Thursday, January 31, 2008

The Fabulous Fred Astaire

My title really says it all. Simply put, he was FABULOUS. LOVED him. I'm not sure how else to try and explain my complete infatuation other than to show you that when I REALLY like someone - I get, well, um, maybe just a WEE bit obsessed. Books - gotta have books about/by them! So, here I'm showing you my Fred Astaire books. Surprisingly, this collection started well before Ebay. I still managed to acquire quite a few. His autobiography, above, was published in 1959. Below, others in chronological order:
The Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers Book by Arlene Croce 1972

Starring Fred Astaire (501 pages!) by Stanley Green and Burt Goldblatt 1977

Fred Astaire Storyline by Benny Green 1979

Astaire The Man,The Dancer by Bob Thomas 1984

Fred Astaire His Friends Talk by Sarah Giles 1988

I have similar obsessions with books by or about Walt Disney, Bob Hope, Bing Crosby, Norman Rockwell, Art Linkletter, Tasha Tudor, etc. - so Fred is in good company. If you twist my arm, maybe some day I will blog about those. I mentioned in a previous post that books threaten to take over our house. I wasn't kidding.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

From The Thrift Shops

I found this frame about 10 days ago. I recognized it as being from Dollar Tree, but I only paid 50 cents, so that was OK with me. You can't tell in my scan that the "dots" are mirrored. I found the perfect sized picture to insert among my clippings from my mother-in-law's collection that she cut from movie magazines in the late 1920's and early 1930's. I don't know who she is, but I love the picture.

These three pretty little floral bread plates were only 50 cents each. Usually, if I can even find nice vintage plates (in good condition), they are priced higher than that.

That cute little wooden button box in the picture above was a thrift shop find, too. I don't know how old it is, but it sure is cute. I stuck button cards and rick rack, and anything else that looked good into it. It has cute little "handles " on the sides that look like thread spools. It was 99 cents. I don't really go thrifting that often - but I love it when I find neat stuff.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Bird Books

I love my bird books. I love that I can go to them to find out what bird I just saw outside my window! We have a nice big window right by our computer desk, so we can watch the birds and squirrels and red-shouldered hawks and foxes and neighborhood cats and whomever else may be passing through at the time. Those first two books shown above were here in the house. The little one was published in 1941, and the other in 1952. Only black and white drawings in Our Amazing Birds, so it is not my favorite. But it is a nice big, heavy book with a lot of information inside.
The two below are great, the older one published in 1956 has lovely color illustrations, and the other published 40 years later has gorgeous close-up color photos. I'm working on an attempt to collect ALL of the vintage Golden Nature Guides. They are wonderful little books.

But this one below, is the best of all. I found it in a thrift store. At $3.00, it was pricier than some thrift store books, but well worth it. It is a fabulous, heavy tome filled with color photos, illustrations and information.
And I didn't even see 'til I got it home that it included a bird song record album tucked in back!

A look at this last picture shows you how nice the book is beneath it's dust jacket!

This won't seem at all special to those of you who know a lot about birds, but the other day I saw a little bird and thought -"oh, is that a Junco?" And I looked it up, and I was right - so, see - I am learning something!

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Punchwork Pillows

I just love these gorgeous things! I've been collecting them for awhile. Most of the ones I have were done on velvet or velveteen. But I also have some that were done on satin, or just a simple cotton fabric.

I have found them on eBay and at shops.

The whole pillow tops wouldn't fit on my scanner, so I've shown just a portion of some of my favorite ones.

What I'd like to do is have my living room sofas recovered in a solid pastel matelasse fabric, and pile these colorful, beautiful, and cheerful pillows on them!

Aren't they pretty?

Friday, January 25, 2008

Lists, Tools and Tablets

Oh, I am a list keeper from WAY back. I have always been very good at keeping track of things and making lists. So, it stands to reason that I might like to use neat notepads and pencils. The cute little windmill holder above hangs in my kitchen. And I have had the Things To Do pad below for years. I liked the Pennsylvania Dutch style designs on it. And the little notepad with the housewife and her mixing bowl and Crisco just cracked me up.

I found those cool pencils I've shown above years ago at a shop in Santa Cruz. I think I bought one of every color/style they had. As you can see, a couple have been well-used (one has the top broken off). Thus far, the others have only been admired. No, they aren't as practical as a pencil with an eraser, but I had to have them because they were so unique. And since I mentioned lists, I have to leave you with this page from Frog And Toad Together by Arnold Lobel. From the story "A List", this page is is my very favorite part of the story. I have loved Frog And Toad from the first time I discovered them. It was when the book first came out in '71 or '72, and one of the stories out of the book was featured in a magazine. I fell in love with the story right then, and tore out the page and saved it. The story was "Cookies", and it's about willpower, and/or the lack thereof. I realized when I read that story that I AM Toad. I have often thought that I should have read that story aloud some time at a Weight Watchers meeting. It is hilarious. I also love "The Garden", where Toad tries shouting at his seeds to get them to grow. But for now, from "A List", here is poor Toad who has lost his list on his way to Frog's house, and no longer knows what to do with his day!!

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Mystery Lady

I found the picture in the oval frame in an old family photo album here in the house. A lot of the old family pictures have something written on the back to identify the relatives or whomever. But not this one. And there is no one left in my husband's family to tell us anything. But I was fascinated by the similarities between the picture of her and the picture of me on my wedding day. (You can click on the pictures to enlarge them if you like - the better to compare them with, my dear!))

My sister took all of our photos as her wedding gift to us, and they turned out beautifully. This one was taken on the porch of the Victorian bed and breakfast in Genoa, Nevada where we spent our wedding night. We had a very inexpensive wedding, but it was really nice. I wanted my outfit to be extremely old fashioned so I put a white cotton blouse with cuffs at the sleeves, a ruffled collar and peplum together with my antique lace cotton petticoat/skirt. My shoes were white crocheted espadrille flats with pink satin lacing up the ankle and tiny pink satin roses attached (designed them myself!).The only thing I wanted that I couldn't find at the time were white cotton crocheted gloves. So anyway, years later I find this photo in an album up on a shelf in the closet, and here is this mystery lady in her white dress that is rather similar to my ensemble. Standing next to a porch step near trailing vine tendrils with her hand on a post with the door and window visible behind her. Painted clapboard siding with contrasting dark trim, and even a lace curtain at the window. You can barely see at the bottom left in my picture the wood lattice trimming under the porch floor. I simply had to display the photos together, and I found I already had the perfect vintage frames to house each one. Had I known at the time - I could have put my hair up and added a dark belt and bow and a long pendant! How I wish that I knew who she was, and where the photo was taken.
P.S. The other photo in the top picture is my lovely mother-in-law. I only got to meet her, but never got to know her, sadly, - she had Alzheimer's. I like to think she would have liked me. My father-in-law did.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Vintage Chocolate Boxes

Valentine's Day coming up has got me thinking about chocolates. Well, that's not quite true - I think about them all the time, actually. Whatever. I love vintage candy boxes. The beauty shown above is one I found here in the house, it belonged to my mother-in-law.

The pink rose cardboard candy box above was found last spring in a shop in Drain, Oregon for $1.00. Gotta love finds like that!

I bought this Barricini box 6 years ago in Auburn at an outdoor Antique Faire.

And those last two were ebay finds. I'm not done yet with this collection. Whenever I find a pretty one for a reasonable price, I will buy it. At least boxes are useful for storage. I keep one on my bedside table with lip gloss, hand lotion and Kleenex inside. See - useful! ( all right - I'd probably want them even if they weren't useful. I just love surrounding myself with pretty things!)

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Fairies Have Long, Long Hair

Is that true?? I happen to have long, long hair myself, as well.

Why, yes! I can spell very well. Thank you for asking.

Oh - no, I'm afraid I cannot do any of those things. Alas, I suppose I do not have much in common with the fairies at all.
These lovely illustrations are from Queen Silver-Bell by Frances Hodgson Burnett. For some reason, my copy does not name the illustrator, but I believe it may have been Harrison Cady. Just another favorite - stories about fairies dancing over meadows and such.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Simon & Garfunkel, Old Friends, Old Phones, and Dinosaurs

I love Simon & Garfunkel. My sister had all of their albums, and I used to love listening to them; I still do. My very first LP of my own was a gift from a friend - Sounds of Silence. Years later, I got all of the albums on cassette. And years after that, I bought the Collected Works CD set. I don't have an ipod. I still use my records (all 3 speeds), cassettes and CD's. On my way to and from Placerville this past weekend, I listened to S&G all the way. Although not purposely, it turned out to be very appropriate music for my journey! I was on my way there to meet "Old Friends" for dinner - two of my oldest and dearest friends. We had a wonderful visit - it had been WAY too long. And yesterday, when I was "Homeward Bound", it was "Cloudy", and the sky was "A Hazy Shade of Winter". Seriously - I'm not making this up. Those ominous clouds turned into snow about an hour ago. Didn't stick, though.
We have this exact same telephone. And we do use it. Yes- we also have portable phones - and even (gasp!) cel phones, but I love our old telephones. I wish I had one like this in aqua, and I wish I had a pink Princess Touchtone phone for the bedroom.
And on this subject of technology - we don't have Tivo, either - nor any other type of DVR. We have VCR's - all over the house, in fact. AND- we still use them EVERY day. Don't "they" ( by the way - who the heck are they, anyhow?) call people like us dinosaurs?? I have used my VCR's every day since the first day I got one in June of 1984, and I will continue to use them until the universe conspires against me to make it impossible, or I die - whichever comes first. And they said dinosaurs were extinct. Hmmph.

Friday, January 18, 2008

One Of My Quilts

I was delighted to find 3 vintage quilts carefully packed away in a hall closet when we moved into this house. I'm not a quilter, and I know very little about them - only that I love them. I have this one on the bed in our guest room. Unfortunately, my husband isn't sure who made them, and there is no one left to tell us. He thinks it may have been his grandmother. I was excited to find the pattern shown below on ebay, and see that it appears to be the exact quilt we have. I THINK it's from the 1930's, but I'm not sure. So it's a Dresden Plate design. Okay. I just know it's gorgeous and bright, and I love it.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

A Quote From Donal

No- we don't have snow - this picture is from last March, taken from our front porch. It's very unusual for us to get that much snow here in town. It was beautiful.
I was just remembering something someone said once. Back in the late 70's, a friend I worked with had a friend named Donal. I'm sorry I don't know his last name. He was a handsome young man, and he was attending the local junior college at the time. I did not know him very well. If I remember correctly, he had very little money. I think he camped out when the weather was nice in order to save money on rent. Maybe when the temperatures turned cold he rented a room from a friend or something, I'm not sure. But he was working at a Terrible Herbst gas station that was on the highway east of downtown. We went there after work one night to get gas, and we were talking to him. I remember him telling us "I like to work during the wintertime, because it gets cold if you're lazy"
Very profound.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Frances Hodgson Burnett

Frances Hodgson Burnett is one of my favorite, and, in my opinion, one of the greatest, authors of all time. For me, she's right up there with Lucy Maud Montgomery, Laura Ingalls Wilder, and Jane Austen.

Like many women, my first introduction to her work was through perhaps her two best known works The Secret Garden and A Little Princess. I love the editions with Tasha Tudor's illustrations, as I have mentioned before. She also wrote Little Lord Fauntleroy and Racketty Packetty House and MANY other lesser known titles (some of which I have shown in my pictures here today). Over the years, I have managed to gather a wonderful collection of her books, many editions are 100 years old or more. They have a special place on my bookshelves, and in my heart.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Busy Little Girl

Oh, if only I were as productive as this busy little girl!! I surely do need to work on that, and managing my time much better than I have been lately.

Hmmm, I think I can at least get done what she does on Monday and Tuesday in ONE day. Okay, I'll get right on it. I'll try, really I will.
I have to get off of the computer first.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Happy Birthday, Mother

Today would have been our Mother's 77th birthday. It almost doesn't seem possible that it has been nearly 11 years since we lost her. We learned so much from her. I don't think I would have ever known as many songs nor as much about music as I do if not for her. She was an artist, a teacher, a 4-H Leader, a Farm Bureau member, and she had an unbelievable thirst for knowledge. I believe I caught the collecting bug from her, as well. We all three became good cooks and bakers because of her, and we all learned how to play piano because of her. We loved her, learned from her, and were aggravated by her. And, of course, we will never, ever forget her. Happy Birthday, Mother, and thank you for everything.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Betsy McCall

I played with Betsy McCall when I was a little girl, and I loved her. To my great chagrin, as an adult I found out that the doll I had loved and thought was my own had actually belonged to my oldest sister first. I really didn't know. Bummer. So- what did I do? Why, I set out to find some vintage Betsys of my own, of course. As you see, I managed to acquire 5 of them. I'm glad I got them when I did, because I cannot afford them now. They all look so sweet together, along with my precious Tyrolean Girl from Madame Alexander, and my big Heidi and new little Heidi with Goat ( had to have her - didn't I?), Shirley Temple Heidis, waving Hi Heidi Doll, etc. I also used to cut out and play with the Betsy McCall paper dolls from the magazine. I stored them all in a little wooden paint box. I still have the box- but not the paper dolls. I can't picture myself throwing them out ( just not something I do!), but someone did, I guess. My sister gave me a bunch of great paper doll pages, and I use them at the holidays, framed and on display. I still love Betsy.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Oh, Deer!

Another one of my obsessions/collections: the deer. Mostly California pottery, but I'm not picky - I like all kinds. We finally got a lovely cabinet to house them a number of years ago. But not ALL of them are in there - some others are scattered about the house, including a collection of matte white pottery deer. And then the deer lamps are all over the place. Yep, like I said, I'm obsessed. And no - if I do ever decide to downsize at all- these will be staying right here, thank you very much.

I can't explain my obsessions, I don't even try anymore. I simply believe that these are beautiful. Bright, colorful, graceful - I never tire of looking at them. I have been collecting them for YEARS. ( I apologize again for the poor quality of my photos. I think you can at least get the gist of my collection!)
Deer me.

Monday, January 7, 2008

Little Shelf O' Sweetness

Just wanted to show you a shelf that holds a collection of pretty little things I like. Some old, some new, some Disney, some Mary Engelbreit. I really do kind of have Too Much Stuff, and a tendency to sort of gather as much in a display as I possibly can. Somehow, while others may not , I end up liking the way it all looks together, and I have such a reluctance to part with things. Perhaps I need counseling - surely someone could tell me why I want to hold on to everything! Does it matter? I'm not sure that I would listen to what they told me anyway. I'd probably say "Yeah, yeah....okay", and then wander off to the nearest thrift shop or antique mall. Old habits and all that, you know.

More stuff - this time in the kitchen window. The Mary Engelbreit vase and the cup, saucer, sugar bowl and creamer in the other photo were all gifts from a dear friend. I had to find places for all of them! The pink and yellow floral design fits in with a lot of the other things in the window. This old house has some problems, but I do love the original tile in the kitchen - countertops, back splash and corner window ledge above the sink.
And one more picture, below, this one with three lovely vintage enameled flower pins I found last year, and an adorable vintage "Congratulations On Your New House" greeting card that opens up from it's folded state be the sweetest little paper house. I think I would like to try to make something similar. See the little black kitty waiting at the door?

Too cute.