Posts Tagged ‘vintage’

That means it’s time to start thinking about Halloween. As in candy, decorations and the biggie — what is your costume going to be??

Today is all about halloween inspiration.


Like these totally creepy kids.


Or this couple. I think they’re kinda sweet, creepy but sweet.


If I thought I could pull it off I would wear this. Hey, I could be Darth Fairy! Check out the green Death Star on her wand.

halloween moon w owls

Also there is so much Halloween goodness when it comes to decorations. I made a special pinterest board just for Holiday Decor. Lots and lots of ideas, vintage and otherwise. Mostly it’s Halloween and Christmas with a few bunnies thrown in.

So get into think mode and Go Halloween!

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No, I’m not a Grinch or anything like that. It’s just that I’ve been crazy busy and sick with the flu on top of everything.

So here I am, better late than never, wishing all of you the happiest of holiday seasons and the best of all things in the New Year.


I chose this picture for this year because of it combines the sophisticated faerie with her art nouveu/deco feel with the sweet innocence of the pretty children. And bonus, it has a wonderful tree covered in old-timey decorations.

Last word: Just remember not to eat anything bigger than your head.

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Miss Suzy by Miriam Young, pictures by Arnold Lobel, 1964.

Miss Suzy is a book that makes me feel all warm and safe. So I decided that today is the day to share it with all of you. It is Ucky outside! The story is about a lady squirrel who lives in a lovely tree house and gets chased out by a nasty squirrel gang. Then she ends up spending the winter in the attic of a house living in an old doll house. She befriends a group of toy soldiers who, in the spring, chase the squirrel gang out of her house. And they all live happily ever after.


It has printed endpapers, which (as I have said before) I just love.


Here she is in her house in the tree. It is a most charming house in a lush full autumnal-ish tree. It’s golden and inviting. I think that Miss Suzy’s house would make a spectacular doll house even though just the thought of creating at least the top part of the tree with the house is an extremely daunting prospect. Still, it would make an awesome doll house so it would be worth all the work.

Has anybody made this house? Does anybody want to besides me?


Here she is cooking and cleaning. Her furnishings are minimal and made of the sorts of things a squirrel might find lying around outdoors. Note that the firefly lamps contain real live fireflies, I’m assuming she swaps them out every day or so that she isn’t keeping them caged until they die. She is after all, a kindly squirrel lady.


Miss Suzy tucked up warm and cosy in her bed. Don’t you just want to climb in there and go to sleep?


This is the doll house where she lives for the winter. She found the group of toy soldiers while exploring the attic for things she could use. They had been waiting a long time for someone to find them and play with them. So it worked out well for all of them and they spent the long winter together.

I love the illustrations in this book. The full color images are jewel-like and the limited color images balance the color pictures so that you don’t overload on color and become desensitized to it. By combining both types of pictures the book ends up being more than the sum of it’s parts.

I hope that you have enjoyed Miss Suzy, and remember if you want your own copy it turns up on Ebay and Amazon Marketplace regularly at reasonable prices. (No, I don’t get a cut — I just like to see good books find their people.)

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As promised, I tracked down the follow-up book by A Coney Tale author Paul Ratz de Tagyos. Yup, it’s time for Showdown at Lonesome Pellet.


An old timey western with coneys (rabbits). What could be better?

This book is sillier and funnier than the first one and little kiddies are gonna giggle a lot when you read it to them. OK, the big kiddies too!


First off it’s about these coneys who live in a dusty old west town named, yes you guessed it, Lonesome Pellet. Established in the Pellet Rush days it’s now just a quiet little town. Except for the Pointy Brothers.


As with A Coney Tale a great deal of the charm and humor of this book is in the illustrations. Check out the names of the products at the feed store, my favorite: “We carry Rolinda Moss”. I just love the charges on the wanted posters: Feed Theft, Littering, Smoking, Pushing Coneys, Saying Bad Words, and Being Bad.


But then a stranger does appear . . . wearing an entirely peculiar hat. A Radish Hat. Will he save the bullied residents of Lonesome Pellet? How?

Well our stranger, being polite as a proper coney should, visits the sheriff and introduces himself. His name is Saladin and his card has his motto “Have Fur — Will Travel”. Why am I not showing you this? Because this post is image heavy enough already.


So let’s go right to the heart of any old west town: the saloon. In this case the Bunny Hop Saloon where our hero Saladin (sans hat) is having a carrot juice at the bar. Again, for me it’s in the details: the newspaper headline says “Archeologists Claim Discovery of Giant Carrot in Old Flanders” and “Feed Poisoning — We Thought They Were Raisins!”. The signage, the carrot tops littering the floor, the card players, the dumpy little stove, even the pink dressed floozie coney are all a delight to me.


My favorite bar detail is the carrot juice dispenser. Anyone who’s ever had a cage-living pet has seen this bottle many times. How priceless to put it behind the bar among the bottles and barrels.


So to reestablish peace, Saladin and the towns folk trap the Pointy Brothers and send them off on the noon train to face justice and jail time.


And as in all good westerns our intrepid hero walks off into the sunset.

All and all I’m really glad I tracked down and acquired this book for my collection. Amazon has a number of used copies for reasonable prices so if you liked this you can easily get your own copy.

As my book is signed “See y’all on the ol’ bunny trail”.

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Wow. This is something I hadn’t heard in ages, but once upon a time was pretty much the soundtrack for my life. . . Puff the Magic Dragon by Peter, Paul and Mary.

puff magic dragon record

I went to the Muddy Color blog as I do most days and there it was a whole big lovely post by Donato about this great old song. Read the post, click play and if you’re like me you’ll put your head down and sing along. Hooray! I remembered most all the words.

Many, many thanks to Donato for loving Puff and for telling people that you have to keep your dream dragons alive. And yes, I still have the battered 45 from when I was just little.

Much love and some more pictures of Puff.

puff the magic dragon

puff magic dragon


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I’ve been thinking about fairy tales a lot lately. No real reason, just something about the hot weather I guess.

Maybe it’s the heat that makes me long for cool breezes off the lake, in the shade of big, big trees. Which leads me to Hansel and Gretel. I mean, who hasn’t wanted a secret little get-away cottage in the deep dark forest? Especially one made of food.

Hansel and Gretel House

So this one is also a paper model. With an oven. Which you could use to make s’mores or a roast turkey or some cookies to make a matching wishing well. Bonus, it has a weirdo looking paper doll Gretel with some spare clothes.

Hansel and Gretel outside the Witch's House

This house has a gingerbread rooster roof ornament, pretzels trim and almond cookie quoins on the corner of the house. Plus a twisty tree and that not quite a fence of pretzels and almond cookies.

Hansel Gretel - Voodoo gingerbread house

Similar to the last one this house has voodoo face cookies, people cookies, a bunny cookie and check out the snake in the lower right left. As in your other right.

hansel-and-gretel - anton pieck

I love the curvy organic-ness of this house by Anton Pieck, I really like his illustration style — you should do a google image search of him.

Hansel and Gretel puppet book

This puppet book with a house of real cookies and candy is kinda jokey but I still like it.

vegetable house

And lastly, this is not a Hansel and Gretel house but maybe you could think of it as a green healthy alternative.


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tashlin front cover

Frank Tashlin’s How to Create Cartoons.

I enjoyed the post James Gurney did on Frank Tashlin so much that I decided to share some more pages with all of you. Also to alert any of you who don’t read James’ wonderful art/illustration blog to this quite amusing book. Definitely check out the Gurney Journey post as it covers different pages than those shown here.

tashlin 8

These faces show the SCOT method Tashlin demonstrates in this book. SCOT means square, circle, oval, triangle which are the basic units that all the pictures are composed of.

tashlin 12

Notice how each figure has a little diagram next to it showing the arrangement of basic geometric shapes that comprise its composition.

tashlin 15

I liked the pages others had posted so much that I dug around until I found a post that contained scans of the entire book. The style is a bit dated, it is from 1952 after all, but it’s got a lot of still valuable information and the authors treatment of the subject matter holds true. On the other hand you (like me) could choose to look at it through nostalgia goggles which render it entirely wonderful.

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Thought I would continue the mod theme with this little gem.

Mod Missy by Whitman circa 1969. She’s quite the hipster. The box for my set is less than great; some of the paper is peeled off on the lid and the bottom of the box is dented in. However this doesn’t matter terribly much to me as the contents are mint. Uncut costumes and a perfect thick cardboard doll.

Incidently, Whitman must have really wanted to avoid any possible confusion about this being a Mod doll; they stuck the word mod every place they could wedge it in. As if one glance at the doll or her clothes could have left any doubt. Ha!

Even her posture is a bit hip. Adore that face and those perfect 60s shoes.

The costumes are fab; she plays the guitar. In addition to wonderfully evocative outfits she has great wigs, dig the Carnaby ensemble complete with boots and wig/hat.

Just in case you missed the point, the publisher even stuck yet another mention of mod in the title of the magazine — love that Beatles suit and wig! Make sure to click on the picture to check out the details of the pink dress in the lower left; nehru collar and ruffled cuffs are soooo precious.

Hope that the Friends of Blythe and other fashionistas have enjoyed this wardrobe inspiration post.

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Here’s another old friend come home at last, this time courtesy of the local library’s used book sale.

Well, a relative of an old friend as my childhood copy was in English. Spanish, English, any way you slice it this is a fantastic cook book with illustrations that scream “it’s the 60s!”. I loved this book, most probably and literally to death as it disappeared somewhere in the distant past. No matter; the crazy dog and cat team are back to cook all my old favorites.

Like Egg in a Nest.

Twice Baked Cheesy Potato.

Sausage Rolls.

and for a magnificent grand finale: Baked Alaska. I think I actually made this once and it was like a magic trick — the meringue got toasty golden brown and the ice cream didn’t melt!

I apologize for the wonky scans; this is a rather large book and it didn’t quite fit in the scanner (bit of a struggle actually). Still, you can get a very definite idea of how it looks and why I am everlastingly thankful to have this treasure (or variation thereof) back in my hot little hands.

Happy Turkey Day Everybody!

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Vintage Apple Ads

Yeah, I’m a Mac . . . big shocker. Most all the artists I know are Macs, we just love the little beasties to bits.

March 1980

Very possibly my first exposure to Apple. From the pages of Omni magazine which exposed me to a myriad of art, fiction and technology back in the day.

January 1982

A personal favorite, unfortunately I only have one half of this two page fire inspired spread. If memory serves; despite the melty condition of the computer, Apple was able to recover the contents of the hard drive. Again from Omni.


Thanks for everything Steve, enjoy your party wherever you are tonight.


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First off; Milton Glaser is adorable. Really cuddley, love to have dinner with adorable. For those of you unfamiliar, Milton Glaser is a (absolutely famous) graphic designer. There are those who say he’s The Essential American Graphic Designer. He’s just plain brilliant. Do a Google image search — go ahead, I’ll wait. . .  See what I mean? But here’s the real deal: everything he does, he does thoughtfully. He doesn’t just “phone it in”, he thinks hard about what he wants to happen as a result of the imagery he designs, and he purposefully chooses to make designs that will affect a positive change.

Wha?? Yes, that’s right Virginia — simplicity done right is really, really bloody difficult.

The other day, I was in the puddle-dom zone so I turned on the TV and wow! Sundance channel was showing Milton Glaser: To Inform and Delight. So I watched it. And loved it. Now lest you, dear reader, think I’m new to the Glaser fan club; when I went to graphic arts school (an undisclosed number of decades ago) Glaser was mandatory subject material. Then in the 90’s I saw a show about him and some book project he was working on (massive brain food fix), and now this new (made last year) documentary comes along. Happy, happy little brain cells are dancing in my head, they’re having a party and I do believe that there is even cake and ice cream.

Now by this time, you are probably saying to yourself “OK, so she adores Milton Glaser, but what the heck is a Chatterling and what’s it got to do with graphic design????”.

Here’s what: Words have Power. Images likewise. Knowledge of what words mean and how to use them correctly has massive power over the ability to communicate. Which brings me to the Chatterlings.

The Chatterlings in Wordland, by Michael Lipman is a fascinating and delightful vocabulary/grammar textbook (disguised as a storybook) from the early twentieth-century. It teaches the necessity of using the most precise word possible in order to communicate what you really mean. Yes, instead of making people guess (“well, you know what I meant”), actually just saying what you mean in the first place. Wow, what a novel idea! Which requires that you learn the sometimes not so subtle difference between the meaning of different words — oh drats; that’s vocabulary — arrggh! Well, this beautiful little book does it in an entertaining, indeed enjoyable, way. Here’s the beginning of the story:

See what I mean, it’s a fun story. Oh, and a spade is a shovel with a flat, rectangular blade (not pointy). It falls into the category of all poodles are dogs, but not all dogs are poodles. It’s all about precision.

The illustrations are great, I just love the way they help to demonstrate the distinction between words that mean similar but not identical things (which is really the entire plotline of the story).

Here’s another example:

Which by the way clarifies why “Tell the Captain I am disinclined to acquiesce to his request” is such a great line. Yeah, I’m a Pirate, no surprise there.

Even the Suggested Helps section at the end is full of great stuff. Suggested Helps, what a wonderful name for what would now be a Study Guide or Teachers Guide section (how drab and off-putting). Suggested implies that a child could and perhaps should read the pages and maybe even take something away from the experience.

The world admires the man or woman who writes and speaks English correctly. Oh, how I wish that this were still widely true in America. Somewhere along the way, we lost sight of the fact that learning can be both fun and functional. That the big picture most definitely depends on the tiny details being accurate. I very much wish that someone, somewhere would bring this very useful book back into print. There are a great many children (and no small number of adults) who could greatly benefit from reading it.

Because after all, there is great power in words and their attendant images.

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Yes, it was a year ago today that I did my first post on this blog. What do I wish for in the next year of posting — more art, better health and a bit more stamina to accomplish ever more art.

In the meantime, here’s a mini gift: go read James Gurney’s blog post for today. I found it both reassuring and inspirational and I hope you will too. Here’s a hint; Thinking is really the most important part of creating any sort of art.

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