Sunday, November 27, 2016

Kitschmas Decorating (And a Review of The Vermont Country Store Tinsel Tree)

I may never achieve my dream of a mid century home perfectly decorated for Christmas:

but I still enjoy decorating my urban home for the Holidays every year.   I generally collect much more vintage clothing then I do knick knacks and home wares, but over the years I have gathered a sizable collection of kitschy vintage holiday stuff.  In fact in our home I say we celebrate Kitschmas.  

The number one Kitschmas requirement is of course a tree in a color never found in nature: pink, white, or silver.   I've been in love with such trees every since I saw Edward Scissorhand's at age 12 and begged my horrified mother for a tinsel tree, she said no.

As soon as I grew up and got my own home I bought a vintage 1960s tinsel tree.  I loved that tree:

Sadly though it lost more and more tinsel each year until it had sizable bald patches and I began to worry about the dogs or cats ingesting shedded tinsel.  So last year I tossed it. 

 At first I planned to buy another vintage tree but in my research I learned lights on vintage aluminum trees are a major fire hazard (obviously I hadn't known that).  So I decided to go with the Vermont Country Store's reproduction tinsel tree that is pre-lit and fire safe.  The tree retails for for 170 dollars in the 6 foot option and ships quickly with no extra charge.  

Initially when I opened the box I was a little disapointed because the trees material is very different from the 1960s original, but then that is probably why it is fire safe.


Once I got it up and decorated though it started to grow on  me.  Silver is the perfect background for Star Trek ornaments and I have a lot of those (we celebrate Trekmas in our house too.)  My latest ornament is the Gorn Captain, I got it at the Star Trek Convention in Cherry Hill and I gave it a prominent spot on the tree.  Nothing like Christmas with the Gorn.

I have a lot of talking Star Trek Hallmark keepsake ornaments that John has gotten me over the years too and I never tire of listening to them.  The Tribble one is my favorite.

I have some mid century blown glass ornaments too.  I just got this little pipe cleaner angel on a pink ball for a dollar.

I had to take a selfie with the tree when I had finished decorating it.  You can see some of the blown glass ornaments I inherited from my mother in law.  

Once I saw the tree lit I had no more doubts.  I love it!  It's really, really bright.  

The color wheel is from Vermont Country store too.  I reviewed it here.  

Isn't it pretty?

Of course the tree is just one part of the Kitschmas decorating.  I had to put up the dog and cat stockings.

 and my 1950s punch bowl and Christmas corsages, and I have a lot of mid century greeting cards.

On the mantle I displayed most of my cards and my Christmas albums.  

I was so excited when John got me this Colonel Sanders album, I had wanted it for years.

The card on the end was made for me by a former student, my favorite ever.  I almost cried when I found it.

I also have a 1960s Christmas Dream Pet poodle, its so cute I want to leave it up all year.

My all time favorite decoration though is my geeky garland, its my one and only somewhat successful crafting attempt. 

Three years ago used photo shop to make myself cards form all of my favorite shows.  I posted about it here.   Talk about geeky!

What are your favorite Holiday decorations?

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Thanksgiving Traditions-My Turkey Day Watch List

As we all know Thanksgiving is the time for family

and for family traditions.

Now it's not something I really share regularly on the blog, but I don't have a big traditional family.   I'm an only child and my husband and I are child free, so they'll be no big family gathering for us.  This is not something I'm sad about, in fact I love celebrating Thanksgiving with my husband and pets.   I even  have a specific non-traditional tradition that I follow every year. 

Before my dad passed away five years ago he used to visit us every year for Thanksgiving.  Now my dad is the reason I love the kitschy-vintage things I do.  Like me he loved silly old movies and one of his favorite shows, and one we watched together when I was in high school, was Mystery Science Theatre Three Thousand.

The hilarious sci-fi show about a man and his robot palls who are stuck in outer space and forced to watch bad movies.  I hadn't seen MST3K, as it's known by fans, for years when shout factory started releasing the box set DVDs.  Needless to say my dad and I started buying them and when he would visit on Thanksgiving we'd watch them.

Just imagine less people, more dogs and cats, and robots in space on tv and you have the idea.
At the time I didn't realize that we weren't the only people following this "tradition."  Unknown to me MST3K premiered on Thanksgiving day in 1988.   Since then fans have watched the show on Thanksgiving to celebrate "turkey day"

The turkey in this case being the terrible movies.  These days you can even stream an MST3K turkey day marathon on Thanksgiving.  I just wish my dad where here to see it.

I myself don't usually stream the marathon because I have specific MST3K episodes I like to watch on Thanksgiving, mostly the Holiday ones.   Here are my top 5 favorites.

1) Santa Clause Vs. The Martians, 1964-This is a great starter episode for MST3K newbies.   The movie is truly terrible, and bizarre.  The basic incomprehensible plot is that Santa has been abducted by martians because the martian children are too serious to have any fun.  Never fear though, to Earth children are on hand to help Santa out. 

 The movie is so awful it would be hilarious even without the MST3K's casts jokes too.

The host segments in the episode are also great.   My favorite being the Patrick Swayze's  Road House inspired Christmas Carol they sing (remember this was the 80s.)

2) Santa Clause 1959- Another incredibly weird mid-century children's film, this episode doesn't quite achieve the brilliance of Santa Clause vs The Martians, but it's still very funny and perfect for the Holidays.  It's a Mexican film about a poor little girl who desperately wants a doll from Santa, the devil is also involved.

The weirdest part is definitely the beginning when the children from different lands serenade Santa from what look's like a snow globe prison.

3) Mr. B Natural, 1956-Mr. B Natural is technically not a movie, it's an educational short.  MST3K riffed alot of educational shorts and this is one of the funniest  Mr. B has nothing to do with the Holidays, he/she is supposed to be the spirit of music.  A creature who hops out of lockers and materializes in the bedrooms of 1950s teens to lecture them on instruments,  but there is something very elf like about him/her.

4) Santa Clause and  The Ice Cream Bunny, 1972-This is actually an episode or Rifftrax.  Rifftrax is a sort off follow up to MST3K with some of the same hosts.  You can purchase episodes on their website.  There are actually two versions of Santa Clause and The Ice Cream Bunny.  I wrote about the first one last year in this post.  The second version is the same except instead of the bizarre Thumbalina story there is a version of Jack and The Bean Stalk.  Both versions are an advertisement for the now defunct Pirates World Amusement park which if these films are to be believed must have been terrifying.  

5) Fun in Balloon Land, 1965-I would say this is the worst movie I've ever seen, and  I'm kind of an expert, except like the Rifftrax hosts (this is another Rifftrax episode), I'm not sure if it technically qualifies as a movie.

Basically someone took amateur, very amateur, footage of a 1965 Thanksgiving parade in Pennsylvania and added some sort of bizarre story about a fairy tale balloon land.  It has to be seen to be believed.

If you only see one episode of Rifftrax make it this one, it's worth the ten bucks.

Happy Thanksgiving!  Enjoy Your Traditions Whatever They Are!

Monday, November 21, 2016

The Perfect Thanksgiving Dress- Thank You Bernie Dexter


It's arguably the quintessential American holiday, but lately it seems to have been removed from its traditional role

and become  a Christmas dress rehearsal.

Personally I think it's high time that, Thanksgiving, and all it symbolizes, experiences a revitalization. 

I am a fanatic for seasonal and festive dressing and whenever  I get into the spirit of a Holiday I think about what to wear: red and green and gold or silver and blue for Christmas and Channukah, sparkles for New Years, Hats for Easter, etc.  But Thanksgiving is tricky, just what constitutes a Thanksgiving outfit?  The obvious choose is fall collars of  brown, gold, and orange, but that is pretty predictable.  I sort of like the idea of something that hearkens to the spirit of the Holiday: home and family.  That is why the Bernie Dexter Jodi dress in  Home Sweet Home print is to my  mind the perfect dress for the day.

The print on the dress, with it's simple and cheerful rendition of a small farming community and horse drawn carriages reminds me of the work of the folk artist Grandma Moses. 

Certainly an appropriate choice for Thanksgiving.

The pictures of me wearing the dress here where in August, during my brief fling with blue hair, but I will  be wearing it again this Thanksgiving.

Outfit Details:

Jodi Dress in Home Sweet Home print-Bernie Dexter
Hair Flower-Chatter Blossom
1950s Novelty Horse Purse-Anna Cat Etsy
1950s Cowboy Boots-Thrifted
1930s Wooden Dog Brooch-Thrited

Do you have  a favorite Thanksgiving Outfit 

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