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Tag Archives: melamine

Knock, knock.

Who’s there?

Banana.

Banana who?

Knock, knock.

Who’s there?

Banana.

Banana, who?

I interrupt this vintage joke to ask an important question:

Do you like orange?

It seems like one of those colours that people have a love it or hate it thing for.

Christine wearing an orange and burgundy striped hat and burnt orange scarf.

Lately, I’ve been cozied up in this burnt orange scarf.

I’m on the side of love it.  Maybe that’s because I learned the magical, mystical power of orange when my friend, Grover, introduced me to Ugly Orange Sweater, way back in 1986.

Y’see, not only is orange the colour of creamsicles and beach vacation toenail polish, it is one of the few colours Grover can really identify, on account of the fact that he has colour blindness.

And, even though he is super talented and great at lots of things including but not limited to gift giving and swinging on non-pinchy-bum swings, Grover couldn’t really appreciate the nuances of periwinkle blue, Tiffany blue, or the colour of a certain Leonard Cohen raincoat.

So, orange it was.

Then came the day that his mom (if I’m remembering the legend correctly) knitted him a gigantic orange sweater.  It was (let me emphasize again) gigantic and orange and the wool kind of pilled up and the sweater ended up looking like a gigantic and orange, wearable muppet.  Grover (who I also think of as a lovely, wearable muppet, hence his nom de plum) named it Ugly Orange Sweater (U.O.S.) and it became a Thing.

If you don’t get the significance of a Thing to teenagers, you need to stop everything and read more John Green books.

Anyway, ever since 1986, I have loved Grover and U.O.S. and orange.

I found these two melamine plates recently and even though I have enough vintage melamine to host the entire cast of the Mary Tyler Moore show, they had to come home with me.

On account of the orange.

melamine plate with orange funky flower design

Yep, that’s my story and I’m sticking to it.  Even though I keep putting “tiny house” pics on Pinterest and we’re supposed to be downsizing, not bringing even more stuff that Practical Man gave away in 1976, into the house.  And, even though the orange in these awesome plates is not really the same colour as the orange in U.O.S.

Anyhoo.

These are vintage Maplex (from Toronto, Canada).  And, even though I’m definitely down-sizing, I just love their funky, flower-power motif.

Of course I do.

They go so well with the vintage daisy Pyrex (that my friend Shades gave me) and the vintage orange melamine (that we found in the melamine-mecca of Ompah, Ontario two years ago) and the little Japanese creamer that almost looks like the same flower-power pattern (that I found for 10 cents on a sunny morning of yard sale-ing with my sister-in-law in Sturgeon Falls, Ontario, four years ago).

Vintage pyrex bowls with daisy lids; orange melamine coffee cups and plates

It’s as if they were all meant to be together, from the beginning.  So, if you happen to find this Maplex pattern anywhere (I can’t find it, even online), please save it for me because, these would look great in our vintage Boler trailer.

Yes Indeedy, I am incurable.

It might be Grover’s fault.  Too much cozy orange scarf and not enough non-pinchy-bum swings or U.O.S. sightings.

Or something.

But in the end, all that really matters, of course, is:

Knock, knock.

Who’s there?

Orange.

Orange who?

Orange You Glad I Didn’t Say Banana?!

——————————————————–

Copyright Christine Fader, 2015.  Did you enjoy this post from A Vintage Life?    Share on Facebook       Tweet

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It’s December in Canada, so of course I am dreaming about a vintage summer cottage.

Oh yes.

Just to be clear, there are no sisters in these dreams, thank you very much.

my grandparents cottage

My grandparents’ cottage.

When I was growing up, Summer wasn’t Summer unless it included a week at my grandparents’ cottage.

Sans sibling. 

That is to say, my little sister had her week and I had mine.  No sharing of the grandparents, no siree.   Just full on, 24-7 attention and affection a la Celine Dion and Brigitte Jones:

All.  By.  Myself.

vintage clock

Time seemed to fly on this cottage clock, during “MY” week at the cottage

Needless to say, it was glorious.  My Grandma Helen would open the cereal boxes upside down so I could get the prize at the “bottom” right away and we would watch Woody Woodpecker while we drank Freshie and ate “schnibbles” of summer sausage and old cheese and “crinkly” carrots at lunch.

crinkly carrot cutter

We still make crinkly carrots (and think of Grandma Helen), using this nifty gadget.

My Grandpa Lou, resplendent in his Coca-Cola hat, would drive down the cottage lane on his lawn tractor, pulling a wagon behind, with me and half the neighbour’s kids piled in. In the mornings, he’d wake early and smoke at the kitchen table with a large, hardcover book in front of him.  I remember him using an ashtray that had a metal top and sort of a plaid beanbag pillow for the bottom.  I don’t think he ever used these jazzy ashtrays.

They seemed to be for company and Frank Sinatra music.

vintage ash trays

Vintage club, spade, diamond, heart ashtrays from the cottage

My Grandpa built a gigantic swing and teeter totter in the yard and I loved to swing, overlooking the lake.  My Grandma baked Great Aunt Batche’s coffee cake recipe on special mornings and rice krispie squares with chocolate “ants” (you had to be there).  My Grandpa loved to re-design his food and taught me to eat tomato soup with Kraft dinner in it.

Maybe my grandparents did these wonderful, comforting things when my sister was around too.

But, I doubt it.

My grandparents’ cottage was built in the late 60s and when I was spending time there in the late 70s, 80s and 90s, it had a lovely vintage vibe to it.   A certain musty, home-y smell and barkcloth curtains in the bedrooms:

Barkcloth curtains

I snagged this piece of the barkcloth from the cottage curtains.

There was a room with a double bunk bed (on top AND bottom!) and witty signs dotted around the walls and especially, in the bathroom.

That is, treasures collected by my grandpa and I think, permitted with grace by my Grandma:

sign

What’s a cottage without some signs?

There was always candy in Grandma’s candy jar on the hutch and I liked to play with the cast iron Mennonite figurines.

That is, treasures collected by my Grandma and I think, permitted with grace by my Grandpa:

mennonite figurines

I love the toboggan!

In the evenings, we played games, like Flea, Parcheesi, Sorry, Yatzee, Crazy Eights and later, Upwords.  My Grandma Helen was a great adult, because she never let you win.  You had to earn it.   Sometimes, we bet with pennies or potato chips and while Grandpa was the risk taker, Grandma was often the winner.

Upwords

In later years, this was one of Grandma’s favourite games

Of course, every game needs a snack.  Often, it was cheesies.  Day-glow orange and crispy, dissolve-in-your-mouth artificiality.  So delicious.  Especially when served in vintage melamine bowls like these beauties, found at the cottage:

melamine bowls

These aren’t cheesies. They’re clementine oranges. The blue bowl is longing for some cheesies.

Today would have been my Grandma’s 90th birthday.  We remember her each year on her birthday with Chinese food (one of her favourites) and games, of course.

My grandparents have both been gone for a few years and their cottage is now for sale.   But, I can still go there any old cold, Canadian December I want because of my memories and the treasures I’ve shared in these pictures.

That is, treasures collected by my aunt for me and I think, permitted with grace by Practical Man.

Copyright Christine Fader, 2013.  Did you enjoy this post from A Vintage Life?    Share on Facebook       Tweet         You might also like my latest book.


I mentioned the other day that our kitchen cupboards are over full.  I offer you Exhibit A (with random modern dishes removed, in case you’re wondering why there’s space):

the inside of my cupboards, full of vintage pyrex

Our cupboards are full with–if you’ve been paying attention–practical things like cheese slicers, scales and oatmeal and stuff.

Not vintage Pyrex and melamine dishes.  Nuh unh.  As you can see, once you take the boring stuff out, there’s plenty of room.

None of that matters though, because you won’t believe it–I mean I can barely believe it myself–but I did it:

I edited a cupboard.

Not one in the kitchen, but that’s beside the point.

You may recall that we have a 1974 Boler trailer.  It is a full 13 feet of vintage delight.  I loooove it in a way that is annoying to others, I’m sure.

The diner/bed inside our 1974 Boler

The diner/bed inside our 1974 Boler

Anyway, I realized suddenly as I was stacking and piling in the kitchen to no avail that no wonder my melamine bowls didn’t fit.  Pyrex is for inside.  Melamine is perfect for camping in a 1974 trailer.  Those dishes belonged in the Boler, of course!

The Boler that I loooove.

With joy in my heart, I trundled out to the Boler, but when I got there, the cupboards were…mysteriously…over full.

I’m sure it’s not my fault.  Right, because when we bought it from the previous owners (who had owned it since new), we inherited all its contents, including Maplex and Duraware dishes.

Plus, the Boler “kitchen” is REALLY tiny.  I like to call it “bijou”, because I’m slightly addicted to alliteration.  A “bijou Boler” sounds great, doesn’t it?

Anyway the kitchen only consists of 4 cupboards and one drawer.  Not even cupboards really.  They’re more like bread boxes.  Yes, four bread boxes and a cookie tin.  So bijou.

boler kitchen

Our Boler “kitchen”, complete with homemade trays to cover sink and stove top and give us more counter space.

And, the cupboards were chock-a-block with the necessary dishes (we have to eat, don’t we?) as well as things coveted by Practical Man, like flashlights and bungee cords.

So, they were full and I’m pretty sure that, as usual, it was not my fault.  Still, I decided I had to edit.  Somebody had to go and the dishes outnumbered the flashlights by 20 to 1.

I felt like a judge on The Voice or American/Canadian/Pop Idol.  I had to choose between my favourites.  It was heart-wrenching.

Before I could do the dastardly deed, I had to psych myself up.  First, I had a little nap on the oh-so-stylish Boler couch:

Boler couch/bunkbed

It converts to a bunk bed for people who are not strapping women of 5’9″, like I am:

bunk beds in the Boler

Then, I pretended I was drinking chicory coffee and had Laurie Partridge hair out of 1974.

Then, I shoop-shooped and sang a few rounds of “C’mon, get happy” (Composed just for the Boler, I’m sure,  because who wouldn’t be happy lounging in the 1974 Boler that I looove?!)

Then, I admired the new cups and plates I was about to put in the cupboards, again.  All the while, I tried not to think about the pitiful cries from the little brown plates that hid behind the Boler kitchen doors.  Little brown plates, you’re so, so sweet but you’re just not my colour.  I don’t really loooove you.

Sorry.

But these make me a little giddy:

fern pattern on melamine plates

Not so giddy for the grey and white vintage Tupperware coffee mugs (replaced with more cheerful and vintage-reminiscent harvest gold, orange and avocado green):

tupperware cups for the Boler

Finally, after my napping and chicory coffee and hair and shooping and singing, I was ruthless.  I edited.  I was the Simon Cowell of cupboards.

Sort of.

In addition to being a terrible haggler, I am also not ruthless…even about inanimate objects.  The ones that didn’t make the cut to keep were given away to a good home:  I have re-ignited the collecting bug in my friend, Shades.

Her husband loves me even more now.

But never mind because today, all is right in the Boler.  And now, there’s even room for Practical Man’s flashlights.

I’ll get to the kitchen cupboards in the house one of these days.  Right now, I’m celebrating with another round of “C’mon Get Happy” .  Tra-la-la, shoop-shoop.

A flashlight makes a great microphone.

Our Boler

Our Boler – what colour do you think we should paint it? I’m thinking flowers (of course). Practical Man is thinking anything that will allow him to drive without wearing a mask to disguise his identity.

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There’s not enough room in the kitchen cupboards.

However, I’m almost positive that nearly getting beaned every time I open a door to fetch a plate has nothing to do with the oval, pale pink, melamine bowl I got at a garage sale for 50 cents last Saturday.

Pink melamine bowl

It belongs with the vintage pink, melamine salt-and-pepper shakers that our friend, Safety Bob, gave us…er, me, last summer.

Pink melamine salt and pepper

Ditto the custard-yellow platter.  And the darling celery-green serving bowl.  But, that’s not why there’s not enough room in the cupboards.  I’m sure of it.

Almost positive.

Here are 10 ways Practical Man and I differ when it comes to what should be in the cupboards:

1.  He likes utilitarian things.
I like, uh…things.

2.  He says stuff like, “the right tool for the right job”.
I say stuff like, “I don’t know what I’ll use this (vintage drinking straw dispenser) for, but I love it!”

strawholder

3.  He buys staple foods (on sale, of course) like oats, coffee and veggies from The List.
I don’t buy food (can’t be trusted to stick to The List).  Consequently, I need a GPS and several stock boys to find anything in the grocery store.

4.  He uses things like cheese slicers because they are safe.
I cut myself regularly because using anything but a knife to slice cheese would never occur to me.

5.  He buys the gigantic jars of spices (because they’re cheaper).
I would like him to buy the gigantic bags of chocolate chips (I’m sure they’re cheaper).

6.  He stockpiles non-perishable food (on sale, of course), like we’re preparing for the apocalypse.
I stockpile Wispa bars, just in case the Queen (or Bono) happens to stop by for lunch.

7.  He buys 32 different kinds of herbal tea to try to entice me to drink it.
I only drink tea under duress because most of it tastes like 32 different kinds of grass clippings (chocolate chai grass clippings, mint grass clippings, lemon zinger grass clippings…).

8.  He likes using a kitchen scale when he’s dividing up the leftovers to put in the freezer.
I prefer to stay far away from anything remotely resembling a scale (see earlier note about Wispa bars).

9.  He uses a meat slicer to slice the giant summer sausage from our favourite Mennonite store.
I cut myself regularly because using anything but a knife to slice summer sausage would never occur to me.

10.  He thinks meat slicers, scales and cheese slicers are very practical.
I think they’re the reason we have no room in the cupboard.

I’m almost positive.