Archive for the ‘Kitsch’ Category

Mid-Century Ceramic Elf Joins the Crew!   Leave a comment

My collection of kitschy ceramic chickens were cackling with glee on top of my refrigerator a few days ago at the sight of the latest addition to my world of kitchen kitsch, namely a polka-dotted mid-century elf, complete with violin and woodland log.  The poor character was sitting forlornly in the corner of a wooden box at an outdoor flea market/garage sale…hardly a fate fitting for a little guy who had probably at one time graced a shelf in someone’s kitchen back in the days of Perry Como and Mitch Miller.  A sticker denoting 3 dollars as his going price, which given his six inch height…one of the larger elves I’d come across, seemed fairly reasonable.

Still, I hesitated.

Did I really need to spend the 3 dollars?  I went home without him.

I thought about him for the next three hours.

Having a weakness for vintage kitsch of all types, I was having a tug of war in my mind between wanting to save that 3 dollars and wanting to preserve a piece of kitschy history.

Guess what won?

Here he is.  The chickens can go ahead and laugh at him, but personally I think he’s extremely cute…in a kitschy sort of way, of course.

Here he is on the porch…in all his polka-dotted glory…

However, he really wanted to be outside in a more dignified setting….so I complied with his request. Gotta make the new guy feel at home, after all.

I think it was his goofy smile and green eyes that got me.  That, and the fact that he can play the violin…or at least fakes it well.

Or  maybe it was the small gold heart on his chest, which I discovered upon closer inspection.

Let the chickens laugh. I think he is sweet.  Dorky pointed ears and all.

And I hope he brings a smile to your face on this Monday in June.

As someone before me enjoyed him, so will I give him a place of honor on my windowsill where he will again be appreciated.

Enjoy your day!


Kids About to Cause a Problem..   Leave a comment

OK, I’m about to digress from art history for the moment and tell you that I absolutely love vintage advertising. I love it for its overly dramatic nature in many cases and I love it for the humor it brings (even though I’m sure back in the day, the ads were meant to be fairly serious).  They never fail to bring a smile to my face, and for those reasons I find the old ads delightful.   And on a Monday, everyone needs at least one humorous interlude….so I present these…from my own well-loved 1963 Better Homes and Gardens magazines….

“Ummmm….Houston, we have a problem……ladies….you’d better turn around and stop yakking about the wonders of cooking with electricity.  Little Debbie is back there getting ready to create an electrifyingly chocolate accident of her own!  Abort conversation!  Abort conversation!”   But, oblivious to the warning, Mrs. Theodore Croner (of Millbrook New York!) and Mrs. Robert Bleyer drone on and on….

And below,  Big Brother laughs evilly to himself as he can hardly wait to see the look on Mom and Dad’s faces when they discover that their annual family portrait (with refrigerator of course) as well as their new carpeting has been ruined by the drip, drip, drip of Little Sister’s clandestine red Popsicle….

May you start your week off with a smile…..or two!

A Few Additions to My Flock..a Day at the Antiques Shop   Leave a comment

My birthday occurred this week, and my dear husband, Mr. FreshAir I will call him, asked what I would like to do.  One of my many passions involves visiting antique shops and flea markets to spend hours digging through “one man’s trash” to find my version of “one man’s treasure”.  Usually “the treasure” equates to something kitschy, humorous or offbeat…something that makes me smile every time I cast a glance at it as it sits in an appropriate place of honor in my home.  Of course this drives others crazy.

One has to have a certain mindset and sense of humor to appreciate kitsch.  And one has to have stamina and patience in order to withstand a day of antiquing with me.  It’s a good thing my birthday only comes once a year, as I don’t think Mr. FreshAir would jump for joy at the idea of these types of forays every weekend…and I don’t blame him.  But he was an excellent sport and wandered the shops with me as I visually (and often manually) inspected every cubbyhole for possibilities.  That, my friends, is true love.

Although my wants were many, my budget was miniature due to this wonderful economy we are currently experiencing…but I did manage to snag a couple of new buddies to add to my menagerie of kitsch.  We see below a very diminutive and very kitschy ceramic ladybug, most likely mid-century and most likely of Japanese origin.  She stands only 2 and a half inches tall so the daffodils right in back of her are actually towering over her…..look!…..

She has a vibrant glossy red glaze on her backside….

And the best part of all?  Someone apparently cut art class the day they were studying proper eye-set……because she is most definitely CROSS-EYED!

She has no maker’s mark.  She’s not half of a salt and pepper set either….but I wonder if somewhere out there is a long lost mid-century manbug with crossed eyes!


On another note, I was also able to add yet a new addition to my ever growing flock of ceramic poultry.  My collection of roosters, hens and turkeys currently resides atop my refrigerator in the kitchen, but their numbers have increased as the years go by, and I fear if they were real, that I would probably be cited for bad animal husbandry. I need to find a place where they can spread out a bit….but I haven’t found that place yet!  At any rate, here’s my new guy….a vintage Japan-made Enesco rooster, probably from the 60’s or early 70’s if I had to venture a guess.  Do I detect a bit of “attitude” in his eyes??   That’s part of his kitschy allure.

Enesco is a company that began around 1958 as the import division of the N. Shure Company, which was one of the oldest and largest general merchandise catalog companies in Chicago.  When N. Shure was sold, the import arm spun off and became an independent company.  The root of the name is the phonetic spelling of the parent company…N.S.Co…..hence Enesco.  Interesting, eh?  I love some of those old time company names.  At any rate, through many twists and turns, Enesco is still in business today and is a major player in the world of giftware and figurines.  An old Enesco item will often have a red and silver sticker stating it is imported from Japan….Mr. Rooster has his on the bottom.  Here he is inspecting our small barn…..little does he know, he’ll soon be on top of a refrigerator.

He stands about 8 inches tall and has round eyes, unlike some of my other Japanese- made roosters and hens who exhibit a more almond shaped eye. Perhaps at another time I’ll show you some of those.  Very interesting.  Like I said, you have to have a certain mindset to appreciate the details of kitsch.  At any rate, at 8 inches, I suppose he could qualify as a hood ornament….if I were really excentric….which I am only mildly…..

So I’ll leave you with that.  If you want to start your own flock of ceramic poultry, there are plenty of characters awaiting homes on eBay.  In fact, I’ll bet there is an old round-eyed Enesco hen pining away for my newly acquired rooster……..I’ll have to look!!   Even ceramic poultry needs someone to love.

Enjoy your day.  If you see something kitsch I  hope it makes you smile.  Sometimes things are so bad…..they’re good!