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Meet Jaco

October 23, 2009
Introducin Jaco!

Introducing Jaco!

I would like you to meet Jaco.  The J is pronounced like a Y.  You can also see him up there in the masthead with his friends.  He’s one of my favorite possessions.  Let me tell you about him and how he came into my life.

Several years ago, I was headed out in my truck to hit the local bike trail but it began raining and I wasn’t in the mood to ride in the rain.  I took a leisurely route home through one of my favorite areas and spied a sign for an estate tag sale.  I’d seen these sorts of signs before and would just rubber neck and be on my way.  This day I drove slowly past the house that was having the sale.   It was overflowing with people and treasures.  I had to check this out!

I was fortunate to find a parking spot just one house down.  The front porch had some furniture and boxes on it, which I passed by as I stepped into the bustling house.  Every room was filled and it was the last day of the sale.  I was in awe!  I was happy!  I had a new hobby!  There was one room of just jigsaw puzzles and another of books.   A whole corner of gift wrapping supplies.  Even the bathroom, closets and backyard were stuffed with things to be sold.   In one of the bedrooms there was a large table piled with dolls.  All types of dolls, from Barbies to collectible souvenir dolls.  Generally dolls don’t interest me but one of them stopped me in my tracks.

There he was, amongst crayon covered babies, topless Barbies with rat’s nest hair  and sombrero wearing dolls, a lonely little matador with no arms!  How tragic.  A matador with no arms.  I was drawn to him.  He was in sad shape as his legs were just barely attached to his body.  He was only $1.00.  I scooped him up and continued searching the rest of the house.

He's often inconsolable over his lost love and not even the sheep can make him laugh.

He's often inconsolable over his lost love and not even the sheep can make him laugh.

He came home with me.  I was fascinated by him.  I re-attached his legs but left his faded matador outfit as it was.  I took him places with me, just a few times, so I could share him with my friends.  I was crushed when many of them recoiled slightly and told me he was creepy.  How could they not love his long eyelashes and mustache?  Fortunately my friend Mimi took to him like I did and together we gave him a name, a history and companions.  We even named our fictitious band after him, “Jaco’s Belly”.

So, ever since I brought him home, he sits in my living room, always occupying a spot where I can see him.  His proud little belly,  shiny airbrushed hair and gold trimmed pants.  His head that was obviously designed and painted to be a girl but then was  pulled from the overstock bin and swished with a paintbrush to add facial hair.  His empty sleeves.  His legs have disconnected again, it happened during our last photo shoot.  I’ll fix them soon.  I think as a feature of my blog that I will occasionally post photos of Jaco.  Oh, and he didn’t lose his arms in a bullfight.

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Good find!

September 30, 2009

I was at one of my favorite surplus and salvage stores last week, doing one of my favorite things, hunting for wonderful treasures.  This hunt was a slightly focused one.   Halloween was a guideline to any supply purchases.

Near the checkout counter, next to a bin of elastic, I spy a box filled with spools of seam binding.   These spools are old.   They are hefty.   100 yards hefty!  They are only 99 cents and they come in several colors.   The shades are not bright.   Some are saturated and some are muted but all are wonderful.   The quality of the thin rayon is quite nice and decadent as it looks a lot like silk.  I’m quite inspired by the texture, weight, hues and quantity of this ribbon.  Oh all the uses I can think of.

Yep, I want them all.  I pick only two, in shades that will work for this year’s Halloween costume.  See?  I’m sticking to the guidelines.  One is a deep wine hue and the other is the color of sun worn plum.  They give off images of   expansive southern porches and cotton chemises.   I briefly consider growing my hair long and weaving these ribbons into my braids.

It's wash and wear washable.

It's wash and wear washable.

There is no date on the label.  I’d guess early 1960’s.  The first entry on a search of the company, Lawrence Schiff Silk Mills, was the official company website.  It’s always nice when researching vintage and old items to see that a company is still in business.  I contacted them to inquire about the date of the seam binding.  I’ll update if I hear back.

I already used some for a non -seam binding project and enjoyed working with it.  Since it was for a Halloween project, I singed the edges over a candle to give it a subtle, aged look.  It was fun!

I’m not sure what my next project with the seam binding will be (other than the Halloween guideline) but I do not have a lack of ideas.  I suspect that after I use it a few more times that I will have a strong urge to head back to the store to pick up a few more spools, (in different colors of course!)

UPDATE:  I heard back from the company but they had no information for me.  They said that they could not determine the date of the binding but that they still produced it today.  I bet that what they make today is not nearly as wonderful as the old stuff!

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I sell things

September 24, 2009

Like so many bloggers, I have an etsy shop as well as an ebay account.  Currently I am selling many items, the majority of them being vintage.   I adore most of these things but think that someone else might love them more.   I also love the whole process of photographing, researching and describing each object.  It’s fun to learn the history behind the companies and publishers.  From time to time I will feature some of the items I am selling and share what I have learned.

Little doggie

He's not a Dakin Dream Pet, but he used to be mine.

The tag on this little, stuffed dog is too faded to read the manufacturer, but he was made in Japan with all new products.  He is very, very similar in style to a Dream Pets by Dakin toy.

The story behind Dream Pets is that in the 1950’s in Japan, a company was shipping toy trains and needed something to pad the trains.  Small, sawdust stuffed toys were thrown in the box.  The customers loved them and wanted more.

They are currently making reproductions of some of the original Dream Pets and I believe the were being sold at Cracker Barrel restaurants.  From the photos these new Pets do look cute, but I would have to see them in person to give any real critique!

Anyway, this wee, little doggie is up for grabs on my etsy shop right now.

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Oh dear thrift store where have your bargains gone.

September 16, 2009

I sound like an very old man sitting outside of an old gas station.  “Ohhh, the good ol’ days are gone, things aren’t what they used to be.”  But…it’s true, I rarely find a good deal anymore.  The half priced tags are sparse and it seems that everything that catches my eye and is in my size and does not have stains is always $4.00.  I like a real bargain, I like cheap, I like to walk out with a stuffed till it’s bursting bag that cost less then $10.00.

My favorite local shop has added a large section of new goods.  What a disappointment.  They aren’t priced well and the quality of the stuff is crap.  Oh, and this new section has taken over a large area where there used to be  wonderful treasures such as books, records, craft supplies and appliances.  Those items have been condensed and shoved into another area of wonderful treasures such as dishes, glasses and miscellaneous household items.  Such a shame, there seems to be far less good stuff than there used to be

simple and classic

simple and classic

I did manage to find a nice cool weather coat though.  It’s a Misty Harbor in navy blue with silver buttons and a clean, rip free lining.

AND it’s machine washable because I can’t be bothered with dry cleaning, you know?

quality too

quality too

Do you see that tag?  It says, “Wear in Good Health.”  How sweet is that?  I wish more of my clothing came with well wishes.

I do question the any weather coat claim though.  I live in Ohio and there’s a slim chance that this coat would keep warm in the winter.  Also, I don’t think it would withstand a heavy downpour, I’m sure I would be soaked.