Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Thrifty Acres: Back To The Late 1960's

Hello! Well, it's the fall of the year, and Christmas will be here before we know it! So I thought it was a good time to dig through a recent thrift store find, the fall-winter 1967-68 issue of McCall's Needlework & Crafts. 

There are pages and pages of knitted garments to make, but I turned my attention to the one featured on the magazine cover:

The copy says: "ski or after-ski dress of true Scandinavian flavor...For a breathtaking finish, add borders of rich radiant embroidery."

Actually, they weren't really exaggerating when they hyped that embroidery, as the close-up shows:

I love the lively colors, and the embroidery looks like it'd be fun to do, but here's the thing: first you have to knit the sweater dress - then embroider sections for the cuffs, bottom border, front neck opening and collar on black wool -  then those strips are sewn onto green felt - then the felt pieces are sewn onto the sweater dress - then there are finishing instructions for each sewn-on section. Whew, sounds like lot of work! Wonder if anyone actually made the darn thing? 

Turning to Christmastime decor, let's see if you recognize what the following wall hanging is supposed to represent:

If you said "the Three Wise Men", then you are correct. I could barely tell what the figures were supposed to be! For some reason, Christmas craft books and magazines of the 1960's seemed to be quite fond of abstract representations of the Three Wise Men. Not sure why. Still, the execution of this project isn't bad - pieces of brightly-colored felt are appliqued onto a felt backing with various embroidery stitches. 

Speaking of decor, McCall's Needlework & Crafts covers interior decorating as well. Other vintage issues of this magazines have shown some real humdingers - or, at least that's how they look to me over 40 years later. 

See if you agree with me:

The caption for the above bedroom says: "An applique picture of a modern bloomer girl in a polk-dot snowstorm sets Mod mood for teen-age girl's room. Cat rug and footstool in fabric, felt, fur cloth carry out polka-dot theme. Antique quilt in soft pink and green gentles effect. "Pop" flower lampshade and fur-cloth mouse pillow complete our lively decor." 

Well, they can toss around "Mod mood", "lively decor" and "pop" all they want. What do I say about this decor? "nothing matches", "pink and green along with blue and white polka dots?", "why did they use a side table with an elephant shape for its base when the other animlas shown are a cat and a mouse?" And more, none of it flattering. There's just too much going on here! 

But hold on a sec, for I have another room to show off:

"For an elegant bathroom, be sophisticated in your color, be inspired in your furnishing! Enliven a wall with the unexpected accent of a needlepoint sampler; add coziness with a knotted rung and seat cover; create dazzle with a beaded shower curtain!"

Beaded shower curtain? That's a new one on me! But yes indeed: "...ultimate in luxury! Glowing plastic beads are strung on lengths of sturdy fishing line. Beads are mostly black, alternating with vividly colored accents for a dramatic effect against the white plastic liner and black tub." 

Never would have thought that plastic beads and fishing line were the "ultimate in luxury", but I never would have thought of beaded shower curtains either. God only knows how long it would have taken to thread all those beads on all those lengths of fishing line!

As for that "unexpected accent of a needlepoint sampler", it has the motto "virtue is its own reward" stitched on it. Well, maybe it's better than those cutesy, fake old-timey "Baths 5c" signs, but seeing this motto in a bathroom would be pretty unexpected to me!

Okay, I think it's time to get away from those less-than-stellar decors and show off something less complex:

Yippee, it's "styrofoam meat-tray samplers...ideal for a little girl to make." There must have been something wrong with me when this magazine came out - I was a little girl then myself, and never once made a styrofoam meat-tray sampler. In my own defense, I never saw this magazine back then, so I didn't know such a craft existed. Probably just as well! The meat trays may have made for inexpensive stitching surfaces, but the thought of hanging minimally-disguised styrofoam on the walls just seems cheap to me.

But that's half the fun of looking through old magazines such as this one - I enjoy seeing what still looks good today versus something that's better left behind!

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