Sunday, December 31, 2006

The sun sets on another year....

San Diego Silhouette
May your 2007 be filled with memorable moments.
With bright ideas and completed projects.
With romantic interludes and newly discovered places.
With new friends, new journeys, new adventures.
Happy New Year.

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Saturday, December 30, 2006

From the film "Before Sunrise"

"I believe if there's any kind of God,
it wouldn't be in any of us.
Not you, or me...
but just this little space in between.

If there's any kind of magic in this world,
it must be in the attempt of understanding someone,
of sharing something.

I know, it‘s almost impossible to succeed, but...who cares, really?
The answer must be in the attempt."


Friday, December 29, 2006

Photo Friday

Oops, no booth photo to share right now, but in keeping with the photo theme, here's my grandmother at the beach sometime in the 1930's.
Nanny at the beach, 1930's

Her name was Mary Ellen, but I knew her as 'Nanny'. She was my mom's mom. This photo was taken in Long Beach, California. You can see the roller coaster in the background.
The photo is damaged, unfortunately, but still dear to me.


Thursday, December 28, 2006

Make a bookmark with all those Christmas cards

see the cute idea for making a bookmark on my book blog.


Vintage Dolls of Nations Quilt Pattern

Dolls of Nations Quilt Pattern
I love this pattern, which is ironic, because I'm not much of a doll person. But I love the idea of world costumes and traditions.
It is a mail order quilt pattern from the 70's (I think).

I remember sending for this through the mail from an ad in Parade Magazine (the newspaper supplement). It is a set of transfers of children from different nations--meaning in their traditional dress.
The outlines are supposed to be embroidered in floss, then colored in with fabric crayons. I wish it had included a color photo for reference.

The layout is bizarre, considering the interesting and odd choice of nations.
For instance, where's England? I mean, they could have used the Queen's guard uniform, you know?
Notice it is all countries, then included is American Indian, Alaska, and Hawaii.
Dolls of Nations quilt layout

Here is the child representing China. (click on image to enlarge)
Dolls of Nations China

Dolls of Nations:  Russia
And Russia--so different from what we call Russia today. This was when Boris and Natasha were evil, and Maxwell Smart was battling the KGB.
My gosh times have changed. This is pre the USSR. Pre all the countries that area makes up today.

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Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Continuing my love affair with towels

Towel Booklet
Booklet from Cannon Mills, sometime in the 60's (I assume).

Towel booket, back page

Some of the projects in here are pretty cute
Towel top

Others, are, um...
Towel watering can

Towel robe and cannon

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Monday, December 25, 2006


Any of you who regularly read my blog know, hopefully, that I really aim to live my life above surface level. And I've really discovered that what comes back at you is a lot more positive if you give out a positive attitude. So despite working retail at Christmas, despite not having my own family or even a boyfriend right now, I have just been really pretty comfortable. I have been learning how to better accept what I HAVE versus whining about what I do not. And Christmas, therefore, was especially sweet this year.

I feel the child-like wonder again when looking at twinkly lights. I ask customers about their meal plans, or items they purchase, or I ask about their dogs. I seek out conversation and connection. It's not sappy, it's not contrived, it's just simple and...well, nice. And, when it comes right down to it, what more do you need?

I love sending mail, and giving gifts, and of course I love receiving. Duh.
My favorite gift this year?
Well, first a morning phone call from a friend, saying "love you".
It really doesn't get better than that.
But present wise, I got a certificate to take a class at
Amy Malone's School of Cake Decorating along with my friend Jen. I mean, how cool is that?! Jen always trys to tell me that she isn't good at gift giving--I beg to differ. So next year these pages should include a lot of fun cakes!

I hope you found joy in simple things also today. I hope you embraced it.

Merry Christmas

Christmas at Mary's house
I just came across this gorgeous photo in the wooden box labeled "old pictures" that I posted about recently. It looks like a movie stage set, or the page off a book, for all it's perfection.
I believe, however, that it was my aunt's, and somehow made its way down to me.
The back of this says, "Night before xmas at my house" and is signed "Mary".
I assume that is my aunt Mary, who is still living, and was the sister of the aunt to whom this (and the wooden box) belonged.

It's a time capsule.

Old Christmas Card Box
And this is fun. It's an old, beat up box that used to house metallic foil Christmas cards. Original price was $1.25 for 16 cards.


Sunday, December 24, 2006

1940's Photo Christmas Card

Vintage Photo Card
Little boy on Santa's knee, mid-1940's.
That little boy, named Butch, is in his 60's now.
Note the cute little US Navy outfit he's wearing.
This is my mom's cousin (so that makes him my second cousin?). I've never met him.
I think the photo is precious.


Saturday, December 23, 2006

Ribbon Tree

Super cute card idea, as seen on Poco-Cocoa.

And felt garland by Anna Maria Horner--tutorial here.

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Washcloth Puppets

Washcloth puppets
From Pack-o-fun scrap craft magazine,
December, 1966

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Friday, December 22, 2006

Photobooth Friday

1989 Del Mar Fair booth pic with myself and a now ex-boyfriend (I edited his side just in case he is not hip to being on the internet).
We both had little stuffed animal dogs in our hands--we had won them in the fun zone, and they later decorated our car interiors.


Thursday, December 21, 2006

Pimp your Nutcracker

as posted by Aubrey.
Check it.

and, uh, tampon crafts.

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Is it Summer Yet???? I'm cold!

Duke, Pebbles

Duke and the dino

Zebra Duke

Duke, Dog Beach Del Mar.
And Duke at Balboa Park's kid's playground.


Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Melting Pot?

Often blogs are happy-happy-joy-joy and heaven forbid one express personal views or political persuasion.

I mean, this is a popularity contest when you come right to it.

I tend to find the mold of the perfect little blogger a bit bothersome, however, so occasionally I stretch a bit. I find it more honest, more real. Speaking of honest, here's my motto for friendship. If someone is honest enough to tell you a truth that will hurt your feelings, you know you can always trust them.
That has been my experience anyway.

But I digress. In fact, I'm way off topic. I wanted to talk about my shopping experience.

You know, my saying this may be politically incorrect. It may be insensitive at this time of year. But, in my view of the world, it's the truth.
And it's worthy of thought and consideration.

The other night I actually ventured into a Toys R Us. It's highly unusual for me to step into the mall, much less a toy store, at any time of year. But to think I actually did so in December boggles the mind. I needed a certain toy, however, and it seemed to be sold out everywhere online.

Anyway, I walked in, and people were dashing about...the shelves were emptying (literally)...
and, um,

I could have been in Mexico.

I may have been one of the few people there who spoke English.
I found it disconcerting.

Not finding the item at Toys R Us, I went to Target.
And found somewhat similar circumstances.

Still no toy, so onward to Walmart.
Ditto on the circumstances, except this time when I stopped to ask assistance from an employee, she looked at me with a big question mark.
She finally grabbed up enough English words to kind of point me in a vague direction.
Still no toy, by the way.

But, well, something is seriously wrong with this picture.

America no longer appears to be melting.


Vintage Christmas Cards

Two Vintage Christmas Cards
(click on images to enlarge)

Here's a selection of the vintage cards I purchased the other day.
I put these two together because of their similar colors, qualities, and character.
I love the script on the right, and the fact that the candle is three dimensional. The house on the left looks Nightmare before XMAS-like or something.

This one is fantastic--a time capsule from 1944.
Vintage Christmas Card, 1944

This appears to be the same family, one year earlier. There is black paper on the back of these, indicating they were at one point glued into an album. This one also has its hand-made red construction paper envelope, one cent stamp, los angeles postmark, and a holiday sticker dated 1943.
(again, click on the photo to enlarge. Flickr doesn't do horizontals well. Above the photo on the Flickr page, click 'all sizes' to REALLY enlarge if so desired)
Vintage Photo Christmas Card, 1946

Vintage Christmas Card Puppy

And this one, an actual photograph on a card and signed, of Monterey, California. Just beautiful--I'm so glad I didn't pass it by. I assume this is in the 40's, since most of the cards I was going through in the store were of that decade. There's something about the photographs then, perhaps a hand-tinting, that makes them more like paintings. Definitely works of art.
Vintage Christmas Card  Monterey

More cards later in the week!


Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Goodness around Blogland

gumdrop wreath
fun and festive gumdrop wreath I saw on Posie Gets Cozy, (tutorial on Kiddley).

a list never sounded so good (and excellent writing as usual) by Hula Seventy. And one of my favorite of her past posts.

Astro Weenie Tree on My House is Cuter Than Yours

Button Tree seen on Vacuuming in High Heels & Pearls.

one inch square collaged ornament by Art Junk

my favorite version of Little Birds' Soft Tree Pattern, by Oziahz

book recommendation by Aubrey

and a bunch of recipes:

lemon tart and cranberry orange cookies on the awesome Baking Sheet

almond roca recipe on Culinary in the Desert

spiced nut and pretzel mix on David Lebovitz

lemon cookie recipe on Orangette

cranberry cake recipe on Apartment Therapy

coconut cupcakes recipe on 101 Cookbooks

kitty litter cake on Thimble

There are so many amazing blogs out there!

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Monday, December 18, 2006

The Pooch Pouch

Pooch Pouch
Baxter, wearing the Pooch Pouch, October 2006, at Miramar Lake in San Diego.

Olivia Diane emailed me to ask if I'd try out her new invention, The Pooch Pouch.

I love it.

It's a bag that clips onto your belt, your purse, the dog's leash, or in Baxter's case, the dog's collar. You stuff the pouch full of plastic bags, which can then be pulled out through the bottom to use during walks, to facilitate poop pick-up.

The cool thing is the bags are right opening anything, no fumbling around. Just reach in and pull out a bag (similar to the type many people have in their kitchens).

AND, no fancy bags or rolls that cost too much money...this just uses grocery-store bags.

Try one. It's nice to support fellow bloggers.

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Sunday, December 17, 2006

Another Lenticular Postcard at Architectural Salvage

After posting the first 3D postcard last week (for which I was anointed with Fifth Day of Kitschmas best of, on Flickr's Merry Kitschmas Group) , I decided to go back to Architectural Salvage and buy some more of these images. I couldn't resist this odd card.
Lenticular Christmas Postcard

While I was at the store, I rummaged through a box of old Christmas cards and ended up buying several from the 40's (though no more lenticular ones). I will post soon. I absolutely love old cards. I think I have always been obsessed with paper.

If I could chose a dream job,
(well, my ultimate dream job would be to work for a magazine like Lucky, and come up with all those lists of goodies to buy, new goodies on the market, etc. I mean, SOMEBODY really has that job! God, that would be amazing...)

but as I was saying, my dream job would be to start an architectural salvage business. These are abundant, evidently, back east. Very few exist on the west coast, at least to my knowledge.

Architectural salvage enthusiasts (or I guess preservationists is a better term) go into old buildings that are being demolished or 'upgraded', and they salvage items that might otherwise go to the landfill. This includes lighting fixtures, wrought iron gates, windows, glass doorknobs, tiles (especially coveted ones like Roycroft), wood, etc.

Architectural Salvage
(how cute is that elephant in the bathtub? An old child's amusement park-type riding toy)

These businesses are especially wonderful for those people who live in older homes and aim to restore in keeping with the character and integrity of the structure. I respect those folks so much. I wish I had the income to join them. Or the income to start a business like this. The notion of using recycled materials is gaining in appreciation, though it is still quite expensive.

There is one business that deals with this idea in San Diego, and it is aptly named,
Architectural Salvage. It is on India Street in Little Italy downtown.
Here's the resident shop cat, lovingly resting on her favorite teddy bear-shaped bed.
Shop Cat


Saturday, December 16, 2006

Crafting with postcards and photographs, and the generosity of fellow bloggers

I got a pleasant surprise in the mail yesterday--Mary Ann Avery spoiled me yet again!

She sent me a Christmas present!

I am blown away by the generosity. I had ordered some goodies from her Etsy shop (I will post about those at a later date), and so tore open the package that was in my postal box, thinking it was what I ordered. The Etsy stuff was actually behind the counter and I didn't know about it I assumed the wrapped item wasn't really a gift. Well, not that I could have waited anyway...
But check out what I got! (along with more ephemera, by the way)
Postcard Angel

This incredible angel-shaped ornament is cut from a vintage postcard!

Stop and think about that for a second. I mean, really, how perfect is that?

The tag says it is made by Sarah Lugg.
The key chain is a beaded photo charm. Again, totally perfect. And both inspirational for my crafts, I have to say.
Stuff like this just makes me giddy.
Thank you once again Mary Ann.

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Friday, December 15, 2006

Photobooth Friday

Vintage Photobooth
(click on photo to enlarge...Flickr never sizes these for blogs)

This is labeled, "Herman Petersen, one year old".
I assume this is the father of my uncle Pete.

This gem was also within the contents of the box of photographs I discussed yesterday. I wondered if a booth was possible at the turn of the century. This was probably taken in Sweden. When were photobooths invented?

Well, I investigated the history of photobooths, and found this:

"Mathew Stiffens filed a patent for an automatic photography machine in 1889. Monsieur Enjalbert also demonstrated a similar machine at the Exposition Universelle in Paris that same year. These automated coin-operated machines were used to produce instant tintypes for use as souvenirs, ID's and tokens of affection. Although these types of automated photography machines were notoriously unreliable, they were popular until after WWI when, in 1925, Anatol Josepho patented his 'Photomaton.' In 1927, the 33-year-old Josepho epitomized the Great American Dream when he sold the rights to his invention for $1,000,000. His machine -- the first mass-produced photobooth -- quickly made an appearance in amusement parks and other public locations."
(source, About: Genealogy, by Kimberly Powell)

Fun article about celebrity photobooth fun, from the NY Times, March 6, 2005. "Why Hollywood says Cheese".

Evidently photobooths also play a role in movies sometimes. Interesting site with links to photobooths in cinema.


Thursday, December 14, 2006

Wonders in a wooden box

One down side to dog-sitting is that, by necessity, I lead a transient lifestyle. Most of my stuff is in storage--both in a paid facility, and at my mom's house. I don't drop by people's homes to feed or walk dogs--I actually live in a variety of houses for quantities of time. This week I've actually lived someplace where the owner came home at night, which is highly unusual. But it has been fascinating to spend time with a powerful and wealthy woman and see her vulnerable side at home. Enlightening and fun, actually. But I digress.

I was trying to find something at my mom's house recently, and I came across a wooden box that I didn't even know I had. It was sealed around with masking tape, on which was written, "old photos"

Turns out these images were from my aunt's house.
There is a huge quantity of wonderfulness in this box.

She was a lady I never really appreciated while she was alive. I thought of her as loud and unsophisticated. I was young and opinionated and rude. Now I realize how much we had in common. She had tiki parties and a huge aloha collection that has since disappeared. She was crafty. She was a writer. I blew it. But I can appreciate her now through the old photos that I will share here on occasion. Images of parties, laughter, travel...

Like this flapper out in the middle of nowhere. Fancy dress and barren landscape. I'm not sure if this was my aunt or someone in her husband's family. Unfortunately the details are long lost. But boy are these fun to look at.
Vintage lady with flared skirt

My uncle Pete and his sister, May. I love the old quilt.
Uncle Pete and his sister, with a quilt

Uncle Pete's parents. They were from Sweden, with the last name Sundgren. I am related only by marriage. My dad's sister Jackrose married Howard (who we always called Pete). This is metal (tin type, right?). A wonderful turn-of-the-century find, despite the blush and the creepy eyes.
Tintype vintage photo


Wednesday, December 13, 2006


Check out the amazing idea from the December 2006 issue of Country Living Magazine!

Cookies that have been decorated using rubber stamps to cookie dough.
Rubber stamps!
The impression is then painted by dipping the brush into lemon extract, then luster dust (used for cake decorating). Springerle are usually an anise cookie, but you could do standard sugar too. I like Martha Stewart's sugar cookie recipe with royal icing.

I can envision this in a clay also, and shellacked, then strung on a garland. I absolutely love this idea.

I love it so much that I took this magazine to my favorite stamping store to share it with the employees.
I then turned to a customer to show her--look, look how cool!
She stared at me like I was loose from the mental ward, then without saying a word, turned and continued shopping. Alrighty then.

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Monday, December 11, 2006

"Reindeer Food"--Updated!

*oops, forgot an ingredient earlier. My bad. Here's the updated version:

Despite the fact that this blog seems to be devoted to recipes lately, I am going to post this one anyway. Truth be told, I'm not personally hip on white chocolate, but I'm told this recipe doesn't taste as good with alternatives. It's a super popular treat at Costco. If the store near you has a candy shop, you can always buy it there.

But, I mean, why not make your own?

This is the perfect bring-along snack, gift for neighbors, etc. Make up a bunch, wrap it up in pretty jars or tins, and you've got a great gift 'just in case' an unexpected guest arrives and you're empty handed.

Ingredients (quantities depending on your own taste)
Mixed Nuts
Cinnamon Toast Crunch Cereal, or O's
Red sugar sprinkles
Green sugar sprinkles
White chocolate

Melt white candy coating, or white chocolate (note: if using white chocolate, temper it first. That means Take 2/3 and melt it, then as this starts to cool, add the remaining third that has been chopped into small pieces. Stir to melt, but you don't want this want it room temp)

Pour chocolate over all the goodies and sprinkle all with red and green sugar sprinkles. Mix em all up. What you get is sort-of chocolate-covered Chex mix type deal.


Sunday, December 10, 2006

I've Got Mail!

Mail, even when it's expected is cool enough, but mail that is a gift--especially the 'just because' variety--is in a class by itself.

Thank you so much to Mary Ann of A Very Mary Design for sending me ephemera from her stash when she found out I am enjoying collage.

I urge you to click over to her site, or to her Etsy shop, and buy some of her amazing bookmarks (well, she calls them page markers. They are the nicest ones I've seen anywhere), or magnets or maybe some jewelry.
Her products are well made and very affordable. Plus, she's a nice person that deserves your support.
And sincerely, not to kiss up, but her stuff rocks. So there!

She sent me a ton of goodies:
fun vintage cards
cards for collage

pages of old books (don't feel bad--better into art than the landfill)

and wow, a mixed lot of game cards, envelopes, a cool pic of a lady on a vespa, and scrapbooking papers...
note she uses those 'Hello...' labels as address labels. I think that's fun.

and, the piece de resistance...
this awesome gift tag that looks like a luggage tag, and appears to be cut from a vintage wedding card. I love it.
Gift Tag

Thank you, Mary Ann, for your thoughtfulness. And for regularly reading my blog too.
Speaking of, check out Mary Ann's blog here. I'm sure it will quickly be added to your favorites list.

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Saturday, December 09, 2006

Christmas at the Del

My mom and I have developed quite a few traditions regarding festivities we visit every year. Tonight, for example, we wandered through La Mesa (a town in the east county of San Diego) for their holiday event. The stores through 'the village' (what La Mesa calls it's main street) were open late, there was free popcorn, scattered fire pits in the street, carolers in Victorian dress, and street musicians. There were llama rides for the kids, and a California version of a horse-drawn sleigh (mules and a four-wheeled cart).
I saw some teen boys walking around with mistletoe over their heads. We stopped for gelato. I bought a wooden Santa.
It's always nice.

Another of the holiday traditions I share with my mom is to visit the Christmas tree that is all decked out in the lobby of the Hotel del Coronado.
We missed the parade this year, but we did visit the ice-skating rink, the fun little shops, and the tree. It's not as spectacular this year as the sea-themed tree from last year, but it's still charming.

(click on images to enlarge)
Christmas at the Del

Christmas skates
I love the ice skates on the package.

Next week is the Parade of Lights on the boats in the San Diego Bay. And tons of Christmas lights around town to check out.
I'm bummed I missed the parade in Ocean Beach. I love a parade.
So many things to do, and I wish we could see them all.

For those of you near Trader Joes, they have the cutest little wreaths with wired-in walnuts.
I haven't done any real Christmas decorating myself this year. Though I am considering making an Astro Weenie tree.


Vintage Christmas Scene

Holographic Postcard

Vintage holographic (well, three dimensional) postcard. It doesn't change into a different picture or anything, so maybe I can't label it as a holograph...I'm not sure. Anyway, I purchased this at Architectural Salvage in downtown San Diego yesterday. It's just so....happy, I guess.

There's also a nice juxtaposition with the Christian side of Christmas, and the secular Santa side. I like that. I enjoy both parts of the festivities. It's all about joy.

The one drawback to uploading pics to Flickr, is that by the time I post them here, most of you have already seen them. I do like the interaction that goes on over there though, so I keep them open to public viewing. This is a brand new pic, so hopefully it's new all the way around!

(oops, smudge is my scanner, not any damage to the postcard)

*update* Go check out: this post by Petula Darling that explains this type of image.


Friday, December 08, 2006

Photobooth Friday

Nanny, with Mom and Uncle Deano
My mom (Mary Jayne),
her brother Eddie (always called 'Deano'),
and my grandmother Mary Ellen (who I always called Nanny).

My mom was born in 1925, so this must be early 30's. Damaged, probably from when the roof leaked onto boxes of albums and so many memories were lost...
but still oh so so good.

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Thursday, December 07, 2006

Share a Past Project Thursday

I have always, as long as I can remember, picked up found items and have used them in art projects. Old jewelry pieces, wire, bottlecaps, pretty rocks...
and shells.

Shell crafts have a bit of a bad rap--people envision little bazaar animals with googly eyes. But crafting with shells can be really beautiful too.Shell Mirror

Here I glued 'junk' shells around a wooden Ikea mirror. These are just bits and pieces, and common shells like mussels that few people value. These are from Dog Beach in Ocean Beach, versus the beautiful shells available elsewhere. I still think it's fun. Taken together, I think these make a handsome frame.
I even used a few pieces of plant life.
The corkscrew on the lower left is a particularly wonderful find.
Made in October 2000.

I am at the beach a lot because I like to walk dogs there. Sure beats asphalt and a leash, I gotta tell ya. But I spend a lot of time looking for treasures, including broken bits of shell that still look great in mosaics, and sea-tumbled rocks.

I painstackingly and tediously paint all the pieces with clear fingernail polish prior to assembly, to bring out the color and the wet look.
Somehow the idea of spray acrylic just doesn't seem like I'd get the same result.
I use a popsicle stick to spread a layer of Alleene's Thick Designer Tacky Glue, then arrange the shells in it.
It dries clear.

Shell Mirror dangles
Rocks and shells with natural holes in them make excellent beads. Here, a few items swing at the bottom of the mirror on hemp twine.

I have another shell frame that is a memory keepsake using shells collected during a trip to Mexico with an ex. It's very simple, but I really love it. I will post it at a later date.

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Monday, December 04, 2006

More baking

There are so many great things about blogging, including the inspiration and ideas one gets about crafts, community events, friendship....

and new recipes.

I just tried the Pumpkin Chocolate Chip bars from Poco-Cocoa, and they are amazing. Like a big fat chocolate-chip cookie, made more moist by the pumpkin. A delightful holiday treat.
Find the recipe here.
(a lot of people seem to not realize that high-lighted text on a blog is a link field. I always have people asking me about stuff that was actually available to them at the click of a mouse. That's why I'm making it a bit more obvious in this post to get the information).

Also, African Kelli has posted several recipes lately. I tried the Lemon-Thyme cornbread she posted (a Martha Stewart recipe). It is moist and yummy and has the incredible scent of lemons. I agreed with Kelli though, I think I'll omit the pine nuts next time.
Kelli's post about it here.
Find the recipe here.


Kitschy Christmas, continued

Ah, the dreaded egg carton crafts (click on pic to enlarge)
Egg carton Christmas
Pack-O-Fun scrap craft magazine, December 1964

Ooh, yummy, food over a bleach bottle
Popcorn Santa
December 1964

I just have to add this one
Bleach bottle dishes
What's with all the bleach bottle crafts in the 60's?
This is called Dachshund Pretzel Holder, but it sure looks more like a pig to me. It's actully kinda cute.
Pack-O-Fun scrapcraft magazine, February 1965

Recycled ornaments
recycled ornaments, 1964
December 1964
1. nails on a foam ball
2. spiral made from cutter on a wax paper box
3. pic from xmas card atop a blade dispenser
4. tape inserts
5. tape dispenser
6. paper fasteners
7. hair curler
8. typewriter reel
9. flash bulb
10. pill bottle

And of course, no holiday decoration is complete without a village scene. Your choice between matchstick (December 1964):
Matchstick Village

or...Ta Da (congrats to tackiest display of the year)...
... (drumroll...)...

Plastic Basket Village!
Plastic basket village
December 1966.

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