Saturday, March 23, 2013

A Guessing Game

I am in the midst of another month of writing/revising deadlines. Why did they all come at once, you ask? Because a freelance writer like me (meaning I am not paid advances like J.K. Rowling) accepts jobs when they come, not when they are convenient. Major publishers have definite launch seasons, which I understand, so they need a book done by XX whether  I am busy or not.

Right now I am writing for two different publishers who must be on the same book launch timeline. It has been feast or famine. Right now, the feast is leaving me "guessing" if my sanity will hold out because this is also TAX time. Two words that make me (and you?) wake up in a cold sweat because nothing I do is easily figured out, especially since I launched three booths in 2012 in a moment of true insanity.

So today's blog will be something fun tied in to my passion of thrifting, meaning it will be a joy to write. And hopefully fun to read!

I have gotten quickly savvy in my yard sale, auction, thrift shop hunts, picking out treasures from the trash with giddy delight. However, many of the treasures I pick--although I know they are old/vintage (meaning as old as I am at least)--I don't know what they are exactly and what they are worth -- researching these finds is hugely exciting, and I have to force myself back to the real world of revisions and tax forms. So let's see how well you do . . .

Item one is gorgeous art from the early 1900s. But what was it used for? You might know if you smoked cigars.

It's an unused cigar box outer label. These are highly collectible and still cheap enough for anyone to get into -- AND your money will grow faster than a savings account, that's for sure.

 You might guess what photo 2 consists of if you grew up in the 1980s or your kids were teenagers in the 1980s. Give up? They are pog slammers.

Pogs was a hugely popular game with trading pogs named after the tops of milk bottles, which are also called pogs. Kids all over the world went wild for the game. The slammers are heavy brass/metal and were used to 'capture' the plastic/cardboard pogs.

Yeah, my kids were into it.
 I threw this photo  in to give your brain a break. These horse models are plastic, plush with real fur manes (I am assuming rabbit.) and have silky tails of some kind of plastic/fake stuff.  I couldn't ever find a maker so I am guessing they are from China, since the country seems to make everything useless and collectible. I picture the Chinese who are producing stuff like this in the factory asking each other, "What the hell do the Americans do with all this crap?"
If you live in New England you might guess what this is -- a vintage apple corer/peeler. It looks tortuous to use, and then you still had to slice the darn apple. Yup, no wonder I never made apple pies until the food processor was invented.

I had never seen one before, but amazingly when I researched it on Ebay there were dozens. I figured either no one ever used theirs or they never wore out.  They are very sturdy cast iron with red wood handle--cute for display!

If you're British (or Swiss, Francesca?) you will guess what this is, but believe, me it had me stumped for quite awhile.

Clueless? Or are you more sophisticated than I am and guessed it right away?

I am still not exactly sure what it is called but it is a stainless steel toast holder, warmer, whatever. I don't know why someone would need to put their slices of toast in here and I would love to hear from you if you know!

So thank you for putting up with my silly post that had nothing to do with horses or books except that I bet those of you who do have deadlines, whether taxes, books or work related, know how important it is to blow off steam and stress by doing something you enjoy.

Let me know how you did on the quiz--I am sure you will shame me!


Laura Crum said...

Alison--I find that roaming around my garden trying to spot new things in bloom or bud refreshes me the way the vintage stuff does you. That, and watching my horses graze.

Susan said...

I didn't have a clue except for the apple peeler. I've been served toast in something like that in England. The toast was dry and cold. Since the butter wouldn't melt, it was unappealing to me.

Anonymous said...

Those toast-racks were the height of pseudo-poshness. Every seedy B&B and cheap hotel (think Fawlty Towers) proudly served their toast on one of these. Cold. Dry. Stale.
I could never see the point myself.

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Alison said...

Laura -- more spring photos please since we are again getting SNOW.

Susan and Tails--thank you for enlightening me on the toast rack although when I advertise it to sell, I won't use Cold, dry or stale. :)

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Dreaming said...

Wow! I remember Pogs... my boys were into them for a bit... luckily I didn't shell out as much for them as I did later for Pokemon cards!
Mr. Dreamy's mother has all kinds of old stuff... er, memorabilia. A collector set loose in her house would go nuts. Maybe we should send the Pickers there!

Francesca Prescott said...

My Nana had a toast rack like that! Hotels tend to have them too, in the UK. I think they're elegant, but they don't keep the toast warm, so as far as I'm concerned they're pretty but useless :)

I vaguely remember Pogs...didn't have a clue what the apple peeler was. I also think I remember the Chinese ponies with the nylon hair!

And yes, Laura, as Alison mentioned, please post some more spring photos because we are all at the end of our tether over here. It's more like November than the end of March, and they've foreast snow again for tomorrow. I wish I could stay in bed :(

Jane said...

I'll play! Cigars...I'm sure that label is feeding off "The Call of the Wild". Smoke this cigar and feel like Jack London, wild man. :) Pogs and plastic/fur horses, I'm unfamiliar with. Apple peelers/corers. Um. Still use mine. Toast rack: for reasons Americans can't understand, it's served cold across the pond, in a tidy rack. Maybe you can advertise it as a way to 'Organize' your toast at breakfast? ;)

Alison said...

Such fun comments!

Mr. Dreamy's Mother sounds dreamy to a treasure hunter like me! Do I get an invite? Hang on to the Pokemon cards. They may finance retirement.

Cesca, i feel for you and your snow. What is it with spring this year???

Good job, Jane. So toast is served COLD in England? Can you explain that strange phenomenon? The apple peeler--does it really work?

Emily said...
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Jane said...

Hi Alison! I know about the cold toast via a friend who stayed at a B&B in England. The first two mornings she snatched the toast out of t he rack before it became too cold for the butter to melt. Day three, the frustrated host stopped her as politely as possible when one believes another person is being rude, and asked her to leave the toast until it cooled, and could be properly enjoyed. (Without guest looking greedy by snatching the toast, to presumably let it cool on her plate.)

Why it's served cold is beyond me!

The apple corer/peeler works great. It was definitely sized for backyard (not commercial) apples. Med-small apples work best. The bigger apples tend to overwhelm mine.

Alison said...

Thanks Jane! I love the story about the toast! Who knew you should eat it cold.

I will definitely have to try the peeler before I put it in the booth.

White Horse Pilgrim said...

My parents had a toast rack like that in England, stainless steel and shiny. Toast went into it straight from the electric toaster and was taken and eaten immediately whilst warm. I think that all it did really was enable toast to be carried to the table without using a plate (which was "common") or, worse still, fingers.

They must have been around for a long time because old-fashioned buses with rows of upright seats were called colloquially "toast racks".

Alison said...

Thank you White Horse Pilgrim--I love how terms get born and used ie the bus seats and the toast rack. Who knew!