Friday, February 25, 2011

And the Paper Flea Market GC goes to....

Spiralmoon Studio!  Congratulations, JayLene - you are the winner of the $20 Paper Flea Market gift certificate!!  :D

I'll let Trina know that you've won and give her your e-mail address (you can send yours to me via my email address in my profile).  Oh, and have fun spending your money there - you get a LOT for 20 bucks! 

Thanks so much to all of you who entered the contest!  There are plenty more opportunities for giveaways coming up very soon - keep on entering! 

Happy Friday, Mel

At the Movies

It's Oscar time!  Do you plan on watching the Academy Awards?  I really do love watching this awards show -  it's the only awards show I watch besides the Emmys and the Golden Globes.  I know a lot of people watch for the fashion aspect of it, but I really just want to see how the voting plays out.

This year Brian and I have seen a few of the nominated movies, mainly because some of them are out on DVD already.  Of the 10 Best Picture noms we've seen The Social Network, True Grit, The Kids are Alright, and Inception.  I liked them all but of the four I think my least favorite is The Social Network.  I hope The King's Speech wins Best Picture because then we have a shot of it coming to our town for even just a week.

Our movie watching goes in spurts.  During the summer we see so many more - that's the time we reactivate our Netflix account due to TV being in reruns.  We're both really picky about the movies we see - we're not going to waste our time/money on something that will probably be on TV in a year.  I really like documentaries, although Brian doesn't necessarily share my passion, especially if they're political.  We both agreed that Typeface was awesome.  :D

I've also gotten Brian into seeing some of my favorite old movies, like The Graduate and It's a Wonderful Life (in its entirety). 

I love old movie memorabilia, but here's one category that everyone else loves too - hence, it's harder to find cheap movie stuff, and lots of it.  But as you can see in the photo, I try and keep my movie stubs.  :D

One of my favorite movie finds is this handbill from 1919 - isn't it AMAZING?!? I found it at Old Stuff Only (and they have a few left!).  I find it incredible that it's almost 100 years old.  Isn't it wild that we're entering a time where we will soon be able to call old movies a century old?  Some of them have already past that milestone, although most of us haven't seen them unless you took a film class in college (I did, and I thought they were BORING.  Sorry, film buffs!).  This is one of those instances where you're not going to see me use this in a collage - although I could!  It was cheap enough.  Maybe I'll get another one!  :D

I love this old Movie Play magazine from 1964!  It's a great snapshot into what people liked that year.  I'd bet that you could capture the zeitgeist of a particular year more accurately with a movie magazine than with an old Life.  Movies so often reflect changing attitudes before the rest of the country follows suit.

I'd love to go back in time and see what it was like to watch a movie in the 50s or 60s.  I'm sure the biggest change would be the smoking - on second thought, maybe I'll stick with the present, even if the ticket prices are far more expensive.  :D

I've done a couple of pieces pertaining to movies, mainly with my ticket stubs:

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Ain't Nothing like the Real Thing, Baby....

As an ephemeraologist, one of the questions I get asked the most frequently is, "How can you bring yourself to use these old items?"

It's a good question, and it's not as cut-and-dry as you think.  I LOVE vintage ephemera but there are instances where I just can't bring myself to use certain pieces.  More on that in a bit.

I belong to the Ephemera Society of America (ESA) (see my article here reiterating my point!) and their main focus is to preserve our history through paper.  I have a feeling that most of the members would cringe if they saw me using old paper in my collages; indeed, I have gotten comments that have hinted at that.  Here's my take on the subject:  the paper that I use in my work is by no means rare.  Some may argue that it may not be now, but in the future it'll be harder and harder to find unused telegram booklets, for example, or WWII ration stamps.  This may be true. 

To combat that problem, I always try and purchase a whole bunch of an item if I can afford it.  I have enough vintage trading stamps to last me until Rapture.  Unless I do an enormous installation piece, I can't imagine that I'll ever use them all in my lifetime.  I'm 42 and I don't have any kids; where is my stuff going to go after that, anyway?  I have three nieces and a nephew and I doubt that any of them are going to want my collection, save for a few neat pieces to remember me by.  I suppose I could will my collection to the ESA, if they'd like it, or other collectors could grab some of my stuff at my estate sale when the time comes.  But what if no one takes it - will it just get thrown out anyway?

Sorry - I didn't mean to get maudlin!  :D  What I'm trying to say is that when it comes to my artwork, I take an existential stance - I'm going to live for today, because I don't know what's going to happen to my collection in the future.  I'd rather see my collection being used in artwork that someone else (hopefully!) enjoys than have it sitting in the bottom of a box in a musty basement.

On the flip side - if a piece has sentimental value, such as those telegrams sent to my great-grandparents - NO WAY am I going to cut them up!  That seems sacriligeous, somehow, akin to spitting on my ancestors.  I have a personal tie to them - their daughter is my beloved Grammie.  My mom dearly loved her grandparents and would spend entire summers with them.  So to use these pieces would be wrong, at least to me.

Some people, when they find old photographs or ephemera, scan it and use copies.  I have done this in the past too, but not lately.  I think the last time I used a copy was here:
The photo that you see is a transparency of a scanned photo of my Grammie on her 18th birthday, in 1942.  I made this card for her 85th birthday, which was in August of 2009.  Of course I wasn't going to use the real photo!  I want to preserve that for future generations.

If I can, I will alway use the "real thing".  A copy doesn't have the same feel as the old paper.  It doesn't have the same patina and you just can't replicate it, even with certain "antiquing" inks.  Sometimes the paper crumbles in half - even better!  That's serendipitous, if you ask me, and it's the Universe telling me to go that direction with my collage.  Sometimes the old paper has stains or rusting or smearing - that's all good too.  I love the ageing and imperfections that you just can't get in a new sheet of copy paper.

I'm hoping to use my old paper in new and exciting ways this year - wish me luck on that!  Until then I'm going to continue to enjoy my collection of vintage ephemera the best way I know how - by cutting it up.  :D

Wednesday, February 23, 2011


Okay, I'll admit it - up until about six or seven years ago I poo-poohed cruises.  I figured there was no way being stuck on a ship for a week could ever constitute a good time.

And then Brian and I went to Alaska.

It was wonderful!  The scenery was spectacualar, of course.  But I discovered, like so many before me, the joys of getting on the boat and not having to worry about anything else the entire trip.  We visited five or six ports of call and we didn't have to pack up each time.  We went whale watching and the whole thing was taken care of by the staff.  The food was AMAZING.  The entertainment was great.  We had a balcony room.  We went with friends, too, so that was a hoot.

I will never dismiss cruise lines again!

I do wonder what cruising was like 100 years ago, around the time of the Titanic.  It seems so romantic, doesn't it?  Especially the Cunard line (they're the ones who had the QEII).  Everything about travel at that time - the posters, the advertisements, the luggage stickers - evokes a life of pure luxury.  But I wonder how our ideas of luxury would stack up against those of a century ago - something tells me there'd be a lot of complaining if things were the same today (remember, this was pre-air conditioning!).

I got these incredible luggage tags in an ebay lot about five years ago - some of them are linen-backed and many are from the same person!  And the places she went - Hong Kong! Paris! Kobe! Sweden!  From what I can gather from the rest of the ebay items this family owned a chain of hotels in the Chicago area in the 20s, so they had the means to travel.  Even so, I get a kick out of the Dollar Steamship Lines!  Imagine what kind of trip that would get you today!

And yes, I have used some of these labels in my artwork - ain't nothin' like the real thing!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

What? ANOTHER Giveaway?!

Yep, you read right - we're doing ANOTHER giveaway, this time from our friends at The Paper Flea Market!

If you missed the post where I talked about this wonderful shop, here's the link.  I'm thrilled to announce that Trina and the gang are giving away a $20 gift certificate!!!  The winner will be announced on Friday at 5 p.m.!

Here's what you do:  If you "follow" my blog, that's one point.  If you "follow" the Paper Flea Market blog, that's another.  If you "like" me on Facebook, that's another point. And if you sign up for Trina's e-mail list, that's one more.  So all together you could have up to FOUR chances to win!  But you have to let me know in the comment box below, so DON'T forget!  :D

Don't worry - if you've done these things already, you can still enter!  Just tell me that you've done so in the comment box below - but while you're at it, let your friends know about the giveaway and have them join the fun!  :D

I want to thank Trina again for having these gift certificate giveaways and having such a fantastic shop!  And if you haven't checked it out yet - you MUST!  It's chock full of ephemera goodness!

Best of luck to all of you - sign up to enter today!  :D

Monday, February 21, 2011

More wonderful acts of kindness....

Oh my goodness - have I ever had an amazing couple of days!

Allow me to give you some back story here - a couple of months ago I was commissioned by Pam Kueber of Retro Renovation  to do a collage for her friend Margaret Roach, an author and former columnist for The New York Times and editor of Martha Stewart Omnimedia.  Her new book, "And I Shall Have some Peace There", hits stores this week and Pam wanted me to create a collage to commemorate the occasion.

I finished the collage two days before Christmas and sent it out on the 27th.  I don't know what happened but it didn't reach Pam for NINE days.  I was absolutely frantic for about the last three - I was convinced that it had gotten lost in the mail.  Wouldn't you know it, the day that I let go of the fear was the day Pam got it in the mail.  I also learned a valuable lesson from the experience - if it's really important, ALWAYS get delivery confirmation!!

All's well that ends well, however - the collage reached Margaret safe and sound and both she and Pam were very happy with the results.  WHEW!  :D

Fast forward to yesterday - I saw Pam's blog post on Facebook and SHAZAM!  All of a sudden I see my collage up on the site.  It was quite jarring!  And then today, Margaret posted the collage on HER site!  I was caught by surprise AGAIN, in the most lovely way.

If you're wondering what this has to do with ephemera, well - not much.  :D  I DID use my vintage Golden Guides (more on those beauts in a later post!) to create some of the foliage in the collage, and if you look very closely there is a teeny, tiny frog near the pond that was also from the guide.  But I mainly wanted to thank Pam and Margaret for being such wonderful, supportive people in a forum where many of their readers would see it (even though their readers already know how wonderful they are!).

It has been an amazing experience to get to know these fabulous ladies, and even though we've never met I count them as friends.  Here's to using the power of the Internet for good!!

Lotto Fever!!

I live in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin.  In some circles we're known as the Luckiest Place on Earth.  Indeed, the south portion of our Main Street was dubbed the "Miracle Mile" back in the mid-Nineties.  Why?

Well, we've had what can only be described as a freaky lucky streak when it comes to people buying winning lottery tickets.  One of the first happened back in 1993, when a Fond du Lacian named Les Robins won $111 million in the Powerball game.  He was a teacher in the school district at the time but used his winnings to open a summer camp called Camp Winnegator for kids living in and around our area. There were a number of other million-dollar winners but the largest jackpot ever won here happened in 2006, when 100 workers at the Sargento Cheese factory all won the $209 million prize.  The last time anyone won a million bucks here was three years ago, so I think we're due for another win.  :D

I personally don't play the lottery; I really enjoy my life and I'm not a gambler. That's just me, though - I certainly don't see anything wrong with others playing!

Of course for me, one of the best parts of the lottery is seeing the new game designs!  The Wisconsin Lottery does a nice job creating fun new games to play; a lot of them are plays on words with Wisconsin-related items, like MOO-la (we're the Dairy State, get it?).

I also love foreign and vintage lottery cards, naturally.  A few years back I began seeing these Loteria cards all over the place - Loteria is a Mexican card game similar to bingo.  Its roots are quite deep; the game was brought there in the 1400s.  The latest incarnation of cards is very colorful and fun and you can find them all over the Internet for quite cheap!

I love these vintage Peruvian lottery cards - I can see why someone kept them!  Aren't they beautiful?  I love that they're over 60 years old, too.  As is the case with so much of the stuff I collect I love pondering the reason why these still exist - were they a gift from someone?  Were they purchased at a corner store during a first date?  Was someone's future riding on whether or not they won?  Or, like me, did they just enjoy the graphics and the ephemeral nature of the tickets? 

And speaking of ephemeral, how about these pull-and-peel lottery cards?  Of my collection, I'd say these count as the most throwaway.  And yet, I actually purchased these and I love 'em!  I love all the numbers, I love the old fonts used, I love the tiny bit of decoration on the ends - they're just cool.

And because they're so colorful and graphic-filled, they're perfect for collage art!  Here are a few examples of how lottery items can be used in art:

"Devilish" ATC

Sweet Little Sixteen pendant - available in my Etsy shop

"Dear Uncle Al" ATC

Friday, February 18, 2011

Money Money Money Money.....MONEY!

You may be asking yourself, "Can money really be considered ephemeral?" And to that I say, it is in MY house! (Cue rim shot).  Thank you!  I'll be here all week!  :D

I guess the short answer is, it depends. 

Our economy, even though it has been through the ringer lately, is still fairly stable.  We've never had one of those crises when the dollar is so devalued that one has to literally carry wheelbarrows full of money to purchase a loaf of bread.  In those cases, I'd call that money ephemeral.

WWII Italian money
 We also haven't witnessed a war on U.S. soil in our lifetimes but when it did happen, like in so many other countries, the money created during those times has become ephemeral (think Confederate money).

Chinese Hell money
 Some cultures create different types of money for ceremonial purposes, like the Chinese do for funerals.  You may have seen "hell" and "heaven" money for sale in Asian grocery stores or in our Chinatowns in larger cities.  Since the money is created to be burned, I'd call that pretty ephemeral.

They pulverize old money now, but the US Treasury used to just cut up or shred old money that had been uncirculated due to age or condition.  If you look online or in older shops you can still find small packets of this money for sale.  I'd say that counts as ephemeral.

Teeny-tiny play money (at right is a real penny!)

And let's not forget play money!  I LOVE play money and I'd beg my mom to get some whenever we'd go to the grocery store - they always sold it in the kiddie section along with all of the other $.99-priced toys.  Sometimes if you got really lucky, you'd get a wad of teeny-tiny dollar bills in the gumball machine.  THAT was a good day.

So yes, money can be ephemeral.

And I love using it in my artwork!  I collect all different types and it's SO versatile! 

Thursday, February 17, 2011


I love hotels.  And they don't have to be fancy, either - although that helps.  :D  I don't stay in one very often, which is probably why they still hold appeal for me.

When I was growing up, we NEVER stayed in a hotel.  It was just too expensive.  I was 18 by the time I had my first hotel experience - I went to Milwaukee to attend Summerfest (also my first time for that) and about five or six of us spent the night in the Port Washington Hilton (I think it's owned by another chain now). 

It was thrilling for me, and I think the others thought I was crazy when I took every pen, all the stationery, the "do not disturb" sign, the sugar packets, and everything else ephemeral.  That was 23 years ago, and not much has changed - I STILL take whatever I can!

What is it about hotels that is so wonderful?  Is it the idea that our lives are somewhat miniaturized for a time?  Is it the fact that someone else is cleaning up after us?  Is it knowing that (most of the time) no meals will have to be prepared?  That we're in an unfamiliar (and possibly exotic) locale?

I remember reading the Eloise books and wanting to live in a hotel.  Doesn't that sound romantic?  And of course it's the Plaza hotel, which conjures images of mid-Century fancy-schmancy parties, jet-setters, bon vivants and the general sophisticated air of old New York.  The fact that this world no longer exists makes it somehow even more irresistible.

My favorite hotel of all time is not in Europe.  It's not in Toronto.  It's not in Hawaii, New Orleans or Phoenix (although I have visited all of those places).  It's in Fargo, North Dakota.  No, that's not a typo.  It's called the Hotel Donaldson, or HoDo for short.  It's an old working man's hotel that's been renovated into a boutique hotel.  Every room revolves around a different local artist's work.  There's Aveda products in the bathroom.  There's heated tile.  There are fluffy duvets and fresh local truffles awaiting you at turn-down.  Every night at 5 p.m. there's a wine & cheese gathering in the lobby (and on the rooftop garden in the summer).  The Hodo restaurant is spectacular.  They have live music at least three nights a week.

THIS is what a good hotel should offer - the promise of something out of the ordinary; the awareness that you're NOT at home and by that sheer fact you should enjoy yourself.

And that's why I love hotel ephemera - it's a reminder that traveling is good for the soul.  Perhaps another trip to Fargo is in order!

Here are a couple of pieces I've made with my hotel ephemera - it's one of my favorite subjects!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Lost....and then FOUND

I am a wannabe scavenger.  When I go for a walk, or am out in public, I tend to look down so I can find fun stuff.  Money's great, of course; usually the payoff is pretty meager, though.  :D  I come by this tendency naturally - my dad was a champion scavenger.  And he was truly lucky!  More than once he happened across a $20 bill just by keeping his eyes to the ground.

Apparently there are LOTS of folks out there who make it a hobby to find ephemeral items while out and about - there's a whole magazine devoted to it!  Are you familiar with  "FOUND"?
I had never seen the magazine but discovered the book(s) in the bookstore.  Upon opening them it felt like Davy Rothbart, the author/curator, was a kindred spirit.

About 10 years ago Mr. Rothbart found a note on his car that was meant for someone named "Mario".  The note read, "Mario - I @#$%* hate you (expletives deleted) you said you had to work then whys your car HERE at HER place?? You're a @#$%* liar I hate you I @#$%* hate you - Amber P.S. Page me later"

And that was the start of it.  He then started handing out flyers inviting others to send in found items.  In the forward to the book, he writes, "At first I didn't hear anything.  Then, suddenly, I did.  Found notes came in from as far away as Alaska and Bangladesh.  They were by turns beautiful, hilarious and heartbreaking.  Once I'd gathered a decent stack of material and combed through my own collection of found stuff, my friend Jason Bitner and I went to work for three nights cutting and pasting with scissors and tape and put together the first issue of  FOUND magazine."

The books are compilations of the best of that magazine.  And it's absolutely fascinating what has been found by people all over the world!  Crazy love letters, grocery lists, snapshots, notes passed in class, parts of diaries - all of the detritus that we think no one else will ever see but somehow escapes our grasp.  There are also bits of books and magazines, advertisements and other things tossed for no apparent reason.

If you are interested in the most basal type of ephemera - the type that is worth nothing monetarily but can make your day -  I highly suggest picking up these books.  They appeal to the voyeur in all of us and offer a tiny peek into our (sometimes scary, but always interesting) collective consciousness.  You will be entertained for hours.

I have made some ATCs with found items - not old love notes (yet), but dirty labels:

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Photographs and Memories

Photographs and memories
Christmas cards you sent to me
All that I have are these
To remember you....

Ah, the late, great Jim Croce.  I thought these lyrics fit perfectly with what we'll be talking about today.  :D

Here's a question for you - do you think old photographs are ephemeral?  I was asking myself that question a few days back when I got this AMAZING collection of cabinet cards and portraits. 

Before we go any further, I have to give props - many, MANY thanks to Julie Thelen for this incredible gift.  I mean, I am flabbergasted by the generosity and I truly appreciate it.  What a lovely gesture to think of ME when wondering how to disperse these beauties - I am humbled and honored and I promise to make some very fun things with them!  :D

Okay, so back to the question - are old photographs ephemeral?  Technically, no.  The definition of ephemeral means "of the day", or something that wasn't meant to be kept.  These photos, on the other hand, probably cost a fortune to take and print.  These are pretty early - it appears that the majority of them are from the Aughts to the Twenties - you had to shell out some dough to get your picture taken then.  But what happens when there's no one left who knows who's in the pictures?  Very few of these photos are labeled but even if they were they're so old, there's no one alive today who'd have recollections of actual time spent with these people.

My friend Carolyn, who's an artist and a genealogist, calls these types of photos "instant ancestors".  Because they're unknown, you can make up any back story you'd like!  See this fellow here?  He became a world-famous journalist!  The girl with the bow starred in a traveling rodeo.  This couple had 13 children!  Is any of this true?  Who cares!  It's just fun to get creative.

I'm going to wax philosophical for a moment - maybe everything becomes ephemeral, given enough time.  When I'm gone, who's going to be the keeper of all of my Grammie's and great-grandparents' things?  In 75 years' time, will there be anyone alive who'll remember any of MY stories?  It gets tricky here, because I don't (and won't) have any kids of my own. Maybe someone will find my old photos at an estate sale and wonder who I am.  And that's okay.  Just be creative with the photos and try not to draw a mustache on me.  :D

Monday, February 14, 2011

And the Winner is.....

Okay folks - I just drew the winner of the Manto Fev GC Giveaway - and the winner is.....

Drumroll please......


WOO HOO!!!!  I will be contacting you to get all of your info, and then we'll get in touch with Sara at Manto Fev so she can get you your gift certificate!  :D  Congratulations, and Happy Valentine's Day!

Thank you SO much to all of you who entered!  This was a super successful giveaway and there'll be more like them to come - and SOON!  Keep reading for your next chance to win!

Sharing the Love

Okay, show of hands - how many of you send Valentines to your loved ones?  How many of you just wish the day would go away?

I've been in both places in my life.  Today is one of those days that is pressure-filled for a lot of people!  I for one think there should be a different spin on Valentine's Day - what if we made it less about romance and more about telling our friends and family how much we love them?  Simple as that. 

I have to thank my ephemera buddy Frank Defrietas for this marvelous "Your Ideal Love Mate" postcard from 1941.  Frank had a bunch that he was giving away (all different!) and I was one of the lucky people who got in on the deal early enough to snag one of these beauts!  I don't know if this gentleman on the front is my type - I prefer less greasy hair, personally.  But I will say that the sentiment is pretty accurate when describing my husband Brian!  :D

Now, onto sharing the love!  Today I want to spotlight a few of my favorite places that are sharing the love with you today:

First of all, don't forget that you have until 4 p.m. CST today to sign up for the Manto Fev GC giveaway!  I'll be drawing the name from the entrants and one lucky winner will receive a $15 gift certificate toward anything in the store (and there is a LOT!)!  Sign up if you haven't done so already! 

Right now our good friends at Silver Crow Creations are offering 30% OFF through February 16!  :D  When you check out enter the code LOVE and you'll get 30% off your merchandise total - how cool is that??

The lovely Trina at Paper Flea Market is also offering 14% OFF your purchase TODAY ONLY!  She just listed a whole bunch of new items - check it out!  :D

Oh, and if I may toot my own horn for a minute, I'm offering 20% off everything in my Etsy shop, Snizzers & Gwoo, TODAY ONLY! 

So there you have it.  So many great deals await you today!  It's our way of saying we appreciate you so much!  Now go out there and spread some goodwill of your own today - even if it's just smiling at your fellow humans.  I'm always fascinated by how a genuine smile can totally make someone's day.  It can, you know - try it and see!  Happy Valentine's Day!

Friday, February 11, 2011

Does not Compute

I think every generation has one great invention that they can count as a major milestone in their own lives.  For my great-grandparents, it had to be radio (my GGs on my mom's mom's side were both born in 1897, which would've made them around 24 when the radio went global).  For my Grammie's generation, it was definitely TV (she was born in 1924 and TV came to Green Bay in 1953, so she was only 29).  For my mom's generation, it was a whole bunch of things: hi-fi stereo equipment, color TV, VCRs, microwaves - all things that became ubuiquitious when she was in her 20s and 30s.  For MY generation, it has to be computers and the internet (I was born in 1968 and the computer first entered my home when I was 22; the internet first happened for me in 1995).

And let's talk about the word "computer" for a minute - doesn't that even sound a little quaint now?  It's too vague a term!  If someone says, "I got a new computer today", most people are going to assume you mean a PC (because if you get a new computer that happens to be a Mac, you're probably going to say, "I got a new Mac today").  There are smartphones, iPod Touches, Nintendo DSes, Wiis - technically, they're all computers.  But we'd never call them that, would we?

I think that shows just how much they've become a part of our lives.  I am currently writing to you via my desktop - it's still my favorite way to use the Interwebs.  I do own an iPod Touch but I find it to be cumbersome for all but the most perfunctory of tasks (like what time True Grit is playing tonight).

To show you how far we've come, just 18 short years ago I began my newspaper career.  I had a computer at my desk but it still ran DOS.  I can remember many instances when we'd be sent home because the mainframe was down and we couldn't run billing (I worked in the finance department).  By the time I left just 3 1/2 years later, in late 1996, the newsroom was on the Internet (which they foolishly didn't think was going to be competition) and the graphics department made the switch from pasting ads with Velox and wax to going completely digital in their layout.

When I recall this sort of information it reminds me how fast life moves these days, and how adorable these punch cards and papers now appear.  My dad in-law used to work with these every single day; now his son, my wonderful husby (and his bro) own, a website development company right here in Fondy.  Isn't that wild?  :D

And yes, I LOVE using punch cards and paper in my artwork!  It's really versatile.  Here are a few examples:

Thursday, February 10, 2011

It's True - ANOTHER Giveaway!!!

Hello my dear Ephemeraology friends!

I have some very exciting news - we're doing another giveaway starting.....right now!

This time, the fabulous Sara of Manto Fev is giving away a $15 gift certificate to her completely awesome online store!

If you're regular readers of Ephemeraology you've no doubt heard me talk about Manto Fev before.  Well, now's your chance to experience it for yourself if you haven't done so already - and if you have, then you know how much stuff you can buy for fifteen bucks!

Here's what you do:  If you follow me here (link's on the top of this page or on the right hand side), that's one entry.  If you "like" my Facebook page, that's another entry. If you "like" Manto Fev's Facebook page, that's one more.  And if you sign up for the Manto Fev newsletter, that's another entry!  So all total you could be counted FOUR times!  That should increase your odds (if you've already signed up for any of these things, not to worry - just let us know in the comments below that you're a fan of one or all of them!)!

One very IMPORTANT thing - if you do all these things, you have to comment that you signed up in the comments below (nowhere else, please) - otherwise, how am I going to know?  :D

We're going to run this giveaway through the weekend and pick the winner on Valentine's Day!  What a romantic way to spend the holiday - shopping for ephemera!  :D

Good luck to all of you, and thanks to Manto Fev for making this giveaway possible - you ROCK!!!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

This sort of thing IS my bag, baby

Hee hee - sorry for the 14 year-old Austin Powers reference, but I thought it fit perfectly with today's post.  :D

Think for a second about your shopping habits - where do you shop?  How often?  Okay, now think about the bags where your items are placed.  What do you do with the bag when you get home?  Do you recycle it?  Reuse it for something else?

In the case of paper bags, mine are recycled right away unless they have a handle, in which case I either use it to place my recyclables for garbage day or if it's pretty, try and reuse it for Christmas or a birthday. 

So when I see a little (older) bag in great condition it always makes me smile.  I try and think about how on earth it managed to stick around so long!  Was it mistakenly sandwiched between books and then placed in an attic?  Was it in a box with another thousand of its brethren in an old warehouse somewhere?  Or was a souvenir purchased in some far-off land and the bag kept as a memento?

In my collection, I have some of each of these instances.  This little blue bag held items that I bought at Dretzka's Department Store in Cudahy (Wisconsin).  It's a Russian store and it's been around in one form or another for decades - they have all kinds of kooky vintage items (oddly, in their online shop they only sell socks and long underwear - seems like a wasted opportunity to me!).  At one point it must've been called The Emporium; judging by the font I'm going to say that the bag is from the mid-Sixties.  I love that these bags still exist - hardly anyone take the time to print up paper bags like this anymore due to the cost.

This other little bag is from Israel and my Grammie saved it from her trip there in 1979.  I would've saved it too - I love the bold colors and the Hebrew lettering!  The memory of what was purchased at this shop is lost but I'm sure glad that I own this bag, for several reasons.

Here's more foreign (to me) bags - these beautiful "Fruit & Primeurs" and Gateaux Fins bags!  I purchased these myself at one of my favorite shops, Assemblage Studio (seriously - if you live in a 100-mile radius of De Pere, Wisconsin and you love the types of things I'm talking about?  YOU NEED TO GO THERE.  Period).  Theresa, the owner, has a lot of foreign items and I'm a sucker for all of them.  I think she knows this.  :D

The next time you go shopping at a boutique and get a pretty little bag, try and hang onto it.  Maybe in 50 years someone will thank you for it!  Who knows - by then it may even be worth a lot of money!

I've used bags in my artwork a few times - maybe I'll get bold and use my other bags someday!  I hope I do!