

My assortment comes from all over.  Many times I'll get a huge stack of papers, like the ones I order from Manto Fev, and one or two will be stuck in there.  See all those Yahtzee pads?  My generous friend Mindy gave them to me. She found them at a rummage sale and thought I would like them (YES PLEASE!).  :D

I'm sure Freud would have a field day with this, but I tend to like pieces of paper with some order to them.  Ledgers, grid paper, lined grade-school paper - and board game pads.  There are almost always columns or little boxes on them and since I can remember this has been comforting to me (Egads, I need to stop telling you guys this kind of stuff or you're going to think, "How can an artist be so uptight?!?").

Oh - and I LOVE making art with them!  I have used these little sheets many, many times in my work and I know I'm not done.  Here is just a sampling of the collages I've made with game stuff (cards included):

I call this one "Bridge of Sighs".  Get it?  :D

This card's made with a Mille Bornes
card as the substrate. I LOVE those cards! :D
I don't quite know what game the French piece
is from, but it's a Quebecois verson of a game

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

If Loving you is Wrong, I don't Wanna be Right

Why are some of the best things in the world so bad for you?  Is it some sort of test of willpower?  I don't know what happens at the end of our earthly existence but if we are judged by how well we resisted temptation, I'll see you all where the goblins go below (below, below, yo ho).

I know I'm going to have some detractors on this one, but one of my guilty pleasures is MAYONNAISE.  See?  I know I've lost 25% of you already.  For the 75% of you who agree with me, you'll enjoy the rest of this post.  :D  I especially love it on my French fries.  Oopsy!  Just lost another 30 percent!

Check out this AMAZING mayo jar I found at an estate sale the other day (it says "salad dressing" but we all know what that means)!  I love it and I've never seen this brand before, but Embassy must be the Kroger store brand. I love the logo!  It hasn't been that long ago that mayo was still in glass jars but I'm surprised that it took so long for plastic jars to become de rigeur.  I would NOT want to have an entire jar of mayo break on my kitchen floor - as much as I love the stuff it does contain eggs and I don't even want to imagine the smell of that little spot of mayo that you didn't see behind the fridge when said spill occurred.  GRODY!  :D

I also love this Elkay brand label (the Elkay being a play on the L. Klein distributor, no doubt).  I think it's pretty old - judging by the fonts and the use of navy blue for a mayo brand, I'm going to put this in the 1930s.  Seriously - you never see dark colors for mayo labels!  It's all very clean, with bright patterns, almost like dark colors would connote a bad-for-you vibe.  We wouldn't want THAT!

In case you were wondering - why yes, indeed I have used mayo in my art!  I call this one, "Cinco de Mayo".  Yes, I did name it that.  :D  I used one of my grocery store die cuts and some very vintage Kraft product pamphlets.  I also included the aforementioned Elkay label (I have more than one).

For those of you who are wondering why I didn't include Miracle Whip in this post - really?  ;)

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

This Just Makes me Happy, Part III

Oh. My. Goodness.

Once again, I've hit the jackpot.  And once again, the "jackpot" came courtesy of my friend and Ephemeraologist Extraordinaire Robin, who makes me look like a Johnny-come-lately in terms of the amount of stuff I collect.

I mentioned it in yesterday's post - I got not one but TWO huge boxes full of stuff from Robin on Saturday.  She knows exactly the kind of stuff I like, too - old labels, vintage receipt books, funky foreign items like Danish magazines and Portugese pamphlets, vintage report cards - the list goes on (and on and on).  I could (and will!) do whole posts on the cool stuff that was included in this monstrous pile of wonderfulness.  Is she insanely generous, or WHAT?!?!  :D

One of the first things that I saw that made my heart skip a beat and launched me into the "I'm on crack" adrenaline rush of searching through vintage ephemera was this.

I can't even begin to tell you how much I love this.  Much like other things I've spoken of  (like some dinky DOT envelope), I'm going to assume that most folks would just look at this and say, "Oh, cool" or just, "Oh."  Not me.  I LOVE this roll more than I should.

This is the first time I've ever seen anything like this.  It's made by Western Union and judging by the angular font I'm going to say it's from the Seventies.

But what IS it, you ask?  Well, it's Telex tape.  I knew of telex before, but I never really knew what it was.  I'd seen companies that offered a Telex number in their ads, and usually these ads were in fancy-schmancy or foreign magazines (Rolex has a telex number, for example).  When I was in Europe in 1988 I saw Telex numbers all the time. "Telex" stands for "telephone exchange" (tel-ex).  It's a way of connecting international printers,  like an early fax.  According to the Wikipedia page, much like telegrams, they use abbreviated text - sort of a primitive text message.  All of the history is there, if you'd like to read more about it - it's pretty long and involved.  :D

This is one of those items where I grabbed first and asked questions later.  I have NO idea what I'm going to use this for, and eventually I will share it with my fellow paper lovers.  When I get stuff this good I HAVE to share it - it's part of the Ephemeraologists' Code.  So local folks, look for it in our white elephant swaps.  Non-locals, look for it in ephemera giveaways in the future.  There's more than enough to go around, and I think I would make Robin proud.  :D

Monday, September 26, 2011


Are you a "card person"?  Are you one of those folks who always has greeting cards on hand in case you need one fast, like a "get well" or sympathy card, or impromptu birthday celebration?

I am.  :D

I am also one of those people who will search for just the right card, even if it takes me a half-hour to find it.  I also try and color-coordinate the wrapping paper with the envelope.  Yeah, I'm weird that way.  :D

I find it quite ironic that even though we're not mailing as many cards as in the past, there is a seemingly infinite variety of cards from which to choose.  I purchase 95% of my cards at my favorite shop, As You Wish.  We Fondyites are SO lucky - we have a full-service stationery shop right downtown!  My sister Jen, who lives in Sun Prairie (near Madison, about an hour away from me), will sometimes make the trip up JUST to shop with me at As You Wish.  And it doesn't hurt that the owner, Kathy, is one of the nicest people you'll ever meet.  She's been at her current location since July of 1999, which in this day and age is a major testament to the type of business person she is - SAVVY!

When I look back at old greeting cards, they all look the same to me.  I love them, but there doesn't seem to be much variation in sentiment or color scheme.  And most were not humorous at all!  That's a major difference.  I remember as a kid that most of the humorous cards I saw had some "naughty" connotations, those $1 cards you'd find at the gas station.  And HEAVEN FORBID you'd blaspheme such sacred holidays as Easter, Christmas or Mother's Day with a humorous card!  Even Valentine cards for adults were usually romantic or sappy, not punny like the kids' versions ("Hey "honey", won't you "bee" mine?" springs to mind).  According to Greeting Card Resource, humor in cards didn't become popular until the Fifties.

I have so many items to show you of my recent acquisition from my wonderful friend Robin, but here is just one of them - a full set of thank you notes, never used!  I'm going to put these as either late Fifties or early Sixties.  I'd imagine that perhaps they were to be used for wedding gifts, since they're in a set like this, but I suppose you could use them for anything, really.  I also have this "new baby" card - it's so sweet (see above)!

Here are some cards that I can NEVER use in my art - these are birthday cards received by my Grammie for her various childhood birthdays!  My Great-Grandma Petry took great care to save them all, along with a list of who gave what gift for each year (!).  They've held up surprisingly well, considering some of them are over 80 years old!
From my Grammie's 6th birthday, 1930

A page from my Grammie's scrapbook - these are all cards
from her 7th birthday, August 2, 1931

One more thing - how are you on throwing away your cards?  Did you ever see the Seinfeld episode where Jerry threw away a greeting card in the wastebasket and the person who sent the card saw it in the trash?  Yeah, that'll never happen in our household.  I must be either superstitious or ridiculously sentimental (yep) but I cannot throw away a card.  How bad is this affliction?  I still have every card from my FIRST wedding. That's pretty bad.  :D

Friday, September 23, 2011


I love paperwork.  I always have.  Many of my jobs over the last 18 years or so have been tied to duties involving 'paper":  filing, data entry, sorting, mailing, stuffing envelopes, reconciling checks, accounts receivable and payable....and I was happy as a clam.

Whether it's because I knew I'd have enough work to keep me busy or just because I liked the looks of them, invoices were one of my favorite types of paper.  They still are of course, but now I get to do whatever I want with them!  And with that, what I'm about to show you I've spoken of before, but only as a teaser.  But now, in all their glory, is a WHOPPING PILE of invoicey wonderfulness:

This is the stack that my art friend Shelley Massey and I went halfsies on.  I'd love to see what she's making with her half!  :D

I love these so much!  Most are accounts receivable invoices for Allis-Chalmers, a manufacturer of farm implements and tractors which was founded in Milwaukee in the 1840s (it was such a presence that the city of West Allis may have gotten its name from the company).  Unfortunately, A-C isn't in Milwaukee anymore but Houston, Texas, where it's known as Allis Chalmers Energy.

Mixed in with the Allis Chalmers A/P invoices are all sorts of A/R invoices for various companies, some based in Manitowoc (where we found this wonderful stack).  Most of these are from the 1920s-40s, but there are a few early Aughts in there too.  The logos on some are prime examples of early advertising!

I've only used one of these invoices so far, and it's in an unrecognizable way.  See the sepia-colored bits in this mirror with mocha-colored vertical lines (you can see part of it by the bird on the left hand side)?  That's part of the invoice, which is on a vellum-like paper.  It lent itself to this piece so nicely that I HAD to use it.  It was screaming at me!  :D

I can't WAIT to sink my teeth into this pile further - I hope I do these invoices justice in my work!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

When it Rains, it Pours

Copyright Morton Salt Company
Why is it that some things last and others don't?  In branding, this has got to be a maddening question for marketers.  Why is it that some brands are almost ubiquitous and others last a year, even with extensive market research and focus groups and test products?

Today I want to talk about one of my favorite brands - Morton Salt.  Here's a brand with staying power.  According to their Web site, it was 100 years ago this year that the slogan, "When it Rains, it Pours" came to be through a series of ads in Good Housekeeping (that's still around, too!).  They're STILL using the slogan and they're STILL using the girl!

When I was young, I was fascinated with the Morton Salt girl.  I can't remember how I knew that she had gone through various incarnations but I loved that fact.  Oddly, even though at first she went through a transformation every twelve years or so, she has remained the same my entire life.  The current Morton Salt girl was drawn the year I was born - 1968.

Morton is one of those names that everyone knows.  Talk about product saturation!  I'll bet that 90 out of every 100 households has a canister of Morton's in their pantry.  We don't even think about the fact that it doesn't cake up when we pour it, although that was a huge deal 100 years ago (just another of those small things we take for granted).  Brian's family has a history of heart disease so we don't cook with salt much; I'm not exaggerating when I say that our canister is likely to last us the next 20 years.  We just filled the shaker up last month for the first time since we were married in 2006!

But you still need salt around and Morton has the market cornered.  They've even gotten trendy and added sea salt to their arsenal of products.  They've diversified and also manufacture water softener salt, swimming pool salt, de-icing salt, meat-curing salt - you need salt, they've got a product for it.  GENIUS.

I love my Morton ephemera - so much so that I haven't been able to bring myself to use it in my art.  I found the pen cap at a recent estate sale and I think, judging by the font and the fact that it's "Morton's" and not just "Morton", it's from the 1930s. The little card (blotter?  Ad promo?) I got at the Fox River Antique Mall and I'm going to make an educated guess that these are from around the early 60s.

I wonder if Morton will be around in another 100 years?

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Iron-on Wonderfulness

Show of hands - who uses an iron on a semi-regular basis?  Anyone?  Okay, quilters don't count.  :D  I'm talking about using an iron for its intended purpose - to get out wrinkles (of our clothes, not our faces.  That would be painful).  :D

I can recall exactly when I used an iron last - I was ironing a shirt that went under the new suit I purchased for my Grammie's funeral.  The next time I wear that shirt will probably be around Christmastime.  :D  I'm not one for wearing clothes that need special attention - I want to throw it on and forget it.  I've never been one to give a rat's patootie about what I wear, much to some of my friends' chagrin, I'm sure!

Here's a reason to bust out the ol' Sunbeam, though - these vintage iron-on transfers!  Aren't they marvy?  I love any sort of flimsy paper that has somehow stood the test of time, its stalwartness defying its gossamer appearance (perhaps a metaphor for life?  Am I getting too deep for this blog post?).  :D

I love the idea of women monogramming sheets and pillowcases in their home.  People pay BIG BUCKS to have someone else do that now.  I'm sure I could do it myself, given my embroidery background, but the question is, do I want to?  I'm sure if I did, and I posted the photo on Pinterest, someone would probably repin it.  :D  It's one of those "good things" that Martha's always talking about, but no one ever really attempts for fear of wanting to stick that embroidery needle in their eye out of frustration.

One of the best things about these transfers is the packaging.  The Vogart ones are my favorite (see above) - so dramatic!

Here is a literal pile of transfers that I got about a year ago.  I've used them for their intended purpose, but I've also used them as "filler" in collages, where I need a translucent pop of color.

The use of iron-ons has made a comeback, too!  Check out these wonderful transfers that someone will be talking about in a similar way as I am - in 50 years!  The fun thing about these is that, in the case of the Sublime Stitching transfers, they're ironically vintage already.  The Sukie ones are so cute too!

Here are some examples where I've used my transfers, either as intended or just as collage fodder.  I love 'em!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

I'm Curious.....

Happy Tuesday, everyone!  To most of my readers:  Happy (almost!) Autumn!  To my Southern Hemisphere readers:  Happy (almost) Spring!  :D

I was just looking at my analytics for this blog - do you know that this is the 235th post?!  I was sort of shocked when I saw that!  Like most writers, I am anxious (on a quasi-daily basis!) that I won't have anything to talk about.  Apparently I pulled it off 234 times before this!  With the amount of stuff I've accumulated I could talk about one item for the rest of my life.  I do like discussing whole subjects of things too.

Which brings me to the question posed in the header - I'm curious.  I want to know from you, dear readers, what you like!  I am so happy that you read my blog on a regular basis, but what post or posts stick out in your mind as being more interesting than others?

I know I have my own favorites because I have pieces in my collection that are my favorites, just as you also do, I'm sure.  But I want to know - what topics interest you?  Is there something you'd like to hear about that I haven't talked about yet?

To those of you who've read the post thus far - post in the comments below (or on the Facebook page) which of my posts is your favorite, and you'll automatically be entered for a giveaway!  A giveaway of what, you ask?  Stuff from me!  That's right - you'll get an envelope stuffed to the gills with ephemera of all types.  I hate to say this, but I have to limit this giveaway to my US and Canadian friends only - I've been having some troubles with my overseas sending.  I apologize profusely to my Australian and New Zealander (and apparently LOTS of Russian) readers!  And as always, please leave your e-mail address for me in the "name (at) domain (dot) com" format so I know where to find you.  If you don't leave your e-mail this way, I will not pick your name.

I will run this giveaway until this Friday night at 5 p.m. CDT.  I hope lots of you comment!  Not only do I love these giveaways but I would also love your input.

One last thing - I want to thank you all again so very much for reading this blog.  It's amazing to me how many Ephemeraologists are out there and I'm glad we're connecting!  I have met so many wonderful folks, all because I write about what I love.  I hope I inspire you to revel in your own collections. For those of you who read it from the creative perspective, I hope I've encouraged you to make your own art using these fun and interesting pieces!

Ready?  GO!  Can't wait to hear from you!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Forgotten Bookmarks

Happy Monday, everyone!

It feels so good to be posting again!  I know I only missed one post (on Friday) but it feels much longer.  I had a great start to my weekend at our Tour the Town gallery walk, whereby I showcased my wares at the Gallery and Frame Shop, my art home away from home (Brian did, too!).  I sold a pendant, even!  :D  And I got people asking the very important question:  What IS ephemera?  Hopefully I will convert more folks into Ephemeraologists.  :D

As most of you reading this post already know, when you're an Ephemeraologist interesting things seem to find YOU.  Take, for example, this vintage business card:

Isn't it fantastic?  It was in a book that I purchased at our annual AAUW book sale.  I didn't find it until a couple of months later, and I didn't want to forget it so I pinned it to my "idea board".  Funny thing about that board - it's so crammed with "ideas" that I forgot about it until yesterday!

One of the best things about stuff like this is, for me anyway, imagining the person behind the item.  I got a real clear picture in my head of Mr. Ernie Schug - he was one of those guys who was a total BSer, a slap-on-the-back salesman-type who told off-color jokes and wore his pants too short.  I picture him as a smoker and someone who would've never turned down a wee nip o' the Scotch, if offered.  It says on his card that he was a wholesale sporting goods distributor and he was obviously looking to sell sporting guns (probably a rifle).  This is from right here in Wisconsin, so he would go the route of the deer hunting pitch, probably - deer hunting is a ritual here.  He probably had a tawdry story or two of his own hunting experiences, which most likely included some legendary drinking (a lot of guys (and women!) hunt for a couple hours and spend the rest of the weekend in the bars "up nort").

How do I know that any of the aforementioned is true?  I don't.  I could be 180 degrees from correct.  But it's fun to imagine, isn't it?  :D

There's a blog that I enjoy very much called Forgotten Bookmarks and it's all about this kind of stuff.  Michael Popek is the author of this blog, which very soon will also be available in book form!  He works in his family's used bookstore and happens across items like my business card all the time - items that weren't meant to be bookmarks but neat things that just happened to be handy when you need to mark your place.  This business card was no doubt a forgotten bookmark too.  It makes me want to take a much closer look at all of the used books I own, to see what treasures may still be lurking in those pages!

I have at least four pieces of art that I've made with a "forgotten bookmark" - the A&P receipt was stuck in another of my books and I loved it so much that I had to use it - twice!  It was like the ephemera gods gave me a gift!  The other "bookmark" was the Boy Scouts receipt that was stuck in this book and I used it in the scouting collage - I had to! It was begging to be used!  :D  The final one was this beyond-awesome K-Mart tag - I held onto this thing for the longest time, until I was doing an all-yellow card and it fit perfectly.  It fits into my love of anything "Pleasant Family Shopping" and I was thrilled when I found it!

So what about you?  Do you have any "forgotten bookmarks" that you'd like to tell us about?  We'd love to hear about them!  :D

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Tomato Time!

This is such a great time of year - actually, it's almost over in these parts, since we've had frost advisories lately.  But we still have a few more days to enjoy fresh, ripe tomatoes fresh from the garden!

A while back I wrote a post about canning - I still haven't tried it but this year, I almost have to!  We have tomatoes coming out of our ears!!!

I know many people who will not eat raw tomatoes.  I was one of these people up until I was about 25.  They were okay on burgers and sandwiches but the thought of eating one plain - or in tomato juice or soup, for that matter - gave me the heebie-jeebies.  I would see my mom fixing herself cream of tomato soup and think, "How can you EAT that?!".  Something happened, though - it was like a switch was flipped on my taste buds!  Now the lowly tomato is one of my favorite foods.  Chunky salsa, tomato soup, Bloody Marys (tee hee) - I love them all!

I love tomato labels, too!  :D  I have quite a few of them.  Most of them came from Etsy but a few are from Manto Fev and Old Stuff Only.  Some are bilingual (French and German or Dutch), which I LOVE.  And the images are so wonderfully bold!  You may not be able to read the label but you sure as heck know that it contains tomatoes!  Here's a perfect example of how illustration was used versus photographs.  I wonder if we'll ever get back to that point?  No one has a lot of money to spend right now and photos are so easy to process, so it may be a while until we see companies using illustrations again.  And even then, they'll be digital illustrations, not hand-drawn or colored.

It may be an odd thing to want to collage, but I've actually created several with the tomato as my muse.  The color is fun to work with and there's just something so cheerful about them.  With the arrival of these labels, no doubt I'll create more! :D

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

License to Collect

Remember last week when I talked about how much I love this envelope, the one that contained my renewal sticker for my license plate?  Well, today I'm going to take on the real thing.

I think I was inspired by Monday's episode of American Pickers (if you're an Ephemeraologist and you're not watching "Pickers" yet: run, don't walk, to your library and rent Season 1!).  Frank and Mike are in Detroit and they come across a leather license plate from 1908, made specifically for an Oldsmobile.  Leather!  I had no clue that this was the origin of the plate!  Of course they moved on to metal eventually but along the way some were made with a porcelain enamel too.

If you're my age or thereabouts (almost 43!), no doubt you played the license plate game when you went on long trips.  I loved it.  I liked pretending that each state was a different country and I just enjoyed the different designs and colors on the different plates.  Of course, in the Seventies those plates were pretty cut and dry - the plate was one color and the numbers/letters were another.  This was before the days of the vanity plate and all of the different causes/schools/sports teams choices one can make today.

I also wanted to get the license plate offer from Honeycomb cereal SO badly!  I think we might've but that information is lost to antiquity.  I'll ask my sister - she's better at remembering stuff like that!

Besides that wonderful renewal envelope, I have a couple of license plate items that make me smile.  For example:

These guys!  It says they're from 1979 but I have no recollection of seeing them as a 10-11 year-old (and I TOTALLY would've coveted these back then!).  The ones I have are/were sealed, so it's a fun surprise to open them up and see which stickers you get!  :D  I had gotten a lot of these quite a while back but I let my nieces open them and take the stickers (because I'm an indulgent "Auntie"!  :D).  This batch, which I just got from Tiny Things are Cute, are staying with me.  As you can see I did open one for this photo - it was like I was 11 again!  :D

Here is another item that makes me swoon - these keychain license plate identifiers!  I'm lucky - most of these that I own came from a lot in an auction quite some time ago that included some old skeleton keys, S&H stamps (why I wanted it) and some buttons, I believe.  But then I looked and found these - and I was hooked!  They were made by the Disabled Veterans of America, and if found you could return it postage paid.  Aren't they cute and clever?  Seems to me that others have also caught on how cool they are, because they command a hefty price on Ebay (don't hate me, but I think the whole lot of these cost me five bucks). My lot runs from 1952-1973 for the Wisconsin tags and I don't know what year the one from Nebraska was made.

I haven't as of yet made any art dealing with license plates, but there's always tomorrow!  Seems to me those tiny keychains are screaming to be made into a mixed-media assemblage piece......stay tuned!  :D

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Being Inconvenienced

Here's a question for you, and I want you to say the first thing that pops in your head:

What kitchen appliance would be the hardest to give up, if you had to, for a week?

How many of you answered your refrigerator?  :D

Early Sunday morning, we found out the hard way just how much we take our fridge for granted.  We got home pretty late (1:30 a.m.) from being in Sun Prairie/Spring Green all evening with my sister Jen and her husband Mike at American Players Theatre (Wisconsinites - if you've never been, YOU MUST!  It's an outdoor theatre and it's marvelous!). On our way home, we had to stop at the grocery store because we were out of English Muffins, a must-have in our home on the weekends.

When I went to put them in the fridge, it seemed a little warm, but okay.  When I put the other pack in the freezer, that's when we noticed the nightmare - EVERYTHING was thawed.  The frozen veggies, the meat, the ice cream - all thawed.  Thoroughly.

Very, VERY thankfully, we have a mini-kitchen area in our downstairs and we could salvage some of the items.  But the rest?  There we were, at 2 a.m., throwing out all of those sauces, fancy chutneys and salad dressings (all expired, of course) that we should've tossed three years ago.  We finally got to bed about 2:45.

When we woke up later that morning and we were talking about our plan of action (we did have to buy a new fridge), we talked about how lucky we really are - that we had that other fridge as a back-up, that we have the money to buy a new one - and that refrigerators even exist at all.

We all forget this (especially those of you in your twenties, who probably don't have any familial anecdotes to hear), but the fridge is a relatively new invention.  According to Wikipedia the first self-contained fridge went on the market in the 1920s and cost $714 (compare that to a Model T of the same time period, which cost $450).  Are you ready for this?  That's $8.885.29 in today's dollars!!!

Widespread use didn't happen until the Forties.  That's only 60-some years ago!

Check out this wonderful ad from May of 1953, exclaiming the wonders of this newfangled life-saver, the Crosely "Shelvador"!  :D

It wasn't until our fridge conked out that I took the time to be truly thankful for all of the "little" things in life we take for granted - whatever sort of economic downturn we're in most of us still have it VERY well.  I think the lady's face in my "Femineered Fridge" collage (pictured at the top) says it all!  :D

Monday, September 12, 2011

Another Fun Start to a Great Week!

Happy Monday, everyone!  I hope everyone had a lovely weekend!

I know Mondays can put an abrupt end to the fun for some of you, so let's keep the momentum going with.... ANOTHER GIVEAWAY!!!!  :D

Today we feature the wonderful Silver Crow Creations!  Those of you who've been reading the blog for a while are no doubt familiar with these lovely folks and their amazing....I'm going to call it an Emporium.  Really, that's the best word I can think of when describing this colossal site!

I was HOOKED from the start when I happened across this shop in my searches.  What's so fun about Silver Crow is that every time I go on the site, I find little treasures I just HAVE to have.  Lately, it's been in the form of these super-cool transparencies.  I've never seen anything like these - so they have to be mine.  :D  I know I own more than I'll ever use (probably) in my art, but they're just awesome and at this price?  Why wouldn't I load up?

Annie's been adding new stuff nearly every day since April - that's over 500 items (!), which means there's ALWAYS something like these transparencies to see!  Stop on in for yourself!

To qualify for the giveaway, which is a $20 Silver Crow gift certificate,  I'm only going to ask one question, and you can either leave your answer here or in the comments on the Facebook page.  Here goes:
What is this guy's name?
That's it!  Just write your answer and - this is important - include your e-mail address in the comment box in the name(at)domain(dot)com format!  I had to draw several names for the last giveaway because I couldn't find an e-mail address.  If I can't immediately find your e-mail, I will draw another name.

I will run this giveaway until Thursday at NOON CDT so you'll have plenty of time to enter and to then let your friends know too!  :D

Best of luck to you all!  Thank you so much for playing!  

P.S.  Here's a hint for the kitty cat's name - if you click the link to the caption under the photo, you'll find out!  :D

Friday, September 9, 2011

This Just Makes me Happy, Part II

Note from Mel:  My allergies are KILLIN' me today!  Sorry for the short post!

Every now and then I'll come across a bit of ephemera that makes me giddy - probably giddier than I should get about such an item, really.  But I can't help it - I look at it and I'm reminded of days gone by or just plain excited to have it in my home.

You may remember this post from a couple of weeks ago, whereby I proclaimed my adoration for a couple of little grocery store game pieces.  Today's post is more of the same.

I'm talking about this envelope.  My updated registration sticker for my license plate came in this envelope - do other states do this too, or is this exclusive to Wisconsin?  I never really paid attention to that aspect of "foreign" (read: Illinois, ha ha) plates before.

Both sides of this envelope are cool but I like the back the best.  It's SO 1973, isn't it?  The clip art, the Futura-esque font, the color - just marvelous.  This is going in the Perpetual Ephemera Depository for sure!

Have a great weekend, everyone - and remember to look, listen and live!  :D

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Like-Minded Ephemeraologists!

Today I want to talk about other people behind their back.  :D

No, no - in a GOOD way!  But I've adored these blogs for so long that I had to give some shout-outs.

I've come across these blogs in my travels through Twitter, Flickr and Facebook and I just had to share them with you.  These are blogs that appeal to me for various reasons - nostalgia, humor, information - and PAPER.

First up is Papergreat.  Papergreat is a blog written by Chris Otto, whom I've "met" on Twitter.  Chris loves old paper as much as I, but he focuses more on the pure ephemera side of things rather than the art of it all.  He is also VERY generous with his retweets of my own blog posts, which I appreciate tremendously!
Today on his blog, Chris talks about this AMAZING book that he found a while back called, "A Thousand Ways to Please a Husband", which in and of itself is hilarious.  But check out what he found inside.  Oh my goodness gracious, what an incredible find.  It makes me drool just thinking about what I could do with it all - so from a collector's point of view, it's probably best that Chris found this instead of me.  :D  Check it out!

Here's another blog that's mainly about collecting ephemera - but all of this ephemera happens to be French. This blog is called Agence Eureka. Do I LOVE this blog?  Mais oui!  :D  Seriously, if you're a francophile you are going to be astounded at the amount of ephemera Patricia owns.  She is French so it would stand to reason that most of the ephemera she collects is French.  But it still fascinates me how much of it exists, n'est ce pas?  :D

This next blog is dear to me for a different reason - my love of mid-century grocery stores.  If any of you out there share this fondness then you're probably already aware of Pleasant Family Shopping, which is the most comprehensive 20th Century shopping site I have ever encountered.  Not only does Dave talk about old family-run grocery stores and all of the ephemera to go along with it, but if you ever need any information about old department stores, gas stations, motels, or roadside attractions, this is your one-stop oasis.  Dave is so thorough that I have no doubt he's been contacted by others looking for certain information on these topics.  I know it's where I go if I have to do research for my own blog!  The only problem I have with Pleasant Family Shopping is that I get lost there - sometimes for embarrassingly long stretches of time.  One link leads to another...and another....well, you get the picture.  :D

This last blog is probably the one that's closest to my own, but with its own style, of course!  If you're an Ephemeraologist (and I'm pretty sure if you're reading this that you are), you've probably come across Wackystuff before.  Wackystuff has been peddling ephemera (indeed, he owned a store called Ephemera!) since I was about eight years old.  This lucky guy grew up here in the U.S. but now lives in Victoria, B.C., which is on my Bucket List of places to visit.  If you have visited his site before, then you know how comprehensive his collection is.  If you've never been, then I'll put it in ephemera terms for you - if my collection is a drawer, then Wacky's is the entire Antique Mall.  It is astounding how much stuff he has.  Better yet, he also does mail art with it and is extremely generous in his trades!  If you're a mail art person I would try and get in on that action - you won't be disappointed!

I hope you like the places I've taken you today - they're some of my favorite places on the Web.