Sunday, February 14, 2010


If you don't like to wear your heart on your sleeve, maybe you could hang it on the wall--like this '60s decor: a cheap glazed ceramic heart plaque trimmed with lacey gold-edged hearts all around and delicate pink flowers. Was this a wedding party favor? A craft project? I wonder why the space in the middle was left blank. Were you supposed to fill it in with your lovey-dovey's photo? Probably not, as I see no clip or slot to hold a photo. Is this all there is to it?

The origin of this heart plaque is a mystery, and so is Love.


One of the early manufacturers of powdered milk was Sprungli & Co., a Swiss firm, that came to the Philippines in the late 19th c. with a canned milk called "Bear Brand". When I was little, we used to believe that this "gatas oso", as we knew it, was really from the breast of a mama bear! (What does that make us? Goldilocks?!). Blame it on the very iconic trade character that the milk brand used--a seated bear nursing her dead-looking baby with a bottle. The milk was packaged in tin cans such as this--but this 1930s can is more unique in that it incorporates a mirror premium on its aluminum cap. This rare packaging was found in Bangkok and is relatively in good condition. Of course, Bear Brand is still very much around--there are still liquid and powdered milk varities, but Nestle, the currecnt owner, has updated the bear's features, which looks more like a cuddly Teddy than the fierce Mama bear who looks ready to devour her baby if he doesn't stop whining.


Now here's a stationery holder from the 1960s that comes with a sick cartoon joke, the kind that you'd probably find in Hugh Hefner's mansion. I thought at first this was a napkin holder, but it comes with a holder for a pen or a pencil, so it was obviously meant to be placed on a phone table for scribbling and taking down notes. The tile is definitely for a bathroom--maybe the illustration was added later. The frame is of plated brass. Was this some kind of a giveaway that medical representatives or detailmen gave away to doctors? Or was this a recycling project using excess bathroom tiles? This memo pad holder is so kitschy bad, it makes a good collectible!

Sunday, February 7, 2010


My favorite 1970s TV family ever! To remind me of their presence 24/7, I bought this laminated paper clock from a mail-order collectible shop. They're all here--Shirley, Keith, Laurie, Danny, Chris and Tracy--ready to jam, with their Mondrian-painted bus at their back. The clock came sans the mechanism so I just bought the clock parts from a department store, and assembled the whole thing easily. Every time I see this clock, I know it's time to get happy!


I just love the graceful lines of this ceramic planter showing a pair of curled-necked herons on a marsh with a built-in vase opening. I thought at first that these were pink flamingoes, which were fave 50s symbols, but the straight beaks were a giveaway. Again, a made in Japan piece, so commonly available in any bazaar or curio shop in the 50s and 60s. One of the heron's necks has broken off in two places, dimishing the value considerably--but since I paid next to nothing fot this planter, it really doesn't matter. But, wait, it does matter! I love this piece!


A lady head vase? More like a Mother Superior Head Vase! This is actually a cheap, Japan-made planter, from the 1960s. These are harder to find than the generic lady heads, but are made pretty much the same way--thick, protruding black eyelashes included. Unfortunately, some of the nun's well-polished fingertips have broken off, but this does not detract to the duotone beauty of this nice thrift shop find.


A sleek, bedside alarm clock that harkens back to the atomic and space age. This 50s wind-up timepiece still keeps time and has a working alarm. A few loose plastic parts, but still a serviceable piece. It's got a noisy tick-tock mechanism though that won't allow you restful sleep. Japan made a lot of these streamlined, chrome-plated clocks and I am just lucky to get this artifact from the first half of the 20th century. You need a Time Machine to score one these days!

Monday, February 1, 2010


Rev up that engine and go driving with me! Wheeee!!!

Now here's a well-made friction car that was on every boy's birthday and Xmas gift list back in the 1950s. It was made in Japan, by CK, a well-known company known for its amazing mechanical toys. With a lithographed dashboard, this 8 in. , 2-tone car still works--just run the rubber wheels on the floor, release the car, and awayyyyyy it goes! I have a couple of these tin toys, brought from a shop with an old stock of toys in Binondo that was closing down. I don;t know what model this car is--An Impala? A Buick? Rambler?--but I really don't care. I just need a car that will get me from point A to point B.