Thursday, January 14, 2016

Still geeking over this, a year later

But fabulous design is, quite simply, fabulous design. Several years ago, this dining set fell into our possession (it was literally rescued from the back of a truck heading to the dump/landfill--heaven forfend!!). Our daughters at university used it for a few years, but eventually they acquired a 'modern' (cheap Asian-made) set that they liked better (kids these days!) so Mr P and I were told to remove the vintage dinette from their apartment, which we did about a year ago.

The set was constantly disparaged for its age and shabbiness (for the record, I saw its cuteness from Day 1) but I refused to part with it. A little research revealed that it was manufactured by the Imperial Furniture Company in Ontario (Canada) and designed by one Jan Kuypers.

His stuff is hot (Vintage Home Boutique is listing refurbished JK chairs for $245 a pop) but as with all vintage/antique stuff, you have to find a buyer first. Not that I'm looking for one at present. The set will likely go to one relative or another. I have several who collect MidMod furniture.

This set is so cute. If you love Mid-Century Modern and/or Danish design, enjoy!

It's very fantastic to find original manufacturer's stickers!

 Kuypers is known for his "floating" designs. Note above, how the table top appears to float above the legs/base. Indeed, at no point does the top touch the wood of the legs. They are connected only by the metal runners used to expand the table.

More floaty style: the chair seat appears to hover over (and slightly ahead of) the legs. These chairs give good lumbar support and are very comfortable.

The table opens to a generous, family-friendly 78" (But first you need a craftsman to make you a 24" leaf or 2-12" leaves; unfortunately, this table lost any and all leaves somewhere in its sad history). It needs a lot of TLC. Some little dog must have chewed on the legs.

If this set were refinished (it's solid yellow birch) and reupholstered with some funky retro fabric, it would be beyond awesome.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

"You look fantastic!"

Strangely enough, moms with lots of kids hear that quite frequently (yes, even yours truly once upon a time, when rounding my age to the nearest hundred meant going down and not up). For some reason, our culture has sometimes pushed the myth that having kids turns you into an old frump. But science says otherwise. (Not that moms needed confirmation of what we already knew.)

Pa and Ma Kettle, a Hollywood stereotype. 

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

The Zen of William Morris

William Morris: 19th C. bearded man
Marie Kondo:
She's pretty too, which doesn't hurt.

Trust a young Japanese lady to encapsulate Morris's wordy British design-decor admonition into just four words. Brevity isn't just the soul of wit; it's also the soul of tidying up your house. Plus, people today have much shorter attention spans. Most probably get tired (or confused) by time they get to the end of Morris's imperative.

William Morris: "Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful. "

Marie Kondo: "Does it spark joy?"

Four little words that turned into a six-figure bank account for Ms Kondo. Why don't I ever get such succinct yet profitable inspirations? And Ms Kondo has inspired lots of people: Marie's book have sold in the millions and helped as many people get more organized. I wish I were one of them. Maybe someday.

Monday, January 11, 2016

A piece of my past just died.

Suddenly I feel so old. And pretty sad. Music legend David Bowie has died. Pretty shocking. He just released his final album (last Friday, on his 69th birthday). I didn't even know he was sick. Truly one of a kind. Rest in peace, Starman. Check ignition, and may God's love be with you.

It's sad when this happens to bloggers.

It's even sadder when the second chicken is the blogger's husband. I'm totally getting the mug. 


Sunday, January 10, 2016

Baptism of the Lord

S. Ioannes Paulus, ora pro nobis

Such a wonderful feast. And I'm at home with a sick child. But for what it's worth, I'm watching the Solemn Mass from the Vatican on EWTN (yes, I know it's not the same thing). On the upside, I get to hear the Missa de Angelis and the Litany of the Saints sung (in Latin), and when was the last time I heard that in a church in Canada? Oh yeah, NEVER. But let's not complain about liturgy today.

Twenty-six babies are being baptized at this Mass (a tradition started by --who else?-- St. John Paul the Great). It's very heart-warming to see so many beautiful babies and their equally beautiful young parents (some of them are crying as they come forward for the pope's blessing--the parents, not the babies!). Can you imagine how cool that would be to have your baby baptised by the pope? The commentator on EWTN just said how uncommon it is for the St. Peter's to be filled with strollers and baby toys. That shouldn't be the case. Every Catholic church, every Sunday should be filled with baby strollers and toys and crying babies.

Friday, January 8, 2016

Time to get serious about Tea.

I'm cutting back on coffee and drinking more tea--not just in the morning, but all day long. I hope it will help me lose my "Christmas goodie" weight --and the other weight that's been piling on in the last 14 months or so. Of late, I've fallen into the very bad habit of snacking incessantly, so I figure if I substitute tea for snacks, that's at least one positive thing I can do. (Orally fixated people seem to need to have something in their mouths all the time. It's not very dignified, but you've got to work with what you have, until you can acquire the habit of not having something in your mouth all the time.)

I received this very lovely set from one of my goddaughters this past Christmas. The box is so pretty, I wondered just how much better it could get (especially since the fine print says: "Find 6 adorable gift boxes inside this tray.")

And by Jove, they are adorable! And they smell heavenly. And they taste as good as they smell. 

I love "tea things" too (as you may have guessed, if you've ever seen any of my posts about dishware). 

 A lovely teacup and saucer I received as a gift when I did a speaking engagement a few years back. The organization did not know that red poppies were one of my fave flowers--how cool is that? 

A vintage Hammersley teacup given to me by my uncle.

My favourite teapots: the little Brown Betty and the big cobalt baby were gifts from siblings.

This tea set is yet another vintage acquisition (not including the gravy boat in the centre, which was a wedding gift.) I have used the teapot, but not the coffee carafe--yet.  

And the love affair with Breville appliances continues at my house: 

My Christmas gift from Mr. P:
Programmable (yay!) and cordless (double-yay!)

Ooooh. You can get really serious when you're able to custom-pick your brew temperatures. 

And gee, do you think we have enough tea in the house? Some of this I purchased, some of it was gifted to us, and some of it was inherited last summer from a daughter who went overseas to work. So yeah, we gotta start drinking tea.

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Some New Year's cheer

Because we need it. The kids and I have been watching these episodes lately. Buying this set was one of the best entertainment investments I've ever made. It's a tad pricier on now…sheesh!! The complete series is much more reasonable (as usual) on If you don't wish to purchase, maybe your local library has them. Or maybe Netflix will put them on someday; you never know. So funny. (And no, good Lord, this song has nothing to do with atom bombs. The series is set in the 1920s.)


Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Say what you will about "repressive" Victorian society.

And I'll tell you that some behaviours damn well NEED to be repressed (hello, Quebec! Freedom of speech isn't one of them). A Victorian gentleman would not leer at a woman, never mind be verbally vulgar, grope her, or worse. Far worse. What on earth to make of stories like this? Happening in "civilized" Europe? God save us from those who do not respect the dignity of the human person.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

It takes a Village.

Value Village. Of course, thrift stores exist everywhere and have all kinds of official business names and colloquial nicknames. But let me just say this: you should visit them. Regularly. And I say this not only because "thrifting" is now in vogue (in fact, that's the very last reason you should do it), but because there is just so much to be gained from visiting thrift stores. 

For starters, you can find the occasional antique, loads of vintage stuff, great deals on used books (some have been used very little, like the hardback James Herriot books I bought for Mr. P, which he has enjoyed immensely), or just plain useful things for which you have longed. (Part of this blog is devoted to sharing some of our more wonderful finds with our readers.)

One of my recent scores was a set of Libbey Irish coffee glasses. The original set had probably been six glasses, but there were only five at Value Village. That was actually a bonus, because I'd only wanted four. FYI, new sets (mostly crappy ones made in China) in stores like Stokes etc, sell for about $20 per set of 4 mugs. I paid $4.99, and these were in mint condition.

What's so great about Libbey, you ask? 
Made in the USA, that's what. That means NOT made in China. 

 Can you see the trademark cursive "L"?

So much fun! Unless you don't need anything for your house, or you don't like used novels or cool vintage stuff. That's OK. In which case, you can visit thrift shops for other reasons. Such as gaining some joy and humour in your life. I kid you not. If you need a laugh, visit the local thrift store. My daughter spotted this gem for me (we usually browse cookbooks, because I love the Company's Coming collection). 

Now I'm rather regretting not buying it. Might have made a good gift for my brother in Australia. 

It begs the question: is that Ernest on the cover, or his girlfriend? 

 Then, dear heavens, there are the old records. As in LPs. As in vinyl. For where there is vinyl, there is ALBUM COVER ART. Some are professionally produced, and they're funny enough, but others are of the "self-published" variety. Prepare to chortle.

Something tells me this album is NOT connected with the raunchy "Carry On" British films from the 1950s-1970s… (which we were NOT allowed to watch as children).

…especially if I'm in a 70s hairstyle or shirt lapel contest, 
and using Darth Vader-like font for my album title. 

Wayne, I hate to break it to you, but "Waltz King" is already taken… by Johann Strauss II. 

I'm sorry. I can't read an album cover titled "Organ Moods" without laughing. I just can't. 

Formerly titled: "Sammy Kaye and his Orchestra: Photobomb"

… so that I could stand on a big rock with my guitar and my Bible.

Leisure suit, giant saxophone, and murky waterfront. Yep, that's got "cowboy" written all over it.

… to my sideburns, my smouldering look of angst and my groovy Fortrel © plaid slacks.

A septet! I wonder if they're an offshoot of the New Main Street Singers
(Don't look now, but the rather pale-hued lady on the far right may be guilty of some cultural appropriation)

How can you miss? A Gospel quartet… and an organ. 

I'm particularly interested in hearing the singles "Hard Luck and Misery" and "Three Cheers for a Loser". I think these guys need to be cheered up by the King's Herald quartet.

I wonder what it takes to be "fabulous" on the Hammond organ. Or perhaps Ken is fabulous for other reasons. Perhaps Ken is the one on the left.  

 Featuring their hit single, "You Must be Trying for a Girl!"

Norma Jean, didn't you get the memo?Only Tammy Wynette is allowed to do Tammy Wynette Hair. And Bobo the Clown wants his outfit back. 

Let me adjust that album title for you (look closely at the backup orchestra). 

The Way is Prepared! Now let's do a quick review from Photography 101 on "group composition" and work on fixing that studio space…

Okay, STOP!! 

We are now going to have a multiple choice quiz. The photo above is a small detail enlarged from an album cover found at Value Village. I want you to guess what this man is doing:

a) Contemplating the Meaning of Life during a funeral
b) Playing the accordion at a polka dance party
c) Receiving a "guilty" verdict at his trial for Nazi war crimes
d) Setting off fireworks
e) Gazing pensively at his grandchild while she plays the piano

Click/Scroll to see the answer!!

Monday, January 4, 2016

Some musical groups just cry out to be purchased.

The Burgundian Cadence is one of them. "Burgundian Cadence" … Burgundian Cadence! Saying that is almost like a substitute for chocolate. Their name is so musical, one hardly needs to preview their albums. But of course I did. This one is on my iTunes wish list. (At $52, can't afford it on Amazon.) And it's STILL Christmas, so I can still talk about Christmas music.