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Thursday, May 26, 2011

Vintage floral postcards from the early 1900s

The vintage postcard is another form of ephemera that fascinates me. I love it that someone kept these small notes for so many years, usually a lifetime. I also love reading the messages.  Sometimes they are poetic, but most of the time, they're pretty mundane. The price of postage is an indicator of a postcard's age, and it's always a bonus when the postmark is readable, so the exact age of the card is revealed.

This lovely embossed postcard was mailed on May 24, 1909, just over 102 years ago! Postage cost only one penny then, but the postcard itself was a beautifully printed and embossed work of art. The sender wrote his succinct note in pencil: "I wonder what you are doing now. I'm in the country. Tell E.P. hello."

Mailed on September 15, 1910, this embossed floral postcard was addressed to someone with just the city and state. I guess the postman knew where everyone lived in the small town of Le Roy, Illinois. This sender also wrote in pencil, reporting that threshing was done and discussing a wheat crop. The handwritten message doesn't exactly fit with the "Love's Token" title on the card.

The most recent of today's postcards has a postmark of August 3, 1912. I love the white doves at the top and the faint image of a little church in the background. While the pair of doves would suggest romance, the sender is an aunt wishing the recipient "many happy returns of the day" on her birthday.

Here's the cover of a book I'm working on. I printed a copy of the Kind Greetings postcard on ivory card stock to use on the cover.

Kind greetings, everyone!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Ain't nothing like the real thing, baby!

Vintage ephemera is my favorite material for making collages, adding interest to journal pages, and crafting unique greeting cards. For some projects, we are happy with scans we print ourselves, but sometimes only the genuine vintage item will do!

I am involved in a wonderful online journal class called "Remains of the Day," taught by Mary Ann Moss, who writes the Dispatch from LA blog (link in the sidebar). She encourages class members to use real vintage ephemera in our journals, and I've had my collection spread out everywhere while making my ROD journal.

An artist friend of mine saw my vintage goodies, and she has been nagging urging me to package some of my "real" vintage stuff for sale. I finally succumbed to the pressure. At Bonnie's Best, have a limited supply of the first ephemera pack, including the collage parts pictured above. 

The ephemera package includes a collectible vintage Hershey's Syrup playing card, playing cards with bird images, Fostoria certificate from the 1930s, an unused Cherry Blossoms soda label, page from vintage FAA book of aircraft approach diagrams, lovely foreign text pages, music pages, pages from a 40-year-old postage stamp directory, Bingo card, tickets, oversized robin's egg blue and salmon shipping tags, a vintage practice target, printed inventory tag, plus a few newer items. Every piece is the real thing -- no scans or color copies. If you're interested, here's a link to purchase. 

Now back to our regularly scheduled programming --- there will be more freebies to download in my next post.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Bird images from vintage greeting cards

By special request, I'm sharing more bird images today.  If your mom loves birds as much as this mom, you may want to use a bird image on a handmade Mother's Day card.  These birds come from vintage greeting cards.  Some of the cards feature gold trim, vellum, embossing and fine glitter, yet the prices ranged from 15 to 25 cents!

I removed the text from most of the cards, but wanted you to see the "passion" message because the script is so lovely.  Then I uploaded the same card front with the words  removed so you can download it as a border, too.

Images of bluebirds holding ribbon always make me smile!  Wishing you lots of smiles today!

Monday, May 2, 2011

Vintage packaging: 1950s ladies and their hairnets

Hairnets were not just worn by the Lunch Ladies immortalized in Saturday Night Live skits. Many women of the 1940s and 1950s went to the beauty shop once a week to have their hair "done," then slept in hairnets every night to keep their "do" in place until the next visit. My grandmother did this, and my 81-year-old mother still does!

I just love packaging that features vintage drawings of women... the hair styles, the makeup, the clothing -- fascinating!  The Barinet and Jac-o-net packaging uses glamorous women, and the Set Snug and Forma brands would seem to appeal to the girl-next-door type.  Want to bet that the Barinet and Jac-o-net brands were more expensive?

Packaging has changed a lot over the years.  Looks like there was a single package design for the brand, with the name of the color added in the upper left corner.  (No matter that the Forma dark brown hairnet package showed a blond, and the grey Set Snug package shows a brunette and a redhead.)  Only the woman on the Jac-o-net package image has the same color hair as the hairnet in the package! A modern-day hair color line might feature 20+ color choices, each with its own matching packaging -- and none of them would be aught dead using plain vanilla names such as "light brown" or "grey."

How do you use ephemera like this in your artwork? I like the trend that has  straight-laced looking apron-clad moms making outrageous statements, such as "After a couple of Vodka Tonics, I just love to vacuum!"  Those always make me laugh. 

Below is a spread from my (under construction) "Remains of the Day" journal, a journal made with scraps and ephemera. I sewed a Barinet hairnet package into my ROD book as a pocket for journaling.  

How are you using ephemera in your art projects?  I'd love to hear from you in the Comments.