Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Collecting Florida Kitsch

I went to a Florida Kitsch show at the Biltmore Hotel in Florida a couple of years ago and was shocked at some of the prices that these items commanded. Some I must admit were not kitsch. Webster decribes it as "made for the mainstream or non discriminate." There were some lovely old advertisements such as charming fruit crate labels and airline ads and some real art from the Highwaymen, a school of Florida painters. But for the most part it was kitsch. I looked around my place here in Clearwater and realized that I had unconciuosly built a tacky collection myself.

In the hall closet was this green and gold serving piece made of the part of a palm leaf that attaches it to the trunk from the late 1950s or early 196os. (pictured above left) In the china closet was a Flamingo Thermometer that my wife must have bought without my knowledge on a trip here from New Jersey years ago. They still sell these, along with alligator heads and coconut patties at those stands with all the plastic oranges outside. This tin with the palm trees was made in Ohio for the Florida Market and once contained cookies. There were a couple old postcards and two flamingo prints that hang on our wall in the dining area, one of which is shown here above left .Just when I thought I was done my wif drags out the epitome of Florida Kitsch. A 1950s vintage Florida tablecloth. Life could not become more kitschy!

If you are in the market for Florida Collectible do not look in Florida as they were usually purchased by tourists. The pictures came from a flea market at Monmouth Racetrack in New Jersey. The tablecloth from an estate sale in NJ also. I am not sure about the others except for these postcards. They were purchased here in Clearwater. They were never mailed.

Meanwhile back in Frogpatch, Billy Bob Bobcat says he is planning on opening a day spa! Says he needs to get his nails done! I think he has been watching too much real housewives.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Little Cabinets With Drawers

Some people call them sewing cabinets, spice cabinets or even screw cabinets. Whatever you put in them thats what they are for. I will want to put fish hooks and sinkers in the long one but I am sure my wife will have another idea to overrule me! What ever their use they are extemely popular items to sell! I particularly like the old paint on the white one. These were both recent yard sale finds!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

You Never Know What You Will Find

While digging through piles of pictures at a local thrift store I came across this original oil painting that was marked $5.00 the frame appears to be from the 1950s because of its minmalist look. On the bottom left corner of the frame waqs a little round folded price tah that my wife spotted as we were checking out. It was selling for $250.00 50 years ago. I have tried to research the artist but I am unsure of the spelling in the signature. If you can make it out please let me know! The picture is very well executed. Look at the lighting, shadows, motion and texture. I have always found artwork to be the most challenging when it comes to research. The experts want to be paid for their info and are wrong very often. There are website that are helpful but you have to be a paid member to research there. I have several pieces that are sitting in a closet for lack of information!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Tax Dollars at Work These municipal workers, in Clearwater Florida, are waiting for two others to finish digging a hole by hand that will take a couple hours. Do the math

Monday, April 20, 2009

You Have To See This

This was in the Antwerp Belgium Train Station. 200 dance to the Sound of Music.

Look What We Found

No matter how many years I look for vintage and antique items I never fail to come up with a stumper. Look at this stemware. This glass is one of seven that were purchased at an estate sale in Neptune New Jersey. At the same sale we found items as old as 1860 through the 1950s. To of the glasses are slightly smaller than the others. The actual color of the stem is a graywhite.If anyone can tell me anything at all please email me a

Recapping the New Days of the Week

Last week I thought that the medieval names of the days of the week should be updated and I came up with some suggestions.

Monday I thought should be a work optional day where employers should reward you with a Bloody Mary just for showing up. I want to change the name to Someday as that is the day we are all looking forward to unlike Monday.

Tuesday is the first day of the week when most people actually get work done. I thought Oneday would be a great name for it because everyone is going to accomplish something great one day and now they have a day just for that!

Wednesday has to get that cliche of hump day disassociated with it. The Germans simply call it Mittwoch or Mid week. I like that, so I will follow suit and call it simply Middleday.

Thursday is that day that sits just to the right of the center of the work week. It is not the weekend yet encourages some thought of it. It is kind of just there. So I will call it Thatday. We all remember that day.

Friday is one of the Big Three. It is a day of great anticipation and around three in the afternoon people start emailing friends. Playing music on their desk tops and stop paying serious attention to their jobs. If you are a saleperson and you call on a customer late that day, you have no life. It was originally named for the Norse God Frigg. I do not think Friggday sounds to good. I want to name this one Yayday as that is what everyone says a quitting time!

Saturday rocks! It is by far the best day of the week. Lucky 7. On this day you still have one more day off ahead to sleep late if you wish. I have renamed this Whattaday.

Sunday I left as is because changing the name would cause to many problems. Besides being named after the sun is a good thing.

So here they are in order. Sunday, Someday, Oneday, Middleday, Thatday. Yayday and Whattaday. Enjoy your new week!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

I Missed Two Days

I was overwhelmed on Friday so I had no chance to post. Please accept my apologies and take this flower as a token of my regrets. It was one of those days where I had to run here and there and by the time I was done the day was also.

So lets talk about Friday! Friday is such a popular day that Robinson Crusoes sidekick's mom even named her son after it. That created a whole occupational group in the 1950's called Gal Friday which in the liberal 60's became Guy/Gal Friday, changed to administrative assistant soon after. The saying Thank God it's Friday became simply TGIF and from that sprang a national restaurant chain. The actual origin of the name was in honor of the Norse goddess Frigg. Imagine if we called it Friggday. When I was little I thought this was actually Fry Day as all my Catholic friends ate fish on that day.This one really needs a new name. Because it is the day that precedes Saturday and is one of the trinity of good days it should have a cheerful name. I think we should call it Yayday because Yay is what most people say at the end of their workday.

Now it is Saturday, the Mickey Mantle of the week. Good old number 7. Even its number is lucky. It is the Sabbath for the Jewish people and just a day that rocks for anyone else that has the day off. There is that great "I am off tomorrow" feeling that lasts all day and late into the night. Back in the 70s the only show that ever kept people home on Saturday Night exploded on the scene. SNL as it is fondly known today is still going strong over thirty years later. This day is named after Saturn. That is way too days of yoresque. I think we should call this one Whattaday because what a day it is.

Now we are on to Sunday. I think this one should be left alone or all the kids that go to Sunday school will be wandering around lost all week. Too many churches would have to change their signs and blue laws and liquor laws would have to be rewritten. Remember the song Sunday will never be the same? We do not nee Spanky and Our Gang to become prophetic do we? So we will leave Sunday alone. After all it is a day of rest for many of us and is named for the Sun which is a good place to rest in on Sunday.

Thursday, April 16, 2009


Here is a day that does not bother me as much as the three that preceed it. Maybe because it comes before Friday and my anticipation of the weekend is starting to flicker just a little. When I was a small child I thought it was thirst day. I did not understand! Did adults just drink more on this day? To me, today, it is kind of a neutral day just to the right center of the week, but not part of the big three. So appropriately I think the name of this one should be changed to Thatday. Anything you do today will now be something that happened that day. Now we have Someday, Oneday, Middleday and Thatday.

Yesterday was a much nicer day weatherwise here in Clearwater. There were no more tornado warnings and the skies were blue and the wind was calm. I actually got to do some fishing last evening. No catching, just fishing. Below is a picture of where I go wading for snook.

Like I said yesterday I was going to walk the shoreline to look to see what washed up during the storm the day before. I trekked the high tide line for a while which is where I am standing when this picture was taken. I found nothing except this. What do you think it is? If you said a fishing bobber your are sort of right. It is what is known as a popping float. It is tugged through the water flat side first. Inside there is shot that rattles. A shrimp or other bait is suspended below it a a depth that depends on the water depth. The spashing and rattling attracts fish that then see your bait following below triggering a strike. I will use it. Recycled to use from the shoreline. That is worth 10 greenpoints!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Hmmm Wednesday

Wednesday has always been the stressful day for me. There seems to be more traffic and I was always really busy at work. I guess that people take long weekends starting Thursday or extended weekends that end Tuesday. Everyone seems to show up at work or school or for the senior breakfast specials on Wednesday. I like the day for one reason only. 69 cent cheeseburgers at McDonalds. Aside from that the day is manic. It is no secret why people refer to it as hump day. I do not like that name as it is just old and reminds me of those people that insist on using 80s office cliches like power lunch and "thats what she said." The Germans downplay the day by making it the only day of the week that has no real name, They simply call it Mittwoch or Midweek. I like that. It takes the hill climbing out of it. So borrowing from them and in an attempt to de-stress "hump day" I think we should simply call it "middle day." Sort of like middle school. You're not where you used to be but you have not reached where you want to be. So now we have improved three days. Someday, Oneday and Middleday.

So on this middle day I am going to start my day getting a little fresh air. We had some strong southerly winds yesterday after the storms past by. I am going to go out and walk the bay shore and see what the wind brought in. Maybe I will find another great piece of driftwood like the one pictured earlier. Who knows? Whatever it is you will see it here.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Look Who is Here

Meanwhile Back in Frogpatch. Hey there! I am Goggles, the mayor of Frogpatch and I would like to invite you to our town wide yard sale which will be coming up soon. I have a couple of other announcemnts to make. Gwendolyn Gagglesquack and Abigail Van Bird, who are columnists for the Frogpatch Dispatch have confirmed that they will be joining together in a joint venture and opening a vintage cook book nook soon. I will keep you posted. Billy Bob Bobcat says he is planning on opening an Italian Bistro. He says he studied regional Italian cooking with Giada De Laurentis in Tuscany. I think he watches too many cooking shows,

Today was Tuesday

Yesterday, if you were around, you would have read that I thought making Monday a work optional day was a good idea and changing the name to Someday because everyone always looks forward to someday. Well I am not to happy with Tuesday either. When I was little I thought it was twosday because it was the second day in my week, even though my mother said it was the third day. I had issues with it even back then.

Tuesday is the first day of the week when people actually are up to working a full day and the weekend is still a recent memory and the next one seems so for off. My proposal is to change the name of this day also. I would call it Oneday. The reason for this change is that everyone is in work mode and everyone that I know always stated that they wanted to do something great one day. Well here it is. One day is here so now you can go skydiving, take opera lessons, learn Mandarin dialect or whatever it is you were planning to do one day. Think of how the world would change once a week by everyone accomplishing something great. I have to go now. I want to write that novel that I said I would write one day. I will be back tomorrow when I will deal with that day. Here is a photo of our gray day in FLA. This is the same view as the photo above. There was a tornado watch earlier,

Black Beans When I was taking an Autocad class a few years ago I sat next to another student who was an engineer of Cuban descent. I asked her if she had a recipe for black beans and she came in a few days later with this hand written recipe that her grandmother translated from Spanish. It is a little complex but it is by far the best recipe that I have ever tried. You have to follow it to the narrowest degree. No substituting ingredients or varying measurements or it will not be the same. I am going to type it into a word document and offer it to anyone for free. If you are interested please email me at and I will send you a copy.

Meanhile Back in Frogpatch Professor Edward Everett Egret is preparing for his new class at Frogpatch Univerisity or FU as it is called.

Monday, April 13, 2009

It is Monday Again

It seems that we have one of these per week. I do not like them as they fall right after two days of having fun. Why couldn't they have a day designed for easing slowly back into the week? A day when we could go to work late if we felt like it but didn't have to. If we did it would be a law that we were rewarded for just showing up and y Marys would be manditory for all employers to provide. The name of the day would be changed from Monday to Someday because we are all waiting for that one to arrive anyway. Yesterday we celebrated what is called Easter here but in my opinion should be referred to as Resurrection Day as the former was taken from a pagan spring fertility celebration as were hot cross buns. Those buns were originally a phallic shaped treat that was paraded around in a celebration. The church put a cross on it to make it acceptable. The Maypole is another phallic fertility symbol that children danced around. I made one of those hams yesterday that looked like a Smithfield add. It had those perfectly cut diamonds with a clove stuck perfectly in each one. The shiny tangerine, brown sugar and mustard glaze was perfect. I wanted to take a picture of it as it was a feast for the eyes but I decided to start pulling little pieces of it and eating the with my fingers before it got served. When I first started this blog I messed up and deleted the original post on there I was showing my new found flotsam find. Well I decided to bring it back. I found this board along the shore and decided to recycle it into a coat rack. When my wife bought these hooks and that 100 year old bracket I asked her, "what do you want that for?" When I finish my one a of a kind driftwood coat rack we will all know! 100 green points for me. Please read my new article on hubpages about the vanishing bees and how there demise could lead to ours. www.tinyurl/vnshgbees

Thursday, April 9, 2009

The Annual Easter Bunny Invasion

The Shamrocks are gone from the windows and the last pint of Guinness is just a fond memory. Easter is approaching fast followed by Greek Easter which is a week later this year and we celebrate both as my wife is Greek. It is my favorite Holiday for it's real purpose of celebrating the resurrection, of course, but it also is a springtime celebration, a time for new beginnings and new hope. It is also time for bunny's in my home. First it starts around St. Patricks day when a new one shows up on the consolebar by the little Christmas tree that contains shamrocks and soon will have Easter eggs hanging from it. Then another appears in the bedroom and more in the living room and even the bathroom. Soon the number swells to more than I am willing to count. There is this years arrival, Glitter Bunny, followed by Black Lady Bunny and Classic Bunny. The are even bunny salt and pepper shakers and get this! A vintage bunny pencil sharpener. There are outdoor bunnies as well! These are just a few of the bunny enterage managed by my wife the bunny madame. There is one that did not make it out this year. I imagine the reason is that the bunny madame is weary of me poking fun at it. It is a big white ironstone pitcher that looks like a rabbit sitting up. The rabbits mouth fuctions as the spout. I would say: I'm a little bunny short and stout, Here is my handle, my mouth is the spout. When I get all filled up here me shout, Tip me over an watch me puke! That one I named Barf Bunny! My wife does not see any humor there! She says I am disgusting and cruel as if this porcelain pitcher actually had feelings. The rabbit was a symbol of fertility as was the egg. Even the name Easter was taken from a seasonal paggen celebration that fell at this time of year. Rabbits are known for their qickness on their feet and their quickness in producing more rabbits thus making them a perfect fertility symbol. Sonehow the rabbit and the egg became a large rabbit that delivered eggs and hid them for children to find. Classic Bunny is a repruduction of an early model Easter Bunny. The ones around our home multiply in a different way. the bunny madame adopts them. Glitter Bunny came from Michaels with a 40 percent off coupon but most come from estate sales, church sales and thrift stores! I kind of wish that one of those big hollow chocolate one would show up here so I could break off its ears and fill it with jelly beans as I did as a kid.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Fish Cakes and Spaghetti

A Times Square Memory Here is a link to the story of two 15 year old guys and their unlikely friendship. It was 1965 and they decided to visit the city on their own. Click the link below and it will take you to a moving little story.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Meanwhile back in Frogpatch, the residents are getting ready for their own town wide yard sale. Billy Bob Bobcat is trying to find some old fishing tackle and Abigull Van Bird and Gwendolyn Gagglesquack ( pictured ) are thinking abut opening a vintage cookbook nook. Look for the upcoming announcement From the Mayor.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Roots and Shoots

Growing anything in Florida, if you are from the North like me, requires a complete change of seasonal thinking. Right now in April we are in the peak of tomato season, the last part of strawberry season and the tail end of citrus season. In New Jersey I would be planting peas about now and 45 days away from planting tomatoes. Contrary to what I thought prior to moving here, Florida produces very good tomatoes out of a town called Ruskin and Plant City is the strawberry capitol of the east. Their strawberry festival in February brings in top entertainment and attracts thousands of visitors from all over the country. The strawberries are some of the best I have ever eaten.

What grows indoors up north in interior landscaping is used for exterior here. Even Cactus can thrive here outdoors if given the proper care. This plant, a tricolored Peperomia, pictured here, was a house plant that traveled in the back seat and slept in our room on the trip down here. It has been very happy living in the Florida sun where it was originally potted by Englemanns 7 years ago. It was three leaves when I bought it for 89 cents in Frank's in Wall NJ.

Once the hot weather arrives in May most gardeners here go in the air conditioning and do not come out until October when it begins to cool off again. The rainy season soon arrives keeps the tropical vegetation happy and the mangoes become ripe and ready to hop into the blender to become a Mangorita.

Look What We Found

When searching around at an estate or demolition sale always go outside and look in the yard under the bushes and in garden beds especially those that are over grown. You never know what you might discover. Also look on shelves and rafters in garages and basements. These four vintage gnomes have been outside for years and have developed real character. One might be tempted to repaint them but I like the weathered look. This old concrete bunny planter would cost around 50.00 at a garden center today if you could find one. This one will be an Easter decoration this year and cost only 5.00. Here are a few other items that are for sale in our booth on Etsy. There is a link on the side bar. The frame is a fine example of a 19th century gilt, painted and grained frame. It was a thrift store find.

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