Friday, July 21, 2017

Thrifty Acres: The Way They Were

Hello! In my previous post, I showed off vintage ads of products which have disappeared from store shelves. In today's post, I'll show off ads from products that are still around, but with different packaging - and different ad campaigns, of course. These ads are also from the September 1948 issue of Woman's Day magazine.

Above, the mom looks absolutely ecstatic - and so does her son - over the pouring of V-8 juice into his drinking glass. They may be thrilled, but when I was a kid, I was thrilled my mom never served the stuff! Don't care for it, but I'm sure it's still considered a "wholesome easy-to-serve drink". 

In fact, the "easy-to-serve" aspect was highlighted in a current V-8 ad campaign, in which the V-8 imbibers were competing against opponents who favor trendier healthy beverages. In one commercial, a man downs his V-8 while a muscle-bound fellow is still shaking his drink to mix it. In the other commercial, a woman empties her glass of V-8 while her competitor is calling in an order to some juice bar or smoothie place. 

I thought both commercials were hilarious, even if I still don't like V-8!

The "Derby" name is no more, but Peter Pan peanut butter is still around. (at the time of this ad, Derby Foods was a subsidiary of Swift & Company. This peanut butter is now made by ConAgra Foods.) The ad also mentions "New...Crunchy...Tasty, crunchy peanut bits mixed all through the smooth goodness of Peter Pan Peanut Butter."

"mixed all through" - guess they pointed that out so folks wouldn't think the "peanut bits" were only on top!

I think the vegetables on the label resting in front of the tomatoes are supposed to be peppers, but what's the green stuff behind the tomatoes supposed to be? The ad mentions that Hunt's Tomato Sauce is made with "fine spices and seasonings", so perhaps it's something along those lines. 

The ad copy ends with this: "Get six cans right away!" But why that particular number? The ad doesn't say. 

This time of year, grocery store end-caps are loaded with s'more fixings: graham crackers, marshmallows and chocolate bars. But in this ad, the product is used in a pie crust for Peach Meringue Pie.  "Make this 'new' company pie!" the ad copy exclaims. I have to admit, I'd never heard of peach meringue pie, but a google search came up with several recipes for it.  

The Nabisco graham cracker boxes certainly don't look like this anymore. I think the the graphics on this box appear quite old-fashioned. 

Also old-fashioned in appearance are the graphics for these Ocean Spray cranberry products:

Yeah, I know the ad is from a magazine that's almost 70 years old, but by comparison, the graphics on the Hunt's can seem more modern in style.

Rit's still around, but I don't know if "Lots of girls" are still "dunking dresses" in it. I've used Rit a handful of times myself, most notably to change the color of some compression socks my dad was supposed to wear. I couldn't find this type of sock in green, his favorite color, so I dyed several pairs in green Rit dye. Worked pretty well.

 Good ol' French's mustard, which was first introduced at the 1904 World's Fair in St. Louis. From that auspicious beginning, the R. T. French company (the founder's name was Robert Timothy French), has endured. I read that it's currently the #1 mustard brand in the US. 

Well, that's it for my blast from the past. I wonder how many of these products will still be around 69 years from now? And if still around, who knows what their packaging - or their ads - will look like!


Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Thrifty Acres: Where Are They Now?

I gladly buy up vintage magazines when I come across them inexpensively, which is usually the case at thrift stores. My latest such acquisition was this:

The September 1948 edition of Woman's Day magazine, which set me back just 20c more than its original price. Such a deal, eh?

I loved the sweet photo of that cat on the cover, and I also loved the content inside: a typical blend of fashion, interior decorating, various perceived threats to the American Way Of Life (comic books, apparently, were considered a source of trouble), recipes and several short stories. 

But what I loved most of all were the ads. Many of them were for products still produced today, but there were a number of promos for consumer goods I'd never heard of. I thought it'd be interesting to see, via the Internet, what had happened to these unfamiliar brands. 

As it turned out, in some cases I got my answer, but other searches only seemed to come up with images of the same (or similar)vintage ads I'd seen in my magazine. But here goes with what I learned:

Purity cheese products, from Mayville, WI. The company was founded in 1936, but alas, no more "festive summer sandwiches" can be made with this brand, as it was gone by 1975.

Another cheese brand:

Yes, the "Pabst" in Pabst-ett gets its name from the Pabst beer folks. Needing a way to make money during the Prohibition era, they turned to cheesemaking. After Prohibition was repealed, Pabst sold its cheese operation to Kraft. I couldn't find a definitive link between Kraft and the Phenix brand, and also didn't learn when this brand disappeared.

Morgan-Jones dish cloths. I read that this company began in North Carolina in 1872 and was bought out by Spring Industries in 1963. On eBay, the label seems to be most associated with chenille bedspreads, but the company made other types of bed linens - and obviously kitchen linens as well.

Now, Foot Rest shoes may very well have been "A JOY TO WORK IN...PLAY IN...LIVE IN", but the only live-in being done now is the old shoe factory in Cincinnati that morphed into an apartment building. However, I didn't discover when the parent company, Krippendorf-Dittmann, had closed down.

In 1948 there may very well have been "No Substitute for Chiffon" soap flakes, but folks today will just have get along with a substitute. This is another brand that appears to have disappeared, and I didn't learn when or why. 

Another cleaning product:

Glass Wax. Despite that name, the full page ad in which the above image appeared also trumpeted Glass Wax as a cleaner of appliances, metal furniture, copper utensils, tile, porcelain and more. I guess that "wartime chemical discovery" (WWII, I assume) that made Glass Wax possible was a very good thing - but unfortunately, the ad makes no mention of what exactly that discovery was. 

My Internet search didn't come up with the info about that "discovery" either, but I did learn about yet another use for this already-versatile product: the decorating of windows with holiday-theme stencils and good ol' Glass Wax. You can read about this past time here.

The link is for a blog post, which besides talking about the window stenciling, also mentions that this product is no more. I guess the "wartime chemical discovery" and the claims about how many surfaces Glass Wax could clean only went so far. I didn't find out why its parent company, Gold Seal, is no longer around. 

Ah, so many disappearing products represented by the ads in this great old Woman's Day magazine (there were several more I could have shown off). But like I'd said, there were also a lot of ads for products that are still around - albeit in different packaging. So for my next post, I'll show off some of those ads!


Saturday, July 8, 2017

Get Carded: One Late, One Early, One On Time

Hello! I enjoy making greeting cards, so was happy to do so for three recent occasions.

In order of their appearance, first the late card. We were out of town on Father's Day, so we celebrated it instead on the following Sunday. Here's the card I made for my husband:

Materials used:
  • white card stock
  • vintage car ad from 1962 Reader's Digest
  • Man image cut from 1978 Sears catalogue
  • "for a dad on the go" words cut from various vintage magazines and dictionaries
  • pale gold trim glued on top
My husband used to collect old Chrysler/Dodge/Plymouth cars, though the oldest one he ever owned was a '63 (back around 1980). And he used to have a hairstyle in 1978 similar to the young man's on the card

Perhaps because of these images, he loved his card. 

Our daughter  moved to Indiana last month to begin grad school at Purdue. We went down there to visit over the long 4th of July weekend. Her birthday would happen a few days after our return home, so we celebrated the occasion while there. 

Her birthday card:

Materials used:
  • white card stock
  • page from a 1940's-era chemistry textbook
  • scrap from handout pertaining to a chemistry building at Purdue, artificially aged by me with rubber stamp ink
  • woman image cut from early 1960's Reader's Digest ad (in the ad, the woman was looking on with delight at her new TV)
  • "22" cut from vintage Bingo card (the age our daughter was turning)
  • "Happy Birthday To You" stamped in blue ink onto paint sample scrap
  • leather scrap accented with eyelet (from vintage eyelet-setting kit found at rummage sale
Our daughter loved her card as well. She recognized the "aged" scrap as pertaining to one of the chemistry buildings on campus, and I reminded her that the page from the vintage chemistry textbook had also come from Purdue. When we'd helped her move into her apartment last month, we went to her end of campus so she could check in at her department office. While there, I noticed the "free" table out in the hallway near the office, and that's where I grabbed that textbook, along with a few other vintage odds and ends. (I scrounge everywhere I go!)

Now for the on-time card. As I'd mentioned, we went down to visit our daughter over the 4th of July holiday. True, she had a few days off, but had been very busy at work before then, plus had been setting up her apartment during her scant free time (she's had to work on Saturdays). 

I know from personal experience that it can be trying to have house guests when you're still in the process of settling in your new living quarters (not that it kept us from asking if we could stay there anyway, as it would save us on hotel costs). Nevertheless, she was a good hostess, and I wanted her to know that we appreciated her efforts. 

So I made her a thank you card:

Materials used:
  • white card stock
  • scrap from vintage cookbook page
  • scrap from 1880's ledger paper, altered with stencil and purple acrylic paint
  • scrap from vintage cookbook page
  • "M" stamped in black ink, then colored in with purple marker (her name begins with that letter)
  • "thank you very much" stamped in purple ink
  • flower shapes punched out from vintage cookbook page
    (used to cover up some stray ink marks made while stamping the saying)
I chose purple because that's her favorite color, and she's fond of animal prints; hence the zebra-stripe stencil design. 

We called her last night for her birthday and she said she'd gotten this card. She was pleased, but told me it hadn't been necessary to send it. 

I replied that I knew that, but I wanted to let her know that we hadn't taken her hosting efforts for granted.

Besides, I do enjoy making cards!



Thursday, June 29, 2017

Made It: DIY Produce Storage Bags

Hello! I try to eat a good amount of vegetables every day, whether they be store-bought or grown by me. Thus, at any given time I typically have various lettuces, greens, sprouts and other such produce in my refrigerator. I enjoy having a variety of vegetables on hand for lunchtime salads and dinners, but this means I have to make sure my veggies stay fresh before they're eaten up. 

I've tried storing my produce in rolled-up old kitchen towels - fine, but the towels take up a lot of room in the crisper. I've used paper towels, but this seems wasteful.

Then I came across this tip somewhere (don't recall the source):

Cotton "Green" Storage Bags
  •  Make out of unbleached muslin or broadcloth
  • Cut and stitch a rectangle of about 11"w x 14"l
  • Doesn't have to have a drawstring
  • The cotton fabric allows the produce to breathe

Rather vague directions, but that's because it's very simple sewing. Here's a bit more detailed info on how I made mine:
  •  I used unbleached muslin for mine (most recent purchase of this was yesterday; paid $3.70/yd sale price at JoAnn Fabrics.)
  •  You can cut your fabric to any size you prefer. Since I favor a number of veggies with long leaves and/or stems (Romaine and leaf lettuces, kale, collards and other greens), I made bags that measure 10"w x 20"l. 
  • And for smaller produce like my home-grown sprouts, I also made smaller bags that measure 10"w x 7"l. These smaller bags are also good for transferring produce from the larger bags once some of that produce is eaten up (for example, a partially-used bunch of kale). 
  • Sewing directions: to save on sewing a side seam, I placed my patterns (made from newspaper)on the fold of doubled-over muslin. 
  • After cutting out the pattern, I opened up the fabric and sewed a narrow hem on the top edge (fold over 1/4" fabric, fold over 1/4" again, then sew this down)
  • Match edges and sew down long side and bottom edge to make bag. Use 1/4" seam.
  • I pinked the seams to prevent raveling. 
  • Turn bag to right side. 
  • To use, just place your produce in your bag and roll down the top. If the produce is too close to the top of the bag to roll down, I place the bag in a plastic bag from the grocery store produce section and roll down the top of that bag loosely. Using one of those plastic bags in this manner doesn't seem to affect the produce.
  • Machine wash and dry after each usage.
That's it! I've been using my produce bags for years now, and I can report that they work very well. My daughter apparently took notice, for she recently asked me to make her some. Here's how they turned out (I actually made her two of each size):

As I'd said, very simple sewing! But it's nice to have something so simple that works so well. 

PS I've found that the large-size bag works well when I make broth with the post-Thanksgiving turkey carcass. I put the broken-up carcass plus the vegetables and seasonings all together in the bag, tie it up with some kitchen string, and toss the bag into my soup pot along with some water. When the broth is done, I just pull the bag out and place it in a colander over a bowl to catch any broth that had seeped into the bag. This is easier than having to strain the entire pot of broth into the colander. I do reuse the bag (after emptying it out, of course). Since it's greasy from the turkey innards, I hand-wash the bag a bit in the kitchen sink with some dish soap, rinse it, then toss it in with the laundry. I reserve a bag just for this purpose.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Thrifty Acres: Miraculous Messages From Heaven

Hello! I picked this book up recently at a thrift store:

I'm a sucker for book compilations that contain stories of "...Eternal Love, Powerful Connections, and Divine Signs from Beyond". And perhaps the main reason for this fondness is that I have a "Divine Signs from Beyond" story of my own. 

It occurred in early March 1998. My older sister, Ellen, had died of cancer less than two months before, and my husband had come up with an idea for honoring her memory: a family outing to a Detroit Tigers game. She had been a huge Tigers fan. 

Having grown up in Chicago, my husband is a Cubs fan, so he found  the perfect game for the outing: the Tigers were playing the Cubs at Tiger Stadium on June 24th. Ellen had liked the Cubs as well, and had attended one of their games at Wrigley Field with us years ago. 

In 1998, my husband and I were living in suburban Philadelphia, but were planning on visiting my family later on in March. We would bring up the baseball game get-together then. 

Shortly after my husband and I discussed the game outing, he got a piece of mail that struck us as unusual: an envelope from the Chicago Cubs that enclosed a copy of their season schedule and a form for ordering game tickets. Now, my husband had been to many Cubs games in his life, but the last one he'd attended had been well before we'd moved to the East Coast. It seemed very strange that the Cubs organization would send their schedule to someone who now lived nowhere near Wrigley Field. He hadn't gotten mailings from the Cubs before this.

But what was even stranger was the piece of mail I got just a few days later: a brochure from a sports souvenir shop located a short distance away from Tiger Stadium. "Come see us on the way to the Tigers game!" the brochure copy exclaimed. 

Good marketing copy to be sure, but I'd never even heard of the shop, and I'm not in the habit of buying sports souvenirs. So how and why did they even get my name and address? I had been away from Tiger Stadium even longer than my husband had been away from Wrigley Field, so there was no reason for the shop owner to think I'd be passing by anytime soon.

And, as with my husband's mail from the Cubs, I wasn't living anywhere near the shop. How on earth could I have been considered in its target market? 

I told my husband these mailings had to have been Ellen's doing. She was letting us know she wanted us to go ahead and plan the baseball game outing in her memory. He's not into such "life from beyond" stuff, so he poo-pooed that notion. But we did get the rest of my family on board for the event. Enough of us would be in attendance to get a group rate and our group name on the scoreboard during the game. 

And it turned out to be a quite a game! The Tigers came from behind to beat the Cubs 7-6 in 11 innings. Everyone in the family was happy except for my husband. 

But as he admitted later, he wasn't surprised that Tigers ended up winning. As they were beginning their rally, he claimed that suddenly he saw Ellen's face clearly in his mind. This dismayed him, as he interpreted it as a sign from her that the Tigers would win. So much for not believing in signs from the deceased! But he was right - the Tigers won, just as he had interpreted they would. 

By the way, we did the Tigers game family outings for a few more years after that, until it got to be too much of a hassle to arrange it. But my husband and I never got those game-related mailings again. I guess my sister just wanted to make sure it happened that first time!

And here's another freaky thing: I didn't remember the exact day of that game in 1998, only that it had happened in late June or early July. So I consulted my journal from that year - and learned that it had happened on June 24th. And I'm writing this blog post on - June 24th. 

Perhaps I got a nudge from Ellen to write up this post on the anniversary of that game! If so, well done, Ellen! We miss you.



Saturday, June 10, 2017

Thrifty Acres: Some Serious Garage Sale Shopping

Hello! Our daughter begins her grad school career next week, and in advance of that she signed a lease on an unfurnished apartment. Now, to fill it! She'd lived on campus all four years of undergrad life, which had meant a furnished room, of course. 

She's taking the furnishings from her bedroom here at home: desk/chair set, bed, dresser and another chair. She has some  kitchen supplies, for the last two years of her on-campus life were at a room-only residence hall (full-size kitchens on the premises). But needless to say, there are a number of gaps she needs to fill.

So she and I have been making the rounds of garage sales in the area. I think we could have done better if she was an earlier riser. As I'd told her, "if you snooze, you lose". Nevertheless, we made good progress in purchasing some things for her apartment - and as a bonus, I found a few things too! 

In no particular order, here are some of our finds:

A man sold us this coffee table and two matching end tables. Pretty solid wood, and just a few scratches that can be touched up. My husband was impressed, especially when I told him we paid $30 for all three pieces. I don't know how old the set is - a newer style than I prefer, but then again, our daughter's apartment complex is much newer than our house. 

This was the "big ticket" item from our garage sale excursions. She now needs a sofa to park behind the coffee table, but my husband rejected the idea of a secondhand version due to the possibility of bedbugs. I've seen pros and cons about this online, but I guess it's better to be safe than sorry. 

This was a fun find, and it didn't hurt that it were free. These may look like ordinary wooden spoons that one would use for stirring up something in the kitchen, but they were handcrafted by a man in southern Indiana to be played as a percussion instrument. There were several such bags for sale, and I liked that each was labeled with the type of wood used to make the spoons. Above, you see examples in black cherry and sassafras. How often do you know what tree your wooden spoon came from? 

These spoons will need to be seasoned, but the woman running the sale assured me that that can be done via food-grade mineral oil. 

This seller also had these on offer:

A couple of small hand-thrown dishes. I thought they  came from an art gallery or craft show, but no, the woman said she had made them at a pottery class. She obviously didn't care much for her efforts, since she sold them to me for 50c each. Since I know the seller slightly, she might have thought I was just being polite with my compliments, but I truly liked them. I'll keep one for myself and will give the other to our daughter. 

Our daughter had bought new sheets, so I scooped up this like-new set for our house. The woman who sold them to me said that most people now shun double beds, but there's no kings or queen in my house. The now-lowly full size rules when you own vintage bed frames (1920s to 1940s eras). We needed new sheets, so I was happy to find these, and at only five bucks. 

I'd show off more of my daughter's purchases, but they've been packed away in advance of the move. She was happy to find a kitchen canister set, still in its box, and some other small kitchen things.

But I can show off another purchase of mine, since it was a wonderful example of what I'll call secondhand synchronicity: 

Last weekend I'd admired the "lettuce bowls" sold by a couple of vendors at our Farmer's Market: plastic pots just like the one above, loaded with young lettuce plants. But at $13-$14 per bowl, I declined the purchase. After all, I had lettuce seeds at home; I just needed to get the planter. And that I did, for a quarter at a garage sale an hour later. My seeds began popping up a couple of days ago. I know that they won't like the heat wave that began today, but there's plenty of shade on our deck, so my lettuce blend should be okay. 

Of course, there's no guarantee that garage sales will yield anything that you want or need. I'm actually pretty fussy about quality and prices. I saw a very nice wicker rack that would have looked very nice in our daughter's apartment. The color and size was been perfect. But the seller was asking forty bucks. Nope! 

Another sale was rather sparse by the time we got there, but even though we didn't buy anything, I enjoyed the immaculate work area in a corner of the garage. Someone had set up a very orderly shelving unit behind a work table, with meticulously labeled drawers. It was a far cry from my father-in-law's system of small paper bags in his basement, each with a different nail or screw size.

At other sales I got to ogle patio decor, house exteriors and landscaping. And some of our garage sale trips took us down streets that were new to us. So all in all even the stops that yielded no purchases weren't a complete waste of time. 

And we came home with wooden tables, wooden spoons and more. Our serious garage sale shopping paid off!


Saturday, May 27, 2017

iHanna DIY Postcard Swap 2017 - Results

Hello! In a previous post, I showed off the postcards I'd made as a participant in the iHanna DIY Postcard Swap. Although I've yet to receive the last of the 10 postcards coming to me, the deadline for mailing them out occurred over a month ago. So I'll just show the nine I've gotten thus far.

From Texas, papers sewn onto a card stock base. I was thrilled to get this one because I recognized the artist's blog name mentioned on the back - Daisy Yellow. Tammy, the creative genius behind that blog, runs ICAD (Index Card A Day) every June and July, and I've participated in it a couple of times now. 

(Needless to say, ICAD time is coming up soon, so if you want to take part, go here to learn how you can do so.) 

Collage work from Olympia, Washington. 

Vivid blue and purple watercolors, with Zentangle-style designs at the corners. This postcard was sent from York, England.

Another overseas postcard, this time from Norway. The Little Red Riding Hood theme is carried out by the hand-drawn and colored girl and the linocut wolf. The words on the front are Norwegian for "Good day, Red-Riding Hood, Said the Wolf." (translation supplied by the artist). This design was done by a very talented person! 

This was postmarked from Arizona. The artist explained on the back that the phrase is from Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's The Saga of King Olaf.

This was the first postcard I received in the swap, and it came all the way from Vienna, Austria. The artist had painted a beautiful scene of a lighthouse, and she added machine stitching and a butterfly embellishment. 

I loved this postcard, in part because it's similar in style to the collages I often make. I looked it over carefully to see what the artist had included: a foreign stamp, a piece from a sewing pattern, a portion of a book page, and more. I couldn't quite tell what the very thin copper-colored stuff used for the "belt" of the dress image was, so I emailed the Norman, Oklahoma artist (we're supposed to put our email addresses on our postcards for contact info). She emailed back her reply: it was wire taken from the innards of an old cellphone. She added that she loved using this wire and would be sorry when her supply of it was used up. I can relate!

Another Arizona artist heard from! This postcard features carefully-cut, fanciful flowers. I think they were snipped from magazine pages. 

As the artist explained on the back of the postcard: "The postcard is paper weaving from the various flyers I collected around Taiwan". Cool! 

I'd participated in the iHanna DIY Postcard Swap a couple of years ago, and at that time I was a little disappointed that I'd gotten no postcards back from people living in other countries. This time, I've gotten postcards from four foreign lands. I enjoyed that. 

And who knows, maybe my missing 10th card is on a slow boat from another country at the moment, and may show up yet! Until then, I'm happy with the nine I have received.