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Convenience Store Treasures: Suburban Edition

3 Jul

The key hitting the old toy conienience store goldmine is to find a store that has been open for a long time, and which has not been renovated or sold between too many different owners, as these provide opportunities to rid the shelves of old, dusty merchandise.  Usually these types of stores are to be found in the city, where the neighbourhoods and commercial areas have been established much earlier than in the suburbs.  But sometimes, the suburban convenience store should not be discounted, as its presence in cultural hell can virtually guarantee that anything cool that they may have put on their shelves will still be there when you happen upon the store.  And with that in mind, I ventured into a Mississauga (a suburb of Toronto, Ontario) variety store looking for treasures, and I was not disappointed.  Here’s what I found:

Show Off Barrettes

There were a few different kinds of these” Show Offs” barrettes, each of which I purchased.  I love the ‘funky’ early 90s font used for the brand name.  This was the only type of barrette that was packaged in a way where you could see both the girls printed on the cardboard, showing off their barrette overkill hairdos.  In all the other packages, the white girl gets the shaft, her face obscured by the moulded plastic.  These were awesome barrettes too, they are like baby barrettes, but they have metal backings which make them much easier to use than the more common, all plastic baby barrettes, which only hold, like 5 hairs.  All the riot grrls out there know what I’m talking about.  But alas, despite the awesomeness of all of the Show Offs barrettes I bought, I cannot bring myself to open any of the packages, and ruin what I see as installative, readymade pieces of art.  And, due to the short-sighted thoughtlessness of the designers, the moulded plastic tray that holds the barrettes to the cardboard is glued across the innocent face of the little blond girl on the other packages, making the opening of the package fraught with anxiety and guilt, as the barrettes can only be accessed by tearing through her tiny, barrette decorated head.  But seriously though, it would toatally ruin the package.

Are you insane enough to rip the cardboard right through this girl’s face?

These are the other packages, where the blond girl has plastic glued to her face.  The barrettes are pretty sweet though.  Good colours.

Little plastic “‘jaw” clips with heart shaped grips.  And see?  Little blond girl: denied.

More heart gripped jaw clips. Note how the glue is so old it’s turned yellow.  This hasn’t happened on the above package, where both girls’ faces are visible.  Isn’t that facinating?  It could be…I guess if you…are a boring person or something.

There was also a couple of other sets of barrettes that I thought were cool, but lacked the flair and dramatic tension of the Show Offs.

Red and white bows

Colourful Flowers

I guess these are actually hair elastics with little plastic things glued to them.  The one on the left has the same jazzy-party-confetti early 90s look of the Show Offs barrettes, while the flowered elastics try for a more refined, fancy script logo look, an aspiration further hinted at, yet also confused by its brand name “Choice & Toy” a pairing of words that both fail to describe the quality and category of item contained within.  So close though.

And speaking of hair, they also had a number of hair nets, all of which I bought, which came in these great envelopes.  I loved the bold colours and the image of the woman, but the shape of the envelope, including the familiar back flaps, and the clear window in the front which could reveal an address, make them totally usable as mailing envelopes, plus they give the sender the added option to include the two old, totally useless hair nets already enclosed within!

Mirage Stretch Fashioned Hair Nets. You can see the hair net through the window in the centre.  Pretty gross eh?

The back of the hair net envelopes; just like a regular mailing envelope.

Despite the wonderful aesthetic of these hair net envelopes, I must say they are a tad misleading.  The woman on the package is meant to represent the invisible control of the hair net, and the confidence and poise that come with it, but there’s no way she’s wearing one of these hair nets over that hairdo.  When I tried one on all it did was flatten whatever volume I had while leaving the elastic fully visible around the hairline.  Plus, the hairnets are not even big enough to be lightly fitting around hair as long as hers, nor would they allow her hair retain that volume or shape.  This is what would really happen if she wore one of the hairnets:

I also picked out these things, which are apparently called “Balloon Squawkers”.  I’m not really sure what that means, but they appear to be plastic straws with feathers at one end.  I mostly just got them because I’m a sucker for things that are installed/packaged under clear plastic, not to mention easily pleased by pretty colours.

The pretty pretty colours of the Balloon Squawkers

Plus, I was also into this little guy, who appears on top of the “Fun Fair” logo:

Seems like a pretty chill guy overall.

The store had a few cute little pins.  The yellow rabbit kind of reminded me of the above balloon.  The stick pins were really tiny, like an inch long with animals on them not much larger than an apple seed.

The super tiny stick pins; from left: a butterfly, a seagull and two bunnies

And lastly, I found these awesome puffy glitter stickers that were very much like the “Happy Sticker” robot sets that I wrote about in my post “Convenience Store Treasures: Stickers”.  But these sets were even better, not just because they were glittery and had a better cardboard package tops, but also because the robots were even cooler!

I love the cardboard tops; the black background with the word “Glitter” in rainbow letters is just so great.

These sets had a mix of some of the same stickers as in the “Happy Sticker” sets, and some different ones.

Here’s the glitter version of an odd pink jester-like robot face, which I highlighted in my previous post:

Pictured here is the glitter pink jester-bot. He is next to his best friend.

This was my favorite from the set; its a big flying, pink and purple dragon kazoo. With a sparkly yellow belly.

The colours and geometric shapes of these robots make them very enjoyable. I like that this one has a green sword and a bent pipe or hockey stick or something.

I feel this spaceship is pretty cool.

I was pretty happy with my haul.  It was a good, colourful assortment of things, and I’m satisfied I got everything cool they had.  Yes, it was a good day in suburbia.  So be on the lookout for convenience store treasures when you are out in the middle of nowhere, it might be the only thing to do out there anyways.

All items purchased at Southdown Convenience, 1375 Southdown Road, Suite 7. Mississauga, Ontario

Vintage Books: The Grade School Textbook as Art

4 Jun

Vintage children’s textbooks are a wonderful source for illustrations.  I am inspired by the work of Henry Darger, an outsider artist who collected pictures and drawings of children to use as reference in his beautiful paintings, which he created to accompany an epic book he was writing.  These old books contain exactly the type of sweet drawings of children in old fashioned clothes that Darger used.  They also feature great typography typical of the times, typography that you don’t really see anymore.  The books tend to be small, most being no more than 7″ X 5″, and when I hold them, as with many old objects, they seem to have this energy about them that makes one wonder about its life before it came into one’s possession.  Also, when you look at them it makes you realize that you can’t remember how to do long division anymore.  I have quite a number of these textbooks, some dating back to the 1920s, but here are a few of my favorites.

The first is a science textbook called “Science Stories: Book Two”  It is missing the page that indicates the publisher, edition and release date, but it is probably from the 1950s.  Concepts such as weather, electricity and living things are explained with small stories that are punctuated with illustrations.

The cover of Science Stories

The inside cover and first page

The images inside depict children in 1920s era clothing, beautifully rendered in water colours:

An illustration accompanying a story about weather

An illustration depicting a westward wind

The illustrations of children are too numerous to show them all.  There were also lovely illustrations of animals.  Here are the ones of the “hipster” animals, the deer, and the wolf:

From the chapter on “Living Things”

I love the pink sky

“A garden spider eats many kinds of insects.”

There were some nice paintings of landscapes from different climates, and drawings of food and household items:

From the text underneath this illustration: “This picture shows clouds in the sky. But they have not covered the sun. Do you think the ground is warm where the sunshine touches it?”

“There was the ocean at last!”

Electric Helpers “Electricity is one of our best helpers.”

I love the way these scissors are rendered in blues and pinks, this would be awesome as a sticker or t-shirt, or, if you are a hipster, as a tattoo (you guys have seen the scissor tattoos that are cropping up lately, right?

The book also had wonderful illustrations on the chapter title pages, and as part of the section headers:

Chapter title illustration

Section header

The second book is an eighth grade spelling book from 1950.  I love the fountain pen and ink bottle on the black cover:

Cover of The Canadian Speller, Grade 8

Most of the illustrations in this book were small horizontal drawings at the heading of the page, accompanying the chapter title.

“Some of the ———– stamps are very rare.” The instructions ask you to write the word “collector’s” in the blank space. Talk about a pointless exercise!

I love that this textbook has stolen copyrighted Disney characters for this illustration. Perhaps they hoped that Canada is so obscure that it would renderthe discovery of this infringement nearly impossible.

Any good spelling text for children should have a chapter about personal problems. “Some persons, losing their tempers, become very impatient, and allow their actions to be controlled only by their moods. They become nuisances to themselves and to all with whom they have any association.” Under this paragraph about solving personal problems and a vocabulary list of related words is this: “REVIEW– Indians wear moccasins on their feet.”

Here’s an illustration to make you cringe; the accompanying text explains that a Christian missionary is someone who pursues the ideal of self adjustment for others’ comfort while enduring personal hardship to do so! What?! I also enjoy the beehive with chopsticks in it that two of the stereotyped cartoonish African women are wearing.

“Going to a Party!” “The main feature of a party is a group of people having fun together.” Is this really information that people in grade eight are unaware of?

“Your Personality and the School” It’s not clear if the one with the personality disorder here is the conceited girl, the two snickering about her behind her back, or the guy prancing around.

This guy’s personality and the School

“How to Make and Keep Friends” There’s a Harold and Maude joke here, but I’ll let you come up with it. The review at the bottom of this page states “I saw two men quarrelling (sic) on the wharf.” I don’t get what you are supposed to be learning from these reviews!

“Our Cruel Blessing” is, according to this illustration, that we have to give money to people dressed like Abraham Lincoln.

The next book is a grade 7 mathematics book from 1940 that has nice black and white illustrations.  Here’s just a few:

Cover of “Junior Mathematics, Grade 7”

The little girl’s outfit is so sweet!

Wow, the boy in the centre seems rather formally dressed to just find a percent of a number

For grade sixers, as we used to call ’em, I have this textbook, “Living Arithmetic”

The cover of “Living Arithmetic” I love the drawing of the pilot and the children looking at blueprints.

“Everyday Problems” They never end, am I right?

“Problems About Measures” I like that the foreground is drawn in dark black, while the background is grey. It’s an interesting effect.

And finally, if anyone is still reading this long post, there is this grade four text “Arithmetic for Everyday Use”

The cover of “Arithmetic for Everyday Use” published in 1937

Things that cost five cents in 1937

A cozy little drawing at the margin of one of the pages

This was super tiny, like one inch by one inch. I love the giant hair bow and giant neck ruffle

In contrast to the above girl’s leisure, a few of the illustrations depicted little girls sent off to do errands that they look too young to do by themselves.

This poor little girl had to go to this maniac’s dead animal store.

This girl’s parents had a less morbid errand for her to run, but still.

This poor little girl had to buy her school supplies alone.  I guess her parents don’t care to take part in the family ritual of “back-to-school” shopping.  God!

Well, anyways I hope you have enjoyed this look at some of my vintage children’s textbooks.  They are really very sweet in their content.  At times though with some of these books there will be a little story about, you know, “see Jane run, run run, run, Dick wants to run too, Dick and Jane run,” but when you flip to the back of the book where there is teaching material for the instructor you see that that little asinine three lines was supposed to teach you a whole page of stuff, like about how physical activity is important to grow up well adjusted, how it’s important to wear weather appropriate clothes, different emotions manifest themselves in a variety of physical ways and on and on, on topics that did not come to mind while reading the thing!  It’s amazing the way books for children of these grades really shape one’s perception of the world in ways you don’t even realize at the time.

I liked their small size too, like I said they were all only about 5 by 7 inches.  They are much better than those hulking 10″ X 12″ hard cover monstrosities they make you carry now.  And most of the text book now just have boring stock photography or crappy modern cartoon-like line drawings that have no artistic value.  No wonder I forgot how to do basic math, I just wasn’t visually inspired the way I could, nay, should, have been!

I purchased all of my vintage children’s textbook (I’ve only shown a few here) at Value Village thrift store, which have them some times in their vintage book section.

Textbooks purchased at Value Village, 1319 Bloor St. W., Toronto

Packaging: Never Open Here

24 May

I wrote in a previous post about the artistic merits of merchandise packaged under clear moulded plastic against colourful cardboard backings, (See: Princess Lovely’s Doctor Beautiful Dream Bride Pretty Set) and this goes not only for the above mentioned girl’s accessory sets, but also for household goods.  They have an awesome installative quality, and the plastic moulding also serves as a wonderful framing device, making these objects perfect to hang on the wall.  I always keep my eyes peeled when I’m out and about for these types of items, and you never know where you might find them.  Check out these packages, the photos and saturated colour elevate them into readymade art objects, if you ask me!

The first is a package of  hair pins that I found at a convenience store that has been a veritable goldmine for the type of worthless crap that only I buy:

Check out the gross, melted, broken rubber bands around the hair pin bundles!

This model has the confident yet sensuous look that is essential for modeling on hair pin packages.

It’s all so brilliant; the pink and grey colour scheme, the gradient of light to dark pink stripes, the beautiful model wearing a hairstyle that needs no pins, plus, the gross rubber bands.  It all really came together for this piece, no?

Along a similar vein, I found this great set of metal hair curlers from Value Village;  circa 1970s, this pink and orange hued set was manufactured by Goody:

Brush Rollers

Aren’t these colours fabulous? I’ve lightened the exposure to heighten the psychedelic effect

I found this with the shrink wrap on it still intact.  I love the little yellow hook at the top.  I realize that it was probably to hang it on the rack at the store, but it’s also perfect for hanging it on the wall, which I rushed home and did.

The next item is not a beauty aid, but it would have certainly beautified one’s kitchen:

Mighty Grip!

Good name eh?   I love the geometric shapes and primary colours employed in the design.  This is a type of jar opener I have never seen.  You are supposed to mount in on the underside of a cupboard and wedge the jar top in it and twist.  If you mount it there though, you wont be able to enjoy the bright orange plactic-ness of it, and if you open the package, you won’t be able to enjoy the orange plastic-ness and yellow, red and green cardboard-ness of it either!  You know, they say that yellow, red and orange are colours that make one hungry, and it must be true, because this package sure made me hungry for some Mighty Grip jar opening!

And finally, this last item is a set of jacks packaged together to be doled out as party favors to children:

Party Favors!

I love this package!  I love the suggestive, dreamy imagery of three coloured balloons floating in a clear blue sky.  Also, here in Canada it is the law that every product have both English and French writing on the package, and often the French translation is much cooler and funner to say, such as here, where party favors become the more intriguing sounding “Babioles”  Obviously these jacks and ball sets are meant to be divided up amongst child party guests in their loot-bags, but I say, why waste these babies on kids?  Breaking open this package would be a travesty in my opinion, and children could never understand or properly appreciate the sacrifice being made on their behalf, so why bother?  I mean, children can be so selfish, especially babies, am I right?  No real sense of priorities and what matters in the real world, you know?

Hair pins purchased at Sherwood Variety, 2574 Yonge St, Toronto

Hair rollers, jar opener and Babioles found at Value Village, 1319 Bloor St. W., Toronto

Thrift Store Finds: Vintage Earrings

22 May

As I boasted in a previous column, I have an amazing talent for picking the best costume jewelry at Value Village, a local second-hand chain store.  And so, to drive this point home I would like to present to my dear readers and followers, a selection of some of the best colourful 80s earrings I have purchased in the last little while.  These are only a few of my favorites, I will have to show the best rhinestone earrings in another post.  All were found at Value Village unless otherwise noted, and some, if pictured so, do not have mates.

And now, without further ado, here are my best costume jewelry earrings, a collection that must only be rivaled by that of the Golden Girls’.

These are all plastic clip-ons, except the pink circles, which have posts, all from Value Village

A close-up of an unusual pink pair. I’ve never seen anything quite like these, which were made of two independent layers of soft plastic spiky circles, attached in the middle with a pink rhinestone. Very sea creature like

The biggies; all were clip-ons. The red and black and white striped pairs were plastic, the ones on the top right were large pinkish rhinestones bordered by small white stones, the purple ones in the bottom right were suede, and to give you an idea of the scale of all these earrings, the purple ones were about two inches in diameter! All from Value Village

This pair had a lovely pink stripe in the centre of the stone with dusty gray sides, an effect I’ve never seen in a rhinestone before

More colourful plastic: The pink and blue circular pairs on the left I found tucked away in a hard to reach box at Odds and Ends junk shop, the box also contained a few mood rings from the 1970s and some vintage band pins. The yellow pair are actually enameled metal.

This si one of my most favorite earrings ever, but alas it has no mate. I love the gradient of lavender separated by white. I use this as a tack to hang some photo-booth pictures on a lampshade.

This green flower clip-on is also missing its mate, but i feel that its climbing vine like appearance makes it more suitable to be worn as a solo accessory, higher up on the ear.

The Red pair in the back are clip-ons, as are the green daisies, the lone blue enameled circle (has a mate which is temporarily misplaced) and the black diamond shaped pair.   I love the Indian princess feel of the purple and gold pair. All purchased at Value Village

All of these earrings are from a lot of costume jewelry I purchased on eBay. I bought the lot to use for scraps to embed in acrylic bowls, but these were to good to be encased in plastic.

The details of these earrings give them that extra something.This awesome red pair is not just flat with printed stripes, the red lines are recessed areas in the surface.

Well, there you have it, proof positive that I am the best Value Village costume jewelry picker there is.  Now if only there were some way to turn this into a career…  I know, if anyone wants to hire me as a thrift store picker, contact me at helloladyheart@gmail.com, but remember, if  I find anything good, its mine.

Pink striped and blue checked circular earrings found at Odds and Ends, 703 Queen St. W., Toronto

All other earrings found at Value Village, 1319 Bloor St. W., and others, Toronto

Random Collections: The Other Vinyl

21 May

I love small items that are made out of vinyl, the kind that is soft and rubbery and heat-sealed at the edges, especially when it has something screen-printed on it.  I’ve collected a few fun retro pieces, which I would love to share with you, dear reader.

The first is this great Barbie photo album given to me by a friend.  I usually can’t stand this kind of album, with the plastic sleeves for photos, preferring the old fashioned gummed cardboard pages with plastic sheet protectors (more on those in a later post,) but I was willing to open my heart to this:

Barbie Photo album

Just stunning, in  my opinion, but it took a little effort to achieve this streamlined, uncluttered look.  For you see, when I first received this album, along with the words “Barbie” and “Photo Album” some thoughtless designer saw fit to have some awful flowers and butterflies printed randomly around the cover, marring the beautiful hot pink surface.  To get and idea of the terribleness of these images, check out the front picture in the album which is partially visible through the heart-shaped hole on the cover:

The picture of Barbie on the inside of the album

Do you see what my eyeballs had to endure?  There were flowers and butterflies of this type and other such debris cluttering up the cover.  But, fortunately for all of us, I was able to remove these abominations with some nail polish remover, thus saving the day.

The second vinyl item in my collection is a wonderful calender and address book circa 1950s that I found in the garbage outside a used book store one late night after leaving a punk show at The Opera House, a venue on Queen St. East here in Toronto:

Calender/address book from garbage

A close up of one of the inserts on the cover

The inside of the 50s address book

Close up of the Phone number side of book, I love the font and hearts printed on the page. The black and white photo is a smile flyer I made for a zine I put out several years ago.

Isn’t it cute?  I about died when I found it as I was about fourteen and just beginning to experience the possibilities of garbage picking and how it can enrich one’s life.  I loved the little clear pockets on the front, some of which had the original inserts inside, the rest I added myself from some Spice Girls postcards that could be purchased at that time in packets from convenience stores.

Next up is a diary I also found in the garbage one day.  It didn’t have any writing in it unfortunately, but I love the pop-art style candy images on the cover!

Vinyl Diary

Now that is a diary for writing about sleepovers, boys, make-up toys and kittens.  And speaking of kittens, check out this diary, which is the only non-vintage item in the collection:

Sparkle Kitten Diary

I bought this at Ardene’s, which is a store that caters to the pre-teen girl set and offers mostly cheap earrings, hair accessories and make-up.  I check out the store occasionally because sometimes there is some cheap girly plastic fun available for sale, such as the above diary.  However, much like the Barbie photo album it had some extraneous text at the top that said something like “Keep your paws off!”,  which is exactly the type of awful cutesy pun crap that I won’t stand for, and so it was up to the nail polish remover again to save my eyeballs from that hell, which it did, but with less perfect results than achieved on the Barbie album.

Next is a small vinyl purse with a little “Precious Moments” type child couple on it:

My Friend Purse

I really hate that “Precious Moments” crap they churn out, like all those cheap statues and cards with the saucer eyed children and puppies on them, but these two kids have a sort of vintage Hasbro/Japanese cartoon thing going for them that saves it.  Plus I love the detached caption at the top that simply declares “My Friend” without any specificity as to who it is attributed to or by.  I cannot remember where I picked up this purse, but it was probably either a garbage find, or a thrift store score.

And, to go with a little vinyl purse, what’s better than a little vinyl wallet, in this case, a pink Hawaiian Hula Girl wallet:

Aloha Hawaii wallet

This cute little wallet I got on eBay, and while I’m going to refrain from blogging to much about things I’ve gotten from eBay as they leave little story to tell about them, I wanted to include this in the collection because of the great multi-coloured silk-screen image on it.  I also love that this wallet came with a little removable insert inside where you can keep snapshots, something people don’t really carry in their wallets anymore because they can store pictures on their phones.  Ah the wallet photo album, a dying cultural practice due to the progress of technology.

But, what a great segue into the last piece in this random collection, a vinyl photo frame:

My little Pony Photo Frame

Isn’t this so cool?  it’s a puffed up vinyl photo frame with purple haired My Little Ponies on them, a mommy and a little baby!  It has a 1985 copyright on it, as well as years of smudged in dirt that just won’t come off!  I’ve stuck in an old photo I’ve found of a young girl.  I took this frame from the room of an ex-roommate of a girlfriend of mine while he was not home.  Don’t feel bad for him though, he turned out to be a real weirdie, and not in a good way, in fact, in a bad way, like, the worst possible way, ever, like, of all time.  Seriously.

Anyways, I hope I haven’t left too sinister a taste in your mouth for you to consider collecting fun vintage vinyl.  Every hipster doofus out there thinks their some unique rebel for collecting vinyl records, so earn yourself a few bonus hipster points by starting your own vinyl collection, an “The Other Vinyl” collection, just like your crush, Miss Lady Heart!

Sparkle Kitten Diary purchased at Ardene’s, at the Toronto Eatons Centre, 220 Yonge St., Toronto

Random Collections: Princess Lovely’s Doctor Beautiful Dream Bride Pretty Set

13 May

I collect little cardboard-backed dress-up sets that are aimed at little girls.  I am usually drawn towards vintage sets, but occasionally I will buy a new set if it has those elusive qualities that I’m looking for.  What makes them so appealing to me are the graphics and names, but also, as a sculpture/installation based artist, I enjoy the box-art installative aspect of the sets, with the small arrangement of plastic fun composed under molded plastic.  I usually keep the set intact, but sometimes what is featured is so enticing that I try to find a second one so that I can open one of them and wear the accessories.  Here are a few of my favorite ones.

Fashion Girl

Check her out!

This is one of the newer ones that I have, probably dating from the 90s.  I love that the sides are drawn to represent film perforations or sprocket holes, adding the dimension of “movie star” to this “fashion girl”.  The silhouetted girls to the left of the film girl have a very Bond Girl, or even Gem and the Holligrams-esque feel to them.  The jewelry is of course hideously ugly and tacky, but the overall effect is so great.  This is the type of thing that I frame, or just hang unframed, as a piece of pop culture art.  This set was purchased at Value Village, a local thrift store.

Fun-n-Games

Great colours on this one, called Fun-n-Games.  It’s a little green haired girl with red bows-mirror.  And, you can look in the mirror and brush your hair with a green comb.  The little pink nail polish bottle is hollow and doesn’t open but it has a cute little sticker that says “Bright Star” on it.  This probably dates from around the 1970s.

Pretty Set

Good name, good graphics!

I love the name of this one, Pretty Set.  It’s sweet and simple, but it also sounds like a state of mind; get this toy, and you’ll be pretty set.  This dates from the same period as the Fun-n-Games set and like the Fun-n-Games set it is a mirror backed by a face, in this case a lion, for some reason.  I love the drawing of the little girl, and the giant pink barrettes in the set, but as I could not find a second Pretty set, I could not open this package and wear the barrettes, leaving me less “set” than I thought I would be, despite assurances to the contrary implied by the name. This and the above set were purchased at Ontario Specialty, a local store that specializes in dead-stock vintage toys and fun.

Dream Bride

This set, Dream Bride, I found in a sad looking grocery store in New York City, and because I loved the giant heart necklace inside I bought three sets.  This necklace is probably the best thing I’ve seen in one of these sets.  About the size of a woman’s fist, the plastic heart has a clear plastic heart shaped bubble in the middle that has a little plastic flower inside, making this an installation within an installation.  It’s installation to the power of 2 for those who prefer mathematical terms.

The giant heart necklace

Princess Lovely

I love the name and the confused ideas presented here about what a princess is.  Instead of a crown or scepter, there are heart shaped sunglasses and comb and mirror.  This type of super pink-girly-princessy fluff is like being a drag queen for little girls, in that it represents and caricature of girlhood.  It’s interesting as an object that packages tropes of modern pop girlishness.  This set I also purchised in NYC, from a street vendor.

Doctor Beautiful(!)

This is the only brand new set in my collection, which I purchased at a dollar store close to my home.  I think this one is the funniest in terms of the confusion over what it is trying to be.  It seems that it is partly an aspirational type toy for girls, in the style of Barbie’s career dolls which put Barbie in such lofty positions of astronaut and travel agent, to teach girls that they too, can be professional working women.  But much as with the real Barbie brand career dolls, the precedence of looks over brains is still painfully evident in the styling, packaging and marketing of the toy.  Taking a closer look at the image of “Doctor Beautiful” on the top right of the package, we see just how many disparate elements this figure is cobbled together from:

What is this supposed to be, really?

Basically, they’ve put a off-brand Barbie like head onto an illustration of  Disney’s Sleeping Beauty’s body, and then rudimentally added a doctor’s stethoscope onto the face.

Sleeping beauty in her pink gown, which she evidently later lent to Doctor Beautiful for her toy package photo shoot

And the final non-sequitur of this toy set comes in the form of this sticker, seen on the toy stethoscope:

The sticker on the stethiscope

Why is there a little manga/anime nurse girl sticker in this set?

Well, thanks for taking my guided tour through another of my random collections.  Hopefully, my enthusiasm has rubbed off on you, dear reader, and you will be convinced to start yet another Lady Heart approved, random collection!

Fashion Girl set purchaised at Value Village, 1319 Bloor St. W., Toronto

Fun-n-Games and Pretty Set purchaised at Ontario Specialty, 133 Curch St., Toronto

Doctor Beautiful Puchaised at Dollar Wise, 1901 Yonge St., Toronto

Random Collections: Pantyhose!

8 Apr

I have many random collections of things, as I mentioned in my introduction.  I like to save things like plastic rosaries, Whitman books ( a series of cheap, cardboard books, published in the 1960s), old clothing tags, baby-doll nightgowns, vintage crackerjack prizes and much more.  It is my desire to share these collections with you, dear reader, in the hopes that we can bond over what might be a shared passion for the mundane.

In this post, I would like to present for your approval a new collection I began recently, a collection of pantyhose packages.  (Three items is a collection, right?)  What links these particular pantyhose packages is that they all have a cut out in the shape of a woman’s leg in the cardboard that allows the pantyhose inside to be seen, giving the customer an idea of just what these hose will look like on themselves, an amazing marketing innovation that elevated these pantyhose from merely an item in a store to item in my heart!

The first pack is of a pantyhose style that every woman covets for it’s chic style and youth bestowing properties: The knee high, semi-opaque beige stocking!

I love the suggestion of pairing these with a short (or no) skirt and black high-heels.  Thanks, Watson”s.

As surprising as it is that someone donated these to charity, I actually found these at  Value Village.

Value Village, 1319 Bloor St. W. Toronto, and others

The next set has a name I find particularly attractive: Lady Rose.   The “Sheer Elegance” of these “One Size Fits All”  pantyhose are also best paired with black heels, according to the package:

This pair I found at my favorite convenient store, Sherwood Variety.  Along with an awesome selection of old stickers and toys, I’ve purchased a few old household and beauty products that, like a fine wine, have become more beautiful and valuable with time (in my opinion).  The actual pantyhose have been lost to time, leaving only the cardboard cover and opened plastic wrapping to carry on the hose’s legacy, a fact that didn’t stop the good people at Sherwood Variety from displaying the item for sale, or selling it to me for $4.99.  Money well spent, if you ask me, especially during these difficult financial times.

Sherwood Variety, 2547 Yonge St., Toronto

And finally, The last item in this small collection is this lovely, pink “Beauty Sheer” pantyhose “The Hosiery of Quality”, if you must know.  The typography and the sensual curve of the legs really caught my fancy when I saw these at Gadabout, a wonderful vintage store on Queen St. East.  This pair was what started my interest in collecting more pantyhose packaging.  Like the others, this company also feesl that their hose should be worn with black heels.  The artistry of this package is not lost on the designer, as they also saw fit to use the colour of the hose, a hue they dubbed “Sundown”, to render a small artist’s pallet in the top right corner:

Perhaps, with the support of this blog, and you, dear reader, collecting pantyhose packages may one day become a popular and legitimate hobby, with conventions, price guides and mounting albums to follow!  Let’s start rallying around this cause today!

Gadabout, 1300 Queen St. E., Toronto