Monday, September 17, 2007

Radio History - Programmer's Digest LP Magazine

Programmer's Digest was an unusual vinyl LP magazine targeted for radio broadcast professionals. It was only around briefly, published for just a few years in the early to mid 1970s. Issues were originally sold on a subscription basis, like a print magazine.

1972 programmers digest

The brain child of publisher/editor Buddy Blake, who along with Bobby Byrd assembled a nice collection of industry gossip, various air-checks (station ids) by many radio on-air personalities, interviews, sales strategies and some comedy bits in their issues.

These were great radio days - before the air-waves were largely run by just a few mega-media outlets as is the case today. Nowadays the dial seems over-run with morning zoos on every station except NPR and, with a couple of solid exceptions, showing a sad lack of compelling music programming.

There are some true broadcast gems to be found in this series. One of my faves is some great ribbing of recently fallen, but back then on-air, shock-jock Imus at the hands of a gravelly-voiced howler know as the Wolfman Jack.

The LP magazines don't turn up all the time - possibly a small number of subscriptions as compared to the relative expense of pressing up vinyl led to its early demise - and now to its rarity. A few sites offer downloads of snippets from different issues (along with other sources), but to truly get a feel for 1970s radio, its best to spin a platter - analog, baby, analog!

Monday, June 4, 2007

Vintage Weddings

vintage wedding wrapping paper

June is a popular month for weddings so I thought it would be fun to peek around at some vintage wedding items! At my own ceremony in 2001, we used a 1960s honeycomb stand-up bride and groom on the gift table. They've made a great keep-sake that looks fab on a bookshelf corner.

vintage wedding gown pattern

If you're lucky enough to know someone handy with a needle and thread, having a gown made from a vintage pattern can make a truly stunning fashion statement. How about a hooded look for gothic drama? Or a little hippie romanticism for the free-spirited bride?

vintage wedding gown pattern

Vintage gift wrap not only makes a handsome wrapper, but can be used in crafts and scrapbooking. For those concerned about the acid content of old paper, a few different companies make products to neutralize them: Krylon Division Make-It-Acid Free Spray, Archival Mist and Paper Bright are some available on the web.

vintage wedding bell wrapping paper

Decoupage a collage of wedding paper to the cover of your wedding photo album or use cut-outs in page designs! It can also be used to decorate the gift table to fabulous effect.

vintage wedding cake wrapping paper

A vintage cake topper is another great way to bring something old into the wedding. Fancy Flours offers a nice selection to choose from (and edible gold leaf too - think of the possibilities - oooh, and save some for the honeymoon!).

And now for something completely different (and I mean waaaay out there) - here's your chance to TP the bride: The 2007 Annual Toilet Paper Wedding Dress Contest is officially underway. It runs from May 1 to July 31, 2007. Ladies and gentlemen - let the unrolling begin! But be sure to check out the 2005 and 2006 winners - Wow! the bar has been set high! Have fun - just don't invite Mr. Whipple to your ceremony - could be very embarrassing....

Friday, May 4, 2007

Time Travel with a COOKBOOK!

Although I have a few newer titles (like the FAB French Laundry Cookbook!) most of my collection dates to the early 1970s and older. I love going back in time by looking at what people were eating!

vintage electric refrigerator recipes cookbook

This one from the 1920s has fabulous frozen desserts and frozen fruit juice and ginger ale concoctions they call Smashes (oooh, add a little vodka and call it a Smashed!)- but those mayo and veggies entombed in gelatin recipes - bleck!

vintage american womans cookbook

This one from 1944 reflects the hardships of those war days. It features a section on how to feed a family of 5 for a week on $15! Not quite as bad as it sounds as that would be about $175.14 today or $5.01 per day for each person. That's tight, but with no eating out and no prepared foods (and lots of dried beans - maybe nothing but beans and rice) definitely do-able, but not much fun! And don't forget to sit downwind of anyone you're trying to impress....

vintage pabstett recipe booklet

So what do you do when your brew is now illegal? Milwaukee's Pabst made it through the dark days of prohibition making cheese, naturally! They also sold tonics, malt syrup and some sort of near-beer that was watered down enough to prevent any sort of buzz, flavour or possible enjoyment of that PBR! With Milwaukee Wisconsin's prominent place in the history of US beer-making, it should come as no surprise that the 21st amendment to repeal the 18th, was introduced in congress by a Wisconsinite, Senator John Blaine.

1935 home baking cook book

Other cookbooks, like this 1935 GENERAL FOODS All About Home Baking cook book I love for the images of old kitchen dishware and cooking products. Love that dotty looking pot holder by the muffins above! OOH, can you NAME that dishware below? I love the reticulated edge on the plates - looks like some sort of milkglass....Not sure just whose hobnail glasses those are - so many possibilities!

1935 home baking cook book

I've got one I'll get up soon that features some squirrel recipes. A little Prune Dressing for your Smothered Squirrel? What, no second helpings?! I wonder if anyone ever served up a squirrel in one of those jello/mayo creations? Bet that'd be a sight to see - double Bleck!

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Thanks for all the info!!

Many thanks to those who provided info about side-saddles! An especially big thanks to Marti of Hundred Oaks and to Lillian of Heritage Tack and Saddlery. If you're in the market to purchase one of the new side-saddles, a custom-made western-beauty or have your own antique treasure restored, look no further!

Thursday, April 5, 2007

Antique Side-Saddle w/Bird Motif- Photos & New Info

This post has been edited to put together what I've learned so far in a more coherent manner (and to tidy up the writing a bit too). I have received a few emails with a few different opinions regarding date. Do please let me know if you disagree about any info stated below - this is a work in progress so will change a little as time goes by.

antique side saddle

This old-style side saddle dates to between 1890-1910. Marti from Hundred Oaks came by and took a look to provide that date. I must add here dating I've gotten from others: 1870s and possibly as old as 1850 have been suggested. However, only Marti has had the advantage of seeing the saddle in person, flipping it over and getting a close look.

antique side saddle

It has some features seen on old mail-order saddles, like the waffle-type pattern stamped on the shorter skirt shown below. It also lacks a leaping horn, as Marti explained mail-order saddles sometimes did. However, the design on the longer skirt is very unusual both in layout, motif and attention to detail than what is seen on mail-order saddles. The motif (birds on branches) seems to be unusual for antique saddles of all sorts - even unusual for modern saddles.

This would have been a higher end saddle back in the day when it was purchased, designed for an upper-class or upper middle class clientele. Perhaps it was a specially customized mail order piece if such a thing were offered? We were told upon purchase that it was "custom-made" (also were told it was as much as 150 yrs old). Of course, we didn't buy the saddle based on what the sellers told us. We bought the saddle not knowing its condition or the detail of the design as it was caked in mud and paint. But I could see that the design was birds and thought at minimum (if saddle proved to be in such bad shape) I'd be able to remove the leather decorations and make a purse or other more easily displayed item and recoup the investment that way.

Don't panic! I'm not cutting her up! She cleaned up nicely and is in remarkably good shape.

antique side saddle

It also features a short-lived horn arrangement in that one horn is dropped to the side rather than upright. It is firmly and truly attached in that manner. Marti states it would have been used as a hand-hold rather than for leg-placement. Not very efficient, doesn't really give much safety benefit, nor does it add anything to the look so perhaps that's why its only seen every now and then on saddles. It has been suggested to me it may have been to accommodate fuller skirts or a heavier rider.

Although some do use saddles of this era for riding, this one could only be used on a very small horse (due to size of the tree) and by a small rider. And the iron stirrups would have to be replaced for all but the teeniest of feet (I'm under 5 feet tall and although the saddle may fit otherwise, the stirrups won't). I read somewhere that iron stirrups are usually on saddles pre-1915. Post-1915 brass is more common - I can't find the reference now (just have it written down in my notes) so don't know the validity. The padding would need to be replaced too (you can see the wear to it below). But why would you want to add to the wear of such unusual and beautifully done hand-tooling? Best keep this lovely for display!

antique side saddle

Most sidesaddles of this era have rather moderate value. $100-$300 (nope, no missing zeros there!) is about what many of this type old-style sidesaddles can fetch. This one however, stands out as a wonderful example of the art of leather-tooling. Its value is not really as a side saddle, but rather as an ornate saddle with beautiful 100 year old (+/-) leather work!

The floral branch and bird motif is marvelously detailed. Victorians did enjoy romantic bird imagery so the design motif seems to fits the time frame given by Marti.

antique side saddle

The design on the larger skirt covers the entire surface. Most designs were down down one or both sides, but not in the center. This is because the center area would suffer much wear in the normal use of a saddle. As expected, the center part of the design does show more wear than the side areas.

antique side saddle

I haven't yet found the right term for the above section of the saddle, perhaps its just considered more 'skirt.' Whatever its name, it sports two wonderful owls. Beneath the owls (and shown in picture below) can be seen some of the graceful shaping of the branches as well their bird occupants.

antique side saddle

Look at the attention to detail evident in the leaves, stem and feathers! Someone took some time putting this together!

antique side saddle

Not only is the design unusual in its chosen subject, it is also unusually ornate! Saddles were after all, a utilitarian item - a necessity to get about before cars became the norm. A saddle so lavishly decorated was an aesthetic indulgence, reserved for those with the means for such impracticality.

antique side saddle

The puncture design on the seat, like the stamped one on the shorter skirt shown above, is more like what may be expected of this era saddle. The seat decoration is somewhat elaborate, but certainly not unusual. It seems an odd choice to me however, as the puncture nature of the design and the wear any saddle seat must endure seem like an obvious mis-match. A choice fated to the type of damage this seat shows.

antique side saddle

All in all, this beauty is in good shape for an item of its age. The leather is a little stiff, but becoming more supple all the time as we have been using Pecard's Antique Leather Dressing on her. As mentioned above she came to us caked in so much mud and paint, the details of the design couldn't be seen. We cleaned it all off with room temperature water and a soft-bristled toothbrush to reveal a true beauty!

We are really pleased with the results as we had no idea upon purchase of the detail of the work. We are looking to sell this saddle, but have not settled on a price yet. Clearly we'll be asking for an amount above the $300 that can be expected for its more usual cousins. At that price we'd once again realize more taking it apart to re-use the decorated leather. I'd much rather see this gal intact and in the hands of someone who will appreciate it as such. She is, due to the unusual nature of her decoration, perhaps a museum-worthy piece....

In researching this saddle, I come across some fabulous saddles and accessories for Rodeo Queens! I've looked at some fabulous queen's chaps too! Saddles are given as part of a prize package to the winner of some rodeo queen contests. That's a mighty nice prize and some contests include fairly large prize packages. Must be some steep competition with such generous winnings! Beauty pageants, even with a horse, were never the thing for this tomboy, but if your inner-beauty queen is aching to run free, why not be a Rodeo Queen!