Category Archives: Giveaway

Shine on, Bright and Mysterious Objects

Laurie Colwin, wherever you’re lounging in Literary Valhalla — forgive me for bastardizing one of your best titles.

I’d planned to rent some skates today and ask Daddy to take some pix of me falling on my can as I attempted to glide along the beautiful Rideau Canal. Again God said “Hah! Not so fast, sister! ” and encouraged me to run a shopping cart over my left pinky toe. It resembles a baby eggplant and I can barely get my shoes on, let alone a skate. Perhaps it was Her way to remind me that I haven’t done the Hans Brinker thing for thirty years, and that a swollen toe heals faster than a broken leg.

So much for today’s plans, skate-wise and blog-wise — time to move the photography inside.I thought I’d share some of the objects from my parents’ silver collection and run a small contest. Some of them you’ll recognize and some may be mysterious. I’ll send a prize, made by moi, to anyone who achieves 100% identification of the mystery objects. None of today’s shiny things are the oldest or most valuable in the collection — they’re mostly Edwardian — but I love them. They’re mad cheerful, and for me they’re free;I get to use them and I didn’t pay a single pound sterling.

Here’s a snap of most of them to give you an idea of the scale:






I love engraving. Here I’m an Anglo Indian military bride:








I want to run out and buy Jordan almonds, licorice allsorts and wine gums to fill the little pans! The hallmarks indicate that it was made in Chester in 1908. The inscription reads:

Presented To

Capt. and Mrs. Farley


The NCOs & Men Of

“E” Company

2nd North Stafford Rgmt.

Peshawar India 1910

On the Occasion of Their Wedding

I can’t provide the date and provenance of this basket of beauty because I’d have to root around to find Daddy’s copy of Tardy’s. It continental and clever– each cup sits on a little peg so that the maid can’t jiggle the soft-boiled eggs about on the way to your breakfast table.










I’ve never seen such a pretty piece of tea strainer engineering as this: The baskets turn to the horizontal when it’s time to strain a new cup, so that you can dump the leaves efficiently. Again, I’d have to find Tardy to check out the German marks. (I’ve hooked it over an epergne handle to give the general effect.)









Now I’ll move into the Mystery Item round. Number One, from Birks, a Canadian silversmith. It’s about seven inches long.




Number Two (Chester 1904)may be my favorite of the group because it’s just so plain weird. I’m sorry about the crappy picture ; when I decided to reshoot I found my battery was dead. You might want to consult the group shot above.











Number Three, Birmingham, 1902.










So, as they say, enter to win a Valuable Prize! And pray for me — I’ve been so accident prone I’m afraid I’ll fracture a finger flossing my teeth!



Filed under Art, Body, Cheap and Cheerful Object of the Day, Collections, Giveaway, History, Home, Incredible Edible Egg, Worth it anyway

Postcards from “The Onion:” More Suburban Dadaism

Do any of my peeps not know The Onion? Its silly, comic, twisted empire started as a giveaway paper, like the humble Village Chronicles where I write about food every two weeks. The Village Chronicles covers small town stuff like city council meetings, the latest 5K Run for something and exposes about local drinking water. Give it a clickity and you’ll have a fair picture of my fair ‘Ville. For those of my readers who live abroad, don’t waste their time on explosive goofiness or are highminded (um, I’m reviewing my buddy list for highminded types — I think a couple of family members qualify) here’s a sample of Onion land.

It would be a dream come true if The Onion staff  guest-edited an issue of Village Chronicles, and trust me, they could put that paper to bed in the time it takes me to write this post.

Because my #1 anti-aging maxim is “Immaturity keeps you young” it will surprise no one that when I spotted a recipe box- styled package of 100 postcards featuring Onion headlines I took it to the cashier without even checking the price. Postcards! The Onion! One hundred Onion postcards! Or as the box reads: “100 rectangular postal cards suitable for the futile act of corresponding with other miserable inhabitants of earth.” Some of you miserable inhabitants have already received one from me — more will find them in their mailboxes. Of course, I’m already trying to figure out how to convert them into Christmas cards, but that might be a challenge too great for even the geekiest card freak — most of the content doesn’t scream “Peace on Earth.”

I figure that in five years I’ll have forty unsent Onion postcards. That would be a shame.

The solution: my further adventures in what I call Suburban Dadaist  Guerillism.

You may have read about my crocheted car antenna sleeves here:

Or my ongoing origami toilet paper campaign in public places here:

Here’s the deal: I’m going to add a short stack of Onion postcards to my purse and quietly slip them under the windshield wipers of unsuspecting citizens on the street where I live, (I’m proud to say one of my crocheted antenna sleeves still adorns a neighbor’s car) the mall parking lot and any other opportunity that arises. I’ll edit the collection, saving the more offensive cards for my near and dear, and choose clean fun silliness for strangers.



I think an anodyne handwritten message  on the back like “Love your Prius!” or “Have fun tonight”! would be a good idea. Or would it be creepy? Nah, I don’t think anyone would be afraid of a stalker that leaves postcards from The Onion.

So why has a  woman in her very very very very very  very (thank you, Garrison Keillor)late  forties become a benignant juvenile delinquent? I suck at self-analysis, but here goes. I have too much time on my hands. My thoughts fly from branch to branch without settling down. I was a serious child, happy but aspirational . The middle kid, or the youngest, is the prankster, never the eldest. But to tie it all into the Cheap and Cheerful mission statement, I think I just wanna have fun, to give others a happy puzzling moment and be a tickled-with-herself practical joker.


Filed under Free, Giveaway, HeeHee, Media, Paper

Food: Fast, Fake and Fuzzy/C & C Giveaway!

Let’s say three of the things you live for are curling, Kierkegaard and carpentry. Then let’s imagine you found an activity that pulled all three together in one cheap, cheerful place. Oh frabjous day!

I love Japanese culture, fake food and the fun and consolation of not-very-challenging crochet projects. If you glance at the header you’ll see how they all came together in that enchanting, kinda useless Japanese crochet category called amigarumi.

The Japanese rock the fake food world! Think of those plastic replicas of sashimi and noodles in the windows of Japanese restaurants — I think they’re (very) minor works of art, and they’re pricey. Think about those wind-up sushi toys: Wacko Jacko’s in LA has a great collection and I’m kicking myself that I gave away a suitcase full when I got home. Origami has a small but growing culinary division, and I hope to share a folded meal with you when I master that tricky double-dip ice cream cone. The Japanese are so good at this stuff they can make real food look like fake food — think of those molds that can transform a hard boiled egg into a wee race car or bunny.

My grandmother Frances Henrietta Moss McArthur , apart from filing a column with “The London Free Press,” running the distaff side of a farm, and playing the organ at church, was a notable needlewoman. She bought me a sampler from the five and dime in Glencoe Ontario when I was six and initiated me into the sisterhood of Lazy Daisies and French Knots. When I was nine, she lent me a crochet hook and the golf ball-sized remnant of a ball of wool and had me churning out granny squares for an afghan in progress. Embroidery and crochet remain my favorite forms of handwork and I regret that she died before I could thank her adequately. If she’s keeping up with my blog while superintending choir practice in heaven, thanks Gammy!

Amigarumi is an offspring off the calculatedly cute Japanese culture of kawaii — think Hello Kitty. If you remember my original header, those perky animals are amigarumi’s typical subject matter, and I’ve hooked out a small zoo in the last couple of years. But when food subjects began to make an appearance at crochet wbesites I put off making mates for my monkeys and started to whip up cupcakes and bacon and eggs. I figure that by this time next year I’ll have run though a diner menu, meatloaf sandwiches and all.

GIVEAWAY! If you place a comment here about an activity that combines curling, Kierkegaard and carpentry, you’ll be entered into a raffle to win one of Magz Rags Custom Aprons. I’ll pull the winner on March 4th,

As Soren said:” Boredom is the root of all evil .”


Filed under About a buck, Collections, Food, Giveaway, Needlework, Yarn