Category Archives: 50s

Coasting Into The Weekend – Time Travel Thursdays

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Retro Hallmark Colorful Clock Happy New Years Paper Coasters (12) at Boston Bag Lady

One of the most unappreciated and hardest working items in your home is sitting right there under your beverage of choice. Whether it be coffee, tea, cola, water, or some newfangled energy drink, when we go to place it down on our desk or coffee table, we usually plunk it right down on a coaster. If you don’t have any, you either have a series of lovely water mark rings all over the furniture, or you have been making do with any book, towel, or piece of mail that might be lying close at hand when you need it.

Mod Faux Tortoiseshell Coasters – Soovia Janis at Retrospective Orange
Fabulous Set of Vintage Straw Coasters – Olive Green and Turquoise – 1960s at Renaissance Couture

Since it is Time Travel day here at the Fab, I decided it was time to take a look back at some Coasters from the past. I am not referring to The Coasters by the way, you know, the band that gave us such great hits as “Charlie Brown” and “Yakety Yak” way back in the 1950s. Not one to let the opportunity pass, I will give you a little musical accompaniment to this post. Enjoy looking at these adorable and clearly fabulous vintage coasters, all available on Etsy right now. All the links are listed under the images so you can go check them out and get some great vintage goodness into your humble abode very soon. This is just a small sample of course, there are many other styles and colors listed from a variety of eras in addition to the heaps of new, upcycled, or hand-made coasters listed on Etsy.

Vintage 50s/60s Party Coasters at Nevermore Vintage
Aluminum Coaster Set 6 Pastel Colors Mid Century 1950’s Vintage by CraZy DreamZ

Coasters do their job, and that is a wonderful thing, but they can also be incredibly hip, kitschy, or decorative too. Your mother or grandmother may have been adamant that you use one on her wooden furniture, but today’s IKEA particle board and laminate home decor is much more forgiving. So why get yourself coasters, you ask? Because it’s a way of personalizing your space and adding a little extra touch of wonderful in a very cookie-cutter world. Vintage coasters, in particular, are really fun to collect, they are made with so many materials, and they will be a great topic of conversation at your next house party. Need yet another reason to love vintage coasters? Most of these sets range from $10 – $20 USD per set, a lot less then you would expect for something that is practically one of a kind these days. OK, now I can relax and set my iced glass of Coke Zero down without fear as I “coast” into Friday.

Fantastic Plastic

Citrus Coasters (1960-1970) at Wolf House Vintage
Vintage Set of Eight Coasters In Caddy at BMTvintage
Fifties Style Blue Green Coasters with Holder at OldLibrary
1970s Vintage Orange and Yellow Plastic Turtle Coasters at Tattered Lace

Paper & Felt

Vintage 1960s Hallmark Retro Mod Felt Cocktail Coasters at Let’s Love Vintage
Set of Vintage Coasters Depicting the 1932 Chevrolet Roadster at Memory Saver Vintage Treasures
Perky Pink Poodle, Ready For Drinks (6) at tinygirl vintage
Vintage Novelty Coasters/Ashtrays in Original Box at NeatoKeen
Vintage Martha and the Vandellas Paper Coaster Set at Retroclectic
Vintage 1960s Retro Card Party Coasters (Set of 11) at Shutter and Sparks
Pimpernel Coasters Set of 6 Made in England, Tennis Anyone? at Sweetie2Sweetie
Smartie Coasters Cocktail Mats – Cheeky Sayings at Tree House Club
Vintage Set of Cocktail Coasters – Liquor Bottles – New Years Eve Cocktail Party at Vintage Zen

Flora & Fauna

Vintage Coaster Set In Box From Japan (8) at kris67
Vintage Coasters Six Coasters Gold and White with Daisies by Wm. A Rogers Ltd. Made in Japan at It’s A Good Thing
Vintage 1970s Mid-Century Flower Coasters at Moderra
Vintage Orange & Gold Coasters in a Canister (6) at OrWa Designs
Vintage China Coasters from England at Quaint Collector
Vintage Glass Coaster Set – 4 Leaf Clover Design at Ric’s Relics

Vintage Danish Modern Wood Pear Coaster Set (6) with Stand at littlegoodwolf

Everything Else

Vintage Cocktail Party Coasters. 1950s French Language Humor/Gag at RubyFloy
Set of Four Ceramic French Fancy Designed Coasters with Cork Bottoms at My Oh Miles
Vintage Pewter Coasters Made in Bolivia, Rare Find at HanieBCreations
Susie Cooper Kestrel Design – Set of 4 Saucers or Coasters at Florence & Ruby Vintage

Non-Pro Tip

6 Vintage Big-Eye Love Girl Tin Litho Tea Set Plates at VintageFunland

Before I go, I wanted to add my own little Upcycle-It Tip for all you fun kitschy doll-loving one-of-a-kind [OOAK] type folks out there. When I saw that Florence & Ruby Vintage was using small demitasse saucers as coasters (a brilliant idea actually), I took it one step farther and offer up this sweet little twist.

7 Vintage OHIO ARTS Childs Tin PLATES Colorful Designs Graphics Toy Assemblage at Sweet Kate

Remember all those awesome Tea Sets we played with as kids? That little set of plates and dishes we would pile Cheerios on to play house with, and then never pretend to wash? If you can find a great set of those little Vintage goodies in your Etsy travels, you may just have found the most ninja-butt-kicking set of OOAK coasters for your funky little crash pad.  Remember to check the diameter of the plate in the item description so that you can be sure your favorite cuppa will sit in it nicely.  You can get a matching set of plates, or if you really want to shake things up, or give them a stir [your call], mix and match a pile of little tin plates for a OOAK collection of great coasters that will cost you just a few dollars to pull together.

Let’s Have A Tea Party. Instant Collection — 9 Child’s Metal Tin Plate Set at Online Vintage
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A Trip Down Grocery Lane – Time Travel Thursdays

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Groceries ART BLOCKS – Set of 21 Ephemera Art BLOCKS 1950’s Magazine Advertisements by Suzanna Scott, Sushipot Parts on Etsy. $145.00 USD.

I was born in the early seventies, that means the big 4-O is coming soon, but even I remember a time before grocery stores became giant tributes to mass consumption of over produced and over packaged goods. Most people dread the “weekly” trip to the grocery store, some people go out less than weekly. Our food has become so laden with preservatives that shopping carts are now immense, ready to hold all those giant boxes and bags that can shelf sit for decades.  Many of my friends and family have turned to shopping on-line, with a standard order delivered right to their doors at great expense, but it is a busy family’s savior in a time pressured world.  We now have so much waste, so much to recycle, that taking out the garbage can be more labor intensive than cooking up dinner.

Vintage 1946 Grocery Shopping Advertisement – Mother Daughter at French Frou Frou Antiques on Etsy. 10″x13″. $12.95 USD.
Vintage 1950 Mother Daughter Grocery Advertisement at French Frou Frou Antiques on Etsy. 10″x13″. $12.95 USD.

So when did it all go so horribly wrong? I am by no means the best at being ‘green’, I am not a vegetarian, and I am not someone who is the most socially aware, but I would have to be blind not to see that we have gone in a direction that is going to be very hard to change.  The old Corner Grocery Store is almost extinct, and that is a shame.

Corner Drug Store Vintage Photo of A Woman Standing In Front of a Drug Store at Romance Writer on Etsy. 3 3/8″x3 3/8″. $2.50 USD.
Girl Buys French Bread & Spaghetti from Retail Market Shop in Snow – Antique Photograph at Snaposaurus on Etsy. 3.5″x2.5″. $4.25 USD.

 In Canada [where I hail from] and the United States, the mega-sized grocery and drug store combo is a dominant feature on the landscape of most suburban shopping centers.  We don’t really even question it when yet another Big-Box shop opens around the corner. However, there was a time when small corner grocers were essential to a neighborhood, and many shopped for fresh goods on a daily basis.

Large Vintage Wire Shopping Basket with Handles – Old Country Store at Antique Beans on Etsy. SOLD.
Vintage Light Blue Grocery Store Shopping Basket at Planet Alissa on Etsy. Estimated 1970-1980. 16″x10 1/2″x9″. $20.00 USD.
Old Vintage Metal Store Display Tag for Fruit Flavor Certs Candy Breath Mints at Leora’s Magic Carpetbag on Etsy. 2 1/4″ Across. $9.99 USD.
Old Vintage Metal Store Display Tag for Dentyne Spearmint Gum at Leora’s Magic Carpetbag on Etsy. 5 3/4″ Across. $12.99 USD.

We drank out of glass bottles, which we returned. Dry goods were sold in paper boxes lined with wax paper, or tins that would be re-used.  Ice cream came in a paper box. Bread, produce, and meats were wrapped in paper and tied with a string. Your home ice-box didn’t hold as much, and things did ‘spoil’ as you would expect fresh food to do.

Vintage Sky Flakes Cracker Tin – Add To A Collection or Use To Store Special Items at Artsy Gemini on Etsy. 7″x4 3/4″. $4.50 USD.
Vintage Spice Tins & Extract Bottle – Lot 2 at UnAbashed DeStash on Etsy. 5 Spice Tins/Boxes, 1 Bottle. 1940s. 50s. 60s. $30.00 USD.
Vintage Spice Tins – Lot 1 at UnAbashed DeStash on Etsy. 7 Spice Tins/Boxes. 1940s. 50s. 60s. $35.00 USD.

So what, you may ask, is my point? Well, sometimes we need to take a look back in time to remember that most families had all their needs met by their corner store, and that the more we package and preserve, the more wasteful we have become.  For many, a look at vintage grocery ads, items, and containers in a wonderful way to remember the days of their childhood. For others, a reminder that for all our “progress”, we have taken a huge backwards leap in taking care of Mother Nature.

Set of 10 Sample Size Grocery Products Rare Collectibles at Antigua on Etsy. Boxes and Talcum Powder Tin Contain Product. Circa 1960s. $100.00 USD.
6 Vintage Jack And Jill Strawberry Gelatin Dessert Boxes at Antionettes Vanilla & Vintage Finds on Etsy. 3.5″x3″x1″. New Old Stock, Never Used. $8.95 USD.
Vintage Chocolate and Food Extracts for Vintage Snacks at Violet’s Steamer Trunk on Etsy. Original Price Tags On Some Items. Range in Size. $11.00 USD.

My family is rather unique in that I come from a ‘Grocery Ancestry’ of sorts. On my father’s side, his parents owned a corner grocery store on St. Clair Avenue in part of Toronto’s most well known early residential areas. He grew up working the store, and as he tells it, bribing the delivery drivers to let him drive their trucks long before he was of age.  On my mother’s side, her father and his partner had a ‘pop’ bottling plant in Thunder Bay, Ontario where they bottled such favorites as Nu-Grape and Sun Crest.  My maternal grandmother also had her time working in a butcher shop as a young woman before she married my grandfather.  You could say my love of the corner grocery store is almost a genetic trait.

Vintage Coca-Cola Bottles, Set of Coke Bottles in Original Carry Carton at Kona Boutique on Etsy. Holiday Style Cardboard Holder Included. $19.99 USD.
Vintage 7up Green Glass Soda Bottle at Antoinette’s Vanilla & Vintage Finds on Etsy. Circa 1950s. 7 oz. Bottle. 8″ Tall. $6.95 USD.
TWO VINTAGE Sun Crest Soda Bottles at Dee’s Attic Treasures on Etsy. 10 oz. & 7 oz. Bottles. Bottles From Atlanta, GA. $18.00 USD.

 Most people, I imagine, have had some connection to a corner store at some point in their family tree, there were just that many small shops serving the community.  Today I want you to remember those days, before the mega-ginormous food outlets, and remember all the families that relied on the small corner stores for their livelihoods and as a main food source for nourishing their families.  The stunning art blocks at the top of the post are the perfect way to honor that heritage in a new and eye-catching way. If you collect old photographs or glass bottles, you can find some of the best on Etsy. Vintage packaging and ephemera remind us of a simpler time and are great photo props or serve as inspirations for decor and artwork projects.  An old soda crate can become a great way to organize your craft room or studio.  This Time Travel Thursday, I ask you to think outside the “Big Box” grocery stores.

Vintage Wood Divided Soda Crate A-Treat Supplies Storage Primitive Industrial Box at Vintage Jane on Etsy. 17 3/4″ Long, 12 1/2″ Wide, 5 1/4″ Tall. $36.00 USD.
Coca-Cola Crate at Cottage On Cactus Lane on Etsy. Vintage Original. 18″ Long, 12″ Wide, 4.5″ Deep. Perfect for Storage, Decor, or Shelf. $25.00 USD.
Vintage Land O’Lakes Wooden Cheese Box at Uknow Uneed Another on Etsy. 11 3/4″ Length, 3 3/4″ Height, 4 1/4″ Wide. Bottom Opening Hinged. $25.00 USD.

Shaking Things Up – Strange Stuff Saturdays

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They are quite a pair, those salt and pepper shakers we all have in our kitchens or dining rooms. Sometimes salt and pepper shakers are beautiful crystal antiques, perhaps they are very kitsch, others are mostly utilitarian, and sometimes it is a large grinder that requires a little elbow grease to get the perfect seasoning. In my place, I just use the sea salt in the spice bottle from the market, and my pepper comes in a little bottle with a grinder on top, also supermarket bought. How terribly boring and wasteful, really. Ugly labels, they are not really refillable, and even if I recycle the bottles, it isn’t an ideal situation. So I need to get myself a cute set of Salt & Pepper Shakers. I decided it was a good time to see what I could find on Etsy, so many great vintage picks and handmade or upcycled options. So I ran a search, and of course, came up with oodles of listings. Let me say, before I begin this post, that it is all about the images, I wanted to show you the ones that really stood out, for a variety of reason. Now remember, this is “Strange Stuff Saturday”, so what is strange in today’s post is my immediate reaction to the salt and pepper sets. I am going to show you a pile of great ways to spice up your kitchen, and give you my exact first reaction in a caption below the image. All the individual item Listing Details and Etsy shop links will appear at the bottom of this post, and while my comments might seem odd, or negative, they are in fact the very reason these shakers are fabulous. I don’t want boring, I want funny, ironic, creepy, or just plain strange. Let’s Shake Things Up!

  1. First Rule Of Zombie Land – The Double Tap. [They look like crawling Zombies to me, with bullet holes in their heads!]

  2. Because Everyone Wants To Think About Dirty Laundry While Eating.

  3. There. Are. No. Words.

  4. “I Bagel Your Pardon!”

  5. “Pass The Toe Jam?” [These are a Canadian souvenir set, I am so proud of my country!]

  6. Good Morning. You Are Not Dead Yet.

  7. A Freudian Rorschach Test. What Do You See?

  8. Nothing Classes Up A Kitchen Like A Piddling Puppy

  9. Please Pass The Ass

  10. From The “Bunnies On Acid” Collection

  11. [They are Vintage Nuts, do I actually have to make a smart-ass comment on this one?]

  12. The Eyes, They Follow You No Matter Where You Go. Creepy!

  13. The Fru-eats Of The Day-vil. [“The Fruits of the Devil”, So I Married An Axe Murderer – Mike Myers quote from my very obscure sense of humor.]

  14. If The Salt Looks Like Dandruff… What Does The Pepper Look Like?

  15. Urns. Pepper Flakes. How Wonderfully Macabre!

  16. I Now Understand Why Some People Are Afraid Of Clowns.

  17. This Is What My Eyes Look Like After A Night Of Heavy Partying.

  18. Little Critters in Carbon Freeze, Just Like Han Solo [Star Wars.]

  19. Bam Chicka Wow Wow – Makin’ Bacon!

Pardon my rather odd and extremely obscure sense of humor, but those were my exact thoughts on seeing these strange and wonderful shaker sets. It strikes me that these are almost all, if not entirely, vintage items. It makes you wonder, why is it we get such a kick from these bizarre kitschy items? Were they intended to be funny or is it just a matter of the esthetic at the time. I haven’t seen nearly as many modern salt and pepper shakers that made me laugh as much as this random selection did. I could have gone on and on, there are so many more treasures to be found over on Etsy. Have a great weekend everyone, and next time you look at your own S&P shakers, think of Foraging For Fab!
Image Credits:

  1. Vintage Pushup Salt and Pepper Shakers by Out Of The Pink Sky on Etsy.
  2. Vintage Westinghouse Washer and Dry Salt and Pepper Shakers by Random Voyeur Vintage on Etsy.
  3. Vintage Salt and Pepper Shakers Retro Holt Howard Grant Pixie PixieWare Elf by Magpie Antiques on Etsy.
  4. Holt Howard Lefton Bagel Donut Salt and Pepper Shakers Two Peppers holt howard strange crazy anthropomorphic by Retro Chalet on Etsy.
  5. vintage salt and pepper shakers – feet – Canada souvenir set by Forrestina Vintage on Etsy.
  6. Pair of Tombstone Salt And Pepper Shakers by Dusty Attic on Etsy
  7. Anthromorphic Mushrooms Salt and Pepper Shakers 1970s by Melony’s Whimsy Daisy on Etsy.
  8. Vintage Dog and Fire Hydrant Salt and Pepper Shakers by Lady Ivy Vintage on Etsy
  9. Texaco Souvenir donkey Salt and Pepper Shakers by Chelles Treasure on Etsy.
  10. Weird and Wild – 1950s Vintage Rabbit Salt and Pepper Shakers – by Goodlookin’ Vintage on Etsy.
  11. Vintage Pair of Nuts – Salt and Pepper Shakers – Nuts by Strange Vagaries on Etsy
  12. Vintage 70’s squirrel salt and pepper shakers with wiggly eyes by Belle Epochalypse on Etsy.
  13. Vintage Garlic Head Anthropomorphic Salt and Pepper Shakers by Two Little Owls on Etsy.
  14. Set of Vintage Salt and Pepper Shakers Monk Plastic Hong Kong Japan by Ye Olde Antique Shoppe on Etsy,
  15. Vintage Salt Pepper Shakers 22k Gold Warranted China Porcelain Shaker Set by Carlea Pink on Etsy.
  16. Vintage Salt and Pepper Shakers, Clown Teapots by The Dish Dash Kitchen Company on Etsy.
  17. Vintage Salt & Pepper Shaker Set Plastic Rooster by Magnolia Vintage on Etsy.
  18. Vintage Salt and Pepper Shakers, Circus, Japan by Lulu’s Five and Dime on Etsy.
  19. Vintage Black and White Pigs Salt and Pepper Shakers by Salt and Pepper Mania on Etsy.