Category Archives: Holiday Kiddo

It’s our Annual Creepy Cool Vintage Halloween Mask Tribute

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Friends,  I have to say, this is one of my favorite posts I do all year. It started back a few year’s ago when I went to one of those Halloween Super Stores and ended up getting totally freaked out by all the ultra creepy masks. Is this what halloween is all about now? Rotting zombies? Psycho clowns? That lame Scream ghost?? I remembering shaking my head and thinking, “Man, it’s not like back in the day. Costumes were so much cuter back then!” But then as I started looking for old photos I had the realization that while many of those old plastic mask costumes were under the guise of innocent characters, most of them were totally creepy. Creepy cool. Let’s take a look!

We begin with this grim duo….the jaunty bowler and capelet are a nice try at “cute-ing” this pair, up….but don’t think we didn’t notice that your face was green, little witchie poo.

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Ahhh, the Creature of the Black Lagoon! Lurker of murky swamps….and fan of Revlon’s Racy Red lipstick. It’s very drag-tastic, no?

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Hmmm, I’m not sure what’s scarier….Freddy Frog and the Startled Pumpkin….or the grim face of that lady. (You KNOW she just hissed at them to “Sit up straight for the photo!”) Even the TV looks shocked.

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When I find vintage Halloween photos I typically put them into one of two folders: “Cute Vintage Halloween” and “Creepy Vintage Halloween”. This darling group almost made it into the Cute folder. One guess who bumped them into Creepy….

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This group is a plastic delight. Nervous clown, defiant skeleton, queen who has a twin sister that’s a nurse, and crazy Raggedy Ann on the end there. Someone needs a hot oil treatment.

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Hee. I love the Banana Splits guy and even that lil devil is kinda cute. The witch is where we all fall apart. (Does it say Super Witch on her costume??) Please note the GIGANTIC buckets they are planning on collecting candy with.

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If one smoking bum is cool, then two are twice as nice! Bonus points for dainty candy containers. Not like those greedy bums above.
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These two crack me up….they look sooooooo over it all.

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OK, so these guys have the best trick or treat sacks we’ve seen thus far, but I’m taking points away for the mom jeans on ol’ Farmer Rosey Cheeks.

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Oh sweet fancy moses….I don’t really need to say anything here, do I?? Yikes.

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Meet Casper the Friendly-But-Slightly-Maniacal Ghost! I love the double face action here….And those draggy eye brows?? Lets just say I’m a BIG FAN. Hyuck hyuck.

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Oh bunny. His outfit is straight out of one of our Retro Roundups. His make up is straight up Insane Clown Possee.

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OK, seriously…..what’s with all these ghost’s eyebrows?? It’s like a master class from RuPaul’s Drag Race. Ironically that witch could do with a good pair of tweezers. And perhaps a slightly LARGER trick or treat bag, hmmm?

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This quartet is a visual delight. Let’s go right to left. Looks like someone’s spidey sense was tingling and came up with a forecast of rain. Nice poncho kiddo! Sassy shirtless Indian needs to grab that dream catcher craziness on the wall behind him for a little extra coverage. I think ol eyebrows is supposed to be the Wolfman, but really he’s soooo Zombie Joey Ramon, no? And methinks this Lone Ranger has definitely had a little work done. “Hi Ho Botox, Awaaay!!!!!!”

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The jump suit says Donny but that mask is screaming Marie. This is also a classic example of “you better wear your coat under that costume or you’ll freeze to death!”

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And finally….this sweet boy. Oh ya darling lil cowpoke, we hear ya…..

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So there you have it folks, the Halloween Countdown is Officially ON, people!!!

images: here and 5, 8, 10, 14

Kiddo Field Trip // The Midcentury Supper Club

Back in the day, food was all about form and very little function. That is to say, it might not have tasted great, but it sure looked spectacular! Check out any vintage cook book from the 1950s or 1960s and you’ll be sure to read words like, LOAF! MOLD! LOG! RING! TOWER! CREAMED! And let us not forget ASPIC! (basically a savory version of gelatin—imagine clear jello with meat or vegetables inside. EEK!). Every year our fabulous friend Karen throws a Midcentury Supper Club party…a fun and festive potluck where the challenge is to select a recipe from a vintage cook book and bring it for all to enjoy. You know, stuff like this:

I had great plans to make a snowman cake, but uh….well. It just didn’t quite go as planned (the whole cake stuck to my sheet pan. Argh.) Instead, I brought a bottle of champagne. Alway festive in any decade!

Greg had a show that night so Wolfie was my official “date”. He agreed to get dressed up, and I pulled out a vintage shirt I had bought for him ages ago (when he was super little) and thought it just might fit him now. He put it on and was indignant, flapping his arms around, “Mama! These sleeves are awful! They are WAY too long!!!” I looked closer and realized they were french cuffs!! (who knew they made ’em that little??) So Wolfie got to wear his first pair of cuff links—and was feelin’ mighty cool about it.

But enough about us. Let’s get on with the show. I have to say it was a SPECTACULAR evening! {Wolfie was unimpressed by all the “weird” food and hung out in the kid’s room with his pals.} OK, so without further ado, may I present….the midcentury supper club, 2012 edition! Savory, sweet….there was something for ALL!

image: Fred Eagle

image: Fred Eagle

image: Fred Eagle

Yes, that’s my friend Doe with her edible PINK FLOCKED TREES on a brownie lot. LOVE!

The Studio 54 Gingerbread House (with real flashing floor) was another party favorite!

Dottie was there too, of course, although she couldn’t stay long because she & her fam had a 6am flight the next morning for Florida. I was impressed she made it AND looked so dang cute!

The sandwich loaf was surprisingly tasty! Layers of egg salad, ham and cucumber, all tucked in under a savory cream cheese “frosting”.

And finally……the most terrifying, er, I mean INTERESTING dish….the Santa Meatloaf. WOW.

Have you ever made anything from a vintage cookbook?? I recommend the cakes and the sandwich loaf. The jury is still out on the meaty santa….


Retro Rewind // Alix’s 1970s Christmas

Since I love to share vintage photos, I thought it would be fun to share some of my own “retro” holiday pics. It’s a random assortment of photos through out the years!

We start in San Diego, California. That’s where I was born. We lived there til I was in the second grade and then we moved to Michigan. Aww, look! It’s little me and my pretty mama:

In these photos I’m wearing an awesome hot pink knit dress that was hand made by my Tante Judy (my godmother), who was very artistic and super crafty. I believe we are at my grandma’s house here. On the left is my Uncle John and my cousin Lisa.

I’m pretty sure this next one is the same year, but at our own apartment at the University of California, San Diego married student housing. That tinsel is very German—although I noticed it on the tree at my grandma’s house (in the first photo), so maybe it was popular in general in the 70s. Do you remember tinsel on your tree back in the day?? I rarely see it on trees any more. My sweet friend Lishy Loo sent me a few packs last year!

In the background you can see my Top Favorite Christmas Album of All Time—The Jackson 5 Christmas Album. We still have it and I listen to it every year! Michael Jackson singing “Up On the Housetop” is my all-time favorite. Wolfie’s favorite is “Little Drummer Boy.”

Christmas morning, my first little desk! I loved that awesome dolly carriage in the background too. Let’s get a closer look:

See? Told ya I was smitten with my carriage! It looks like the one in my Sears Catalog post. This is later in the day, and I’m all dolled up. Check out the cool Playskool giraffe in the background. I sooo wanted one of those for Wolfie when he was little!

I got the shutterbug early! Here I am with my little Fisher-Price Camera.

I love this next photo. My mom looks like a modern day hipster here, with her groovy fur hat and cool coat. I’m holding Pinkie, my little pink elephant. My godmother (she of the craft hand-knit pink dress) made him for me and he had these amazing psychedelic fabric ears. We’re at Balboa Park in San Diego.

My mom has great style and I have always loved the little outfits she dressed me in—check out these red velveteen overalls with the heart bib! I even had red hearts on my lil blue suede shoes.

I have to confess though, I was such a girlie girl I hated to wear pants. I was allll about the dresses. In fact, my mom reminded me, “It was SO hard to get you into that little outfit!” I do seem to remember that I was pleased by the red velvet trim on my ruffly shirt. Hmmm. OK, here we are at my Tante Anneliese’s house (my mom’s sister).

Twas an excellent year of presents for wee Alexandra! I got a little red-headed Blythe doll AND the Barbie townhouse. Score! Those are my three cousins in the back Danny, Rudi and Jimmy. Danny and Rudi were rockin’ the long California Boy hair.

After we went to Tante Anneliese’s house we would scoot over to my grandma’s house (my dad’s mom). Here we are. And oooh look what I just noticed is in my hand:

EMERALD THE WITCH! Remember, from my Creepy Cool Dollies post?? I was fairly certain I had an Emerald doll, but honestly thought it might just be wishful thinking. Proof positive I had her!

OK, now we travel across the country to Flint, Michigan. This is Christmas Eve, which we always celebrated with a night of music/singing and some tasty little finger foods. We also got to open up presents that were sent to us from relatives (packages from Germany and California).

Look how adorable my mom is in her plaid, maxi dress—there are strawberries appliques on the collar. Cuteness! That chair on the left was from a little kinder set my folks picked up in German (it had a matching table that  believe we are using as a small buffet!). The table and chairs were covered in a cool vinyl/plastic that had hot pink, red and orange flowers on them. The best part was (Dottie, are you listening??) I HAD MATCHING CLOGS! Oh yeah…..

These pictures totally make me smile. Check out how fun my parents are cuttin’ a rug on Christmas Eve! I look at our little house and there’s hardly any furniture. My dad was a young college professor and it’s not like he made a bundle, but as kids we were never aware that times might have been tight here and there. My parents are awesome.

This is my brother Karl opening up his big present that year…a drum set!

And finally, this is my mom with our dog Flockie (loosely translated it means “little snowflake” in German). I always loved this photo of her. She is wearing a velveteen gaucho suit, with a velveteen vest. I remember thinking she looked so glamorous with her Charlie’s Angels hair! I was always very pleased and proud that I had a “pretty mama”. Growing up in Michigan in the 70s, most of the mom’s wore polyester stretch pants and had androgynous short hair cuts. Not my mom. My mama had style!

So that’s my little trip down memory lane. I’ll have to try and get some more photos scanned. It’s so fun to peek at the past. We’ll be heading off to Michigan after Christmas. We weren’t sure we would make it this year (tickets before Christmas were $800-1200!!!!! Yeowch!). Are you traveling somewhere or are you at home? I better stop writing and get to wrapping!!

Retro Rewind // I heart Advent Calendars

image: vleervlinder

Oh my gersh folks, FOUR MORE DAYS TIL CHRISTMAS! I know this of course because of my trusty ADVENT calendar! Do you use one? Wolfie and I love ours. Just in case you’re unfamiliar, this lovely custom of counting down the days til Christmas began in Germany—with the very first known “Advents Kalender”  being produced in Hamburg in 1902 or 1903.

The traditional calendar consists of a holiday image that has twenty-four little numbered doors. Children open up one door each day of December, counting down the days remaining until Christmas Eve. The final door, “24”, is always bigger than the rest and has the best picture inside!

This was one of my favorite family traditions. Every year my mother would bring out an Advents Kalender for me and my brother. (I think we each had our own, but I’m not quite sure!) It was something I totally looked forward to each year. I have to admit, I’m kind of a purist and I don’t really like those new calendars that have chocolates in them…nevermind the fact that the chocolate doesn’t really taste that great, there isn’t as much charm and mystery. You know every day is going to have the same piece of chocolate. The traditional calendars simply feature with a new picture behind every door, which I love! This was what mine looked like growing up:

image: jany schindler

What I love about the classic calendar is that you really have to search for the numbers…it’s like a little puzzle. And I love the simplicity of finding a sweet image inside.

That being said, I think there are some REALLY cool new calendars out there that would be super fun for any kiddo. For example, check out this amazing Lundby Advent Calendar that hides a little doll house treat behind each door. WOW! It was made in 2007, but you can still track them down here and there:

image: püppilottchen

My fabulous friend Pilgrim has a great template for making your own DIY matchbox advent calendar:

image: draw! pilgrim

And my awesome friend Teri of Giddy Giddy made these cool push me/pull me Advent cards a while back with her girls:

image: giddy giddy 

I thought this next one was really creative too. Each little package contains a fun trinket or activity, like “hot cocoa party!” or “movie night!”

image: a beautiful mess

And then there these garland calendars, which are really fun too:

image: house of giggles

So I know I said I prefer the simplicity of the older versions, but I’m going to contradict myself with these last two. Among the newer advent calendars that I find very charming (especially for little boys!) are the Lego Advent Calendar and the Playmobil Advent calendar.

We bought Wolfie the Lego Advent Calendar 2 years ago and he LOVES it. Each day you open up your window and get a special little Lego set to build and add to a “scene”. When you’re done you have a fun themed holiday or winter scene.

Keep in mind the Legos “prizes” each day are rather small. Some are very cool like building a Lego snowman….others are very simple like a street sign. But I don’t mind this. I think it’s important that kiddos today learn PATIENCE and that not everything is NOW! BIG! HUGE! Over all these are really great. They have different options and  can be pricey, but  of course you can re-use it every year.

There is also a really adorable series of Playmobil Advent Calendars, which have super sweet little characters too and “scenes’ you build.

I was lucky to find one of these at the thrift store and that’s what we’re using this year.

If you celebrate Christmas, do you have an Advent calendar to count down the holidays at your house? What are some of your favorite traditions from your childhood? I’d love to hear!

Merry Kitschmas! My Vintage Ornament Collection

I loooove vintage ornaments. I love the Shiny Brites. I love little wooden figurines. I love the pretty glass ornaments from Germany.  I love metallic birds with real feather tails. BUT I also love these playful little guys. Over the years I’ve amassed a fun collection of little kitschy felted friends that are just TOO cute! I  have to say, I don’t know much about them. I’m guessing they are from the late 60s, early 70s….but I’m not positive. What I do know is that most are from Japan. And ALL are adorable. They remind me very much of the Rankin/Bass animated holiday specials, with their big round eyes. I don’t put them on our main tree anymore (because there are too many of them and I like our other ornaments too!), but awhile back I got this little mini silver tree and think they fit on here perfectly!

A little small tree like this is a GREAT idea for kiddos, because they can “be in charge” of the decor. Pick ornaments made of things like felt, wood, sequins, yarn (I’ve seen some really cute ones at Target!)  and you don’t have to worry about your little one accidentally breaking anything as they decorate away!

Do you have any special or favorite ornaments?