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Thrift Store Finds: Betty Crocker’s Dreamy Dessert Portraits

4 May

I rarely look through the cookbook section of Value Village, (a local Salvation Army-type thrift store) although it is interesting as a sort of monument to the various food trends and failed weight loss ambitions of our over-satiated culture, (Scarsdale Diet Program, South Beach Cookbook) and it’s ripe with opportunity for an occasional laugh at food non-sequit0rs (for instance, a cookbook entitled Microwave Gourmet!)  But one day my tendency to towards zeroing in on brightly coloured plastic led me to notice a set of Betty Crocker recipe cards packaged in a little yellow box.  I love retro photographs of food as they are usually elaborately staged and often feature very ostentatious interior settings, plus, I love the  super-saturated colours that are characteristic of 60s and 70s photos.  My sweet tooth led me straight to the dessert section where my senses were so overwhelmed by the pastel loveliness of some of the photographs that I graciously ruined the set by taking the best cards so that I could present to you, dear reader, this curated photography exhibit of readymade art:

Neghiborhood Egg Dip

Princess Party

Filled Lemon Cookies

Cherry Berries on a Cloud

Are these not lovely?  They are like the postcards of art  masterpieces you can buy at the museum gift shop.  I mean, a white heart-shaped cake topped with cherries shown on a lace tablecloth?  Betty Crocker recipe cards, get out of my head!

More Frozen Desserts

Grasshopper Pie

I love the suggestion of a little tea party with two cakes, a turquoise one and a pink one.  Each card comes with a suggestion for a party or activity to go with the recipe.  The ones that are for children’s parties are especially sweet as the activities proposed, such as making paper-bag puppets or letting each child make their own candy apple, bring up fond memories of the kind of simple fun that used to make up children’s parties that you don’t really see anymore.

Cake n’ Ice Cream

This Cake and Ice Cream card has a collage like quality, wouldn’t you agree?  The creamy soft yellow cake with ice cream, which looks like it’s covered in tinsel for some reason, looks like it’s been decoupaged onto the background.  Just stunning.

Pink Bavarian Cream

And the Pink Bavarian Cream cake?  It’s like a beautiful sculpture, almost figural in a way.

Gay Nineties Ice Cream Party

Fabulous!  A gay ice cream party!  I love it!  And I love that these are all regular sounding desserts.  Everyone tries to be so fancy and unique with their cakes and stuff, they don’t make vanilla, it’s marzipan instead, or, you know the cheesecake has gooseberries or something gross on it.  Have you watched any of the shows on the Food Network lately?  It’s horrifying.  The host will start off making something good, like a chocolate cake.  They’ll bake it and put it on a plate and it’s looking all yummy, but then, in a misguided effort to seem sophisticated and unique they’re like “And now we’ll make the icing, which will be a mango chutney salsa spread,” or something equally as bad and I’m watching like “Noooooo! Stop you’re ruining it!”

Anyways, I hope you have enjoyed attending my readymade photography art show.  Stop by again soon to see more used goods that I have decided are now an “art”.

Dessert recipe cards purchased at Value Village, 3130 Dixie Rd, Toronto

Convenience Store Treasures: Barbie Party!

26 Apr

Here’s a couple of awesome party related items I found at a local variety store, Jusil Convenience.  The first is an old package of Barbie party invitations:

Barbie party invitations

Look at all that hair!  I love the colours, and the white halo around her.  I’m a bit confused as to what the blue thing on the right is in between the strands of her hair; it’s clear she has a blue shirt on, but does it have a giant puff at the front that protrudes all the way up to her chin?  Or is that supposed to be her shoulder?  Either way, it looks a tad akward.  Anyways, I love Barbie stuff from the 80s and early 90s.  Her hair and clothes were the best then, and also the font of the Barbie logo was much nicer than some modern versions I have seen.

Isn’t that preferable?  I love this these invitations, the bold, graphic illustration, free of text cluttering up the image, and the lavender barbie logo on the pink grid background.  I bought a couple of these, and I believe there are still more available, but if you want them, you’ll have to hurry before I go back and snatch them up!  Can you imagine the awesome little girl parties that must have been thrown and been well attended thanks to these enticing invitations?

Next on my imaginary-nostalgic-little-girl-birthday-party supply list  are these great clown loot-bags  Remember loot bags?  You would get like some little trinkets like sparkly pencils and penny candies, little reminders of the fun day.  Why don’t you get stuff like that at adult parties?  That’s what I’d like to know.

The clown loot bags. There’s even a space to write the recipient’s name!

I don’t really collect a lot of clown stuff because most of it is bad but not bad enough to be good, but I really liked this clown.  But as you can see from these pictures, these poor bags are not long for this world, as the plastic is so old it has dried out and is disintegrating into tiny pieces.  Kind of a sweet metaphor for fading recollections of childhood, all the super -girly-sparkle-sleep-over-pink party-penny-candy memories scattering, swirling behind us in the winds of time, like so many bits of plastic loot-bag.

Don’t these flaky bits of plastic make you feel all sad and nostalgic inside?

Both items purchaised at Jusil Convenience, 2305 Yonge St., Toronto

Thrift Store Finds: Readymade Art

9 Apr

Sometimes while thrift store shopping or digging through garbage I find objects that are so beautiful and perfect that I believe they have achieved readymade art status.  For those who are not familiar with the term, according to the internet readymade art is defined as “an everyday object selected and designated as art”, a name that was coined by the French artist Marcel Duchamp.  The  notion of the art object as unique is destroyed in the act of declaring a mass produced commercial object as “art”.  And so, with that in mind, I present to you, dear reader, a selection of two recently found readymade art objects.

The first is a white ceramic piece, obviously the bottom half of a female figure.  I feel it is no mere coincidence that it shares it’s materiality with Duchamp’s famous “Fountain” urinal piece from 1917.  But, instead of having to perform the difficult labour of transformation Duchamp undertook in having to upend the urinal before declaring it art, (see wikipedia) I was spared this drudgery, as  someone else had already removed (i.e. stole) the top half of the figure by the time I got to it, leaving just the small but important step  of declaring the item “art” left to finish, which, I managed to find time to do.

To solidify it’s existence as a work of art, I shall give it this pretentious art title: Untitled (apparatus 3):

Untitled (apparatus 3), 2012
Approx 4"
readymade art object

 

 

The second readymade, or found art object I found was this fantastic set of lego-like blocks, each printed with a small image and some Chinese writing.  I loved the simple pop art line drawings and the colours, and it was convenient that it came in it’s own readymade frame; a plastic envelope that opened with snaps at the back!

Front of blocks set

Back of blocks set

 

Here are a few close-ups of my favorite blocks.  Bonus points for anyone who can tell me what the writing says!

The fish on the white block totally looks like it’s about to give a lecture, or make an announcement or something.  Actually, it seems kind of pissed, like it’s standing there with it’s hand on it’s hip about to totally deny some guy fish trying to pick it up in a bar. Am I right?  Come on ladies, you know what I’m talking about.

I have hung this plastic piece of goodness in a special place on my wall.  It is definitely a work of art, wouldn’t you agree?

Both of these objects d’art were found at Value Village, in Mississauga.

Value Village 3130 Dixie Rd. Mississauga, Ontario

Convenience Store Treasures: Stickers!

5 Apr

What is it about stickers that girls like so much?  Even as grown women my girlfriends and I still get excited when we acquire some new cool stickers.  One of the convenience stores near my home had a few packs of stickers from one of my favorite brands, “Happy Stickers”  which the company boasts “Sticks By Itself”!  These stickers are are super colourful, and the animals and things they depict can be quite humorous in their expressions.  Below I’ve posted some of my collection with an accompanying close up of the best sticker in the pack.

The first are one of two sets of donkeys with my favorite being the little yellow one that looks like a chihuahua:

The Happy Sticker Donkeys

The cute chihuahua-like donkey

The other Donkey set was also great.  the unnatural colours and expressions are what make them so appealing, especially the green one, which had a rather Scooby-Doo like air to it, wouldn’t you agree?

The second Happy Sticker Donkeys

The Scooby-Doo green donkey

There were also these odd transformer rip off space craft stickers that contained this pink horned jester like robot (?) face:

The Happy Sticker robots

The weird pink robot face

The flowered and polka dotted cows were fun,  and  trans-positive, with some sporting both bullhorns and udders.  The set features a cow with a big headed bird pecking it’s back, a bashful looking cow in a vest and tie, a suspicious cow, who seems unsure about the pink barrel that is part of her sticker, a cow wearing a lei with a birthday cake and present, and a striped cow with a bib, among others.

The trans-positive cow stickers.
You guys know you can click these images to see them larger, right? I didn't know that at first.

The bib-wearing striped cow

And lastly there were three sets of dog stickers which I thought had the funniest expressions of the animals in the Happy Stickers repertoire.

Here’s one that had this big jowly brown dog with it’s tongue out:

Happy Stickers, pack one of dog stickers

Is this snobby dog unhappy with the drumstick in it's bowl?

Conversely, the dog I’ve highlighted in the second dog set seems a pleased, if perhaps incontinent dog, as can be inferred by the odd brown forms that seem to be dropping from its hind quarters.

Happy Stickers, featuring the pleased dog

Are those supposed to be muddy paw prints, or just dog mud? Only time, will tell.

And lastly, my favorite set of dog stickers, as this set has quite a few hi-larious dogs on it.

The best of the Happy Sticker dogs

this wiener dog has an excellent dinner

This dog had none.

This dog looks like someone put hot sauce into it's water.

While this fancy, necklace-wearing poodle seems unsure about her cake.

I love these happy Stickers so much I cant bear to open them and use them.  To me they are like a readymade piece of art, suitable for framing just as is.  The colours and the expressions make these a treasured and valuable item to me.  I found these at a convenience store near my home called Sherwood Variety that is a total jackpot for old toys and stickers and things, more of which you can see here at the Miss Lady Heart Blog, so tune in next time dear reader, to see more convenience store gold!

Sherwood Variety, 2574 Yonge St, Toronto, at Yonge and Sherwood, (Yonge and Eglington area). An excellent place to find old toys and stickers.